Greetings true believers!

  Sorry to steal Stan Lee's catch phrase, but all the talk lately
around the office has been about the new X-Men movie. I saw it last
Friday with a friend. As it turns out, my secretary was at the show
too; we bumped into each other while exiting.

   I thought the film was decent enough. Several X-Men made
cameos, like Iceman and Kitty Pryde, so I was satisfied. Now my
secretary, she LOVED this movie. It's all she's talked about since
Monday morning and I can only presume the entire past weekend
was worse for those around her.
   She is no longer content with the everyday commoner's genetics
she posesses. According to her, this movie has helped her realize
her lifelong dream of developing superpowers and defending those
in need. See, now I thought her lifelong dream was to follow the
Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour for 3 years straight. That's what it
was last week. The other week it was to move to Tibet, change her
name to something I still can't pronounce and have profound,
soybean-induced thoughts.
    Anyhow, she's strolling around the office in some skin tight
super heroine outfit in order to draw out her hidden powers. I'll
admit, the spandex makes her look pretty hot, but if I keep thinking
about that I'll start feeling like Kevin Spacey in American Beauty.

    I suggested that perhaps her power is the ability to process
paperwork at mind-numbing speed and to tackle accounting tasks
with limitless stamina. She called me "silly man" and continued
leaping off the chairs in an effort to appear super.

   She wants so desperately to be a "mutant"? Well, I've got some
news for her...

   Here, let's go fix your deck before Jean Grey over there forces
me to call the nice men with white coats.

 Hi. My name is John, and I've read lots of your deck reports and I
think you can help me out. My deck is a water/grass combo and
the idea is
to stall with status - inflicting attacks until I can bring out Blastoise.
Here is my deck:


Pokemon (22)

1 Scyther
1 Pinsir
1 Ditto
1 Lapras
1 Koffing
1 (T.R.) Koffing
1 Dark Weezing
2 Venonat
1 Venomoth
1 Ekans
1 (T.R.) Ekans
1 Dark Arbok
4 (T.R.) Squirtle
2 Wartortle
1 Dark Wortortle
1 Blastoise
1 Dark Blastoise

Trainers (12)

2 Bill
2 Energy Removal
1 Pokemon Breeder
2 Potion
2 Poke Ball
1 Here Comes Team Rocket!
2 Super Potion

Energy (26)

12 Water
12 Grass
2 Double Colorless

*PLEASE NOTE* I like this deck's strategy. PLEASE DO NOT turn
this into a
Rain Dance deck. Thank You.

    Ugh...this won't do at all. Besides the obvious flaw of having
such a smattering of everything that there isn't any cohesiveness,
John has also combined conflicting strategies.
    Having Blastoise in your deck almost requires you to run a very
lean, swift fighting machine, incapable of stalling or allowing status
anomalies to control your game. Blastoise is an extremely fast
card; Raindance is a lightning quick archetype.
     Conversely, a large number of Grass Pokemon have relatively
weak attacks but extremely nice status effects resulting. Grass
Pokemon are meant for longer games in which Poison, Sleep and
Confusion reduce your opponent's options to nil.

     Combining these two strategies is akin to pouring vegetable oil
into a bottle of water. Both try as much as possible to seperate
themselves, creating a mixture which will only fight with itself as
much as possible.

     From John's strategy, he prefers a Status effect game. Having
established this, we can eliminate the whole
Squirtle/Wartortle/Blastoise family from the picture. They hit hard,
but Blastoise's Raindance Power does little to help anyone besides
Blastoise himself. Blastoise competes for the energy which will
likely be needed for the other Pokemon since Grass isn't known for
its inexpensive attacks.

      This deck's name is Aquaterra though, meaning that we've still
gotta include some Water types. Since Blastoise was intended as
the heavy hitter in this deck, a suitable replacement would be
Articuno. A 50 damage for 3 Water Energy attack is very good,
despite not allowing any Colorless Energy to be used. Articuno is a
Basic, which eliminates the need to evolve and he's resisitant to
Fighters, always a good thing to have. Also since Grass tends to
be weak against Fire types, it makes some sense to counter this
imbalance with some Water to smite the flames. Articuno is weak
to nothing, so douse away.

      The other huge problem is that all the Pokemon are numbered
very sparsely. 1 Scyther here and 2 koffings there isn't a winning
strategy. Sometimes it seems to me as though some folk are
incapable of deciding which Pokemon they want to use so they
include every candidate they can find. This won't help you one bit.

       John needs to reduce his Pokemon down to a core group of
hitters and Status inducers. Then he needs to have multiples of
these so he can maximize their effectiveness.

       In any deck, especially Grass based ones, Scyther is an
excellent addition and should have at least three copies here.
Besides the usual rhetoric about no retreat, solid attacks and
resistance, having Grass means he can use Swords Attack if
needed. Yeah, it's ultimately a useless attack since in two turns
Slashing, Scyther deals the same amount as one turn Swords
Dancing and then Slashing the following turn but there are
occasions where you it pays to Swords Dance first.

