Hello SixPrizes members! I was going to write an article on the last Autumn BR that I attended, but let me just give you a quick recap: overall, I did pretty badly. There were five rounds, and my record was 2-3. I was not so upset though. Since there were not enough players for Senior and Junior division, I had to play with some Seniors, so it did not really affect my rating too much. It was still a great experience, and I was able to play against different decks that day. The true winner in that Autumn BR was Gothitelle. That is all I can say. Let’s get on with the article.
The Purpose of this Article
The best aspect about the Pokémon Trading Card Game is that it revolves around deck building. It involves a lot of reading, research, and help from good players (I, myself, need a lot of help when it comes to deck building). Unlike some games, you slap a bunch of cards, make sure you do not have more than four, and then, BOOM! You have a sixty-card deck. That’s the reason I like Pokémon cards. There are some many things a person can do with a sixty-card deck. There are so many techniques that can make a deck consistent, fast, and strong.
The reason I wrote this article is that the Pokémon card community is getting bigger. There are many new players, both young and old, who are starting to play this game. There are also a lot rogue decks out there, which provides a lot of anti-meta. Therefore, it is crucial for players to know which cards provide a lot of consistency and speed, because of the new format.
In this article, I will be reviewing and analyzing cards that are now in the format. Both of these cards have similar functions, yet players utilize them very differently. One card can be stronger than the other. One card can be more helpful than the other. This makes the cards playable for people with different play styles and preferences. Having these cards also allow us, competitive players, to grow. Also, it makes our decks much more consistent. Let’s take a look at these cards.
We are all familiar with these two cards. Professor Oak’s New Theory, or PONT for short, allows players to shuffle their hand in their deck, and then draw six cards. Professor Juniper acts like the old Professor Oak card. Remember from the Base Set? You discard your entire hand, then draw seven cards. It was quite old, but some people consider it a reprint.
I, on the other hand, do not think it is. The only difference between the two here is the number of cards a player draws. Let’s consider these cards. Some people like to use PONT because it allows them to refresh their hands. PONT also allows players to keep their hands, instead of discarding it. People are uncomfortable with getting rid of their good hand; therefore, PONT has its own use.
Professor Juniper allows players to get rid of their “disgusting hand,” which I often here in some decks. Imagine yourself starting with six cards, none of which you can use during late or mid game. You can use Professor Juniper to get a new hand, which may or may not help you throughout the game. Juniper is also good because of Junk Arm. Dumping those Trainer cards is fine. As long as you have Junk Arm, you can reuse those cards again.
Both of these Supporter cards are useful. These are the only minor problems with these Supporters. PONT is good since players can utilize cards they do not discard. However, there are some chances you can get those cards back in your hand. Players use PONT to get a new and perfect hand, and not to get the exact, same, and worst hand.
Consistency is important in Pokémon cards. Like most players, they have at least three to four cards of PONT. Some players increase their Cleffa CL count in their deck to make room for other cards besides PONT. Players who run ZPTS (Zekrom BW, Pachirisu CL, Tornadus EP, Shaymin UL) use a lot of Professor Juniper. Its uses are for turn one to turn two DONKS, to utilize Shaymin UL and Pachirisu CL right away.
That can hurt the player, mid or early game. Professor Juniper can also do the same. There are several times I have seen players use Juniper with an incredible hand, and then get the worst hand possible. Trust me. It happens to the best of us.
Overall, both cards have their strengths and weaknesses. I am a big fan of both cards. Normally, I prefer to have three to four PONTs, and one Professor Juniper in some decks. Some prefer four cards of Professor Juniper. These cards show that they are essential in many decks, and also allow players to play around with deck building using their preferred play style.
HeartGold & SoulSilver printed another card called Pokémon Communication. There is also a reprint in the current Black & White set. It allows players to get another Pokémon from their deck, providing they put one Pokémon from their hand back to their deck. Great, isn’t? Somebody told me that when Pokémon Communication was released, the card would range from $3-4 Canadian. Crazy, isn’t? No doubt this card is more important than Poké Ball.
Let’s talk about Poké Ball. With the use of Junk Arm, players can reuse Poké Ball card at least four times, depending on how many Junk Arms they have in the deck. What if they keep getting tails? That’s the big issue with the card. Decks nowadays involve being fast and consistent.
Flipping is just a terrible thing in the current format. It slows down the deck, and it also allows the players to use up all his or her resources. If you do keep hitting heads, then the person is just lucky.
