Hello dear readers, Kenny Wisdom back with another Underground exclusive article. Today I’ll be going over first weekend Battle Road results (yeah, I had to wait until Sunday night to get started on that part!), how I think the rest of the Battle Road format (including a little bit of Nats coverage) will shape up, and how you can make wise financial decisions in order to get maximum value out of your sales and purchases in the coming, post-rotation-announcement months. If you can’t already tell, I’m pretty mediocre at writing introductions, so let’s get started!
Spring Battle Road Week 1 Results
fashionising.comThis information isn’t going to be perfect as all I’ve got to go on are PokéGym reports, personal text messages, and Facebook posts of players that I’m friends with, but from what I’ve been able to gather (I had to go through the PokéGym thread manually! Thank me later etc!), these are the week one first place results (only including Masters, obviously)…
5 Wins – Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX
3 Wins – Eelektrik
3 Wins – Darkrai EX/Smeargle UD (“All-in Darkrai”)
1 Win Each – CMT, Landorus NVI/Terrakion NVI, Quad Terrakion, Terrakion/Groudon EX, KlingKlang, Lugia LEGEND/Terrakion
So, outside of the Klingklang and Lugia Legend decks, these results seem to match up with what myself a lot of other writers were thinking. Here’s a few general thoughts I would take away from these results..
– Darkrai is a fantastic card and is absolutely metagame shifting. He was the hyped card of this set, so it shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise to anyone, but if there were any doubters before they’ve certainly been proven wrong now.
– We can see that Darkrai is good, but do you know what makes him even better? His good buddy and best Pokémon in modified, Tornadus EX! It turns out 2 for 60 and 3 for 100 on a 170 HP body that resists fighting is pretty darn good.
pokemon-paradijs.com– Speaking of Fighting, while not being one of the top decks, it certainly held it’s own with three variants all garnering wins this weekend. Literally every deck with more than one win this weekend contains quite a few cards with a Fighting symbol under its weakness, so you didn’t have to be a Ralts to predict Fighting’s results this weekend.
– Eelektrik, the deck that just doesn’t die, is back with an impressive three wins. As we spoke about in my last article, Eels has everything I love in a deck (Lighting Pokémon, Energy acceleration, Raikou-EX), so we’ll definitely be talking a bit about that later.
I had originally planned to start writing about how you can turn this information into free wins via metagame exploitation in Week 2, but after realizing that Weeks 1-3-of National Championships had completed, I felt that I should include the results from those as well.
Obviously there are going to be fewer actual results, but the weight of a National Championship is a whole lot higher than that of a Battle Road, so I figured including both would be the smart thing to do.
Weeks 1-3 National Championship Results
Thanks to our good friends at TheTopCut.net, we know that Argentinian Nationals shook out like this…
- Patricio Gonzales Walsh (Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX/Terrakion NVI)
- Javier Favilli (Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX)
- Daniel Facciabene (Darkrai EX/Weavile UD)
- Hernan Gilardino (Darkrai EX/Terrakion NVI)
Weavile is an interesting call that I had been dismissing as old/outdated technology as of late, but apparently Daniel Facciabene made it work for him. The Terrakion tech in the winning Darkrai/Tornadus list is also very interesting.
Thanks to Herman Gilardino, here is his fourth place Darkrai/Terrakion list…
Pokémon – 9
Trainers – 38
Energy – 13
I’m not gonna lie; I’m not a huge fan of these types of decks in general, but this list looks pretty solid. Off the top of my head, if I were to make any changes, it would probably be something like this…
I’m sure that if I had the time to sit down and really grind out a perfect list I might make a few more changes, but the above are what I would change purely on preference. I highly doubt that the number of cards you’re drawing on average with Bianca is more than three, so I couldn’t see myself justifying the risk there.
