powerrangers.wikia.com“…When the individual Zords are inadequate for the task, they can join together into a more powerful, humanoid robot called a Megazord.” – Wikipedia entry on the Power Rangers
Anyone who grew up during the 90s or later knows what a MegaZord is, right? Do they still have those in the newest versions of the Power Rangers? If there is any justice left in this world, they do.
The MegaZord we’re going to be talking about today isn’t that of Power Rangers lore, though. Mostly because this isn’t a Power Rangers TCG website and as far as I know a Power Rangers TCG doesn’t exist. Instead, we’ll be talking about the deck that got 2nd at U.S. Nationals…
I guess you can also call it “DMZ”, “Stage 1s” or “Yanmega/Zoroark/Donphan” but you aren’t complete lames, are you? Didn’t think so. All credit for the name goes to Isaiah Middleton, aka the TCGeesus, aka SaiaSandstorm on the 6P forums.
|Pokémon – 214 Yanma TM
3 Yanmega Prime TM
2 Donphan Prime HS
1 Tyrogue HS/CL
|Trainers – 274 Pokémon Collector
|Energy – 118 Fighting
3 Double Colorless
Because the list is a little bit different that what you’ve probably seen in recent articles (mostly Fulop’s newest article — which is fantastic by the way — since I don’t think Kyle Sucevich’s list has leaked anywhere on the public internets), allow me to explain a few of the card choices…
– It’s super hard to find the room, but I like to run 4-3 Yanmega in this deck if at all possible. The 4th Yanma is such a great starter, and ups your count of free retreat basics to 7, with 5-of those not being babies. If you end up having to cut the last Yanma for other things it’s not the end of the world, but in general I find it pretty important.
– The Donphan and Zoroark lines are completely dependent on the metagame. If you’re expecting more Magnezone-based decks in your division, definitely go for the heavier 3-3 Donphan line. However, if you’re planning on facing more Reshiram decks, definitely go with the 3-3 Zoroark.
I put 3-3 Zoroark on the list not only because I think it’ll end up being the more viable option come LCQ/Worlds time, but also because I haven’t seen a list with that particular line, and I wanted to share something a little different.
– I’m convinced that 1/1/1 Cleffa/Tyrogue/Manaphy is the correct line for almost every deck. The Manaphy provides you a safe-way to shuffle draw without using a Supporter and without the risk of being KO’d by Tyrone (yeah, he’s been to prison), the Tyrogue gives you the ability to KO opposing babies, and also gives you an out to unwinnable situations (I’ve legit won several games where I had no other option but to Punch for 30 for infinite turns and just ended up running well on flips), and the Cleffa, although some are cutting it completely, is pretty necessary for situations in which you’re stuck without any other options and just need to do something.
The only caveat I would put out there is that the usefulness of both Cleffa and Tyrogue are both completely dependent on how the metagame shifts. If people cut Cleffa completely, you have little need for Tyrogue. On the flip side, if people are expecting a drop in Cleffa and therefore cut out Tyrogue, Cleffa becomes 100× better of a play. Even still, with taking up so little room, I see little reason not to just run both.
– The Reshiram is definitely the techiest card in the entire list, and I can’t defend it too much. It’s inclusion is solely to counter Magnezone/Kindgra and Yanmega/Magnezone decks that splash Kingdra in hopes to kill your Donphans.
With Mega being weak to Magnezone and Zoroark not being able to 1HKO either Magnezone, Kingdra, or Yanmega, you don’t want to have to put yourself at even more of a disadvantage against those decks by letting Kingdra steamroll your Donphan. I’m still not entirely sold on it and am going to continue testing versions of this with and without it, and I suggest you do the same.
– The Supporter line up is something that comes under great debate. Both on our team and online I’ve seen decks that run anywhere from 1-4 Judge, 0-4 Sage’s, 0-4 Professor Oak, 1-2 Professor Juniper, 0-4 Copycat, and the list goes on. In the end I obviously believe that my list is correct, but I’ll concede that the others lists are fine too, and the numbers are probably more important than the cards themselves in a lot of ways.
Just make sure you have between 9 and 12 draw/shuffle draw Supporters and you should be alright. I personally haven’t tested Sage’s as extensively as the other supporters in the deck, so there may be a chance I’m missing something there.
– The Energy line-up is pretty standard, but I can’t help wanting that fourth DCE. Particularly in the lists that run 3-3 Zoroark. After extensive testing I’ve come to the conclusion that it just won’t fit, though.
I’m assuming by now you have the general idea of the deck down. It’s aim is to counter all of the relevant decks in the metagame by being versatile with its threats, and to be able to get those threats out before the opposing decks can set-up.
Yanmega is great against decks that are running too many babies, or bulky Stage 2 decks that constantly leave a basic or stage-1 on board. Donphan is great against basically everything, especially Magnezone, and Zoroark is mainly there to deal with Reshirams and Zekroms, and can also come in handy as a clutch-play in tense moments.
