Hello SixPrizes! It is your friendly neighbor from the Philippines again, bringing you a comprehensive article on one of the most entertaining and unique events in the Philippine Pokémon TCG community — the Team Battle! My article on this year’s Team Battle, held on March 24, will be broken down into three sections:
- How Do We Play Team Battle?
- The Report
Despite the length of this article, I highly suggest that you read it from top to bottom so that you’ll get a good grip of the mechanics and environment of this unique format of game play. Who knows, your community might want to try it out too sometime, right?
I. How Do We Play Team Battle?
BulbapediaTeam Battle is not a sanctioned or official tournament wherein one earns Championship Points or acquires promotional cards. It is created more to foster a TCG competition with a lighter and more supportive environment, especially for beginners who are reluctant to individually participate in highly competitive organized play tournaments such as Battle Roads and City Championships.
Additionally, Team Battle encourages collaborative effort in terms of brainstorming, testing, and even giving advices with one another in-between rounds during the tournament. The key is to cover as much ground as the team can by means of individual deck choices.
The most important aspect, however, is that it allows players, though limited to groups of five, to trust each other at least through competition which makes room for the constant building of a friendlier environment amongst the not-so-many players in our community.
So how do we play Team Battle? Of course, one needs to have a legitimate 60-card deck. But apart from the obvious, here is a basic break down of the mechanics:
- Players shall create teams composed of five members each. Creativity in naming teams is always a welcome addition.
- Each team shall assign each of its members a number (from 1 to 5). This is for the pairings of who faces who later on during the competition. The assigned numbers for each member is permanent and shall be disclosed to the officiating judge only, and would only be announced just before the competition starts.
- The format is single round robin.
- When Team X is announced to battle Team Y in a particular round, players who were assigned the number “1” from both teams face against each other. The same goes for the other players and the other teams.
- For each round, a team needs to win at least three of its five individual matches to be granted a point. For example, Team X has its players “1”, “3”, and “4” won in Round 1. Team X wins over the opposing team and is now granted one point. Since this is just Round 1, Team X’s record is now 1-0.
- Rankings shall be based on the number of wins against losses of each team. Usual tie-breaker rules shall follow (e.g. if Team X has the same record with Team Y at the end of the tournament, and Team X won over Team Y in the course of the competition, then Team X shall place higher than Team Y).
- Prizes await the top three teams at the end of the tourney!
II. The Report
A. Going 6-1 with White Noise/Aspertia
For this year’s Team Battle, I have decided to pilot a Lugia deck because of two reasons. Firstly, I was a big fan of the former Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND which has the same Ability, effect-wise, as the current Lugia EX. And secondly, I believe the Ability is one of, if not the strongest in the current format. Imagine Knocking Out an EX on Turn 2 (which is entirely and largely possible). It’s already half the game over as early as Turn 2!
My Twist of Fate deck was a huge success in my very first sanctioned tournament in PTCG. Given this, I have decided to draw from it in the creation of this deck for Team Battle. I love being creative with deck names, and if you’re wondering what on earth does White Noise mean, I’ll give you two reasons.
First, if you watch WWE, you’ll know an Irish brawler named Sheamus, who apparently is nicknamed “The Great White.” One of the dude’s signature moves is called “White Noise.” (I highly recommend you to see the video of Sheamus doing White Noise against Big Show — you’ll be amazed on what you’re going to see.)
The second reason is this:
Pokémon – 10
2 Lugia EX
2 Tornadus EX
Trainers – 36
Energy – 14
pokechampion.tumblr.comThe deck is built to hit hard and finish the game quickly. Lugia EX essentially covers both of these aspects. Plasma Gale allows Lugia EX to hit hard with 120 damage, with the cost of four C Energy and having to discard a Plasma Energy.
One may be quick in dismissing that 120 damage seems short for an EX, not to mention the four Energy requirement. To be fair, individually, we can say that it is. However, this is the very reason why Lugia has a supporting cast in Landorus-EX and Tornadus EX, as will be discussed shortly.
Overflow is just a wicked Ability if Lugia is played correctly. It almost always allows for early Prize leads, not to mention almost automatic wins if the curse of bad draws and hands are absent. Again, these assumptions work only if Lugia EX is played with the right aggressiveness and conservativeness. Timing is very important, as might be illustrated later on the report.
