Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pokemon TCG City Championships 2015-2016-Madison, WI

We recently interviewed a player at a Pokemon TCG City Championship (Expanded Format) in Madison, WI. The player used a Heatran deck with lots of metal Pokemon:


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich from Madison, Wisconsin at Pegasus Games, at one of the Pokémon Trading Card Game City Championships 2016-this particular one was in the Expanded Format. And I’m here with Nick Miller from Green Bay. Nick, you played kind of a non-conventional deck for this one, one we don’t see very often. It’s been spotted occasionally, but it’s decently rare. It’s a Metal-based deck with, obviously, a bunch of different Metal Pokémon. The main ones for attack are going to be Heatran, and Ageislash EX.

Let’s talk about the overall strategy. What is the basic idea behind the deck, and how did you start using it?

Nick: Basically, the entire point of the deck is to prevent as much damage as you possibly can, to the point where they’re pretty much almost never going to hurt you and you’re basically two-shotting everything in the game almost.

Steven: You don’t play any Hard Charms, or the new Metal Special Energy that came out, the Shield Energy. But, you have a variety of ways of either, generally, actually eliminating damage unless your opponent can get around stuff. So, let’s start off with the Heatran. What’s the point of that card in the deck?

Nick: Well, I use it for, actually, both attacks. The first one does 40 and then an additional 40 if there’s a Stadium in play. Which, I run two Sky Fields to make it so I have more room to maneuver stuff around. Then, Steam Blast is usually used to knock out stuff like Donphan, Mew EX, stuff like that.

Steven: Yeah, Jirachi is still around, since this is Expanded as well. That’s another low-HP target you can sometimes use that on if you’re lucky. And then-

Nick: And it’s a good Shaymin killer too.

Steven: Oh, absolutely. Definitely, obviously, that is definitely going to be around for a while in both formats. Anyway, the next thing is you have Ageislash EX. Let’s refresh for the audience at home, if they’re not familiar, what does that card do and how does it help you out?

Nick: The Ability for it, it’s a 170 HP Basic where basically the Ability is if the attacking Pokémon has any Special Energies attached to them, they basically can’t deal damage to Ageislash. But Effects still apply. Like, if Gengar uses Dark Corridor, I can still get Poisoned.

Steven: But, that is definitely something that-other than, since this is expanded, Hypnotoxic Laser, there isn’t a ton of additional effects in attacks in this format right now. So, being able to negate damage from decks that use Special Energies is a huge boost. You also have a few side Pokémon. One of them is the Plasma Klinklang. What does that exactly do, and how does that help the deck out?

Nick: First, the Ability makes it so all my Steel Pokémon basically can’t be hurt from EXs. And the attack actually isn’t that bad either. I have used it on occasion, where it does 70, then you flip a coin. If heads, deal 20 to 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.

Steven: Yeah, anything you can get out of there. But the Ability to stop damage from EX Pokémon to your Metal Pokémon is absolutely critical there. Alright, well, you went 3-3 in this tournament. So, you had some success. You had some things that worked. You had some things that didn’t. But, let’s start with the games that you won, the games that worked. What happened that let you win those?

Nick: Basically, the first one I won was against a Gengar/Nidoqueen deck. Where, basically, I pretty much just killed their Nidorans before they could really get into their Nidoqueen and start attacking to get through my Klinklang and stuff.

Steven: Yeah. And then, there were two other games you were able to win on. What clicked there for your deck?

Nick: Against a Flareon, I basically just kept on Lysandre-ing Eevees they laid down so that they can’t hit for weakness. And therefore, they would have to overextend a lot more than they would have to normally.

Steven: Of course, Flareon’s, I believe, Vengeance attack would obviously be a major threat to your deck, because it’s not an EX Pokémon. But it looks like you were able to play around that and combat it quite effectively. Alright. Well, there were also a couple games there that didn’t go so well. What happened in those, and are there any changes you might make to adjust for it?

Nick: The first one, there really wasn’t much I could do about it. For one, I couldn’t really draw anything good. Because, dead hands happen, pretty much whether you like it or not.

Steven: Yeah. You always run into those games where things are just aligned in a certain way and it doesn’t work out. That first round, you told me earlier, that’s against a Weavile deck. Which, is another very fringe deck, which is kind of interesting. And the last two rounds, unfortunately, were also where you kind of met defeat. How did those play out?

Nick: Against Archiestoise, I thought-normally it’s actually a surprisingly really good match up, depending whether or not I can get Klinklang out turn two. If I get Klingklang out turn two, my chances of winning are increased significantly.

Steven: And I take it that didn’t happen in that? I think I watched some of it and you just got kind of a slow start there and that didn’t work out. And then, one other time, you were against a Mewtwo EX deck. What happened there?

Nick: Basically, pretty much, Zoroark happened. Long story short.

Steven: Yeah, Zoroark has a lot of things it can do to really mess things up in a very structured deck, so you do got to watch out there. Any changes you might make, to give some advice to the audience out there, what you might add or remove from the deck to sort of improve it if you wanted to use it? Because, of course, this is Expanded. That’s going to be legal at least for the rest of this tournament season.

Nick: Basically, the only thing I’m going to change is probably either the Cobalion EX, maybe get rid of Wally and Ghestis altogether, and add more main attackers. Because overall, I technically only have 4 or 5.

Steven: This is obviously still a very basic, attack heavy format. And being able to do that is important. Alright. Well, now that we’ve gotten some advice, you have an interesting history that we should probably tell the folks at home about. You’ve sort of left and come back to the game several times over the last 7 or 8 years. How has that happened and what do you attribute to that?

Nick: Basically, certain other games usually catch my interest. And if the meta seems interesting, in my opinion, then I go for it. And if not, I usually don’t focus on that game that much.

Steven: Just out of curiosity, have you ever learned something in another game that’s helped you out in the Pokémon Trading Card Game?

Nick: Oh, yes. Definitely. There’s this game made by Bushiroad called Weiß Schwarz, which is basically a compilation of a bunch of different animes put into the same deck. And one great thing about it is it’s literally impossible to win in one turn.

Steven: And what did that teach you about Pokémon? How did that transfer over?

Nick: Basically, managing your resources very well.

Steven: I’ve actually, over the last few years, been going to a board gaming group. But, I’ve learned some things that I think have given me some perspective here as well. Alright, well, thank you very much, Nick. This has been Steven Reich from Pegasus Games in Madison Wisconsin, at one of the Pokémon Trading Card Game City Championships 2016.

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