Elm = Staple?

Discussion in 'Cards: Strategy and Rulings Discussion' started by MonkeyMan, Aug 6, 2003.

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  1. MonkeyMan

    MonkeyMan New Member

    This is one of the most interesting topics that was on the old gym and I dont want it to die so Im going to start off by saying I believe elm is staple in EVERY deck. Here is some reasoning from a very qualified friend to back it up.

    You are obviously looking for something with these search cards. You are looking for a) energy, or b) pokemon. Because that's how you attack, and thus, win the game. So you want to get as many of those cards in your hand.

    Elm is simply amazing. It's anti-decking, it gives you SEVEN cards, which nothing else in the game will CONSISTANTLY give you, and you can still play cards afterwards. The only time that COPYCAT or JUGGLER (because Prof Oak's Research is simply A TERRIBLE CARD) would be better is when a) You're looking for a tech card such as Double Gust, or b) when you're pulling off a 2-card combo and you don't want to shuffle back one part of it into your deck. And regardless if you play those two cards, you STILL want 4 Elm because draw consistancy is the number one most important factor in a deck. The main thing that will allow you to win a TOURNAMENT is to get a consistant draw of the right cards EVERY game. That means playing a good ammount of draw, and draw that isn't dependant on any other cards. Lets take a look at what draw cards are dependant on other circumstances:

    Bill (You simply draw two)
    Prof Oak's Research (shuffle for 5 cards)
    Oracle (Put two cards on top of your deck)
    Professor Elm (The best draw card in the game)

    Bill's influence is so small, it's not worth playing. You're more than likely not going to impact at all. How often are you going to get the card you need in two cards? Not often.

    Prof Oak's Reaseach suffers the same fate. You argue against Elm in that if you've played an energy and draw 2 trainers, you only get 4 workable cards. If you've played an energy, and get a supporter with POR, you've now got 3 playable cards in your hand, which makes it worse than Elm. Plus, the card is especially bad early on, when you just want a LOT of cards in your hand to fill it up, you ARE going to be able to play those cards on your next turn.

    Oracle shouldn't even count as draw, as your hand size increases by ZERO cards.

    Elm is the best draw in the game. It will give you SEVEN NEW CARDS EVERY TIME. There isn't a time when it doesn't. Think about when you want to play draw the most. It's in the first turn of the game. You HAVE to find your main basic, and you HAVE to get set up. Most draw cards are Supporters anyways, so if you play a POR/CC/Jug/PFC, you can't play another one. Comparing Elm to all of those, which one gives you the most cards? ELM! Seven cards trumps all of the other ones, and on the first couple turns, double gust/strength charm/techy trainer cards don't see play. So you want sheer card advantage over your opponent. Elm is what gives you that.

    Backing up to my earlier point, most draw cards are supporters. Which means after you play a draw card, you're probably done! But not with Elm. Juggler+Elm and Copycat+Elm allows you to search through a SERIOUS portion of your deck on the first couple turns, allowing you to search for the pokemon you need to WIN THE GAME. Trainers are there to find and assist your pokemon, and to disrupt your opponents. But using these trainers won't matter if you don't have your own pokemon out, which is why Elm is so good.

    Juggler and Copycat are the only draw cards that can TOUCH Elm, POR is trash. Juggler is amazing in Typhlosion and Gatr-Sect decks, because it turns a disadvantage of the card into an advantage, making it a 7-card draw for you. The reason it's not better is because it's dependant on how many water you have in hand, making it inconsistant. Copycat is also good, since it can draw even MORE than Elm, but suffers the same inconsistancy drawback.

    Elm is PURE consistancy. If you play it you get 7 cards every time, and you're going to play it in the turn you need the cards the most- the first one. The no-trainer drawback is also less painful during these turns as well. You can simply play everything in your hand, then Elm. You're most likely looking for Pokemon, so if you get your basic the first turn, you really can't do much but wait until the next turn to evolve. Drop your basic, then play Elm, and wait to evolve next turn.

    Or you could simply not listen to any logic whatsoever. To believe me, all you have to do is look at every decklist from the ECSTS, WCSTS, Worlds, Origins, GenCon, every SBZ, every QT and every local league tournament filled with randoms and you will see that ALL of the best decks at these events ran FOUR Elm. The deck has been the best draw card since it was released in Neo Genesis. If you don't believe that it was and is the best draw card, tell my why every deck that wins, regardless of that deck's theme, runs four of them.

