Kenny’s Wisdom: MEGAZORD“…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

2 Phanpy HS

2 Donphan Prime

3 Zorua BLW

3 Zoroark BLW
1 Cleffa HS/CL

1 Tyrogue HS/CL

1 Manaphy UL
1 Reshiram BLW

Trainers – 274 Pokémon Collector

4 Judge

3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

2 Professor Juniper

4 Pokémon Communication
3 Pokémon Reversal
4 Junk Arm
3 PlusPower
1 Switch

Energy – 118 F
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 matchup 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 matchup 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 matchup is pretty simple: If you run 3-3 Zoroark the matchup 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 matchup, 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

I was tempted to put this matchup as highly favorable, but I can’t justify that.

Again, this is pretty simple. It’s like ReshiBoar except for that they are much slower. The one aspect of this matchup 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 matchup 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 matchup 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….

On Obligation

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).

Lost Removerpokebeach.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 if you want to see more completely open and honest Underground articles around the site. ;D

Random Thoughts

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 decklists 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 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.



Reader Interactions

94 replies

  1. Garrett Williamson

    Your list comes to 59 cards leaving 1 slot, I think you could use that space plus drop a fighting and add a couple rescue energy because with out them, that 4th yanma becomes useless the rest of the game.

    • Alex Hedge  → Garrett

      The 4th Yanma is not a waste for the game. If a Yanma is knocked out before its evolved (if you run 3-3), then you have 1 Yanmega that can’t be used (supposing you don’t FSL) for the rest of the game.

    • Perry Going  → Garrett

      you the 4th yanma also helps your chances of starting a yanma which gives you a 50 hp starter with free retreat. the list itsself is very tight and hard to fit in certain things… i noticed in my testing a donphan stuck active sucks so i cut my 4th yanmega for a simple switch. its not necessarily needed imo.

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Garrett

      Oh wow, I can’t believe I missed that.

      That last spot was supposed to be either a fourth Reversal or a one-of Pokemon Circulator. I disagree about the fourth Yanmega, but agree that Rescue Energy is very solid in here.

      Thanks for reading and for catching that!

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Garrett

      Oh wow, I can’t believe I missed that.

      That last spot was supposed to be either a fourth Reversal or a one-of Pokemon Circulator. I disagree about the fourth Yanmega, but agree that Rescue Energy is very solid in here.

      Thanks for reading and for catching that!

  2. Anthony Smith

    Against Mew Variants it all depends on the kinds of starts both players get. In fact, it really just comes down to the Mew player and their set up.

    If its the common trainer-lock build, then sniping Oddish with Yanmega should be your top priority. If you can halt the establishment of trainer-lock, you’ll not only probably be 2 prizes up, the Mew player will be staring down the Barrel of Donphans with high HP and exoskeleton + OHKO’s and Yanmega Prime who also OHKO’s and retreats for free.

    I’m of a strong opinion that the first two turns can really make or break the matchup (As do most including MewBox). On the other hand, facing a turn 2 trainer-lock with a poisoned and confused Donphan could be quite daunting. Even then, I would still put it as an uphill battle for Mew.

  3. Poet Larsen

    I don’t want to sound dumb or out of it, but what was the problem with Fulop and Fouchet? Just wondering

    • Anonymous  → Poet

      In Fouchet’s UG article he admitted that he had (great) information on the Yanmega/Magnezone deck months before Nationals. However, due to the fact that he did not want to leak a testing partner’s list he chose to not (basically) acknowledge that the deck existed, meaning that he did not write about it even though it was tearing up his testing sessions.

      The controversy comes from the fact that Adam pays the UG staff to write about the TCG with presumably the most up to date information available. So, some of the people who pay for UG memberships felt “cheated” that the writers (specifically Fulop and Fouchet) did not even mention that Yanmega/Magnezone was a good deck, much less give any advice about the deck. They wanted the best information (paid for what they thought was the best information) and it turns out that some of that best information was intentionally held back.

      I think that is a fair representation of what happened. Take from it what you will. I am not passing judgement one way or another.

      • Josh  → Anonymous

        just proves that UG isnt worry paying for… maybe if they were out there test and coming up with different ideas themselves more they wouldnt have to depend on SP to make them descent at the game….

        • Dave Wilson  → Josh

          Look, 6P still has a lot of great advice and help for novices, but I’m not cool with certain writers (who know they have influence) holding back information while hyping other information (and then playing a deck against that).

        • Kenny Wisdom  → Josh

          Uh…yeah, totally. Fulop got second place at Worlds in 2004 using that auto-pilot SP deck. I think he also won Nationals with it, didn’t he?

          Most irrelevant and ignorant comment in this thread. If you knew what you were talking about you would understand that what I’m saying is that UG IS worth paying for.

          Also, regardless of whether or not you think Fulop started playing yesterday OR you think that UG isn’t worth paying for, the whole issue here is that the UG writers *did* come up with different ideas, they just didn’t share them.

          Hopefully you’ll take the time to re-read the article and post a comment with some actual substance. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

        • Anonymous  → Matthew

          Do you mean stop their subscription to the UG?

          If so, I understand what you are getting at, but I’m not sure I completely agree. Trust me I know that the dollar is the ultimate vote.

          Yes, the articles are important to the UG, but there are other things too. The deck garage is nice. There are networking options for the UG. This allows for some playtesting against some of the best players in the world. Etc.

          Also, we do not know how often this has happened. I am generally an optimist. So, I will give the UG writers the benefit of the doubt on this one. For all we know, this is the only time a UG writer has withheld information, and it may not ever happen again. However, it does cast some doubt on the situation.

          I would also like to point out that MegaJudge and tyRam had feature articles on the front page from non-UG writers. By enlarge, both articles were applauded for being well written and thought out, but the decks themselves were pseudo-dismissed for not being good enough to do anything big. Now they are two of the big three decks and a couple of the favorites for Worlds. I understand that the front page writers do not carry the same reputation as the UG writers, but looking back, all you needed to know to do well at US Nats was provided for free on the front page.

        • Carl Scheu  → Anonymous

          Also to be fair, I didn’t test the deck as much as I should have(nor did I ever build the deck) but if you didn’t think Yanmega/Magnezone was at LEAST a good deck, just based on the fact that it won a states in a format where LUXCHOMP was the BDIF, I honestly think you were a bit blinded, I mean there was no reason to not at least just do a DC and make sure the deck was still viable, I’m not an UG member myself, but if you want to find out about new decks it’s a great place, but you shouldn’t use it as a way to not test  as much as you normally would.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Anonymous

          Out of curiosity, was it simply that they chose not to write about Yanmega/Zone, or were they actively playing down its chances of success?

        • Anonymous  → Jak

          They chose not to write about it, no one was bashing the deck. However, the UG is suppposed to be a place to get the best information and it was the best info that they didn’t write about.

          I agree with a couple others, the UG is a great resource. Don’t be turned off by this.

