Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2002 8:49 AM
Subject: Strategy Article
My Assessment of "New Modified"
August 15th, 2002

Okay, now some of you may be wondering, "What's the deal with this new format?" or "What's it all about?". Well, I shall attempt to explain this upcoming DCI-Sanctioned format and what I feel the strongest decks are now, and in the future. I also will try to explain how I believe MMF Decks should be setup. And finally, I will look at individual tecH cards used in this format. Please note and understand that this format will replace the current Modified September 1st, 2002. The current Modified Format uses all cards from the Team Rocket through Neo Destiny expansions with the exception of Neo Genesis Sneasel. The binder set, Southern Islands, is allowed as well as all American released Promos with the exception of "Happy Birthday" Pikachu and "Ancient Mew". Now that you understand what the current Modified Format is, let me explain to you what the future or "New" Modified Format which goes into effect later this year is. All cards from Neo Genesis to Neo Destiny, as well as all future expansion sets are legal. Southern Islands and Promo cards are again legal. The following exceptions still apply: Neo Genesis Sneasel, "Happy Birthday" Pikachu, and "Ancient Mew".

The following information is more opinionated and in-depth compared to what I have just written. Please read on only if you understand the format, if not, they you cannot completely grasp what I am attempting to say.

This new format, at least in my opinion, is the most annoying when it comes to deck-building and metagaming. This format is unique to the other two sets as there is no "definite cut and dry" Archetypes and counters to those Archetypes. The diversity of this format is great. Practically all types can be used, even Psychic and Fighting. However, saying that there are no "Archetypical" decks in MMF would just be wrong. There are big decks, that are overplayed at the larger events. I will go through the big decks (I had done this before, but the Metagame has changed) and list what works, and what doesn't. Card E, the newest set that is hitting stores later this fall, should have a nice impact on MMF in general.

Kingdra (Revelation): There is just no denying that this is one of the most annoying cards ever to be printed. There isn't that much strategy with this deck, however misplays will cost you games. The strategy isn't hard, but if you mess it up, you lose. It's as simple as that. The deck works basically like this: Build up the Kingdra(s) by turn 3-4. Attack with Genetic Memory using Recycle or Water Energy. Once you are damaged enough you either Pokemon Center, or Retreat for another Pokemon (Kingdra or support) and then Pokemon Center your damaged Pokemon. The idea is to deal consistant damage while you just keep sending up attackers, it's a classic swarm deck. Use Twister to clean or attack Special Energy hogs like Steelix. TecH accordingly and you have a monster of a deck.

Dark Feraligatr: The crocodile that haunted Modified Format in the past is back, and this time, he's evil (in more ways that one). The strategy is simple build the Gatrs after attacking with it's previous evolutions. Both Totodile (Genesis) and Dark Croconaw have nice attacks and can be used in conjunction with each other to wipe out Fire Pokemon. Dark Gatr's Pokemon Power is just plain mean. It prevents your opponent's Baby Pokemon from doing anything but sitting there to await its doom. With great pre-evolutions and a broken Pokemon Power this card is just superior, and I haven't even gotten to its attack yet. Crushing Blow is a solid third turn 50 with a possible Energy Removal. Getting multiple Dark Feraligatrs going is just scary. A very, very good card.

Slowking (Genesis): Ninety percent of decks actually won't attack with this Royal pain in the but of a card (pun intended). The key to Slowking is its ability to stop Trainer cards from entering play. Okay, so what's so great about that? Well, you not only stop the opponent from getting any type of card advantage, but you also stop them from drawing new cards if they continue to attempt to play their Trainer cards. Some popular decks that currently run Slowking are Kingdra, Dark Feraligatr, Donphan, and Espeon. This card really doesn't do anything by itself, it's more of a combo than a singular card. Be aware however that there are popular counter cards to Slowking. These cards are Igglybuff, Jigglypuff, Muk, and Dark Gengar. All of these cards can shut down Slowking. Also Slowking can be a victim of Murkrow's Mean Look attack.

Espeon (Holo): This is my all-time favorite card. It can handle practically any deck thrown it's way. It's only weakness is to mirror matches and Resistant Pokemon. The Psychic attack deals damage equal to increasing power as the opponent powers up. So basically, as the opponent powers up to attack, I deal more damage. With strong Pokemon such as Slowking, Crobat, Muk, the upcoming Card E Arbok, and Vileplume being weak to Psychic Pokemon, I am dealing double damage anyways. Using Promo Eevee with this Pokemon almost always assures you constant and consistant setup via Chain Reaction. With Espeon's free retreat and decent HP for a Stage 1, it's a great choice.

