Hello all. I’m here today with another bad pu… err… article about teaching new players metagame mechanics. As the title suggests, this time we’re talking about tanking. What’s that? You say today’s format is too fast for tanks? Well, DialgaChomp and a few other Pokémon friends disagree with you.
What type of deck does this teacher deck lead newer players into running?
Standard Tank Decks such as:
~ Steelix Prime
In addition, the following decks also offer a limited form of tanking:
~ Tyranitar Prime
~ Gyarados (in some aspects)
In addition to the basics of tanking, this deck also teaches the following:
~ Basic VS Special Energy
~ Strategic Discarding of One’s Own Cards
~ “Fizzle” Poké-Powers (i.e. powers that can only partly complete, see Regice)
~ Reduction of Damage Using Trainers, Energy, and Tools
~ Coin-Flip based Healing (luck factor, thanks for this idea goes to Genguy)
~ Conditional Attack Effects (Return Blow on Aggron RR)
~ damage counters vs Damage Done (Crobat G)
~ “Coming into Play” powers (Porygon-Z G, also Crobat G)
~ “Starter” Pokémon (Skarmory UD)
~ Energy cards that have switching or disrupting effects
~ Energy Recovery (Conductive Quarry)
~ Status Conditions (Crobat G’s attack)
So with that said, on to our teacher deck. This deck’s star is my favorite binder fodder rare from Rising Rivals, the Iron Armor Pokémon, Aggron. The Aggron family has not been given much love recently from the PCL. (Pokémon Card Laboratory, the guys in Japan who make new cards and issue erratas.)
However, teacher decks are all about giving otherwise worthless rare cards new homes.
Here’s the basic list:
|Pokémon – 21||Trainers – 21||Energy – 18|
I’m going to copy the warning here from the first teacher deck article. Note that this deck is intentionally flawed. Once the (somewhat) new player is beating it consistently, the deck has done what it is supposed to do!
This deck is what many new players (especially those more used to the DS/GBA games) see as how Pokémon should work. You build up a tank and attack your opponent’s side for high raw damage.
pokebeach.comThe ideal starter in this deck is Skarmory, due to the ability to search out your special metal energies and attach them directly to your tanker.
Slowking HS is used here on your own deck, to ensure you can topdeck what you need, as well as making sure the cards discarded by Mountain Eater and Metal Fang are not cards you absolutely need. If both are out, it can be used to spy on one’s opponent and mess with their deck as well.
Cyclone and Warp Energies are included here to get damaged Aggron to the bench, as well as force your opponent to send up something new other than their (hopefully) main attacker.
Crobat is included here because this kind of slow deck with variable damage output is a great place to introduce this heavily-played metagame card.
Show how you can get the opponent’s bench-warmers ready to be Knocked Out, or how you can steal the ko off of an otherwise out-of-reach Pokémon. (One with more than 90 HP.) Show how Poké Turn lets you re-use a Power in the same turn.
Porygon-Z G is used here to show the idea of re-using tools from the discard. Recovering the Buffer Pieces is important, as they’re discarded by the game state check.
Regice is here to showcase the idea of powers that can “Fizzle.” This is important if your soon-to-be world champ decided he likes that big water dragon guy Gyarados.
Once you’ve set up in the early game with Skarmory, you stick Aggron active and begin to tank. If he gets near death, you either warp point or warp energy out of the Active Spot and bring up your next attacker. If neither is available, then they should be taught to use the Moomoo Milk as a last resort.
This also stresses an important part of today’s meta: Coin flips are unreliable, and as such, it is best to go with a for-sure option even if it is less powerful. (See, for example, SSU vs. Seeker.)
Teach them the Warp Point + Crobat G combo, showing them that you can send the same Pokémon active if you’d like by using free retreat. Once they stack quite a few Special Metals on Aggron, they should have the basics down.
This should give your newer player all the basic ideas they need to tank. Let their creative juices flow. Show them some of the stronger Metal Pokémon in format; let them build their own deck along these lines. Fostering their imagination is a great start to a lifetime membership in the TCG scene.
Look forward to the next article in the teacher series: “A Beacon of Lock: Teaching Newer Players Part 3” by my other half, Innocent Shine.