Snip! Snip! Snip! Ouch!

        Hey, I'll be with you momentarily. Let me just finish up with
these pruning shears.

       My Venus Flytraps have been experiencing a growth spurt
lately. They've grown right out of their original pot. I had to keep
them in an empty trash can from the cafeteria for a few days while I
waited for the new pots to arrive.

        My secretary consulted a source on proper floral
maintenance and it seems you're supposed to prune back plants
so they don't grow wildly. I think I heard that when I was young. My
mother was always cutting bits here and pieces there off her
flowers, teling me that she had to keep their growth in check. It
seemed to me that the more she cut them, the more irate they
became, determined to sprout twice as high, just to spite her and
those cursed clippers.

       Well cutting begonias, cherry trees and four 'o'  clocks are one
thing. Trying to snip back carnivorous Venus Flytraps is another
entirely. For every 2 chops with my shears, I get at least three
lunges from their jagged, spiky mouths. I'm inclined to think they
don't WANT to be cut. Well it's for their own goo-AHH! HEY! That
stung! Get that mouth away from my sleeve! Yah, you on the left! I
know you're trying to take a gouge out of me. Well if you keep it up
there will be no mealworms tonight, buster! Hey, I see that tendril
snaking up my leg! Cut it out!

        Sorry for that, but sometimes you have to get rough. Well, I've
been at this for an hour already and my arm is bloody and stiff.
What say we flex out minds instead? Whip that deck out and let's
see what the trouble is.


Dear Dr. Crash ,

        I hope that you don't mind that I brought my Hitmonchan with me.
I was hoping that you
could help me with my deck "You Have No Chansey". My main problem is
that I have a lot of energy but I can't get basic pokemon out. Can you
please help me.

                                                        Hard Hitter ,
                                                        Kelly Gonzalez

14          Psychic Energy
13          Fighting Energy

4          Mewtwo {2 are promos}
4          Abra
3          Kadabra
2          Alakazam
1          Chansey

2          Hitmonchan
3          Machop
2          Machoke

4          Energy Removal
1          Bill
2          Gust of Wind
2           Switch
1          Pokémon Trader
1          Professor Oak
1          Pokemon Center


         From the looks of things, you don't have any Chanseys
either. Well, you've got one, but that's hardly enough.

         This deck definitely has some problems. Most of it is in the
balance. You have far too much Energy. So much that I'm quite
sure you often wind up with too much Energy in your hand.
         Second there isn't enough Trainers. You need effective
Trainers to back up your Pokemon, usually 2 Trainers for every one
Pokemon you have, give or take 3 or 4 either way.
           Lastly, there's just too many Pokemon. Most good decks
don't exceed 15 Pokemon, at the most. This deck is pushing 21.
That's just too many to be able to focus your atrategy.

            I'll start with the strategy. It looks like you're gunning for a
Damage Swapper here. This technique is a bit slow in the current
environment, but if you're not a big tourney player, then there's no
reason not to play a damage swap deck. They're fun and can really
frustrate the opponent.

           Since we're concentrating on the Damage Swap theme, I'm
gonna start by knocking Machop and Machoke right out. Machop
is okay. It does good damage for the cost, but Machoke is horrible.
It damages itself and it requires multiple Fighting Energy to do
anything. In a deck which needs primarily Psychic Energy, this is
a no-no. We need something splashable, needing no more than
one of any color. Ideally, in any Damage Swap, Chansey is your
best pick. The ultra-high HP and damage avoiding capacites are
too good to resist. Nice low retreat is a plus as well.
         As for the rest of the Psychic creatures, They're all
necessary elements. I'd cut those Mewtwos down to just the Movie
Promos you own. The other Mewtwo isn't very reliable and eats up
valuable Energy. Plus we don't want a HUGE weakness to Psychic

       Now that Pokemon have been covered, we can focus on your
Trainers which will greatly help you out. This will be the part that
makes or breaks the deck.

        Let's start with a full compliment of Bills and Professor Oaks;
4 Bills and 3 Oaks. This will keep our hand full most of the time.

         Let's add 3 Computer Searches to get important Evolutions
and Trainers anytime.

        Some Gusts of Wind will keep big baddies out of the way
early on. Electabuzz can be troublesome. Enemy MP Mewtwos
are a big danger to you. Scythers and Magmars are also likely to
be trouble. Gust will keep you safe for a turn or two, which is
sometimes all you need.

