pokemon-paradijs.comHey all, back again. I want to apologize for the lateness of my article, but I am sure you can all understand. Last week, my best friend’s Dad was in a horrible accident and passed away a couple days later. The week since last Tuesday has been hectic and tragic, and I have had to be there for my buddy. With that said, let’s get into Pokémon.
The bulk of my article was already sketched out and started on before the accident, and was intended for last week, so I apologize if it feels like it has lost relevance. On the other hand, I think analyzing the top decks and the “ideal” lists of them after a series of tournaments like Cities is extremely valuable in looking ahead into the future tournaments.
I am going to just kind of go through the many decks I have had experience with through testing and going to Cities, and what some of my opinions are on each of them. Some I will give a list for, some I will not, mostly because other writers have given similar/close to identical lists on what I am playing.
EDIT: I just realized there is one more week of Cities! So everything is actually still relevant, woooo!
Alright so let me start by saying that I am not playing to go to Worlds this year. My play of Tyranitar at Regionals was questionable, and my deck choices at my City Championships (which I will outline) were also questionable. However, since I am not playing to rack up the Championship Points this year, I find it much more fun to play decks that I have not tested as much prior to the tournament, and want to see how they fare in a tournament setting.
pokemon-paradijs.comSo although I talked up Chandelure and Magnezone/Eels in my last article, I did not play Chandelure at all and I only played Magnezone/Eels in my first City, which I posted about on the forums. Just so you don’t have to go digging for it, here was my “report” from Cedar Grove, NJ Cities where I used Mag/Eel:
“Rounds 1 and 3: vs Typhlosion. I Sage 3 times each game, yielding no Energy any time. I prize a Magnemite in each game and am forced to Sage discard one each game as well. Draw poorly in general. Both Typhlosions play Rocky Helmet which gives them a chance to 1HKO Magnezone with Reshi. I still bring both games to a point where I take a prize to tie it at 1-1 and N them to 1, killing their Ninetales that turn.
If they don’t hit Catcher I can deal infinity damage to whatever the next turn for the win. Both times they hit a Supporter in their 2 cards and hit the Catcher off the Supporter! The first game vs Typhlo I N him to 3, 2, 1 in the last four turns, and he hits a Supporter every single time I N him!
My win was a decent game vs Zekrom.”
So not too great there haha. Oh well.
I did not play another tournament until the NJ marathon, where I ran another Magnezone deck; this time Magnezone/Typhlosion:
Pokémon – 20
2 Magnezone Prime
Trainers – 27
3 Pokémon Collector
Energy – 13
pokemon-paradijs.comI had only played a handful of games with this deck prior to the tournament, and I learned a lot about it as I played. The most important thing I learned about this deck though is that it is essentially just a worse Magnezone/Eels, and even a worse straight Typhlosion. Eelektrik NVI is better in almost every possible way than Typhlosion and more draw or Ninetales HS is better than Magnezone. Meshing the two together creates some interesting matchups, but makes a lot of your otherwise positive matchups, worse.
The deck also needed more draw. I thought running 10 Supporters with the thin line of Magnezone would be fine, but that is definitely not the case, and I should have known better. At least another three Supporters to make the list consistent enough, and the room really is not there.
Rocky Helmet and Pichu are two potential cuts, and possibly the second Catcher. I am not sure really what else can be cut. Maybe the 2nd Quilava as well if you are not fearing Trainer Lock so much.
Anyway, here are how my games went down at West Berlin, NJ:
Round 1 vs Typhlosion
He got a faster start, took the first prize, and we traded blows for a while, but he was able to just out-Reshiram me. He played 4 Reshiram and Rescue Energy, and Magnezone was kind of dead weight in the matchup attacking wise, as Reshirams would never have more than two counters on them. A late N allowed me to come back into the game, but not before he was able to find a Catcher to seal the game.