Norwegian Nationals also took place, which produced this top 8…
1. Tord Reklev – Darkrai EX + Terrakion
2. Benjamin ??? – Darkrai EX + Terrakion
3/4. Electrode Prime/Regigigas-EX/Mewtwo EX/Terrakion NVIA
5-8. Eelektrik, Eelektrik, Empoleon DEX, Reshiphlosion
The biggest surprise here was definitely the “Electrode and techs” deck that unfortunately lost in the top four. Even more unfortunately, it didn’t get a feature match, so I wasn’t able to go through the footage and reproduce the list for all of you (which is something I definitely intended to do). Still in the realm of surprises, Empoleon and Reshiphlosion are two decks that have generally been classified as tier 2 as of late, that both put up very respectable top 8 finishes.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that the first and second place lists from this event are more or less the same as Herman’s list from Argentina, although it would be interesting to get a look at them, and if they’re spoiled anywhere within the next few days please let me know and I’ll give my thoughts in the thread for this article on the Underground Hideout.
For good measure, here are the top four of the other two National Championships that took place over the past few weekends
- Remo L. – Zekrom/Eelektrik
- Miguel G. – Zekrom/Eelektrik
- Sascha G. – Celebi Prime/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus
- Xavier – Donphan Prime/Mewtwo EX
- Stefan W. – Terrakion/Landorus NVI
- Samuel Z. – TyRam
- Matthias M. – MeesieMew
- Daniel C. – Durant
These results are quite a bit different from Argentina and Norway (and any recent Battle Roads even!) with decks like Donphan/Meewtwo, MessieMew and Durant placing highly, but it’s also very important to note that these events took place one and two weeks ago, respectively, so the metagame has had slightly longer to shape up.
I’m also not sure how stiff the competition is in these two countries/don’t immediately recognize any of the player names, so I’m not entirely sure how relevant these results will be for the remaining Battle Roads and foreign National Championships (I mean no offense by any of that, and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Still, these are HS-DEX results, and getting to analyze them is a great resource.
What All This Means for Battle Roads Week 2!
As these things usually go, Week 1 doesn’t give us a lot to go by, but it at least gives us something. At this point I think it’s pretty clear that if you’re looking for a safe, consistent bet, you’ll be playing something with either Darkrai or Eelektrik in it. That’s not to say that other strategies don’t exist, though. Personally I wouldn’t be caught playing anything other than the following decks, which I think will make up the majority of any given Battle Road metagame.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 30
3 Junk Arm
Energy – 13
This is my favorite deck and has pretty much always held that title for as long as it’s been legal, so I’ve put extra work into making it as competitive as possible. Luckily, with fantastic additions in Raikou-EX and Tornadus EX, that wasn’t too hard to accomplish. Thoughts on the list…
pokemon-paradijs.com– I always want more Smeargle. I don’t have room for them and 4 is definitely overkill, but it’s the star of the deck. I tried 2 for a very long time, but ended up making some small sacrifices in other areas to fit the 3rd. I wouldn’t blame anyone for only playing 2, but I definitely feel that it’s subpar. Being able to find your Smeargles (especially early) is the key to this deck. As an aside, World Champion David Cohen is very happy that Smeargle is playable again.
– The 40 HP Tynamos are a must. This deck is already soft vs Darkrai (more on that later), and you simply can’t afford to make the game even easier for them. I wouldn’t play anything other than the NVI 38 ones either. The ones from Dark Explorers are interesting, but I’ve won far too many games off the back of paralysis to ever consider swapping. The sniping Tynamo from DEX is worth a possible inclusion as a 1-of, but I’m not even sure I’d go that far.
– Shaymin UL actually has not been all that impressive. It’s still in the list as it’s good and deserving of a slot, but I could imagine a world in which I find something better for said slot. It’s a big game with Mewtwo EX, however.
– I had originally tried to forego playing Collector entirely in favor of a suite of Dual Balls and Random Receivers, but your reliance on Smeargle/Thundurus/Tornadus are just too high to try and overcome variance. I want to try and test a list that has Sage’s Training and a few other straight draw cards over things like Professor Oak’s New Theory and Professor Juniper and see if the Dual Ball/Receiver package would work in that, as you would be able to sculpt your hand a bit more efficiently than with all the shuffle-draw and discard-draw we have currently, but that’s just an idea and nothing I would recommend sleeving up just quite yet. I’ll definitely be testing that idea in the coming weeks though, and will report back with any findings.
