Last June, leading up to the Pokemon TCG and VG National Championships, we published a series of articles that featured decks that we created in the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online (PTCGO). As we mentioned then, our favorite thing about the PTCGO being able to throw together and test (and then adjust with simple mouse clicks) any deck idea that you have the “virtual” cards for, without having to dig the real cards out of binders, put them in sleeves and eventually take them back out for other decks. The PTCGO still has its glitches, but for us, it remains the best testing tool that we’ve seen. Last time we looked, Gym Leader Joel had over 60 decks assembled in his account, ranging from the ludicrous, to lists that have claimed the top spots at area Regional and City Championships.
The Fincastle Gym is not a deck list site. We don’t want to clog up our blog with repetitive list and deck analysis articles. If you want to read opinion and tournament reports on Darkrai/Garbodor, Virizion/Genesect, Team Plasma or Blastoise/Keldeo, search them on Bing or Google and you will find all you want and more. We have great fun experimenting with deck ideas and in that process, we find some decks that are fun to play and fairly competitive. More important for our younger league members, these decks are pretty straight-forward and economical to build. If you take anything away from these posts, think about the mechanics used in these decks. Play around with these decks (online or at your league) and see how you can make them work for you. Lets look at the 1st deck in this series, “Bro-Stache” or as Gym Leader Joel prefers, “the Stranger”.
Here’s the list:
Bro-Stache – Online Record: 10-0
- 4 – Tornadus (EPO 89/98, BWP 42, LTR 108)
- 4 – Landorus (NVI 74, BWP 43, LTR 85)
- 1 – Mr. Mime
- 4 – N
- 4 – Professor Juniper
- 3 – Bianca
- 2 – Skyla
- 4 – Ultra Ball
- 4 – Pokemon Catcher
- 4 – Silver Bangle
- 3 – Silver Mirror
- 2 – Tool Scrapper
- 2 – Random Receiver
- 1 – Super Rod
- 1 – ACESPEC Computer Search
- 4 – Skyarrow Bridge Stadium
- 12 – Fighting Energy
- 4 – Double Colorless Energy
Anyone who has been with us from the start of our league may recognize this as a flashback to a list we posted several years ago (Dream of Genie). We have always had fun with these hearty, mustache-toting, Sam Elliot-look-a-like Genies. Thanks to a reprinting in Legendary Treasures, the Genies that originally appeared in the Emerging Powers set are still around and will be for at least the next 2 years. Their decent 110 HP stats and 80 damage attacks seem a bit under-whelming when compared to the many over-powered EX’s in the game right now. However, the addition of the “Silver” tools turns these fellas into some sneaky little cloud riders that can 1-hit Darkrai EX and 2-hit anything else. When you combine that with the fact that you have to KO 6 of them to win (unless you’re using Lugia EX), you have a pretty competitive combination. Enough so, that we have to agree with Sam…. we like your style, dudes.
It doesn’t really matter which genie you start with… ideally you want to have 1 of each in play. Once you see what you are playing against, you can use “Skyarrow Bridge” to free retreat to the other if needed. What is important is whether you go 1st or 2nd, as you cannot use any attacks if you go 1st. Your ultimate goal is to start attacking on your 2nd turn and keep the pressure on your opponent from that point on. If you go 1st, you want to promote Tornadus and attach energy to him (basic Fighting instead of DCE so you’re not vulnerable to an “Enhanced Hammer”) to set up the 2nd turn “Hurricane” for 80 (110 with a “Bangle”). If you go 2nd, Landorus is the better option, but is a little trickier to use. If you can get at least 1 Fighting energy into the discard pile (with “Ultra Ball”, “Computer Search” or “Professor Juniper”), then you attach to Landorus and use “Abundant Harvest” to attach a Fighting energy from the discard pile, setting up a 2nd turn “Gaia Hammer” attack (80 or 110 w/Bangle). If you don’t have the proper cards to pull this off, it is usually best to stick with Tornadus and use his attack to deal damage and charge another attacker on the bench.
We think everyone is now familiar with the rule change to the item card, “Pokemon Catcher”, so we won’t dwell on that change (….this is not ‘Nam. This is Pokemon. There are rules.) The change has led a lot of players to leave it out of decks completely. However, in this deck, the “pros” definitely outweigh the “cons” for catcher. If you have successfully set up your 2nd turn attack of choice, a flip of “heads” on catcher can devastate your opponent’s early game. You can take out any Basic that they are trying to get set (Squirtle, Duskull, Piplup, etc) or in the Darkrai match-up, score the 1-hit if you went with Landorus. If you start swinging away early with Landorus, then you definitely want to get Mr Mime into play as quickly as possible, as your 110 HP team can’t afford to damage itself much.
The only other thing to point out as far as strategy is concerned is the usage of your Tool cards. You need to be conservative in playing down your “Bangles” and “Mirrors”, especially when facing a Plasma deck. When I play this deck, I usually only attach 1 tool to my active attacker. Most decks seem to play no more than 2 “Tool Scrapper” item cards. If you can force them to play those early on, you may be able to “wall” the onslaught from Plasma decks like TDK and “Yeti” (if you can survive that long). If Plasma is big in your area, you may want to swap the 4th Bangle for a 4th Mirror (or drop something else and play 4 of each). Don’t forget, that if you have “walled” with a Mirror and need the added damage from a Bangle to close out a game that you can play a “Tool Scrapper” on your own tools, allowing you to make the switch.
The Stranger is undefeated online (mark it zero, its a league game…). However, it is worth pointing out that when playing online, you often face variants of the “top” decks, but sometimes it is very obvious that the player on the other end doesn’t have much experience playing the deck. Whether this comes from friends sharing accounts or kids playing their older brothers/sisters/parents decks is unknown, but we have seen some bad misplays. There are also a lot of Darkrai EX decks online (I know 5 or 6 of these wins were against them) which are probably the easiest match-ups for this deck. It also seems that when you take a quick advantage in an online game, especially with a deck you opponent does not know, they often concede pretty quickly, rather than playing it out to the end. Don’t let the record fool you… it is doubtful that the Stranger will win Nationals.
Whether you jump out on someone quickly or simply out-last them as you take out the EX’s while they struggle to find the resources to KO 6 of your genies, this is a fun deck to play. It is very straight-forward to play, not requiring long turns, as there are not that many decisions to make. For those of you that like taking ‘er easy for us all, yeah, well, the genies abide. I don’t know about you, but we take comfort in that…. (maybe I just watch too many movies).
Gym Leader Joel will be playing deck #2 in this series at this Friday’s league challenge (and he has not decided which one to play yet). We’ll get that list up this weekend after the challenge. Come see it in person, or check back later to see it. Until then, see you at the Gym!