Ok, who remembers Ike? No not Dwight D. Eisenhower, our former president of
the United States, but kudos to those of you who stayed awake in History
class to learn about him.

  I'm talking about Ike, the little rodent whose appearance rattled my
secretary like a visit from Jacob Marley on Christmas Eve. (She tells me
that Jacob Marley is actually a swell guy once you get past those 3 whiny
time-travelling spirits he hangs around with.) Well we had thought Ike had
packed up his little mouse bags and gone to sunnier floorboards to live, but
we were wrong.

  This morning, while my secretary was in a rare inspiration to do some
actual work, she was greeted from above by none other than Ike doing his
imitation of Newton's apple right onto her computer keyboard, causing her to
nearly choke on her Juicy Fruit. Fortunately she caught the gum in time to
release a blood curdling scream of terror that was loud enough to have
interfered with Federal Airspace transmissions.

  Now I personally like Ike. (I like Ike....get it? Naaah you probably
don't. Ask your parents, but be prepared to hear about how movies cost a
nickel and kids like you respected their elders.) But my secretary is
hell-bent upon eradicating him for good this time. So you must excuse the
stethoscope and the nail gun. She's listening to the floors and walls for
scurrying noises until she hears something, at which point she jams several
nails into the guilty area hoping to spear poor Ike. I'm not crazy about
having my waiting room perforated like this, but who's gonna argue with an
insane woman carrying a nail gun?

  I'd take off your shoes before you enter my inner office, you know, just
in case they squeak. You certainly don't want my secretary to lunge over and
nail your foot to the baseboards. Beyond that, run fast and pray hard.

  Now how's about that deck of yours?

      Hey, Crash, how have you been? I brought my Arbok along and please
don't get
  mad at me if you dislike snakes. He promised not to eat any mice Pokemon
  that you may have. Anyway, my deck just doesn't seem to win. I often
  get the right energy to use in this deck. Please don't insult my
  intelligence if I have chosen some bad Pokemon. I am new to the TCG game.

  Grass Pokemon
  3 Nidoran
  3 Nidorino
  2 Nidoking (all i have)
  2 Zubat
  1 Golbat
  2 Ekans
  1 Arbok (i like his poison fang)
  1 Scyther (my friend might trade me a second one)

  Water Pokemon
  2 Lapras (best starter)
  1 Articuno (all I could get)
  2 Magikarp
  2 Gyarados

  Colorless Pokemon
  1 Doduo
  1 Dodrio (all i have and i like his Pokemon Power)
  1 Jiggleypuff (psy resistant)

  1 Pokemon Breeder
  1 Switch
  1 Super Potion
  2 Prof. Oak
  3 Bill
  1 Scoop Up
  1 Gust of Wind
  1 Energy Retrieval
  1 Gust of Wind
  1 Plus Power

  9 Grass Energy
  12 Water Energy
  2 Double Colorless Energy

  My strategy is simple. Poison. Toxic and Poison Fang do this. I added the
  water pokemon because I also needed a powerhouse (Gyarados and Articuno)
  a good basic (Lapras.) My trainers are my biggest problem. I don't know
  to use them for. Well, that's my deck. I don't have a Blastoise so I
  couldn't add him. I am getting 2 Venomoth and a Scyther soon (maybe).
  than that, I was hoping for some inexpensive choices, but if rares are
  needed to make this thing win, add them on. Thanks for your time.

  ~King Cobra


       I'm glad your Arbok has agreed not to eat any mice I may have,
because I'm rather fond of Ike. Having him around means I can eat like a
slob occasionally and the mess will still get cleaned up. But if the mice
thing becomes a rampant plague, I'll let your Arbok do its thing.

   First impressions of this deck: Not bad for a beginner. The problems
deifintely lie in the Trainers more than the Pokemon, but you knew this,
which is good.

   25 Pokemon is high. In a deck that uses evolutions, 18 is pretty much a
dependable target number. You don't have to hit 18 Pokemon exactly, but that
ballpark tells you where the numbers should lay. This means we need to
remove some critters.

   First take out the one pathetic Jigglypuff. Jigglypuff is still a good
card, but it's not going to help you much in this deck. The resistance to
Psychic isn't enough to warrant it.

   Second lose the Doduo/Dodrio family. With only one to each, your odds of
ever getting them out are slim to none. Retreat Aid is more of a luxury than
a major strategy.

   While Gyarados is good, Magikarp most certainly is not. With a worthless
attack and only 30 HP, he's a disater waiting to happen. Articuno pretty
much duplicates Gyarados's abilities, so take out the 2 Karps and 2
Gyaradoses to make more space in this deck.

   On the Grass side, I'd pull the Zubat family. Golbat has some
interesting attacks, but 60 HP limits his playability. Any good Psychic
attack will floor Golbat.