        • Keaton Gill  → Jak

          They ignored the deck completely. Instead of downplaying Yanmega/Zone, they pretty much hyped up MagneBoar to no end (Fulop at least, with paragraphs saying basically “If you don’t use magneboar, don’t expect to win).

          Fulop can obviously just say “Well, I didn’t play in Nationals, but had I, I would have used MagneBoar.” I sincerely believe that’s pretty BS, and I’m pretty sure that the MagneBoar hyping was to keep people in the dark about Yanmega by making another deck look like it rampaged the format.

          I don’t expect the underground writers to give out every bit of information, but when you wildly hype decks and then don’t even use them, expect repercussions. While some of your customers might stay, if this cycle continues, people will be disappointed.

          Obviously, the “secret deck” mentality still exists, no matter how un-secretive the deck is, and UG writers are doing whatever they can to keep things secret from paying customers. As someone else said, the idea of an underground in a game where the top players think there’s a big advantage having a deck no one knows about is bad. Good luck to you in keeping the underground running with loyal customers.

        • Ande Myers  → Keaton

          Uh, no, it’s not BS. He really was testing that deck and intended to run it for a while. I played him repeatedly in the weeks before nats, and he defended the deck to no end.

        • Anonymous  → Joshua

          Are you mocking me Pikkdogs? I sincerly hope not. I’ve been nothing but supportive of you on this site and

          If so, I’m very disappointed in you. I have not slurred anyone here. I merely reported what seems to be an accurate depiction of what has happened. I have even repeatedly supported the UG through this.

          If not, your still cool with me…

        • Anonymous  → jordan

          Ok cool… No harm done then.

          Sometimes it is hard to get the right read on the attitude behind a post online.

          Thanks for correcting me.


        • Joshua Pikka  → Anonymous

          Nothing mean meant.  Just meant that saying that Fouchet and Fulop were the only ones that ever held anything back was a little ignorant.  Not saying that you were, just that you might have been wrong in that once sentence that you said.  And as more things unraveled we find that J-Wittz and Kettler also have blood on their hands in this case, and who knows how many more cases there are out there just like this that have not come to the forefront. 

          No offense meant, I’m not mad at you or anything like that.  As you said, its hard to judge a person’s tone online.  From your other posts I see that we mostly have the same opinion on this topic, so theres no use to fight about something we agree on. 

        • DrMime  → Matthew

          Sure, people can do that, or people can speak with their, umm, speech. The contact information for all of the Underground authors is right there on the front page–if you (sorry, not “you” specifically Mtt, “you” anyone) don’t like something they’re doing, then e-mail them. If you disapprove of a particular article being posted, then e-mail Adam. If you’d like a response, ask them for one–these are all communicative human beings, and they just might e-mail you back. Yes, you can stop paying, but I imagine that respectfully telling them how you feel on this might be more constructive. Heck, they might even agree with you and change whatever it is you’re unhappy with. (Or they might not. It’s a free country. Well, depending on where you’re reading this from.)

        • Anonymous  → Adam

          To be honest, I would still check it out. There is more to it than just the articles. Also, I honestly believe that several of the writers are very up front with the readers (Jwittz). Nothing and no body is perfect.

        • Dave Wilson  → Anonymous

          I agree. However, to see UG contribute to hype and then run the top decks at Canadian Nats, one might wonder what the point is. After all, Pokegym had Canadian Nats results up for free.

        • Dave Wilson  → Anonymous

          I would like to reiterate, I love 6P and Adam is awesome, I’m proud to be able to write for this site. However, I don’t hold any information back and I don’t think we should encourage talking heads misleading the masses into hype decks while they make anti-hype decks. I think this should be ethically intuitive. I understand keeping lists secret, that’s okay. But don’t make false hype with false lists and then change your mind silently when someone does better with a different deck.

        • Anonymous  → Dave

          I feel the exact same way you do.

          I feel very grateful for Adam allowing me to write for this site. I also say anything and everything that I am thinking and literally hold nothing back.

          Heck, I once said that if there was a Pokemon Hall of Fame, that Adam should be included for producing this website for us. It is my favorite Pokemon website hands down.

        • jordan baker  → Anonymous

          Jwittz isn’t completely innocent. He’s also held back some deck information. The “secret” disruption deck that he mentioned, hasn’t really been talked about AFAIK. To be fair though that deck is the creation of one of his friends and I can see why he didn’t post a list.

        • Anonymous  → jordan

          Total side note to start off, but just wanted to say I really appreciated your apology at Nationals, Jordan, and I harbor no ill-feelings toward you at all! I know it might sound like it because my response is so defensive, but I just thought I’d add my input on the situation. Once again, not an attack on you, just trying to explain myself!

          The “secret” deck was the product of a local Pokedad named Carlos Pero. He requested that I not reveal his deck, and I outright said that in the article (this one was before either National Championship):
          “I can’t get into detail of the cards used in the deck because the player requested I keep things a secret, but all I can say is trainer lock is a LEGIT way to start messing your opponent up. While he included a lot of different interesting cards and techs in his build to tackle the meta, I want to talk about Vileplume as a whole, as well as share my own personal experiments with it at the moment.”

          Personally, I thought that the idea of Ursaring with Vileplume was kindof weird, and decided to talk about the decklist that I had actually been testing, which I even considered to be better (you can ask Carlos himself!). However, because I thought that Vileplume was a legitimate strategy, and I learned so from my testing with Carlos, I revealed everything about Vileplume that I knew–including strong partners with it, how it affected the metagame, and I even gave it the stamp as my “number one rogue concept in the format”. Vileplume-based lists turned out being fairly successful in Canada and the US, and I feel like being the first one to even bring up the concept was sharing all of the information that I had come to know and believe was helpful. Carlos seemed very nervous about the deck’s concept being revealed, and I talked with him and we’ve agreed on what he’s allowed me to reveal. I feel like we worked to a great medium, and instead of just keeping the deck under wraps, I shared everything I possibly could, and even talked about my own variation on the deck. Carlos’ son ended up winning Juniors, and I feel like I kept a good balance between revealing what I thought was helpful to everyone without hurting a local that has helped me on numerous occasions. 

        • jordan baker  → Anonymous

          Sorry my post didn’t come off the way I meant it to. I understand why you didn’t want to give out the information 

          “To be fair though that deck is the creation of one of his friends and I can see why he didn’t post a list.”

          I definitely think what you did is on a different level than purposely promoting a deck as the BDIF and playing something different.

          I should have been more clear in my original post.

        • Anonymous  → jordan

          I definitely read your post with tunnel vision and didn’t even see the last sentence–thanks for pointing it out! 

