Mario: Why?

Discussion in 'Feature Articles' started by desert eagle, Oct 20, 2007.

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  1. desert eagle

    desert eagle New Member

    Title: Mario: Why?
    Date: 10/20/07
    Written by: Kant S. (desert eagle) and Bobby M. (Penguin Master)
    With Input from: Kyle S. (k-psycho), Zach F. (Rambo1000) and Michael P. (SHPanda)
    Picture and input by: Josef B. (Bolt)

    [​IMG]

    Intro
    A lot of us here on Pokegym have voiced that we think Mario is not a Tier 1 or even Tier 2 deck. Since many people are getting the impression that we are just saying this because Mario wasn’t invented by an “elite”, we want to make it clear that this is not true. This article will enlighten the community to see things from the other point of view on Mario.

    Stage 2 decks can’t be “speed” decks and still be consistent.
    Mario NEEDS you to set up a Stage 2 to back up Lucario, or it won’t be effective. Common sense and tens of thousands of games of playtesting played by thousands of different people show that a deck can’t consistently set up Stage 2s at will on the first to fourth turns of this game, unless the deck is a setup deck. Because of this, Mario requires a lot of luck to get your “fast“ setup enough times to top cut a tournament. Every speed deck in the history of the game has been quick basics (Haymaker, Zapdos ex) or fast Stage 1s with high damage output or disruption effects (Banette, Medicham). This leads to my next point.

    Stage 2 decks need a setup man.

    Every sucessful Stage 2 deck from the Rare Candy era and on needs a setup man to properly get going and execute its strategy consistently. Metanite had Castform for massive draw. LBS had Pidgeot to search for anything it needed. Blaze had Dunsparce and Delcatty. Mario, on the other hand, expects you to draw into your candies and evolutions without the use of any setup powers or attacks, using only your limited draw power as support. This being said, you can expect the deck to stall out and miss the setup more often than not.

    Limited Space for Draw and Tricks.
    Machamp, being a Stage 2, not only takes up the space that his line requires, but also Rare Candies that are useless on anything else in the deck. This leaves a huge space constraint on draw and tricks, or trump cards. The Mario player is essentially forced to choose between consistency and having outs against difficult matchups. The Mario lists posted on the Pokegym seem to favor tricks, leaving them very inconsistent, using only a few draw cards.

    Inefficient use of resources.
    The strategy of this deck is apparently to attack with Lucario and follow it up with a cheap 70 damage from Machamp. To pull this off, you have to get a Turn 2 Lucario AND a Machamp set up within the first three turns, relying on your three draw cards to get you your four Rare Candies, without the aid of a setup Pokemon. You go through so much trouble to do a whopping… 70 damage. You have to burn a Rare Candy, a Stage 2, and a fairly large chunk of luck (to draw into it) to do… 70 damage. There are other Pokemon that can dish out damage much more easily and a lot more consistently, using less resources and leaving space for more important cards. Machamp’s other attack does 60 half the time for THREE energy, meaning you either need to get lucky, or suffer even more inconsistency and even LESS damage output.

    Simplicity.
    In his article located in the Feature Articles section, Tom W. says that “Mario has quickly become very popular for its simplicity, power, and inexpensiveness.” Many, however, find the simplicity of the deck to be detrimental rather than beneficial. Mario does not use strategic placing of damage counters, energy acceleration, or a complicated lock strategy. There is no way to add surprise techs or extra lines without sacrificing even more consistency. Therefore, the deck is extremely easy to predict. Decks like Metanite and LBS could use a variety of different Pokemon to cover weaknesses or counter specific threats. Destiny could play virtually anything with Mew ex, leaving the opponent constantly off-guard to anything that was added in. In fact, the reason most players don’t worry about losing games to a Riolu is because they know that if they get past that fatal flip, Mario is considerably easy to outplay. Without tricks or sufficient comeback ability, we must especially consider…