– The 1 and 2-of Trainers are a necessarily evil. In a perfect world I would be playing 4-ofs of almost all of these cards, but unfortunately we live in a universe of 60 card decks, so we make due with what we can. I could see messing with these numbers a bit, but I would definitely keep the Ultra Ball and Switch counts the same. I like everything else where it is, I just wish I could have more of it.
pokemon-paradijs.comOn that note, the only card that I could see trying to shove in another copy of would be Skyarrow Bridge, as that card is just insane. Opening Smeargle into Skyarrow into Portrait into Tornadus into DCE into 60 damage on turn one is a big game.
– The energy is as close to perfect as it’s going to get, so I wouldn’t mess with that at all. I’ve seen a few lists floating around that have only 3 copies of DCE, but that doesn’t seem to be prioritizing Tornadus EX quite as heavily as I would like to.
Overall, I really like this deck. You have a slew of versatile options in all of your attackers, you have things like Shaymin and Smeargle for times when you need to make clutch plays, and you have a fair mix of consistency and diversity in your trainer line that you’re almost never going to just completely draw dead (unless your name is Kenny Wisdom of course!).
The main issue with this deck is its Darkrai matchup. It has put up consistent results vs any variants that play Zoroark or Weaviles or Absols, but versus Darkrai/Terrakion or Darkrai/Tornadus it struggles. The issue is a pretty simple one in that Darkrai is such an incredible card, that either of the aforementioned decks can choose to just not play any copies of Tornadus (or even Terrakion, if they don’t think they can beat your Tornadus) and still have a positive matchup.
The fact that you have to leave room on your bench for a Basic that gets 2-shotted by Darkrai that (hopefully) evolves into a Stage 1 that gets 3-shotted by Darkrai and doesn’t do anything proactive on its own is a pretty big problem. Oh, and did I mention that the whole time Darkrai is doing this to you, it’s also swinging for 90-130 damage at your active, and can retreat anything on it’s board for free? Yeah, that card seems pretty good.
The advantage that you do have, in my testing, is the ability to attack with Pokémon other than EXs. Although you only have access to one copy each of Zekrom and Thundurus, they literally have zero non-EX attackers, meaning that if you can play tight, there’s a chance of exchanging prizes favorably.
You also should be inherently faster than them, assuming that they don’t get insanely lucky into drawing DCEs, basic Darks, and Dark Patches. Setting up Eelektriks does take at least a turn, but with Smeargle for added consistency and the fact that you have access to a T1 Thundurus, you should be okay in the speed department.
BulbapediaOne thing that I don’t know if a lot of players are doing correctly is attacking with Tornadus EX. While it’s true that you should be trying to attack with non-EXs as much as possible, Tornadus is fast and puts on exactly the type of pressure you’re looking for. If given the choice between a Smeargle into a Tornadus + DCE + Skyarrow or a Smeargle into a Thundurus + Lightning + Skyarrow + Lighting in hand, the choice is almost always going to be for Tornadus.
If you can get a Tornadus active with a Smeargle on the bench, a Skyarrow Bridge online, and a few copies of Tynamo waiting to be turned into Eelektriks by the first few turns, you should be in a pretty decent position. On that note, be careful of when you’re dropping your Tynamos.
Early game you need as much as you can, but since we’re not running the free retreat Tyanmos any longer, there’s no real reason to drop extra copies, particularly if your opponent has the ability to start sniping it with a Darkrai.
This deck also gains a huge benefit from going first. Getting to Smeargle first and most importantly evolve your Tynamos into Eelektriks starting on turn two is a huge benefit. I haven’t crunched the numbers at all, but I’d be willing to bet that the win percentages of this deck drop by double digits when it loses the die roll.
Cheap prizes are also something you’re going to want to be mindful of, and something that hasn’t really been on the mind of players for a while. During the LuxChomp-infested SP era, the game was so fast that it was often correct to take whatever prizes you could at the time, even if they didn’t advance the overall board state or caused you to have to overextend a bit. Prizes were king.