Pokémon Communication is great! There are no coin flips involves; however, the player must have a Pokémon in his or her hand. It does not matter if it is a Basic, Stage 1, or Stage 2. What if you do not have a Pokémon in your hand? Cards like Pokémon Collector can help, which allows the players to get three Basic Pokémons in to their hand. Any kind of draw support can help this card (Cheren, Bianca, Sage’s Training, Twins).
In conclusion, Pokémon Communication is widely used in many decks, with maybe the exception of ZPTS, which only uses Pokémon Collector, and Dual Ball. Therefore, Pokémon Communication is the winner is this card matchup. It speeds up the deck; also, it allows a fair amount of consistency.
However, great players are not a great fan of flippy cards. Players have a 50/50 chance of getting a certain card. If a player does get a chance to get a card back on top of their deck, what happens if he or she is playing against Magmortar TM? This Pokémon gets to discard the opponent’s deck, depending on the number of Fire Energies attached to Magmortar. The player will have to get that card back again. It will be a waste of turn to reuse Recycle again. It is not a great card to have in a deck.
Junk Arm is a staple for every deck that I know (besides Mew/Vileplume Decks). Junk Arm lets player to discard two cards in their hand to get a Trainer card in their discard pile. Let me give you a great example:
Assuming a player has three Pokémon Catcher, if he or she has four Junk Arms in their decks, which is a staple, then the player is able to use Pokémon Catcher at least 6-7 times. That is enough to get cheap prizes in the game, or even stall.
Junk Arm involves a lot of thinking. The player must decide which cards to dump or sacrifice. Junk Arm is also a great card to minimize a player’s hand size, when they are playing against Yanmega Prime. It is also great to try to match small hand sizes in the same situation.
It is obvious that Junk Arm is the winner here. Although Junk Arm cannot get Stadium cards or Pokémon cards, utilizing multiple numbers of Trainers allows players to have great consistency. That is why it is a staple in most decks right now in the current format.
pokebeach.comWhen I first started playing the game again, I was never a big fan of Sage’s Training. The purpose of the card is to provide speed and also choice for the players. The player gets to look at his or her top five cards, pick two of those cards, and discard the rest. This allows players to set up quickly in the game. Sage’s Training is mostly used for decks that run a lot of Stage 2 Pokémon, or ZPTS, which allow players to use all the necessary resources.
Cheren became popular after the release of Emerging Powers Set. Cards like Bill from HGSS and Emcee’s Chatter are a thing of the past. I do, however, still see many players use other draw cards like the following: Cheerleader’s Cheer and Team Rocket’s Trickery.
Having to draw three cards is very good in this game or any other game that I know for that matter (Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic: The Gathering). It allows players to get the cards they need right away, and also provides speed in the game.
I feel that the only disadvantage for these two cards is that it allows players to deck out quickly. That is the reason why I do not play Sage’s Training and Professor Juniper together on a deck. The players may have a lot of cards in his or her hand, but not of these cards are useful, depending on the status of the game (early, mid or late Game).
Cheren is good since it does not force the players to burn all their resources; Sage’s Training, however, can just quickly discard many cards on your deck. That is why Junk Arm is a staple for many decks.
Both Cheren and Sage’s Training are excellent cards, depending on what deck a person is running. It is just depending on the person’s play style because some do not like discarding crucial cards in their deck. That is why players can experiment with different cards to match with their own meta and style.
Let me start with Engineer’s Adjustments. It is a Supporter, which means a player can use it once per turn. I do see many people use this deck in Reshiphlosion Decks. I feel that using a Supporter like that is a big waste. The only advantage is that a player can dump any Energy card and still utilize it.
Also, this card allows players to draw four cards, which is big. Supporter Cards are important in the game (PONT, Pokémon Collector, Professor Juniper, etc.). I feel it is just useless for Supporter use in a player’s turn, since he or she can utilize any other Supporter Cards in their hand.
Ninetales HS is I think a great card to have in Fire decks (Reshiphlosion Deck, Reshiboar Deck). Roast Reveal is a perfect tactics for most Fire decks. I have seen this card in other decks like the one I played against in Autumn BR. It was a Stage One Deck, which consists of Yanmega Prime, Cinccino BW, Simisear BW, and Ninetales HS. The player uses Roast reveal to get all the cards he need by dumping Fire Energies.
Since Yanmega Prime does not need energies to attack, Cinccino BW only needs one Double Colorless Energy to use “Do The Wave”, and Simisear only needs one Fire Energy to snipe for two Pokémon for 20 damage, Ninetales HS is a great choice for the deck. It is an unexpected build to see in BR because it is quite a rogue deck.