Round 2 vs Magnezone/Eel
pokemon-paradijs.comI had a stellar start this game and was able to get set up much faster than him. Rocky Helmet on Reshiram in a weird spot forced him to KO my Reshi with Magnezone, leaving it open to a KO with my next Reshiram, and from there the game was over. He would have decked out even if given another turn or two.
Rounds 3 and 4 vs Durant
Basically the only reason Typhlosion would ever be better than Eels: Durant. Both games I set up two Typhlosion rather quickly and just took 6 Prizes in six turns.
Round 5 vs Mirror
I was forced to Pichu going 2nd, so he got a ton of evolutions out on the second turn and really got the jump on me. He targeted Cyndaquils and Quilavas while I targeted his Magnemites and Magnetons, and he never got a Magnezone on the field. This allowed me to begin to N him to small hands later in the game, allowing a comeback.
For the first time ever in a tournament game, I take a KO with Magnezone to tie the game at 1-1 and N him to 1. He needs a Catcher to win the game and he actually does not hit a Supporter or the Catcher off his two cards! What a miracle! Great game.
Round 6 vs Six Corners
I get a horrid start and he ends up going up 3-6 or 2-6 before I start hitting back. Through N and my HP Pokémon I am able to take a bunch of prizes in succession, KOing his Energy in the process. The game finally comes down to 1-1 in prizes, him needing to topdeck a Double Colorless Energy to attach to Kyurem and Outrage for the win. With two cards in hand, he flips the top card of his deck…DCE. Oh well.
Round 7 vs Typhlosion
pokemon-paradijs.comSee Round 1. More Reshirams wins this matchup, as it has won the Typhlosion mirror since Nationals this past year.
So I end up 4-3 and not really liking my deck for the day. I thought it held a lot more promise, but when you realize it’s just an inferior combination of two decks better off on their own, it does not look as appealing.
Do not get me wrong, though: Redzone (as fellow UG writer Frankie Diaz so eloquently called it) can be a great metagame play; but that’s about it. In its own right, the deck is not so good as compared to other alternatives, but as a response to a metagame filled with Durant and non-Typhlosion decks, I am sure it would function fine. Its Magnezone/Eel matchup is pretty even I would say, as you can more easily Catcher and KO their Energy source as compared to them doing it to you.
The Electrode matchup is pretty bad though as Glaciate just destroys you and Terrakion NVI says sup to Magnezone responses. You should beat Six Corners if for no other reason that you have Energy acceleration and they do not: you can often just KO their Energy and call it a day; my Swiss loss shows me that with any type of decent set up I should win the game all the time.
So I guess from my list I would go -Quilava –Pichu –Rocky Helmet, +Collector +2 other Supporters/Pokégear 3.0. Maybe Twins would be good in here, maybe not. I really am not sure. I do know that 4 Sage is mandatory for this deck, it is really really good in here. Any suggestions would be great…this deck might actually be viable for States depending on how the format shifts.
So for the next day of the NJ marathon I wanted to play something that beat Chandelure, Magnezone/Eels, Electrode decks, and obviously had a chance vs other stuff. My thoughts arrived at my long coveted deck, Magnezone/Yanmega. From testing I knew Yanmega was extremely strong vs Chandelure, and seemed like a good contender against the wimpy 40 HP basics that Eelektrik and Electrode evolved from. Good enough for me! I did a little tinkering with my old list, and after a few games with Luke Reed and other people, I had my decklist:
Pokémon – 20
3 Yanmega Prime
Trainers – 29
4 Pokémon Collector
4 Pokémon Communication
Energy – 11
pokemon-paradijs.comWeird. Terrakion was for extra protection against the large amount of yellow decks floating around. Cobalion went in after losing some games to Luke’s Kyurem (ironic as you’ll see…). 2 Jirachi is something I have been thinking about since Regionals, where Aziz ran 2 in his Magnezone/Yanmega as well. He explained to me that not only does no one ever see the second Jirachi coming, but the first one actually sets up the second one.