Then we moved into the Yanmega vs. Cleffa, Pichu, and Tyrogue era where cheap prizes weren’t nearly as important as everything was 1-shotting everything else anyway, but there was many a game lost because of a late game Cleffa drop into a Yanmega or a Pokémon Reversal + Tyrogue.
pokemon-paradijs.comBecause you have inherently weaker Pokémon in Eelektrik, you’re going to try and want to take as many cheap prizes by way of Smeargle or Shaymin that you can. Thundurus, Tornadus’ first attack with a PlusPower, and Zekrom BLW can all score KOs on Smeargles and Shaymins, so definitely be on the look out for that as a way to gain small advantage and put pressure on your opponent.
Your CMT match up is a lot less complex, and should be favorable. As always, you have inherent type advantage versus their big star in Tornadus, and if they are teching Terrakion you now have an even better defense in your own Tornadus EX. As with the Darkrai matchup, cheap prizes are very relevant here, with most contemporary CMT lists running a full set of Celebis on top of some number of Shaymin UL and Smeargles.
From my testing, putting early pressure on your opponent with a slew of Lightning Pokémon will force them to try and trade prizes before eventually starting a Mewtwo war. A war which, if you’ve sculpted your hand correctly and played tight, you should be able to win.
I’ve been focusing my testing to purely what I think will be appearing in my metagame (since my main focus, outside of winning a Battle Road, is to make sure that Tyler Ninomura and Isaiah Middleton can squeeze the last few points out of Battle Roads to secure their invite, all while preparing for Nationals), so I haven’t had the chance to test thoroughly against some of the smaller-yet-popular decks like Empoleon or Durant, but I imagine that you’ve got favorable matchups against both because of the inclusion of Raikou-EX and Tornadus EX respectively.
If anyone is interesting in hearing more in-depth thoughts about either of those two decks, please leave a note in the forum and I’ll try to get around to doing a few test matches, or at the very least discussing high-level theorymon with you.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 36
Energy – 13
– The Smeargle count here is once again very high. Call it a personal preference, but I think it’s the best way to run the deck. Getting to use two Supporters a turn at almost no cost (assuming that you can find one of your 8 D Energy, 2 Bridges, or Switch) is pretty amazing, especially in a deck that otherwise lacks a consistent starter.
– The Supporter lines are yours to play around with, but I know for certain that I wouldn’t change the count of Professor Oak’s New Theory. From there, it’s really a matter of preference if you want 4 Juniper and 2 N, or 3-of each. I personally find 3-of each better as I’m not one who likes to discard my hand and I feel like N is underrated at the moment, but I won’t argue that it’s mostly a preference call.
– The 3 Ultra Ball and 1 Dual Ball split might seem a little odd, but trust me when I say that it works. I always want more Dual Ball, but there’s just no way to justify trying to find the room. The 3-to-1 split gives you enough flexibility in being able to get what you need while discarding what you don’t (mostly Dark energy) while still having enough built-in consistency that you should be able to draw into them when you need to.
– Random Receiver, in my experience, is ridiculously underrated and should be run in pretty much every deck that doesn’t include copies of Pokémon Collector. I like it as a 2-of here with 10 draw supporters, but there are so many uses for this card it’s downright insane. A fast and loose rule is to replace all of last formats Pokégear 3.0 with the same number of copies of Random Receiver in HS-DEX lists (again, in ones that don’t contain Collector), but you can do so much more with it than that, and I feel that as the format matures we’ll be seeing this card become a staple (It’ll stay steady at about $3 – $4, IMO) of the format. Get yours while you can.