          (everything below is more just me telling my story, still not attacking you Jordan! lol)To be honest, I did hype something as the BDIF–Magneboar, but I tried to give everybody information on every other deck that I was side-testing. Some of the concepts I revealed along the way (including a really early look at Donphan/Yanmega concepts) ended up doing well, while other ideas ended up falling flat. But I kept telling everyone what deck I favored the most. I had 4 promo tepig and a full reverse-holo list for Magneboar, and even I was shocked when I found out what was going on in Canada!I always try and give all of the information that I can as to what I’m doing in UG to help people out. After Citys when my brother and I did really well with Blaziken and Luxray-based Sablock lists, I revealed both decklists in my next article. I also revealed both of our lists when I took two seconds and he took a first at States. I literally played the card-for-card list I took to States at Regionals (which any UG-reader had acces to!) and ended up getting 5th at that. I try and give the best information I can for each tournament, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not nearly as strong in this format as I was in a format I’d been playing in for nearly 2 years. I try my best though!

          For those of you guys wondering what decks I’m looking at, it’s the current big 3 that are hyped: Stage 1s, ZoneMega, and Reshiram/Typhlosion. My favorite deck right now is Reshiram/Typhlosion. Professor Juniper is my favorite draw supporter in the deck right now, and currently I’m trying dumb things like fitting a small zoroak or yanmega line into the deck to add some versatility. I leave for Hawaii on a family vacation on Friday, and I come back the day before I leave AGAIN to worlds, so I’m pretty much stuck with those three decks. If I play anything else, it’d have to be because of either 1) my observations at the grinder or 2) a better player than me revealing something last-minute (which CAN happen at worlds). I’m not going to have nearly as much testing as I wish I would, and my info isn’t always the best, but I try to give the best with what I know and what I’m given!

    • Anonymous  → Poet

      Fouchet probably should not have openly admitted to keeping the deck/testing results. If he would have just continued to keep quiet about it, nothing would have happened. That might not be the most ethiical thing to do, but this controversy would have never happened.

  4. Bryan McNamara

    Kudos to you Kenny for giving this topic voice on the front page. I had no idea this issue was blowing up elsewhere, but it has been a simmering source of frustration for me. Frankly, I’m surprised Fulop and Fouchet have been singled out, since both Kettler and Jwittz played Megazone decks at Nats, and Kettler copped to helping someone secretly test a Yanmega/Magnezone deck prior to Canadian Nats.
    To me, the primary issue is referred to by airhawk06; essentially the “metagame” that emanated from UG was largely non-representative of the metagame at the three national championships post-rotation. Then, to find out  the writers themselves played a deck built in many ways to exploit this speculated metagame (one that they in many ways helped to shape) leaves a subscriber (which I currently am) feeling intentionally misdirected. As baby_mario mentioned, the UG marketing copy (as well as the $15/mo price-point) gives
    the impression that you are getting something special by signing up. If,
    in fact, what you are getting is nebulous format speculation,
    random rogue ideas, and post-event coverage, there seems to be a disconnect.

    • John Kettler  → Bryan

      The metagame picture I painted in “Canadian Nats” and “Fool to World” was pretty dang accurate, and I even told people that playing Emboar/Magnezone was not the best idea in the world (and this was before any National event). So I’d like to believe I did as good a job as possible getting testers down the right path.

      As for the Magnezone/Yanmega issue, it’s as Kenny stated: you have obligations to weigh, and trust usually holds precedent over everything else. Trust, the reason why I didn’t discuss Yanmega/Magnezone comprehensively prior to Canadian Nationals, is the same reason why I don’t go post the latest UG articles on HeyTrainer: because people trust me to not divulge information that doesn’t belong exclusively to me. I don’t think being good to your word is “copping” to anything.

      That said, I understood the frustration in advance, which is why I tried to help people with the deck as much as possible (“Canadian Nationals” has several tips on building the list). If someone followed the advice in that article even somewhat closely, then their lists would have ended up being nearly identical to Jayson H.’s or Justin S.’s (Jayson ran a Seeker tech; Justin ran Pluspower and Reshiram IIRC, so it wouldn’t have been perfect).

      Given the balancing act we’re all forced to do, I felt like my response was optimal.

      • Anonymous  → John

        Yes, you were not on the MagneBoar train. Yes, you were closer to the meta than most. We thank you for that and for your overall candor in the articles.

        This still does not change the fact that obviously some writers had information that they did not even give a  passing glance to Yanmega/Magnezone and tyRam.

        • John Kettler  → Anonymous

          Nah, it really doesn’t, but the last thing I’m going to do is let someone else set the record for me. I go out there and give it my all each article, so I take some degree of offense at my work being called “copped” simply because I protect the trust of my play-testing partners.

          P.S. As for Tyram, eh…That’s kind of irrelevant to the whole discussion, since it A) wasn’t big at Canadian Nats; B) was actually dealt with by Tom Hall; and C) didn’t go deep this year at US Nats. It’s a fantastic deck, and it’s going to be played significantly in the LCQ/Main event IMO, but it just wasn’t a point to discuss – at least IMO. This is actually the most opportune time to be debating the finer points of the deck.

        • Bryan McNamara  → John

          Let me just say that I wasn’t trying to attack your work — I find your articles to be incredibly well thought-out and well written, and I can say without hesitation that they are the ones I look forward to reading the most. I merely felt it appropriate to point out that while the majority of the hate was being directed at Fulop and Fouchet, the problem was larger than that. Perhaps my word choice was poor, but the fact is you did mention in the “Canadian Nats” article that you held back information in the lead up to a Premier event (out of respect to a testing partner, I understand), and that is germane to the discussion at hand.

    • Anonymous  → Bryan

      I understand what you mean. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I understand.

      One UG author, I will leave them anonymous and call him X, had a top 10 list of decks and Yanmega/Magnezone was no where to be found on the list. X also had an article on playtesting results, and Yanmega/Magnezone was no where to be found in that ENTIRE article.

      Then X puts an article out post Nats. In the article this can be found “Yanmega/Magnezone, on the other hand, was another deck that I was blessed with getting very early testing for.” and “About a week after the HGSS format rotation was announced, we tested
      Magneboar vs Zonemega. I was tearing through every deck that I came
      across with my cousins, but actually left the day going 1-4 against… deck (Yanmega/Magnezone).”

      So if X had been testing Yanmega/Magnezone since the announcement that there may be a rotation (sometime in May I think) and the deck was performing extremely well, why was there NO mention of this deck in any of X’s articles leading up to Nats. He did not even acknowledge the playtesting sessions with Yanmega/Magnezone in his playtesting results article.

      I can understand not giving out your list. Yet, to be paid to give top notch advise and not even mention that this deck was performing well is unacceptable. It didn’t even make his top 10 list (implying that there were at least 10 better decks), or even a passing mention as a rogue concept with potential.

      • Anonymous  → Anonymous

        If you watch my most recent you’d understand my full analysis of the situation. Believe it or not, I didn’t think the deck was good, and I said that on multiple occasions. “I thought he got lucky”, “I didn’t think it was a good deck”, “etc”. If you include the very next sentence from that article, I say:

        “Once again, being the stubborn player that I am attributed it to luck because “there’s no way a mere 15-year old can beat my superior mind and Chris Fulop powered build”. 

