Look, Magic: The Gathering is a great game, but with Arena only supporting a lame-duck Standard format and drafts (which is not a word in my playing vocabulary) and MTGO supporting everything else I get a little bored with the game. Sure Modern is super great now that Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Faithless Looting are gone. Stoneforge Mystic has injected a lot of excitement into the format. However, even with my work at PureMTGO, the format is a bit out of reach right now cost wise, and other formats like Legacy and Vintage, while more affordable then they have recently been are in the same boat. I’ve got a ton of Pauper decks, and eventually I’ll write about those but really with Arcum’s Astrolabe existing, the format has felt a bit homogenized recently. It’s like what Astrolabe deck are you running?
When I get bored with Magic I usually turn to another card game. I’ve quit playing Hearthstone. I’m a few sets behind in regards to Eternal, and Pokemon just had a Standard rotation and a huge couple of tournaments to support the new Standard. With it’s cheap cost and generous free to play model, I figured it would be easiest to catch up to that game. I sat down with the Worlds and Open event results and picked out a couple of decks that I figured I would like. I enjoy basically the same things in Pokemon that I do in Magic, so goofy stuff really catches my eye. I however, try to stay with Stall decks. I like to deny energy, in some matchups it is just as good as casting Stone Rain. However, in other matchups, it’s not a good play. Regardless the game to me, is a lot of fun, and a nice distraction from Magic, whenever that distraction is needed.
Like I said I was going over the results of Worlds and the Opens and just looking at decks that caught my eye. Decks from players who I recognize from past coverage, players like Igor Costa, Sam Chen, Tord Reklev, Pablo Meza and Alex Schemanske. As great players they all stuck, for the most part with stock lists, ones that were hyped going in to the event. Igor won an open with Pidgeotto Control (which broke out during Worlds weekend, Opens are closer to Grand Prix). Sam did well with Reshiram & Charizard. Tord finished in the top four of Worlds with the same Pokemon. Pedro was on Pikachu & Zekrom, and finally Alex was on a non-stock list that I loved, a real sweet Gengar Omastar deck. So far into looking at names I found two decks to play, the Gengar deck, and the Pidgeotto deck. I wanted a few more, I wanted a real true stall deck, so I needed to find a Gardevoir & Sylveon deck that I knew I would enjoy, and also find the goofy off the wall deck that I would waste most of time on. I didn’t want to pick up any copies of Dedenne if I didn’t have to, as I wasn’t concerned with running the best decks, just the ones that I would have the most fun with. I wasn’t really finding anything to scratch my goofball itch though, until I stumbled upon Sam VerNooy’s Slowpoke and Psyduck list.
Based around two of the most goofy Pokemon, this tag-team dependent list looks to OHKO most Pokemon in the game with it’s attack, Ditch & Splash. For two Water Energy, you get a 40x attack that deals damage based on the amount of supporters you discard. You discard one, you’re knocking out a Prism Star Ditto. You discard two to deal 80 and so on. Like decks that featured Night March before it, or those built around Trubbish’s Tool Drop or Vespiquen’s Bee Revenge, Ditch & Splash made an attack that forced you to really build around it, and that’s exactly what Sam did.
Let’s take a look at Sam’s deck and hope that I don’t break the site trying to show it off.
Slowpoke Psyduck Tag Team
The first lesson learned is I need to find a Pokemon plug-in for WordPress, the second lesson learned is, the current MTG plugin at least made a functional decklist. It may not show off each card, but you can check out a list that does that here.
I went over Slowpoke & Psyduck already, so let me briefly go over the rest of the Pokemon in the deck.
Important because of Mermaid’s Call, which returns a copy of Misty’s Favor from the discard pile. This adds 40 damage to Ditch and Splash. You’re very rarely attacking with Lapras, sure Surf is a nice attack, but it costs pretty much infinite to power up in a deck with eight energy.
This card, when active allows you to put it to sleep to look at the top five cards of your library and put a trainer in to your hand. With Switch you can activate the Jirachi, find a card and then bring out your actual attacker.
