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Changes to Definition of the Term “Defending Pokémon” 11/10/2014

Posted by Gryphon in Pokemon TCG, TCG News, TCG Strategy.
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Changes to Definition of the Term “Defending Pokémon”.

Click to learn more about a recent rule change having to do with which pokemon are now considered “Defending Pokemon” in the context of a pokemon’s attack in the TCG.

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Professor’s Corner – Match Resolution for Best-of-3 Swiss Matches 10/05/2013

Posted by raznprince in Ask a Professor, Pokemon News, Pokemon TCG, TCG News, TCG Strategy.
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With the change of Tier 2 Premier Events announced, players will now play in Best-of-3 Swiss Matches starting with Fall Regionals. As such, TPCi has re-introduced ties it has previously run in distant formats and will be determined in the following manner cited from the 2013-2014 TCG Rules and Formats:

Match Resolution During Swiss Rounds
Section 8.3: Determining the Outcome of an Unresolved, Best-of-Three Match

Game 1
• If the last turn ends during game 1, the match results in a tie.
• If time is called after game 1 has been resolved but before the starting player for a Sudden Death game has been determined, the match results in a tie.
• If time is called after the game 1 winner has been determined but before the starting player for game 2 has been determined, the winner of game 1 wins the match.

Game 2
• If the last turn ends during game 2, the winner of game 1 wins the match.
• If time is called after game 2 has been resolved but before the starting player for a Sudden Death game has been determined, the winner of game 1 wins the match.
• If time is called after the game 2 winner has been determined but before the starting player for game 3 has been determined, the match results in a tie.

Game 3
• If the last turn ends during game 3, the match results in a tie.
• If time is called after game 3 has been resolved but before the starting player for a Sudden Death game has been determined, the match results in a tie.

What this means:
-Please be reminded that the following explanations apply to SWISS rounds.
-If Plus 3 Rule is in effect, match winner or tie can only be determined by any of the above-explained criteria after Turn 3.
-The “4-Prize Rule”  does not apply to determine the winner of Game 2. The game must be decided on Game 2 before time is called for a match score of 1-1 for the tie to result.
-Plus 3 does not apply once a game has been resolved after time has been called through setup of the next game. The match winner or tie will be determined based on the game score at the moment time was called.
-Sudden Death will not be used to determine a winner of a match.

It is presumed at this time that Top Cut matches will also be Best-of-3 matches with complete game, and Sudden Death conditions applied as they are Single Elimination matches. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Professor Raz

Professor Knowledge Difficulty: Advanced

Professor’s Corner – Deck Analysis: Darkrai-Hydreigon (for BLW-BCR format) 12/14/2012

Posted by raznprince in Ask a Professor, Pokemon TCG, TCG Strategy.
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I have had the pleasure of running this deck for the 2012-2013 City Championships and it has succeeded in winning me the Championship at Birmingham, AL on December 9, 2012. In order to understand the tournament report I will post shortly, please take a moment to understand the contents of the deck I used.

My decklist:
3 Sableye (DEX)
3 Deino (DRX #94)
1 Zweilous (DRX #96)
3 Hydreigon (DRX #97)
3 Darkrai EX (DEX)
1 Sigilyph (DRX)
1 Virizion (EPO)
1 Keldeo EX (BCR)

1 Super Rod
2 Tool Scrapper
2 Eviolite
3 Max Potion
3 Rare Candy
3 Ultra Ball
3 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher
1 Computer Search

3 Skyla
4 N
4 Professor Juniper

1 Tropical Beach

8 Darkness Energy
3 Blend Energy GRPD

Why it works:

  1. Virizion EPO is my choice for a defensive tech as with the current format, the heavy hitters appear to be Terrakion, Terrakion EX, Keldeo EX and other engines that have weaknesses to Grass. Another defensive tech include Tornadus EX (DEX) but it all comes down to player preference when it comes to choice techs.
  2. Blend Energy GRPD can be moved via Hydreigon’s (DRX) Dark Trance Ability and fuel Virizion’s Sacred Sword attack as necessary.
  3. Sigilyph, another defensive tech, is really used for anti-Mewtwo EX, although I have found a few random situations where it won me a few games. It’s been a card on the rise as it has given several EX cards a run for their money due to it’s Safeguard ability, which blocks all damage and attack effects from all EXs.
  4. Keldeo EX is a tricky card to use, but can also prove to be very useful. With its Rush In ability, it can act as an effect canceller for Virizion’s Sacred Sword attack, where you can conveniently attach or use Hydreigon’s Dark Trans ability to move Darkness Energy to it for the free retreat with Darkrai EX in play, allowing you to repeat the Sacred Sword attack. Also it can function as a Paralyze condition canceller if Darkrai EX or any of your other attackers gets Paralyzed so you can continue to attack. This card won’t particularly impress with damage against those with weakness to Water because this deck doesn’t contain Water Energy, but it will definitely give Landorus EX and Groundon EX players something to think about should you manage to attack with Keldeo EX.
  5. Tropical Beach is a very useful Stadium Card that is very difficult to obtain as it is a World Championships promo card  from 2011 and 2012, however it is not necessary to have in order to make similar Darkrai-Hydreigon builds work. Tropical Beach allows you to draw cards from your deck until you have seven (7) in your hand, but the result ends your turn. This is useful if you are willing to sacrifice one turn to replenish your hand especially if your Active Pokémon is Asleep or Paralyzed or otherwise cannot attack this turn. If you cannot run Tropical Beach, I recommend substituting for a Trainer Card that hasn’t reached its maximum deck allowance of four (4) (and abviously isn’t an Ace Spec card).
  6. With the addition of Skyla Supporter Card (BCR) to the tournament format, it has become a staple for Trainer Card searches in this deck as you can grab that Catcher, Ultra Ball, Dark Patch, Rare Candy, Max Potion, or even Tropical Beach to establish or maintain your strategy and/or gain the upper hand in Prizes!
  7. Speaking of Computer Search, it is a necesary Ace Spec to the point of being a must for a lot of decks. You can think of it as a fourth Ultra Ball except you can search your deck for any card and not have to show it to your opponent until you play it. Just don’t forget that you are only allowed to have ONE Ace Spec card total in your deck!

This is a lot of information to absorb, but this deck can be very effective if you employ your strategy and your techs at the right moments. Let me know if you have any questions about this deck!

Professor Raz

Professor Knowledge Difficulty – N/A

Professor’s Corner – Deck Analysis: Darkrai-Hydreigon 09/19/2012

Posted by raznprince in Ask a Professor, Pokemon TCG, TCG Strategy.
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This article is a supplementary commentary to Gryphon’s competitive deck article on Darkrai-Hydreigon and is not intended to reiterate the overall strategy already explained in her article but rather to discuss my choices in cards that make this deck effective.

I have had the pleasure of running this deck for the 2012 Fall Battle Roads and it has its successes in a 17-4 overall record through 4 BR events and granting me the following finishes:

Statesboro – 4-1 for 4th Place
Macon – 4-1 for 2nd place
Franklin – 5-1 for 3rd Place
Newnan – 4-1 for 6th place

My decklist:
3 Sableye (DEX)
3 Deino (NVI)
1 Zweilous (DRX #96)
1 Hydreigon (NVI)
2 Hydreigon (DRX #97)
3 Darkrai EX (DEX)
1 Mewtwo EX (NXD)
1 Shaymin EX (NXD)

1 Super Rod
2 Tool Scrapper
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Eviolite
3 Max Potion
3 Random Receiver
3 Rare Candy
3 Ultra Ball
3 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher
4 N
4 Professor Juniper
1 Tropical Beach

8 Darkness Energy
3 Blend Energy GRPD

Why it works:

