Pojo's Pokemon news, tips, strategies and more!

Pokemon Home


Price Guide Set List

Message Board

Pokemon GO Tips

Pokemon News

Featured Articles

Trading Card Game
- Price Guide
- Price Guide
- Card of the Day
- Professional Grading
- Killer Deck Reports
- Deck Garage
- William Hung
- Jason Klaczynski
- Jeremy's Deck Garage
- Johnny Blaze's Banter
- TCG Strategies
- Rulings Help
- Apprentice & Patch
- Apprentice League
- Spoilers & Translations
- Official Rules
- Featured Event Reports
- Top of the World
- An X-Act Science
- Error Cards
- Printable Checklist
- Places to Play

Nintendo Tips
- Red/Blue
- Yellow
- Gold & Silver
- Crystal
- Ruby & Sapphire
- Fire Red & Leaf Green
- Emerald
- Pinball
- TCG cart
- Stadium
- PuPuzzle League
- Pinball: Ruby/Sapphire
- Pokemon Coliseum
- Pokemon Box
- Pokemon Channel

GameBoy Help
- ClownMasters Fixes
- Groudon's Den
- Pokemon of the Week

E-Card Reader FAQ's
- Expedition
- Aquapolis
- Skyridge
- Construction Action Function
- EON Ticket Manual

Deck Garage
- Pokemaster's Pit Stop
- Kyle's Garage
- Ghostly Gengar

- Episode Listing
- Character Bios
- Movies & Videos
- What's a Pokemon?
- Video List
- DVD List

Featured Articles

Pojo's Toy Box

Books & Videos


Advertise With Us
- Sponsors


About Us
Contact Us

Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Cardz Shop

Tips for Pre-Release and Sealed Deck Drafting


Hello everyone again. In case y’all didn’t know, this month marked my three year anniversary for writing articles for Pojo. No, its not been a continuous three years, but my first article on drafting was posted on April 7, 2003, a little more than a year ago. (See link here: http://www.pojo.com/TCGStrategies/April2003/8.html) (also, don’t respond to that email address; its old and doesn’t work).

However, the article only addresses the style of drafting popular during the WotC era, which is what is classically considered Booster Draft: you rip open a pack, survey the cards in there, pick one of the cards to put into your draft pile, and pass the pack on to your left or right, depending on which stage of the draft you were on. IN this draft form, it was easy to get solid lines of Pokémon for your Limited decks and work with whatever you got. Now, this format is still used in today’s very tiny Limited environment. However, it is not the predominantly used format for Limited.

No, now the format has switched over almost completely to the realm of Sealed Deck Limited: you are hand 6 packs from one set, rip them open, and create a deck from the contents. Yeah, pretty drastic difference. In Booster Draft, you could grab a pretty big Stage 1 Evolution in your first pick and then draft the commons needed afterward to complete the line. Now, you’re limited (pardon the pun) to the random contents of six packs of cards.

So, what do you do now to prep for a Limited tournament that seems (and, in my opinion is) more random than what has occurred in the past?

Well, first off, I’m going to list off the few rules from my old Ten Rules for Drafting Article that still apply:

(NOTE: Some card references were updated for this article.)

4. Trainers. If you see a trainer, grab it ASAP. Draw trainers, such as Oak's Research, Wally’s Training, and CopyCat for example, are the best one's to have. However, some trainers like Holon Researcher and Elm's Research will only help if your deck has certain cards. And some cards, like Tickling Machine, are just pointless. So watch what you get dealt.

5. Make sure half your deck is energy. In draft, it's hard to get enough draw cards to draw small amounts of energy that normal decks have. 20 energy for a draft deck is enough, if not more. But don't put in more than 25. That's just overkill.

6. Study the sets you're drafting. If you have it, use Apprentice to do a test draft of the sets you'll be using or just look over the cards on a checklist. Grass as a rule of thumb is easy to draft, but if you want to draft a different color, such as water, check the set in advance and see if it's possible. If a set has only has a view cards of that color, you probably won't be able to draft it.

7. Status can be one of the best tools in draft. If you see a card that can confuse your opponent's pokémon in you color, draft it. Any other status applies as well, but beware! Pokémon like Sabrina's Psyduck (Challenge) can confuse themselves. Choose carefully.

These aren’t all the rules that still apply. I have two more I’m including at the end that are just commonly ignored tourney etiquette that you’ll here about eventually.

Right now, I want to focus on an upcoming event: the Pre-release for EX: Holon Phantoms. This focuses on part 6, which is the most important in prepping for a draft. If you don’t have a clue what to expect going in, how will you know what synergies exist going in and how will you know what to expect from other people? You have to study the set and anticipate what will most likely be drafted and how can you sue that to your advantage when building your deck. Set analysis will do this for you.

Yet Holon Phantoms (referred to as HP here on out) hasn’t hit its US release yet (its still in the prerelease phase), how are you going to analyze the set?

Spoilers, my friend, spoilers.