2 Dragonite – Fast Call
Dragonite is really weird in the deck, as you can see that there is not an evolution chain for it. Prism Star Lance is about the only way to get them in to play, and you can only do that whenever a Pokemon you controlled had been knocked out the turn before. You have to sequence your plays to take advantage of the huge catchup that Dragonite offers, be it with Fast Call or with Lt Surge’s Strategy, purposely giving up a prize to take a really big turn. Most of the time though, Dragonite is a bad draw, but with Fast Call you are guaranteeing 40 points of damage, but most of the time either getting you a supporter that gets you more, which adds even more damage to the attack.
1 Dragonite – Hurricane Charge
Less important than the Fast Call, this Dragonite lets us skirt the one energy per turn rule, and can get a Tag Team ready to attack. It’s nice to have.
Sometimes you need an extra attacking Pokemon. A large amount of Pokemon that see play have an ability (see the Dragonites for what an ability is, it’s not an attack, but something you can do) and Evil Admonition in my experience hits for 130 a surprising amount of the time. That’s not a small number and is capable of knocking out most non GX or Tag Team Pokemon. This also helps against Keldeo-GX which prevents damage dealt to it by EX or GX attackers.
That’s it for the Pokemon, Slowpoke & Psyduck are clearly what the deck is built around, and the twenty three supporters make sure that the tag team is hitting for a ton. A large amount of the supporters in your deck search for other supporters, so this is a clever bit of deck building to really take advantage of your build around.
Steven’s Resolve gets any three cards from your deck and puts them in your hand. This is a perfect turn one supporter, especially if you are on the draw, and can’t attack anyways as your turn ends when you play the card. Misty’s Favor gets any three supporters from your deck and puts them in your hand. Bill’s Analysis lets your pick two trainers from the top seven of your deck, so you can see how easy it is to hit hard with your Tag Team.
Other supporters like Pokemon Fan Club get your utility Pokemon into your hand. Freely putting Lapras and Hoopa into your hand to take advantage of the ability or the extra attack from Hoopa is nice. Coach Trainer draws you a ton of cards if your active Pokemon is a GX, and it normally should be drawing the full four. Lusamine shuffles Stadiums or Supporters back into your deck so you can use them again. Lt Surge’s Strategy lets you play three Supporters in a turn if you are behind on prizes, and that is a heck of a card to play to get back in to the game. Leading with this, into a Lance Prism Star to get the Dragonites into play to play a third supporter that you find can really put you back in the game. Lana is a nice heal that can take your team out of danger as long as they have a Water Energy attached to it. Erika’s Hospitality, the last supporter I’ll go over is nice, in a deck that can’t afford to play Cynthia, because she resuffles your hand into the deck, which could harm your tag team’s attack, is a needed supporter to catch you up in terms of sheer cards.
There are two stadiums in the deck, a copy of Power Plant helps out with cards like Keldeo-GX, Dedenne-GX. Zeraora-GX, and Heatran-GX. All of those have powerful abilities, and turning them off with Power Plant can help keep you in charge of the game. Lysandre Labs turns off the abilities of all tools, which is great as well.
The rest of the deck are filled out with utility item cards. Custom Catcher allows you to play one to draw up to 3 cards, or play two to force your opponent to switch their active Pokemon with a benched one. Great Potion heals 50 points to your active GX while Cherish Ball allows you to find a GX from your library and put it in your hand. Switch allows your to move your active Pokemon, be it to protect it from a knock out attack, or to bring your ready to act Pokemon into play without paying an escape cost. Pokemon Communication puts a Dragonite back in to the deck to find a real useful one. Energy Spinner finds an energy, or three depending on when you play it, and Reset Stamp acts as a hoser when your opponent is far ahead in cards and prizes.
I’ve only played a few games with the deck and each time it felt like a real blast to play. While other tag teams are rightfully getting more play, this is one tag team that shouldn’t be slept on, as each set that is released while it is legal will add new Supporters, and while it’s not the top now, who is to say that it’s not the top in a set or two?
I’ll eventually get back to Magic, but I hope you all enjoyed this sidetrack into the world of Pokemon. I figured if Zuby can cover RPGs, we might as well add other games that are of interest to our writers.
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