    The Luck Factor.
    It should be apparent that above average luck is needed to win big events with Mario. For some reason, many high-level players seem to have atrocious luck. Combined with all the arguments listed above, it becomes obvious that Mario is a poor deck choice. One reason why Mario has won the Battle Roads it has is because of the sheer amount of people trying to play the deck in weaker areas. You don’t see Mario winning in Florida, even though Blissey is RAMPANT there. Mario doesn’t sweep in the Midwest or California, two of the other strongest metagames in the United States. Also, luck is bound to grant you some key flips, sometimes ending games before the opponent even gets to draw a card. Many games won Turn 1 by Mario would have otherwise been losses due to their lack of setup. Mario's very few good showings at big events also lack credibility. The Mario player needed FIVE T1 Riolu flips to win the grinder, the odds of which are worse than 1/2000. That's some ridiculous luck needed to do well in that event. What people don’t consider is the even greater number of players playing Mario and going 0-X and 1-X. A truly good deck rarely has people with a losing record at tournaments (unless they run into a lot of mirrors or hard counters, the latter of which shouldn’t happen to a good deck very often). For example, Ramen TRUK (Lucario/Blissey) didn’t see much play at BRs because it was kept under the radar, but the handful of players who played it either won or came close, ending the string of events with a record of 64-4, in addition to a few unrecorded wins.

    Lack of synergy
    Although Lucario can be considered an efficient attacker, there is almost no synergy to be found between it and Machamp. Synergy, or two Pokemon’s ability to complement each other, is the key to winning games. Ambush, for example, used Prinplup and Empoleon to put damage all around the field, and then take multiple prizes at once using Marowak. Rock-Lock, which was prevalent during DX-On, combined the Poke-Bodies of Dark Ampharos and Dark Tyranitar to hit every stage of evolution with additional damage. Machamp, however, does not assist Lucario in spreading damage, nor does it cover any weaknesses. It is a bulky Stage 2 that deals far below average damage 50% of the time, in contrast to Lucario’s fast damage output. The only real combo between the two is their common type: fighting. But even this leads to problems. While there ARE decks that do operate with no synergy (Medicham/Hariyama in the past and now, Lucario/Blissey), these decks provide two amazing turn 2 starts, as getting either of the Pokemon out turn 2 is a great start making them pretty much a combination of two T2 decks. Unfortunately, Machamp doesn’t fit that T2 bill.

    Mono-weakness to a popular type, and no weakness coverage.
    This made even less sense last format because of the popularity of Mew ex and Banette ex. Those cards have rotated, but psychic has always been a popular type, and probably will continue to be. Having a single weakness leaves the deck with an autoloss to a fast psychic deck. In addition, Machamp does absolutely nothing to account for the deck‘s single weakness. Lucario is already strong against fighting-weak Pokemon; it would clearly make more sense to play support that either has a different weakness, or covers the weakness of Lucario. So, we must ask ourselves…

    Why Machamp? Infinitely superior alternatives exist.
    In Economics, when one company can produce the same amount of a good faster and more efficiently, it is called an “absolute advantage”. In Pokemon, the good that we are trying to produce is KOs or damage output, and there are several Pokemon that deal faster and more efficient damage than Machamp. Blissey is a Stage 1 that can dish out faster damage that increases over time and allows you to power up something else. Dodrio pumps out more net damage and the damage spread aspect synergizes with Lucario quite nicely. Both these decks consist of Stage 1s, meaning Rare candy is not needed; without Rare Candy, there is more room for tricks and draw cards to increase the consistency and flexibility of the deck. Empoleon is efficient because its Stage 1 is an excellent damage spreader. Setting up a Prinplup is not hard, and getting the Empoleon out is nearly inevitable with the strong engine that Empoleon decks play. It is possible for Empoleon/Lucarioto play a stronger engine because the spread synergy allows it to do well without cards like Pluspower and Strength Charm. All of these decks have the same capability of winning early, but unlike Mario, they have a strong strategy for backup. Everyone agrees that Lucario is a good card. But even playing Lucario all by itself, combined with tricks and a consistent Turn 2 engine, is more effective than playing Machamp.


    In Conclusion
    These reasons are why we believe Mario to not be a good deck. I hope this article dispels myths about people thinking this is not a deck simply because it wasn’t invented by an “elite” or because people are “scared of getting T1’d” or whatever other theories are flying around. We simply choose our decks based on what gives us the best chance of winning, and from that point of view, we feel Mario would rarely, if ever, be the best choice to play at a tournament. Mario is a plumber, not a deck. Let’s leave it that way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2007
  2. Flaming_Spinach

    Flaming_Spinach Feature Editor

    Moderators note:

    This is an opinion piece, people.