– Eviolite vs Dark Claw is something that I’ve seen a number of fantastic players argue back and forth about, and at the end of the day I don’t feel like the format has been around long enough to say what is “correct” or “strictly better”, but I will say that I’d almost always rather be playing Eviolites and protecting myself against numbers that DO matter than playing Dark Claws and hoping that the Pokémon they’re playing happen to have the right HP. I wouldn’t blame anyone for playing Dark Claw and it certainly has it’s merits, but it’s simply just not what I want to be doing.
pokemon-paradijs.com– I’ve seen a few lists run Special D Energy and I’m here to tell you that that is always wrong. The only Pokémon in your entire deck that benefits from the usage of Special Darkness is Darkrai, and it’s not worth the risk of running into an Enhanced Hammer or a Lost Remover. Like with Dark Claw, the positives might try and outshine the negatives, but I would recommend that you do some serious testing and number crunching before you register any Special Darks on your Battle Road decklist.
Also like with Dark Claw I wouldn’t be absolutely disgusted if someone were to play Special Darks, but at this point you’d have to come up with some pretty convincing reasoning.
I think that Darkrai/Tornadus is far and away the best deck. As we discussed earlier, its Eelektrik matchup is favorable, and I don’t think anything else in the format can really touch it. I don’t doubt that technology will improve and diversify by US Nationals, but for now I’m pretty secure in calling DTS the best deck.
The issue of the Darkrai/Terrakion deck is a very real one, but for every LuxChomp there is a Machamp, for every Truth there is a MagneBoar, etc. Personally I think the choice between running DTS and running Darkrai/Terrakion (as with the decision of whether to take against Darkrai/Terrakion in your DTS), like with so many other decisions around Battle Road time, has to be a metagame call.
Darkrai/Tornadus swept the first week of Battle Roads (Both by B-Side members etc.) here, so I would definitely be prepared to face both Darkrai/Tornadus and Darkrai/Terrakion for Week 2, regardless of which deck I ended up playing.
However, if your metagame hasn’t shaped up quite as nicely yet, I see no problem with running a “stock” list of DTS, as long as you’re aware of the potential presence of Darkrai/Terrakion and know how to play against it. I’m even unsure of how huge of a threat Darkrai/Terrakion truly is vs. Darkrai/Tornadus, as a smart player (assuming the prize gods are kind to you) can try and defend themselves with Tornadus EXs (and to a lesser extent, Mewtwo EXs), hopefully nullifying the type disadvantage as much as possible. Still, there’s no denying that it’s an unfavorable matchup, so you’ve got to be prepared.
pokemon-paradijs.comHow do you prepare for Darkrai/Terrakion, you ask? Well, as I said before, playing very tight with your Darkrai drops and trying to mainly attack with Tornadus and Mewtwo are going to be your best bet. Tornadus, regardless of Eviolite presence on the defending Pokémon, should almost always trade favorably with a Terrakion, and if you can get multiple Tornadus going (and if you can get lucky on Super Scoop Up flips!) you should be able to keep up a semi-favorable prize exchange, particularly if they run cold on energy and/or Pokémon Catchers.
Outside of playstyle, if you are certain your area is going to be heavily infested with Darkrai/Terrakion, I could see playing a list that has the following changes to the one I posted above…
– 1 Smeargle
– 1 Darkrai
+ 1 Tornadus EX
+ 1 Mewtwo EX
– 2 Smeargle
+ 2 Tornadus EX
I think you get the point. Again, I would be very certain that there is going to be a heavy Darkrai/Terrakion presence in your metagame before making these changes, but if you’re certain that’s the case, packing extra copies of Tornadus and Mewtwo could be just the surprise factor you need to start stacking those Victory Cups.
Versus Eelektrik your matchup is favorable, but things can very easily go the wrong way, particularly if you get a bad start or are forced to play more than one Tornadus EX early. Your Darkrais are going to shine here, as you’re going to want to attack with them early and often, particularly if your opponent happens to get a God start and can start attacking with a Tornadus or something equally as frightening on Turn 1 or 2.
I’ve found that trying to focus on swarming Darkrai is going to be your best bet. The earlier you can get out an attacking Darkrai (hopefully within the two turns with the help of Dark Patch), the better secured your matchup is.
pokemon-paradijs.comAnother factor is holding your Shaymin and Super Scoop Up drops for the correct moments. I’m writing all of this assuming that your opponent gets an absolutely blazing fast start, as I feel it’s better to try and prepare for the worst than to assume things will go your way. Pleasant surprises and all that.
