dkates' E-on deckbuilding tips

Discussion in 'Deck Help and Strategy' started by dkates, Sep 29, 2003.

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  1. dkates

    dkates New Member

    Not too long ago, I posted an article here giving tips on deckbuilding in Unlimited. One of my first replies asked me to write a similar article about E-on. I truthfully answered that I didn't have any experience with any Modified. However, over the last couple of weeks, I have done some experimenting with E-on. Although I don't claim to be anywhere near as skilled an E-on deckbuilder as I am an Unlimited deckbuilder, I do think I've figured out many of the tricks to building a good E-on deck. Note that as this article is being written, the most recent set is Sandstorm. Some cards may be added to the lists of good cards as new sets are released. And now, with no further ado, here are dkates' E-on deckbuilding tips.

    What is E-on? E-on is one of the formats that many players think may become the new Modified format. For those few who don't know, "Modified" refers to a format where only cards from a certain set and later are allowed. For E-on, this set is Expedition. There are some cards that debuted in earlier sets, but were reprinted either in the allowed sets, or as Promos released in that time period. These cards are allowed, and players may use the earlier copies. However, if any wordings were changed in the reprint, all copies of that card are played with the wording of the reprinted version. The question of which Promos are allowed in a Modified format is usually answered when the format itself becomes official. For this, I use the version being used in the UK, which allows only the "Best of Game" Promos and the Promos printed by Nintendo. However, few, if any, of the rules change if this rule is different.

    Other rules of deckbuilding. Only the rules in the section above and this section may not be broken under any circumstances. All the other sections are tips only. First, a deck must have exactly 60 cards. This rule has existed since the game was introduced. Also, with the exception of Basic Energy cards (The only word on these cards is "Energy"), no person may have more than 4 cards in a deck that share the same name, even if they are not all the same card. Some cards are limited to one per deck. If this is the case, that will be written on the card. Actually, I'm not sure if any E-on legal cards have this rule. Finally, your deck must include at least one Basic Pokemon. Of course, you'll almost definitely want more than that!:lol:

    OK, so how do I build a good E-on deck?
    There's a lot to it. Here's the important things to consider, roughly in the order that I consider them. Of course, just because you've moved on to a later step does not mean you can't change anything you did in an earlier step.
    • Focus. No matter what the format, every deck needs a focus. The focus refers to what your deck specifically tries to do. It also usually refers to which Pokemon your deck tries hardest to get onto the field.
    • Pokemon, part 1: Evolution lines.The name of the game, literally. This is where you choose the main Pokemon and the supporting Pokemon for your deck. Generally, I find that a good E-on deck should usually have about 16-19 Pokemon, usually 18, of which at least 9, preferably 10 or more, of those are Basics, in order to avoid mulliganning too often. Here, I will list the different main categories of Pokemon lines used in decks in terms of Evolution status of the most evolved member of the line.
      -Stage 2 Pokemon. A lot of E-on decks focus on a Stage 2 Pokemon, and with good reason. Many, if not most of the Stage 2 Pokemon available for E-on are very good cards. A Stage 2 must always be the focus of your deck, simply because you will devote a high number of cards to it. When using Stage 2 Pokemon in a deck, here are my general guidelines. First, do not try to use 2 Stage 2 lines. Even though a few pairs of Stage 2 Pokemon have wonderful synergy, a deck with 2 Stage 2 Pokemon tends not to work quite right in any format. Second, try to use at least 3 of the Basic and 2 of the Stage 2, preferably either 3 or 4 each. As far as the Stage 1 of the line, I would use at least 2, and up to, but more than, the number of copies you use of the Stage 2. The reason you can use less is one very important Trainer, Rare Candy. I have not used this card, but only because I do not have any. Think of it as the Pokemon Breeder of E-on. If there are two different cards for the Stage 2 of a line, and you want to use both, use 2 of each, or 3 of the better one and 1 of the other. Which is the "better" one depends on the deck. Note that this is one of the very few times that a single is not a bad idea.
      -Stage 1 Pokemon. Usually, a Stage 1 line will support your Stage 2 line, if you have one. This will not always be the case, of course, but it tends to be. You should try to have no more than 2 Stage 1 lines -- limit to one line if you have a Stage 2. Having 3 Evolution lines tends to result in a cluttered bench. When using Stage 1 lines, try to use 3-4 of the Basic and 2-4 of the Stage 1, depending on how central to the strategy the line is. If it's really unimportant, you can go 2-2, but you usually shouldn't, in my opinion.
      -Basic (non-evolving) Pokemon. You will almost definitely want some of these in your deck, if only to have enough Basics. Most of the Basics that are used in E-on on their own are the Ruby and Sapphire set's Pokemon-ex. Some others may be used, depending on purpose. Generally, if you have Evolution lines, as you probably will, your non-evolving Basics are used as support of some kind. However, this may not always be the case. Sometimes, you may actually focus your deck on a particular Basic, usually a Pokemon-ex. Usually, you will want 2 or 3 of a particular non-evolving Basic. 4 can be okay, and a single may be alright IF it's a Pokemon-ex. In general, I would try not to have more than 2 different Pokemon-ex and 3 Pokemon-ex cards total in any one deck.
    • Pokemon, part 2: types. Unlike Unlimited decks, which often have many different colors simply because it is so easy to splash in a different-typed Pokemon without adding an Energy type, it's a lot harder to do that in E-on. An E-on deck should have no more than 2 Energy types, in most cases, unless the Energy needs of the 3rd type are extremely small. I would not advise trying to have 4 colors under any circumstances I can think of. If you have 2 types, the secondary type should cover the Weakness of the primary one, either by having Resistance to the type your primary type is Weak to, or by being the Type your Weakness tends to be Weak to, preferably both.
    • Pokemon, part 3: synergy. Make sure the Pokemon in your deck work together in some way. Synergy, as I term it, is very important. Even if you're using 2 types, one covering the other's Weakness, look for synergy. Synergy between your two Evolution lines, if you have 2, is especially important. If you have a Basic back-up hitter, which is often a good idea, it doesn't need to strictly interact with the main strategy, but none of your Pokemon should detract from your strategy. Again, if you have two Evolution lines, they should both be part of the strategy if at all possible. Good synergy contributes to a focused deck, and a focused deck works much better than an unfocused one in any format.
    • Trainers. These are extremely important. I recommend having 23-30 Trainers, preferably 24-28. More is often better, but having 24-28 Trainers should cover all the bases you need to cover, and having more means you have less of the other two types. I will list here the major types and purposes of Trainers.
      Types: -Supporter. These are usually the most powerful Trainers available, but they have one important drawback. In any given turn, you may only play one Supporter. I advise trying to have 10 or fewer Supporter cards in your deck. Usually, you will want 2 or 3 of a given Supporter. 4 is usually not necessary, and singles are usually not a good idea.
      -Pokemon Tool. There are not many of these available in E-on, but the category is still worth mentioning. Pokemon Tools can be attached to a Pokemon, usually so that their effects can be used later. There is a restriction that no one Pokemon may have more than one Pokemon Tool attached at a time. Usually, if you use a particular Tool, you will probably want 3 or 4 of it, in many cases.
      -Technical Machine. These don't often show up in decks of any format, and I'm not completely sure why they don't for E-on. A Technical machine is a Trainer that is attached to a Pokemon that meets certain conditions. For the one turn that it is attached, it gives the Pokemon it's attached to another attack. Usually, these are very powerful attacks when used correctly. I would tend to advise using 2-3 of any Technical Machine you do use, if you do.
      -Stadium cards. Again, not many people use Stadiums in E-on, although this is a little less strange to me than is the fact that Technical Machines are not popular -- in the case of Stadiums, not many of the E-on legal ones are very good. A Stadium card has an effect that affects both players. Only one can be in play at a time, and only one can be put into play per turn. Some can make the game a little harder for each side, others can benefit each side. Usually, you should have no more than 3 Stadium cards total. A single of a Stadium is fine, and I would not recommend having more than 2 of any one Stadium in most cases.
      -Non-categorized. These are all the Trainers that aren't of a specific type. These are not limited in any special way, and they have a variety of different effects, depending on the card. Most of these Trainers, if you use them, you will want 2-4 of, usually 2 or 3. If the Trainer requires you to flip a coin, with only a heads doing anything, and you want to use it, use 4, since chances are 2 of them will work if you play all 4 in a game.
      Purposes: Note that some Trainers may fit into more than one of these categories. Whenever I name a Trainer that is a certain one of the above types, I will note that in parentheses. Note that I've listed more categories than in my article on Unlimited. I capitalized the names of categories, mainly for ease of reading.