        I didn’t list it in my top 10 because I didn’t think it was a good deck. Aside from doing well against me, my cousin lost to terrible decks like Feraligatr/Lanturn and Zekrom, so I considered it to be a dead deck. 

        I seriously reconsidered things after hearing about its performance at Canada’s nationals and tested as much as I could when I heard it did well. Given just 5 days to test, I didn’t have time for another episode, but I released a video letting people know exactly what made the top 16 at Canada to help them out. 

        There’s also a difference between “testing the deck” and playing some fun games with your cousins. Unlike some of the other players in UG with a longer history in the game, I don’t have a large network of players to test against, and I didn’t get secret information from anybody. I played some friendly games with my 15-year-old cousin where I felt like I couldn’t set up to save my life. Can he be a decent player? Sure, but I honestly didn’t think his deck was good. Was it interesting to note afterwards that in hindsight his deck afterwards actually had the right idea? I thought it was. 

        I wasn’t keeping any information from people. I was just legitimately wrong about how good the deck was, and thought I was helping people by not bringing it up. I do regret changing my deck a week before the tournament, but I couldn’t beat anything with Magneboar to save my life, and I had to play something that was easy to learn and had proven results. 

        Don’t take this as a personal attack, because I’m not intending it to be. I’ve just gotten this question a handful of times now and thought I’d relay it again where people are most likely to read it. 

        • Anonymous  → Anonymous

          Nah I don’t take it as a personal attack at all. You definately have the right to defend yourself. I actually respect you more for responding strongly to that.

          I can buy the idea that you had the meta pegged wrong. I was also mistaken.

          I guess my advice to you would be to be very careful about how you word your stuff in the future. In your post Nats article you clearly said that “Yanmega/Magnezone, on the other hand, was another deck that I was blessed with getting very early testing for.” That is word for word from your article. In that article you indicated that you had also tested with Mikey (btw the article linked to there does not have and Yanmega/Magnezone list in it).

          If these were really just “fun game” maybe you should have worded them differently. The way they are worded now definitely comes off as a little shady, and it certainly does not help Fulop out (attributing the reason for dismissing Yanmega/Magnezone’s success to you playing a Fulop powered deck). It currently gives the impression that you knew the deck was good, was grateful that you had preexisting testing experience with Yanmega/Magnezone.

          Anyway, I really appreciate the response.

        • Anonymous  → Anonymous

          I understand that it all comes in wording, and it makes sense where you’re coming from. What I wrote doesn’t really ring as true to what really happened, and I think I just wrote it that way to make it seem like I wasn’t as unprepared for the metashift as I really was. Kindof dumb when you think about it, especially now that it’s become such a big issue! The real, and more unfortunate story is that I played with a deck that would end up winning Nationals and didn’t think it was a good deck at first glance. 

          I think the reason that I thought Mikey wrote about it previously was because he was still using pachirisu and shaymin in the list he tested with me. I guess that the list in the article was just a straight turbo Magnezone without Yanmega–that was just a straight up error on my part -_-. 

          Even if lots of people did have the meta pegged wrong, I think it’s solid that you stuck to your guns, and the results seemed to really pay off. For all I know, maybe I would have done a lot better with Magneboar at Nationals, a deck that I probably logged 150 games with before going on an awful losing streak : P. 

          I really appreciate the non-flame conversation though. At first I felt bad for all these comments spamming up Kenny’s article, but I think he brought the points up non-offensively and allowed for some pretty open discussion. Hopefully plenty of people can ready what I have to say instead of resenting me in private! I’m always happy explaining or clarifying anything I do when it comes to Pokemon. 

        • Brandon Bittinger  → Anonymous

          JWittz I read the first 2 paragraphs of your comment. I couldn’t read anymore because you distrusted me… You can say what every you want and some people will listen to you but other people wont. 

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Bryan

      I definitely didn’t mean to single anyone out, I wasn’t aware that the issue had risen up with other writers too, I had just been hearing the most about Fulop and Mikey’s articles.

      I’m not sure I completely agree with you about the metagame though. Even without MegaZone, the UG as a whole still gave out deck ideas and lists for almost all of the major decks at Nationals. I still feel like it was quite an incredible value, even if some things were omitted and mistakes were made. I don’t think anyone signing up for the Underground should be expecting to get infinite secret lists from the worlds best players at all times.

      However, I respect that opinion, and can certainly see why you would come to that conclusion.

      Thanks for reading!

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Bryan

      I definitely didn’t mean to single anyone out, I wasn’t aware that the issue had risen up with other writers too, I had just been hearing the most about Fulop and Mikey’s articles.

      I’m not sure I completely agree with you about the metagame though. Even without MegaZone, the UG as a whole still gave out deck ideas and lists for almost all of the major decks at Nationals. I still feel like it was quite an incredible value, even if some things were omitted and mistakes were made. I don’t think anyone signing up for the Underground should be expecting to get infinite secret lists from the worlds best players at all times.

      However, I respect that opinion, and can certainly see why you would come to that conclusion.

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    I think people were being a little bit naive if they truly thought they were going to get the real secret lists in advance from UG.

    Despite this, and to avoid bad feeling in future, I feel that one of two things needs to happen.

    Either . . .

    a) the writers stop holding back


    b) the claims made in the UG advertising need to be toned down a bit (that would be a good idea anyway imo)

    Of course, if you had all listened to cabd, you would have known about Yanmega anyway ;)

    • Anonymous  → Jak

      The problem was that everybody was still in the mindset of
      last format.  Last format, we saw things
      like this:

      This format, I posted a “starting point” for the deck,
      before nationals even, and most players totally ignored it, or told me that it
      was flat-out not going to work at all.

      This COULD have been from the fact that I flopped with it
      last format:

      As far as the UG goes, I had my lists, and even some sample
      play-through write-ups posted to the UG forums. 
      But while it was largely ignored by the actual authors, I know several
      of the other UG members saw and commented on it.  UG knew about the deck from my ranting and
      ravings, just not how overpoweringly strong it was, given that I was the only
      one backing it, primarily (there were a few people supporting me on it, thanks
      guys).  However, the only post as far as
      UG articles goes was this one, from last format:

      But really, anyone who claims they did not have a single
      clue about Yanmega/Magnezone going into US nats made one of two mistakes,
      or both.

      A: They did not believe the results of Canada’s
      B: They failed to look at anything besides underground

      I think of the UG like cereal in those Sunday morning
      cartoons: “A part of your daily balanced breakfast.”  Sure we all eat just the cereal, but that’s
      our fault for not eating the fruit and drinking the juice to get the nutrition
      we needed. 

      So did the two authors in question mess up?  Certainly, they did.  But at the same time, claiming UG was not even told about the deck is an incorrect statement.  I will agree, however, with the statement that the metagame predictions given were completely wrong.  As I posted on the ‘gym right after Canadian Nats: “Those who ignore the results of this event are doomed to repeat the
      mistakes in it.”

