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Deck Fix #4 – “Giga-something…
I have been living in Chaos Gym for the last three
weeks – I am in the middle of moving from Germany to
Seattle, while at the same time finishing up studies at
the George C. Marshall Center for East European Studies.
Whew, what a mouthful!
Well, those of you who are still in school know how
tough final exams can be, and I am right in the middle of
will leave here in December, and will catch back up with
you all when I get to Seattle. Enough about me, let’s get to the decks!
I fixed around 60 decks these last
three weeks, and luckily had several players send me their
Ampharos decks for tuning.
I think Ampharos is very playable in modified
format, and so without further ado, let’s take a look at
First of all, how many really
playable lightning pokemon are there?
I’ll bet most of you would say 2 – Electabuzz
and Rocket’s Zapdos.
I’ll also bet that many of you have tried to make
a deck out of Raichu, only to have it lose to Hitmonchan
time after time. Back in the days of Jungle, many of us tried to use base
Zapdos – what a powerhouse – until the Clefable decks
blew us away. How
do we use lightning and not get trounced?
Well, one of the first “theme decks” was one
called “Zap”. Remember
that one? It
used Lightning and Psychic pokemon, and why not – most
lightning pokemon are weak to fighting, and many fighting
pokemon are weak to psychic, so if you match lightning and
psychic, you can overcome lightning’s biggest threat –
4 Mareep (Neo 1)
4 Flaaffy (Neo 3)
4 Ampharos (Neo 3)
3 Promo Mewtwo
3 Rocket’s Zapdos
2 Magby (Baby X)
4 Gold Berry
4 Professor Elm
4 Misty’s Wrath
3 Bill’s Teleporter
Before I get into my comments, I
just want to thank the following 5 trainers who sent in
I took ideas from all of your decks
and threw in a few of my own.
As I go through the deck, I will talk about the
choices these trainers made, and why I agree or disagree.
First of all, the colors.
I already told you why I picked psychic to
complement lightning – look at weakness and resistance
to choose complementary colors.
The same can be said about Magic the Gathering
trainers chose mono lightning decks, with a couple of
colorless guys or babies – mono decks run pretty fast
– but are still very prone to fighting.
Another trainer used Scyther and Rocket’s Zapdos
(good job - both resistant to fighting), but not modified
could use darkness or fighting with this deck instead of
the psychic, and I will explain in a while why you might
want to do that.
Next lets look at the energy. The five trainers used the following amounts of energy in
16 – 10L, 3 Recycle, 3 DCE
20 – 20L
15 – 13L, 2 DCE
24 – 22L, 2 Recycle
19 – 15L, 4 DCE
We are making a modified deck, so
we can’t use the DCE.
One of my basic rules for deckbuilding is the
20-20-20 rule, and so we will stick close to 20 energy.
Since I am using 2 colors, and the helper color is
psychic, I don’t need as many of them as my main color
you have to take a look at the energy requirements of the
attacks you want to use.
Another good “energy rule of thumb” is to make
sure that you have at least 4 times the amount of colored
energy needed for the biggest attack in your deck.
In our deck, Ampharos has the biggest attack among
lightning pokemon (3 lightning + 1 colorless which we
don’t count here) and so we need to make sure we have at
least 12 lightning energy in the deck (3 lightning x 4).
Check out your other decks, the ones that work
really well, and see if you’ve been using this
“rule” all along.
Then take a look at one of your decks that
doesn’t work (but should work, in your opinion), and
check out this “rule”.
Anyway, next we’ll look at the helper color, and
compare the energy required to use Promo Mewtwo’s
needs 2 Psychic (and one colorless which we don’t count
here), and so we need at least 8 psychic to make this deck
work smoothly (2 psychic x 4).
That’s why I have 14 lightning and 8 psychic
energy in this deck.
Voila! - Easy as pie.
OK, lets take a look at the pokemon
is really no dispute between the 5 trainers as to which of
the Ampharos line to use. 4 of 5 picked the Neo 1 Mareep (static electricity) and 4 of
5 picked the Neo3 Flaaffy.
I agree. There
was some dispute as to which Ampharos to use, and I would
like to say that it really depends on your helper color.
For instance, if you want to attack the bench, you
could add Murkrow (lightning
and darkness) or Hitmonlee (lightning and fighting) and
then use the Neo 1 Ampharos (Gigaspark).
With this deck, we’ll use the Neo 3 Ampharos (Gigavolt).
This Ampharos also has another attack, one that
will really give us an advantage – Attract Current.
If the Mareep doesn’t do the job (gathering
lightning energy), or we want to get a benched Rocket’s
Zapdos ready to go, or we want to get another benched
Ampharos powered up, this attack can really give us the
powered up, Gigavolt either does 60 damage, or 40 and
paralyzes – awesome attack!
There is room in this deck for 2 babies of your
choice (other than Cleffa) and so
I picked Magby (sputter), but you could just as
easily pick Igglybuff, tyrogue, or Pichu – depending on
the metagame in your area.
Finally, lets look at the trainers.
I have kept mine pretty simple, concentrating on
card drawing and some healing. Both the promo Mewtwo and the Rocket’s Zapdos can take
advantage of energy in the trash, so Misty’s Wrath is a
great complement to this deck.
Plus, it will really help you get the Ampharos line
teleporter is a risky card, so if you would rather use
Mary or even Erika, go ahead.
The 5 trainers who sent in their Ampharos decks
used a total of 26 different trainer cards among them!
That means that everyone has an opinion as to which
trainers work best in their deck, according to their
playing style. One
guy had defender, another had Energy Flow, another had
healing fields, and another had Super Potion – all cards
I still have not played to this day!
That doesn’t mean those cards suck, or those
trainers don’t know what they are doing.
It only means that there are lots of different
playing styles, some more aggressive, and some more
defensive, and you have to play cards that you are
comfortable with in order to do your best.
Remember some basic rules
Come up with a theme based on a card or a
combination of cards.
Build the deck with the 20-20-20 format.
Playtest it with your friends, against the most
popular decks and themes.
Write down the cards that work and those that
Modify your deck based on playtesting (add more
trainers, take away pokemon, change out energy, etc).
Take it to a tournament and try it out.
After the tournament, go back to step 3 and tighten
it up some more.
Best of luck to all of you who are
going to San Diego next weekend for the STS.
I really wish I could be there with you.
Drop me a line and tell me how you did – I am
very interested. Don’t get upset if I don’t write back right away –
remember that I am moving, and will be tied up for the
next few weeks. Finally,
send me your thoughts on Crobat, and I’ll do a report on
him next time.
Remember that losing is a part of
the game. Your
job is not to make a deck that can’t lose (that is impossible),
but to make a deck that has the greatest chance of
winning, and then play it in an excellent way.
When you lose, congratulate your opponent on his
victory, and think about your next battle.
Don’t get too wrapped up with ratings – I lost
about 80 rating points over the last month because I went
5-2 two weeks in a row.
It’s a bummer, but that’s the way games go –
you win some and you lose some.
Don’t let the loss of a few rating points turn
you away from the game – It’s all about having fun!
In the meantime, keep building decksJ
and rock on!
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