    It is not an attack against anyone or anything. Let's keep it that way.

    bulbasnore's note: this is not a poll, make a point larger than I agree/disagree; maybe we'll have a poll about this, since everyone wants to vote, but don't spam this thread with your votes, thanks.

    Any posts that cross the line will disappear.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2007
  3. Hot_Carl

    Hot_Carl <a href="http://pokegym.net/gallery/browseimages.p

    This article speaks the truth. The only match I have ever lost to Mario was at league with my Infernape, and I had the game under my control, but two Infernapes were prized, which is out of my hands. The deck is bad.
     
  4. Clear

    Clear New Member

    finally posted, still, good job guys.

    For the record, I was playing a casual game against Mario with my Shiftry ex + Ray ex + Absol. The thing is not that who won, but rather, we both decked out, no joke, 2x Fighting Weak against a full Fighting deck. That's how bad it is. I wouldn't bother going into the details, however.
     
  5. Mew*

    Mew* Active Member

    Great read! I really like that picture of the Machamp being thrown and a red X over it! :biggrin:
     
  6. Skull Bash

    Skull Bash New Member

    Finally a well thought out article as to WHY Mario isn't a deck, Pretty sad considering the number of people who bashed it in the last few months.
     
  7. KingGengar

    KingGengar New Member

    Well-written! *FINALLY* someone takes a stand. Hats off.

    Oh... Thanks for the free publicity!

    Just one other thing:

    I *agree* with you! By all accounts, Mario shouldn't work. But the thing is: it does.

    Now, if you say it's luck, then that's a lotta luck! Or, if you say it's skill playing with an inferior deck, that's a lotta skill! Or, if you say it's a poor field of opponents, that's a slap in the face of all the opponents at Nationals, the World's Masters Grinder, and Juniors Division Worlds, and to this season's Battle Roads competitors.

    It just seems inexplicable that the deck is "that bad* and yet performs *that well*.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  8. Rainbowgym

    Rainbowgym Active Member

    Short comment.

    Machamp can be a very good card to play, however I think and have seen Lucario is not the best "partner".
    Therefor you can say Mario is not a deck, but I strongly disagree with Machamp getting the "red cross".
     
  9. NoPoke

    NoPoke New Member

    nice article

    but I'm still confused on the whole Mario is not a deck thing.

    - you argue that Mario is not a Tier 1 deck.
    - you argue that Mario is not a setup deck.
    - you obviously don't like Machamp.
    - and point out the bad type weakness for the last format.

    I can accept almost all of that. The only change I'd make is to point out that mario is not a traditional setup deck. Setup decks often struggle for trainer space so I'm not sure how that can be a valid criticism, and the synergy thing I'm unsure of. That 70 for 1 has caused me lots of grief in tournament play. (We were HP-DP1, and I was playing our second choice deck Flygon EX/Flygon d/Fearow/+)

    Mario has won tournaments and is widely played. By those two measurements alone it ought to be considered "a deck". Though obviously not one that you or like minded players would pick for a tournament.

    FWIW I remember reading about Flariados not being a deck either: the comments were usually something like "Flariados isn't a deck its a combo". To which my usual reply was well what deck isn't? I can't think of any mono line pokemon decks that were running then like the Kricket and Blissy decks right now.

    nice article. op-ed can be tricky ;)
     
  10. rhodesia123

    rhodesia123 New Member

    ambush had no setup man
     
  11. Chairman Kaga

    Chairman Kaga Active Member

    Heh...I've been waiting for this article since it was hinted at a while back.

    And although I am a fan of Mario, I also can't disagree with the arguments here.

    It's just funny, like KG said -- it shouldn't work, but it does. Like Phillip Fry's brain.
     
  12. Prime

    Prime Content Developer<br>Blog Admin<br>Contest Host

    I've found many comments from this thread can be applied to both Empoleon/Lucario and Ambush, a deck many praised even though it did just as well as Mario did at Nationals (in Masters).

    What about Ambush? Stage 2 deck with no setup man.

