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Serpents & Europe

05.03.05  Well, its nice to finally be back and writing some deck fixes for you guys. By the way, my computer got fixed about Thursday (thank God) but I haven’t had time to write anything until now. So, to make up for all these missed weeks of fixes, y’all are getting three reviews this week. There are about two reasons why:

1) I feel like I’m responsible to make up the deck fixes I missed for the past two week and the one for this week. You guys have sent me some interesting decks, so y’all might want to see them.


2) So much has been going on in the world in general (The Pope died, in case you didn’t know) that I couldn’t fit everything into just one RaNd0m Thought. So, to make everything slightly more readable and not overwhelming, I’ve broken everything up into three readable blocks. Today’s deals with my journey overseas and some little informative tidbits to help you all next time you’re traveling (whether it be here in the US or over to Europe, like I did).

That said, I also had a very nice way of choosing my decks this week. Two of you sent in letters explaining to me why I haven’t been getting many decks: my email is halfway down the front page and, let’s be honest, who looks down there for ANYTHING. I’ll try and get my email up on my page ASAP but, until then, just check down the front page to email any more decks. With that said, let’s get onto this week’s first of three decks.

This deck was sent to me by a former player, looking to get back into tournaments. He has one coming up soon, so I figured I’d better get onto his first so that he has ample time to fix everything needed. So, here we go:

Hey my name’s John, and im just getting into pokémon. I stopped playing right before N4, and im getting back into the game. I haven’t played at any really organized event yet, but I need your help for this deck before I go to my first tournament later this month. I think it needs a lot of work, and thanks in advance for fixing it. One more thing, I found it kinda hard to find your email address on the sight. OK, here’s the deck! BTW, its Modified

~Pokemon~ (26)

4 Feebas
3 Milotic
4 Magikarp (FL)
3 Gyarados (DX)
3 Marril
3 Azumarril
3 Corosola
3 Dunsparce

-Trainers (21)

2 Switch
3 Energy Search
3 TV Reporter
2 Wally’s
2 Potion
2 Warp Point
2 Energy Recycle
2 Double Full Heal
13 Water Energy

My strategy with this deck is to use Gyarados and Milotic to attack. I use Corosola to get cards, and if I don’t like my hand, I use POR, then use Corosola again. Reporter is for added draw power. Both Feebas and Magikarp have Ascension, so getting Milotic and Gyarados out is pretty easy. Also, They can both usually hit for 80+ damage, which I think is pretty good. I was going to use the Azumarril line for support, but I was looking on the card, and I found out that Drizzle is only good for active pokémon. Do you have any suggestions for lines I could sub in there? I have a very limited amount of trainer cards, so I just put in whatever I could get. Maybe the Seaking or Starmie line? (I want a bench hitter) Thanks a lot for helping, by the way I have a medium access to cards.

Well, John gave me a lot of info to work with. Some of it helps me (i.e. lack of ability to get EVERY card he might need). Some of it I may not listen to. Some of it I don’t think he’s aware he gave me. But let’s get to the fix.

Pokemon: Too many IMO. Too much TecH and not enough substance. Corosola is a nice thought, but I think it hinders your progress. There’s a Supporter card out now (Stephen’s Advice) that does the same thing as the first attack for which you’re using it for. Even if you can’t get a hold of a set so Stephen’s, we’re still dropping all your Corosola. It really hinders your progress with the deck, as you’ll be wanting to Ascension ASAP, if not sooner. Add another Dunsparce, as you seem to be able to get a hold of that card, as well as 2 Azurill (SS).

Now, you may be wondering why I’m doing that considering the fact that you asked me to take out your Azumarril line. Well, here’s the main reason why: that line is staying. Azumarril, IMO, is the card you should be using along with your secondary attacker, whoever that ends up being.

Which brings us to Gyarados and Milotic. Both are great lines in and of themselves. Together, however, not so great. The hog a LOT of energy each and neither work alongside each other to get their jobs done (Gyarados with bench damage and Milotic with its passive/aggressive anger disorder). So, to make room for some more cards, we’re going to eliminate the Milotic line. Not only is Milotic the slightly weaker of the two, its power wipes the board clean of damage. It’d be great if it was just your pokémon, but it also works for your opponent’s pokémon. Not great. Also, the power only works if Feebas evolves from your hand, not your deck. So you won’t be getting the healing power by Ascension. Not to mention, Gyarados has a nice, friendly, alternate evolution we can definitely abuse here.