    Elm is the best draw card in the game right now.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2003
  2. NoPoke

    NoPoke New Member

    Elm is the BEST draw card by your definition.

    But sometimes you want to search your whole deck for a particular card. Elm just isn't reliable enough for those tasks. So you end up looking at Trader, Prof Oaks Research, and Oracle. These cards have the ability to go through your whole deck, something that Elm can never do. So though I agree that Elm should be in every deck I'm not convinced that you must have 4 in every deck. If it is a particular trainer card that you need this turn then Elm is hopeless. Of course if you have the space then 4 is best ;)

    You forgot about Underground Expedition...take two cards from the bottom 4. I try to find room for one of these in my decks, but not if it means cutting an Elm :lol:
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2003
  3. Dro~

    Dro~ New Member

    Sorry, is this only for modified? I would like to see a discussion of professor oak. Someone wants to trade a professor oak for my professory elm.
  4. YoungJohn06

    YoungJohn06 New Member

    I partially agree about Elm... though I hardly ever play 4 even in Modified. I normally go with 2-3. I think it also matters on the deck you're playing. Like for example... Entei/Magcargo. In my deck I played 2 Elm and 2 Copycat, but I played 4/4/4 Bill/Mary/Oracle. This works a lot better in this deck because of it's speed and need for certain cards. Professor Elm gives you a random 7 cards and disables you from playing any more trainer cards to get what you need. So you may or may not get what you need. I think most of the time Copycat and or Oracle are more useable and helpful than Professor Elm. However some decks do work better with the Elm and Copycat line than the Oracle/Bill/Mary.

    And in unlimited... Professor Oak totally beats everything but Computer Search. Professor Oak and Computer Search are the staples of any unlimited deck for sure. :p
  5. MonkeyMan

    MonkeyMan New Member


    yah sorry this was about MF not unlimited my mistake for not mentioning that ;\
  6. Jim Ferrell

    Jim Ferrell New Member

    Suuup Levi,

    I dunno if I can agree with you man. The game is all about randomizing and drawing the correct cards at key times. Rarely does one have energy problems in the current game. You have your drawing cards and you play energy drops as you go throughout the game, so energy pulling isn't bad usually. Pokemon Trader and Fast Ball get you the core and meat of your deck, namely, the Pokemon. They aren't by definition "drawing cards", but they aren't randomizing cards either.

    I also think Copycat has more pull than Elm. Simply because Cleffa still sees large amounts of play and because of mulligans especially with low basic counts in big decks like Cargo, Gatr/Sect, and some SMF decks. Key copycats can win games. Because you usually will not have another supporter ready to play that turn. The drawback to Copycat is much less severe than the drawback of Elm. Elm practically ends your turn unless you drop an energy or evolve. Copycat still gives you options. The usual hand size for any given point in the game is 5-6 cards. Thats 1 to 2 less cards than Elm and you can still continue your turn and then even play an ELM in addition to that which is always nice. If your opponent pulls off an Eeeeeeek, you basically enjoy the same advantage. Elm just can't compete with that IMO. Elm guarantees SEVEN cards where Copycat has no guarantees. However, your opponent will not have a small hand for long, especially if they have the average hand size and draw a prize, etc.

    Professor Elm is a VERY good card. I just think all in all, Copycat's better as it has direct impact on gameplay.

    ~Jim Ferrell
  7. MonkeyMan

    MonkeyMan New Member


    True True copycat does own elm throught after a eeeeeeek or maybe for 6 but that is pretty situational if you ask me. Most of the time when you cat its for 5 or 4 unless they just eeeeked. Id have to say cat is the 2nd best card drawing in the game of MF and even in Unlimited its dang good.

    But really the difference between Copycat and Elm is

    No Trainers


    Lesser cards in hand and No Supporters

    Now depending on what deck your playing the 7 card hand is better for setup IMO but hey theres always room for argue and personal preference.
  8. Martin

    Martin Active Member


    Monkey, your contradicting yourself. First you say Elm is a staple, then you say, "IN ALMOST every deck".