If your opponent is putting up 60 on turn 1 and threatening 100+ on turn 2 with some support on the bench, you’re going to want to go in defense mode, where you sacrifice a Smeargle or two while building up a Darkrai on the bench, and sculpting your hand full of Super Scoop Ups, Junk Arm, and your Shaymin, so that you can make up for the initial prize deficit in the mid-to-late game.
The presence of Eelektrik is another reason to consider running the Terrakion version of this deck, but I think I’ve outlined above most of the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
The DTS vs. CMT matchup is also very simple, and really comes down to your start and whether or not you can hit heads on your Super Scoop Up flips. You should be focusing on getting out a Darkrai by Turn 1 or 2, and after that, as long as you’re not making repeated misplays, the matchup should be even, tilting to slightly favorable if you hit the majority of your crucial Super Scoop Up flips, and tilting to slightly unfavorable if you don’t and your opponent gets a fast start.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 33
Energy – 14
This is probably my least favorite deck in the format (and pretty much always has been), but I can’t deny that it’s been winning it’s fair share, and is good/relevant enough that it should always stay on your mind. Big ups to my friend Chris Jester, who has been championing this deck since its creation and has been taking down Battle Roads with it left and right.
– Once again, Smeargle plays a pretty big role here. The “standard” lists seem to be including only one copy, but I’ve found the room for 2 and absolutely love it. It’s not quite as important as it is in the other two decks listed here, as you have another very sweet starter in Celebi, but it certainly serves it purpose, and I wouldn’t play the deck with any less than a single copy.
– I’m not sure how innovative or weird/different the inclusion of the Terrakion is, but I’ve been playing it for a while and have been loving it (once again, at the suggestion of Chris Jester). Almost all the big decks have at least one component that is weak to Fighting, so it’s a solid one of. The Retreat Cost is definitely the biggest issue, which is why we have two Switch and 3 Skyarrow Bridge.
I’ve thought about switching that number around purely because of Terrakion and have seen a lot of players doing so, but I feel that the value you get out of the Bridge outweighs being able to play a little more loose with Terrakion.
– More Eviolite and PlusPower is always where you want to be, but I’m afraid there’s just no room. The only cuttable card is maybe the Random Receiver, as that would still leave you with 10 supporters, but I would even need a pretty solid argument to convince me that that would be correct.
– I run slightly more energy than the standard, and it hasn’t failed me yet. I can see the argument for one less Grass, but I’m not prepared to advocate that just quite yet.
Your matchup vs. Eelektrik isn’t exactly favorable, but if you know what you’re doing and get your fair share of luck off of Dual Balls, you should be able to bring it back to even territory. I recommend trying to put early pressure on through Mewtwo EX while building up to a Terrakion that will hopefully be able to sweep their entire board.
Throwing out Mewtwo EX is always a risky proposition, but you’re packing more Mewtwo heat than they are, and although I mentioned earlier than they can definitely win the war if the prizes are lopsided in their favor, putting that type of pressure on early is definitely where you want to be.
From there, I’ve usually found that building up into a Terrakion, and then into a Mewtwo, and then into a Terrakion (through the use of Super Rod, and only if the first one didn’t get you there) can be devastating. The name of the game, as with so many of the matchups we’ve discussed and the format as a whole right now, is speed and early pressure.
It’s also important to note that there’s also a line of play where you do everything you can (regardless of which attacker you’re using) to take out their Tynamos and Eelektriks, and then, after destroying their energy acceleration, you move into a full on Mewtwo assault, with the theory being that they will never be able to keep up while attaching one energy per turn.
This is certainly the more risky line and not exactly where you want to be all of the time, but if you can score some early Catcher kills or happen to know that your opponent is running an unusually thin line of Eelektrik, it’s a more than fair strategy that I’ve seen win plenty of games.
I’ve already discussed Darkrai/Tornadus, but to re-iterate: It’s essentially an even matchup that is tilted in one decks favor or another because of the luck of starts and Super Scoop Up flips on Darkrai. I hate to say it, but it really is that simple, and that luck based.
