I'd like to see some broad discussion on these topics: Decision Making Misplays Judging & Dealing with Judge Calls Rules I feel like these facets of the game are what can really set players apart. Input and discussion from UG writers would be really appreciated, and I'm sure that people would like to see this kind of input in articles as well. Can you guys share any experiences regarding these topics from States?

I would love to read some valuable expert thougths on this topic as well. There are moments in game, when player needs to decide which way to go - e.g. search on Twins, or if play hand refresh card or wait when you have one card of a combo in hand... To kick-off, I have a rather general question: If I have PONT and Prof.Juniper in my opening hand and no other supporter on first turn, which one I should play? Prof.Juniper nets one card more and discards PONT, while playing PONT saves me Juniper for later use. Are there any rationales or statistics to support, or is it more question of personal preference (I prefer to play PONT as a "long term investment"), or deck type (I guess speed decks prefer Juniper)?

That's very situational, and a deck-based decision. For instance, if you're an Eelektrik variant, and your hand has either ample lightning energy or contains some 1-off trainers that you intend to Junk Arm for, Juniper is the obvious choice. But if you're holding two Eelektriks in hand and maybe only run 1 Super Rod in deck (and don't currently have it in hand) then you might hold off on using Juniper and instead use PONT, just in case your 3rd or 4th Eel is prized. Even speed decks have to evaluate which is better based off cards in hand. I've played CMT to top 16 twice at my provincials and regionals and the choice of Juniper or Oaks (or N) is highly variable. If I can play most of my hand, and especially if I am only 1 card (in the rare instance 2 cards) away from the turn 1 KO, then I would likely Juniper. But if I need 2 cards or more to complete my combo, depending on what they are (ex: Pluspower which say I ran 2 of, vs. Catcher which I ran 4 of) I might Juniper looking for the two cards. But if the odds of getting those cards aren't good, then it's safer to conserve supporters for the late-game N so you can both abuse N and recover from an opponent's. Just weigh the benefits of a the chance for a first turn KO vs. the costs of being N'd to 1-2 cards in hand with a 20 card deck and needing that supporter. If you wanted to run some probabilities on certain scenarios, you could, but each scenario is individual and should be judged with the best of your ability to discern ballpark probabilities off the bat. And just because, let's do one cause now I'm curious So say I started with a Tornadus in the active and a hand of PONT, Juniper, Grass, Switch, Junk Arm and Catcher. My opponent starts with an active Zekrom and a benched Tynamo. I then top deck a Celebi. So, I can switch, use Forest Breath, and have a Junk Arm, Catcher, PONT and Juniper. I'm looking to attach DCE to Tornadus, and retreat Celebi somehow this turn. I'm also targeting the Tynamo, but thankfully I have a Catcher in hand. So I can Catcher the Tynamo and would be left with PONT, Juniper and Junk Arm. The cards required to complete my combo are DCE and either a Switch, Skyarrow Bridge or Junk Arm. Say I run 4 DCE, 3 Switch, 2 Skyarrow and 4 Junk Arm. What is the probability I can get the first turn KO with a Juniper and with a PONT? Well, I've drawn 8 cards total, and though I have prizes, we don't know them so we can't factor them into our probability. If I had Dual Ball'd for the Celebi we could have counted our deck and known our prizes, but that just makes it unnecessarily complicated for the purpose of this explanation. So there are 52 unknown cards to pick from (deck + prizes). In those 52 I have 4 DCE, 2 Switch, 2 Skyarrow, 3 Junk Arm. So we'll combine the numbers for Switch, Skyarrow and Junk Arm as they all serve the same purpose in this calculation, to retreat my Celebi. That means I need 1 of 4 energy cards and 1 of 7 switch cards. Technically I could also get a second Celebi and switch+retreat again to attach 2 more grass to Tornadus this turn, but that is so improbable that it's not worth factoring in. If I Juniper, I'm just choosing 7 random cards from the deck looking for 1 of both the 4 and the 7 to be in my hand of 7 cards. Edit: There used to be me outlining my work here, but it's definitely wrong. Let me figure out how to do this properly and I'll get back to you on it.