Kabulix: Kabulix or Kabutops (Discovery)/Steelix is decreasing in popularity. However it still is a viable deck to use in New Modified. If this deck gets going, it's just wrong. The power of this deck is in it's ability to cover both weaknesses. Steelix is weak to Fire, and Kabutops is a Water Pokemon. Kabutops is weak to Grass Pokemon, and Steelix is resistant to Grass Pokemon. Steelix, by itself, is the most solid defensive Pokemon there is. 110 HP is just broken with Gold Berries and Metal Energy. Kabutops is a dangerous attacker, capable of dealing 0-120 respectively. Both Pokemon are super tough by themselves, but together they're just mean. You need to play Igglybuff in this deck if you want it to work, it's just that simple. Slowking really hurts Kabutops, it can even prevent it from entering play. And Unown M can mess up your plans with Steelix as well. So if you play Steelix, play Igglybuff.

Entei (Holo)/Magcargo: Well, I believe this deck is quite dead. It HAS to be set up turn two against Water Pokemon like Kingdra or Dark Gatr, or you lose, period. Dark Feraligatr's pre-evolutions can even handle Magcargo with Fury Swipes and Clamping Jaw. Water is huge right now, and that's not good for any Fire Pokemon. Also, Slowking is pretty big now as well. If they get the Kings going before you get the Cargo ready, you lose a lot of speed. And since Water Pokemon is what is played with Slowking decks (for the most part), Water/Slowking can just be a nightmare for Entei/Cargo. Pichu usage is down quite a bit now, though. This is due to the overwhelming increase of Igglybuff in decks to counter Slowking. So that's one good thing that Entei/Cargo has going for it as of now, but that's about it.

Ampharos (Revelation): Despite the lack of public interest in this powerful Electric Pokemon, I have continued to enjoy this card. It is a very strong card throughout the game. It has quick setup, often times having a turn 2 Gigavolting that's scary. Gigavolt is just wicked. You either are dealing 60 or 40 and paralysis. This deck seriously can lay smackdown upon Kingdra, especially on the pre-evolutions of Kingdra. There are just two very big threats to this deck. Tyrogue being the number one problem for Amphy. Tyrogue can just ruin Ampharos so quickly, dealing 60 damage for one Colorless. Tyrogue takes down Mareep in one shot, quickly ending the powering up of Ampharos. The second major obstacle in Ampharos' way is Slowking. If you don't get the Amphy ready, your Trainers, which are so very needed in Amphy, become jeopardized. Donphan decks also spell out doom to this electric Pokemon as well. Be wary of your weakness when playing this deck.

Other stuff that is very powerful, but isn't very popular, or has reached "Archetypical" status yet include: Dark Blastoise, Dark Gengar, Crobat, and Donphan. Cards that could become big from Card E are: Arbok, Vileplume, Blastoise, Tyranitar, Alakazam and Poliwrath.

So what does the release of Card E do to the current metagame? Well the number one impact will be upon the new Trainers that are in Card E. Professor Oak's Research allows you to shuffle your hand into your deck and draw 5 cards. Professor Elm's Breeding Technique allows you to search your deck for any Pokemon (Basic or Evolution). Duplica allows you to count the number of cards in your hand, then shuffle your hand into your deck, and draw the exact same number of cards. The new Bill allows you to shuffle one card from your hand into your deck to draw three cards. Pokemon Nurse acts as a one-Pokemon Pokemon Center. Quite amazing new cards, eh? There's just a slight catch to these previous cards, they're all called "Supporter" cards. And only one "Supporter" card may be used per turn. The new Flaafy from Card E could give Ampharos decks the edge it needs to take down Seadra with high consistancy. Warp Point will replace Balloon Berry in any Slowking deck. Status Effects may get big too, thus increase of Full Heal Energy after Card E comes out. We also cannot forget about the new "Burn" Special Condition. *(Please note that these are my opinions, I have not seen actual scans of these new cards, I am going by the Translations provided to me)*

Deck configuration in MMF isn't too hard in my opinion. I like 18-20 Pokemon cards in my deck(s), 15-17 Energy cards in my deck(s), and 23-27 Trainer cards in my deck(s). When building a New Modified Format deck, it's not too different from building a deck for any other format. You just take a strong Stage 2 line in a 4/4/3 line or two 3/3 Stage 1 lines and add Cleffa for card drawing as well as backup and tecH cards. Now, what are "tecH" cards? "TecH" is a term that means playing 1-2 of any certain card in order to counter something your opponent may play, or to give you a slight advantage in a certain situation. The most popular tecH cards in this new Modified Format are: Tyrogue, Igglybuff, Jigglypuff (Southern Islands), Unown M, and Caterpie (Discovery). Tyrogue counters Ampharos. Igglybuff/Jigglypuff counter Slowking. Unown M counters Steelix. And Caterpie counters Dark Gatr, Donphan, and Kabutops.

Hopefully, I've helped teach something to you. I appreciate you taking the time to read this. Thanks,