        Next we'll need some Status inducers. Venonat is nothing
special, but he does become the amazing Venemoth. Venemoth is
great in that it can almost always hit an opposing Pokemon's
weakness if it has one. It doesn't deal great damage, but if you're
lucky (or posess one of those blessed Chansey coins) you can hit
them with a double dose of status anomalies with Poison AND
Confusion. Venemoth is also resistant to fighting and carries no
retreat cost, two traits often overlooked when judging its worth. This
card is a lot more powerful than you think.

        The Base Set Koffing is one of the best status effect givers in
existence, in my opinion. You're guaranteed something, be it
Poison or Confusion. Little else can boast that claim. The damage
is minimal, but Poison and Confusion tend to deal their own
damage, so don't sweat it. As a starter, this Pokemon is mighty

        Finally, since Psychic is still pretty dominant, it makes some
sense to include a few Colorless Pokemon to shrug off the Psychic
blows. Lickitung is the reigning king of Colorless status inflicters.
It's also a great wall. 90 HP is colossal for a Colorless Basic. The
only drawback: three retreat cost. Still many players feel it's worth
using since it will take a while to get through the Tung Wall and
often the defending Pokemon takes a good beating in the process.

   John is also pretty scattered about when it comes to his
Trainers. 2 here, 1 there once again. The nail in the coffin is that
only the Bills are worth including, since now that sole Pokemon
Breeder has been rendered unnecessary.

     What you need John, is first some Trainers that will get you
more cards, keeping your hand full of options. Bills and Professor
Oaks are the best way to do this. 4 Bills and 3 Oaks are what I'd
reccommend for this deck.
      Secondly, a couple Computer Searches will help you find that
special Pokemon for whichever situation you need it in, such as
the Articuno to take on a Magmar. Computer Search works equally
well for finding Scoop Ups or Gusts of Wind when it would be
advantageous to have them.

   While I'm on the topic, Scoop Up would certainly fit well in this
deck. Lickitung costs a lot to retreat. Sometimes it is best to just
let him soak the damage and keep on paralyzing and confusing
until he's nearly dead. When Lickitung is on the brink of disaster,
Scoop him up and send someone else out to play. Scoop Up is
pretty much like a Switch and a Pokemon Center for one combined.
     Gust of Wind is equally useful, acting as a reprieve for a
POkemon who is being pound into dirt by a stronger adversary, OR
as used to bring out an injured foe for the crippling blow. This card
is so invaluable.

    Nightly Garbage Run is what you'll want to get those Energy
cards back or even some KO'd Pokemon. It will extend your
playing time by several turns and makes an excellent late game

     Add 4 PlusPowers. While Status effects are fun and nice, they
lack that certain "punch". Help your attackers out with some extra
damage. Sometimes it's that last 10 points that makes a huge
difference, especially with Scyther and Articuno.

      Finally I suggest a couple of Rocket Sneak Attacks to pull
potential threats from your opponent's hand. Good things to remove
would be Super Energy Removals, Lasses, Gusts of Wind or
Professor Oaks. Of course, all situations vary, so it's basically a
judgement call for each seperate time. But if you're not sure what
to remove,  those 4 make excellent candidates.

      Energywise, there is somewhat too much Energy included. 26
is a large amount. One third of your deck only needs to be Energy.
That's 20 cards, on average, so that's what I'm going with here. The
Articuno and Grass attackers need too much to reduce the Energy
count to anything below 20.
        4 Double Colorless energy will be required for the Lickitungs
and Scythers. This will speed up your game a lot.
       10 Grass Energy will be enough to cover your greenery needs.
        6 Water Energy will give Articuno what it needs to spray
down attackers and isn't so much that you'll be tripping over Water
when you need Grass.

        Now that we've gone over all that, let's give you a revision.

    3 Articunos
    3 Scythers
    3 Venonats
    2 Venemoths
    3 Base Set Koffings
    2 Lickitungs

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

    4 Double Colorless Energy
    10 Grass Energy
    6 Water Energy

    I am happy to pronounce you cured. You may now go out and
Poison, Confuse and Paralyze to your heart's content. The
Scythers and Articunos can handle what the status can't. Your
Trainers look much better now too. I think this deck will operate
much better for you than it previously did. Those Blastoises just
weren't helping. Blastoise is meant for Raindance and little else.
    Please pay that mutant out there before you leave. Don't get
slashed by her Wolverine-like fingernails. I've been on the receiving
end a few times and it wasn't pleasant. I docked her pay to cover
the medical bills though. That was satisfying.

       So...develop any mutant powers yet? Nothing? I didn't think
so. I guess you're doomed to a life of mediocrity and normality like
the rest of us. Maybe you should find a new dream, eh?

      What? Well, I suppose that's possible. I guess not every
mutant can shoot cool laser beams or turn into steel or walk
through walls. There's gotta be some lesser powers out there
somewhere which we just don't get to hear about.

       No, I don't think "looking darn good in spandex" is a mutant
power. It's still impressive though. Got my attention.
       Now being "inexplicably annoying on superhuman levels" is
certainly worth looking into. Have you considered that?

       I didn't think you had. Hey, put down those fingernails. Get
those pointed weapons out of my face. OK, you're a mutant! You're
a mutant! Sheesh!


                               Good Luck!!!
                            Dr. Crash Landon