I'll look into it. Haha, maybe Adam would even let me write for the Underground if this was the topic Any particular situations to suggest? Any nagging questions you've had or predicaments you've found yourself in? I should run some more calcs on random situations and see how it looks. Please, suggest situations to me people! And be informative on your decklist where applicable! I think I'll just start a new thread asking for suggestions though.

well, without doing the math, odds for Juniper are better than for PONT - you draw more cards out of smaller pile (as PONT returns hand to deck). But I would say that the question is if the higher chance of donk outweights lower odds to have supporter in later game. I will try to make a spreadsheet for a 2-card combo odds calculation, to have some basis for discussion.

Yeah, I'm just curious how much better, because that lets you say "Well I can either discard my supporter and have a __% better chance of getting the donk, or I can shuffle back and still have a __% chance of donk. My preliminary calcs only showed like a 2% difference in probability because both probabilities were so low anyways. Also, Shuffling back returns the Junk Arm to the deck which is part of the list of cards that can let you switch, so that increases PONT's odds slightly from what they would otherwise be. The second scenario when you're only looking at one card has a fair bit of difference since you are just looking for 1 card to complete your combo, so the individual and non-paired probabilities become the probabilities of getting the donk. I'm still interested in how much of a difference there is though. I'm also somewhat lousy at math So despite my interest, I know my work in the second scenario is wrong (which lead me to believe that my work in the 1st scenario was wrong). I'm still planning on doing an article about the probabilities of different situations, but I'm enlisting some outside help and asking one of my univ profs to help with the conditional probability aspect.

Decision Making: always depends, always depends, always depends...There is very rarely an absolute thing that you must always do in a precise order, so stay flexible in-game. Misplays: don't make 'em, but don't cry when you do. Some people let themselves get rattled after a bad play, but that can't possibly help your chances for the rest of the tournament! Judging & Dealing with Judge Calls: Judging in Pokemon has virtually no potential to be professional, nor does it ever. This means that judges who put your Pokemon tournament before almost everything else are extremely rare, since they are volunteers. Given that these are volunteers and not your servants, treat them with the due respect. (Heck, even if they "were" paid, you should still treat them right!) Please be patient with judges, too: many of them may not know the game as well as you, and some may not even be as good judges as you. However, because they've volunteered their time to actually BE the judges, remember that they are the ones making calls - not you. That said, don't hesitate to appeal to the head judge, and don't hesitate to identify any contradictions they may have with the compendium. Rules: know them as well as you can - that simple. Not just rulings on specific cards, but floor rules and penalty guidelines. Because I was familiar with proper penalties, I actually saved myself from a prize loss in 2005 in game three of a razor-close top four (judge was trying to give me that penalty for not discarding my supporter). Doing this saved my free trip to worlds that year.

OK, here is link to my spreadsheet: PokemonOdds.xls | Ulo Sheet calculates odds for drawing a 2-card combo. Yellow fields are input values: P = number of cards in pile C1 = number of group 1 combo cards in pile C2 = number of group 2 combo cards in pile D = number of drawn cards Output is a probability of drawing cards from both groups in D drawn cards out of P card pile For Crawdaunts example, with assumption that I played Celebi, Switch and Grass before using a supporter, input values and probabilities are: PONT: P=55, C1=4, C2=8, D=6; result 21,87% (3 cards are shuffled back, including one Junk Arm) Juniper: P=52, C1=4, C2=7, D=7; result = 27,85% The difference is 6,02 percent points, or in relative comparison, odds with PONT is a bit less than 80% of odds with Juniper. Probability of T1 donk in this case is over 25% with Juniper, which I believe is worth going this way. Notes for the math: I had 1 year of statistics at university 20 years ago (Masters in Electrical Engineering) and haven't used it much since exams, but I did my best . There can be different approaches in calculation of probabilities, my approach was to calculate it in 2 steps: 1. get odds of drawing any combo card (standard formula for hypergeometric distribution, used with discrete values cases like drawing of cards) 2. make adjustment for combinations containing cards from one group only (ratio of favorable to all combinations) Note to admin: If you find it usefeul, you can perhaps make it available to download from 6P site.