    I know Empoleon variants can get away with a lower rare candy count, but they still run it, and the line also "takes up the space that the line requires". This isn't a problem with Mario or with Machamp, it's a problem with every stage 2 deck out there. The only Stage 2 decks that were able to get away with a 2-1-2 or a 3-1-3 were ones that ran Pidgeot in them or something with a poke-power like Delta Metagross.

    So how does an opinion help prove that the deck isn't that good? I can see how the other points might, but saying, "many players don't like how simple it is," doesn't make the deck bad. I know many people hate how simple Kricketune is, but it's one heck of a good deck.

    Just because Mario doesn't resemble the same old LBS deck or Rock-Lock deck doesn't mean it doesn't have merit. How does Blissey or Kricketune resemble the old decks? They don't.

    You are right that the deck can't really tech cards like LBS and MetaNite could, but neither could Ambush, Empoleon/Lucario, Infernape, and pretty much every DP-on deck created. If anything, times have changed. I don't see why this can be used to put down the idea of Mario if every deck is the same in that aspect.

    I'm not going to argue against the luck factor. It's very luck-based, but so was Flariados and we saw how they went. But think about this; If the player gets lucky enough, their Mario deck could do better than average, and give them an advantage, an advantage that might give them the push that would help them do well at a tournament or even win. Look at the people that have capitalized on the T1/T2 wins with Riolu. Who in their right mind would not think, even for a tiny moment, about abusing Mario and maybe being one to capitalize off of the lucky streak?

    I'm not going to argue the synergy. I don't disagree.

    I will point out that Milotic/Walrein did win Nationals during the RS-on format, so uni-typed decks haven't always been bad.

    So your whole point is, "Well, Psychic was popular, and even though it is nowhere right now, Mario being totally weak to it is SO BAD."? You don't even mention that Machamp DP is only +30 to psychic and Lucario is +20 to Psychic. Machamp PK and Lucario lv.X are both double weak to psychic, but Machamp PK hasn't seen much play since the format started and Lucario lv.X has the nifty Poke-Power that can protect it for one turn. But I think the entire point is impotent. Psychic not being in the format actually helps Mario, and thus Mario doesn't have a bad weakness. It actually has a good weakness.

    Whether psychic comes back or not doesn't mean a deck is bad now.

    Sure, Mario doesn't cover it's weakness, but did Ambush protect Marowak's weakness to grass? Does Empoleon cover Lucario's weakness to psychic? Did Rock-Lock cover each other's weakness (minus the Pidgeot)? Did Banette ever cover it's weakness to dark? Don't mention the flop Banette/Medicham. Does Kricketune cover it's weakness to fire? Does Infernape cover it's weakness to water? I might be going out on a line here, but most decks don't cover their weakness. I remember when T2 Muk ex came around. The deck would rather be totally weak to psychic than try to fit in another line to cover it's weakness. If you use that point to show that Mario is bad, then you must also say that these decks mentioned above were bad at the same time.

    I'm not going to argue that there isn't cards that might be better than Machamp. But this season so far, what have people tried with Lucario other than Machamp? Empoleon? Blissey? Rampardos? Meganium d? So far, this format has seen some Empoleon/Lucario, and just recently some Blissey/Lucario, but there haven't been a lot of other Lucario varients this season that have done well. If there were infinitely better choices, then why do people choose to run Lucario by itself?

    This is kind of funny. Blissey/Lucario have very little synergy. The only synergy they have is that they are both stage 1's and both can use fighting energy and cessation crystals. Lucario doesn't discard energy for Blissey to bring back. Lucario doesn't help Blissey accomplish anything it couldn't do on it's own. The only thing Lucario does with Blissey is improve certain mirror matchups. That's all. It's just 2 attackers combined. It's just like Mario only Blissey is a stage 1. I find it funny how you try to say Mario doesn't have any synergy and then post this idea, which really has just as little synergy that Mario has.