And that evolution would be Gyarados ex (from FRLG, or FL as you call it). Twisted does a nice, solid 40 damage by Turn Two AND can set your opponent’s back a step on energy, which can be near fatal early in the game. We’re dropping 1 of your currently held Gyarados (DX) for two Gyarados ex to make each as easily accessible from your deck (as each are as equally valuable).

I think you’ll find, as you’re plaing this deck, that starting with either Azurill or Dunsparce is your best go at things, using either Azurill to grab a much needed trainer or Dunsparce to bench a Marril and 2 Magikarp (I think this would be your optimal benching because of your need for quick power attackers like the quick evo Gyarados in your deck). More on why Marril is your other bench warmer over Azurill later in the trainers. For now…

-all Corosola
-Milotic line
-1 Gyarados (DX)

+1 Dunsparce
+2 Azurill
+2 Gyarados ex

Trainers: If you had access to card more easily than you say you do, I’d be doing a LOT more here. As it stands, I think I’m pressing you for a lot already, trying to find 2 Gyarados ex and trade for them. But there are some things in the trainers I just have to address.

The first is your extreme fear of not having energy at the right times. I mean, look at your deck: Energy Search in a mono-colored deck and Energy Recycle System, which is used only in decks that run many multi colors (from what I’ve seen). Drop those five for some cards that serve the purpose of getting energy better: Water Energy. Its obvious we’re adding at least 3 Water energy, considering that was the only job that Energy Search was performing. And, because your energy count is so low, I think we could use to add the at least one more after that to make things work out a little more smoothly in here.

Now, onto draw trainers. You’re severely lacking here, but I think with what resources you have, you should be able to get a hold of the cards you need. First off, add another POR to the deck. While the card isn’t the best of draw trainers in this format, it will do the job for you now. Also, locate 3 CopyCat and add them to deck as well. CopyCat has been printed a lot and you should be able to get at least three copies of it. There is a better card to replace Wally now (Celio’s Netwrork), but with your lack of access, let’s just go ahead and add another Wally to the mix.

Another card that’s going is Double Full Heal. Its just a bad card. Its bad for the same reason that Full Heal is bad: Not enough people run status to make it useful. And, since status leaves when a pokémon in benched, that why you use Warp Points or Switches to remove status.

Which brings me to the great warp and Switch battle I seem to face every time I fix a deck. This deck is one of the few decks I think can run about 3 warp Point and get away with it. With Marril having free retreat (something few cards in Modified have as a basic) youcan effectively Warp back you active, bring up Marril, and then retreat, bringing back up your big hitter. This combo can wreak many a good deck. So drop all your switch and add another Warp Point to your deck.

If you noticed, there’s a lot more room in the deck now for some other cards you might be able to get a hold of. Considering you’ve never been to a big tournament, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that someone in your area will run a Dragon based deck and, thus, have a huge weakness to Colorless pokémon. So, let’s throw in 2 Crystal Shard, which turns any pokémon you want into a colorless pokémon. Since we have about three more slots open, let’s throw in a couple counter gyms, namely High Pressure Stadium. It gives you already low retreating Water pokémon an easier time to get to the bench. It should help you out a lot. For a final, very situational card, throw in a Suprise! Time Machine from RR. It’ll allow you to, if needed, switch between you Gyarados and Gyarados ex, which you might need to late in the game.

-All Energy Search
-All Energy Recycle System
-All Switch

+3 Copycat
+1 POR
+1 Wally’s
+1 Warp Point
+2 Crystal Shard (DX, or the old Skyridge expansion)
+2 High Pressure Stadium (DR)
+1 Surprise! Time Machine
+4 Water Energy


Well, already consulted above, but you have 59 cards in your deck. While I normally would delete a deck after seeing this MAJOR faux pax made, since you were so nice to point out why my email was ahrd to find, I decided to go a head and help where the deck needed it most: I added another Water energy.

Here’s the new and revised decklist. Most of the fixes that would go beyond the medium level of fixing are in the trainers (Wally’s out for Celio, POR out for Stephen’s Advice, etc.). But, with your resources, you should be able to get access to the fixes I’ve posted.