        Some Rocket Sneak Attacks will allow you to pluck game-
wrecking Trainers from the enemy's hand. I'd keep stuff like Super
Energy Removal, Lass and several of those troublesome new Gym
cards like Team Rocket's Trap out of your opponent's hand if

         Scoop Ups will allow you to slam some damage onto a
healthy Chansey, pull him into your hand and then return him into
your bench in the same turn, eliminating possibly 110 points of
damage in one shot. This is a very nice strategy.

         Nightly Garbage Runs will keep you in Energy and Pokemon
like Chansey and Mewtwo if they should be sent packing from in
play. Since games involving Damage Swap decks tend to be long
and drawn out, you'll need some Garbage Runs to elongate your
deck's play time.

        The key card in any Damage Swap deck is Pokemon Center.
This will let you rearrange the damage onto as few Pokemon as
possible who haven't got any Energy or very little attached. Then
you can remove the damage without ditching a lot of Energy from
important Pokemon like Alakazam. Use it sparingly, especially
since your opponent will be expecting it once Alakazam hits the

          Item Finder will be particularly useful in making good use of
those valauble Scoop Ups or Gusts of Wind. This makes an
excellent late game card, and this deck is meant to survive to the
late game.

           Lastly your Energy is way way too high. You had about 27
Energy. This is obscene. That's nearly half your deck!! You'll get by
much easier with 20 Energy. 14 Psychic Energy, 4 Double
Colorless Energy and 2 Full Heal Energy will be enough to keep
you running smoothly.

         Let me show what a proper Damage Swap should look like.
This uses all the cards I've mentioned and will be much better than
anything using Fighting as it's offense with Damage Swap as
defense. That's just too much for any deck to handle.

            2 Movie Promo Mewtwos
            4 TR Abras
            3 Kadabras
            3 Alakazams
            4 Chanseys

            4 Bills
            3 Professor Oaks
            3 Computer Searches
            3 Nightly Garbage Runs
            3 Scoop Ups
            2 Pokemon Centers
            4 Gusts of Wind
            2 Rocket Sneak Attacks

            4 Double Colorless Energies
            2 Full Heal Energies
            16 Psychic Energies

                   This deck will act much more reliably than the
previous version you submitted. Fighting, or any other type really,
does not belong in Damage Swap. Damage Swap is pure Psychic
with Chansey to soak up damage.
                    You're going to want to get Alakazam going as soon
as possible. Keep an extra Gust of Wind in your hand as a failsafe.
It's very likely that your opponent will Gust Alakazam into action in
order to disrupt your strategy. Alakazam has high HP, so it can
take a few hits. But you really want it in the backfield where it can
shuffle damage in safety. Use Mewtwo to dish out damage.
Chansey can make one heck of a last ditch effort for 80 damage
too. Don't be afraid to use it. It's usually good for a prize. Kadabra
makes a nice attacker too, despite low HP, but that shouldn't be a
big problem with Alakzam lurking in the back.

             I pronounce you cured! This deck is fixed. Please pay my
secretary as you depart. And keep away from the Flytraps, they're
out for blood now that I've taken them down a few pegs.

             I should probably get back to my pruning. I'll have to buy
more Ace bandages on my way home. Maybe I'll get some bleach
too. Otherwise this blood will never come out.

             Ok, guys time for Round 2. Where would you like it..huh?
You've already been taken back the rest of the way. But that's
impossible! I had the pruning shears in my office with me. I didn't
trust them out where you Flytraps could wrap your sappy tendrils
around them.

            Maybe my secretary can explain this. When the
unexplainable happens, my secretary always seems to be at the
center of the mystery. So any comments on how the flytraps got
trimmed the rest of the way?

           Yeah I know you were feeding your Vileplume. So what's
that got to do with anything. The Flytrap snuck a tendril into the
plant fertilizer and was stealing nutrients? Well, I'm not surprised.
What did you do?

          You hit it? Oh that was a big mistake....I'll bet they weren't
happy with that. Did they gouge you any? On your calf huh? Looks
ok now.

            That doesn't explain how they were pruned some more. I
DID have the shears you know.

              Whatt'ya mean you don't NEED shears? You're talking
nonsens there woman. Have you been sitting too close to the white-
out container again?

           HEY!! Get those weapons you call fngernails out of my
face!! Those are dangerous! You could cut right through
a....Ooooohhh...I get it.

                 Sneaky...sneaky. And here I'd just thought you
switched from Passion Pink to Slime Green nail polish. Those
deathbringers ARE good for something.

           Remind me to give you a raise someday.

                 Good Luck!!
             Dr. Crash Landon