Greetings everyone! I hope that you followed Worlds as eagerly as I did, and are ready for the 2011-2012 tournament season just like me! We’ll go through the new Battle Roads Promo, the structure of events, and conclude today’s article with some thoughts on possible deck ideas for this coming year. Without a pause, let’s go!
We were fortunate enough to get our first scans of the new promo – “Victory Cup” today. It is available in 3 versions – a “Bronze” version with Victini, “Silver” with Victini and Snivy, and a “Gold” with Victini and the three starters. Like previous “Victory Medal” cards, it is stamped with the tournament season and year. Unfortunately, the promo is not a unique effect like Victory Medal, instead coming as what amount to a “Poke Ball” reprint. The card, although thrice as available as the old promo, now has almost no competitive value in a deck, although, admittedly, it looks incredible and would be fun to pull out in a league deck.
The next topic of discussion revolves around the tournament schedule for this year. Although not yet set in stone, our Battle Roads will run from Mid-September until Mid-October, with Regionals taking place in November. Wait, Regionals in November? Yes, for the first time, Pokemon will have 2 separate “seasons” of Regional tournaments. The first set will be followed by the post-Thanksgiving City Championships, the tentative March State championships, and, if the schedule follows last year’s, July Nationals. The season will, of course, culminate in the World Championships in August. We’ll also have Prerelease events sporadically placed throughout the season, with our first, Emerging Powers, already having come and gone, we look to our third Black and White set, which should be released in November, and according to my information, AFTER the first Regionals events. We also have the return of the Gym cycle, this time looking at Unova’s 10 Gym Leaders. The 8 seasons will each feature a different Energy Type, with promo cards including basic energy and Pokemon of the corresponding type. Unfortunately, there will be no Collector print as a promo, at this time.
However, that all is for the future, as even the first official week of league does not start until September 26th. September 17th brings the first Battle Roads – Fall, and with it, the deck ideas can commence. Any follower of the current HGSS-EP metagame will recognize key contenders for this fall, including Typhlosion Prime/Reshiram, Magnezone/Emboar, the Worlds-winning deck, Yanmega/Donphan/Zoroark, and with the release of Emerging Powers, the use of Vileplume or Gothitelle to block the infamous Gust Of Win(d)/Pokemon Catcher. Just as Power Spray was key in stopping Luxray GL Lv. X’s “Bright Look” Pokemon Power when it was in play, these two Stage 2’s offer a solution to Pokemon Catcher.
If you are on a tight budget, Typhlosion/Reshiram offers the best value for your dollar, and the ability to get a 4-2-4 Typhlosion line with 4 Rare Candies for under $30 allows even newer players to build this deck without too much financial trouble. Additionally, the ability to continuously do 120 damage each turn or transition into “Flare Destroy” for energy destruction gives this deck a positive matchup against Yanmega/Donphan/Zoroark, as well as having a positive matchup against other decks that run low amounts of energy or Pokemon with less than 120 HP.
My secondary suggestion would be to look into Magnezone/Emboar. The polar opposite of a quick Stage-1 deck, the deck relies on the somewhat expensive Emboar 20 and Magnezone Prime, to create an energy-accelerated strategy that offers the highest damage output possible in the game’s history. At 50 damage per Lost Zone’d energy, Magnezone Prime can knock out any Pokemon in one hit for 3, or in the case of Donphan Prime, 4, energy. That damage, coupled with Emboar’s “Inferno Fandango” ability, allow energy to be quickly and effectively spread throughout the field. Add in Magnezone Prime’s “Magnetic Draw” and the ability to have multiple Magnezone in play using this, to the use of Supporter card Judge, and you have the ability to quickly expand with energy, attack for massive damage, reduce and disrupt your opponent’s hand, and maintain control of your own. Overall, the cost is higher, but the deck did well at Worlds, and looks to be a good deck in the future.
Finally, regardless of which deck you play, you absolutely should play Pokemon Catcher. Unless you’re playing Vileplume, this card will lead to easy prizes, and as a result, players should think twice before benching their 30/40/50 HP basic, which could easily be brought active and knocked out. If you’re concerned about this, Twins from HGSS Triumphant offers a possible deterrent, essentially making your Baby Pokemon or low HP basic “Bait” for your next turn’s supporter.
I hope that this information is helpful, and that everyone has a positive tournament season! I strongly encourage anyone who lives in the State College, PA area to stop by Penn State’s new Pokemon League, which offers a great environment for all levels of play. Unfortunately, I will most likely be unable to attend a Battle Roads event due to conflicts in scheduling and location, but I highly encourage everyone interested to follow Megapoola’s reports, which should be published with information about these events. Good luck, and have fun!