    A staple is a card that goes in every deck. Yugioh players live by that word.

    Staying on topic, I say no. Entei/Magcargo is the perfect example of a deck that does NOT need 4 Professor Elm to run correctly. You only play 2 in that deck.
  9. MonkeyMan

    MonkeyMan New Member

    You might be right I dont know. I havent tested it so I cant say and Im sorry about the contridiction Ill edit that right now.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2003
  10. mew2sb

    mew2sb New Member

    What I think of

    I think is depend on what deck / format you refer to..

    If standard, I think oak is best, elm is for anti decking out

    If limited, I think elm may not be the best as there are bill, oak's research, etc....


    That all
  11. Baboon

    Baboon New Member

    I saw this thread on Wizpog, and I just didn't feel like posting then, as it was already pages long. BUT, since we're only at a couple posts, I'll speak up.
    Elm is not a staple. A staple is something like Switch or Double Gust, as almost every competitive deck has one or the other.
    Elm fits well into *some* decks, and it's suicide in others. If you live by Elm, you'll die by Elm. That's many people's major mistake, thinking 4 Elms will save them.
    Consider a deck with 20 Pokemon, 20 Energy, and 20 Trainers. 10 of those Pokemon are Evolved. Now. It's the first turn of the game, you lost the opening flip and you HAVE to Elm, since you have no Bench, and your opponent's Electabuzz is about to take you out next hit with Thunderpunch. (It already Paralyzed you with the first attack.)Let's look at your hand after Elming. You'll prolly have 2 Trainers, which are useless due to the no-Trainers thing. You'll prolly get 2 Energy, which don't save you from being KO'd next hit. Then, you'll prolly get 2 Pokemon, one of which is an Evolution, which won't help you as you can't evolve first turn. And, you have a 7th card, which could be anything, odds are it won't be a Pokemon.

    SO, you should get 1 useful card in that situation, with a chance at another. We all know that what "should" happen almost never does. That one card that you should get could EASILY not come, and you'd be stuck with a hand that's 100% useless. That's exactly what happened to my opponent 2nd round of SBZ2. I had the Electabuzz, Paralyzed him, he Elmed, and got stuck with a useless hand, and I won on my second turn. I know my argument isn't concrete here, as most decks vary off of my general 20-20-20 I used here, but that's around average for Modified. If you use a 15-15-30 deck, which I tend to do more often, you'll get 3½ Trainers, 1¾ Energy, and 1¾ Pokemon. Of course, you can't get parts of cards, but this is an example. Now, assume you have Evolved Pokemon in your deck, so that 1¾ Pokemon now becomes ONE Pokemon you could bench. (If you'd use it mid-game, and actually get the matching Evolution, good for you, but it doesn't happen often.) So you now have 1 card out of 7 you could use, and as before, that chance may not happen.

    Now, I know I'm showing Elm being used in a desperate situation, but where do you need Trainers more? When you're winning and can survive without moving ahead, or when you need those cards or you lose? Most all Trainers, including Elm, is more needed to work in a desperate time, and Elm just has its way of failing when needed.

    You CAN use Copycat and Elm together, as I've done in a number of decks. For that matter, you can use Elm and any other hand-changing Trainer together. Just don't depend on it.

    Yes, Elm IS the best draw card today, but it is not the staple that some people keep trying to make it out to be. It would be a bit better once Cleffa leaves Modified for good, which it may soon, but for Modified as it was, Elm wasn't awesome.
    @[email protected] I feel like I just wrote an article XD
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2003
  12. MonkeyMan

    MonkeyMan New Member

    You make some good points but to clarify switch ISNT a staple baboon ;\

    And if Elm is the best draw card available why not play it? Card Advantage wins man
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2003
  13. Baboon

    Baboon New Member

    Err... All I meant is Switch/Double Gust are *more* of a staple than Elm is. MANY more decks can survive Elm-less than can without a way to change Pokemon. I didn't necessarily mean every deck needs Switch, as no, that is not true.

    As for card advantage... Read my last post again. It's not card advantage, well at least not enough card advantage. Yes, you get 7 cards, BUT you'll have to wait to use most of them. Given you're not in the first turn or 2 of the game, ok. BUT, consider when most people use Elms or Copycats: when they are setting up. In the beginning of most games, being stuck with a useless hand for a turn is quite significant, as one turn is all it takes many times for your opponent to get the jump on you.