My personal favorite for the advance knowledge on things like this is pokebeach.com. They always have a spoiler up for the next set about a week or tow after its Japanese release, which is wonderful for those of us who have a passion for Limited work. That said, they have a full spoiler for the set on their main page and I’ve been frequenting it often over the past month, learning all I can from the set.

But how should one go about gleaning information from a set and preparing for a draft. I’m going to list a simplified style to what I use to determine viability for colors and pokémon in a set, taking format into account:

1) Find the type balance for the set.

This means going through and seeing how much of each color (type) of pokémon there is in a set. This is very difficult to do with the Holon sets because almost all the pokémon have altered types or are dual types. So that this list doesn’t get overly long, I’ve just listed each dual pokémon twice, once for each of their types. Here’s the approximate balance of the set:

Colorless: 2
Fire: 8
Water: 4
Grass: 3
Fighting: 5
Psychic: 4
Lightning: 9
Dark: 5
Steel: 17

Trainers: 4
Special Energy: 1-2

Now, let’s talk about what this list tells us. It tells us that Grass (well known for its status effects that are deadly in draft) is more or less unplayable, along with Water and Psychic are more or less dead. However if you plan on playing Fire and Lightning, you’ll have a pretty good chance of doing well.

Yet (and here’s the downside), there are 17 Metal/Steel type pokémon. Compare that to the 2 energy fixers in the set. In other words, if you see (M) on a card or see an (M) cost on a card, you might as well give up hope of using it often in your main deck, if at all. This is really disappointing, as it makes the deck near undraftable, were it not for the excesses of Fire and Lightning pokémon.

That said, on to point 2

2) Evaluate the Trainers and their viability in draft.

Well, with only 4 in the set, this should be hard. Let’s have at them.

Rare Candy has been around before. It’s a great Modified deck. But as for Sealed, its only decent because you probably won’t get it multiples, which will give you the consistency you need to use it effectively.

Holon Fossil allows you to play a fossil from your hand or deck, depending on the flip. Very nice, considering this is the only way these cards are getting out without Mysterious, Root, or Claw Fossils, which I believe are in the American set.

Holon Adventurer adds to the already powerful Holon draw engine. Since you’ll be running at a least a few Delta Species pokémon, this card should 50% of the time net you 4 cards. Main deck this if you find it in a pack.

Holon Lake lets you get other Delta pokémon with an attack by Delta pokémon. Since it’s the only stadium in the set, you probably shouldn’t main deck it unless its your only way of searching the deck for pokémon.

Now, item 3:

3) Check for main strategies per strong color.

In this, I’d be checking to see the powers, abilities, and synergies in Steel/Metal, Fire, and Lightning. I won’t go into my conclusions here, but I’m sure after a little browsing you’ll find many of the simple synergies I’ve found.

4) Check the viability of colored colorless pokémon.

This refers to basic (and some stage 1,though on rare occasion) pokémon that have only colorless attacks but have a type. In this set, there are about 4-6 cards I’d consider colored colorless, and about two of those are a stretch. Again, harkening to the undraftability of this set. I found this very disappointing from a Limited perspective, as the set is difficult to use to balance the deck after you get the core of the deck set.

Well, that gives you a quick overview of the set to be pre-released this weekend. If you couldn’t pick up from my comments above, I think the set is pretty much undraftable unless you hit a key line of cards. Now, I didn’t include in hear any cards that might be added for US release, such as the rumored Multi and Dark Metal Energy. So things may change by release stateside.

Now, onto the one rule that needs much modification from my first article on drafting.

2. The amount of colors in your deck will depend on what set you’re drafting. However, never draft more than 2 colors! I can’t stress this enough. I've been in so many tourneys where I see a three-color deck and they just don't work. In certain sets, you can safely stick to one color in drafts. However, depending on the set you draft, you may have to slip into a second color for supporter. Most of the sets released with Holon pokémon are that way. You need a main color, but you often need to splash for a second color to round out the deck. Don’t be afraid to in these sets. But, when you can, stick to one color in draft.

And, with that said, here are the last two points I haven’t pasted over quite yet, and for good reason. They should close off the article well and not need any explanation.

Good luck at prereleases this weekend!

Cardz out.

9. Get a good night's rest before the day of the event. Some people look at me oddly when I say this, but it applies to all tournaments. I tested this idea on myself one time. On getting 9 hours of sleep, I went 5-1. On 5 hours of sleep, 2-3. Pretty big difference if you ask me.

10. Please remember to have fun. It is just a game, so if you lose, don't be the sore loser we all know and have at our respective Leagues. Take everything in stride. When you know you've drafted a bad deck, joke about it. If you can't win with it, at least you can get a few laughs out of it. At the end of the day, its just a game. Enjoy it while you can, for life’s too short not to have a few bumps, jolts, and laughs along the way.



Copyright© 1998-2005 pojo.com
This site is not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise affiliated with any of the companies or products featured on this site. This is not an Official Site.

  Click Here to Visit!  Click Here to Visit!  Click Here to Visit!