Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Prankster Pokémon Part 1: Murkrow

Hey Fools (I'm trying to coin a phrase for the visitors of our site, not trying to insult anyone :D )

I'd like to present a new episodic sort of segment, in which I cover the most commonly used Pokémon with the ability Prankster. For those that are unaware, Prankster gives a +1 priority to any non-damaging, status move. Eg. Thunder Wave.

Prankster was introduced in Gen 5 and by far the best abuser of this great ability was Thundurus. Since then Prankster has seen a slight nerf in Gen 6, as Prankster priority attacks are blocked by Quick Guard.

Today I'm going to have a look at Murkrow. I've had some recent hands on time with it for a couple of weeks now. And I admit that I really enjoyed using it. It has access to Priority Quash.

Quash's effect is to make whichever Pokémon that was hit by Quash move last. So if I use Quash on a Kangaskhan, it will be the last Pokémon to attack in that same turn it was affected by Quash.

With some clever calls you can gauge which Pokémon on your opponent's side of the field poses the greatest threat, and Quash it so you can KO it with your other Pokémon. It can be very useful in the right situations, but you're most likely to be better off spamming T-wave if you aren't able to make efficient use of Quash.

Murkrow

This little gangster-esque bird has access to Prankster as a Hidden Ability. It's base stats aren't all that fantastic, with base 60 HP, and base 42 for both Defence and Special Defence. Fairly lacklustre, but when you klap an Eviolite on this guy, his defences increases drastically. I ran a Bold natured, 212 HP 156 Def 140 Sp Def Murkrow and it's able to survive quite a lot of attacks. I haven't seen any other fancy spreads but I know that Murkrow enjoys having some Intimidate support, so that more EVs can be invested in Sp Def bulk to guarantee surviving Rotom-H's Thunderbolt.

The Krow also has the right to abuse Roost to keep it healthy and out of that KO range. It's very handy.

My set ran the following:

  • Thunder Wave - basically there for the speed control, and very handy on the off chance it paralyses your opponent;
  • Roost - see reason above
  • Quash - handy to get KO on faster, threatening, Pokémon.
  • Taunt - prevent Trick Room Pokémon  from setting. Could be replaced with Swagger.


Even though it is such an interesting, unexpected Pokémon, I had difficulty incorporating it into my team, I needed one more attacker to get the advantage in team selection and this guy just didn't quite cut for me, sadly :'^( so I had to axe him...

If you're even remotely interested in using this guy, I would whole-heartedly recommend you take him for a spin on SHowdown!. He has a lot of that hipster/niche thing going for it.

In the next installment of Prankster Pokémon, I will cover Meowstic-M.



Monday, 17 March 2014

The techs are coming two by two. Hoorah! Hoorah! - TCG Regionals

Hi all! I'm not actually sure how many of you 'all' entails, but to those who do read our blog, I welcome you and we thank you for your support! This is my first post in quite awhile. On one hand I've been extremely busy and on the other I did not have anything too exciting or interesting to share, but it's Regionals time so I have to say something!

  • The first Regionals is taking place this weekend (21st-23rd of March) in Cape Town!
  • The second is taking place the weekend of the 28th-30th of March in Johannesburg!
  • The third tournament is taking place the weekend of the 11th-13th of April in East London! (Or Port Elizabeth. Sorry not my neck of the woods and I can't find the info to confirm right not.)
I am just going to mention which decks and cards are the strongest in my opinion as well as mentioning some of the winning decks from US States.

                                                     The Big Threats


Yveltal EX: Everyone should know this guy by now and if you don't, you better familiarise yourself quickly! Yveltal is an absolute beast and has already cemented its place as one of the most powerful cards ever in the TCG.

  Take note of the card image inserted and you can see that Yveltal has two very strong and versatile attacks. The first, Evil Ball, is like a super X-Ball because it deals an additional +20 damage from the get-go, but it works from a dark and a colourless, unlike X-Ball. Y-Cyclone is similar to Darkrai's Night Spear except you get to move ANY energy from Yveltal to another of your pokes instead of dealing 30 to your opponent's bench. 

 The most succesful and powerful decks Yvetal EX has seen play in so far has been new versions of Darkrai/Garbodor as well as in partnership with Bouffalant DRE to create "Buffalo Wild Wings".  Due to having access to Dark Patch, Double Colourless energy and Energy Switch and having team mates like Darkrai, Sableye, Bouffalant and Garbodor, Yveltal is the poke to beat so make sure you know how to handle him!