  6. Joshua Pikka

    Ouch, I don’t know why you even brought the topic up Kenny.  Its nothing but bad for underground.  Its just a place for the masses to come and bash underground for a flaw in the system that everyone knew already. 

    But now that you brought it up, lets discuss.

    As I told Adam last week and when he first brought up the idea of underground, people will not hand over the best stuff for the amount that Adam can afford to pay them.  And if we don’t get the best stuff, is it that much better to get a great players 2nd best stuff, then a  a good players first best stuff on regular 6p or on another site? 

    It is a very bad flaw in Underground, that can’t really be addressed.  My sugesstion to him was to fire the 2 authors that admitted doing it, and hope that it strikes fear into the others (though I like Fulop, he’s my buddy, so nothing personal).                                         

    Despite this flaw, I do like Underground, the information that the writers do pass on is really good and most of the stuff I have seen is better than on any other site.  Lets not bash it completely cause there are a lot of good stuff in there, and if you were thinking of subscribing this controversy should not change your opinion.  So nothing against UG, the writers or Adam; love em all. 

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Joshua

      Why would I not bring it up? I want to see SixPrizes succeed as much as anyone (and probably more than most), but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to write about things that are a.) important, b.) people care about, and c.) will stir comments/controversy/views. That would be irresponsible.

      I feel like I wrote enough about my feelings on the issue in the actual article, so I’ll skip that.

      However, I will say that I hope this article doesn’t deter anyone from subscribing to the Underground. The UG is a fantastic source of content, whether or not they talk about absolutely everything. Having access to near infinite decklists and other players’ opinions on decks is quite worth $15/month imo. That wasn’t my intention w/ this article at all.

  7. Renato van Bloemenhuis

    Good article and interesting deck list!
    On the topic of paid content/secret decks etc I might have some fresh insight to add: as a social media coach one of the things I study and work on/with are sites that offer premium content next to free content, wether its video/text/audio… It’s nothing new and it has been around for a long time. Some companies live on providing tools and platforms to create such portals to offer paid-to-use/read/view premium content.

    The debate about wether such content is truly worth its money or as in this case, is giving up all the information in a transparent, honest way, has been around for just as long.
    Sites that offer the best (read: premium) chess plays (or other competitive sport) , online learning material or “inside” stock exchange/broking advice are popping up around the web. They struggle with the same issues. Or worse. A grudge because you got the “wrong” information about a certain deck? How about having invested 5k into the wrong company because some premium blog about investment said it was the “ultimate” money maker right now?

    To expect very advanced, actively competitive players, to give up their own deck lists is unrealistic, and, I think, not the purpose of the UG content. On the other hand, “misleading” paying readers/customers by hyping other decks that those writers will never use themselves is…. mwah… (making an ugly face)

    The worst thing to do, though, is to ignore readers/customers, when they ask you about it, that’s just not a good way to go. The best thig to do would be to engage that conversation head-on and explain why you made that choice. No need to get all wired up, overly defensive, or whatever. Simply talk about your choice and engage… ignoring it will just make it worse and will (as in this case) blow it up tenfold. Such is the way of social media.

    Maybe it’s an idea to have one person as a spokesperson for the UG content so writers can send readers/customers to him/her if they have questions, complaints… that’s how companies run their customer service and that’s what you’re running too when you manage a paid premium content site.

    Anyway…. I like the idea of UG content here on sixpizes, haven’t subscribed to it yet but surely will, simply because I believe the content is truly “premium”.

    • Anonymous  → Renato

      Please do not mis-understand what I’m saying, the content IS AMAZING. I really do believe that it helps many, many players out (myself included).

  8. woshidizhu

    Just goes to show…you can’t pay people to think for you!

    If you want to get good at pokemon………practice with your friends……invent your OWN decks…….come up with your OWN ideas…….analyze the meta game YOURSELF… your research….put your own techs in the BDIF to make it better!

    The UG writers are by NO MEANS obligated to tell ANYONE about decks and lists they’ll be playing for nationals…Put yourself in their shoes…Would you have handed over your own deck idea and analysis for the years biggest tournament? I doubt it…not if you’re serious about winning at least.

    The UG writers give the best information the CAN, and sometimes, as was the case, they CAN’T release EVERYTHING they know.

    Expecting more is boarder line intellectual leach-ism

    • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → woshidizhu

      All of that is 100% true.

      But then it begs the question: what are the subscribers paying for? Or (more relevant) are they receiving the product as advertised?

      • woshidizhu  → Jak

        I think those are very viable questions….My main issue is with people who think that just because they pay 15 dollars per month they should have been given a list and strategy…or ANY information for that matter… concerning MegaJudge.

        As for the questions, like I said I think those are good q’s, and I would answer this way:
        People are paying for insight and tips from the some of the games best players that not all other players can access. These tips allow players to get better at pokemon. If one wants to improve their game, they should subscribe to the UG.

        But this doesn’t necessitate any responsibility for any UG writer to give out personal lists and analysis of, or even mention, the deck they will be playing for the world’s largest tournament. There lies my beef. :)

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → woshidizhu

          I think I’m going to agree with you again on that.

          As I said in my first comment, I think people were being naive about what UG will provide. But then maybe it is to be expected that new/inexperienced players would be naive.

          I do believe that the UG advertising does need to be toned down as it kind of implies that you WILL get access to that crucial secret information.

          I’m pretty neutral on the whole idea of UG to be honest, and I feel sorry for Adam as this has put him in a terrible position. UG’s reputation is in serious need of repair right now.

        • woshidizhu  → Jak

          Yeah I think you’re right about the advertisement. The idea of underground should be advertised as a tool to help players improve, rather than (as you said) advertised as the key to tournament success for all players. . . expecially with other website’s, like pooka’s, giving coverage and analysis for free…

          I agree with you about Adam…I kinda feel bad too, now his entity is gaining flack for something that seems  to be the result of misperception of some of his clients

      • CarlosPero  → Jak

        I’m paying to get exposure to ideas and decks that I wouldn’t have thought of myself.

        And speaking for myself, I don’t expect “the very best” from any of the writers, because I know the last few card choices are variable, subjective, and can change on a whim. If they want to reserve a tech or a particular Trainer line for themselves, especially if they intend to play with it, that’s fair in my opinion.

        If I ever feel like I’m not getting enough value for my monthly subscription, I will cancel and walk away on good terms. There’s no reason to complain when you aren’t obligated to remain a member.

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Ethan

      Yeah, you already said that.

      The first person I ever heard use the name was Isaiah, and as far as I know he was the first to use it.

      In the end it’s completely irrelevant. Big ups to James if he was the first, because that’s a sick name.

      Thanks for reading.

