What a SPaz: Teaching Newer Players – Part 4

Finally time to teach 'em this evil thing.

Welcome back to yet another exciting episode of the history channel: no history neede…. Wait, what’s that? Oh, hey all, sorry, I must have been “SP”azing out again. Today brings us another teacher deck; this one very relevant to today’s metagame. What’s that, you ask? In case you’re brain dead or are missing your eyes, and therefore have ignored the hints, we’re talking about SP decks.

SP decks are very popular in today’s metagame, and until they rotate out entirely, will be a force to be reckoned with. However, for newer players, an SP deck may seem overwhelming, with so many choices and oddities that will confuse them. If you are using these decks in order, you have already introduced the idea that SP makes non-basic Pokémon into basic Pokémon. (Floatzel GL from Floating Duck, Porygon-Z and Crobat G from Tanks for Nothing)

So what type of deck will this teacher deck lead to? There are two (maybe three) major SP decks in our metagame at the moment.

  • LuxChomp
  • DialgaChomp
  • (somewhat) Sabelock/Chenlock

In addition, there are some other SP decks that have nice options

This guy makes every metagame SP roll call.

This deck also teaches the following:

  • Basic vs Special Energy (DCE vs the rest)
  • Energy provided vs Energy cards attached (Hydro Shot)
  • damage counters vs Damage dealt (Crobat G again)
  • The AMU trio (one copy of each of the LA pixies)
  • Optional Poké-Powers (see again AMU trio, Crobat, others)
  • Trainers that target only specific cards (Cyrus, Aaron’s, others)
  • THE SP ENGINE LOLZ (All the TGI, Cyrus)
  • Type matching options (using one attacker over another)
  • Synergy (Alakazam to move damage to a tank, Poké Turn it away)
  • LV.X cards and “level up” rules
  • Basic Power locking (Mespirit LA)
  • Power Denial (Power Spray)
  • Cards/effects done during your opponent’s turn (Power Spray again)
  • The Lost Zone vs the discard (Palkia’s Lost Cyclone)
  • The “only to the active” clause (Expert Belt + Hydro Shot)
  • The “one tool only” rule (Expert Belt vs TGI Energy Gain)
  • How LV.X cards count toward your total of “four with same name”

However, what remains the hardest thing to learn for a newer player is the meat of every SP deck, the SP engine. The SP engine, of course, is one of the strongest draw engines in the game, second only (in some cases) to Uxie’s “Set Up.” With that said, throwing LuxChomp at a new player and telling them to get it working is just silly. No, we’re here to do what any good teacher does: Water it down and let your student digest it slowly.

This SP build is built around some otherwise worthless LV.X cards, so you can finally justify buying all those RR packs and pulling these guys. (Own up, you guys know you wanted that Luxray GL LV.X.) This deck focuses upon the following: Alakazam 4 LV.X, Palkia G LV.X, and Golem 4. (Alakazam is a cheap LV.X, Palkia is in the new promo boxes, and Golem is a super-ignored rare.) The rest are all cheap to find or purchase as well.

Now then, onto the decklist:

Pokémon – 15
2 Alakazam 4 RR
2 Alakazam 4 LV.X RR
2 Palkia G PL
2 Palkia G LV.X PL
1 Yanmega 4 RR
1 Azelf LA
1 Mesprit, LA
1 Uxie LA
2 Golem 4 RR
1 Crobat G PL
Trainers – 25
4 Team Galactic’s Invention G-105 Poké Turn
3 Team Galactic’s Invention G-103 Power Spray
3 Team Galactic’s Invention G-109 SP Radar
1 Luxury Ball
2 Expert Belt
3 Team Galactic’s Invention G-101 Energy Gain
4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
2 Aaron’s Collection
3 Pokémon Collector
Energy – 20
4 Double Colorless
3 G
4 F
4 W
5 P

A fair warning. I’m breaking my own rule here, as this deck is way more expensive than I’d like. Why? It contains the full SP engine. If your player does not value his/her cards, I highly recommend you use proxies or use Redshark. Once again, the usual teacher deck warning applies as well. This deck is intentionally flawed. Please do not use this in an event. Ever. Thanks.

Hi, my name is Palkia, I just want to love you!

And I love to hear all sorts of criticism. But remember, criticize what the deck’s intent is. If you see it failing as a way to teach something I listed above, by all means let me have it. But if you’re going to tell me “Lol it won’t win any matchups everything is 1-99” then please go elsewhere, as that’s the whole point of these decks.

So as should be painfully obvious to most players, we’ve watered down the SP engine not much at all. Instead we’ve watered down the Pokémon, and all of you are probably thinking “holy crap did he really just say twenty energy?!?!” Well yes, yes I did. Twenty energy makes this deck slow enough to give your learner some time to adapt to this deck style.

