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Budget Shopping Top 10; Article #5



Well, I’m sitting here after a hard, long week of school listening to traditional Irish/Celtic music. For those of you mildly concerned, we opened the musical I’m involved in on Saturday and everything went wonderfully. We played to a sold out crowd and have one more scheduled performance this coming Monday (hopefully y’all will be reading this article by the time I hit the stage).

Anyway, I wanted to expand on something I left hanging a bit at the end of my last article. I noted that a few cards I added in my “Adding Money to the Deck” section were “cards to Invest in”. I want to expand on that and explain some hard truths about the Pokémon TCG and why investing is so crucial in a TCG like this.

NOTE: Most of the major concepts I’ll be covering here have been cover by Dr. Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar in this article on the Painlands: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/jm133

The Pokémon TCG is created in such a way that Budget deck builders have a greater advantage in this TCG than any others IMO. The only exception to ease of Budget building that I can think of off the top of my head would be Magic: the Gathering, but that is for a completely different reason that I plan on covering in another topic.

As it stands, the Pokémon TCG does not reprint many of the pokémon it creates. This can cause a lot of turmoil for Budget builders, as they can see the deck they’ve been working on for months and pwn tournaments with simply rotate out, losing almost half the cards in their deck and leaving their ideas in shambles.

How can one prevent this from happening? Well, frankly, you can’t. Whenever sets rotate out, you’re bound to lose something. Luckily, Pokémon rotates only once a year and at around the same time, so you can plan for the rotation. But after things rotate out, where do you pick up the pieces?


There are some cards I’d like to call Real Estate. These are cards that have been staples in Modified for a few years now. Some existed back with the release of Sandstorm and others have come out recently. Some cards have been around since the release of some old WotC sets as well.

Most of these cards are a little more expensive than your normal Budget card. Their the “Rare” uncommons everyone has been scrambling for since their release and will be scrambling for for years to come. But these cards a crucial to making a good deck in the current TCG environement. I’ll be listing the cards below I think are the best choices in Real Estate right now, what sets you can find them in, and (according to PokéGym) how much they’re going for right now.


10. Pidgeot (FRLG)
Price: $5-10

It may seem odd to see this pokémon on the list, but it’s well worth it right now. Getting it isn’t too hard if you’re in an area that has some older theme decks, but buying these babies on their own can be pretty pricey. While this card will most likely be rotated out after format change, he’s still indispensable in some Unlimited decks. 2-3 of these is all you need, but it isn’t quite necessary

TIPS: Find the fire theme deck from FireRed/LeafGreen to get a hold of this card most easily. Otherwise, you’ll be trading or paying dearly for it.

9. Rainbow Special Energy (Rainbow, Multi, Double Rainbow, Holon’s Stage 1s)
Sets: Various (Team Rocket, Aquapolis, Ruby/Sapphire, Legend Maker)(EX: SandStorm, EX: FR/LG, EX: Emerald)(EX: Emerald)(EX: Delta Species, EX: Holon Phantoms)
Price: Various ($2-4)($2-3)($3-5)($3-5)

I lumped all these together because they all serve a similar purpose. If you’re running a TecH pokémon in your deck, chances are you aren’t planning on attacking with them every game. But in that random 1:6 game where you need to attack with a Jirachi to KO your opponent’s active pokémon, rainbow energies can help. And everyone’s favrote/most hated combo right now is Holon’s pokémon on Mew ex.

TIPS: Because they cover such a width of the TCG, getting a hold of some of these cards shouldn’t be difficult, especially Rainbow and Multi Energy since they’ve been promos or been around for freakin’ ever. Double rainbow is a little more difficult and pricy at that. If you’re investing in these, you’ll probably be buying them one a time time of the period of about 6 months to counter the hit on your pocketbook. For Holon’s pokémon, hit up some sealed drafts at your local League and the upcoming Holon Phantoms prerelease. You’ll probably run into a few of these in your round as probably arrange tol trade some of your draft loot for one of them.

8. Master Ball
Found In: Gym Challenge, Expedition, EX: Deoxys, EX: Delta Species
Price: $1-3

I was told when I put this card in my deck, that this wasn’t a Budget card. I had to disagree because it has been printed in so many sets right now that finding 2-3 copies shouldn’t be too difficult. It is by no means necessary for all decks, but having a few floating around couldn’t hurt when it comes to recovering after a set rotation. I’ve found this card invaluable during all the Modifieds it’s been legal in.

TIPS: Master Ball is one of those cards that have stood the test of time. Other Cards like MB would include Oak’s Research, Warp Point, CopyCat, Pokémon Reversal, Energy Removal 2, Switch, and anything else from the WotC era that has been legal in the WotC Modified and NOA Modified. If you can get a hold of these cards, you should have no problem ever setting up an at least decent draw and trainer engine.

7. Celio’s Network
Found In: EX: FR/LG, Trainer Kit #2
Price: $3-5

From personal experience, I can tell you that Master Ball is not a cure all card for pokémon searching. If you’re not running EXs in your deck (like many players are doing now), Celio’s is probably a card you’ll want four copies of in your deck. If you ARE running EXs, you’ll want three and have the other one of the set lying around in case you build an EX-less deck. Honestly, with the card part of the Trainer Kit, it’s going to be around for quite some time now. You should get this card ASAP.