Aromatisse: This plump, sweet-smelling bird thing itself isn't a huge hitter, but it's ability, Fairy Transfer, has been the centrepiece for a lot of various decks both old and new since its release. The ability allows you to move as many fairy energies as you like from one of your Pokemon to another of your Pokemon as many times as you like during your turn. This is exactly what Klinklang BW and Hydreigon DRE did with Metal and Dark energy respectively, just now with with some fairy dust and glitter. This ability also allows a player to move Prism and Rainbow energy around due to them counting as Fairy energy. Another perk of moving energy around is that you can take a hit, move energy off your damaged Pokemon, Max Potion the damage away and then move the energy back to attack once more.

 Aromatisse has so far been played in relatively straightforward Fairy.dec decks alongside baby Xerneas, Xerneas EX, Slurpuff and Fairy Garden. It has also become the focal point of Fairybox or Fairy Toolbox decks that play Rainbow and Prism energy that make use of Pokemon like Latias, Darkrai, Virizion, Cobalion and Terrakion. This version is extremely strong due to the types of Pokemon it plays which can give it an advantage in many different matchups. A third use of Aromatisse has been in what players call Plasma Fairies. This makes use of Thundurus EX as an energy accelerator, Aromatisse to move energy around and then other Plasma Pokemon like Genesect and Palkia as attackers.


Delphox: Generation 6's fire starter has been given an interesting ability in Magical Fire. It allows you to draw cards until you have 6 cards in your hand. This is very much the same as Electrode that lets you to draw up to 4, but the extra 2 cards is always nice. Delphox is a stage 2 though, but also comes with a pretty strong attack which is pretty much a fire type Secret Sword. The two decks that have been craving consistency creators like Delphox are Blastoise and RayBoar. 

  I believe RayBoar is a lot more powerful and a better choice at the moment due to the presence of Genesect/Virizion and Yvetal EX. A charged up Delphox, Reshiram or even Emboar will OHKO everything in a Virgen deck making it a very favourable matchup for the RayBoar player. The problem with Keldeo and Blastoise is not as much Virizion and Genesect, but rather Yveltal. A Keldeo with 3 energy on it can very easily fall prey to Yveltal with Muscle band and the LaserBank combo. I'm not completely bashing Blastoise, but Yveltal, Bouffalant with Bands and Lasers is a very fast, strong deck and having to only rely on Black Ballista's can make it difficult. Rayquaza on the other hand can in turn OHKO Yveltal and then discard energy making it much harder to KO in one hit by Yvetal and it also has Delphox and Reshiram to deal with Bouffalant if need be.

                                         Honourable Mentions

I will quickly mention a few other cards that are quite solid and are also good choices or ones to watch out for:

  • Garbodor! The adorable, stinky trash heap has been around like a smelly dustbin for quite awhile in decks like Mewtwo/Landorus/Tornadus and Darkrai/Sableye. Garbodor shuts off the abilities of important Pokemon including Emboar, Blastoise, Virizion, Aromatisse, Sigilyph and so on. The release of Raichu XY has many people teching it in Big Basics decks as a Yveltal counter alongside Garb because it's Circle Circuit attack runs off a DCE. Trubbish and Garbodor make friends with lots of different Pokemon so you could play it along Yveltal, Mewtwo, Landorus, Cobalion and Terrakion as long as you put in enough tools. Watch out for Garbodor!

  • Plasma has always had speed, energy acceleration, stadiums and powerful attackers to make use of and now it can even use Muscle band to help Lugia get OHKO's! There are many different Pokemon Plasma decks can make use of from non-EX's like Absol, Kyurem and Snorlax to EX's such as Thundurus, Heatran, Palkia, Genesect and Lugia. The Plasma hype did die down a bit, but it remains a top tier deck nonetheless.
  • Baby Xerneas and baby Yveltal both function differently, but do bring their own types of energy acceleration to the game. Fairy Garden and Shadow Circle at first might look like only having uses in Fairy or Dark decks, but actually will also benefit anybody playing Rainbow, Prism and the correct Blend energy. I believe these cards have their uses in decks not only focusing only Dark or Fairy so remember to give them a consideration in deck building.
  • Random decks like Weavile + Eggs, Empoleon, Accelgor, Trevenant, Dragonite, Gardevoir, Vileplume and so on are always present at tournaments. Some builds are downright bad while others are completely rogue and take everybody by surprise. I wouldn't go as far as teching just to beat any decks in this category, but make sure you do know what your deck can do against them and if you can function without the use of item cards, by only taking KO's on non-EX's and so on,
  • Virizion EX blocks status conditions, Keldeo EX can rush in to counter status conditions or reset card effects, Deoxys boosts Plasma Pokemon's attacks and Darkrai EX gives Pokemon free retreat. These are all big players in various decks so be mindful of the effect that can have on your deck's strategy.