  9. David Wiken

    Stop whining about UG-writers withholding information – don’t you realize how petty you guys sound? If you wan’t to understand the meta for a given tournamet, then playtest – and playtest a lot! When people get surprised that PrimeTime (correct name;P) and DD (Donphan and Dragons) were decent plays, it just goes to show that they didn’t prepare good enough themselves, and simply relied on UG-writers to do the work for them… Don’t get me wrong – I totally believe in reading pokemon content in order to improve, but that is predicated on the simple fact that you use it to supplement your testing. Sorry guys, have to side with higer-ups here…

    • Joshua Pikka  → David

      But if subscribers pay for the service, they are paying for good information.  They are not paying for 2nd hand stuff.  If a writer is getting paid to write the best articles and doesn’t he is not living up to his job.  If none of the writers live up to their job, than there is a HUGE problem. 

    • Kenny Wisdom  → David

      Although I can understand the spirit of this post, when readers are paying for something, they expect quality service. That would be like saying “stop complaining about how terrible the service was at your restaurant, you could’ve bussed your own table.”
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      P.S. PrimeTime is the worst name ever. ;)

    • Kenny Wisdom  → David

      Although I can understand the spirit of this post, when readers are paying for something, they expect quality service. That would be like saying “stop complaining about how terrible the service was at your restaurant, you could’ve bussed your own table.”
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      P.S. PrimeTime is the worst name ever. ;)

  10. Carl Scheu

    I just have a somewhat random comment on this UG thing-

    1). yeah, I ran Magneboar, and while I personally didn’t hear about it in the UG it really wasn’t hard for me to see that MegaJudge would at least be played, and after a point I just stopped testing b/c I didn’t think I’d go for Nats.
    2). honestly I don’t think that I personally would’ve done better had I played something other than Magneboar, t64 isn’t by any means good, but for a first year master, who was really horrible in Seniors, and hadn’t been able to TC at states or Regs b/c of bad resistance i was quite happy w/ the result.
    3). Also there was some speculation that maybe the UG had done this b/4 or whatnot, but i’d say prolly not, think about how PERFECT this format was for this type of thing-

    a). We had no TOURNAMENT results about HGSS-on, except the JPN metagame posts that showed up every once in a while(which funnily had Zekrom as BDIF most of the time and Reshiram second, no Yanmega there either, but anyone who trusts though in general is a bit silly)
    b). Which either means, you test like crazy or you go w/ the strategy, Play whatever the best player closest too you says to play.
    c). Since a fair amount of TCG communities, in general, don’t test, and we didn’t have any solid results to go on, we listened to that elite player in our area
    d). This gave the UG people really control in “shaping” the format, saying what to play and what not to play, etc.(again i wasn’t UG during the time in question so i’m just going based on what i’ve heard from other members of the forums etc.), and they got to make the format, but the only reasons that they could do that was b/c of NO solid results from tourney and a general lack of understanding the format.
    e). Which we’ve never had in a format b/4, especially in the past 3.5 years, where the formats where GG and Empo, Sps and Flygon, LuxChomp and everything else, and I doubt we’ll have something like that happen again where we have a midseason rotation. I also know this may sound a bit harsh, but honestly you shouldn’t blame the UG writers, blame yourself for not testing and maybe randomly seeing Yanmega as something more than an anti donphan tech. I personally thought it would be a universal tech(I noted that in my first set of articles) but i didn’t know it would actually be a staple and BDIF  b/c i didn’t think i’d go to nats.

    And while i personally know one of the authors in question, I can still say whether or not Magneboar was “the play”, i still did a heck of a lot better than I should have and I can say he has made me a better player.

    all comments are made as in general statements, and are not intended to offend anyone personally, any group, or the writers

  11. jordan baker

    Underground has some good stuff and the forums are great. A couple writers made some bad decisions and I’m sure it will be taken care of. Adam is a great guy and he would never want to steal your money or deceive you. Everyone needs to get over this, move on, and trust that it will be taken care of.

  12. mewuk85

    This young buck kenny… Boy you really have to grow up man don’t call people out…that’s just weak morality u will never be a man without integrity… Handle problems with the source not publicly.

    The deck list on underground are quite consistant and for this donmega to be the same as a underground writers deck list seem as if someone is using UG to post info ON PUBLIC FORUMS..

  13. mewuk85

    This young buck kenny… Boy you really have to grow up man don’t call people out…that’s just weak morality u will never be a man without integrity… Handle problems with the source not publicly.

    The deck list on underground are quite consistant and for this donmega to be the same as a underground writers deck list seem as if someone is using UG to post info ON PUBLIC FORUMS..

    • David Griggs  → mewuk85

      I like how you’re trying to call Kenny out for doing what he feels is the right thing. I think you’re really cool for telling him he’s immature about something he obviously feels strongly about. Your use of ellipsis makes you a better person too.

      Oh yeah, and way to suggest that he stole a decklist from the UG forums. I really appreciate how obliquely you made that accusation.


    • Kenny Wisdom  → mewuk85

      I’m not “calling anyone out”

      If you weren’t aware, the purpose of writing articles is so that people can read them, and gain information from them, as well as be entertained for a few minutes. The way to get people to read articles is to write about things that they want to take the time out to read. So for this article, I decided that I would write a lot about a popular deck, and then a little bit about an issue that’s arisen in the community. I’m not writing these articles on my personal blog for lols or something, I’m writing them for the community as a whole.

      I also don’t appreciate it if you didn’t tell me how young I am and how I will “never be a man” like you are my father and/or creepy uncle. :|

      I agree that the lists on the Underground are quite consistent…but I don’t understand the rest of that last paragraph. Are you trying to say that I stole an Underground writer’s decklist and posted it here, in my attempt to sabotage SixPrizes or something? If that’s the case, you are hilariously wrong, for a number of reasons. If that’s not the case, I apologize, I honestly can’t interpret what you’re trying to say.

      Thanks for reading.

  14. Mekkah

    For those of you saying “why were you relying on UG when you could have playtested yourself”: you are not completely wrong, but you have to keep the following in mind: the UG is advertised as a way to essentially convert some money into time. Time that you would otherwise have spent playtesting can now be spent on other things. Instead of having to log 328903209 games in order to “get good”, you can simply read the articles. That’s essentially what it’s telling you.

    It’s rather naive to think that it works like that, and if you read UG articles they actually tell you to do a good bit of playtesting yourself. Because guess what, you can’t learn how to play well without playing. But that’s what it says on the label, and it should probably amended.

    But even if it wasn’t for that, I am still astounded that Yanmega/Magnezone was even remotely considered “secret”. It’s not exactly hard to think of, and it’s one of the few decks that we already had last format.

    I don’t really want to say anything else here. I have more thoughts on the matter but they would largely be repeats of other’s.

  15. Ed Mandy

    Here’s what I think the discussion should be about going forward.  Here are two options I think that authors need to consider.

    1)  When presented with a “secret deck” an author is expected to maintain a confidentiality agreement.  This is good for the author and for the person sharing the secret.  The author can continue writing about other things and kinda hide behind the fact that their friend requested the data be kept secret.  It can always be taken to the level of, “tell me it’s secret, so I’m not obligated to share the info.”  This is kind of like a news reporter protecting their sources or lawyer required to maintain a client’s confidentiality.