    Drawing does not always equal advantage.
    Drawing what you need and having the ability to use it then IS advantage. Elm makes you wait, while in that time, those cards you drew are just sitting lifeless until your next turn! May as well never have taken them, if they're doing you no good...
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2003
  14. Otaku

    Otaku Active Member

    Might as well try again...

    As many people here probably recall, I do not think of Elm as a staple. After some playtesting, I must concede that I did over-estimate it, and now Elm fanatics will post how "Ha! He says he was wrong about Elm!" but won't bother with the rest of the post. I was ready to dump Elm entirely, but some decks do make better use of it than others, and for such decks its superior to other options. Look at Encargo. At first, I thought such an energy intensive deck might be better of with Juggler, but then I realized you really need most of the energy... so Elm, combined with good use of many new Trainers like Fast ball and maybe Pokemon Fan Club (for Slugmas, of course), will give you real speed. However, Encargo is one of those decks that not only not an "equilateral" deck (one with an even amount of Pokemon to Trainers to Energy), but one where I have seen successful decks running half energy and being able to use it fast (due to Howl). Filtering out the non-energy cards is often important for such a deck. Look again at most decks featuring the classic Downpour/Riptide Feraligatr. With Parasect or without, there are enough reasons to run Elm: with Parasect, it adds more Pokemon, and again, you can make use of the extra energy due to unusual circumstances ('Gatrs Power), while without you need to max out on draw power to ensure you can constantly dump much Water Energy into the discard. Finally, there are certain comboes that are quite fun using Elm. Desert/Shaman Eeeeeeek is fun and effective, but if they topdeck a Copycat, it lessens the effect. So Elm can be a good alternative, since you can do this before your energy attachment (and during early game, of course), so you should be able to drop your hand size back down to 3 or 4 pretty easily. Finally, there are "big evo" decks. Not a single stage 1 or 2 line, but at at least one Stage 2 and a Stage 1, or two of one or the other. Those decks, like Noccromancer, benefit from Elm's large draw better, because of the ridiculous amount of Pokemon they can play in consecutive turns. Theoretically, a player could start with a single basic turn one, play 5 bascis that turn, then 6 evos the next, and another 6 the third turn. Theyare still liekly to be able to evolve/bench two to three Pokemon for the first 6 turns.

    Okay, now that I have said why I see Elm still being useful , here's the basics of why I find it no longer a staple:

    1. Copycat. Possible the best reason. Both becuase it can get you a good hand at just the cost of Supporters, but more importantly, becuase all those "temporarilly dead cards" now become hinderance, fueling your opponent's draw power. Fcator in the prevelance of Elm and Cleffa, and Copycat is also a solid alternative to Elm.

    2. Desert Shaman. You know those Trainers you were planning on using next turn? Kiss them good bye. Same with those evos. Desert Shaman/Eeeeeeek is almost as good as Lass Eeeeeeek, if not more so: I top deck an Oak in unlimited, you probably helped me by replenishing my deck, since a Copmuter search will let me grab that one card I wanted but had to shuffle back. Shaman gives you a shot at a better hand, but is harder to recover from. Now, this did give Elm a new use, but as part of two things (Pokemon heavy deck and more draw power). Plus, some might rather have Bill, so that they can better control their hand size (and keep an opponent from being able to Copycat back to a big hand).

    3. Juggler/Town Volunteers or Energy Stadium. Draw a practically free 5 cards if you ahve a basic energy heavy deck. ALso, there are many pokemon that can grab energy back on tehir own now, so those combo well too. It's probably as close as well get to Oak for Modifed, and in some ways, even better (lose just two energy!) ANd, it has a variable effect, so it can also be a "Bill+". Two for three isn't so hot of a deal, but its beats having to wait for a second energy when you need to draw for anything. And lastly, how many people ahve hated Elming away a Stage 2 for the pre-requisit Stage 1?