Landorus-EX and Tornadus EX
White Noise/Aspertia is also meant to hit as fast as possible, so as to weaken the opposing Pokémon and prepare Lugia EX to finish them off later on. Both Landorus-EX and Tornadus EX perform this job very well, hitting as early as Turn 1.
Landorus’ Hammerhead only requires a F Energy and can hit the Active for 30 and snipe a Benched Pokémon for another 30. For an EX with 180 HP, two Hammerhead hits are already enough to grant Lugia its prey. With the prominent presence of Darkrai EX in the format, not to mention Tynamo still existing since who knows, Landorus-EX grants an additional benefit by playing on the opponent’s weakness.
Hence, a Turn 1 Hammerhead on a Darkrai EX would already allow Lugia to Knock Darkrai Out on Turn 2, assuming all requirements for its attack are already completed by then, for an early 3 Prize lead.
Tornadus EX performs the same role, although a bit trickier and sometimes slower. Blow Through requires two C Energy, and can hit for 30 or 60, depending on the presence of a Stadium card. Double Colorless is maxed out partly for this purpose, and partly for Lugia’s solitary attack.
On the other hand, the prevalent presence of Virbank City Gym in the current format might actually alleviate the little dilemma of having a Stadium to hit for 60. Of course, the deck also plays its own Stadium in Aspertia City Gym, although it is not maxed out due to space constraints.
Frequently enough however, as far as my experience with the deck is concerned, it is not hard to have a DCE and Aspertia on Turn 1.
Tornadus EX can also hit for 100 with its second attack. Anything that can 2HKO an EX in the current format is always a great addition. Landorus-EX, on the one hand, can hit for 80 or 150 with its second attack. This is also useful if pulled off, although it is a little difficult and costly to do so.
Bouffalant DRX is meant and happy to belong to the White Squad, while its TAG TEAM bull partner Terrakion NVI serves as a good back-up. Both of these Pokémon are included to answer Plasma Klinklang decks and Sigilyph decks — both of which blocks any damage from Pokémon-EX. In the absence of these decks however, Bouffalant also hits opposing Pokémon-EX hard with its Gold Breaker attack that deals 120 damage to Pokémon-EX.
Terrakion, on the other hand, may not be as useful in such scenario, but may be of use against Darkness and Lightning-based decks.
pokemon-paradijs.comAll of these Trainer cards are meant to load Lugia EX with the necessary amount of Energy as early as possible and/or when circumstances demand to. Colress Machine allows for Plasma Energy to be attached to Lugia EX without consuming the turn’s provision for normal Energy attachment.
Energy Switch transfer Basic Energy to Lugia, while Scramble Switch allows Lugia (or any other Pokémon in fact) to switch in and have the former Pokémon’s energies. Skyla is the Supporter that can get any of the above Trainer cards, in case you don’t have them in your hand.
Since the deck mostly runs on Pokémon-EX that give out 2 Prize cards when KO’d, it is necessary to make them sturdier so as to preserve their existence by at least a turn. Eviolite decreases damage received by 20. Aspertia grants additional 20 Hit Points to Colorless Pokémon, six of which comprises the deck.
Round 1 vs. Big Basics/HTL
This round is one of my most forgettable ever. Both of us started with Landorus-EX, however he went first. He was able to put down Virbank City Gym and use Hypnotoxic Laser on Turn 1 and attacked me with Hammerhead to deal a total of 60. I had no Bench at all, even after I used a Supporter.
Luckily, my teammates were able to do well in their respective matches, hence allowing us to win the round as a team.
Me: 0-1, Team: 1-0
Round 2 – BYE
Seven teams participated, and it was our turn to grab the free win.
Me: 1-1, Team: 2-0
pokemon-paradijs.comI was able to Knock Out two of his Klinklang in the early goings with Tornadus EX. However he was able to Knock Out my Tornadus EX, leaving me with only Lugia EX as my solitary Pokémon on the field. By this time, he managed to gradually build a Klinklang PLS.
