Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thundurus/Deoxys: Explained!

Hello! It's Tyler again, and today I'm going to review a deck that's gaining more and more popularity and hype as we get closer to its release (May 8th). That's right, May 8th, before Nationals, after Regionals. Now that Pokemon has officially announced its and the English set name Plasma Freeze (many of us knew it as Spiral Force/Thunder Knuckle), thousands of people are (hopefully) just as excited as I am about the much-hyped deck consisting of both of the stars from Plasma Freeze, Thundurus EX, and Deoxys EX.

Thundurus EX. The beginning attacker of the deck, is the key to the entire strategy. It not only is capable of doing a total of 100 damage on the first turn, but in the same turn can also be used as an amazing and revolutionary form of energy acceleration.

So, how? To start, I've constructed what might be a typical Thunderus/Deoxys skeleton list and later we'll talk about possible techs. Here it is:

Pokemon (7)
3 Thundurus EX
4 Deoxys EX

Trainers (34)
4 Professor Juniper
3 Colress
3 N
2 Ghetsis
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
4 Pokemon Catcher
4 Switch
4 Colress Machine
2 Ultra Ball
2 Team Plasma's Poke' Ball (AKA Plasma Ball)
2 Virbank City Gym

Energy (14)

6 Lightning
4 Plasma Energy
4 Prism Energy

Open slots: 5

And there's your Thundurus/Deoxys skeleton list. For the deck to start well, it needs to begin with one of two Pokemon, Deoxys EX, or Thunderus EX. With the skeleton list, that much shouldn't be a problem, but as we get to know the complete deck list, you will see how crucial that first turn Thundurus EX really is.

To start out, Thundurus is basically like a Lightning type Landorus EX, only better. It not only does 30 damage with a single energy attachment, it also can take any kind of energy, special or basic, from the discard pile and onto a benched heavy hitter e.g. Lugia EX. Combined with the new staple Trainers Virbank City Gym (AKA Virbank) and Hypnotoxic Laser (AKA Laser), Someone can potentially hit for 100 damage and pull off an extra energy attachment to load up an alternative attacker on the first turn!

At this point, you may be wondering how in the heck any Team Plasma Pokemon can ever hit for 100 damage on the first turn. The answer lies in the Plasma favoring Ability of Deoxys EX.

Deoxys EX. It's the reason this deck is capable of winning Pokemon events all over the world. It will be the reason that competitive players worldwide will eventually think twice before running Mewtwo EX. And it is the reason Blastoise/Keldeo players will quake with fear when they see it dropped on the bench. Last but not least, it is the reason that decks like Thundurus/Deoxys can strive for more than 60 damage on the first turn.

All with the help of its outstanding Ability, Power Connect. The only thing Power Connect does is add 10 damage to you Team Plasma Pokemon. That's great, right? Yes! of course, but that's not all this powerful EX Pokemon has to offer. Helix Force, its one and only attack, is also achievable on the first turn with the help of a card called Colress Machine, which, I believe, is mentioned in the skeleton list. Colress Machine allows you to grab a Plasma Energy from your deck and attach it to any one of your Team Plasma Pokemon. So if the deck fails to provide a Thundurus EX on the first turn, there's still hope in attacking for a ton of damage (making up for the loss of energy acceleration) on the first turn with the help of Deoxys' own Ability, Power Connect, and Virbank/Lasers.

Although Deoxys EX is an extremely great attacker, it is still an EX, and an opponent that knocks it out gains an additional prize, as with any EX. that's why the best time to use your Thundurus EX and Deoxys EX as attackers is in the beginning when they have the least chance of being KOed. That's were attackers like Lugia EX, Kyurem PLF(Plasma Freeze), and Snorlax PLS(Plasma Storm) come into play.

Snorlax PLS

For the first possible attacker, I'm introducing Snorlax PLS. Snorlax is actually already seeing some play in Darkai/Lasers, a deck that uses Snorlax's Block Ability to stall opponents in the active spot so they can be continually be hit by poison. Although Snorlax's Ability is a mean one, it's not exactly what Thundurus/Deoxys uses Snorlax for. Before we go deeper into the strategy behind this colossal giant, I must note that this card is great only for mid to late game situations were a lot of energy is attached to your Pokemon so when you get Snorlax, you can simply bench him and use a Scramble Switch to quickly set him up and Teampact for 180.
OK, so Snorlax is good, but what about Lugia EX and Kyurem PLF?