  1. Shaymin EX is my choice for an offensive tech against fighting types, namely Terrakion and Terrakion EX because of their weakness to grass types. For Revenge Blast to maximize its attack potential against these Pokémon, your opponent must have taken at least two prizes. The risk with running Shaymin EX is its low HP compared to most other EXs. Other players would run Tornadus EX (DEX) as a defensive tech against Terrakions, but it all comes down to player preference when it comes to choice techs.
  2. Blend Energy GRPD can be moved via Hydreigon’s (DRX) Dark Trance Ability and fuel Shaymin EX’s Revenge Blast attack as necessary.
  3. Hydreigon’s (NVI) Berserker Blade can OHKO or 2HKO most benched Pokémon between 40 to 80 HP making it ideal against popular strategies like Garchomp-Altaria (aka Fluffychomp) and some Eelektrik decks (generally a 3HKO). Another Bench sniper of choice would be Registeel EX (DRX) who could possibly 3HKO three (3) Eelektriks at one time with its Triple Laser attack.
  4. Mewtwo EX is really used for anti-Mewtwo EX, although I have found a few random situations where it won me a few games. It is not recommended to bench Mewtwo EX early on if it can be avoided so you don’t find yourself on the receiving end of the Mewtwo “war” in a crucial situation.
  5. I preferred Pokémon Communication over Level Ball as I have found myself in situations where my starting hands contained Hydreigons that I could be forced to discard because of a Professor Juniper as my only Supporter card in hand. This card allows me to grab a different Pokémon from the deck without having to discard that crucial Hydreigon.
  6. Tropical Beach is a very useful Stadium Card that is very difficult to obtain as it is a World Championships promo card from 2011 and 2012, however it is not necessary to have in order to make similar Darkrai-Hydreigon builds work. Tropical Beach allows you to draw cards from your deck until you have seven (7) in your hand, but the result ends your turn. This is useful if you are willing to sacrifice one turn to replenish your hand especially if your Active Pokémon is Asleep or Paralyzed and cannot attack this turn. If you cannot run Tropical Beach, I recommend substituting either three (3) Cheren or Bianca in lieu of the Random Receivers to keep your Supporter line for this deck sustained.

This is a lot of information to absorb, but this deck can be very effective if you employ your strategy and your techs at the right moments. Let me know if you have any questions about this deck!

Professor Raz

Professor Knowledge Difficulty – N/A

Professor’s Corner – Techs and Counters 09/19/2012

Posted by raznprince in Ask a Professor, Pokemon TCG, TCG Strategy.
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Did you win or lose?

I lost…it wasn’t even close. My opponent played to my weakness and I couldn’t do anything about it. Those Terrakions really demolished my Darkrai EXs…

Has the above situation ever happened to you? Did you play with a deck that ran so well in a tournament, but eventually you ended up playing against a deck that had the perfect strategy to combat yours with little or no way to stop it…and lost?

Introducing tech cards; they are generally afterthought cards that work in a deck to counter a strategy that counters your original strategy…if that makes sense.

Techs are basically cards that you include in your deck to ensure that when you’re up against something that targets a particular weakness of your deck (be it type and/or strategy) that the intended tech will keep you in the game (and possibly win) if used properly.

A simple example would be like if you were running a lightning deck you can throw in a water, grass, or psychic Pokémon to counter its weakness to fighting accordingly. Just make sure that you 1) have the appropriate deck space and 2) the appropriate energy to perform the necessary attacks.

An effective tech is one that can be used to benefit or complement, not compromise, the overall consistency with your deck, meaning the tech has to “fit in” rather than “stand out” with your deck. It wouldn’t be prudent to construct a deck designed to counter everything otherwise it’s like building a deck full of techs that have no real strategy to winning games. You are highly encouraged to use a deck with a strategy that suits you best and add techs where they will help keep you in the game and not lose quickly. In some of Gyphon’s deck analyses articles, I will address useful techs as a commentary to show how they work.

I hope this gives you a basic understanding of what techs are!