Overall, I feel Ninetales is the winner here. Although players can draw three instead of four, the card is still considerably great.
I feel that Pokémon Circulator does not get any good representation in the game, since players do not use it. The card itself does not have any room in the deck. This card is only appropriate to use in the early game. Assuming your opponent has one active Pokémon and one in the bench. The opponent has to switch his or her Pokémon no matter what. That card can only work in that situation.
Heavy “Bench-sitters” like Slowking HS/CL that have two Retreat Cost are not great to be in the Active Spot because players want them to stay on the bench to utilize their Powers/Bodies/Abilities. Pokémon Circulator is great, but I will recommend to only have at most one in some decks, or none at all since Pokémon Catcher is a staple in every deck (except for Mew Vileplume Decks).
Pokémon Catcher is by far one of the best cards in the format right now. I consider this card “broken.” When I say “broken,” I mean a million dollar flower vase broken (my attempt of exaggeration). It is recommended to run three in some decks, and with addition to four Junk Arms, it can be utilized at least six to seven times. That’s how great that card is. Because of this card, there are many changes in the game.
One example is the use of a Supporter like Twins. Falling behind is a great thing sometimes in the game, especially if a person is running a deck like Mew Vileplume or Gothitelle. Gothitelle also became a popular deck to play because it abuses Pokémon Catcher. Mew/Vileplume became popular again because it counters Gothitelle, but also locks the use of Pokémon Catcher.
The card itself also changes many aspects of the game. Assuming I am running a Gothitelle Deck. My build will consist of 3-2-2 Reuniclus BW, since one Solosis BW will become “Catcher bait.” Stage Two decks became less popular because of Pokémon Catcher. Stage One Decks consisting of Yanmega Prime, Donphan Prime, Cinccino BW, Zoroark BW, and Lanturn Prime starts to become even more popular because of its speed and quick hits. Because of these reasons, the changes are so dramatic in the game of Pokémon.
Cleffa HS/CL & Manaphy UL
It is good to have a starter like Cleffa in the game. If the player has a terrible hand, he or she can shuffle their hand and draw six cards. To me, taking the first turn, having a Cleffa on the Active Spot, with another basic on the bench, and a Pokémon Collector in my hand is a dream come true (Too much exaggeration!). Any player would practically be set up right away.
Like I was saying before, 30 HP is low, and it can end the game right away, especially with Tyrogue CL (Mischievous Punch does 30 damage, and does not affect Weaknesses and Resistance), and Machoke TM using Knuckle Down, with one Fighting Energy, on the second turn (when a player has a lone Cleffa, even if its is Asleep). Pokémon Catcher also hurts Baby Pokémon in the game.
Sometimes, they can be great Bench-sitters, but it is a prize-grabber. Cleffa is still a great card to have in any deck. Having one is enough, and four might be pushing it because some players prefer to use one Professor Oak’s New Theory, or none in the deck.
Manaphy UL is also a great card as well. For those who are afraid of getting DONKED, this is card is great. It does not matter if this is a lone card in the Active Spot. It has a whopping 60-HP, which is great for a Basic Pokémon. It has an attack called “Deep Sea Swirl”, which allow players to shuffle their hand and draw five. Why is this a great card if a player can only draw five?? Because of its HP it is still a great starter; in addition, it has a zero Retreat Cost.
The only downside is the Weakness to Lightning Pokémon, which is not all that bad. Zekrom BW cannot KO it in one turn even with a Outrage because it had 60 HP. Five cards is still low, but at least it refreshes the player’s hand. Manaphy is great now, since Pokémon Catcher is a staple in most decks. This card can survive, without getting the DONK.
Both of the cards I mentioned before are great. Like I was saying before, it mostly depends on the player’s style, and preferences. Having one of these cards in the deck is a must, since the game is all about setting up quickly, and able to outspeed the opponent. Therefore, both Cleffa and Manaphy are both winners in this discussion.
I can go on, and on, and on talking about different cards, but I decided to talk about the ones that have great significance in the game of Pokémon Cards. Cards like Smoochum HS and Aipom UL (Tail Code) same attacks, but have completely different effects. Delibird HS and Shuckle HS Promo Card are also the same, except players utilize them in a different way.
Cards like these, and others I have mentioned before, allows players to use all the resources, make changes in their deck (whatever makes the player feel comfortable), and also build a completely different, but awesome rogue decks. See what changes you can make in your play style and see how it goes.
Happy playing, Pokémon card players!