Doing What It Takes to Win
Are you building a Pokémon TCG deck to use in a tournament? If so, you’re about to find out that sometimes strategy trumps strength: walking softly doesn’t always mean you need to have a big stick!
Building and preparing a tournament-ready deck can often be quite different from the more creative, open-ended approach employed by casual Pokémon TCG players. For most deck builders, the idea is to assemble the fastest, hardest-hitting deck they can. However, as you’ll see in this article, sometimes the strongest deck is one designed specifically to take out those popular decks.
Recently, in the Oregon State Championships, one Masters Division deck builder, Tyler Ninomura, went against the grain and assembled a deck aimed precisely at defeating those hard-hitting, popular competition decks—and it paid off with a big win. Against the Ability-heavy decks prominent in tournament play, his tactics gave him first place against the many Darkrai-EX decks, Keldeo-EX/Blastoise decks, and Klinklang decks in the field.
Looking at his deck list makes it clear that Tyler knew what kind of Pokémon he would be facing in current tournaments and designed a deck to counter those threats. Tyler built around Garbodor (Black & White—Dragons Exalted, 54/124), whose Garbotoxin Ability nullifies the Abilities of all other Pokémon as long as there’s a Pokémon Tool card attached to Garbodor. Want to make a free retreat with Darkrai-EX’s (Black & White—Dark Explorers, 107/108) Dark Cloak Ability or jump into action with Keldeo-EX’s (Black & White—Boundaries Crossed, 142/149) Rush In Ability? Tyler’s Garbodor will stop both those Pokémon in their tracks. And, to make sure that his team doesn’t get dinged by Garbotoxin’s effects, Tyler does not play any other Pokémon that have Abilities. Instead, he relies on powerful attackers that can deliver a straightforward Knock Out, such as Mewtwo-EX (Black & White—Next Destinies, 98/99).
Tyler takes his countering methods to another level by examining what secondary Pokémon are most popular, too. For example, Landorus-EX (Black & White—Boundaries Crossed, 144/149) is a common Pokémon in many decks, played for its low-cost chances of Knocking Out Darkrai-EX, which has a Weakness to Fighting-type Pokémon. (In fact, Landorus-EX is one of the Pokémon Tyler has included in his own deck.) So Tyler has chosen to include Tornadus-EX (Black & White—Dark Explorers, 108/108) to protect against the attacks of any Landorus-EX his opponents might be packing. Tornadus-EX has a Resistance to Fighting-type Pokémon, requires only Colorless Energy to attack (just like Mewtwo-EX), and is a Basic Pokémon (and thus it can reap the benefits of the Eviolite Pokémon Tool card for added defense).
What you see in Tyler’s deck is an analysis of the most popular decks being played at tournaments, and the use of that analysis in thoughtful deck construction designed to counter those specific decks. On its own, it may not be the strongest deck in the field, but Tyler shows that isn’t always necessary.
As the Spring Regional Championships approach, now is a good time to look at the decks being played at your local Pokémon League events and tournaments so you can start putting together a winning deck, too!
|Landorus-EX||3||Black & White—Boundaries Crossed, 144/149|
|Mewtwo-EX||2||Black & White—Next Destinies, 98/99|
|Tornadus-EX||1||Black & White—Dark Explorers, 108/108|
|Garbodor||3||Black & White—Dragons Exalted, 54/124|
|Trubbish||4||Black & White—Noble Victories, 48/101|
|Professor Juniper||4||Black & White—Dark Explorers, 98/108|
|N||3||Black & White—Dark Explorers, 96/108|
|Bianca||2||Black & White—Boundaries Crossed, 147/149|
|Colress||2||Black & White—Plasma Storm, 135/135|
|Cheren||1||Black & White—Boundaries Crossed, 148/149|
|Ultra Ball||2||Black & White—Dark Explorers, 102/108|
|Heavy Ball||1||Black & White—Next Destinies, 88/99|
|Computer Search||1||Black & White—Boundaries Crossed, 137/149|
|Pokémon Catcher||4||Black & White—Emerging Powers, 95/98|
|Hypnotoxic Laser||4||Black & White—Plasma Storm, 123/135|
|Giant Cape||2||Black & White—Dragons Exalted, 114/124|
|Rescue Scarf||2||Black & White—Dragons Exalted, 115/124|
|Eviolite||1||Black & White—Plasma Storm, 122/135|
|Switch||3||Black & White—Boundaries Crossed, 135/149|
|Escape Rope||1||Black & White—Plasma Storm, 120/135|
|Virbank City Gym||2||Black & White—Plasma Storm, 126/135|
|Double Colorless Energy||4||Black & White—Next Destinies, 92/99|