Playing the perfect game? A mini-article.

Discussion in 'Cards: Strategy and Rulings Discussion' started by Freddy K., May 14, 2008.

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  1. Freddy K.

    Freddy K. New Member

    With the metagame shifting extensively and our minds on the major tournaments in the season we're obviously having to think long and hard about what to play.

    I don't quite know how others set about building decks but I like to think sequentially what the different stages are to starting a game and I break it down into the following seven phases:

    - Initiation: starting Pokémon, quick set-up to avoid benching and to resist the effects of FTKOs.

    - Replenishment: once you have your initial Pokémon set up, what do you do? How do you open up the options for the next important stage, while at the same time getting over status effects and minor inflictions of damage?

    - Trade: usually at this stage if the opponent creeps ahead in prizes are you able to come back? Scramble energy and Team Galactic's Wager are important here. The first Stadium card you have is usually dropped at this stage as well. You would also normally have one of your Pokémon fully charged up by now. Your engine if you have one is running smoothly e.g. Claydol's Cosmic Power.

    - Clutch: here you really put pressure on the opponent. If they haven't kept up with you in terms of resources or set-up, you apply pressure. Usually with this phase if you suffocate them for long enough they draw into nothing and quickly lose. Against more experienced players they will be anticipating this move and have a counter strategy. Team Galactic's Wager is absolutely vital for successful clutch phases.

    - Exchange: if the clutch didn't work you are caught in a prize exchange as your opponent counters your attack. It is here that your TeCH cards are absolutely vital. A timely Warp Point here for example will swing the game for either player as it is unexpected and sometimes hard to counter at the heat of the moment.

    - Time limit: it's usually at this stage that if things are still progressing in the game you are keeping an absolutely careful eye on your prizes and the clock. Here, it's common for judges to be called over. If they are, your opponent usually has something that could cause an upset if you are ahead. Again, if they do, a nice slap in the face can be dealt with via TGW.

    - Termination: the game if still level on prizes or close to sudden death can swing either way. Misplays and miscalculations of chance and probability can win or lose you the match. Generally if you make a mistake, you lose as you only have one chance at it before all prizes are lost. This is the area where Stage 2 decks do well, continuously providing resources and throwing stuff at you that you cannot counter if you chose to run a speedy deck that for whatever reason didn't quite kill the game in the earlier phases. Resources run low for faster decks and topdecking can complete the game.


    - fK
    Last edited: May 15, 2008
  2. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

    Hey freddy, I count seven phases, not six.:tongue:

    Setup (initiation) is so vital that all other phases depend on it. I often forego attacking for the KO if I'm not quite set up yet, even sacrificing a Pokemon if needed.

    Sustainability (replenishment, clutch) is also vital. If your deck goes through lulls, try to time them to coincide with lulls in your opponent's deck.

    Prize-game (trade, exchange) is very important. I lost in the playoffs at Worlds 2005 because I failed to play the prize-game correctly. I see this as the most important strategic aspect of the game.

    End-game (time limit, termination) is important when you can't or don't control the prize-game. In multi-game matches, it's essential to scoop when defeat is inevitable. Also, the end-game is very important in close games. I've once lost a City Championship because I failed to control the end game (I made a mistake) when I was slightly ahead on prizes.
  3. ashinto

    ashinto New Member

    i did the same thing, when i was 2 prizes ahead (freakin' gardilade).
  4. ShadowGuard

    ShadowGuard <a href="

    Nice article, but far too much specified to be a general guide.
    (I'm really sad to see how people forget that there are still other decks than Plox.)

    Scramble Energy and Team Galactic's Wager aren't important for every deck.

    Prize exchange isn't necessary in every deck. Decks that spread damage can be three prizes behind and still win without problems.

    Turn 2 decks don't need a setup phase.
  5. Magic_Umbreon

    Magic_Umbreon Researching Tower Scientist, Retired

    What I like most about this article is how it can be used as criteria for a "proper" deck or game to settle the "Mario is not a deck" problems. Likely to start off again with cards like Groudon LA. Compare a deck's strategy to this structure and it can be seen which decks are complex and which are donks.

    EDIT: My post got pwned by the filters QFT
  6. Freddy K.

    Freddy K. New Member

    Thanks for the comments and thanks for taking time to read through it...

    SteveP - ooops!! *shoots proof-reader*... lol I changed it to the correct number. You've hit the mark with every one of your points. The trade-off that exists with speed and consistency is a really delicate balance in the game I feel. How many times do we see the fastest decks running out of gas late on in the game? Many times we see decks that go X-0 at tournaments just suffocate when it comes to the matchplay rounds because of the greater stamina that is required of them. I remember Go at Worlds 2006 doing this with ZRE.
    Cards like Claydol help you through those lulls you mentioned, hence their popularity no?
    Prize game and seeing the end-game through is the mark of a truly good player I believe, for all the reasons you and Ashinto stated.

    ShadowGuard - it was entirely coincidental Re: Plox, honest! =) I think there are a lot of new players out there who are unfamiliar with cards like Scramble and Team Galactic's Wager. I hope the article helps them to figure out how to improve somewhat by making them a little more aware of why those cards are so desirable to common regular flavor players like us.
    I think you're right Re: damage spread. Many new and perhaps quite a few seasoned players underestimate how well spreading the damage and getting multiple KOs does in games. Case in point, the new Empoleon. Players tend to think if it doesn't do 100+ damage for a specific attack a card isn't worth looking at.

