PokeThoughts by Dave II: Alex, Jason and Jimmy Watch

Discussion in 'Feature Articles' started by dld4a, Feb 9, 2008.

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  1. dld4a

    dld4a Feature Writer

    To me the 2007 tournament season already seems long past. I'm already immersed in gearing up my deck lists for the 2008 season, but there may be some lessons that we can all learn by taking the time to look back over the previous season.


    Many of you may be aware of the threads I started over the course of the 2007 season to report and keep track of three players whom I and many others consider some of the best players in the world, Alex B. (BigChuck01), Jason K. (Ness), and Jimmy B. (BANGINBOX). So this will be a quick look at their records in 2007 and they've all been kind enough to answer a few questions that I believe will benefit us all if keep them in mind.

    Above is the chart of all their wins and losses and their deck choices throughout the season.

    1. Looking back, is there any deck choices that you wish you had made differently? (which/why)

    Alex –
    I would have used Banette earlier in the season to sweep up Cities. It was the best deck the entire season, took me half of it to realize it though :-D.

    Jason –
    (I'm assuming you're talking about Worlds.) I stand by my deck choice. I didn't practice enough last year and played poorly at Worlds. With better play, I could have won Worlds in 2007.

    Jimmy –
    I would not have run destiny at worlds. I was more comfortable with eevee/lucario but chickened out at the last minute.

    2. Are there any tech cards you wish you had or had not used? (which/why)

    I would have liked to fit Warp Points in decks, but never could find the space.

    1 Crystal Shard is the only change I could have made to make my deck better. I didn't expect Flygon ex LM.

    Destiny was a SUPER TECH deck. I am happy with the results until the DP cards came out.

    3. With consideration to the invite structure were there any tournaments you wish you had or had not played in? (which/why)

    I probably should have played Battle Roads since their K-Value was so high, but I didn’t. Thank god it worked out.

    No, because I had already earned my trip to Worlds in 2006.

    Not really. The invite structure is a disaster. I'm Glad I did not have to worry about it.

    4. As the season progressed, did you ever find yourself sticking with a deck because you were more comfortable with it than a deck you actually thought might have had a better chance of winning? If so were you happy with that decision?

    Yea, towards the end of the season I stuck with Banette knowing it was most consistent. I felt there were some tourneys Sally/Gross may have played well in, but never had the stones to run it.

    Yes, Banette ex - which I felt I played so well that it would always, always be my best choice, even if I would have several difficult match-ups.

    Destiny and Ambush were my decks. I cornered the metagame with both. I am extremely happy with the results of both.

    5. Did you ever adjust your deck between tournaments to perform better in a tournament because of what you interpreted the metagame for that region to be or would you consider any adjustments you made solely to help your deck perform better against what ever you may encounter?

    Yea, I threw 3 Buffers and Lunasol into Banette when Ape became popular.

    Yes, I constantly adjusted my Banette ex deck. I took out Houndoom when people started playing Latios ex d/Latias d, then added Buffer Pieces to deal with Raichu d + Scramble and the mirror match.

    The only change I made was adding eggs to destiny. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!! It turned all my horribly hard matchups into winnable ones. Good call all around.

    6. If you had to pick one thing to recommend players when making deck choices throughout a season, what would it be?

    Play something consistent. Most losses are due to your deck not even getting going in the first place.

    Stick with what you are comfortable playing. Don't over think things!

    Understand the current metagame. You can’t really build a counter unless you got a grip on what’s being played.

    7. What percentage of your ability to win the tournaments that you have won would you attribute to your ability to make deck choices as opposed to your playing skill during a game?

    I think it's 10% deck choice and 90% skill. I feel I could have top cutted Nats/Worlds with any decent archetype.

    This is very difficult to determine. I would say about 75% deck and 25% skill.

    100%, a great deck will overcome any lack in playing ability. Look at the current Gallade deck. Even people with little to no skill are winning with it. A horrible day for Pokémon OP indeed!