The real beauty of the deck comes in its ability to be fiddled around with extensively. I mentioned a multitude of supporters that could be included, and on top of that a lot of the Pokémon lines can be fiddled around with based on the expected metagame. In short, it’s just the most versatile deck in the format.
Slightly Favorable vs. MegaZone (Yanmega/Magnezone)
pokebeach.comAlthough it lost the finals of the biggest Pokémon tournament in the history of the game piloted by the best player in the history of the game, I still think this match-up is generally positive.
Not overly so, but for every threat they have, you have a counter. Donphan with heavy Fighting and PlusPowers puts a hurting on Magnezone, and although you don’t have a clear-cut Yanmega counter, Zoroark can often work in your favor, and of course you always have Yanmegas of your own.
For the purposes of this article (and because I think it’s without a doubt the correct play) I’m going to count MegaZone and MegaZone w/ Kingdra as the same deck. If the Kingdra player is able to attack w/ Kingdra it can put a hurt on you, especially in regard to Donphan, but that’s why you have the Reshiram tech.
Overall, the match-up isn’t heavily swayed to either deck, but I’m confident that MegaZord will win the majority of the time.
Unfavorable to Slightly Favorable vs. ReshiPhlosion
This match-up is pretty simple: If you run 3-3 Zoroark the match-up is slightly favorable and if you run 2-2 it’s unfavorable. The more access to Zoroark you have, the better.
It’s also somewhat dependent on the ReshiPhlosion players Typhlosion line-up. MegaZord doesn’t have anything that directly deals with (read: 1HKOS) a Typhlosion, and losing a DCE attached to a Zoroark can hurt. If they run 2 or 3 Typhlosion you should be okay, but there are more and more decks running 4 for whatever reason.
Favorable vs. ReshiBoar
This game works a lot like the ReshiPhlosion match-up, except for that they are slower, and don’t have access to an un-killable Typhlosion.
They do typically have RDL, but that’s not even that big of a problem, particularly if you run heavy Zoroark.
Favorable vs. MagneBoar
Again, this is pretty simple. It’s like ReshiBoar except for that they are much slower. The one aspect of this match-up I really like is that because of your relative speed, you can safely use Yanmegas to take the first few prizes, and then once they have a Magnezone online, you can steam-roll it with Donphan.
Oh, and if they try and get an RDL or a Bad Boar up, you have Zoroark for that.
MagneBoar has much more raw power than MegaZord, but the speed just isn’t there.
Favorable vs. Mew variants
I’ll be honest and say that I’m not exactly sure how this match-up works as I’ve barely tested Mew in any form, but logic dictates that between Donphan and Yanmega you have enough 1HKO potential to keep the Mews at bay. Vileplume would certainly hurt, but with the sniping potential of Yanmega I can’t imagine that will be too much of a problem.
Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Slightly Favorable vs. LostGar
Again, I’ve only tested a handful of games vs. LostGar, so I’m not 100% sure how this match-up works out. In my experience, because you don’t run many Pokémon the LostGar player often whiffs on Mime Jr/Hurl Into Darkness.
I’d like to take this moment to publicly state that I think LostGar is a highly underrated deck at the moment. Because it tends to under-perform in best 2-of 3 I don’t think it’ll end up crushing the LCQ, but if you’re a Worlds invitee I think that LostGar at least deserves to be in your testing gauntlet.
pokebeach.comThat’s just about all the information I have on the deck. I’ll be talking a little bit more about this deck (and sharing the most updated version of the list) in my next article “The Face Of Modified: LCQ/Worlds 2011”, which will go over what I feel are the best decks in the format, and what you should expect to play against in the grinder and at the World championships. Hopefully that’ll be up sometime next week.
Speaking of sharing lists…SEGUE TIME….
For those of you who aren’t aware, the topic of Underground writers Chris Fulop and Mikey Fouchet intentionally and admittedly holding back information in articles has been somewhat of a hot subject on Twitter and around the internet in general. Some are completely disgusted by Fulop and Fouchet holding back information, some are just merely disappointed, and some see no problem in it at all. I myself fall somewhere in the middle…
As I talk about a lot, I work with a close-knit team of players, mostly based in the Pacific Northwest. We have a forum that gets dozens of posts per day, mostly talking about lists, tweaking decks, metagame analyses, etc. And we have a groupchat on Facebook that is literally always buzzing with information, however unrelated to Pokémon it may be (today’s topics are mostly about Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Chipotle).
I only bring this up to show you that I know just as well as anyone the pressures that come with working with others, and the certain levels of trust that it takes for the group to be completely successful.
I believe that the issue is very much centered in a grey area. On one hand, you can’t break the trust of your friends and potentially cost them thousands of dollars in cash and prizes, but on the other hand you can’t disappoint and straight-up betray loyal customers/fans/readers who are paying over $100 per year for your content, and are trusting you to provide them with the most up-to-date, relevant information that’s available.
