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Budget Deck Article 3: Desperate Cry

11.30.05  Quick top note: Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar STILL rocks for creating this type of column and reinventing it week after week.  Check out his latest start for those of you M:TG inclined or just to see where I got my idea for this type of article: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/jm128

If you recall, last time I left you with two questions and a revised deck.  Here’s what we had when I left:




1 Lugia

4 Chikorita
3 Bayleef
2 Meganium
4 Snubbull
1 Granbull
4 Natu
1 Xatu
4 Spinarak
2 Stantler



4 Professor Elm's Training Method
2 Protective Orb

2 Fluffy Berry
3 Copycat
2 Mary's Request



15 Grass
6 Psychic

The questions will be addressed later in the article, but let’s get to the matches real quick and see how this deck worked out after two revisions…

Match 1: Spotter w/ SMP


OK, so my initial luck with Spinarak has faded away.  Out of three flips, I got 0 heads in the first few turns.  By that time, he had a benched Metagross DX and Scizor EX.  Ouch.  The fact that he benched a Pidgey on turn three and use Elm that same turn for a Pidgeot didn’t bode well for me either.  With a two energy Granbull now staring down a Scizor ex, I needed a heads flip for ANY chance of doing well.  And, with my lovely luck, I got tails.  OH well.  I’m starting to think that Spinarak isn’t the starter I thought he was going to be after my first few intitial games…


Match 2: sdrawkcab w/ Liability and Victrebell RG


Very nice deck.  Played similar to the Typhlosion/Weexing DX deck I played last week, but much better since it didn’t do self-damage.  However, I got a strong start with an active Stantler which, by turn four, had taken out two Celio’s and a Pokemon Retriever.  Byt that time, I had KOed his Koffing and was confused and poisoned.  No big deal.  I already had a fully loaded Meganium benched and ready to damage.  He activated his Weepinbell to try and KO Stantler.  I retreated Stantler and KOed the Weepinbell next, making it a 4-6 prize lead and allowing me to heal both Meganium and Stantler by 10 each between turns. 


This only lasted a few turns, as I was soon Liabilitied after a KO against a Koffing.  Then, I got a Weepinbell stuck on me.  Two turns after the Weepinbell’s activation, I got a bad burn flip and died.  With Stantler almost healed and waiting in the wings, he came up and started chipping away at trainers in my opponent’s hand.  A Rare Candy that would have sped out a Pidgeot left the game, but that was all it did.  My opponent still had a Celio’s, Admin, and Steven’s in hand.  It was only a matter of time before he got the Pidgeot out.  He went through a Pidgeotto and the game was more or less downhill from there.  Three Grass energy on a now active Victrebell ate through a couple small basics, two Stantler, and a Bayleaf.  While I did KO another Koffing and one Victrebell in the process of losing by one prize, I was dead once the Pidgeot hit the table.  Stantler could pick away the cards in my opponent’s hand, but Pidgeot could just get them back from the deck on a whim. 

This seems to be a recurring theme in my games.  Once Pidgeot comes into play, I’m screwed.  He’s far too quick to counter and, with free retreat, he’s almost impossible to touch without the proper attacks.  Xatu would have helped if my opponent’s draw engine didn’t consist of Steven’s, CCs, and Admins.  The smaller the bench, the better IMO and I already had a Granbull out and ready to attack at any moment.  It did get in one flip, but failed the removal flip (which would have gotten rid of a Scramble on a Victrebell and probably have given me more of a chance to power him up for a rare 4 energy Double Lariat).  On the optimistic side: the deck is running much better and is making very close matches that can go either way until I get bad flips or hit with a bad card or Stadium (lucky, no stadium problems yet).