    4. Professor Oak's Research. Yeah, I like it and use it quite well. When I have a low basic energy deck, or one where I can't risk parting with what I've got for energy, its really nice. It also only robs me of Supporter use, which just means like the person who Elms and gets another Elm, I am set for next turn. Since Elming often leads to extra cards at the end of the turn, I might as well sacrifice drawing two of them to allow me Trainer usage (other than supporters), possibly more of a discount, since often you end up with an extra energy an Pokemon in addition to dead Trainers. It also makes Copycat and Desert Shaman less useful against me: I have two cards in hand, you copy, you must be desparate; you Desert shaman, you just gave me two extra cards!

    5. Draw power is only advantageous when it increases the odds of getting what you want, when you want. Example 1: You ahve a benced Larvitar. You get a Breeder and T-tar in your hand, and a Warp Energy or Switch in case T-tar gets Double Gusted up. On my turn, I DG and KO the Larvitar. I have done this (and similar things) countelss times, and had it done to me. Example 2: Your opponent has a benched Larvitar. You Elm, and get a Switch/Double Gust, ensuring you can attack and KO it next turn. On their turn, the Breeder to T-tar. In both instances, the cards are no longer "good" the next turn. Yes, there might be an alternative use... but chances are it won't be as good.

    So bascially, draw power can change, but people need to let it. Elm has its uses, but there are alternatives that are often as good or better.
  15. Prime

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

    "You are obviously looking for something with these search cards. You are looking for a) energy, or b) pokemon. Because that's how you attack, and thus, win the game. So you want to get as many of those cards in your hand."

    Alot of the time, you need a trainer to win, like a gold berry, double gust, focus band, pokemon center, or something else. Now on slight cases, you might need a evolution, but you won't need the one evolution to win most of the time unless you already have everything set up and you have one prize left. But then you could use anything, and I like to use pokemon trader or elm breedering method for a sure shot for that.

    "Elm is simply amazing. It's anti-decking, it gives you SEVEN cards, which nothing else in the game will CONSISTANTLY give you, and you can still play cards afterwards."

    You make a valid point there. Nothing in the modified game so far can give you 7 cards consistantly. But nothing also in the game cuts your use of trainers for the rest of the turn too.

    "The only time that COPYCAT or JUGGLER (because Prof Oak's Research is simply A TERRIBLE CARD) would be better is when a) You're looking for a tech card such as Double Gust, or b) when you're pulling off a 2-card combo and you don't want to shuffle back one part of it into your deck."

    Alot of the time you don't want to shuffle your hand back into your deck because you either have a rare energy, or a trainer you will need, or especially a evolution you may need. Copycat does the same as elm but doesn't cut off the trainers, so that doesn't work here. We are talking about cards that add to your hand not take away your hand and give you new cards. Juggler plainly rocks when you have a way to get back energy, like Mewtwo EX. You discard 2 energy, draw 5 cards, and then you can play everything but a supporter. Very nice.

    But back on the subject. You said, the only time copycat or juggler would be better is when your pulling for a tech card like double gust. Well when have your deck is trainers or close to it, you pull for trainer cards very much during games. Most of the time, more than pokemon or energy. Because you have so many energy, and you can lay them, so you don't need to get a new energy per turn. And you when you have your pokemon fully evolved and full with energy, you don't want another stage 2 pokemon.

    Trainers is what keeps the game going round. Pokemon is there to beat the other pokemon, energy to power the pokemon, but trainers is the bare part that helps keep the deck running. You shut down your engine, does your car work? So wy say that you can shut down your trainers and still like it? I know I don't. I have tried out the no elm thing and it worked pretty fair. I never had a turn in which I couldn't play trainers, so sometimes my decks were built faster then my friends'. They kept using elm first/second/third turn with cleffa and that kept shutting them down. If they got anything good, they had to wait to use it. But me, if I got the gold berry I needed to win the game, I played it and won. yey!

    "And regardless if you play those two cards, you STILL want 4 Elm because draw consistancy is the number one most important factor in a deck. The main thing that will allow you to win a TOURNAMENT is to get a consistant draw of the right cards EVERY game. That means playing a good ammount of draw, and draw that isn't dependant on any other cards."

    So what if cards are dependant. I mean, if a trainer allows you to draw the same amount of cards like your opponent, that could be good or bad. But you still get to use the trainers that turn, so you have an advantage. Other cards that are dependant on other cards come in alot of use because alot of the time, you can wait to use them until you have that card that it is dependant on in your hand. Sure it reeks to have to wait til you have it, but it pays off because the trainer card helps out alot more then it hurts.

