Tanks for Nothing: Teaching Newer Players

Part 2

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.

pokebeach.com

What type of deck does this teacher deck lead newer players into running?

Standard Tank Decks such as:

~ Steelix Prime
~ DialgaChomp
~ Wailord

In addition, the following decks also offer a limited form of tanking:

~ Tyranitar Prime
~ Blastoise/Feraligatr
~ Nidoking/Queen
~ Blissey/Meganium
~ Typhlosion/Ursarang
~ Charizard
~ Gyarados (in some aspects)
~ Magnezone

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)
~ Resistance
~ 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

4 Skarmory UD
2 Aron TM
1 Aron RR
2 Lairon UD
1 Lairon TM
2 Aggron RR
1 Aggron TM
2 Slowpoke UD
2 Slowking HS
2 Crobat G PL
1 Porygon-Z G AR
1 Regice LA

Trainers – 21

3 Poké Turn
2 Moomoo Milk
3 Warp Point
1 Luxury Ball
2 Expert Belt
2 Buffer Piece
3 Interviewer’s Questions
1 Flower Shop Lady
2 Pokémon Collector
2 Conductive Quarry

Energy – 18

6 Metal (Basic)
4 Metal (Special)
2 Psychic
2 Warp
2 Cyclone
2 Double Colorless

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 position 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.

Reader Interactions

19 replies

  1. Eric

    Made the water deck as a proxy for my cousin who starting next year. Works wonders

  2. Jonah Davids

    Nice! Its nice of you to mention me. Keep them coming!

    • Anonymous  → Jonah

      But of course! You DID suggest it, after all. That also leads me to say this. If you have an idea that you’ve yet to see in a teacher article, feel free to tell me, and I’ll work it in and credit you appropriately.

      • Jonah Davids  → Anonymous

        Well, I’ve a bunch of Ideas!

        • Options – SP decks are #1 because they have so many options each turn. A segment showing Options would be really good. One I can easily see is Bronzong SF. With a plethora of options, your young master, will quickly learn options are everything.
        • Blocking – A wall deck would be a very good deck to teach younger players. I can see an Umbreon UD Shedinja SV deck working well. This would let them come to the conclusion of which was better. Umbreon or Shedinja? They would learn that Shedinja is more versatile, whilst Umbreon can be more efficient.

        • Cancelations – I can see a Mesprit LA, DGX deck working here. Cancel Powers with Mesprit and Cancal Body’s with Dialga G. This might be better as more of a final step, as kind-of a front loading to the metagame.

        • Obvious Combos – Obvious combos might be good deck to teach younger YOUNGER players. An example would be Volbeat and Illuimise.

        Those are what I can think of right now!

        • Anonymous  → Jonah

          are #1 because they have so many options each turn. A segment showing Options would be really good. One I can easily see is Bronzong SF. With a plethora of options, your young master, will quickly learn options are everything.

          ~That’s a good idea. Funny you would say Bronzong SF, I was actually planning mixing him up with Bronzong AR and Fortress G in a “spreading with options” article.

          – Blocking – A wall deck would be a very good deck to teach younger players. I can see an Umbreon UD Shedinja SV deck working well. This would let them come to the conclusion of which was better. Umbreon or Shedinja? They would learn that Shedinja is more versatile, whilst Umbreon can be more efficient.

          ~There’s actually a deck based around umbreon in the works right now, as article 6 (of however many I feel it takes to get every major meta concept). Adding Shedinja SV sounds like a great idea, I’ll definitely consider it.

          – Cancelations – I can see a Mesprit LA, DGX deck working here. Cancel Powers with Mesprit and Cancal Body’s with Dialga G. This might be better as more of a final step, as kind-of a front loading to the metagame.

          ~This is (partially) done in the next article, “A Beakon of Lock” using Ampharos PL and Grumpig TM, amongst others. The bodies idea will be explored in the silly “Let’s use those new boxes to our advantage” article featuring both DGX and PGX.

          Obvious Combos – Obvious combos might be good deck to teach younger YOUNGER players. An example would be Volbeat and Illuimise.

          ~Another good idea, but if I were to do that, I think I’d lean towards Vileplume / Bellossom to also teach separate Pokémon that come from the same line.

          Plenty of Good ideas, though. Anyone else have any?

        • thomas clip  → Anonymous

          Ummmm… Lost Zone? it might get complicated, so maybe another more advanced teacher deck.

          Healing? Teaches young players about decks that can heal like crazy, and can dish out some nice damage.

          All I can think of right now.

        • Anonymous  → thomas

          Ummmm… Lost Zone? it might get complicated, so maybe another more advanced teacher deck.
          ~Yeah, that’d be tough. I’d wait until we get an actual defined Lost World Idea, though. Although it could be worked into the DGX/PGX article easily enough.

          Healing? Teaches young players about decks that can heal like crazy, and can dish out some nice damage.

          ~This practically SCREAMS wailord TM, but i’m afraid if i do too many tangents, “teacher decks” is gonna become “crappy league decks here: Teacher Newer Players- Part 136

        • thomas clip  → Anonymous

          Agreed. Maybe we should try to focus on more important things. Options is a good idea, Walling decks should taught, and Obvious Combos is obvious.

        • Augustine Lim  → Anonymous

          Hi, loving the article. My League (or “Gyms” as we like to call them here) has a lot of younger kids coming in and looking. I’d love to be able to create a HS-on teacher deck for them (I buy by the box, so I have a lot of spare cards) as I just restarted the game myself, and have mostly HS-on cards.

        • Anonymous  → Anonymous

          well on pokegym theres an article about an umbreon UD, scizor prime deck. they cant kill scizor with special energy and they cant kill umbreon with bodies or powers.

        • Anonymous  → Anonymous

          A decent enough idea. However, if I went that route, I’d have to find a source of cheap Scizor Primes. My ideal when making these teacher decks is to use cards that anyone can easily obtain on the cheap. Little kids won’t like proxies. A theme deck sells for something like 17 dollars after tax. Ideally, teacher decks should cost around the same, if not less.

  3. Ryan

    The teacher deck concept is very cool, and the people who run the tcg should impliment a form of these decks instead of the crappy theme decks. Nice article.

  4. thomas clip

    Great idea and article, is the water deck or this deck better?

    • Anonymous  → thomas

      From (very limited and very lulzy) redshark testing, the tank deck can outplay the water deck. But really, they’re not meant to be played against each other that much. They’re introducing entirely different segments of today’s metagame.

        • Anonymous  → thomas

          you’re supposed to start by using the water deck as the first deck that you use, then the tank deck. They each teach different stuff and they’re like steps in the learning process. Once the new player masters deck 1, then they learn deck 2.

        • Anonymous  → Anonymous

          Pretty much. You said it better than I would have. These are in no order, besides the order that they are made. You should use these to feel out what kind of deck type your champ-in-training prefers. A liking of this deck leads towards metagame tanking decks, and liking of the first deck leads towards energy-heavy decks like charizard or blastoise.

    • Anonymous  → Dakota

      I’m actually very glad to hear this from you. I think, in my heart, I feel the same way. Still, hearing you say the word amazing is… very good, to say the least. I think I’m the first person in a while to hear that from you, and I thank you greatly for it.

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