You KNOW after the first Jirachi that there is going to be P Energy from him in your discard pile, so the second Jirachi naturally follows from that. People will often burn Candys and Junk Arms to get back their evolutions after the first devolve, so being able to catch them after that can be very strong. Unfortunately, I never made use of either Jirachi in this tournament, but that is okay.
For what it’s worth, I would definitely have dropped Terrakion and Cobalion after the tournament. More Energy and more Yanmega would likely have been sufficient in beating Kyurem and other Magnezone decks. Just wanted to try some stupid stuff out though, ya know? The Energy kind of sucked having to run the Rainbows, and that is another reason why I would have dropped the basics. 6/6 Lightning/Psychic with double Jirachi seems very strong and efficient.
The Trainers were solid. I like my Supporter line a lot, maybe would have liked the 4th Copycat. Max Potion could also go to better use most likely, like another Catcher if the Yanmega line was bumped back up.
Anyway, here are my rounds for Burlington, NJ:
Round 1 vs Sharpedo/Ursaring/Victini
pokemon-paradijs.comI draw my opening hand and see Terrakion, Rainbow, Rainbow, Lightning, Psychic, Junk Arm, Communication and almost die. Fortunately she flips over Teddiursa and I am able to power up Terrakion before drawing a Judge which I use and get a Collector the next turn. Terrakion starts drawing prizes as she missed two Strip Bares. She hits the third one, but not before I already have a Magnezone out.
Not that it matters much, though, as Terrakion is able to sit in the Active Spot the entire game and take all 6 Prizes, with her whole deck being 1HKO’d by Land Crush.
Round 2 vs Luke Reed w/ Electrode/Kyurem/Terrakion
I am going to talk about this deck more later, but for now this game. He goes first opening with Voltorb to my lone Cleffa. He attaches Rainbow, but whiffs the flip for the FTKO. I have a slow start and Communication for Magnemite and Eek. He gets a T2 Energymite for three Energy, Catchering my Magnemite and KOing with Terrakion.
I bench a few more guys, but my Magnemite and Magnetons get constantly Catchered/KO’d and I am never able to really set up. He takes the game pretty handily.
Round 3 vs Zekrom/Thunderus/Eelektrik
I draw/pass for literally 10 turns and he has taken 4-5 Prizes before I play my first Supporter. No way I was coming back from that one.
Round 4 vs Durant
pokemon-paradijs.comOne matchup I was really hoping to avoid. He prizes a Durant and is never able to get it out of the prizes for some reason, which gives me some hope. I take as many prizes as I can with Yanmega and build up a Magnezone on the bench. I make some questionable plays to match hand sizes a couple of times, but I think everything was right.
I do make the mistake of not using N on my last turn (I have 1 Prize and 3 cards in deck). He has a 0 card hand, but draws Juniper, and hits the Energy and two Revive to mill me for the game. I felt stupid for not using N to make my deck bigger, but I was not sure if I was going to get the Energy back to win the game the next turn if I did that. Oh well.
Round 5 vs Zekrom
This was a nice guy from Ohio and whose son is apparently tearing up the Junior division. An uneventful game: I go first with Yanma, Collector, pass. He opens lone Shaymin and draw/passes. I have T2 Yanmega/Copcat for the game.
Round 6 vs Typhlosion
I just remember Catchering a lot of Cyndaquils in this game with Yanmega and Magnezones taking out the scary Reshirams that hit the board. Won this one pretty easy and without the aid of my precious Jirachis.
Round 7 vs Josef Bolton w/ Magnezone/Eels
Well I have a really good Mag/Eels matchup with Yanmega taking out Tynamos like it is his job. Terrakion did not do anything in this game really, it was all Yanmega doing work. Jirachi also did not see the field here (except for more Energy for Zone to use).
pokemon-paradijs.comSo I actually really liked this deck after the fact. I felt (and still feel) that it can compete with most of the format, barring maybe Durant and quick Electrode decks (but what can deal with quick Electrode decks going first?). It could be more aggressive, as it was for Regionals, as I feel that is still a strong component of the deck. Yanmega as I said is very strong vs Chandelure (I will go into some detail later why) and the 40 HP basics, with Magnezone holding its own vs the bigger cats of the format.
