PTCGO & Beating the A.I.

Hello SixPrizes!
The PTCGO A.I. is not quite as good as Watson…

My name is Simon. Also, Quarter-Turn. You may have read my article back in November, or you may have seen my game with the infamous Muldin on The Top Cut back in the fall. You have probably played against me on the PTCGO. Or more than likely, you haven’t heard of me at all.

Today, I bring you sad news that, if you play the Trading Card Game Online, you have probably already heard. The PTCGO is going into maintenance again, and they’ll be shutting off the multiplayer feature for an indefinite amount of time. For some of us, myself included, playing online is our main source of playtesting. In fact, I play so often that I’ve earned just over 6200 online Game Points, the most of any player to date. Not being able to play multiplayer for several hours every day will be more than a little disappointing for me and for many others.

That said, we will still be able to play through one overlooked avenue: the A.I. I know, it’s not challenging in the slightest, and it won’t prepare you for Battle Roads very well at all, but it could be a fun way to toy around with some new deck ideas.

I would like to present to you some of the decks I have built specifically for battles against the computer. Mind you, these are fun decks that would never work in a tournament setting, or even against bad players who can read the text on your cards and see your strategy, but they are fun to play in a format where your opponent blindly attacks into your active, with no access to Pokémon Catcher or N.

Deck #1: Druddigon/Kingdra

The object of this deck is that you win without ever attacking. Druddigon + Rocky Helmet is an ineffective wall in competitive play because of Pokémon Catcher and high HP attackers that don’t care about recoil and can dish out more than 100 damage each turn. Fortunately, those two things do not appear in decks the A.I. throws at you, creating an environment that allows this deck to exist.

Pokémon – 14

4 Horsea UL

2 Seadra UL

4 Kingdra Prime

4 Druddigon NVI

Trainers – 44

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Cheren
4 Sage’s Training/Cheerleader’s Cheer/Team Rocket’s Trickery
4 N


4 Rocky Helmet

4 Junk Arm
4 Rare Candy
4 Max Potion
3 Pokémon Communication
3 Pokégear 3.0
3 Switch
2 Revive
1 Lost Remover

Energy – 2

2 W

pokemon-paradijs.comThe game plan is to get Druddigon active right away, attach a Rocky Helmet, build up Kingdra on your bench, and wait for your opponent to kill itself. Straight draw with Cheren and Sage are excellent when your opponent can’t shuffle away your hand with Judge or N. You have N of your own to prevent deck outs, and because it’s a great card in general.

Druddigon’s ability “Rough Skin” is like a built-in Rocky Helmet. When the tool is attached, you throw 40 damage back at any Pokémon that hits you with damage from an attack. Kingdra allows you to place one damage counter during your turn, helping you get those KOs that much sooner.

I don’t like to attack with Kingdra, and most of the time, the W Energy just acts as extra Switch, but also this: Believe it or not, the computer actually has access to Machamp SF! With one Energy, “Take Out” states that “if the Defending Pokémon isn’t an Evolved Pokémon, that Pokémon is Knocked Out instead of damaged by this attack.”

Not only does that 1HKO Druddigon, but it bypasses “Rough Skin” and Rocky Helmet. So, the W Energy gives you an out against that beast. It’s important to note that once Machamp has two Energy on it, it will usually stop using “Take Out,” so you’re safe then to bring Druddigon back in (LOL).

This deck is surprisingly fun to play. I have built it with just four Druddigon for an extra challenge, forgoing the Kingdra for Potion, Super Scoop Up, and other healing cards, but Kingdra gets very little love in competitive play, so I wanted to give it a chance to shine here.

Deck #2: Mew/Sharpedo Deck Out

Victini is glitched. We know this. But against the A.I., it works sort of. For Sharpedo, it flips the first coin, and asks you if you want to re-flip. If you got tails, you can say yes and it’ll flip two coins again for you, or if you got heads, you can say no to the re-flip, it’ll flip the second coin, and then give you the option of re-flipping just the second coin.

So, the glitch actually works in your favor. Taking advantage of this against the A.I. isn’t unethical as it might be if you were capitalizing on the glitch in multiplayer, so have at it.

Pokémon – 11

4 Mew Prime
2 Sharpedo TM
2 Carvanha TM
1 Victini NVI 14
1 Smoochum HS
1 Crobat Prime

Trainers – 39

4 N
4 Professor Juniper
3 Twins


4 Eviolite

4 Crushing Hammer
4 Level Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Super Scoop Up
4 Junk Arm
3 Pokégear 3.0
1 Revive

Energy – 10

4 Prism
4 Rainbow
1 P
1 D – Basic

pokemon-paradijs.comThe clear objective of this deck is to run your opponent out of cards. This is accomplished with Spiritomb/N + “Strip Bare,” disruption cards, and the fortunate Victini glitch.

Sharpedo’s attack “Strip Bare” lets you flip two coins. If both are heads, your opponent discards all cards from his or her hand. Mew saves space in your deck and allows you to stream Sharpedo. Victini lets you re-flip your coins to increase your odds of getting two heads.

I run only one Victini in this deck because I only own one. If it’s prized, I usually just concede and start over. The computer won’t be offended.

