Sunday, March 13, 2011

Black and White

Last week, the much anticipated Pokemon Black and White games for the DS finally reached our shores here in the US. The game introduces 135 new Pokemon and an entirely new "3D" design, and from what I've seen so far from my play through, there have been some significant improvements and innovations in just the little mechanics and fluidity of the game since the release of Platinum last year. The dialog is still pretty corny, and the story is still pretty much secondary to the general task of just trying to explore and catch every new bugger, but hey, they definitely tried harder with this one to flesh out the baddies with a little more depth. (If you've played, you know what I mean.)

BUT! More importantly the Pokemon company is releasing the new Black and White sets on April 6th (the starter decks) and the actual full set on the 26th. My friend recently got one of the new B&W promo tins, and from what I've seen of the other leaked images online, I think we can predict a few trends about these new cards:

1. Much like Call of legends, these cards are probably going to have a higher energy cost, and possibly more specific energy costs. Cards since the diamond and pearl era on have seemed to trend with lower energy costs and less specific (i.e, 1 water and 2 colorless for 60 damage). Now it seems that its moving the OPPOSITE way, so this will probably make decks either a little bit slower in build or require a more strategic build and varied trainer/supporters to keep speed up.

2. The Pokemon will have higher HP. Looking at leaked pictures of the stage 2 starters alone, they range from 130 to 150; not an astronomical increase, but something to be noted. The basics seem to be about the same as before, between 50-60, but the new sandile has 70... again, just a guess on what I've seen.

As more info comes in, I'll update you guys; but I think we can all be pumped that these cards are gonna rock!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Card of the Day: Double Colorless energy

First off, I'd like to apologize for such the long delay in posting something new. It was mid-term week here and things were getting pretty hectic, so I decided to suspend the blog rather than put up a few shorter and lower quality posts.

Getting on to today's card:

The double colorless energy has been around since the base set, back at the very beginning of the PTCG, and since then has only been rereleased once or twice, the most recent being in the HeartGold SoulSilver set a couple sets ago. I like the calligraphy like style of the new card, though it does oddly look like a pair of dangling balls...

The amazing advantage these energies give is evident if you just look around the net at the prices for these cards, and how often they're sold out on sites like Troll and Toad or Professor-Oak. The lowest price I could find was about $3.53 and they can go as high (reasonably) as $7.80 for reverse-holo versions of the card. To put it in perspective, this "uncommon" sells for more than half of the rares you can pull in this set, and is almost as hard to come by as some of the primes.

Recently, two of us pulled double colorlesses in packs from old HGSS tins (I wasn't one of them : |  ), and you can bet I was jealous!

The biggest advantage that this card has is that it basically allows you to attach two energies per turn. While this may have not have been terribly useful in the base sets because of the specificity of the energy costs of most attacks (for example, the whopping 3 fire and one colorless energy required for Arcanine's Take down), the more recent cards usually have only one specific energy requirement, and the rest can be any type (ie. colorless). This gives you a huge advantage in building time and for pokemon that do damage based on the number of energies attached to them. With the influx of super powerful dragon types (which are represented as colorless in the card game) like Garchomp, Salamence, Flygon and Altaria, the double colorless has become a staple to make these decks quick and powerful.

One example; I run a Garchomp (OP 9) that has "Jet Sword" for a good 100 damage, that requires you to discard two energies to use the attack. This is probably done to limit Garchomp from pounding your opponent into dust with consistent 100's every turn. However, with a double colorless, you CAN set up a Garchomp EVERY TURN. Since you need to discard two "energies" instead of energy cards, it only takes the one double colorless.

I probably haven't done this card enough justice; it can really be a game changer. Just pull one of these during a game and watch your opponent's face pale as you finish building up your deck's powerhouse in one turn.

Tips: If you know your opponent likes to play double colorless, one of your best bets is to put a Scizor prime in your deck. With it's unique poke-body, you'll force your opponent to have to use only basic energies to build their pokemon up... that's if they can't attack things on the bench. (See Scizor prime review below.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Card of the Day: Aerodactyl GL (Rising Rivals)

To be honest, when I first saw this card I thought it was stupid. Now, it seems to be the staple for several decks around here for the same reason I thought it was stupid; drawing.

Wasting an attack to draw cards? This is probably the most basic of lessons I've learned: having cards is power. Many a time I have had to end the turn without doing anything, just because I've had no cards, just a hand of stage one and twos with no energies, basics, or even supporters/trainers. Just Aerodactyl's drawing power makes it worth it.

Aerodactyl is probably one of the best starters you can play, since collect costs one colorless energy and you effectively triple your draw per turn. Aerodactyl has plenty of health, so most basics will take a while to bring him down. And, if you can attach a fighting energy next turn, you can keep those basics basics. If the opponent can't evolve his or her pokemon, you're in for some quick n' easy kills and your opponent's hand is cockblocked with evolved cards that they'll never get to play.