I managed to use Lugia’s Plasma Gale, but unfortunately, it was just to soften one of his Cobalion-EX. Before he KO’d my Lugia and be down to only 2 Prizes, I was able to put down a Bouffalant, Tornadus EX, and another Lugia.
N saved my day, as I was able to limit his hand to two bad cards. By this time, I was slowly loading Bouffalant with Energies. He was softening my Tornadus with Cobalion-EX’s Righteous Edge, but I was lucky enough to have continually drawn Switch for three to four turns. At the same time he was also repeatedly using his remaining Pokémon Catcher.
At one point, he also used N hoping that he can finally end the match by drawing his last Catcher. However, he was downed to a bad hand once again. Bouffalant was able to KO two EXs from his side to grant me a comeback.
We won three out of five individual matches to win the round.
Me: 2-1, Team: 3-0
This was again a battle of Big Basics. What was significant in this round is that Lugia EX played all-star as it managed to KO two Pokémon-EX from the opponent’s side. Thanks to Landorus and Tornadus, I was able to soften his EXs early on and finish the game with Lugia.
Pokémon Catcher was also important, as I was able to repeatedly pull his damaged EXs back up in the Active Spot. At one point, he needed to manually retreat a Landorus-EX which paralyzed his game for quite some time.
Our team luckily won this round. The credentials of the opposing team were scary, having a former National Champion and the current City Champ on their side.
Me: 3-1, Team: 4-0
During this round, we were up against relatively new players. There was some overconfidence growing in me in the middle of my match and I suffered a little bit. I remember that he was ahead by 2 Prizes at one point. Thankfully, I was able to get my game back and Lugia played hero once more by Knocking Out a Darkrai EX and a Zoroark.
My team was victorious in sweeping this round.
Me: 4-1, Team: 5-0
At the start of this round, I was shocked when my teammate who was beside me said that his Registeel-EX just got donked by an opposing Victini-EX with Victory Piece. To add to the pressure, I was going up against my college classmate during this round.
Thankfully, he was having a bad hand all throughout the game. Landorus-EX just pounced on his Mewtwo and benched Zubat(s), and because my opponent was having a rough time, I managed to set Lugia up without much resistance. Lugia finished the match again.
My team won, 4-1.
Me: 5-1, Team: 6-0
Round 7 vs. Garchomp/Terrakion
We were smelling victory by this round and it was enhanced by the fact that we were up against a team composed of players from the Junior and Senior bracket.
I cannot remember much of this round, except that I was able to Knock Out his Gible(s) early on and Lugia played star again by finishing the game with a devastating Plasma Gale on a damaged Garchomp.
It was a sweep for my team again. And by this time, it was official that we were the champion team by also sweeping the entire tournament. We received binders, playmats, and half a booster box for winning the tournament.
Me: 6-1, Team: 7-0
B. Team LA’s 7-0 Sweep and Decklists
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, LA is basically a reference to Los Angeles Lakers. There was a Team OKC, so we thought LA could live up to the challenge, and we did. Other than that, Team LA was basically a random team name, as much as it was random for a team who assembled last minute to name themselves Team Last Minute.
What was not random is that we know each other. We play in the same venue weekly and know each other playing style and decks almost very well. At the same time, we were collectively discussing on which decks to use before the start of the tournament.
At the tournament, we found ourselves playing two Plasma Klinklang, a Darkrai/Hammer deck, an Eelektrik variant, and my Big Basic variant.
The 7-0 sweep was not accomplished without great challenge. At one point, we were up against a team with a player who placed fourth or fifth in Southeast Asian Regional Championship just some time ago. The same team was comprised of brothers who were consistent in making the Top 8 in the past sanctioned tourneys.
At another instance, as I’ve already hinted above, we were up against a team with two champions in it. And of course, who would dismiss the great fights put on by promising beginners?
Lucky as I am, I was able to ask one of my teammates for his decklist. This deck went 7-0 during the tournament.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 34
Energy – 12
4 Blend WLMF
C. Hot Decks, Cold Decks
With 35 players present during the tournament, it is highly observable which major decks were played the most and which had a considerable decline in usage, and which among the most used decks yield to more victory. My point of comparison is from our States Championship which was held just over a month ago.