    Dodrio has a little more synergy with it, but is it really infinitely superior to Machamp? Dodrio doesn't start spreading damage until it gets 3 energy on it. Lucario is pretty energy efficient itself, so the two cards don't mesh well. Lucario can help against Dodrio's weakness, which is nifty, but powering Dodrio is where the deck falls apart. Many people suggest Boost Energy, because it can power Dodrio in one go. But Lucario can't abuse Boost Energy for any of it's attacks. You might suggest DRE, but DRE would ruin the damage spread aspect of the deck. In the end, Lucario/Dodrio doesn't work and that is why you don't hear about people doing well with it. Again, it's funny how you mention Mario not being good but suggest ideas that aren't good either.

    Why can't Mario run a strong engine too? You can't say that all Mario decks run the same engine as was posted in KG's thread. Empoleon/Lucario and Machamp/Lucario might play differently, but their lists could be the same exact thing. You can't say that Empoleon would be easy to get out because all Empoleon decks run good engines but then bash on Mario and say that all Mario decks run bad engines.

    Good comment. This almost answers my above comment. But I think it is still pushing it to say that because the deck can get away with no strength charm or plus power that it can run an engine that is so much better than mario's engine. I know in my testing, I do run strength charm in the deck because castaway is played. So you can't speak for every empoleon/lucario deck. It might could run a better engine without PP and SC, but if many empoleon/lucario decks run PP and/or SC, then are they running a worse engine?

    I can understand the comment about playing the deck that will give them the best odds of winning. And I can agree that Mario would not be the deck I would choose to give me the best odds of winning. But I think the rest of the quote is not that interesting. There are definitely inner politics behind this article. This article wasn't posted just to show Mario wasn't a good deck. And no player in the right mind would post an article like this because it would deter their opponents from playing a "bad deck" and would actually lower their chances of winning! So, you can try to hide behind the idea that you are trying to help the community by showing them the right "path" but I think we all know that isn't the real reason this article was made.

    In my last comment for this post, I'll say this. You have written an article about why Mario isn't a good deck. You have gotten your opinion/viewpoint out to the public. There is no reason now to post "Mario is not a deck" in threads now. I'll find it interesting if I keep seeing it posted because that will show that my above point was correct.
     
  13. Lawman

    Lawman Active Member

    The article is well written, but the logic is flawed. I think Prime just fileted the article with his post. Like him or hate him....he is not a dummy and he knows his cards.

    What exactly are better partners for Lucario (a Poke we all agree is GOOD)?? You mention two that have worked AS WELL AS Machamp, but not better. Blissey and Empy.

    Blissey has no synergy w/ Lucario, other than being a beefy stage 1 that can steamroll all by itself. Lucario doesnt drop energy for Blissey. They are both stage 1s, so it may give a few slots for other draw cards (better engine??), but you would still need the Holon energy for Blissey (usually FF, sometimes WP), plus the need for a few fire energy to trigger the weakness protection for the Bliss, which doesnt work at all for Lucario's fighting powered attacks. (Feint is a colorless atk tho)

    Empoleon? It is a stage 2 also....why couldnt you run the same engine in Mario as you do in Empy?? Try it sometime and see if the consistency is there (or not).

    IMO, the whole purpose behind the article is an attempt to discredit a particular thread and the passion shown for a deck that did well @ Nats w/o being a "secret deck" from a "known group" (insert team name). Yes, Mario is a simplistic deck. Tell us how the kricket or the solo blissey is any more "complicated"??

    Its my opinion that the deck caused more problems with set up decks that "elite" players wanted to run, but kept running into "Marios" at events and the players lost to players they felt shouldnt beat them in a "regular" game. The article even says as much. T1 riolu donks FTW in the grinder. The Mario player didnt "need" 5 turn 1 wins to win the grinder...he just "got" them. No one can say they would have beaten the Mario grinder winner IF he missed the T1 donk. Who is to say the Mario player doesn't get set up too??

    As I said, a well written article, but flawed. Hitler put together a well written book too....Mein Kampf. People claim that it was flawed too. (This writer does not support the beliefs of Hilter....simply used to give an analogy)

    Keith
     
  14. Ardoptres

    Ardoptres New Member

    I see your points, and even though i don't want to, I agree with you! o_O

    It's still a deck that has been extremely successful. You can't change that..
     
  15. desert eagle

    desert eagle New Member

    There is SO much to argue here so I'll just disect this little by little.

