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Tom's Bunker
Arcanine's Flame

Welcome Pokemon Trainers! Today I'm going to tighten up an Arcanine deck, sent in by Guy Bennett. He calls this deck 'Arcanine's Flame' - let's check it out…

3 Lickitung
1 Smeargle
2 Ditto
2 Scyther
2 Magmar
3 Growlithe
3 Arcanine
2 Farfetch'd
2 Gligar

2 Plus Power
2 Gold Berry
2 Item Finder
2 Misty's Wrath
2 Energy Retrieval
2 Nightly Garbage Run
2 Energy Removal
2 Super Energy Removal
2 Switch
2 Professor Oak
2 Computer Search
2 Gust of Wind

1 Full Heal Energy
1 Recycle Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy
10 Fire Energy

Well, how does it look? It seems rather unfocused to me - lots of good ideas but missing something…what do you think it is missing? 

I learned a Magic the Gathering lesson about deck building about 5 years ago from a great book. It was chock full of interviews with top players, lists of their favorite 'Type I" decks, and reasons why they chose those particular cards. One interview in particular talked about the theme of a deck. The player remarked that if a card is central to the theme of your deck you should put in the maximum allowable amount of them - 4 - in your deck. Another interview had more great advice: the more predictable your deck is, the easier it is to play it, and the greater the chances you'll draw that card you need.

Deck building is really just a big mathematics puzzle - let's call it "fractions in action". If you put in 4 professor oaks in a 60 card deck, your chances of getting one each time you draw is about 1 in 15. That means, you have a 1 in 2 chance of drawing one in your opening hand! (60 cards divided by 4 professor oaks = 15. 15 divided by 7 cards in the opening draw = about 1 in 2 or 50%) Pretty good odds. That goes for all the rest of the cards you put into your deck in multiples of 4. Now, if you only put one professor oak in your deck, your chances of drawing it are 1 in 60, and that means you have a 1 in 9 chance of drawing it in your opening hand. If you really need a professor oak, or any card central to the theme of your deck, you would certainly rather have a 1 in 15 chance of drawing it than a 1 in 60. Putting in multiples of key cards reduces luck.

Now, for all you math whizzes, you know that the odds actually change with every card you draw, and every time one of those cards comes up. I have tried to show this principle in a very simple way - remember that multiples of key cards reduce luck and help your deck become more predictable.

Sadly, there is a price to pay with including 4 of each key card in your deck - a lack of variety. You will have to eliminate lots of the "tech" or "nice to have" cards from your deck if you go with the "4 key cards" deck building technique. Before you jump on my bandwagon, ask a trainer whom you respect at your local card shop to show you their deck. Separate it into 3 piles - pokemon, trainers, and energy, and then check out each pile. Do they each have about 20 cards in them? Do they have a clear theme? Are the cards present in multiples, or does he have a lot of cards with only 1 or 2 of each? I will bet you that most decks have either 3 or 4 of all the key cards for whichever theme that trainer is trying to use - whether it is a fire based energy removal deck, a psychic based stall deck, a water based speed deck, or a haymaker type beatdown deck. 4 of each = predictability = increasing the odds of drawing what you need = reducing luck = a winning deck.
Remember, a winning deck does not mean that it won't lose. You are doing well with a deck that wins a little more than it loses. Now, on to the fixes…In keeping with the spirit of the deck, Guy wants to destroy energy and attack with a little pokemon, while building up a monster Arcanine. Rock on!
Arcanine's Flame #2
4 Blaine's Charmander (kindle)
3 Scyther or Gligar or Ditto
4 Magmar
4 Growlithe
3 Arcanine

4 Gold Berry
4 Energy Removal
3 Super Energy Removal
4 Professor Oak
3 Computer Search
4 Gust of Wind

4 Recycle Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy
12 Fire Energy

This mix allows Guy to concentrate on energy removal. The charmander is a great e-removal machine - remember that you don't need to remove a fire energy to use kindle - use the recycle energy to do it over and over again. With all that energy removal, you should have plenty of time to set up a fat Arcanine. Take your time with this deck - build up a while, using Magmar's Smokescreen or Smog attacks to peck away at your opponent's first few pokemon, while you build. Don't be too hasty with the gusts - use them for the surprise KO - especially on his key pokemon. If you are in real trouble, gust up a big retreater and then use your kindle attack to keep him stuck as the active, or use smokescreen and hope he flips a tails! Keep writing - next deck review will be a modified lightning deck starring….Ampharos. is here to provide guidance to all Pokemon trainers out there.  Whether it's the Gameboy Game, N64 or the Trading Card Game, provides all the wisdom you desire. 

If you have cool game tips, a killer deck, or breaking news ... send them to us.  We'll post it on the site ... and give you all the credit.  


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