Cobalion-EX – HOTTEST!Plasma Klinklang/
The Heavy Metal deck is the hottest deck in the Philippines as of the moment. After a version of it that included Darkrai EX, Keldeo-EX, and Terrakion-EX managed to secure a spot in the Top 4 last States Championship, players were more eager to create their own Plasma Klinklang decks.
My teammate’s decklist above may be a good basis on how this deck could be played effectively. However, I provide you with a skeleton list of what I think maybe an alternative but still good and consistent starting point in creating your own.
Feel free to experiment and/or integrate the two decklists for this deck at your preference.
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 28
Energy – 12
Free Space: 6
Lastly, if you have Tropical Beach in your possession, it is always a good card to include in the deck. However, since it can only be acquired during Worlds, it can be hard to find and hence not a requirement for this deck.
Victini-EX – GETTING HOT!Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik with
pokemon-paradijs.comRayEels, from its ancestor ZekEels (Zekrom/Eelektrik), is perhaps the oldest deck in the current format, not to mention also the cheapest and most accessible. It had a considerable decline when Landorus-EX came out, but made a beautiful comeback after the release of Plasma Storm, although it took some time for players to finally figure out how to restore the deck’s competitive edge.
The answer they got, as observed from the tournament, is Victini-EX.
Victini-EX is meant to (1) counter Plasma Klinklang decks (in which it does a really good job either by donking or not allowing the opponent to setup), (2) provide a quick set up to Rayquaza EX and 1HKO almost every Pokémon in the format, and (3) solve the Turn 1 donk problem.
Here is a good starting list for this deck.
Pokémon – 14
3 Rayquaza EX
Trainers – 31
Energy – 12
Free Space: 3
Poison Darkrai EX – STILL HOT!
This is one of those decks that was being tested even before Plasma Storm was released. It has also been one of the fastest and most powerful decks in the current format, not to mention also one of the most annoying, because of Status Conditions.
The only difference between now and the start of the Plasma Storm format is that the deck welcomed the attention of other Pokémon. Before, the deck just used to include Darkrai and Sableye, and the occasional Keldeo-EX, but today, it is not uncommon to see Mewtwo EX, Bouffalant DRX, and sometimes even Victini NVI 15.
My skeleton list lean more toward its early version, since it was the one that I managed to use and had success with before.
Pokémon – 8
Trainers – 33
Energy – 12
Free Space: 7
Keldeo-EX/Black Ballista – SUPER COLD!Blastoise/
pokemon-paradijs.comThe once most successful deck in the pre-Plasma Storm era had a dramatic decline in usage during the Team Battle. In fact, I don’t remember seeing any. There are three problems that may explain this.
First, just like with any other set up decks, this deck suffers from being slow. With the introduction of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, Squirtle(s) are now dying more easily than before. Second, the introduction Black Kyurem EX from Plasma Storm gave the deck more power; however, it also had a consequence in sacrificing consistency.
Lastly, successful Blastoise/Keldeo decks usually run Tropical Beach. With the Stadium Card being only accessible to those who participate in Worlds, it is not hard to see why more players are discouraged in playing this deck.
To alleviate the first problem, I included Emolga DRX in my skeleton list. The second problem may be alleviated by using Prism or Blend Energy. The third problem, however, may be hard to solve since, I believe, Tropical Beach is really crucial for this deck to function effectively.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 30
Energy – 12
2 Blend WLMF
Free Space: 3
There’s really no wide room for choices. Super Rod may be necessary to recover dead Squirtle(s). Tool Scrapper may be helpful against Garbodor decks. Early versions used to include a good number of Super Scoop Up, but due to space constraints, it may be difficult to even attempt to include this. Of course, the ACE SPEC choice is on your discretion.
Team Battle is one of the formats that the Philippine Pokémon Community really enjoys playing because it caters to new and old players alike. It is where new players can feel a sense of community and encouragement, while veteran players use it as an avenue to share their knowledge and experience with the game.
If your community does not have any upcoming sanctioned tournaments, you might want to try the Team Battle format and experience the fun it has to offer. If Pokémon is more fun in the Philippines, I believe that this can also be the case in the whole world.