From my list, I would probably go –Terrakion –Cobalion –Rainbow Energies –Max Potion +Yanma +2 Psychic +3 Lightning +Pokégear/Copycat. A drop for the 3rd Catcher and 4th Yanmega would be nice as well. 11 Energy might suffice as well. All rather trivial calls IMO.
The next day of the marathon I knew I would not be able to play in the whole tournament, so I really wanted to play something that I had never played before. Electrode decks had been taking not only the Northeast area by storm, but Florida and other areas as well. Being an avid fan of Electrode ex, I instantly took a liking to the deck and got to see it perform in the two days prior.
Cobalion seemed like a waste to me in most matchups, and only had a purpose of countering other Kyurems. Terrakion and Landorus seemed strong though, as Fighting is a strong type now, and so Luke and my insight steered me toward what many call it “Samitrode.” I want to thank Luke and Pramawat for lending me the deck for the night and the three rounds I was able to play, as well as the decklist. Here is what I ran:
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 31
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 14
pokemon-paradijs.comA lot of things can be changed around in a list like this, but I certainly liked the simplicity and elegance of this list. A single Cobalion with a Metal thrown in there would be a fine play, to combat the mirror and random Kyurems that might pose threats. A third Terrakion would also make the mirror much more bearable, as if you cannot get double Terrakion with Eviolites out against Cobalions doing the same thing, you cannot win.
Bianca over other Supporters because you often want to keep Junk Arms in your hand, not only for use in the near future, but also so they do not get Energymited away. Everything else seems pretty self-explanatory.
I have seen a lot of lists (including some of my own) with Research Records. While I feel it is a decent card and has synergy with Electrode, I do not think running more than one or two is a good idea. Generally, it is a weak card that does not net you too much of a gain. Many lists do not max Twins, and I can assure you that after playing this deck, that 4 Twins is a must: being able to get any two cards from your deck almost every game on turn two or three is huge and should not be underestimated.
Remember the combination of Electrode ex/Pow Hand Extension back in the day? Well Electrode Prime/Twins/Catcher is that same combo today.
My three rounds from the Howell, NJ tournament:
Round 1 vs Cincinno/Weavile/Zoroark
Ummmm I got Landorus out on the third turn attacking and it took all 6 Prizes since everything was weak to it. :P
Round 2 vs Electrode/Kyurem/Cobalion (Dylan Bryon)
pokemon-paradijs.comI prized a Terrakion, so I was not able to go for the double Terrakion strategy in the early game. His first Energymite yields only one Energy, though, and I think I might be able to stay in the game. Unfortunately, my first 3 Prizes do not give me my second Terrakion and I am forced to start attacking with Landorus and Kyurem, which are pretty easily KO’d by his swarm of Cobalion he gets going.
His later Energymite nets a lot more Energy and soon I am facing three Cobalion with three Energy each and only one with damage on it. With my Super Rod nowhere to be found and my 2nd Terrakion still in my remaining Prize cards, I lose soon after.
Round 3 vs Typhlosion/Magnezone
He is able to KO some of my Voltorbs early in the game, but I am eventually able to get a decent Energymite off and set up two Kyurems and just start Glaciating all day. Eventually I take 4 Prizes one turn and 2 the next with Glaciate and win a pretty one-sided game. I circle loss on the match slip, though, as I realize it is time for me to bounce out and go meet up with my brother to go to a concert (concert was this rapper Wax if anyone is interested…peep him, he is mad good).