Match 3: ??? w/ LudiCargo


Sorry for whoever played this match with me.  Somehow it got lost in the shuffle of everything that happened this weekend.  Anyway, it all came down to two things:


1) I didn’t go first, missing an important turn-2 Push Away with Stantler.  Instead I did 30 to a Plusle for 2 turns and missed hitting a big trainer, namely…


2) A turn-2, Rare Candy sped Ludicolo paired with a benched Magcargo.  By turn 3, I was facing down a DREed Ludicolo, a benched Lombre   (soon to be a 2nd Ludicolo), and 2 (yes, 2) Magcargo.  It didn’t matter that I KOed Plusle by turn 4.  I was about to be p0wned for the next couple turns.  (sad fact: p0wned gets past the spellcheck in MS Word 2000).


Now, I didn’t lose because of a Pidgeot this time, but I did lose to superior draw power.  I’m starting to think this is an area where my deck is rather lacking and could use a boost in.  Anyway…


Match 4 and 5: DarkLordSigma w/ Blastoise and Gyarados (both EX)


This guy plays very well.  He just hit a great start from me and only a decent one from him.  He did get a turn-2 Gyarados EX but failed both flips on Twister, letting my Snubble Lick and paralyze him for three straight turns.  In the meantime, I powered up a Chicorita that became a Meganium by my fifth turn.  After that, he hit an energy patch and just threw chump Squirtles and Magikarp at me until I got all 6 prizes.  I love it when this deck works right.


Match 5 was similar, except I got a turn 3 Mega and he didn’t get anything.  He did get out a BlastEX, but didn’t have E to power him.  Another great win for this deck which actually seems to work now.


Match6: DarkLordSigma w/ Ariados UF/ Flareon EX


I played this one since I could use the extra playtesting and got two pretty quick wins off of his experimental deck (which really would have done well had I not set up so quickly those games).


This deck became one of the more useful in this experiment though.  On his first turn, he gets out TWO Master Balls.  By turn 2, he had both Flareon EX and Ariodos out.  It was downhill from there for me.  The only glimmering moment was when my Snubble again stalled for a few turns and then turned into a Granbull to survive for 2 more.  After that, back to cheap fodder for the big, bad Flareon EX (I got a KO on the Ariados quickly with a Xatu which died to a fully powered FlarEX).

So, that’s how those 6 matches went down.  And it really showed me that I need draw power.  But where should it come from?  For now, I have a quick fix, but that will change after the next round of fixes.

-1 Lugia


Worst. Basic. Pokemon. Ever. In. A. Precon.  ‘Nuff said.


- 2 Spinarak


Ok, I definitely overrated this card.  It’s a very good starter, but compared to Stantler it just fails in comparison.  I thought I might go after an Ariados after a while, but this deck doesn’t support that sub-theme, so I’m steering away from that right now.


-4/1 Xatu line


OK, it’s hard to do, but I need the space in here badly.  Protective Orb is a major player every time it hits the board, and Fluffy Berry also works wonders for my deck.  Granted, this leaves me now with a huge gap in the deck, but it can be pretty easily fixed.


-All Psychic Energy


This deck has slipped into mono-color land.  No more Psychic energy for me.


Now, for the additions.


+1 Granbull


Granbull has proven itself to be the better of the two uncommon evolutions in the deck.  However, I’m still not sold on running more than two in the deck.  Should it merit it, I’ll add the 3rd.  Until then, two should suffice.


+ 6 Grass Energy


It’s the same of amount of Psychic Energy I took out, and my deck was having energy problems too.  Hovering around 21 E seems about right as of now.  This will probably change after another period of testing.


+ 1 Stantler


Ok, this one was difficult to decide on.  Yes, this is a budget deck.  Yes, this is another rare into a deck that already has 4 rares.  Adding this one makes a 5th rare and I’m already considering adding a 3rd Meganium since I find it hard to draw when I need to and mostly end up lucking into it.  So, why the 3rd Stantler?


1) Turn 2 disruption.

2) Turn 2 Confusion on rampant evolutions.

3) Great HP.


I have a feeling this will come back and bite me later, but I’ll see how this goes.