How to Get Maximum Value Out of the Looming Rotation
Mark A. HicksSo, I don’t know about you, but I like making money. What I like even more than making money, though, is not losing money. Luckily, you’ve got your old pal Kenny Wisdom here to show you how to do both of those things, all with Pokémon cards!
For those of you who don’t know, TPCi will announce the next Modified format sometime in June, prior to US Nationals. The rotation won’t actually happen until after Worlds this year (or, at least, it shouldn’t!) but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use those in-between months to squeeze every drop of value out of your cards that you can.
I feel like we’ll get much more use out of this section of the article in the forum, where we can discuss specifics and you can ask direct questions, but for now let me break down a few general tips that will help you make the wisest financial decisions regarding your collection of Pocket Monsters.
– Decide if you’re going to sell now, or wait for the announcement. It’s very likely that our Modified format for next year will be BLW-on, so a wise Pokémon player and aspiring hustler might look to get rid of the majority of their HS-COL cards now, selling them while they’re at peak prices and getting maximum value out of them. However, it was also expected two years ago that we’d rotate to Platinum-on, leaving a whole lot of players empty handed when it was announced that the format would indeed be MD-on. That, folks, is the definition of blowout.
Now, I’m not saying don’t sell your HS-CL cards now. Not at all. I’m simply reminding you to understand the risks involved in doing so, and asking you to remember that it’s not necessarily an “all or nothing” scenario. For instance, I’ve been slowly getting rid of the more valuable parts of my HS-CL collection for the last few weeks (Junk Arms, Collectors, etc.), but have made sure to keep enough in stock that I can both have all that myself and my teammates might need for any given tournament in the future, and enough that I can prey on those that offloaded everything and need them some Item Finder reprints come September. No matter what you choose, understand the risks involved and be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to sell and buy, and at what prices.
– If you’re not attending your country’s National Championship or the World Championship, sell your sought-after cards now (or after rotation is announced). I know that a lot of players like having real cards for league matches and testing, but at the end of the day, if you’re not registering cards on a decklist, they don’t need to be real copies. Selling all of your soon-to-be-rotated cards in June as opposed to August will mean more money in your pocket, and a few months head of everyone else.
– If you’re like a lot of other Pokémon players, you have quite a bit of commons and uncommons lying around. I myself try and offload these as soon as I possibly can, only keeping foil (because I am a terrible person) playsets of cards that I foresee being playable in the future, but I understand that it’s not that easy for some players.
Luckily, if you are the type who has boxes and boxes of unplayable or illegal commons and uncommons (or even rares and super rares) lying around, there are many sites (I recommend TrollandToad.com) who will take that all off of your hands for a flat rate.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some catches and some details that need to be worked out. The first of which is that you need to accept that you’re not going to get a huge amount for just commons and uncommons. The going rate is $.05/card, or $55/1,000 cards, which although doesn’t sound like a lot, can add up. The real value comes because there is no work for you.
You don’t have to spend hours agonizing over typing in each name and number of each card for eBay listings, you don’t need to take photos and describe conditions, and most importantly you don’t need to organize the cards alphabetically or in any other fashion besides separating rarities, you just need to email the site of your choice with the amount of bulk you have, and within a few days they’ll get back to you and you’ll be on your way to getting money for your useless cards.
How to Buy Card Wisely
nebraskasupersonic.comNow that I’ve gone over the basics of selling your old cards, let’s take a look at something most players know even less about — how to buy cards wisely OR How I learned to stop worrying and love speculation.
I’ve told this story in articles before, I’m sure, but after Isaiah Middleton returned from his Spring Break trip to Japan last year, he informed us of this crazy new deck called MagneBoar, and how Cleffa was all the rage with those whacky Japanese players. Mind you that this is in March, months before Black and White has even been released in the US.
Using this “insider” information, my good friend Amelia Bottemiller and I were able to buy Troll and Toad completely out of Cleffas. I can’t quite remember how many they had, but I believe I had purchased 50 reverse foil Call of Legends and 50 reverse foil HeartGold copies for myself at $.50/ea. While $100 is a fairly large investment, I was then able to re-sell 75 of them (had to keep some for myself and the team of course) for $3.00 – $5.00 each, resulting in a $125+ profit for myself.