4 Magikarp (FL)
2 Gyarados (DX)
2 Gyarados ex (FRLG)

2 Azurill
3 Marril
3 Azumarril (SS)

4 Dunsparce


3 CopyCat
3 TV Reporter
3 Wally’s
2 Potion
3 Warp Point
2 High Pressure System
2 Crystal Shard
1 Surprise! Time Machine

18 Water Energy

Hope this deck does well for you. And here’s a tip for getting some of the cards you need if your immediate resources fail: Try arriving at the tournament site early and seeing who’s around. About thirty minutes early is the earliest you want to be there. The TO should be there and he should have some cards he’s willing to trade with as well as others in the area. If you bring some stuff to trade with, you should be able to access all the cards you need and maybe even something will catch your eye that you think you might be able to sub into the deck for something I suggested. Trust me on this one: Someone will probably be more than willing to trade with you.

RaNd0m Thoughts…: Ok, so Europe. What a great experience. If any of you ever get the chance to travel to another country overseas (for some of you that would be European, other its would be the US), grab that chance by the horns and run with it. It will be the greatest experience of your life. However, I came to realize some things that, in general, I wish I knew before I left the States. So, to conclude this article, I’ll go over some things that, the next time that you’re traveling (i.e. Nationals and World Championships), could help you have a much more enjoyable time during your trip and also hit on some highlights of my trip.

1) Sleep: When you are about to get on a single flight or, in my case, a chain of flights that will be lasting quite some time (i.e. 24, 25 hours), make sure to get some rest before the flight. Flying, for some reason, will really wear you out, so make sure you’ll be at least half ready for the flight by getting some sleep the night before the flight. If its long enough and can sleep sitting straight up, get some sleep on the flight(s). For me, eight hour flights over the Pacific provided the perfect time to get some sleep and do homework that I was missing due to missing two days of classes.

2) Airline food: is not as bad as most people have made it out to be. However, the old rule of “buy and fly” still should be in place while traveling. For those of you not familiar with this term, it means to go to a restaurant in the airport, buy a meal before boarding the airplane if you know you’ll want to eat or have a meal served while on board and put it into your carry-on. Then, whenever you get the time to eat, pull out the meal you bought and brought on board and actually enjoy you in-flight meal. Stuff any trash you have back into our carry on and pitch it once you get off of or transfer flights. Most airlines don’t have a problem with this, but it might be nice to check with your airline ahead of time if they support and/or allow this practice on their flights. Getting your flight attendant POed ten minutes after take off is never a good thing, trust me. *shudders*

3. Customs: If you are doing any guided touring, don’t ever insult your tour guide, host, etc or even their country. One of the biggest mistake that we as Americans make while overseas is to see some of the customs a country has and say “Wow, that’s stupid.” Whereas, many vacationing and touring in our country may say the same thing. So, at least be a bit considerate and keep most of your negative thoughts to yourself. And, hey, you never know. You could see a custom that you may think, “Hey, that’s a good idea.” For example, at the beginning of my trip to Europe, they informed us that it was custom to pay a small amount of money to use the public restrooms. Initially, I thought, “Who in their right mind would pay to use a crappy public bathroom?” Knowing that this comment would most likely offend my tour guide, I kept the thought to myself. However, once I saw the public restrooms, I realized they were much better kept than those in the US. So sometimes customs can be good. Mostly, customs are just different. Get used to it.

4. Staying safe: I.E. When traveling in public, constantly keep one hand on your wallet and the other on your passport. Enough said here.

5. Jetlag: sucks. But its part of life. Honestly, I never realized what staying up for 25 hours but only 12 of them actually passing in life with time changes could actually do to your body. But it was very worth it after the trip. I got my pictures back the other day and I noticed I never took time to realize all the details of the places I went to. It was nice to sit back and take a walk back through my mind with all the memories I had.

So, yeah, wish I could talk more about my trip to Europe, but I definitely have homework piling up (finals! Yay!) and at least two more deck reviews to write. So look out for the next deck I do, which will conclude with a focus on how much Americans really care about foreign policy and events (and, no, I’m not going to talk about Iraq).



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