    Magic Umbreon - I see your point... some players prefer more 'traditional' decks which have these phases... it is then up to them to make the next transition and think about decks that pretty much bend if not break the normal rules of play (case in point - Ness' MewTric, denying Trainers)...

    Keep it coming and thanks for reading =)

    - fK
  7. WinkWinkNudgeNudge

    WinkWinkNudgeNudge New Member

    I think this is an excellent starting point to review the strategy of a deck and a good framework for assessing short comings/strengths that deck (or a player) in actual play.

    Far too many of the threads in the Deck Help and Stategy Forum say "start with this, set-up that and start sweeping". If every strategy followed your format the posters would answer many of their own questions.

    Like any good general rule, for example "a deck usually includes 18 - 22 pokemon" the important part of a statergy is how and WHY you depart from the general rule and what it costs. (i.e a T2 deck only uses 8 Pokemon because get your starting Pokemon 100% of the time, its fast, its consistant, etc...on the cost side the T2 has limited options therefore I plan to cover my weakness wit x, I have fewer Pokemon so I will use y to recycle them). I don't see your artcle as being too specific to the current fact I see just the opposite.

    You cannot seperate the metagame from your deck strategy or from your play. However, in terms of the article it could be beneficial to seperate the TGW and Warp Point examples from the play stage definitions. The way to plan your deck and your game would be to match the play stages between your opponent's deck and your own. Seperating the sample from the article itself helps to keep thread on topic and expand the general based on the specific examples without disagreeing about the best answer to any specific strategy. There was a good article on starter Pokemon a few weeks ago but unfortunately it turned into a I love/hate Pachi thread.

    I agree that the "exchange" phase is one of the most crutial phases in the game. It is usually pretty clear as to what your ideal set-up is and how to get there. It also resonable clear how to finish off someone on the ropes (or from the other side of the table what is my only chance to survive). The exchange however, depends on who has the better position, who starts the exchange, the ability and number of times you can retreat. I have tried to work this out on paper particularly while trying to develop GG mirror stragegies but I feel I am still extremely weak.

    I would love to see this article combined with a deck building basics article have it stickyed in the Deck Help forum.
  8. Ho Megas Alexandros

    Ho Megas Alexandros New Member

    The 7 Stages of Play.
    I like this idea. Thanks for the article.

    Scramble is the best energy ever in the world. Its true that there are decks out there that don't play scramble, but there are so few that we can assume they don't ever make it through to the higher stages.
  9. ShadowGuard

    ShadowGuard <a href="

    Hm... let's see... Banette, Skittles, Togechomp, Arithmetic, Inferncatty... and I know some less popular but also competitive decks that don't use Scramble.
  10. Heatherdu

    Heatherdu New Member

    Good article. I think it is very helpful and well thought out.

    Remember players - a guideline is just that 'a guide' - not every deck needs to follow it exactly so not every deck must have a scramble (those mentioned above) or must have a starter for set-up (T2 decks) but generally decks will fit most if not all of the guide.
  11. Rai

    Rai <a href="

    Infernape MD loves Scramble. I don't know about you, but I'd play Scramble in a deck where attaching it increases my attack power by 120. *shrugs*

    I actually think considerations of how Galactic's Wager, Scramble, Double Rainbow, and Rare Candy function are all vital during the "trade" phase, no matter what deck you play.
    Maybe Garchomp won't play scramble. Okay. So should I recklessly take prizes left and right, only to see my opponent make a surprise comeback with Scramble? No. I should anticipate Scramble's emergence once I start to take prizes, and do whatever I can to have Crystal Beach in play before Scramble can provide three energy.
    Maybe my Infernape deck just doesn't have space for Team Galactic's Wager (with hand disruption, its kind of hard to have no use...). Fine, so it's not in the deck. I probably should have a plan though in case the opponent drops a Wager on me, like having Delcatty out on the bench ASAP. Or in more conventional decks, I might want to "Wish for Evolution" to get a Claydol instead of that Gabite, even though a fast Garchomp could knock out a few pokemon before falling.
    And of course, everyone fears the quick Psychic Lock from DRE, Rare Candy, etc. Stopping this from happening can be huge in games.

    You get the point, hopefully... Its probably worthwhile to consider this even if you're playing an unconventional deck, because there's a reasonable chance that the opponent WILL play like this and you can then predict what they're going to do.
  12. WinkWinkNudgeNudge

    WinkWinkNudgeNudge New Member

    As Heatherdu mentioned a guide is just a guide...

    I would be intersted in how others frame their thoughts when it comes to starting the trade phase. My thoughts go something like this:

    1.) Attack or continue set-up?
    2.) Who has the current set-up advantage?
    3.) Who is likely to have the setup advantage from here? (i.e if Garde has good supports in discard)
    4.) If early can I afford to go Aggro? (Diverting all my resources to the front line, will this activate their scrambles?)
    5.) KO ratio OHKO vs. 2HKO vs. Spread?

    It gets quite complex very quickly. Does anyone have a methodically approach to this phase?
  13. DarthPika

    DarthPika New Member

    It depends on the deck your useing.
  14. ~`Flygon`~

    ~`Flygon`~ New Member


    Speed decks are aggro,they attack early and often and dont let up.
    Stage 2 decks are usually setup.

    Now its not alot of speed decks that can contend with the metagame since most setup decks have so much support to setup nowadays. Magmortar/G&G are good cases of that.Banette/Quickturne is aggro.

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