    2)  When presented with a “secret deck” and author is expected to inform the deck’s creator that he’s has an obligation to his readers.  Any info presented to the author is usable, as they are known to be an author on the subject.  Anything someone wants to discuss with or play against this author is potential article material.  This is kind of like a police officer reading someone their Miranda rights.

    #1 is good for players.  #2 is good for authors.  There is a decision to be made which takes priority.  It seems obvious that each of the UG authors were players before being authors here.  For them to make the move from #1 to #2 would be surprising at this point.

    The difficulty is that, for an author to get good information, they need to be plugged into sources of that information.  It is difficult remain plugged in while maintaining option #2.  The authors that maintain #1 will probably have the best information, but they may not share it.  The authors that maintain #2 will share everything they have, but it might not be the best.

    I would really love it for all UG authors to choose #2.  I think it would make for a better product.  Now, I think it’s a bit foolish to believe that UG authors will do that, because I think they are first and foremost players.  This UG gig is secondary.

    As a reader, I think you have to expect authors to withhold information, especially when you are in direct competition.  Let’s face it, when you’re sitting across the table from him, he wants to win.

    I hope it’s clear that I’m not coming down on either side of this issue here.  I just think it’s about expectations.  Both authors and readers need to understand each others expectations.

    I do, however, want to weigh in on one thing.  I think that authors here have an ethical obligation to be honest and not deceive readers.  Withholding information is one thing.  If any of you authors intentionally try to shape the metagame to your advantage, that’s just unacceptable.  Some may see it as gamesmanship, but it’s not that when the readers are paying you.

    Authors, take a look inward.  If you benefited by not sharing all your secrets, be open about it, so people know what they’re getting.  That’s fair for both parties.  But if you fed paying readers misinformation (or information that you knew to be second-rate), because you knew it would keep your competition down, that’s horrible.  I’m not saying that I have any reason to believe anyone did this, but I feel that it’s the issue that would raise ethical questions.

    • Joshua Pikka  → Ed

      I think there could be a happy medium between option 1 and 2.  Though I think everyone should choose option 2, most people won’t.

      The middle ground could be that if they hear about a secret deck with Raichu Prime and Dragonite, they have to acknowledge that its out there.  They don’t have to give out the whole deck startegy or decklist, but I think it’s unacceptable for writers to know that something is going to be great, and then not tell anyone about it. 

  16. Adam Capriola

    Sorry for joining this party so late, I’ve been super busy with other stuff the past couple days. Thanks for the discussion everyone and for keeping it so civil.

    I’ve read over every comment and it would take me forever to reply to every single person, so here’s my take on things:

    Kenny’s assessment of the Underground situation was originally much more harsh than what you see here, so I contacted him to explain things in a different context. This is the e-mail I sent him:

    “Hey Kenny,
    I just finished editing your Megazord article (great name btw!) and just wanted to give you my take on the issue before I schedule the article, incase you want to edit anything.

    I don’t see the issue being that anyone held stuff back to help themselves or even help their friends. I’ve talked to the guys and it’s more a matter of loyalty than anything (not wanting to let people in general down).

    To put things in another context, the writers get e-mailed interesting deck lists from members from time to time. The member might be working on a secret rogue and want advice from the writer.

    Is the writer then going to talk about that secret rogue the member e-mailed them about in their next article? Most likely not, out of respect for the person who created the deck/innovation. It’s the same scenario with a friend of theirs asking for help or advice on a deck they are working.

    I know it seems worse since it was a friend that had created the deck, but if an Underground member had created the BDIF and the writers didn’t share it, this controversy would probably be non-existant.

    I’ve told the writers that in the future to be sure to better communicate with their testing partners and see what topics are fair game and to what detail they are able to discuss them. 

    Like for example, J-Wittz made mention of a secret Vileplume deck in one of his articles leading up to Nationals. He was referring to the Vileplume/Roserade/Ursaring/Yanmega deck that won Juniors; the kid’s dad (Carlos P.) is an Underground member and had showed him the deck. Josh obviously talked to the Carlos to see what he was ok with Josh sharing in his article (and it wasn’t much). I know I would never have guessed the deck from the little info Josh was able to share. I doubt anyone would have figured it out.

    Anyway, I hope that clears things up a little bit and gives you a different perspective on the issue. The way you explained the situation in your article is a little harsh (if you read it again) and I’d rather not bring unneeded negative attention to the situation (and SixPrizes in general). If you don’t edit then I’ll probably repost this full e-mail in the comments.

    I’ve talked to the guys and we’re all straight on the situation. The writers all mean the very best for everyone, and it can be a juggling act at times. I’ve told them in the future to handle similar instances akin to how Josh handled Carlos’ Vileplume.


    To be totally honest, I didn’t really want Kenny to include that section in his article, but I’m not going to censor anyone’s writing unless it’s inappropriate content for younger viewers. If someone wants to bring up the situation, then go for it, but just be aware of what you’re getting into. 

    Anyway, I’ve talked to the writers in private and we’re all straight on the situation and how to handle “secret decks” in the future. We mean the best for everyone and we do the best we can.

    It can be a juggling act at times as I’m sure you can imagine, trying to provide top-notch info for Underground members, but at the same time keeping the loyalty of our friends and testing partners, so that they will actually talk Pokemon and playtest with us.

    I do not play as much as the writers, but I’ve personally told my friends not to tell me any info, otherwise I will share it with Underground. That’s just me though, and I’m not playing as competitively as I used to. It’s just not possible for the writers to keep that same stance AND retain friends/people to practice with and acquire info that they CAN share.

    I feel over the course of the season that the writers have been VERY forthcoming about their decks, deck lists, and what decks are good. I mean Josh basically gave his exact Regionals list out in his States report, we’ve had killer Luxchomp lists while it was Tier 1 a majority of the season, etc…

    Should Mikey and Fulop kept quiet on the knowledge of the deck? Yeah maybe… but I respect that they came out and were honest about the situation.

    Anyway, if you’d like to discuss anything further with me personally, drop me an e-mail at

    I hope that cleared some stuff up!


    • Anonymous  → Adam

      Thanks for speaking to this!

      You are a great person to be leading this site. I am sure many of us are grateful for you putting it together!

  17. Carver Warning

    The main reason why UG is kinda hard to judge about withholding info, is that the UG writers are players themselves, payed by less accomplished players.  The people paying for “inside info” have to realize that the people writing the articles are personally invested in playing the game as well and want to do well.  They dont spend hours and hours of thinking testing to give every little detail about their decks.  that said i  certainly feel like that the writers give a great deal of information.   

    Subscribers have to understand that they, like everyone else, put money in pokemon at their own risk(hopefully for enjoyment as well).  Even if an underground writer says a deck is good, they are just players and thinkers themselves and it is up to the reader to go and test the idea before making purchases and decisions.   That said, the writers do is give quality information and insights about decks that are VERY GOOD and give great lists for people that dont have time or people to test with or players that are looking for a way to start a deck.  