                                          Tips for Regionals

  •  Know your deck! This might sound a bit weird, but sometimes while testing we only look to our deck's strengths and think about scenarios where the deck runs smoothly. Unfortunately we are playing a card game where important resources are prized, we hit tails on crucial flips or just have a bad opening hand. Try and get an understanding of how you can play your deck while it is doing poor or what sort of matchups can get an upper hand against it quite easily.
  • Consistency is king! I'm not saying you shouldn't play techs for certain matchups and so on, but that you should realize there is a certain danger to playing too few supporters, relying on lots of 1-of's, using lots of different evolutions, etc. At Cities I played a Plasma list that used single copies of Max Potion and Shadow Triad. I had games where I had access to both or didn't even need them, but when I came to the games where I needed them they had been discarded earlier and I had no way of getting them out. Think ahead of what situations you might need a card for and how you would play if you didn't have access to that card. If it isn't a biggie like Town Map then no problem. If it is a clutch card like Max Potion, Muscle Band or Catcher then I would strongly advise you to play at least two copies of that card.
  •  Be prepared! Have your decklist written out and all your things packed the night before. This will help you not forget anything important and not stress in case you arrive late at the venue. Most people are okay with buying food at the venue, shopping centre, etc where the tournament is taking place, but I think it is a good idea to at least take a snack and a bottle of juice or water with to keep yourself hydrated and fed during rounds. Getting enough sleep the night before is also never a bad thing!


That's a wrap for now, guys! There are a lot more technicalities and choices and things I would have liked to discuss, but that is all I have time for. Good luck to everybody playing at the various Regionals! Do your best, participate with good sportsmanship and enjoy yourself. See you around and once again, thanks for reading!

-Stephen

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Regionals update! And what I'm currently using

Hey all!

Steve and I have been VERY quiet lately, and we profusely apologise.

In mainstream news, South Africa will be having it's first VGC Regional on the 30th March, at Brightwater Commons. Make sure you get yourself there chaps! I will post more meaningful information about the tourney closer to the time.

In hipster news, here's a quick look at the team I'm using:

Mienshao

Mienshao has an interesting base speed stat 105, allowing it to outspeed the plethora of Pokémon in the base 100 band.

I'm running a Jolly natured, max speed and attack variant. The item is a toss-up between Sash and Wide Lens, but I'm leaning toward the former a lot more strongly.

The moveset is: Rock Slide, Fake Out, U-turn and High Jump Kick.

Hydreigon

This slot was originally occupied by Choice Scarf, Bread-'n-Butter set Salamence. Although the Intimidate support is great, I feel that it's weakness to Rock, Ice and neutrality Electric type attacks was just not cutting it. So I looked for another amazing Dragon-type and came across an old friend, Hydreigon. 

I used Hydreigon a LOT back in Gen 5, it was always partnered with Terrakion. That was when I was still incredibly fresh to the VGC scene (I still am fairly fresh, but a bit wiser now).

This is also a scarfed 'mon, and has enough speed investment to outspeed Timid Scarf Gardevoir, which has seen a surge in popularity.

The moveset is: Draco Meteor, Flamethrower, Earth Power (which is very useful vs Mawile in Rain) and Dark Pulse.

Mega Khan
Mega Khan hits hard and hits fast. Still using the same set I've always been using, Adamant max attack, max speed. Return is very potent, Fake Out is staple, as well as Sucker Punch and the Power-Up Punch.

Aegislash
My Aegislash isn't shiny, but I will possess one someday! I've seen A LOT of different sets for this. Substitute+Leftovers is seeing a bit of a popular stint atm. So, I decided to be a complete sheep and follow the herd. Not much to say here really... Max HP Max Sp. Att.

Tyranitar
Litereally the same one I've been using for the past couple months. Special Attacker w/ Ice Beam to deal with Garchomp and Rock Slide + Sand Stream for Charizard Y. Timid Nature. The only new thing about this guy is that he's in a HEAVY BALL. Yes, it makes my team's swag over 11.
Look at that swagalicious colour scheme.

Azumarill
This was originally a Gardevoir, but Gardevoir just didn't have the same kind of presence on the field as Azumarill now has. This Pokémon completes the Dragon-Fairy-Steel trio that is the core of many a team. Trust me, you'll want to have a counter for this trio. The switching ability of those three types is just absolutely amazing.

My Azumarill runs Belly Drum, Aqua Jet, Play Rough and Protect. Adamant nature and max attack, but the rest of the EVs are top secret, like. LOL jk guys. It's 212 HP, 4 Def, 4 Speed (needs to get changed), 32 Sp Def.

Hope you guys liked this little update. Do let me know what you're thinking of below in the comments. 

As always, lots of love.
-Gavin