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For front page contributors, coming up with a great article isn’t easy. For editors, choosing which articles to put in the front page is even more difficult.
As a writer, I sort of have an idea of how difficult it is to write a decent article. Here in SixPrizes, where all of the front page articles are about or relate to the Pokémon TCG, I realized that the articles most people want to see concern decklists (it doesn’t matter whether it’s about a rogue deck or a popular deck archetype).
Personally, I find writing about decklists extremely hard. As many of you have probably noticed, I’m more of a writer than a Pokémon TCG competitive player.
ON DecklistS AND SixPrizes
Before I begin, let’s re-examine why decklists are being posted here on SixPrizes in the first place. The title says it all, really – SixPrizes is an online resource for Pokémon TCG tips and strategies. The best thing about SixPrizes is that it’s an online community of Pokémon TCG players all over the world, and unlike other online communities, this includes top-ranking players. This is basically SixPrizes’ competitive advantage.
Decklists posted here in SixPrizes are reviewed by Pokémon TCG players around the world. All of these people have varying opinions about a certain decklist. First of all, everyone has their own unique preference or play-style. For example, I personally prefer building Grass-type decks that bash, heal, and/or tank. My personal preferences define the way I look at the metagame and how I build, review, and improve decklists.
An average Pokémon TCG player is also involved or exposed to one community, and each community has its own unique metagame. A decklist, such as certain LostGar variant, may excel in a certain metagame, but this may not hold true in another. This also defines how people look at the strengths and weaknesses of a certain decklist.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
pokebeach.comReviewing decklists is just like doing any other review. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, of course, but some of us here in SixPrizes tend to give either simple positive or negative criticism. As I’ve said, I’m a writer myself, and when I would write something, I would often request for constructive criticism.
It’s not entirely wrong to give an article (or a decklist, in this case) positive or negative criticism, but we often forget to explain why. Sometimes, just elaborating on an opinion turns positive or negative criticism into constructive criticism.
The best articles stimulate constructive criticism, and constructive criticism stimulates good discussion. As we all know, good discussion always helps improve decklists.
Constructive criticism, in essence, is a mix of both positive and negative criticism. It involves taking a look at something through different angles, and this is often difficult to do alone. What better place to get constructive criticism than SixPrizes?
At first glance, many decklists seem unworkable. A friend once told me that when LuxChomp first came out, it was met with a lot of negative criticism – the decklist “just didn’t look good on paper”. Now, we all know that LuxChomp is currently one of the strongest and most popular deck archetypes in the format.
I’ve noticed that, when we review a decklist, our judgment is most often affected by the Weaknesses and Resistances of the Pokémon in it and the current (and/or predicted) metagame. For example, decklists based on Grass-type and/or Steel-type Pokémon are currently underrated because of the speculated popularity of ReshiBoar variants.
While it is true that Weaknesses and Resistances affect a decklist’s performance in the metagame, we should try to avoid generalizing the performance of a decklist based on this alone.
SET-UP: SPEED, MOMENTUM, AND RECOVERY
pokebeach.comIn my last article, I used three terms I felt described, in summary, a deck’s performance. Besides the Weaknesses and Resistances of the Pokémon in a certain a deck, another key factor to consider is set-up. No matter how good the Pokémon in a decklist seems to be, if the deck fails to set-up, it wouldn’t matter.
Set-up is the point in time (measured by the number of turns) that a player gets to bring out the key components of his/her deck’s primary strategy out into play. Take BlastGatr for example. BlastGatr’s set-up requires getting Blastoise and Feraligatr Prime in play.
Blastoise is the deck’s main attacker, using Hydro Launcher to attack. Feraligatr Prime acts as Blastoise’s support, making sure Blastoise has enough Energy to use Hydro Launcher each turn with its Rain Dance Poké-Power.
Speed is the average number of turns a deck gets to set-up – the fewer the number of turns it takes for a deck to set-up, the better. Certain cards, such as Bebe’s Search and Broken Time-Space, help improve set-up speed.
Momentum is the measurement on the ability of a deck sticking to its primary strategy every turn after properly setting up. This, in my opinion, is the most difficult to measure because it cannot be measured one way. One important point to consider when calculating momentum, though, is the maximum HP of the key Pokémon in the deck.
In BlastGatr, Blastoise and Feraligatr Prime have 130 and 140 HP, respectively. This means they can take a few hits before getting Knocked Out. Because BlastGatr generally revolves mainly on these two Pokémon, and when one of these Pokémon is removed and no extra copy is in play, the deck is said to be thrown off its momentum.
Recovery refers to the ability of a deck to recover its momentum after being knocked out of it. This is a measurement of the speed of a deck to set-up again. Certain G/T/S/S cards, such as Flower Shop Lady, helps improve the deck’s ability to recover.
One thing I find isn’t very well discussed in SixPrizes, though, is the cost of building a decklist. To me, this is one of the most practical points to consider when building a deck. Most people generally believe that the cost of building a certain decklist goes up depending on its popularity, and this is sort of true. A typical LostGar decklist, for example, costs quite a bit to build mainly because of Gengar Prime’s current average market price. Although the cost of a deck is not a good indicator of how good a deck is, it is still advisable to keep the cost of building a certain deck in mind to avoid overspending.
The best thing I like about SixPrizes is that, when you post a deck list, a lot of people would actually leave constructive criticism. I wrote this article in hopes that people would continue to do the same. I may be concluding this article a bit early, but this is all I have for now.
There may be other points I most probably have missed out, and I hope this article leads to, at the very least, a bit of discussion. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. :-)