For those who do not know me, I am Ujin Yumeno, Pokemon Professor, Robo League Organzier and Premier Tournament Organizer here in SG. I am writing down this simple guide for beginners and a reference for everyone else, on how to become a Pokemon Champion in Singapore. I hope you find it useful, and feel free to add on anything you think is useful.
In this Article, I am going to assume that you already have a Modified Deck for this 2010 - 2011 Season, and you have a fair knowledge of the Pokemon TCG.
The obvious path to becoming a Pokemon Champion is to win Tournaments and Championships in your area. There are a number of things that you would need to know before you are able to start winning.
A) Understanding the Metagaming
Metagaming refers to operating on knowledge of the current strategic trends within a game. This trend refers to Decks that are most commonly used and played in competitive environments, that has a fair chance in winning a game. Metagaming simply refers to you understanding what are the best decks in the current format and working for or against these decks.
The Meta-Game is different at every region, and changes constantly with every release of New Pokemon TCG Expansions.
The Deck that won the 2009-2010 World Championship is still on top of the mountain. It has actually gotten better with cards from HS Undaunted Expansion, with Drifblim, and Energy Exchanger. LuxChomp is poised to be the Best Deck in the Format simply by Dragon Rushing and Bright Looking, and there’s almost nothing that stops it.
The Deck that won US Nationals in 2009 - 2010, Sablelock is in an interesting position as it loses the least during the rotation. An MD-on Sableye will look nearly identical to a DP-on one.
Sablelock is still a top tier Deck, having the ability to Donk your opponent in T1, combined with the consistent set-up powers of Sableye and the SP Engine (Cyrus Conspiracy, Energy gain, Poke-Turns and SP rader) and Garchomp C Lv.X is still nothing to scoff at.
DialgaChomp has always been a strong deck, but one that’s underused/underplayed/underappreciated because of some of the complexities that come with playing it. I know I’ll probably catch a lot of flack for this next statement, but…
In my mind, DialgaChomp is the BDIF of Autumn Battle Roads 2010.
The argument that it loses Claydol is valid, but it also gains Energy Exchanger, which, when played in heavy numbers makes this deck better than it ever was. It also has two of the beefiest SP Pokemon in the game, as well as the ability to abuse the coveted SP engine, a built-in Mewtwo Lv.X counter with 'Time Crystal' Poke-Body that locks down all other non-sp Poke-Body, and the ability to counter trainer lock in Vileplume and Spiritomb while dishing out trainer lock of it’s own, something that no other deck can do.
A combination of Gengar SF, Vileplume UD, and Spiritomb AR, Vilegar is probably the most controversial deck on this list, formed to work against any trainer card heavy decks, like most SP Decks out there.
Starting with a Spritomb, this match-up becomes particularly nasty for SP Decks as it's Poke-Body 'Keystone Seal' prevents any player from playing any trainer cards. Without SP Radars to search out Pokemons, and possibly no Poke Turns, Energy Gains, Power Sprays, Communications, Premier Balls or Energy Exchangers for the entire game can cripple the backbone of most SP Decks.
However, you will not be able to count on starting with Spiritomb every time, and when it doesn’t, a smart SP player will have the ability to outspeed this deck in most situations. Get your counters out early and make sure not to waste a single turn against a non-trainer lock start and you should pull out the win here.
This is where we’re going to move into the lower rung of decks. Not any that are especially bad, just those that aren’t quite as good as the rest. Feel free to call this section tier 2, and the section directly preceding it tier 1.
Tyranitar Prime from HS Unleashed is interesting in that it’s a deck that a lot of more skilled players had been at least looking into, and sometimes even doing well though but failed to catch on with the general public. Starting the game with Spiritomb, and attacking with Tyranitar's Darkness Howl Attack for only one Darkness Energy and sweeping off most Pokemons with Megaton tail, Tyranitar is a beast to reckon with its 160 HP.
Sadly, the reason why this deck did not catch on is most probably due to its weakness to Fighting Type Pokemons like Machamp, Donphan, and Promocroak, or maybe it’s the thought that bulky stage 2 decks can’t compete in this SP-ridden meta. Who knows.
Steelix Prime from HS Unleashed has a similar story as Tyranitar. Some people recognized it’s playability, but the large majority seemed to dismiss it. That’s changing a bit with Erik Nance using it to almost reach Top 16 at the Pokemon World Championship 2010, but in general Steelix is still underappreciated.
The unique asset that Steelix brings to the table is it’s ability to speed itself up. Often when playing tank decks you’re forced to let your opponent take a prize or two, while you’re still setting up. This isn’t always the case with Steelix, as it has it’s own tricks for generating energy with the attack 'Energy Stream' that allows to you take an energy card from your discard pile and attach it to steelix. It is also a Stage 1 Pokemon which means you will have an easier time evolving it.
Donphan Prime from HeartGold & SoulSilver Expansion remains the fastest and toughest deck in the format, swinging for 60 for a single Fighting energy and having 120 HP with 'Exo-Skeleton' Poke-Body that reduces all damage dealt to it by 20.
However, having 4 retreat cost is a big problem for Donphan Prime and no matter how many Warp Points or Super Scoop Up you pack in your deck might not be enough to keep it out of trouble, especially when Donphan Prime is constantly being poisoned by Crobat G's Toxic Fang.
B) Understanding Rogue Decks.