So even just a couple rounds and a few games the night before I felt like I learned a lot about the deck. The list is pretty darn consistent with all the 4-ofs and it can beat a lot of things just with the initial jump that it gets on you, especially with it being able to fish out any two cards from the deck right off the bat. There are plenty of things that could be tried in here, and I am interested to see how these Electrode decks might evolve come the new set.
EXs could be used in conjunction with Electrode, but at a higher price, as once the EX dies you are essentially giving up 3 Prizes for the big Basic. On the other hand, running Electrode AGAINST EXs proves interesting as well; as the loss of a prize is much less if you are grabbing 2 Prize cards every time you KO one of their Pokémon.
I am sure I did not cover everything with this deck, as it has so many different options and different lists running around. Please ask questions and I can answer them once I know what people are interested in with this deck.
After the mini-marathon I attended, I had not really planned to go to any more Cities, as they were all a far drive and I am not going for CPs. However, like I said earlier, my best friend’s father passed away and this past Sunday provided an opportunity for my brother and I to spend a day together and get away from everything that had been surrounding us the past week from the accident.
So I built my brother Pete a Durant deck (list pretty similar to others you have seen on Underground) and I wanted to play something way weirder than anything I had played at the marathon. I thought back to Yanmega and how I felt that it was strong vs a lot of things in the field, so I theorymon’ed out a list the night before, played a couple games vs Pete’s Durant, and called it a night. On Sunday morning we drove two hours to Nanuet, NY where I ran this list:
Pokémon – 15
4 Yanma TM
Trainers – 33
3 Junk Arm
Energy – 12
pokemon-paradijs.comKind of like a pseudo-Six Corners with Yanmega > Virizion. There is obvious synergy between Yanmega and Kyurem in damage spreading, and since Yanmega attacks for free, you can have time to power up Kyurems on the bench. One card that I intended to play but forgot to make a cut for is Super Rod. It would have helped in some games and just overall should probably be played in a deck like this. Probably should have also played a second Terrakion, maybe over the Buffalo.
Everything else seemed pretty solid: my Supporter line was great (yet I still dead-drew a couple games…not sure how…) and my non-Supporter counts were good as well. The Seeker is an addition that I got from Doug Morsoli actually, which he originally ran in his own Six Corners. The idea transferred over to this deck and seemed sound, especially with the inclusion of Shaymin and Jirachi in the list.
Many times you get into situations with these kind of decks (especially with this as it focuses more on spreading) where the opponent tries to bench as little Pokémon as possible to avoid Glaciate hitting for a lot. Seeker allows you to punish your opponent for this, often forcing them to pick up an important Pokémon on their side of the field, and in some cases, can even outright win you the game if they only have two Pokémon and you are able to KO the other one in the same turn.
Now I guess this is a good point to explain why Yanmega is amazing against Chandelure, as otherwise this list would certainly have a horrible Chandelure matchup. First of all, Yanmega can take easy prizes in the early game, eithergusting guys up and KOing them before they evolve, or sniping Oddishes on the bench: whatever they have less of, generally.
pokemon-paradijs.comSecondly, if this deck wants, it does not have to draw prizes early either; instead it can Linear Attack a lot of different Pokémon and not activate Twins, while you are able to set up your Pokémon with your non-Supporter Trainers in the process.
Thirdly, without Reuniclus, Yanmega can take down Dodrio with two Linear Attacks and Vileplume with three, the former being the big thing that Chandelure needs to keep alive to really keep its spreading and damage output high.
Fourth, Yanmega shrugs off Burn and Confusion from Chandelure easily and just free retreats to another Yanmega. Fifth…do I need to go on? Yanmega has 110 HP and is attacking for 40 or 70 a turn while Chandelure is stuck dropping three counters a turn, six if they are lucky.
Hopefully that paints a picture of how the Chandelure matchup can go for any Yanmega-based deck: it is not good at all for the Chandelure player if the Yanmega player is halfway decent. A lot of people have forgotten about Yanmega and do not consider it a threat anymore, which makes it even more deadly. Unfortunately, I did not get to play any Chandelure decks again during this tournament.