Professor Raz

Professor Knowledge Difficulty – Advanced

Competitive Deck Spotlight: Darkrai/Hydreigon 09/15/2012

Posted by Gryphon in Pokemon TCG, TCG Strategy.
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You can consider this another new deck borne from the release of Dragons Exalted, or a rebuild of a popular deck from last year which dominated at Worlds; no matter what you call it, it’s still a super-powerful deck that matches up well against many popular strategies.

Deck: Darkrai/Hydreigon
AKA: Darkraigon, Dragon’s Dance
Strategy: Energy Control/Damage Spread

Deck Base (incomplete):

3 Hydreigon (DRX #97)
1 Zweilous (DRX #96)
3 Deino (NVI)
3 Darkrai EX
2 Sableye (DEX)

4 N
3 Professor Juniper
3 Bianca
4 Ultra Ball
4 Max Potion
3 Eviolite
1 Super Rod

8 Darkness Energy (Basic)
4 Blend Energy GRPD

The basic objective is to set up Hydreigon so that you can start moving your attached Darkness energies around (since the Blend Energy GRPD includes Darkness as one of its types, it counts as a Darkness energy affected by Dark Trance, since it doesn’t call for only “Basic Energy”). Use Sableye to set up, using its Junk Hunt attack to retrieve item cards from the discard pile (after you’ve used cards such as Professor Juniper and Ultra Ball to put them there) so that you can use them again next turn. Once you’ve got some Darkrai EX stationed on the Bench, you can attach energy to them, as well as move energy using Hydreigon’s Dark Trance, to get them ready to fight. Since anything with Darkness energy attached to it gets free Retreat from Darkrai’s Dark Cloak ability, you can bring out a fully-charged pokemon without having to worry about discarding energy (this also makes you practically immune to Pokemon Catcher’s stalling effect). It’s also easy to keep your heavy-hitters in play when you can retreat for free, move energy to the new Active pokemon, and use items such as Max Potion to heal all damage from pokemon which you’ve taken all the energy off of beforehand. And finally, since Darkrai also sends damage to your opponent’s Bench, you can easily snipe weak Basics which your opponent may try to set up mid- to late-game.

This is just a skeleton list, but it can be built up a number of different ways, depending on your favorite strategy. To boost energy acceleration, you could put in some Dark Patch, which let you attach Darkness energy from the discard pile to Benched Darkness pokemon. Including Darkness Hydreigon (NVI #79) gives you more spread damage, while Giratina EX gives you more attack power, plus a means of taking out most Dragon types as well as EX-blocking Sigilyph (DRX). You may also want to add a Shaymin EX just in case your opponent gets far ahead of you in prize draws.

Since this deck is mostly immune to popular strategies in this format, there isn’t much to say about its weaknesses, aside from simple deck failure (inability to get your “engine” started in time before your opponent fully sets up, mostly just bad luck). Since it runs on Abilities, it can be crippled by DRX Garbodor’s Garbotoxin, though not completely shut down. Garchomp’s Mach Cut can force discards of irretrievable Blend Energies, as well as take out DRX Zweilous and Hydreigon with their Dragon weaknesses. Since Darkrai EX is weak to Fighting, NVI Terrakion and Terrakion EX may have an advantage. All in all, there is no single shortcoming to Darkrai/Hydreigon that is easy to target, since every game is a different experience; however, if you allow your opponent to set up completely, you will be left grasping at straws, so take advantage of your opportunities when they present themselves.

Since this contains many cards from competitive decks of yesteryear, veteran players likely won’t have much problem acquiring the new cards to build this deck; on the other hand, new players may have a problem with the card cost. However, the release of the DRX tins, one of which includes Darkrai EX as a special promo card, may make it a bit easier on them.

Tune in next time when we cover another popular competitive deck!

Competitive Deck Spotlight: Garchomp/Altaria 09/02/2012

Posted by Gryphon in Pokemon TCG, TCG Strategy.
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Welcome to our first Competitive Deck Spotlight! For our players planning on attending Battle Roads this month and Regionals next month, this series of articles will cover the top decks in the current format, as well as tips and strategies for what to expect at Modified-Constructed tournaments during this part of the championships season. The first deck to be covered in this series will be one that features pokemon from the new set, Dragons Exalted.