As far as dealing with Landorus EX, there is nothing better than Kyurem PLF. In the ideal set-up, Kyurem is fully loaded with energy and ready to attack by turn two or three.
(I'm doing this from now on for all non-English cards.)
Kyurem PLF
Frost Spear 30
Does 30 damage to 1 of your opponent's Benched Pokémon. (Don't apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.)
Blizzard Burn 120
This Pokémon can't attack during your next turn.
If you don't get how a Pokemon with this energy requirement can get set up on turn two, allow me to explain. First, start with Thundurus EX and get an energy card (preferably a Blend or Prism) into the discard pile by whatever means necessary. Also, Kyurem PLF must be on the bench on the first turn as well. Once these things are set into place, simply attach an energy card to Thundurus and attack with Raiden Knuckle to put the previously discarded energy on to your waiting Kyurem. Finally, on turn two, when your opponent is already down a few hit points, attach for turn on Kyurem and combine that with a Scramble Switch or a Colress Machine, and attack with Blizzard Burn to finish them off (assuming they're either poisoned or you have a Deoxys or two on your bench to boost Blizzard Burn's damage).

Now that I've went over some ways to use this legendary water Pokemon, I must say that although this card is also great, it is only at most a two-of in this deck because it's horrible for starts (especially if you fail to pull a switch), but at the same time, you should want to draw into it with supporters or be able to search for it with Plasma Ball or Ultra Ball on the first turn.

Now on to the last alternative/mid-game attacker, Lugia EX. Lugia EX is the best late-game attacker in the format as we know it. When your three prizes behind, and all hope seems lost unless you can somehow KO your opponents EX Pokemon and get three prizes. . . Lugia is there to the rescue! It's Ability, Overflow, allows you to draw an extra prize when KOing anything with Lugia EX. There is however, some drawbacks to Lugia EX.

Drawback #1:To use Lugia EX's only attack, you must discard a Team Plasma Energy attached to it.

Drawback #2:Although three prizes is a lot, The Pokemon only does 120 damage and it is unlikely that you will be able to knock out anything with Plasma Gale alone.

Drawback #3:Since Thundurus/Deoxys will be so good in the next format when it comes out, it will most likely be the number one pick of players worldwide, therefore increasing the chances of a Lugia EX player running into a Thundurus EX (which can hit for 90+ damage with its attack Thunderstorm Noise and the help of Deoxys EX).

In building this deck, be sure to way the risks of using Lugia, as it could turn out to be two free prizes for your opponent if not handled with caution.

On that note, I'll leave you with the final list, and I'll let you decide if you like it or not via testing. Here it is:

Pokemon (11)
3 Thundurus EX
4 Deoxys EX
1 Lugia EX
1 Snorlax PLS
2 Kyurem PLF

Trainers (37)
4 Professor Juniper
3 Colress
3 N
2 Ghetsis
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
4 Pokemon Catcher
4 Switch
4 Colress Machine
3 Ultra Ball
1 Team Plasma's Poke' Ball
2 Virbank City Gym
1 Scramble Switch

Energy (14)

4 Blend Energy WLFM
4 Plasma Energy
4 Prism Energy
2 Double Colorless 

With so many Special Energy, it is possible that you will lose horribly to Darkrai/Hammers, but if you can out-speed them, and if you pace think through every energy attachment, you should be able to come out victorious.

And that's all folks! Thanks for reading.


Monday, March 25, 2013

What Is Pokemon TCG?


It's Tyler again, and today I'm hopefully going to clear up some false beliefs about WHAT exactly the Pokemon TCG (Trading Card Game) is, and what the differences are among the TCG, the video games, and the TV show. As always, feel free to leave a comment with any questions you might have after reading.
Never thought I would use this pic in a post. . .