Here are how my rounds went in Nanuet, NY:
Round 1 vs Zekrom/Thunderus/Eels
Got kind of worried about this one, but a quick Yanmega sniping two Tynamos and setting up Terrakion with Eviolite on the bench Revenged her only Zekrom with Energy as soon as it came out. I was able to Catcher for some easy prizes and spread some damage without giving up too many prizes and eventually came out on top.
Round 2 vs Justin Bokhari w/ Durant
pokemon-paradijs.comI opened Yanma and no Supporters. He opens Mime Jr. and going for three Durants and begins to mill my deck. I do not draw a Supporter all game and he just mills my entire deck with me attacking with Kyurem’s Outrage for 10-20 damage every turn. ;/
Round 3 vs Frankie Diaz w/ Electrode/Kyurem/Cobalion
Weird game. I go first with two Yanma and pass, he gets a FTKO with Voltorb on one of my Yanma. I can’t match hand sizes, evolve, and pass. He gets the T2 Energymite but only hits one Energy and hits my Kyurem with two Energy for 100 (Eviolite), but in the process he burns his hand down to 0. This kind of continues for a few turns, where he has a 0-1 card hand and I am hard-pressed to match.
I Catcher up Cobalion with no Energy, and his topdeck is Switch. Weird stuff like that. Eventually I am trying to avoid Iron Breaker KOs by retreating Yanmegas, until he finally hits a Supporter before me and then is able to Glaciate once or twice for the win.
Round 4 vs Typhlosion
He gets a slow start and I am able to set up a couple of Kyurems with Energy while pressuring with Yanmegas. I draw 4 Prizes before he is able to take one and run away with the game.
Round 5 vs ZPST
We both get slow starts and I am able to put a bunch of damage on the field with a Yanmega and Victini actually before he gets a Zekrom out. Terrakion makes quick work of that. I do not remember too much except that his Druddigon starts to give me some issues at some point, but with some smart Catchering and KOs I am able to take my 6th prize one turn before he is able to nab his.
Round 6 vs Nick Chimento w/ Magnezone/Eels
pokemon-paradijs.comMy start is eh and once he gets his first Magnezone out, he kind of just explodes. I start Kyurem and am unable to find Switch for the first few turns, and I make the mistake of playing down Terrakion without an Eviolite. It gets Catchered/Zekrom/PPed before I can make use of it and I am really missing Super Rod at this point.
I try to spread some damage around and use Jirachi tricks, but I am 1 Prize shy of winning the game and he wins because of this. I probably did not play the matchup exactly correct, but I tried my best without ever actually playing the matchup. :P
So I end up 3-3 with a deck that I had never played before and hit some bad luck again IMO. I really did like the deck and with more testing/work on the list could have been a real contender during Cities. Yanmega looks to stay under the radar with the new set coming out, but I wonder if the EXs will totally sink its viability. Which brings me to my next idea regarding Yanmega…
Especially with these EXs coming out, I could see this being a solid deck. Zoroark BLW hits Zekrom and Reshiram-EX for a lot of damage, and you could even run 1-2 Mewtwo EX yourself to combat opposing Mewtwo EXs. Zoroark is also great against the normal dragons of course. Double Terrakion should take care of Magnezone pretty well, which will still be a force to reckon with come States.
Even in this last weekend of Cities, Yanmega/Zoroark/Terrakion is something to look at. It covers a lot of basis and should have pretty clean matchups across the board. Typhlosion and Durant would probably be your weakest matchups, so just be aware of your metagame if you decide to run something like this.
Hopefully I can test this deck as States approach and get back to you guys. I will be testing Yanmega in different capacities, so at the very least I should come up with something halfway decent.