So how do we teach this deck? Our champ in the making should know all about playing Pokémon SP as basics, but we need to explain that LV.X cards cannot be played as basics, nor can they be played to level up Pokémon on the bench. This is very confusing to a newer player, as they will be used to the standard evolving mechanic. Be sure to explain it slowly, and to re-enforce this lesson at times if need be.

If they’re curious enough, they may ask if there’s a counterpart to Rare Candy. It is at that point that you should do two things. Firstly, pat yourself on the back, because now you have a player who is interested enough in the game to explore ideas on their own. Secondly, pull up a scan of/pull out a copy of Level Max. If this is the last deck you’re teaching, they should notice that it has a “flippy” effect and remember that “flippy=bad.”

The first thing to note is that with this teacher deck, I highly recommend that you play it first while they watch your hand. For the other teacher decks, it is possible to let them pick it up and run, but not for this deck. On your first few runs, show them how to chain Cyrus, while picking out the Energy and Trainers they need. Also show them how SP Radar can only find Pokémon SP. Have them look at Bebe’s Search (from your collection or a scan) and SP Radar and note the pros and cons of each.

Flippy? Yes. Useful? Up to them.

Once you’ve shown the basics of the SP engine, let them give it a spin. Play them with some of the other teacher decks, so that they get a feel for type-matching various other decks. As Genguy said on the comments from article II, “Please comment with your ideas, everybody, they’re great!”


There are several different Pokémon you can start with. These Pokémon seem like they were chosen at random, but each has a very valid role to play in interacting with each other. In order of convenience, they are: Crobat G, Yanmega 4, Uxie, Palkia G, Alakazam 4, Azelf, Mespirit, and Golem 4.

No matter what your start, though, you should have some sort of Supporter in your opening hand. Between Cyrus and Collector, you’ve got a pretty good chance of getting what you need. If none of those cards are in your hand, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve got something else that you can use, or that you’ve already got the Pokémon you would need anyway. Teach your young player to set up one or two Pokémon, based upon what he sees on the other side of the field. If he’s used the other teacher decks before, he/she should have somewhat of an idea on what to do. Make sure that if he/she decides on Palkia G as one of his foci, he remembers the “Lost Cyclone” effect hurts him or her as well.

Have your pro set up the Alakazam, and then use the Poké Turn + Damage Switch combo to heal as needed. Show how you can leave damage stacked onto Golem 4, and then late game, sweep your opponent with all the damage you have stockpiled upon yourself, by keeping yourself ten damage out of their KO range by “Damage Switching” off as needed. Also show them the synergy of using Yanmega using Whirlwind and then Lost Zoning the opponent’s main attacker that you sent away using “Lost Cyclone.” As the AMU trio is also important, show them they can use Azelf to search their prizes for what they want. Also show how Mespirit can block your opponents from using Poké-Powers when they most need them, or when your champ has no Sprays in hand.

Yay for sponges!

The nicest thing about this deck, however, as well as with SP decks in general, is that they still have other options. They can choose to go aggressive Palkia G, hitting with Pearl Breath early game, and then hitting the survivors with Hydro Shot. Allow them to explore their own idea and options. This deck is an open sandbox, so to speak. It contains, in SP form, watered down versions of most main deck strategies. That is, it has options for spreading, sniping, tanking, disrupting, locking, and healing.

So there you have it folks. The SP engine, in teacher deck form and style. What do you think? Was it worth your time? Is the teacher deck article style getting cramped? Keep ‘em coming? Let us know in the comments!

Reader Interactions

11 replies

  1. Anonymous

    I think that SP energy would really be useful here with all of the energy types, and if they really need a supporter in their opening hand, 4 Collector would be best.

    Anyways, these decks are really useful, thanks!

    • Dakota Streck  → Anonymous

      Yeah, I second the idea for SP Energy, perhaps playing two of them?

      Great job, this is a great way to teach players how to use the SP Engine, which is IMO one of the hardest things in the game to teach.

      • Anonymous  → Dakota

        Derp, how’d I manage to forget SP energy? You guys are right, two or three sounds ideal.
        -1 fighting
        -1 water
        -1 psychic
        +3 sp energy

  2. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    If you weren’t going to use SP Energy, then Energy Exchanger could have been a good teaching point.

    Turtwig GL would have been a great Pokemon to base a beginners SP deck around as well.

    I still love these articles though. They are great to read and really useful for helping new players.

  3. Joshua Pikka

    I actually played a similar deck like this. Mine was alakazam 4 + Gyarados G.

    I love moving damage counters, so thats why I loved this deck.

    I would trade Golem 4 for Gyarados G, they are similar but Gyarados doesn’t die as much.

    • Anonymous  → theo

      “You could try using Team Galactic’s secret invention technical machine G-107 Damage Porter”

      Why is it that I have to translate for you? Take the five seconds and actually explain your posts, or at the very least, type out what you’re trying to say.

  4. stephen shirley

    i think it might be to expensive for me im trying to get sp engine for my chenlock and it’s expensive

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