     
  16. Tego

    Tego New Member

    I think Mario was a nice idea when it first came. As the first generation of decks using DP series cards, it showed the world what to expect in the future, and the importance and relevance of new cards such as Lucario and Plus Power. I found Mario nice back then, and I loved the fun name too. So I decided to try the deck, but I had big problems making it work well. As a fun deck and as a deck to play "just to finally play some DP cards" (besides Infernape) it worked, but as a competive deck it didn't. And it works less and less as time passed and the format evolved.

    My first HP-DP deck was my Mario deck where I just dropped the Machamp line and Rare Candies and replaced them with 3 Absol ex and more trainers. It actually worked much better. Looking back at it now, I can see that Absol ex is no perfect partner for it, but I found it so helpful to remove the big, chunky Stage 2 Pokémon (Machamp) that just burnt out all my resources and never gave me enough back.

    Was Mario a fun invention and an awesome surprise top finisher at US Nats? YES
    Can Mario be deadly in the hands of a good player? YES (but if the same player played a different deck, it would have been more deadly)
    Are there better things to play Lucario with? YES

    I give credit to the Mario inventor(s), whoever it originally was, for bringing us a fun little archetype. But it really just doesn't cut it anymore.

    Empoleon can attack without the opponent drawing a prize card last turn, and Prinplup and Lucario fit beautifully together because they both attack the bench. I think the argument in this thread's original post is that Pokémon with good synergy require a less strong engine.
     
  17. Rainbowgym

    Rainbowgym Active Member

    Why should it NEED to speedy set up the Stage 2? Another Lucario can also do the job.
    It's not all about the "revenge" attack.

    Suprise we are not in the Rare Candy era anymore.
    There is not enough draw power in a deck like this?? Well depends on the build I would say.
    I fail to see how Pidgeot (who is a Stage 2 btw) even can be considered a setup man. You first need to get it out to use the power. And Blaze would terribly fail in the current environment with Cessation Crystal.
    However if Mario is indeed about stall out, I would say it's sure a deck because it uses stall out strategie.

    As long as you think Rare Candy is only usefull for stage 2 decks/cards, there is not much to discuss.
    And like any list posted, you should always modify it yourself on your needs.
    Very good possible there are Mario lists around who run a very different trainer line.

    I am not sure if the strategy is - first Lucario followed up by Machamp.
    Maybe it was before, but in the HP-MT format I would focus much more on a Machop start as a Riolu one.
    I don't know the list you are referring to, but are you sure the deck is not more about search as draw?
    Machamp's second attack does a minimum of 60 for 3, but a possible 90, which is a very different way to discribe it, but more accurate.
    While 60 for 3 is not super, it isn't bad either.
    Cards who require a flip cannot be called failing/usefull 50% of the time.
    They can turn out better or worse, you can put any math on it, but that still will never be the same as what happens in real live. And luck is a big part of the game.
    I know more decks who are not about strategy? Blissey solo, Blissey/Lucario, Kricketune to name some of them.
    Metanite and LBS could also terribly fail and were also predictable. That single one "trickcard" people added can surprise you but not always.

    You need luck with ANY deck, without luck you have nothing.
    Mario or Machamp variations could have done well in ANY area.
    Point is, while in Florida most people will follow what player X and Y are playing at the first tournament, you will never see potential good decks being used.
    Metagame in such area's stands for copy as soon as possible the decks who did well.

    Luck is something you simply need.
    The 5 T1 flops at the grinder are perfect example on how luck is a big part of this game.
    EVERY good deck will run into bad luck someday.

    No Machamp is not a T2 deck, and why should it. With Lucario to stall it uses another strategy.
    And synergy is not always the key to do well.
    Sometimes you have to accept you can run into an autoloss.

    Empoleon/Lucario? Serious and why should a Machamp deck not being able to use that so called strong engine to get Machamp out? It even favors into the Mario deck because they only need 1 type of energy.
    I have reasons to believe Machamp is a good card to play however not with Lucario.
    But what once started as Mario can always turn out to have a good card in it, which can be Machamp over Lucario.
    This article is most of all about Machamp being not a good card to use at tournaments.
    I have a lot of reasons to believe Machamp with another partner will do better as Lucario with any partner.
     