While I do not want to go in full out analysis of the decks I talked about last time, I do want to touch on them real quick:
pokemon-paradijs.comWhile my last list of the Vileplume version is pretty solid, there has obviously been some changes in the past month. More Energy is the first big thing: 4 Psychic/4 Rescue seems to be about my standard. Also, my N count has dropped to just a single copy, maybe two, while a pair of Elm’s Training Methods have found their way into the deck, with just two or three Communication. I am still a fan of 2 Gloom/2 Rare Candy, but I am also equally a fan of 0 Gloom/4 Candy.
Another innovation prompted by Mike Pramawat was a bigger Vileplume line and the inclusion of Bellossom UD: a 4/1/2/1 line instead of Blissey Prime made its way into his list during one of the NJ marathon Cities. Blissey has found less and less use in my testing, and so I like this change quite a bit. Cobalion, while great, turned out to be less useful as more and more people caught on to it, and I think running the more straightforward version is better now.
The last inclusion that I saw at the NJ marathon was Aipom UL, and one that I would include in any Chandelure list: the idea is to use Lampent’s gust attack to bring up Magnezone, or any other two-three Energy attacker with a heavy Retreat Cost and just lock them to win the game. The ability to outright win the Magnezone matchup this way makes Aipom an automatic inclusion in the deck. Shout out to Curran Hill and his testing buddies for this guy in here.
pokemon-paradijs.comAgain, my last list was pretty solid, but deserves updates. I still like the Pokémon lines, but I would run 1/1 Zekrom BLW/Thundurus EPO. Thundurus is a very strong opener and a solid attacker against a lot of decks. Another idea prompted by Pramawat is Judge in here. It adds to the Supporter count, which is needed, and provides even more disruption than just N. Overall, it makes the deck a lot stronger and more versatile.
Rescue Energy is actually pretty bad in here I have realized, and would recommend playing 13-14 Lightning with a Super Rod. Two Switch is necessary except if you play yet one more idea from Pramawat that he played one day to combat Chandelure: Dodrio UD. A 1-1 line of Dodrio in here allows you to break out of the Aipom lock and makes everything in your deck retreat for one or free, which also helps when people Catcher up Eels and hope to run you out of Junk Arms and Switch.
Overall this is still probably the best deck in the format, as it has disruption, power, energy acceleration, and speed. However it does not really have any blowout wins or auto-losses; most of its matchups are really close. This deck reminds me a lot of Storm (BLS) back in the day, especially with N in the format. Speaking of N…
Even before it came out, N has had many players scratching their heads. A Rocket’s Admin. reprint, a lot of the older players were really excited to see such a card come back. And yet, somehow N does not feel like it has had the same impact as its counterpart did five years ago. This got my thinking as to why.
What is different about today’s format that makes N a generally weaker card then Rocket’s Admin.? I went back and looked at decklists from the ’04-’05 and ’05-’06 seasons where Admin was legal, and with this information I am going to try to outline some of the reasons and give some explanation.
1. Search vs Straight Draw
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is probably the biggest difference between now and back then, and it has many layers to it. First of all, Pidgeot RG was in the format. If you were playing against a Pidgeot deck and did not have a way to shut its Power off (whether by Medicham ex or Battle Frontier) then even if you Admin’d them to a low hand, you knew they could get any single card from their deck.
This is different from how we view N now: often when we N in this format, we are putting them into a position where the probability of them hitting the one card they need (and often it is Catcher) becomes much lower. With Pidgeot (and Magcargo DX in some instances), the point of Admin was to simply make them have less cards in their hand.
They could easily search for a Steven’s Advice or Copycat to try and get more cards to use, but often they needed two or more cards to complete whatever their next task was; so the choice often came down to do I a) get one card that I know I will use right now or b) get a draw Supporter, hope I hit what I need, and if I only hit one piece, risk getting Admin’d again next turn.
The player using Admin was often behind on prizes, so Pow! Hand Extension would not be activated for the opponent, and so generally the bench was safe. You began seeing some LBS players using Porygon2 as a safety net to combat late game Admins, even with Pidgeot in the deck as well (if I remember correctly it was Fulop who first put Porygon2 in LBS).