Deck: Garchomp/Altaria
AKA: FluffyChomp, Gartaria
Strategy: Acceleration/Sweeping

Contents:

4 Garchomp (DRX #90)
3 Gabite (DRX #89)
4 Gible (DRX #87)
4 Altaria (DRX #84)
4 Swablu (DRX #104)
3 Emolga (DRX #45)

4 N
3 Professor Juniper
3 Bianca
4 Level Ball
4 Pokemon Catcher
3 Rare Candy
2 Random Receiver
2 Switch
2 Super Rod

7 Fighting Energy
4 Blend Energy WLFM

This is a deck with the potential for very quick setup, with the intent of doing as much damage as you can each turn, as early in the game as possible. Emolga’s Call for Family attack, if you can get one out on turn 1, will help you begin to prepare your bench with a couple of Gible and 2-3 Swablu. Getting a Gabite in play on turn 2 starts your Dragon search engine with its Dragon Call ability, which allows you to search your deck for a Dragon pokemon to add to your hand. You can use it to start bringing your Altarias into play, or to fish out a Garchomp for your Gible if you happen to have a Rare Candy in hand. Once you have a Garchomp out with a Fighting Energy attached, it can start doing massive damage with the help of the benched Altarias, each of which provide an extra 20 damage to Garchomp’s attacks with their Fight Song ability.

All three types of Supporters in this deck help to refresh your hand; don’t be afraid to discard a few pokemon with Juniper, since Super Rod lets you put them back into your deck. Since the main attacker, Garchomp, doesn’t need a lot of energy to attack, the energy count for this deck is fairly low. While Garchomp can do up to 140 damage with Mach Cut and a bench full of Altarias, attaching a Blend Energy WLFM allows it to do up to 180 damage with Dragonblade, knocking out the majority of EX pokemon in one blow.

Unlike most other popular decks in the format, Garchomp/Altaria doesn’t use any EX pokemon, meaning that your opponent will have to deal one KO per prize as long as you don’t run out of pokemon on your bench, or cards in your deck. It also doesn’t use any Tool cards, rendering any Tool Scrappers your opponent may be packing useless. Low retreat costs and the addition of Switch help you to counter your opponent’s Pokemon Catcher. Garchomp’s Mach Cut discards Special Energy from your opponent’s pokemon, weakening pokemon such as Mewtwo EX which often utilize Double Colorless. On the other hand, while Garchomp has an advantage over popular Dragon pokemon such as Hydreigon and Rayquaza, it is weak to their attacks in the same way; be careful when facing decks which include Dragon types. It is also important to try to set up as fast as possible, since most of the pokemon in this deck have low HP and are susceptible to getting KO’ed early in the game (“donked”) by powerful Basics. One more important pokemon to watch out for is DRX Garbodor; its ability, Garbotoxin, shuts off all other abilities once a Tool is attached to it, effectively cutting off Gabite’s draw power and Altaria’s attack boost. If Garbodor becomes a consistent problem, you may want to consider switching out some cards for Tool Scrappers. Other “tech” cards you may want to think about are Pokemon Communication, for more search power, and Max Potion, for helping your Garchomps last longer.

Tune in next time when we cover another popular competitive deck!

Update on the Last Professor’s Corner Article 08/30/2012

Posted by raznprince in Pokemon News, Pokemon TCG, TCG News, TCG Strategy.
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Hey TCG’ers!

I just recently read on an announcement regarding the recent ruling on Terrakion EX’s (DRX) Pump-up Smash attack. Rules Team guru PokéPop (Michael Martin) has posted on the PokéGym that TPCi R&D team has overruled the current ruling and cited that the hand is considered a “Private Zone” therefore, attaching energy from the hand is optional and will as such be ruled that way for all games. You can read the citation of the recent post by clicking here. Whether the opponent has seen the player’s hand in a previous turn due to a card or attack effect does not matter; the player is not obligated to attach the energy in his/her hand if there are any when attacking.

