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Ness's Nest


as of today

       Hey everyone.  I hope some of you still remember me!  ; )

       After Skyridge and the last tournament held by Wizards of the Coast (the modified Fan Appreciation tournament in July 2003) all of us learned that Nintendo would be taking over the game.  Frustrated, and confused by the new Ruby/Sapphire cards that were just coming out, I, and many other players thought that the days of competitive Pokémon with organized play was over.  And where I live, just south of Chicago, that seemed to be the case.  The Wizards of the Coast store that attracted at one time 30 or so players two days a week turned into a weekly league with about five people, and then the store actually closed down.  For all I knew, there wasn't another store holding a league that was within an hour of driving.  Even though I wanted to play still, I didn't have a choice.  Nobody played.

       However, this summer, even though I hadn't played Pokémon for a year, I decided I'd still go to the Origins gaming convention in Ohio, where I was amazed to see hundreds of Pokémon players.  Just seeing everyone playing made me want to get back in the game, and the first thing I did was start observing games, and then asking old friends about how the game had changed, what were the popular decks, etc.  I spent two nights reading cards, talking about the format with Chris Fulop, who took 2nd at worlds this year, and buying new cards.  I didn't have a deck, so I ended up in a poker game after the first night where I won about $250.

       The next day was nationals, and I wanted to play.  One problem: I didn't have a deck.  The Blaziken decks I seemed strong, but nobody had a deck to lend me.  But I wanted to play, and I simply went up to Chris Fulop, handed him the $250 I won the night before and received a Blaziken deck with 6 energy.  (I modified the deck while my friend Alex and I just jokingly laughed at him and nodded our heads.)

       I ended up making Top 8 and was eliminated by a Gardevoir deck.  I was still thrilled that I was able to Top 8 after learning everything in a day.

       Fortunately, today, I am learning that some players around my area are still playing, and that new players are still joining the game.  And I am glad to say that I am returning, and that I have spent the last few weeks looking at how unlimited might be.  Yes, that's that format where you can use every card!  And you know what, nobody seems to know anything about unlimited.  Nobody knows what decks work.  Nobody knows what trainers to play anymore.  There's just too many cards.

       Well, being in the game for 6 years, you learn a lot of things, and I think I have put together two very strong unlimited decks that you may wish to try out.   I have one for you today, and I'll send in another article soon.

Rain Dance - Yes, it's back.

       In the old days, before Rocket's Zapdos came out in Gym: Heroes, Rain Dance was one of the strongest decks.  It wasn't as popular after Wigglytuff came out, but it was still around.  However, Rain Dance now has two additions that make it unbelievably powerful: Rare Candy and Suicune Ex.

Pokémon (15)

3x Squirtle (Fire Red/Leaf Green)
1x Wartortle (Fire Red/Leaf Green)
2x Blastoise (Base)
1x Blastoise ex (Fire Red/Leaf Green)
4x Cleffa (Neo: Genesis)
2x Igglybuff (Neo: Discovery)
2x Suicune Ex (Team Aqua vs Team Magma)

Now, for those of you that are new to the game, but interested in unlimited, let me remind you about these older cards.  Every unlimited deck needs 4 Cleffa.  It's a huge advantage to open with it.  If you can play Lass on your first turn, then Eeeeeeek, you already have a huge advantage, no matter what your opponent has in play.  You may think you would need a third Blastoise, but as of now, I don't think it's necessary.  Afterall, you should only have to get one in play most games.  Suicune ex's Reverse Stream is extremely powerful with Blastoise because it will deal massive damage each turn, returning the water energy to your hand which are then played next turn using Rain Dance.  The Igglybuffs are there, basically, just to help you beat Neo: Genesis Slowking, or anything random you may run into, like the original Team Rocket's Dark Vileplume.  Base Blastoise is preferred over Blastoise ex, because despite Blastoise ex's 150 HP, it may not be able to KO other ex Pokémon in one hit, which Suicune ex can do.  Using Blastoise ex to power up Suicune will end up dealing a lot of damage to it, while base Blastoise does not.

Energy (16)

16x Water Energy

There's no room for other energies.  You simply need water energy, and lots of it.

Trainers (29)

4x Lass (Base/Base 2)
4x Computer Search (Base/Base 2)
3x Item Finder (Base/Base 2)
3x Gust of Wind (Base/Base 2)
3x Copycat (Expedition, Team Rocket Returns)
2x Energy Removal (Base, Base 2)
2x Rare Candy (Sandstorm)
2x Energy Stadium (Neo: Destiny)
2x Focus Band (Neo: Genesis)
2x Professor Oak (Base/Base 2)
1x Pokémon Center (Base, Base 2, Promo)
1x Pokémon Fan Club (Expedition)

       Trainers get complicated in unlimited.  Now, with Rain Dance, you might ask, why not Juggler, from Aquapolis?  Juggler is not as strong as it would seem, as losing the energies is actually more significant than you may imagine, and if you Juggler, without getting what you needed (usually you're looking for either the Rare Candy or Blastoise) you ended up discarding energy for no reason.  Considering that Cleffa will always be popular in unlimited, Copycat is very strong, allowing you to get seven new cards after any Eeeeeeek.  And yes, your opponent does not always have a large hand, but understand that when your opponent is holding a small hand most of the game it usually means their options are extremely limited and you are already easily building the winning advantage by Eeeeeeeking.  Suicune ex's attack allows you to return all energy attached to it to your hand to do more damage, which is then re-attached next turn by Blastoise, allowing you to avoid Energy Removal and also use Pokémon Center with no downside.  Pokémon Center is especially effective if you flip heads on a Focus Band, which also prevents giving up two prizes.  With so much energy you probably wonder why Energy Removal was chosen over Super Energy Removal, and the answer is that anything with two energy on it can be knocked out by Suicune ex. Gust of Wind ends up being an Energy Removal that also removes their Pokémon as well.  However, what you DO need to watch out for is your opponent getting a very fast start.  Using Energy Removal can stop a turn 2 Neo: Genesis Sneasel, a very popular unlimited card, from molesting your bench .  It also lets you take away lightning energy that a Fire Red/Leaf Green Zapdos ex can use to knock out both Suicune ex or a Blastoise as soon as it is played.  There are cards the deck could use, like a third Energy Removal or third Rare Candy, but the 4 Computer Search and 4 Lass are too strong, especially with Cleffa, so I end up keeping the list as it is.  But, don't be afraid to experiment, and if you have ideas for the deck, I'd love to hear it.  I love talking strategy with players.  My aim screen name is aatwoson, feel free to IM me!

       And there you have it: the new Rain Dance!  I had thought that Skyridge's Oracle was the supporter to play in unlimited, in combination with base Bill, but it ends up taking too many slots in a deck.  Pokémon Fan Club and Copycat seem to be the way to go.

       Another strong deck that can beat this deck involves a combination of two Stage 1 evolutions, one new, and one going all the way back to Pokémon's second expansion, Fossil.  I'll have an article about it soon!

-Jason Klaczynski
aim: aatwoson, e-mail: aatwoson@aol.com


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