Other interesting cards: Smoochum is for added disruption, Crobat is for an alternate win opportunity in case the deck out glitch comes into effect and you still want to win.

Crushing Hammer is obvious. Lost Remover is less relevant against the A.I., since it doesn’t run much special energy.

This deck would be a more disruptive version of Durant. If you were incapable of flipping tails, I would definitely consider taking this to a tournament. Discarding 6+ cards per turn while leaving your opponent with no hand is incredibly disruptive and flat-out wins you games when you flip right.

Deck #3: Mew/Swanna/Swoobat

Mew + Swanna + spread is indeed legal, works on PTCGO, and is so satisfying when you pull it off. Normally, it would be nearly impossible to make work but again, there exists a format for this combo and it’s called the A.I.

Pokémon – 11

4 Mew Prime
2 Swanna BLW
2 Swoobat EPO
1 Tyrogue HS
1 Elekid TM
1 Smoochum HS

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Professor Juniper
3 N


4 Crushing Hammer
4 Level Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Junk Arm

4 Eviolite
3 Pokégear 3.0
2 Dual Ball
1 Revive

Energy – 12

8 P
4 Prism

pokemon-paradijs.comAbout some of the cards: Swanna has an attack called “Feather Dance” that, for one C Energy, increases your damage next turn by 40. Swoobat’s “Phat Sound” requires you flip three coins. For each heads, the attack does 10 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon. For this reason, Victini would work here, as well. When these attacks are used in succession, you could be spreading anywhere from 50-70 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon!

The babies are for extra Basics so you don’t have to mulligan too many times. You don’t really have to worry about getting donked. The Prism are just like, why not? Your opponent doesn’t run Lost Remover and who knows, you might just feel like using “Aqua Ring.” I believe the rest is self-explanatory.

I built a version of this with Weavile UD to play in Expert Game just for jokes and to make my opponent laugh the one time every few games I manage to pull the combo off. It’s still satisfying against the A.I., though, especially because the computer always fills its bench with every Basic Pokémon that comes into its hand.


Those are the decks I really wanted to talk about today. Honorable mentions include LostGar to see how many Pokémon you can put into the Lost Zone in one game (20+), Banette TM energy denial to see how many Energy you can lock away, V-Blast Victini for T1 120, Cubone TM/Dunsparce HS, Cubone TM/Bisharp NVI 76, Straight Cubone with Victini, and Volbeat TM/Illumise TM.

These decks may seem elementary and silly. They are, but they’re also fun to play and give you something different to try out while we wait for our multiplayer to come back. The Trading Card Game Online is a really important tool provided to us by The Pokémon Company International. It’s good for the game, and it’s imperative that we not abandon it despite the frustration.

Remember that the site is in beta right now, so this interruption, though discouraging, should not be too unexpected. I don’t expect this kind of article to solve anything, but to at least give you something to play around with and keep you playing while we (im)patiently await the return of our PvP.

Reader Interactions

13 replies

  1. Isaac McClintock

    Excellent article, Simon! It’s nice to have a break from all of these competitive and have a fun, enjoyable read. +1. Heck, +20!

  2. Renfield89

    Very unique article. The Druddigon deck would be pretty neat to troll not only the computer, but noobs at some league with.

    The average player’s skill on PTCGO is so poor that my Volbeat/Illumise deck is around 8-2 versus Zekrom/Eel players there, so that deck is definitely too OP for AI play =P

  3. Sam Vernooy

    That Swoobat deck seems Ridiculous. Does it work with Kyurem as well? Or maybe Electivire TM, witch does 50 to all of there Pokemon with energy on them. I would try it myself, but i don’t have very many cards on the TCGO.

  4. airhawk06

    PTCGO is only a valuable tool if the company 1) makes a version that works glitch free and 2) utilizes the platform in a meaningful way.

    Neither of those seem lile viable options right now. The 2nd on especially does not seem likely. They don’t allow singles to be bought or sold. They dont have any ttpe of workable currency. They have not indicated any inclination to host tournaments.

    Until most of thos things happen, it is just a fun toy.

  5. theo Seeds

    I personally don’t play PTCGO because there are too many glitches and I’d rather trade the codes, but I would still +1 this if it weren’t for the poor timing of the article, as I heard that the PTCGO is going down for a bit.

  6. Mohamad

    You know I’ve actually been playing around for druddigon for quite a bit since its release. Loved it.

  7. Matthew S

    Another fun article QT! My Serperior/Venomoth monstrosity is godly against the AI.

  8. Amanda Kovs

    I had no idea it was being taken down, so I appreciate the heads up. It’s kind of a bummer to see it go down for an undetermined amount of time–it was a fun casual way to pass time and also playtest–but the screenshot they have posted makes me believe that the interface is going to be A LOT more user friendly and easier to deal with. So all in all, I agree with them taking it down.

    Also, great article. The decks are really cool. :)

  9. Grant Manley

    I don’t think this article belongs on the front page of Sixprizes. Sure, the decks are new and fun, but they are just goofy and awful. The Mew/Swoobat deck needs Fliptini.

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