    "Lets take a look at what draw cards are dependant on other circumstances:

    Bill (You simply draw two) Why is this here? This isn't dependant on ANY card. You simply draw two cards.
    Prof Oak's Research (shuffle for 5 cards) AGain, this card is not dependant on any cards.
    Oracle (Put two cards on top of your deck) People team this up with cleffa or bill, but it is not dependant on anything to play or use. You could simply use it to put it on the top of your deck and then next turn, draw.
    Professor Elm (The best draw card in the game) So your saying this is dependant? On what?"

    "Bill's influence is so small, it's not worth playing. You're more than likely not going to impact at all. How often are you going to get the card you need in two cards? Not often. "

    Bill works great. Lets see why:
    - Its a non-supporter. So you can play supporters the same turn. Oracle hint hint
    - You get 2 cards for nothing. No trainer shut down, no cards shuffled back into the deck, nothing. Pure clean draw.

    "Prof Oak's Reaseach suffers the same fate. You argue against Elm in that if you've played an energy and draw 2 trainers, you only get 4 workable cards. If you've played an energy, and get a supporter with POR, you've now got 3 playable cards in your hand, which makes it worse than Elm."

    The difference here is that all decks have more trainers than supporters. To get 2 supporters in the hand is just bad luck. Now to get two trainers in the same hand, that is common luck. That is why elm's side effect is worse then a supporters. So what if you can't play any more supporters, you still have 3/4 of your trainers you can use. But with elm, you can't plau supporters, trainers, or even the freaky mysterious fossil!

    "Plus, the card is especially bad early on, when you just want a LOT of cards in your hand to fill it up, you ARE going to be able to play those cards on your next turn."

    But I want to use the cards this turn daddy :lol: and thats why copycat is played early turns.

    "Oracle shouldn't even count as draw, as your hand size increases by ZERO cards."

    For once, I agree with you. But that isn't the topic of the discussion lol.
    OKay, I'm just going to skip to the end. The rest of the post was just the same stuff restated. "Elm 1s consistany!!!!111" and stuff. Nothing can touch elm? How about POR + bill? That gives ya 7 cards, brand new, and you can still play trainers. How about copycat, which could give ya more than 7 cards or less, your luck really. How about juggler and bill, no trainer shut-down there. How about Desert Shaman and bill? Hmm I just saw something. The reason bill works so great is because it can work with anything. It is almost the only draw card that is inexpensive, doesn't shut anything down, doesn't shuffle your hand back into your deck, that gives you pure cards. It can work with anything. It cannot be a one man elm killing squad, but with other trainers and supporters, it can be the guy with his finger on the button to release the nuclear warhead towards the town of elm.

    Elm is good, but not staple.
  16. BigChuck01

    BigChuck01 New Member

    I'd say Elm IS the best draw card in Modified, and yes, it IS a staple. But of course, Copycat is right behind it and is better than Elm more often than not. The factor that makes Elm better though is consistancy. With 7 cards, you can bet you'll get better than what you had. With Copycat, you're looking for a certain trainer (or else you would have Elmed). Most of the time, even if you get 8 cards from your copycat, the odds are against you getting that certain trainer. Regardless, 4 Elm and 3-4 Copycat are needed in every modified deck, so it doesnt matter.

    Also, Oak is not the best draw in Unlimited. People who think this are living in the past. Unlimted isn't OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK ITEM FINDER THE OAK anymore. My 7-0 worlds deck played 1 Oak, and didn't use it once. In unlimited, you can't afford to discard cards. An example of this is say your hand is a Chansey, a Cleffa, a Recycle Energy, 2 ER, an SER, and an Oak. A lot of people would bench Cleffa and Chansey, recycle on Chansey, and Oak. This is a HORRIBLE thing. You lose a lot of your disruption and fall victim to any sort of Special Energy deck. The right play of course is bench chansey and cleffa recycle on Cleffa and Eeeeeeek. Eeeeeeeking is a powerful thing in unlimited and most players dont understand this to the full extent. That's why every unlimited deck should play 4 Cleffa.
  17. Marril

    Marril New Member

    If you had a hand containing two ERs and an SER, you'd either use them all up before Oaking, or save them. Also, remember, out of the eight energy-removing trainers possible in a deck, two ERs and an SER are only three-eighths of your potential disruption power. There's a good chance that using Oak would net you either more card-drawing in the form of Bill and his ilk, or more ER/SER.