A Rogue Deck, to my best understanding, is a Deck that is unique from the current Meta-Game. Running a Good Rogue Deck will surprise most players on how it is played, and will most often throw your opponent off balances by the unique abilities that your rogue deck has.
The best thing about playing with a Rogue Deck, is winning with it. The pride of winning with a Rogue Deck is indescribable and the amount of satisfaction you will experience is out of this world.
However, it is not easy to form a Competitive Rogue Deck that will work in the current Meta-Game. Most of the time, you will need alot of ideas and suggestions from your friends on what pokemon you are going to use, and which trainer or supporters that will compliment those pokemons. Even after the deck is formed, you will need to play-test it extensively with various decks and modify it accordingly.
I will touch on making a Rogue Deck in Details on my next article.
C) Techs against popular Meta-Games
Techs are cards that are used to simply counter some of the most popular decks out there. It is also cards that will cover your weaknesses and make sure that your auto-loss match-ups becomes at least a hard fight for prizes. I have listed some popular techs in the current Meta-Game.
Uxie/Uxie Lv.X Tech vs Machamp and Vileplume - Uxie is mainly used for draw power, but there are certain situations in which his attack “Zen Blade” becomes quite useful. Uxie LV.X can hit for 60 for 2 colorless energy, which will OHKO Vileplume with its x2 weakness to Psychic, and if you bench a Lucario GL, 'Zen Blade' will be hitting Machamp for 120 damage, so you only need a Crobat drop to knock it out.
Ambipom G vs Garchomp C Lv.X - Ambipom G's second attack “Tail Snap,” does 60 damage if the defending Pokemon has no energy attached.This is great because after sniping, Garchomp C Lv.X will often be left with no energies, making him vulnerable to OHKO due to its x2 Weakness to Colorless. This attack is also pretty good to start with and gets some cheap KOs on starters or even a donk if you are lucky enough to start Ambipom + Double Colorless Energy and go first.
There are alot of other techs out there, which I will touch on in my next article.
D) Preparations before a Tournament
1) Like I said previously, Meta-Game is different at every region, and changes constantly with every release of New Pokemon TCG Expansions. Research the Meta-Game in your area by taking part in Pokemon leagues or PreRelease Tournaments. You will have a good idea of what are the popular or competitive decks being run by players, and that will change the type of deck you will eventually decide to run in Tournaments.
2) Now that you know the current Meta-Game, decide on the deck you would like to run. You could choose to follow the trend and run the top meta decks like Luxchomp or choose a deck that completely counters it like VileGar. Playing a complete Rogue Deck will also give you an advantage as it will catch your opponent by surprise.
After you have chosen the deck you feel confident about, its time to chose some Techs. If you find yourself playing VileGar in a VileGar filled tournament, you might want to think of a small tech line of Pokemon that could give you an edge in that match up, like Dribflim or Ditto.
3) Know your deck. I couldn't stress this enough. Knowing your deck list off by heart just isn't enough. It is about understanding how your deck works and knowing what to do in different type of situations and reacting to how others play with their decks.
For instance, if you are using a deck like SableLock, knowing the precise timing on when to disrupt your opponent or when to play aggressive would be good. Joining a Pokemon Gym and play-test your deck extensively with a variety of tier 1 and tier 2 decks run by different players would provide you with valuable experience that will come handy in competitive Tournaments. However, if you are running a secret rogue deck, you may want to just test-play it with some close friends.
4) Go to the tournament prepared and analysis your potential opponents! Take some lines of Pokemon that could serve as a good tech against some match ups that could be included in your deck. Before writing the deck list, try walking around the event area and watch some other people play-testing before the tournament gets started. This might give you a general idea of the Meta-Game in that tournament, which gives you a better idea of which specific tech lines can be added in your deck.
For instance, if you are running Luxchomp deck that does not run any Machamp counter, and finds 2 guys using Machamp Deck, be sure to add in a line of Drifblim UD or ToxiTank to counter them.
5) Always stay calm and play the game. Do not panic when you made a mis-play and goes “Oh No! I made a Mistake!”. This can be a bad move as your opponent might not have realized you made a misplay and not follow it up with a huge play that could cost you the game. Stay calm, and play as if nothing happened.
6) Relax! And have fun!
E) Taking on the Pokemon Championship Series
Now that you know how you should prepare for a Pokemon TCG Tournaments, its time to enter the Championship Series! There are a total 5 Premier Events in Singapore, starting with Battle Roads Autumn in September and ending with the National Championship in June. Each Premier Event gives a number of ratings to participants who won a game, which will affect your Player's Ranking!
Sep 2010 - Battle Roads Autum - K Value 4
Dec 2010 - City Championship - K Value 16
Mar 2011 - States Championship - K Value 32
May 2011 - Battle Road Spring - K Value 4
Jun 2011 - National Championship - K Value 32
The winner and runner-ups in the National Championship will get invitations to the 2011 Pokemon World Championship in San Diego, USA! The top 10 Ranked Players from each of the 3 divisions in the Pacific Region (Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia) will also get an invitation to the World Championship.
I would encourage you to take part in every Premier Event stated above, even if you do not win in every tournament, you will gain valuable playing experiences as well as Player Ratings and move your way up slowly in the Players ranking. Eventually you will find yourself on your way to become a Pokemon Champion!
For more information about Pokemon TCG Leagues and Tournament, visit http://www.teamrobo.com.