6. Mr. Briney’s Compassion
Found In: EX-Dragon, OP Series 2
Price: $1-5

On average, you’ll find this card for about $3, which is more than it’s worth IMO. But it is one of the few Scoop-esque cards out right now and is worth the investment. As a OP Set card, it won’t be rotating for some time now. I’ll admit that not every deck should be running Mr. Briney’s, but chances are that you’ll make a deck that’ll need them eventually. I’d suggest a set of 3 as opposed to a set of four, but that’s just my personal opinion.

TIPS: Keep up on what gets reprinted as a promo card. If you’ll notice, many of the cards on this list have been or have a high chance of being reprinted as a promo. If you see a power card is being reprinted in Promo-land, I’d suggest finding a few of them before your other friends snatch them up from in front of your eyes.

5. Scramble Energy
Found in: EX-Deoxys
Price: $5-7.50

Yeah, it’s (darn) expensive. But the advantage of having at least two of these in your deck is more than worth the cost. With many Budget decks, getting behind on the prize count early is a fact of life we all need to embrace and try and combat. Scramble Energy is one of the cards that can help us easily comeback from a huge deficit. Just slap it on you big attacker and swing through whatever you need to. I’ve seen games turned around from being down on prizes 6-3 and winning the match at time, ahead on prizes 1-2.

TIPS: Again, drafting is your friend. If you hear of Limited tourneys in your area, try and attend as many of them as possible (i.e. until you can’t afford them). You’re much more likely to grab what you need from these packs as they passed around the table.

4. Wally’s Training
Found In: EX-SandStorm, EX-Emerald
Price: $1-3

Hey, it helps evolve and is great for deck searching. Professor Elm’s Training can do the same thing, but this helps you bypass showing the card to your opponent and letting them know your plans a turn ahead of time. Wally also helps you get EXs, something that other evolution search cards won’t let you do. It’s a great card and a lot of decks should run this, just probably not to the max.

TIPS: Replacements exist for many cards on this list. I mentioned PETM in this Supporters blurb, and there are other draw cards you could use in your deck (like Steven’s Advice, CopyCat to an extent, and TV Reporter). If you can’t get a hold of the expensive cards, find the closest replacement. PETM is the example here, but Wally’s effect is just much cleaner than PETM.

3. Metal and Darkness Energy
Found in: Neo Genesis, Expedition, Aquapolis, Ruby/Sapphire, Emeral, Unseen Forces, Delta Species
Price: $3-5

I really debated whether or not to put these on the list since many players already have access to these, but they are a little more expensive than most cards and can be difficult to get a hold of once you get into the game.

But here they are. The “Special Basic” energies. Without them, your Absol, Steelix, Sneasle, old Rocket’s Zapdos (with old ruling), and other pokémon just won’t work. They’re crucial for any deck builder who plans on delving into the world of Steelix and the Darkness are great for TecH in any deck that runs Rocket’s pokémon (dark Slowking anyone?). And they’ve been printed enough (and have been promos as well) that they should be easy enough to get a hold of.

Bottom Line: Find 4 of each and have them ready to use whenever. They won’t rotate out until PUI gets nuked.

2. TV Reporter
Found In: EX-Dragon, OP Series 2
Price: $3-5

Yeah, you knew it was coming. Bill’s Maintenance’s evil, and more powerful, counterpart. Simply put, most decks should be running about 4 of these, possibly more. TVR is a highly powered card and can help eat through your deck at a breakneck pace, giving you massive card advantage that really can’t be taken down easily. Substitutes, like Bill’s Maintenance, exist but TVR’s power is something that isn’t easily toppled.

TIPS: Power trainers prevail in a format that pushes speed above all else. Sometime the substitutes that exist can suffice like PETM for Wally. But TVR runs through your deck much quicker that Bill’s Maintenance ever will.

1. Rare Candy
Found in: EX-Sandstorm, EX-Emerald
Price: $5-6

If you didn’t see this as the top card either, you just might be blind (or using a Brail keyboard). This is the one card that makes almost all Stage 2 decks in the TCG run properly. I don’t think anyone can really deny the fact that this card is powerful. However, this card doesn’t just go in every deck. Medicham and Hariyama EX decks won’t need the Candy, but anything running a Pidgeot line right now will run at least 3 Candies, if not 4. Some decks with only Stage 1 evos will benefit from the TecHing of 2-3 Candies into it so that it can start swinging with its big hitters on turn 1. Rare Candy almost breaks the format to an extent.

TIPS: Some cards you just have to grin and bear it. I’d highly suggest that every Pokémon TCGer own at least 4 of these. They’re that good. It almost lost its spot as No. 1 due to the fact that it hasn’t been made a promo yet and will rotate out after next year’s Worlds. But even if/when it rotates out, it will still be a much sought after card. Should you find you’ll never need it again, you can always trade/sell it for the next big thing. So keep your eye out for these puppies and trade/pay for them whenever you get the chance.

That wraps up the list. If you see anything wrong in this article, email me and I’ll address it in my next article (which I think is going back to deck fixing, not sure yet). See ya in a couple weeks as we gear up for pre-releases.

--Cardz Out.


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