    And in the end their final rankings were ...

    World Rank

    12 Alex B. 2018.97 MA IL US
    57 Jimmy B. 1896.03 MA IL US
    70 Jason K. 1873.89 MA IL US

    US Rank

    5 Alex B. 2018.97 MA IL US
    38 Jimmy B. 1896.03 MA IL US
    46 Jason K. 1873.89 MA IL US

    IL Rank

    1 Alex B. 2018.97 MA IL US
    2 Rob D. 1950.91 MA IL US
    3 Jimmy B. 1896.03 MA IL US
    4 Jason K. 1873.89 MA IL US

    Reading through their answers and examining the chart you can pick up several tips on how to improve your game play. You can also tell that there are several different ways in which you can approach this game with respect to deck choices and playing style. My favorite thing to do is to look at how they and their deck choices performed against each other. I wish Jimmy had been able to play in more CC's so we could have a better sample to study.

    It all seems to be telling me that as long as you practice a lot, know your deck, and know the meta game, you'll perform well. What I think may be the most interesting is how some of their answers seem to be in complete opposition to each other. I'm certain that these great players do agree on at least one thing, Pokémon TCG is here to stay!

    Thanks to all three of these great players for their help and cooperation.

    Thank you for reading,
    Dave II
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  2. bulbasnore

    bulbasnore Administrator Staff Member Trader Feedback Mod

    Interesting variance in answers to #7 - deck vs. skill!

    A great deck is important, and maybe more important is playing a deck you know well & have tuned out glaring weakness/tuned up to a high consistency & power. My best finishes have been with a total rogue that I knew like clockwork and had tuned for 6+ months (ne-on Zapdos/Ampharos) or best deck in format (Blaziken-Aqua's Manectric-Rayquaza and Absol-Garde-Gallade).

    For those that have the cards to do it, I would think that keeping a solid archetype and a developmental 'rogue' in playtesting all season would be a fun approach. This way, the night before the tourney you can decide if your rogue is ready, and if not, run something solid that you've tuned for the metagame.

    I appreciate the guys sharing their views and hope dld4a will do more articles like this in future.
  3. Mew*

    Mew* Active Member

    Great info! Thanks!
  4. ~Blazi-King~

    ~Blazi-King~ New Member

    Most of what they all say is true.

    Know your deck. Thats the key. When i made it inot Worlds '05 through th LCQ (aka Grinder), I had tested Victreebell/Weezing/Dustox HEAVILY and found that it did well Vs all of the metgame, and was consistant enough to the point that it would only have a bad start 1 out of 100 games...Sadly enough...That game came in the main event which kept me out of the top 32..Against a completely grass weak deck...........

    I think the %'s are almost on par..I would say 60-65% Deck Choice/35-40% Skill (Skill meaning you know your deck inside and out vs the metagame).
  5. bullados

    bullados <a href="http://pokegym.net/forums/showthread.php?

    I'd say that you can change the wording "deck choice" into "deckbuilding skills", and thance "Skill" into "Playing Skill" and it will make no difference. I'm generally a 6-3 player, and that's mostly because I know how to properly build a deck. Playing it correctly, however, is something else entirely.
  6. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    Well, not necessarily. Take Martin's National Championship win the other year.
    He was handed the RaiEggs deck the night before and swept with it.

    No deck building skill there, on his part. At least not for that particular event.
    Although some one/group certainly had deckbuilding skill, that created the deck and let him use it.

    There are great players like Jimmy Ballard that pride themselves on creating their own unique decks and then there are other great players that will make use of decks that others built. And a range inbetween as well.
  7. bullados

    bullados <a href="http://pokegym.net/forums/showthread.php?