    As for quality of informations truthfulness, I think that no writer is truly trying to deceive anyone (they wouldnt have been hired by adam if they were).  I was fortunate enough to test the format with jwittz before regionals and after testing it was very apparent that Magneboar was the deck to beat at that time and we even believed that right up until canada’s nationals results.  Any article he wrote before that was honest to his belief. 

    However, this is just an example of how these players are not always right and that subscribers shouldnt get upset when these players make mistakes. (Jwittz makes this very clear in his videos, that he is not always right).  

    I understand why subscribers are upset, though.  they are told they are getting the best advice! from the best players! or at least that is the conception.  maybe there should be a disclaimer on the sign up page for UG explaining that this is advice from people who spend time/money on the game and want to do well too, if writers are going to be withholding ANY information, regardless of promises to emails or personal testing with friends. 

    I do understand that obviously the more money someone puts into something like pokemon, like UG, the more competitive and uptight people will get, which is why i think ug is ultimately bad for the pokemon community and even if it does heighten the competitive spirit. 

    i am a little disappointed that the pokemon community even brought up this issue, though.  I cant speak for others but i play this game because it is fun and i love the people i meet when i go to tournaments. Pokemon’s community is by-far for me the main reason i play and it is discouraging that so many are upset by this.  

  18. Jeff Pearcy

    I’m going to give my full, unbiased thoughts as someone who is an Underground Subscriber who DIDN’T attend nats.
    No amount of articles you read will ever truly prepare you for a metagame unless you actually playtest nearly 30 times a week at the least.  That being said, the proposed format leading up the the three National Championship tournaments was one that was largely influenced by what the elite players were saying, decks that they had seen performing well in a format quite similar, if not identical to our own (Japan’s).
    The proposed decks and attackers in question were the slower decks, the beefier attackers, a format where one-shotting attackers (Reshiram, Zekrom, RDL, Magnezone, Machamp, etc) were king, and even the quicker stage one-decks were advertized as not being as key deck choices.  Yanmega’s value was severely undermined as being an anti-Donphan tech for Zekrom, and as a supplementary attacker for the Stage-1 variants that relied on slowing down the seemingly unstoppable Magneboar, but once the latter was set up, as so many of the writers had spoken about constantly, everything ended up bowing down to it.
    Legitimate alternatives such as Typhlosion (which is now seen as far more valuable than Emboar) as a partner for Reshiram were downplayed by many of the major writers as being nothing more than an inferior Emboar, despite the fact that these decklists called for an almost criminal amount of energy cards.
    As many people have mentioned, Megazone is not a new concept, it was quite a good alternative to Luxchomp around the time of cities/states with its insane judge synergy, sniping, and pure power.  However, this was a different format where it was proposed (and actually quite often in practice) that methods of easy judge recovery such as Juniper, Sage’s, Cleffa, and to a lesser extent, PONT and Copycat, were almost expected.  Disruption became less of a crippling thing on Magneboar’s end and more of a nuisance, especially with the presence of Cleffa to recover from anything of the sort, and ideally serve as a wall in between turns. 
    The problem is that when the general public started looking for a way to counteract Magneboar (a concept that the very writers of the Underground had promoted to no end), they turned to Trainer-lock counter with Vileplume.  And thus, the deck that reliably beats both the deck that they had hyped, and the deck that was a counter to the deck that they had hyped (Vileplume), Megazone, all of a sudden is brought out of the woodwork and nearly every “pro” is playing it, and now we’re learning that they had been testing it all along.  The players who had expected Magneboar and countered it with Vileplume-Mew variants or bought into the Magneboar hype and ran it themselves were trounced.
    I don’t feel cheated out of my money for subscribing to the Underground, as I’ve used it to craft decks based on the knowledge that I’ve gained while reading it.  I also don’t hold any personal grudge because as I started by saying, I didn’t attend nats.  But, the thing about the Underground now that separates it from before is that this was a completely unexplored format going into the absolute biggest tournament in the world.  Last format, we didn’t need them to tell us SP was good, we had tournament after tournament proving it.  I don’t believe for one second that any of these pros who ran Megazone ran it with little confidence, it was a great deck last format, which transitioning into this one, becomes absolutely the BDIF.
    It would be one thing if every pro was going into Nationals with the very decks that they were hyping (and not to take anything away from Magneboar, it’s a good deck, but nowhere near as good as Megazone), bombed with them, and we all learned our lessons from there.  But they hyped these decks, knowing and seeing firsthand from playtesting that Megazone walked over nearly all of them (except for Stage-1 Variants) and chose to keep them to themselves for easy pickings on Magneboar and Vileplume  players in all but the worst of starting scenarios.
    I wouldn’t be angry at the concept of the Underground so much as I would be the perpetrators of this, because they held the entire format in their hands.  Megazone wasn’t some secret rogue idea that needed to be kept safe, because it’s one that we’d seen before, heck, we didn’t even need playlists because most of it is pretty common sense about what to include (the techs are really the only variants, and secret techs I can understand).  But they hyped decks, nearly all of which Megazone was a favorite over, and not only that, but it had no trouble over the proposed counter to Magneboar, that being Vileplume.
    I don’t know if the decision to undermine Typhlosion as a huge partner for Reshiram over Emboar was one that was also manipulated or just a complete oversight entirely, but as I mentioned before, the difference between the Underground pre-regionals and post-regionals is that they were crafting an entire format for the public to buy into (and don’t get me wrong, it was sound logic, we lost a lot of the resources that made last format so speedy, but I daresay Megazone is nearly as speedy and disruptive as SP variants were last format, and it hits far, far harder). 
    The pros had an entirely new format to shape with their own hands, and they chose to get some of the easiest wins I have ever seen because they were shaping their competition during the swiss rounds with a deck that sniped babies, Oddishes, and Magnemites before they even evolve into a threat.  Is it smart to use that kind of power and influence over the metagame that way?  Absolutely.  Is it something that I would’ve done?  No, because you’re alienating your readers, your employer from the backlash of it, and your credibility for future articles because of that greedy decision.  I have no doubt that a great deal of damage has been done to the reputation of the Underground because of that decision, and I don’t think one Nationals win is worth the huge fallout that’s occuring afterward, and since none of the UG writers won Nationals, it seems that all that secrecy didn’t amount to much on their end, eh?
    As an aside, as a UG subscriber, I really don’t care for this crop of “What to Run” articles that are popping up this format.  I think I speak for many when I say that I prefer the “How to run this” style of writing.  I still think that J-Wittz’s Bible on Luxchomp is the greatest article that section of the site has ever produced.  Articles like that are why I subscribed in the first place.  This crop of “What to Run for Event X” style that has come across as rather lazy and, as people are pointing out now, rather manipulative over the competition that reads it.

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