Odds in Pokemon

 

Part 6 Ė Drawing the Cards

 

††††††††††† In this sixth and final part of the set of articles ďOdds in PokemonĒ, I shall compare card-drawing cards together, and state which are better and which are worse.

 

List of card-drawing cards

 

††††††††††† We shall consider 25 card-drawing cards in this article. (There are more, but the cards not listed here are either not worth considering, or else they have the same effect as one of these 25.) These are listed in the following table, together with their effects:

 

Card

Number of cards drawn

Supporter?

Ends your turn after using card?

Can't Play trainers after using card?

Number of cards drawn by Opponent

Cards shuffled before drawing

Cards discarded before drawing

Cards shuffled after drawing

Cards discarded after drawing

Maximum cards in hand to be able to use

Bill

2

N

N

N

0

0

0

0

0

No max

Billís Maintenance

3

Y

N

N

0

1

0

0

0

No max

Billís Teleporter (Heads)

4

N

N

N

0

0

0

0

0

No max

Bill's Teleporter (Tails)

0

N

N

N

0

0

0

0

0

No max

Cleffa

7

N

Y

N

0

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Computer Error

Up to 5

N

Y

N

Up to 5

0

0

0

0

No max

Copycat

Opponent's Hand

Y

N

N

0

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Desert Shaman

Up to 4

Y

N

N

Up to 4

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Erika

Up to 3

N

N

N

Up to 3

0

0

0

0

No max

Gambler (Heads)

8

N

N

N

0

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Gambler (Tails)

1

N

N

N

0

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Juggler

3 or 5

Y

N

N

0

0

1 or 2

0

0

No max

Mail From Bill

4 minus number of cards in your hand

N

N

N

0

0

0

0

0

4

Maintenance

1

N

N

N

0

2

0

0

0

No max

Mary

2

N

N

N

0

0

0

2

0

No max

Maryís Impulse (Average)

2

Y

N

N

0

0

0

0

0

No max

Professor Birch

6 minus number of cards in your hand

Y

N

N

0

0

0

0

0

6

Professor Elm

7

N

N

Y

0

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Professor Oak

7

N

N

N

0

0

Whole Hand

0

0

No max

Professor Oakís Research

5

Y

N

N

0

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Rocketís Admin.

Number of your Prizes

Y

N

N

Number of opponent's Prizes

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Rocketís Mission

3 or 4

Y

N

N

0

0

1

0

0

No max

Sabrinaís Gaze

Your Hand

N

N

N

Opponent's Hand

Whole Hand

0

0

0

No max

Secret Mission

Amount of cards discarded

N

N

N

0

0

Up to your whole hand

0

0

No max

Stevenís Advice

Number of opponent's Pokemon

Y

N

N

0

0

0

0

0

6

Team Aqua/Magma Schemer

3 or 4

Y

N

N

0

0

1

0

0

0

TV Reporter

3

Y

N

N

0

0

1

0

0

0

 

††††††††††† Note that this article will focus on card-drawing, not on other things such as anti-decking.

 

Comments on the above table

 

††††††††††† As you can see, I have not commented on the goodness or badness of any of the cards up to now. I have tried to put a rating of each card using a formula, but this is very hard to do, and with some cards that vary the amount of card-drawing depending of the playersí decision or the situation, itís impossible. Nevertheless, we can still say something about how good are the cards, and also say something about odds.

 

††††††††††† Iím also hearing you asking: ĎHow is this an odds-related article? I donít see any odds in this article!í You will realize why this is an odds-related article in a minute.

 

††††††††††† If you are a beginner, you might be wondering why card-drawing cards are even useful. After all, you draw a card in each of your turn, and if you exhaust all your cards in your deck, you lose! So why even bother drawing more cardsÖ to exhaust your deck even quicker, and so lose more quickly?

 

††††††††††† This argument is, of course, flawed. Even in games such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic The Gathering, which donít have much card-drawing, most competitive decks play the minimum amount of cards required by the rules. In Yu-Gi-Oh! this is 40, while in Magic, this is 60. Like in Pokemon, in these other two TCGs, you lose immediately as soon as you canít draw any more cards in your deck. So why do good players play the minimum amount of cards allowed in their respective TCG?

 

††††††††††† The reason is that the fewer cards in your deck you have, the more likely it is to draw the card you need. In the Pokemon TCG, we are restricted to 60 cards. No more, no less. Therefore, to get the cards we need, we need to draw cards quickly, and thatís where card-drawing cards come in. When you draw cards, youíre making it more likely to get the cards you want. This is called Ďdeck-thinningí in TCG-jargon.