    (Edit: A note from here on in: if the spoiler list's listing of Cleffa was wrong, then let me know and I'll make a different, but no less potent, argument with the new information. I don't actually have any Cleffas, since I stopped buying cards around Gym)

    Cleffa's power isn't really comparable to Oak, though, since trainers are fundamentally different than Pokémon. Cleffa's ability is an attack, so it slows down your tempo. In a quick deck, you don't want to waste your attack on an ability that draws cards (that's why Kangaskhan's Fetch is overrated), you want to use your attack to deal damage. MP Mewtwo/Mewtwo EX is the exception to this, as is some Scyther scenarios (usually those involve DCE), but those are all focused around hitting harder on turn two. With Cleffa, you get card advantage, but lose tempo. Tempo is more important than card advantage, because your opponent can still KO Cleffa (Baby Power isn't omnipotent) with a Farfetch'd or Tyrogue (unlikely, but it's doable), or they can use a PlusPower on a Hitmonchan or Machop or anything that deals 20 damage for one energy, and take the gamble. If they win that gamble, they're up a prize and have a threat on the board, while you're stuck reacting to their threats instead of the other way around.

    Oak is still the best card draw in the game. Why? Because you use it when your hand consists of things that you don't need. If you need a certain card, you don't want to use Elm (since it's most likely a trainer you need anyways), or Cleffa (Eeeeeeek is, after all, an attack), or whathave you. Shuffling away cards you don't need is useless, because you still run the risk of getting them back. Oak guarantees that the useless cards you're pitching don't come back to haunt you when you dig deeper into your deck for answers to their threats, or threats of your own. Yes, ideally a deck wouldn't have any useless cards, but I'm talking situationally, not generally. Staring down a Sneasel with two Darkness energies on it, and all their benched Pokémon have free or one retreat cost? That Gust isn't going to help, but that SER sure will. In a very high percentage of the games where I Oaked, I've never regretted pitching cards that won't help me win the game at that moment in order to get cards that will win it for me, or at least take the gamble that I will. Even so, if my hand is godlike, but I'm guaranteed to lose with it for whatever reason, I'd throw it away in a heartbeat to get the one card that will win me the game.

    Oak doesn't cost you anything major. Cards in hand? You have multiples somewhere in your deck (unless they're in the prizes), and pitching cards that aren't going to help is worth the risk of drawing something that will help. Even if there's forty cards left in your deck, seven is a nice enough chunk to draw what you need. Oak doesn't end your trainer use for the turn, so you're free to do whatever you like, nor does it cost an attack, so you're free to keep on adding pressure to your opponent. Tempo is a major, major thing, something that Cleffa can't abuse like Oak. You can shuffle through your deck all you like, but while you do that, I'll be attacking you, KO'ing your Pokémon, getting prizes, and moving forther towards victory.

    Cleffa works better in decks that can hold off your opponent's threats, but the very fact that its Eeeeeeek is an attack means that your opponent is hitting (or trying to hit, as the coin flips might decide) Cleffa, and throwing support into Cleffa can break a game open. However, supporting Cleffa to break a game requires more effort than simply using an Oak (or a chain of Oaks, as I've seen happen) to rifle through your deck with absolutely no drawback.

    And if your hand contains Oak and a card you need, you simply don't use the Oak. That example, with the Chansey, Cleffa, Recycle Energy, ER, ER, SER, Oak and the optimum play is indeed correct, assuming we're talking about the very beginning of the game. However, if that was your hand later in the game, say off of an Elm draw, or perhaps an Eeeeeeek, you'd simply play a basic, ER, ER, SER, Oak. There's nothing in that hand that can apply any sort of pressure to your opponent (in fact, if they did Paris Mulligans in Pokémon, I'd send that hand back!). This is, probably, just a difference in playing styles moreso than anything. However, over the course of the game, your deck has to pose questions for your opponent. These questions usually take the form of either a lock, or BBPs, or huge evolutions. Your opponent must find answers to these questions, and answers can be your own BBP/big evolution, or they can be trainers that swing it, or any number of things. Cleffa helps get both questions and answers, but it costs you a question (a turn's attack) in order to do this.