  18. vanderbilt_grad

    vanderbilt_grad New Member

    Kant that was an interesting read, however many of your arguments were based off assumptions that may not be true.

    Let’s examine some of these

    Any deck with a stage 2 pokemon = setup deck

    I think that this is false. When we look at the setup decks they typically have multiple conditions that need to be met in order to set up.

    Metanite – needed a Metagross d, one or more Dragonite d, and electrical energy in play. You had to get ALL of that in order to get the deck going. Powers, Castfrom, and the Holon Engine made that possible, but what made this a setup deck wasn’t just having a stage 2 pokemon line.

    R-Gon – needed one or more Flygon d, one or more tech attackers (usually stage 1 or basics), and energy in hand to attach as needed. This required less setup than Metanite but you still had to get a stage 2 set up to support all your techs.

    Hurricane – needs one or more Feraligatrs, much energy in hand, and pokemon to keep the energy there (Delcatty, Magneton, etc). You usually have to set up at least 2-3 pokemon to keep your Gatrs going strong.

    Lucario / Empoleon – It’s not hard to get Lucario or Prinplup setup but to stay in play you need a bench and the energy to correctly power your pokemon. Since both Lucario and Prinplup/Empoleon have such vastly different energy requiremtns you have to have some sort of setup to be able to build and power them correctly.

    All of these decks require more than just getting two pokemon up and running to be fully effective. On the other hand you have decks with stage 2s that don’t have these kind of requirements.

    Empoleon with techs – as none of the techs in pure Empoleon are mandatory setup just isn’t an issue. You start going with Piplup and never look back.

    In any event I think that Stage 2 <> Setup deck and don’t feel the need to pull out Mario to counter this assumption.


    The need for a starter

    This is actually a continuation of your assertion that stage 2 = setup deck. You are essentially stating that a setup deck can’t function consistently without a starter.

    Yet one of the hallmarks of a good setup deck is that it can function even if it doesn’t get an ideal start. R-Gon starting with Ray, Hurricane getting the Maneton start, etc. These kinds of starts happen all the time and good players with well constructed decks can still win even when it does. It’s only a small step towards building a deck that simply doesn’t have the starter and instead focuses on trainers to bridge the gap.

    In any event I think that Infernape is the classic counterexample here. It’s a deck that requires a fair amount to work, Delcatty, Infernape, DRE, etc. Yet most Infernape decks don’t run a starter & still do just fine.

    Yes Infernape relies on powers to get cards out and setup, but that’s because, in addition to needing pokemon out it requires either DRE or energy in the discard. In other words it is a classic setup deck because you have to meet several conditions in order for the deck to function at a reasonable level.


    Mario = Doink or Revenge

    You devote several sections to Symplicity, Luck, and Lack of Synergy where I read you to be arguing that Mario’s main strategies are lucksack doink and revenge and, this being the case, there is no synergy between the two pokemon in Mario.

    Mario’s opening strategy is to do good damage T1 ... and force all the decks that do use starters to think twice about it. Lucario has a 50/50 shot of doing 30 T1 and Machop will do 20 ... both for 1 energy. Both basics are more than capable of giving you the T1 KO if you are facing a fighting weak pokemon or something with low HP like Chingling, and thus are very complementary. This early damage is able to disrupt setup decks that rely on a starter. Clearly this is a legitimate strategy and it has been proven to work. It’s also clear that you don’t like it Kant since you call in to question any wins based on this part of the deck’s strategy.

    After the first few turns Mario’s strategy will vary. Some of the options include:

    Kill Powers – Not being power dependant themselves both Lucario and Machamp can run Cess. Battle Frontier also fits well into Mario.

    Spread Damage – Lucario is good at this and nothing stops you from swarming him at any point in the game.

    Tank – Use Machamp to dish and soak heavy damage.

    Revenge is a tool ... a very useful one I will admit ... but the deck doesn’t require you to use it at all to function. What revenge does is speed up the deck. Most stage 2s require 2, 3, or even 4 energy, and so require time to set up. Machamp can be ready to revenge in 1 turn that’s insanely fast and simply too useful to not abuse.

    Mario might be a simple damage rush deck, but it does have some options and sometimes the simple strategy is the best. Too much complexity can be a weakness that simple decks can exploit.