Also, somewhere in this story Amelia ends up with 16 Magnezones that she bought at $6 and re-sold at $25, but I’m not exactly in the business of saying nice things about her.
The point of this story (besides sick brags) is to say that with a little foresight (and a friend who can’t go on living unless he visits Asia once a year) you can make some serious dough with a fairly small investment.
As I said before, this whole topic is difficult to speak about in generalities, so here are some specifics that I’m sharing exclusively with you, the Underground community. I can’t promise anything, but I’d like to think that I’ve proven myself as a savvy enough poke business person that you can have faith in my predictions.
pokemon-paradijs.com– Rotation notwithstanding, Smeargle going for $2 on TrollandToad seems kind of ridiculous, seeing as how it’s a 2 to 4-of in every winning deck right now. Mind you that it’s been reprinted twice and will almost certainly be rotated soon, but if you have a little cash, I could see scooping up a bunch of these for re-sale at Nationals, especially considering TrollandToad has less than 100 of each in stock. Oh, and Call of Legends is clearly the superior art, not close.
– Looking toward the rotation, all of the BW-DEX supporters will certainly get a small price boost, as Professor Oak’s New Theory, Sage’s Training, Copycat, et al rotate out. The problem here is that almost every playable Supporter has been reprinted multiple times whether in separate sets, in theme decks, or as a full art, but there is still some money to be made.
In particular, I think that full-art Ns and foil DEX versions of Juniper and Cheren are likely to see a small increase in price over the next six months or so.
– Bouffalant BWL 91 has been seeing play as an energy efficient non-EX attacker, and the fact that it’s at $0.25 is insane to me. They do have 318 copies in stock so I’m not sure if literally buying them out is feasible, but if you’ve got an overload of them, it’s something I’d keep an eye on.
– Entei-EX at only $7.50 seems ridiculous to me. This is probably one of the more risky plays in this article, as the card is one of the most expensive I’ll talk about, but Entei is reasonably playable and is deserving of much more than it’s price tag, in my opinion. I could easily see these hitting $10 or $15 (maybe that’s a bit hopeful) within the next few months.
– Heavy Ball is a card that I could see going way up, particularly in foil, as Terrakion (and possibly even Groudon EX) make their way into the metagame. If you want to play the long game, there’s also Hydreigon, Terrakion-EX and Registeel-EX from the Japanese Dragon sets that are currently getting a lot of hype and absolutely love to abuse Heavy Balls.
Bulbapedia– Tornadus EX being at $25 is the worst offense on this list. I know that there are still players who don’t believe in the card, but trust me, this guy is going to be $40 minimum very soon. Darkrai got a lot of deserved hype, but as I’ve said before Tornadus is a game changer, and I could easily see him eclipsing Darkrai and Mewtwo in terms of outrageous prices.
– Lastly, Shaymin EX is getting looked over so much right now. 180 is a pretty big number, and GC is a pretty low energy cost. They seem to have stabilized at $6, but given the right rotation and the right shifts in the metagame I could see them hitting a $10 ceiling very quickly (and even more than that for the full art versions).
As I said before, I’d love to have some detailed discussion about particular cards and their value, what I think of them, etc. in the forum post for this article, so please feel free to ask away!
If you’d like to hear more financial tips (or tips on anything, really), the only way for that to happen is for me to be scheduled to write for the Underground more, which luckily, you have a direct effect on! Please click the Like button at the bottom of this post, and, if you’re feeling extra generous, email our glorious leader Adam Capriola at email@example.com requesting that I get more Underground opportunities.
You can contact me on AIM at kwisdumb, over email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at /KennyWisdom, and on Twitter at @kwisdumb. I love hearing from readers, so please don’t be shy. I’ll be back next week on the free side of things with a (hopefully positive) BR report and some more random musings, and until then, remember that Tornadus is a really, really ridiculous card.
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