      -Healing. Compared to Healing cards from earlier sets, many of the Healing cards available for E-on are pretty weak. However, that does not mean that they cannot be useful. On the contrary, most good decks should have a few Healing cards in them. Healing cards are cards that, in one way or another, remove damage or Special Conditions from a Pokemon. The best E-on legal cards I can think of for this category are Potion, Oran Berry (Tool), Moo-Moo Milk, and Pokemon Nurse (Supporter). Also, in the right deck, Hyper Potion may have potential. Note that all of these are cards that remove damage; usually, you won't need a card that removes Special Conditions without doing anything else.
      -Searching. There are a fair number of good cards available for this in E-on, although most of them are Supporters. Searching cards, oddly enough, search your deck for a particular type of card, usually putting it into your hand, although there are notable exceptions. Searching cards are very important, and no good deck should be without them. Some of the better cards in this category are Professor Elm's Training Method (Supporter), Pokemon Fan Club (Supporter), Oracle (Supporter), Wally's Training (Supporter), and Lanette's Net Search (Supporter). There are Searching cards available that are not Supporters, but they do not tend to be very good, in my opinion. Some people will disagree with this.
      -Drawing/Hand Changing. A very important category of cards. Every deck should have some of these. Most of the available cards in this category, good or not, are Supporters. The best ones, in my opinion, include Professor Elm, Copycat (Supporter), and Juggler (Supporter). Professor Oak's Research (Supporter) may also prove useful, but players tend to favor Copycat over Professor Oak's Research. Note that, out of these, only Juggler does not change your hand. Also note that, as Professor Elm is one of the Best of Game Promos, there is some doubt as to whether or not it will be allowed. However, in the UK's E-on Modified, which has been declared, Best of Game Promos are allowed. That is the version of E-on most players are using to test their decks.
      -Disruption. Disruption is a much, much smaller category in E-on than in Unlimited. Disruption cards are cards that interfere with your opponent's strategy in some way, such as by changing your opponent's hand. Although you can build a good E-on deck without Disruption (unlike in Unlimited), if you have room for a few Disruption cards, it will almost always help your strategy, at least a little. Good Disruption cards are Energy Removal 2, Mirage Stadium (Stadium), and Desert Shaman (Supporter). Although these are not the only available Disruption cards, they are close, and the remaining ones are not very good, in my opinion.
      -Attack. Other than 3 Pokemon Tools (Crystal Shard, Memory Berry, Strength Charm) which are not used often, all of these are Technical Machines. Attack Trainers are cards that, in one way or another, increase either the power of your attacks or the number of attack options you have. A good deck need not have any of these cards, but if you have room for them, they can be helpful. For anyone unclear as to why Crystal Shard is considered an Attack Trainer, it's because it can be used to make one of your Pokemon a (C) type until it attacks, thereby ignoring Resistance. As far as the Technical Machines go, which ones are good really depends too much on the structure of your deck for me to list any standouts.
      -Evolution Assistance. A small category -- 3 cards, currently -- but very helpful if, as is very likely to be the case, you are playing a deck based around a Stage 2. Evolution Assistance cards are cards that can evolve your Pokemon. If you have a Stage 2 line, include some of these if at all possible. If you have one or two Stage 1 lines, these cards are less necessary, but can still be helpful in some cases. The category consists of Rare Candy, Star Piece (Tool), and Wally's Training (Supporter). Star Piece is used less often than the other two, but can be useful in the right deck.
      -Positional Control. Another small category -- 4 cards. These are cards that change where on the field certain cards are. The category consists of Energy Switch, Pokemon Reversal, Warp Point, and Switch. Of these, Switch is the most important -- almost every deck can benefit by having 2-3 copies of it. Don't worry -- it's a Common, and has been reprinted more than once. The others, while they can be helpful, are much less important.
      -Recovery. In my article about Unlimited, I called this Discard Recovery, but the category has been broadened a little. Recovery cards are cards that move cards from the discard pile or field to the deck or hand. These are very important, especially the ones that can move cards out of the discard pile. Good ones include Super Scoop Up, Town Volunteers (Supporter), and Fisherman (Supporter). There are others, including a few Stadium cards.
      -Protection. At this point, this category consists of only one card, Weakness Guard. The size of this category may increase as new sets are released, which is why I bothered giving it a name, but it will generally refer to cards that lower the damage of your opponent's attacks in some way and/or prevent your opponent's card effects from affecting you. Use if it fits, but don't go out of your way for this one.
      -Pseudo-Pokemon. These are Trainer cards that act like Basic Pokemon. For E-on, there are 3: Mysterious Fossil, Claw Fossil, and Root Fossil. Each of these can evolve into real Pokemon, but they can also be used independently of their evolutions. These 3 Trainers are alike in that, although they act like Basic Pokemon, your opponent does not get a Prize by knocking them out. These can be useful, but don't necessarily go out of your way to find room for them.
    • Energy. Whew! After that long section, you could use a little break, right? Well don't worry, this one's a small one, and we're almost done. Every deck needs Energy cards. I recommend having 17-19 Energy cards, usually 18. Some decks are fine with a few less, but most decks should not need more. There are two types: Basic Energy cards, and Special Energy cards. Basic Energy cards cover colored costs (or Colorless costs) and do nothing special, while Special Energy cards have special effects. Basic Energy cards are also the only cards in the game you can use more than 4 of in a deck. I won't go into much detail on Special Energy cards at this point, but I will give you one final note. If you have two Basic Energy types, there will almost definitely be a primary type and a secondary type. How many of each of the Basic Energies you need depends on the deck somewhat, but you will almost definitely want more of the primary Energy type than the secondary.
    • Final edits. Look over the deck one more time. Check that you've got everything you need, and that you don't have any cards that don't need to be there. With only 60 slots for cards, you can't afford to have a useless card. Make sure you don't have any singles of important cards, unless they're Pokemon-ex or Stadiums. Actually, a single of Town Volunteers is ok, too -- it helps in almost any deck, but you probably won't need it often enough to need 2, for most decks. Remember, other than Pokemon-ex, Stadiums, and Town Volunteers, "If it's worth having in the deck, it's worth having two of it."
    • Playtesting. Play your deck against a friend's, use Apprentice, or whatever -- just make sure you actually play it, while you have time to edit it (i.e. if it's going to be a tournament deck, playtest before the tournament). Get a feel for how it works, see if anything needs to change (as will often be the case), and become familiar with it. It has to be YOUR deck. Even if you used someone else's deck for an idea, make sure it fits your style. Play around with how many of a card you use, until you find what works best for that particular deck.
    There you have it. I hope this article turns out to be useful. If anyone has any comments or questions, feel free to post here or to PM me.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2003
  2. Cyrus