    The reason you only see one or two Oaks in deck lists is because it's simply too fast. You'll deck yourself before defeating your opponent if you use them too often, because the card is simply too powerful. You draw cards faster than even the fastest of Pokémon don't hit hard enough to keep up with the rate you're drawing cards at. Add that to the Bills and whatnot, and you're just going nuts. With four Bills and four Oaks, you can draw 36 cards. Sixty cards minus six prizes and a seven-card opening hand is 46 cards left. Eight cards from four Bills and twenty-eight cards from four Oaks, that's 10 cards left in your deck. You want insane drawing power, but not that insane.

    God help you if your opponent empties his hand and then proceeds to Oak, though.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2003
  18. GreatFox

    GreatFox New Member

    Well... I have to agree to some extent. Elm is an critical part of every deck, but it's not nessacerally the best draw card. Of course, like many have mentioned, it allows you to draw 7 new cards, but you also run the risk of drawing almost the same hand. There's also times when you need a particular Trainer that turn and Elm you won't let you play it if you use it.

    As for drawing Pokémon... I think Elm's Training Method is much better. It allows you to search for any Evolution you wish.

    Elm is more of a last ditch effort. Once you've used up all your options and your on the wall is when Elm really shines.

    But, again, it kind of all depends on you particular deck and playing method.
  19. Satoshi

    Satoshi New Member

    This is a topic about Elm, but I'm going to take a little break here to address the other good Professor

    Marril and Chuck: you guys both bring up good points. But, Marril, you have to understand that most (read: nearly ALL) unlimited decks these days rely solely on nonbasic energy and very LOW numbers of multiple trainers. A copy of Chuck's Professor Tourney deck is a prime example of this super tight-space play style. I remember looking at it, realizing that it MUST have worked to net Chuck a 1st Place, but still being beside myself in understanding just HOW it worked.

    Excuse me for using your deck as an example, Chuck, but it's the only one I know off the top of my head.

    In that deck, space was spread VERY thin...we're talking like, no one space wasted, and this led to multiples in the 1 or 2 card range. Had Chuck used all Oaks in this deck, he would have been shooting himself in the foot; as instead of using his few Itemfinders to grab a clincher card late in the match, he might've been forced to use them to grab a discarded card from a past Oak - not a good thing. And then you can even get into nonbasic energy problems...etc....

    Then again, as Marril said, it does depend some on playing style. My Raindance, for example, is a deck that hasn't had a BIG overhaul in a while due to lack of serious Raindance-effecting cards. Because of this, it's pretty old fashioned...4/3/3 Comp/Oak/Itemfinder, and most of the trainers come in multiples of 3, with a few 2s and one or two singles. Despite my playing three Oak, however, I hardly ever find myself hurting due to heavy draw.

    Why is that? Well, I play other draw besides the Oak. I've also got the almost mandatory four Cleffa and a Copycat or two as well (so sue me..I don't like being parched for draw. :p). Of course, it could also be argued that my reliance on BASIC energy helps a bit too. Since it's basic, I usually play around 15 water energy...giving me a little bit of leeway over discarding some with an Oak or otherwise. There's more of them, and they're easier to get back.

    I think that above all, it's really a case of knowing when to use an Oak versus another, more conservative draw engine.

    Now, back to your regularly scheduled Professor Elm topic. ;)

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2003
  20. Marril

    Marril New Member

    Problem with reliance on nonbasic energy is that it can be vulnerable if your only source of whatever type dries up and you have to go digging for it. However, like it's already been said, it depends on the deck. Multi-colour decks might not want to pitch energy because they might not draw another source of that type. Raindance just wants to get excessive amounts of energy as quick as possible to fuel that 60-point Hydro Pump on the second turn.

    Elm has its uses, Oak has its uses, Cleffa has its uses, heck, even Birch has its uses. It all depends on the playing style—aggressive decks want to apply pressure now, so Oak is better. Combo decks or lock decks want to hold off the aggressive decks as effectively as possible, so Elm and Cleffa are better.

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