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.)