Another thing is the amount of draw cards that many decks played. Most decks often ran only 4-8 actual draw Supporters in their deck, as Pidgeot was so strong in setting up. Celio’s Network in conjunction with Pidgeot automatically was much stronger than straight drawing, except in cases of disruption based decks of course, like Medicham ex and Mewtric.
Nowadays, we have decks with Magnezone even running a ton of draw Supporters, and decks like Stage 1s and Six Corners running absurd amounts of draw: my Yanmega deck ran 12 draw Supporters! In contrast, Jason K’s winning Mewtric list ran 4 TV Reporter and 1 Mary’s Request (and Scott, Elm’s, and Admin)! Stuart Benson’s winning Medicham ex list ran 4 TV Reporter and 2 Steven’s Advice!
The amount of draw Supporters in these type of decks has gone up quite a bit and increases the odds by a lot that they will hit a Supporter like this after an N.
pokemon-paradijs.comWhile this could change with the new EX cards coming out, this was honestly a huge thing with Admin in the format back in the day. Games went much faster with EXs, and often you would find yourself in a situation where you had all 6 Prizes left and they had just KO’d one of your EXs, leaving them with 4 Prizes.
In fact, Electrode ex automatically did this for you! An Admin in these kind of situations was extremely strong: in modern day terms, you get a PONT AND Judge them on the same turn, with the same card! This was huge. With EXs in the format, it became much much easier to abuse this aspect of Admin. Imagine getting T2 Electrode ex blown up on you and from turn two on you can get Admin’d to four or less at any time during the game. Not fun.
Going along with this, there were also a lot more other come from behind cards to take advantage that just do not exist in today’s format. Pow! Hand Extension was one of the most balanced cards ever: you got togust anything up, but only if you were down on prizes.
This allowed comebacks like we have not seen since then. Scramble Energy allowed for some crazy comebacks. These cards and more made coming back in a game a lot easier and balanced the game out IMO.
3. The HP of Pokémon
Let’s be real: there has been a huge power creep in the Pokémon over the past five years. Never did we have 130 HP monsters running around everywhere. This makes Pokémon harder and longer to KO, so often the prize counts remain somewhat even throughout a match. Back in the day it was not uncommon to go down 3-4 Prizes and Admin and comeback. Even EXs had much lower HP, Mew ex for example only had 90!
I thought I had more reasons why N was not doing what it should be doing, but I guess that pretty much covers it. If I think of/remember more I will post them in the thread.
pokemon-paradijs.comWhile I have not looked much at the next set and what it endures, I know the EXs are coming out and I know what Mewtwo EX and the dragons do. So, I do not have any real deck advice except that I can give one big piece of advice as you start testing with these EXs: if you are running Pokémon-EX, remember that you can manipulate the way your opponent draws prizes by essentially forcing them to take 7 Prizes.
Once they get down to a single prize, force them to KO an Pokémon-EX, which even more so now than back in the day, is a much harder task than KOing a regular Pokémon. This makes it harder for the opponent to win the game every time.
On the flip side, be aware that your opponent might force you into these situations, and plan accordingly. Go for easier prizes until you have 2 Prize cards left, and then start to target an Pokémon-EX for the win. This is just a general tip, but one that can really tilt games in your favor if you can play the game of it right.
In conclusion, I appreciate all the feedback you guys gave on my writing style last time. I really just wanted to make sure I did not come off as unprofessional and a poor writer, and so I will continue with my casual articles. Hopefully you all can continue to gain some knowledge from these articles, as that is my goal, to help.
As I said in my last article, I will leave you with a question; this time more directed at Pokémon:
Mewtwo EX has gained a lot of hype in the past few weeks. Looking ahead, do you think it will live up to the hype? Or will it be this year’s Gengar Prime? You guys tell me!
Good luck to anyone in their last week of Cities! See ya soon!
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