I put this in parenthesis here because I’m not sure about putting in the third Mega.  Sure, it would round out the deck a lot better, but I haven’t had that much trouble pulling a Mega when I need to.  I find it harder actually to pull the second Bayleaf to get a Second Meganium.  So I’m not sure if I need to go +1/1 or just +1 Bayleaf this week.  So I’m just not going to add anything and have you all look at my list and give me suggestions as to what to do with this deck.


I didn’t get ANY responses on my call for trainer help this last time, but my last match gave me a few ideas.  Like…


+ 3 Master Ball


Helps me seek out basics I need AND the thing has been out for years.  Should be too hard to get a hold of a couple copies of this from my old collection.  I don’t need that much more card searching and Mary and CopyCat are doing fine on their own right now.  This just helps me get a basic I need when necessary since I don’t have anything to help with that now.


+ 2 Switch


I’ve needed this for the past fifteen or so games, and I feel horrible for missing this oversight.  This is a card just about every deck needs and it sucks that I’ve missed it for so long.

Here’s the revised list.





4 Chikorita
3 Bayleef
2 Meganium
4 Snubbull
2 Granbull
2 Spinarak
3 Stantler



4 Professor Elm's Training Method
2 Protective Orb

2 Fluffy Berry
3 Copycat
2 Mary's Request

3 Master Ball

2 Switch



21 Grass

And, since it took me so long to get in these matches and I got almost NO response on the boards about my topic, I feel like I have more issues to a address than just deck things.  But they come first.


1) Does Pidgeot belong in here?  I know that it would help a lot, the space exists in this deck, and it would have an undoubtedly good effect.  The only problem?  Rare Candies are impossibly hard to get a hold of for me.  While I personally will be investing in a set in the near future, this is a Budget Deck column.  Since Rare Candy isn’t a Budget Card, I’m left with running a shaky 3/2/3 Pidgeot line or an even riskier 2/2/2 line.  I have access to the Pidgeot easily through the FireRed Precon, I’m just not sure where to go with it or IF I should go with it.


2) I still need help deciding on Budget Trainers.  There were no suggestions other than Admins (too difficult to find and too expensive) and TVRs which, while less rare now, doesn’t make them any harder for me to find.  Both are out of the question for this deck.  But what other easy to find and cheap draw trainers exist right now?  I could use any and all comments here.


3)  The third Meganium.  While I’d love to see a MegaEX in here, it is definitly REALLY hard to get a hold of.  But the third Meganium shouldn’t be too hard to find or add to the deck.  So should I get a hold of it, or should I say the heck with it and stay with my current Mega build?  Comments again appreciated.


4) This is the one that is not associated with deck construction at all.  Here’s the question:


Do you all like this column at all?


I get the feeling from the lack of board posts, major lack of responses from readers (quick aside: thank you to all of you who did contact me and try to set up a game with me.  Hopefully we can reconvene at a time more convenient for the both of us.  I’m hating my schedule now just as much as y’all are), and no response in emails at all on my deck, I feel like you all don’t really like this kind of topic.


This is where I need to step back from what I’m doing and state something pretty obvious: I’m doing these columns, deck fixes, reports, etc to help you all understand and get better at the TCG and to give y’all something enjoyable to read.  If I’m not helping you get better at the TCG through these articles, then I’m failing in my job as a columnist for everyone out there. 


I exist solely to help you guys.  If I’m not doing that, tell me on the boards.  If I’m doing a good job, tell me on the boards.  If you want me to keep up the good work, tell me on the boards.  If you want me to jump off a cliff with no bungee chord attached, tell me on the boards (but I probably won’t do it).  I just need to know how this column is affecting the way that you build decks or approach the TCG.  If its not helping, then I need to wrap up this series and get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

That more or less wraps up my question time.  Again, run to the boards and type in a response for me.  I don’t think that y’all understand that this type of column is not just author driven, it is very reader driven as well.  Thanks for taking the time to read this column and HELP ME OUT BY AIMing ME OR WRITING ON THE BOARDS!




Email: Cardz2004@hotmail.com



Post on the Boards for this article: http://www.pojo.biz/board/showthread.php?t=232320


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