Statistical Analysis of Pokemon TCG
William Hung

April 10, 2003

Dear trainers,
Hi, my name is William Hung.  I haven't written an article for quite a long time.  I have done a lot of research on how TCG works in general, and worked >on the specific details on Pokemon TCG.  I want to make this article applicable to both beginners and experts.  All of these calculations and my opinions are based on Modified format.  As Skyridge SBZ approaches, more installment of my article will be completed.

Pokemon TCG has a very difficult interpretation of "turn", and through card-drawing engine, and card-searchers or tutors (i.e. Computer Search), you are trying to achieve an otherwise impossible multiple card combo. Remember, it is not as simple as getting your Charizard out.  You also need sufficient
energies to fuel its attacks (aka Fire Spin).

First of all, if you don't know about this, then start using Deck-u-lator to optimize your decks. Experience and the individual deck itself matters, but statistics don't lie.  For instance, don't play Professor Oak's Research instead of Copycat.  I will NOT show you the all the actual calculations.  It is a waste of everyone's time.  I will display the results and show you the relevant data to plug in to the Deck-u-lator.

Deck-u-lator can be easily found here.

I will assume your deck contain 19 Pokemon (total), 21 Trainers, 20 Energies.

Then I will also assume your deck contain 12 Basic Pokemon, 16 Trainers and 16 Energies that can be played immediately once drawn.  Cards that is not profitable to be played immediately will stay in your hand, like Double Gust.

My calculation will be based on your first turn, with 8 cards drawn, because you'll draw a card at the beginning of each turn.

Card Drawing Trainer/Cleffa, Basic Pokemon, XXXXXX

X represents the other cards you will want to hold on to.  The total number
of such X cards in your deck for this example is 18.

Shuffling does NOT alter the odds.  However, it can help you because you don't want to hold on more than one or two of these X cards.  These can include excess Energies and Evolutions.

Finally, a rough analysis for Professor Elm/Cleffa:

Number of additional            Probability (%)
cards drawn into the deck
1                               100
2                               95.5
3                               82
4                               55.5
5                               23
6                               4.5
7                               0

Remember, I'm calculating this based on your very first turn.

Cards drawn into the deck will improve your odds in general.  Less cards left in your deck means higher odds of getting cards you need.  At this very first article, forget decking.  The chances are very low.

Median = 51.35%

Based on this, you'll draw an average of 4 cards for every Elm, every time you Eeeeeeek.

Another important fact is your probability to have an Elm, Cleffa, or Copycat in your opening hand for 4 Elm, 4 Cleffa, 3 Copycat = 71.5%

The calculations for the number of cards you draw for Copycat is too difficult to fully explain, but here are the possible scenarios:

1) If they Eeeeeeek, you'll get an Elm.
2) If they Elm, they'll can only play 1 or 2 Pokemon.  This means you'll get 5 to 6 cards early game.
3) If they Copycat, it depends on the opponent's hand (too difficult).
4) If they don't have a card drawer, your Copycat will be almost useless. This happens 28.5%.  The reasoning is the same as the calculations I made above.  The # of cards you can draw into your deck depends on how many cards you can play and get rid from your hand.  If they have no card drawer,
they'll play everything, and the average remaining hand is 7-4 = 3.

Based on all these scenarios, I've added the number of cards you can draw into your deck from each of these scenarios and divide by 4:
(7+6+4+3)/4 = 5 cards

You are bound to draw more cards in reality.  You can simply Eeeeeeek and Copycat later, for instance.  However, the drawback is you're now being passive and give your opponent a chance to beat you.  Nevertheless, Copycat is drawing 5 more cards into the deck, while Professor Oak's Research shuffles and draws a TOTAL of 5 cards.

Although I believe all these TECH cards can help you at the right situations, it is definitely lowering your probability of getting your main Evolution line out.  In the long run, these TECH cards will NOT save you UNLESS you made space for them, keeping the Evolution lines and Draw-Engine intact: 4-4-3  Elm, Cleffa, Copycat.

I will define TECH cards quickly: 1 or 2 copies of a card you put in your deck to counter your Weakness of your deck.  Weakness isn't as simple as type.  It can be heavy energy requirements against a Giant Jet Stream deck (EXH Blastoise).

My optimal draw-engine is 4 Elm, 4 Copycat, 3 Cleffa.  You don't want a 4th Cleffa because it'll either just sit on your Bench or your hand.  A dead card you don't want.

I'm doing my best to truly help everyone to become better trainers.  I seem to get close to top 8's sometimes, especially the Professor Tourney at San Diego. Placing 9th was quite disappointing.  I will take Pokemon TCG to its limits at the upcoming SBZ.  I hope to see you all.  Thanks for reading my article. I hope this article can be made public instead of sitting in the dark.  More to come.

William Hung