However, this purpose of this article isn’t to ride the fence. I don’t believe that what Fouchet and Fulop did was wrong, but I will admit that as a paid member of the Underground staff, you have an obligation to your readers. At the end of the day though, you have to respect those that are willing to share the decklists with you in the first place (especially considering that most of the writers on the Underground got there due in large part to these same friends).
pokebeach.comI certainly don’t expect Fulop and Mikey to give away every bit of information though, and neither should you. However, there are certainly better ways to handle the situation than they did (which is to say, completely ignore it).
The only example that I can relate this to is this years Regionals, when Team B-Side (mostly Amelia Bottemiller, Ryan Merryfield, Trevor and Ian Whiton, and myself) came up with the idea of putting heavy Lost Remover counts in DialgaChomp. We went on to put one player in the top 32, three in the top 16, and one in the top 8-of that event (coincidentally, our teammate Tyler won the event with a completely different deck. :D).
Did I speak about this deck and give away the exact list before the tournament? No, of course not. But did I act like the deck didn’t exist? No, of course not.
I choose to take the middle ground, and explicitly stated that I would maybe play DialgaChomp at Regionals. Because that’s the truth, I wasn’t completely sure I would end up playing the deck at the point when the article came out. I was stuck between that and the other deck we were working on (and the one that Tyler eventually won with), Vileplume/Machamp.
I bring this up to show that there are ways to handle these situations without hurting anyone, and without straight-out lying to the community. It’s also important to note that, as a non-paid writer, I have absolutely no obligation to provide relevant content. I always do because I respect this community and want to help out whoever I can, whenever I can.
However, I could write about Volbeat/Illumise all day if I wanted, and you can choose to simply ignore it.
I’m hoping that these paragraphs have shown that, although I ultimately think that no wrong was done and that Fulop, et. al are correct, I still have a sense of why people are upset. The entire situation is definitely clouded in a grey area.
pokebeach.comI would also recommend that if you are truly offended by the decks not being talked about, you should take a step back, get out of your own head, and re-evaluate why you feel this way. That’s what I did. Here’s a secret: When I first wrote this article, it had a completely different slant. I thought that the writing here should be 100% transparent and was a little nerdraged that it wasn’t.
However, after speaking with Tyler Ninomura and SixPrizes’ own Adam Capriola about the situation at-length, I’ve come to the conclusion I spoke about above. I’m not saying how you feel is wrong and I’m certainly not trying to convince you that I’m undoubtedly right, but I do feel that sometimes it takes a little bit of stepping away from yourself and seeing other points of view before you can fully assess a situation.
This article would’ve been completely different if I hadn’t taken others’ feelings into account, and admittedly I would’ve been a little embarrassed at my words.
To all of those who still disagree with me, you can at least have hope that things will change. I haven’t heard official word from Adam, but after the situation blew up as big as it did, I can’t see things not changing at least a little bit. No, don’t expect to hear about all the secret decks, but you can probably at least expect a little bit more clarity in Underground writing from here on out. Don’t quote me, but I’m pretty much never wrong, soo…
It’s probably also completely un-important (but I’ll do it anyway :P) to point out that I’ve always been truthful in my articles, and always will be! Hit up email@example.com if you want to see more completely open and honest Underground articles around the site. ;D
pokebeach.comI expected to write more, but as it’s getting late and I’m already nearing 3,000 words I think I’ll give it a rest for today. Expect my next article to be up within a week or so.
It’ll contain deck lists and analysis for what I feel the best decks in the format are, as well as a little talk about coin flipping issues and how luck-based this format is as a whole. Before I go though, here are a few quick things…
– My buddies over at http://www.youtube.com/friedchickennrice are going to be combining our YouTube channels soon. We’re currently looking into the easiest method of doing so, so bear with us for the next few days. When all is said and done you should have one incredibly awesome YouTube channel brought to you by Isaiah Middleton, Tyler Ninomura, Amelia Bottemiller, Andrew Chard and myself.
Of course I’ll keep you updated throughout this entire process. We also plan to have some sick coverage for Worlds, so to be safe you should probably subscribe to both Play To Win and Fried Chicken ‘N’ Rice. :D
– Speaking of event coverage, the guys over at The Top Cut did a fantastic job of covering Nationals. They did about as well as you could have possibly expected them to without being financed by POP themselves. Interviews with winning players throughout days 1 and 2, and interviews/deck analysis with the entire top 16 of the Masters Division.
Event coverage is something that Pokémon sorely lacks, and if you agree with that statement there’s no reason you shouldn’t be supporting The Top Cut.
– I haven’t talked with anyone about this at all, so don’t blame me if this falls through, but would anyone be interested in some kind of SixPrizes meet-up/meet and greet/dinner during Worlds?
Just throwing this out here to gauge interest, let me know if you’d be interested in something like that and I’ll do my best to make it a reality. Regardless, I will be in SD from August 9th through the 16th. Let’s get together.