So, as most of you already know, Pokemon is all about Ash Ketchum and his beloved Pikachu. . .

If there is one thing that should be clear, It's that Pokemon the TV show actually is about Pikachu and Ash and friends, and is overall geared towards kids ages ten and under. The Pokemon video games and the trading card game, are things of their own. In the video game, players capture Pokemon, level them up, and battle and defeat CPUs in-game, to progress through the game. Along the way, they can  battle against friends via WiFi or locally. To battle (or fight) in the Pokemon video games, two players each start with a team of six different Pokemon all with unique attributes, like in the card game, each Pokemon may have an Ability alongside four moves that Pokemon can "learn". The winner is decided when a player successfully KOs all six of his/her opponents Pokemon using their Pokemon's attacks and or Abilities.

The third version of Pokemon, the Trading Card Game, is not at all associated with the TV show the games, but it was originally based on the games. In the video games, to battle (or fight), two players each start with a team of six different Pokemon all with unique attributes, like in the card game, each Pokemon may have an Ability, alongside four moves that Pokemon can "learn". The winner is decided when a player successfully KOs all six of his/her opponents Pokemon using their Pokemon's attacks and or Abilities.

The TCG, like in the video game, has a requirement of one Active Pokemon (the only Pokemon you can attack with), and five Bench Pokemon (Pokemon that can replace the Active Pokemon once it is KOed), a total of six Pokemon. Similarly to the video games, in the TCG, when one player knocks out 6 of their opponents Pokemon, they win. For more on how to play the game and the exact rules, check out Pokemon TCG Rules.

To get started, I will provide some common questions and answers anyone may have about Pokemon TCG's values and expectations in tournaments and while playing. Again, if any of your questions are not listed here, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section under the post.

Question #1: Are Pokemon tournaments and events a safe place for my children/child?

Question #2: Is there an Official Code of Conduct or a some Etiquette players should know for Pokemon TCG for tournaments and events? And if there is, what is it? 


Spirit of the Game

As a game of skill, the Pokémon TCG is enjoyed for its complex strategies, entertaining characters, and atmosphere of friendly competition. While the objective of a Pokémon TCG tournament is to determine the skill level of each player involved, our ultimate goal is to ensure that every participant has fun. It is this attitude that Play! Pokémon wishes to emphasize during Pokémon TCG events.
Regardless of the size of the prizes on the line, adherence to the Spirit of the Game helps to ensure that all participants, including players, spectators, and event staff at a Pokémon TCG event, have an enjoyable experience. This spirit should guide the conduct of players as well as the tournament judges as they interpret and enforce the rules.
The Spirit of the Game is composed of the following tenets:
  • Fun: The Pokémon TCG is a game, and games are meant to be fun for all parties involved. When a game ceases to be fun, players find other things to do.
  • Fairness: Games cease to be fun when players break the rules to achieve victory. A player should prefer to lose a game than to win by cheating.
  • Honesty: Players of any game should strive to act honestly while playing that game. If a player inadvertently breaks a rule during a game and becomes aware of the error before his or her opponent or a judge, that player should make the opponent and the judge aware of the misplay.
  • Respect: Players, spectators, and staff should be treated with the same respect that players would expect for themselves. Distracting an opponent or a judge to gain advantage shows disrespect to everyone involved in a Pokémon TCG event.
  • Sportsmanship: Winning or losing with grace is vital to the enjoyment of a game. The desire to continue playing a game can be soured by players that berate their opponents after winning or losing a match.
  • Learning: Players should strive to help each other increase their Pokémon TCG play skills. It is not a player's responsibility to make his or her opponent's plays for that opponent. However, discussing strategies, offering deck tips, or constructively critiquing game play decisions after the match has been completed helps both participants to become better players.***

Hopefully, I've answered most of your questions here, but if not, as always, I'm ALWAYS open to comments or questions so feel free to leave one (or two).

Overall, The Pokemon TCG is a fun and exciting game that is enjoyable for kids and adults of all ages. If you still think Pokemon TCG is boring and a waste of time, try it out, you might be surprised. Until next time.


*** "Spirit of the Game" taken from