    Cyrus Iron Chef - Master Emeritus

    Very impressive article, dkates! This article, combo'ed with Broken Lizard's "The Case for the EON Format" are solid sources for deckbuilding in E-on, for both newbies and pros alike :D
  3. cattdreams

    cattdreams New Member

    I'd like to note my general preferances on the ammount of energy in a deck. I follow the old rule (I believe on one of the wizards articles) of starting with about 20 energy, then for every pokemon that has an attack that takes 4 or more energy, I add one, for every 3 that have an attack that takes 2 or less, I remove one, then I remove one for each energy related trainer.
    I also balance the energy the same way my differant types of pokemon are balanced. that is, if I have 20 pokemon total, 12 of which are fight, 8 of which are psychic, I'll do a 60/40 split on the energy as well. Modifying the balance slightly if perticular pokemon need more than one of a specific energy(for instance, if I have a dark venasaur [3grass]and an octilary[1water, 2colorless] in an even mix, I'll still add more grass than I would water)
    But that's just me.
    p.s. as always dkates, good guide :)
  4. RainbowRichards

    RainbowRichards Active Member

    Time to edit your sig!

    Actually, I printed it out to read on the train!

    Very thought-provoking! I see the power of Switch!
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2003

    HYPER EEVEE Iron Chef - Master Emeritus

    I think you did pretty well.
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