    Synergy = Win

    I posted this elsewhere, but I think that it bears repeating. When building a deck you have several ways that you can pick pokemon.

    1. A single Pokemon that’s good all by himself. Banette ex is a great example from last season. You could run techs like Houndoom or LunaSol but mostly the deck was Banette. Solo Lucario and T2 Tune are similar in concept.

    2. Find two or more Pokemon with Synergy ... where together they are stronger than they are individually. Metanite was a classic like last season IMHO. Metagross d was pretty good by himself, and Dragonite d was OK, but together they were amazing. Infernacatty and Blissey/Vire are like this in this format.

    3. Find two or more Pokemon that are Complementary ... they don’t make each other stronger but instead can work well together in other ways. Lucario / Blissey is like that in this format. Blissey can swing big and fast while Lucario can snipe and hit’s the common Fighting weakness. Lucario / Empoleon is here too, since they both spread damage well individually and have different types and weaknesses it’s hard to avoid all this decks attacks. Dodrio / Lucario both offer spread and can use the same energy. Etc.

    Clearly decks with synergy win, but they are not the only kinds of decks that do too.

    Lucario and Machamp don’t have synergy. Instead they are Complementary. You have fast damage spread with Lucario, heavy hitting with Machamp, basics that both do early damage, lack of power dependency, good attacks for low energy, the ability to have mono energy in your deck, etc.

    Mario doesn’t have synergy but Machamp is a great complementary partner for Lucario and works at least as well as many of the alternatives.


    Mario’s Psychic Weakness is bad

    Last format I might have agreed with you with Banette prowling, Mew lurking, and Flygon seemingly everywhere. However even in that format Mario was able to win. I think that what we see is the effect that DP changes have had on weakness. It’s still bad, but not crippling anymore.

    Realistically, this format has yet to show ANY psychic deck that is able to do well. I’m personally hoping that Gardevior or Banette SW is going to change that, but it’s not a given at this point. To this point in the season mono psychic weakness has actually been a strength in the vast majority of competitive areas since the psi decks just aren’t showing. Until that changes I don’t think that you can hold psi weakness against Mario.


    The alternatives are all better

    I think that we will find better partners for Lucario than Machamp and we might find better partners for Machamp than Lucario, but I take issue with some of your alternatives.

    Dodrio requires THREE energy to be effective *and* requires that your opponent oblige you by evolving their Pokemon so you can spread damage. The 3 energy requirement means that Dodrio can actually be slower than Machamp. Similarly not running Rare Candy might leave you room for other stuff, but taking out the Candy also takes out some of the speed. Also, while complementary in a damage spreading way, Dodrio does little to provide the tanking that Machamp or Empoleon can.

    Prinplup / Empoleon is crazy to manage energy wise with Lucario. There *is* plenty of complementary action going on with the damage spreading. Empoleon is a great line. However the need to get the right energy out at the right time when you put these pokemon together can be a big problem. IMHO you are going to need LUCK a lot more with this combo than you will with Mario.

    Blissey is a great card and can provide the same sort of tanking that Machamp does ... but ironically running Lucario with Blissey actually weakens Blissey! Fighting Energy is one of the least advantageous types of energy for Blissey. Psychic, Water, and Fire are all usually better due to Holon Energy. This was an excellent combo for Battle Roads given the prevalence of fighting weak decks (other Blissey variants, Vire, etc.) but I’ll be surprised if it does as well at Cities and States.

    The fact of the matter is that we DON’T have a perfect partner for Lucario and that Machamp actually has some advantages over some of the other alternatives. Each Lucario variant has strengths and weaknesses. Mario isn’t a perfect deck but the alternatives aren’t either yet.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  19. Rainbowgym

    Rainbowgym Active Member


    A better partner for Lucario is Sandshrew.
    A better partner for Machamp is Sudowoodo.

    Those 2 decks did ended very high at each BR overhere.
    I don't say they are the perfect partners, but they give more option to adjust a trainer line.
     
  20. plaidlesspez

    plaidlesspez New Member

    mario is not that bad of a deck, all these "elite" players that like to bash it are tripping, if blissey MT was never made then i would consider mario a tier 1 deck
     
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