Perhaps a couple of reasons for this overrule could be of the following:
1. While players must exercise maximum integrity and honesty at all times in with the game, it is impossible for judges to keep track of all plyers who run Terrakion EXs in their decks let alone devote the time to everyone making sure that those who have basic Energy are attaching them when they “should.”
2. Penalty assessments are a nightmare for both players and the judges. The potential for cheating is too great, which makes it cumbersome for the judges to constantly review hands for basic Energy during every attack and spend time writing up penatlies and essentailly slow down the flow of the tournament.

As a result of this new ruling, I have updated the previous post to reflect the new information (click here for the post). Please let me know if you have any questions about this ruling!

Professor Raz

Professor’s Corner – Special Rulings: Terrakion EX’s (DRX) Pump-up Smash 08/27/2012

Posted by raznprince in Ask a Professor, Pokemon TCG, TCG Strategy.
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[F][F][C] Pump-up Smash – 90 damage
Attach 2 basic Energy cards from your hand to your Benched Pok
émon in any way you like.

If you were playing in a tournament and were running Terrakion EX in your deck and you use this attack:

  1. Does this attack work if you have one or no basic Energy cards in your hand?
  2. Does this attack work if you don’t have any Pokémon on your Bench?
  3. If you had up to two basic Energy cards in your hand, could you choose not to attach them since your opponent doesn’t really know what cards are in your hand?
  4. Are you supposed to show your opponent your hand to verify if there are any Energy cards in your hand or not?

These are some questions that don’t immediately come to your mind unless you are thinking about how it will affect your performance in a tournament. However as of recently, this has become one of the most hotly-debated issues regarding tournament rulings and play since the release of Black and White: Dragons Exalted (DRX). After extensive discussion and consultation of rulings made from Japan, the TPCi rulings officials have finally declared a ruling that will be regarded and enforced at all tournaments…and just in time for the upcoming Fall Battle Roads events! In order to understand this final ruling, I will answer the individual questions I addressed earlier respectively.

  1. It has been long agreed that for all attacks that you do as much as you can unless the attack specifies otherwise. In this case, yes…if you have only one basic Energy card in your hand, you attach whatever basic Energy you do have in your hand to your Benched Pokémon.  No matter how much energy you attached to your Benched Pokémon (zero, one, or two) the attack will do 90 damage.
  2. Yes. Per the “do as much as you can” rule, the attack will do 90 damage.
  3. Based on recent rulings updates presented on August 30, 2012, the hand is considered a “Private Zone,” therefore attaching energy is optional. Whether or not your opponent has seen your hand with basic Energy in it due to some card or attack effect on his/her last turn does not matter; you don’t have to attach the energy if you don’t want to. This ruling removes the potential for severe penalties to be issued at tournaments due to suspected cheating or slowing of tournament progress from constant hand verifications if attaching Energy was mandatory.
  4. You do not show your hand to your opponent when using this attack; the attack does not tell you to do it. Therefore, unnecessary hand reveals are not an acceptable game practice by any means.

Quick Recap: Pump-up Smash will do 90 damage, and if you have basic Energy and any Benched Pokémon to attach them to, you may attach it. Don’t show your hand to your opponent when attacking, and just attach the basic Energy if you have any and want to attach them.

I understand that some cards can sometimes be difficult to understand and work with, and my intention with this report is not to scare you away from playing Terrakion EXs in your decks. However, this ruling is important to understand if you are going to play it in a tournament as you will be expected to know how the tournament staff and judges will rule on it if there are any problems that come up from it during a tournament.

As usual, please let me know if you have any questions regarding this topic!

Professor Raz

Professor Knowledge Difficulty: Advanced

Professor’s Corner Archives 02/19/2012

Posted by raznprince in Ask a Professor, Pokemon TCG, TCG Strategy.
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Hey, folks!

If you need to review any of the information I presented in my first several Professor’s Corner blogs, I have conveniently created this post with quick links:

As always, let me know if you have any questions or feedback!

Professor Raz