You may have asked yourself, “Why does it take so long to start tournaments?” Or, “Do I always have to frantically hand-write my decklist before every tournament and triple check for accuracy?” In this age of digital wizardry, isn’t there anything that can take that boring and error-prone paperwork out of Pokémon? Read on to find out!
If you’ve been to any of the Battle Roads this season, you’ve probably noticed the deck checks at the beginning of the tournaments have been kind of hectic due to the card rotation. If you don’t know what I mean by “card rotation”, it means cards from certain sets can no longer be used at official tournaments. Popular cards such as Claydol and Night Maintenance are now illegal.
But you already know this… why should you care? Because while the judges are dealing with kids with old cards, you’re sitting there waiting… and waiting….and waiting. And no, it’s not just Juniors that have this problem. At a tournament this weekend, I saw a Master who had been out of the game for a while with an illegal Night Maintenance in his deck.
What do judges do when your deck has an old card in it? Do they pull you out of the tournament so everyone else can start playing? Of course not, nor should they! They resolve the situation as best they can, (usually replacing the offending card with a basic energy) which results in:
• Occasional tears from younger players, especially if the old card is found during a game. Kids are not always kind to each other when that happens: “You can’t plat THAT! Don’t you know its ILLEGAL????!!!! JUDGE!!!” Better have some tissues handy for little Johnny.
• Sometimes a parent has to get involved to buy a starter deck. BTW, some parents really take offense to this because they are the ones who spent their hard earned money to by the “illegal” cards in the first place.
• A lot of discussion and explanation about why this is happening, which takes TIME.
And what are YOU doing while all this is happening? Nothing. You are waiting. Patiently. Probably chatting up your friends, but you’re not playing. And after all, you drove two hours to the store to play, not chat, right?
The bottom line is that the “rotation confusion” is occurring at even well-staffed tournaments with dedicated deck-checkers and is certainly nobody’s fault. I can only imagine what the delays must be like when a single person is judging, deck checking, and running the tournament alone. Or what may happen when the larger tourneys like States and Regional’s come around this season.
I know what you are thinking right now: “This is a brilliant and insightful post. I wonder if he has a solution in mind.” Why, yes… yes I do.
You may already know about the on-line deck builder at BebesSearch.com. But did you know that it automatically checks every deck before printing? That means problems are discovered and corrected before you even leave home. And that means fewer problems at the tournament which means YOU get to play SOONER.
So why am I preaching to the choir by telling a bunch of experienced players about this? Because most young players and their parents, not to mention older players that have been away from the game for a while, are not going to magically learn about the deck builder\checker. We have to tell them about it.
I would ask all of you to tell your PTO\Judge\League Leader about the deck checker on BebesSearch.com and have them read this post or just explain to them how it can help reduce the “rotation confusion” that has been throwing a wrench in their previously smooth operations.
Here are some things you can say to your PTO about why they should promote the deck-checker:
• It’s FREE.
• Deck problems are corrected at home so fewer problems at the tournament.
• Tournaments start faster so they finish faster.
• “Wouldn’t you rather read a neatly printed page instead of messy handwriting?”
• “Aren’t you tired of hoping that all the numbers add up to 60?”
• It reduces the time parents need to invest in taking kids to tournaments which may increase turnout. Personal note: To be honest, I used to DREAD filling out decklists for myself and my kids – it was a major inconvenience. If I hadn’t gotten hooked on the game myself, this paperwork might have become an excuse to not take them. I see a lot of parents filling out decklists for their kids and can only imagine how many young players may have been lost over the years because parents decided they didn’t want more paperwork in their lives.
Here’s a quick summary of what’s checked before the decklist is printed:
• The deck must have 60 cards.
• The deck must have at least 1 basic Pokémon.
• All cards must be from legal sets.
• No more than four of any time of card except basic energy and Arceus.
• LV.X’s count toward the four card rule.
• Also checks for duplicate rows which aren’t illegal but are probably human error.
And now here’s a fun game you can play at home. It’s called “Pretend You’re a Deck Checker”. Here’s how to play:
• Get a stopwatch or a clock that shows seconds.
• Try to find all the errors in this hand-written decklist. Note the number of seconds it takes you.
• Did you find them all? Remember, you’re doing this for an official tournament so you “gotta catch ‘em all!” There were (spoiler alert)… six types of old cards plus two other errors in the decklist.
• Multiply your time by the number of players at your last tournament. And yes, you must count Seniors and Masters, not just Juniors. Remember that Master with the Night Maintenance I saw? If it took you 30 seconds (to find all the errors) and the tournament has 30 players, well, you can do the math. Wouldn’t you rather spend that 15 minutes playing? And that 15 minutes assumes no problems. Imagine if the judges have to sit down with little Johnny to explain why he can’t use his 4 “Amulet Coin” cards. Better hit the snooze button.
• Now, try it with the same decklist from BebesSearch.com. Hint: look at the “deck check” box on the left first…
• Quite a difference, don’t you think? And remember, the player gets the bad news AT HOME, so they have time to fix the problem.
And one last thing… BebesSearch does not have the only on-line deck builder out there. For example, Steve P makes an excellent one too. But please be careful because as of the writing of this article, the version that comes from PokéBeach is NOT updated to know about the Set Rotation as you can see from this decklist that I just created on Sept 29. If you are using that product, make sure you follow the link on SixPrizes. But whichever on-line deckbuilder you choose, please try one out. Even if it’s just for one tournament. Believe me – a lot of you experienced players that try it will never go back to handwriting your decklists. And that benefits all of us because the fewer sloppy decklists the judges have to deal with, the faster the tournaments will start. And who wouldn’t like that?
In closing let me just admit that the Deck Builder\Deck Checker at BebesSearch has a tough matchup against LuxChomp but beats everything else, including the mirror. Thanks for reading and happy printing!
(And thanks to Tony for his assistance – much appreciated)