 

††††††††††† Now here comes the tricky bit. As far as the odds of getting what you want are concerned, it is not desirable to shuffle cards into your deck. The reason is that, when you shuffle cards into your deck, you are adding cards to your deck, which decreases the odds of getting the cards you want. This is why cards like Professor Oak and Stevenís Advice are so good. You draw cards without shuffling any cards to your deck beforehand. Of course, they both have their disadvantages, but as far as card-drawing is concerned, they are near the top. And this is why TV Reporter is better than Billís Maintenance in most circumstances. On a similar note, Bill is also better than Billís Maintenance, since, when you use Bill, you draw 2 cards, while if you use Billís Maintenance, you first shuffle one card and then draw 3. Both Trainer cards result in the same amount of cards in your deck after using them, but, while Billís Maintenance is a Supporter, Bill is not. Thus Bill would allow you to play a useful Supporter that same turn, while Billís Maintenance would not, giving the overall edge to Bill.

 

††††††††††† Of course, the previous paragraph holds as long as you have sufficient cards in your deck. If you are about to exhaust all your cards of your deck, then shuffling cards into your deck becomes a necessity, but this is better done using cards that are written especially for this purpose most of the time.

 

††††††††††† Letís give an example. Suppose you use Cleffa to shuffle you hand into your deck and draw 7 cards. If you have less than 7 cards in your hand, then you will add less cards in your deck than you are about to draw, so you are reducing the size of your deck, making it more likely to get what you want. This is especially useful after your opponent reduces the size of your hand via cards like Lass. However, if you already have more than 7 cards in your hand, then Eeeeeeeking would result in shuffling more cards in your deck than youíre about to draw. This is a very undesirable thing to do unless you are about to exhaust all your cards of your deck.

 

††††††††††† Letís now talk about a few of the Trainer cards listed in the table, in point form:

 

1) Maryís Impulseís average draw power is 2 cards. This means that, on average, Maryís Impulse is just a Bill with the Supporter tag attached to it. I hope youíre realising that that makes Maryís Impulse a bad card.

 

2) Billís Teleporter draw power is exactly the same as Billís. Suppose you use 4 Bill in your deck. Then, if you use them all, you draw 8 cards in total (a few of which might be other Bill). If you replace those 4 Bill with 4 Billís Teleporter, the odds are that 2 out of those 4 Billís Teleporter will work, which result in 8 cards drawn, exactly the same as Billís total. (However, one Billís Teleporter, if it works, is better than 2 Bills, since you used one Trainer, as opposed to two, to achieve the same effect.)

 

3) As far as thinning your deck (and, so, getting the cards you want quicker) is concerned, Professor Birch is better than Professor Oakís Research. The reason is that, if you use Professor Oakís Research and have more than 5 cards in your hand, you are shuffling more cards in your hand than youíre drawing, so, deck-thinning-wise, itís better not to use it at all. With Professor Birch, if you have more than 5 cards in your hand, you either draw one card or else you canít use it, which gives a minimal advantage (deck-thinning-wise) to Birch. In all other cases, Birch thins the deck by one more card than Professor Oakís Research. This makes it seem as if Professor Birch is a good card to use (since Professor Oakís Research is played more than Professor Birch in competitive decks), but unfortunately, Professor Oakís Research is mainly used for a substitute of an anti-decking card in Modified (a format which doesnít contain much anti-decking cards, if at all), and is not used as a card-drawing card per se, or, at least, it shouldnít be.

 

4) Sabrinaís Gaze does nothing, deck-thinning-wise. All it does is replacing the cards of your hand and that of your opponent with the same number of random cards that they held (which may well include a few of the same cards that player has just shuffled). This might be useful if you know what your opponent holds, but this barely, if ever, has any beneficial effect for you. In fact, the odds are that it has a bad effect for you, since youíre left with one less card in your hand than what you started with.

 

5) Secret Mission is underrated. You look at your opponentís hand, which is already a good thing (though itís irrelevant for our purposes), then you discard as many cards as you want from your hand and draw that many cards. That makes it a pretty nice deck-thinning card, considering that itís not a Supporter.

 

6) Again, as far as deck-thinning is concerned, Professor Elm loses to Professor Oak even if it didnít have the Ďcanít play any more Trainer cardsí clause! Professor Oak always reduces your deck size by 7 (unless you have less than 7 cards left in your deck), while Professor Elm only matches that number if you have no other cards in your hand. That makes it seem as if Professor Elm is a card not worth using, but remember that the gameís strategy does not consist only of deck-thinning.

 

7) You should have realised by now that Maintenance is just a crude anti-decking card, and not a card-drawing card. Donít use it for either purpose.

 

Conclusion

 

††††††††††† That concludes my ĎOdds in Pokemoní articles. I hope you have found them interesting and useful.

††††††††††† Iím now open to answer your odds-related questions. I have already received a few, so keep them coming! As usual, the email address to do this is xactcreations@yahoo.com. You can also AIM me (my nickname is xactxx) if you want to ask me something quickly or if you want to just chat with me about anything, but if you want an odds-related question answered, email is the preferred method.