    The great thing about rules is that there is always an exception. Not that I'm knocking Martin's deckbuilding skill, as he can probably beat me around the bush with his skill in both areas. You could also argue that "deckbuilding skill" encompasses everything that happens before the event begins, with deck choice, playtesting, TecHing, and all of that stuff, and "playing skill" as everything that happens during the event. Many events are won (including my own wins) before the event even starts, with the deck choice, the playtesting, and the TecHing.

    SLOW DECK New Member

    Good Read Dave,

    The players like Alex, Jimmy, and Jason always do best with a consistent deck. They can out play most of players if the deck's get's up. They often can develope a good strategy on attacking an opponent and just out execute them. Not many misplays out of this group.

    Players of highest quality I would often think they are best to play consistent deck's that have some simple options in the pre-worlds events. At worlds, one might need to move to more techy, maybe less consisent decks in worlds, where the typical skill difference isn't as great, thus a stronger more versatile deck might mean the difference. You just hope that the increased chance of deck failure doesn't catch you.
  9. Regis_Neo

    Regis_Neo Moderator

    Very good article, very insightful!
  10. Team Cook

    Team Cook New Member

    Nice article on 3 good players.

    Interesting to see if you would get the same type answers from good players living outside of Illinois or maybe good players ranked higher than the 3 you chose?

    How about something from the players ranked higher than 5th?

    Once again, good job, keep it up.

    SLOW DECK New Member

    Team Cook has to take a step back and realize that this artilce was LAGGED.
    When you have trips, what does ranking matter?

    Jimmy, Alex and Jason had dominated 2005-2006 season, and Jimmy and Jason TRIPS to Hawaii because they finished 1 and 2 in Worlds in 2006. Alex obviously did T8 in worlds 06, and then follows it up with earning a trip and following it up with top cut in worlds.

    Thus if someone is going to follow up with something during the 2008 season, you need to peg some players who did well in the 2007 season.
  12. Dante63s

    Dante63s New Member

    Nice article.
  13. Team Cook

    Team Cook New Member

    Nah, I realize that and I SURE DON'T want to take anything away from those players, but it would be nice to read the thoughts from other great players in the game of Pokemon. I firmly believe that there's more to Pokemon than 3 great players in Illinois.

    Excellent job Jason, Jimmy, and Alex. Best of luck to all.

    Now don't make me come up there and beat y'all with my awesome Exploud EX deck.:lol:
  14. Bohn

    Bohn New Member

    the deckbuild x skill question is hard to answer.

    take the current metagame: everyone playing almost same deck, so skill would count so much.

    now take past season, there were MANY good decks, but the deckbuild (and deckchoice) was the key.
  15. Kenshin's Garde

    Kenshin's Garde New Member

    100% deck if it has Giovanni's Machoke. ;P
  16. I am lol'ing at the poler diffrences in this question. 90% skill.... BS.

    IMO, this question is invalid, the % should broken up between skill, deck choice and (BAD/GOOD)LUCK. A great player with a great deck could get donked since they have 1 basic and crap cards.
  17. Pidgeotto Trainer

    Pidgeotto Trainer New Member

    For this game, deck matters way more than skill.
  18. BigChuck01

    BigChuck01 New Member

    No way, it's debatable that it's actually MORE than 90% skill. Give me GG vs a bad player who has the exact same GG list. I guarantee I'll win 9/10.
  19. NoPoke

    NoPoke New Member

    The numbers for deck vs skill vary with the metagame. If the Best Deck is also the easiest deck to play then obviously deck dominates.

    Pity the Luck question wasn't asked. With speed being so important in Pokemon tcg your opening hand (and who goes first) in a mirror match will largely determine who wins for equally skilled players.

    To my mind "Skill" isn't quite the correct way of describing the difference between the best and the rest. From what I've seen the best players just make fewer mistakes under any given circumstance. So rather than Skill perhaps the question should be how much influence does faultless play have on match outcome.
  20. bullados

    bullados <a href="http://pokegym.net/forums/showthread.php?

    Then again, give you something like T2 Seaking against that GG list, and see how good you do in that matchup.

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