   This leaves us with the rest. They're OK. (I left in the Arboks because
you seem to like them so much. There's something rewarding about playing
with your favorite Pokemon. Mine is Lapras and I got lucky in that it's a
very playable card.) If we tweak the ratios of your Pokemon, we'll be in
good shape to tackle those Trainers.

   Nidoran(m)/Nidorino/Nidoking- Take him a straight 4/3/2 road. 4
Nidoran(m), 3 Nidorinos and 2 Nidokings. All three are good for the stage at
which you get them. Toxic kills too.

   Scyther-Definitely worth adding more. Trade with your friend for
whatever it takes within reason. Scyther is worth it. I'd run 3 in this

   Ekans/Arbok- They're not phenomenal Pokemon, but they've got a nice
range of status effects to hit a player with. Paralyzation can be just as
deadly as any Electabuzz anyday. 3 Ekans with 2 Arbok will be fine.

   Lapras- Great starter like you said. Beware of early pumped up
Electabuzzes though. One lucky Thunderpunch will floor your poor Lapras. 2
is a good number here.

   Articuno- It's Gyarados Lite! Only he's not a lightweight at all. He
hits with the big boys, this one does, yep. I'd carry 2 of these in your

      The Trainers is where you need the most work. You're definitely on
the right track, you just need that final push toward victory.

    You have the 2 Professor Oaks. That's good. You could stand to run one
more Bill, just to get the full card drawing potential out of your deck.

Scoop Up is really intended for Basics rather than Evolutions. What this
deck could use instead of Scoop Up is Mr. Fuji. He's kinder and gentler
since he allows you to get reuse out of your valuable Energy. Try getting
that out of a Scoop Up...

You had "1 Gust of Wind" listed twice, for a total of 2, but I think you
could use more than 2 to your maximum benefit in this deck. Controlling who
your Active Pokemon is facing will be a big part of your success story. I'd
put in the full 4 if possible.

The lone Pokemon Breeder is a bit unnecessary since the Nidoking has a
good Stage 1 worth including. Nidoking also isn't a huge integral part of
the deck but more of a nice big boy to deal some pain if possible, so scrap
the Breeder. You'll do OK without it.

The Super Potion and the PlusPower aren't very effective in solitary
numbers. Super Potion isn't even that great in multiples to be truthful.
Losing attached Energy is never a good move, even if you gain HP back.
PlusPower on the other hand is a good card, but not at just one in the deck.
If there were room I'd say add more, but I see the need for other cards

I'd add a Computer Search just in case you need to go for that Nidoking
or get an Articuno to take out a troublesome Magmar. It's a very useful card
to have in case of whatever happens, and something will happen, trust me.

The Energy Retreival is good, so add one more to be able to reclaim what
you lose to retreat and enemy Removals.

(Kachunk!) (Kachunk!)

Looks like Ike is on the move again. If this continues I won't have any
carpeting left, just a battered steel alloy floor. I'd best give a run down
of how I'd build this deck in its revised form before nails start flying
through the glass windows...

    4 Nidorans(m)
    3 Nidorinos
    2 Nidokings
           3 Scythers
    3 Ekans
    2 Arboks
    2 Laprases
    2 Articunos

    4 Bills
    2 Professor Oaks
    2 Mr. Fujis
    3 Gusts of Wind
    2 Switches
    1 Computer Search
    2 Energy Retrievals

    3 Double Colorless Energy
    8 Water Energys
    12 Grass Energys

  Volia!! You are cured. The only problem you will encounter is that the
Grass Pokemon are weak to Psychic. Fortunately, the Water type Pokemon
included will fare just fine against the Psychic types you may face. If you
find you're still drawing too many pokemon, try reducing the Nidoran(m) down
t a 3/3/2 family or find something else you can spare from the Grass
section. You should keep the water Pokemon intact to keep off-types at bay.

  Please pay my secretary on your way out, or if you'd prefer you can pay
me...and oh! Who's this? It's Ike! He's crawled into my office, probably to
escape all that nail gun ruckus. Well here, I'll put you up top my bookcase
by the open vent. Yuo can escape to freedom that way. I'd best got check on
the Orkin Lady out there. She's been quiet for the last few moments.

       WHAT-THE---??!!  Why is my office soaked with water pouring out the
east wall?? You've done what? You hit a water line because you heard
flushing water running down it and immediately sunk a nail into the pipe???
Do you realize how much this will cost me?

   I'm aware that a bucket costs $8.95. I meant the plumbers and the
lawyers from the Water Authority. They're going to be mad for having to come
out here twice in one month. And I'll bet anything...Hey what are you
looking at? There's nothing in my office. Nothing for you to see.
      No! Keep out of there! There's nothing. Nothing at all. Put that gun

               Run Ike!! Run!!

  Seems I'm gonna have my hands and buckets full for a while... See you next

           Good Luck!!                       Dr. Crash Landon

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com