Not to mention Aerodactyl's free retreat cost, so that whenever you've finished building up your bench, you can bring it back and bring even more pain.

Tips: Just something interesting about this card- Aerodactyl is typed as weak to electric, yet its a fighting pokemon, which most electric types are weak to. This can make a match up between the two a brutal "damage-bath", so just keep that in mind.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hey everybody; here's a look at us opening a box of Triumphant!
I show off all our rares.

If you want to trade, leave a comment and maybe we can trade by mail?

Card of the Day: Interviewer's Questions

This card is one of our favorite supporters and a staple for any deck that has more than 8 energies. Though possibly not as guaranteed to find an energy as trainers like Energy Search or Supporters like Roseanne's Research and the older Juggernaut of a supporter Cyrus' Conspiracy, this card can and often will bring multiple energies to your hand, saving an energy starved hand and ensuring you can attach something over the next couple of turns. This is the single supporter that allows you to pick special energy cards from the 8 you pick up, which no other trainer or supporter that I know of can do.

As a side effect, Questions also thins out your deck, so you spend less time having to pull energies when you really need basics to keep you in the game, that one evolution that could trump your opponent, or more strategic supporters. There really isn't any complicated strategy associated with this card; it's straightforward, but that's what makes it good. There's little to no drawbacks either, since you just shuffle the rest of your cards back into your deck instead of discarding them.

I guess one card, Research Record from the newest expansion Call of Legends, would help make Questions more effective. If you plat Research record (Trainer) right before you play Questions, you can look at the top four cards of your deck and replace them in any order, or put them on the bottom of the deck. This allows your to get any non-energy cards out of the way to the bottom of your deck before you play Questions, and make the card that much more effective, and less of a gamble. There's no greater frustration than when you pull no energies AND find you've used up your supporter for the turn.

A simple, good card that can be easily overlooked, but deserves recognition. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Strategy: Energy Heal

A while back, I pulled a Leafeon from the Rising Rivals set. This one card was so appealing to me that I decided to build a deck around it, and I decided on a water/grass type combo.

Since then, the deck has gone under several reconstructions and refinements, but Leafeon has stayed as a focal point of the deck. It is a very versatile card, and many people have their own strategies for it, but here is one way to play it:

Put leafeon out with one energy on it. If you've retreated something to put Leafeon out there, and you still have your energy for the turn, attach the energy to the pokemon you just retreated to remove two damage counters and begin building the pokemon back up again.

Your opponent attacks Leafeon. Watch; anything less than 50 is going to be negligible.

On your next turn, attach an evergy to leafeon to use plus energy and remove two damage counters. Put the energy you get to attach with plus energy on Leafeon. There, in one turn you've done 40, built Leafeon up for its Soothing scent next turn, and removed 4 damage counters.

If you don't need 60 to knock out the opponent and you still have energies, you can use plus energy next turn to add two "potion" energies-- as long as Leafeon is your active, you have a built in potion with every energy added.

This card is great for counteracting Poke-Bodies like Ampharos Prime's, which puts a damage counter on a pokemon for every energy you attach to it; with Leafeon out, this gives you a net gain of 1 damage counter removal per turn.

Leafeon's Pokepower can be augmented with the Dawn Stadium (Stadium) from Majestic Dawn, or Bellossom (Undaunted), which allows you to remove one damage counter from every pokemon once per turn.

This card is powerful and it can deal out a whole bunch of heal.

Try it out!

Card of the Day: Dugtrio (Undaunted)

This is a good middle game card. Dugtrio has a measly 80 hp, and this is it's greatest issue. It's doubly weak to water types, so a mid-level water attack will one hit it. Even something that's doing something more than 20 a turn is a big threat.

But in every other aspect, this card rocks. 30 damage for a single fighting energy is pretty sweet, especially since this card is not hard to get out and can be set up on one turn, and can really mess up an opponent's basics. Think about it;  basics with 60 hp or less, unless they can retreat or evolve means you're guaranteed a 2HKO!

Sand Impact is a perfect middle game attack. Though it takes 3 energies to get ready, if all are fighting, you have the potential for an astounding 110 damage. This is good because it will really weaken any stage 2 pokemon, so the rest of your bench can finish it off if Dugtrio is knocked out; or, it can hopefully KO any stage 1 or basics that Dig couldn't take care of. And the best thing is that the attack does not limit the number of energies and coin flips you can add, so technically it promises limitless damage. Of course, the low hp will hinder you from building Dugtrio up that much, but it could be possible.

The last thing to mention is Dugtrio's no retreat cost; this is a nice touch because you can retreat Dugtrio to your bench for a turn or two to heal up, without having to worrying about re-adding energies. Or, if your Dugtrio has done its job with Sand impact, you can bring him back and send out something else you've built up for the KO.

Tips: If you want to beat this card, bring out a water pokemon that can do easy damage fast. It's pretty simple; so those using Dugtrio, be thoughtful in what situation you decide to send him out.