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0bsol33t on Pokemon
Professional Pokémon Terminology
How to communicate your deck ideas like a Pro.

June 19, 2006

Hey all, I'm 0bsol33t, here to clear up a point of confusion that's been around for years now. Some of the best theories of advanced  play, and terms used by the tournament contenders, have gotten mixed up and overused in the time since the players that coined the terms
have left the game.

These mix-ups will sometimes cause players to misunderstand another player's strategy, solely because they both think the term means something entirely different. In the interest of minimizing confusion for players everywhere, here are the traditional definitions of the
phrases. All of the quotes that follow are derived from actual quotes - you'll see how they can lead to confusion.


Definition: Technical Advantage
One or two copies of a standalone card placed into your deck to help counter a specific condition.

This is the most-abused phrase I've heard in any TCG - in fact, it's spread from Pokémon to just about every other TCG. It roots from a text known as the InSaNiTy Project, in which a very smart player named Lurili pushed the boundaries of what Pokémon decks could do with Trainers. All of his decks were constructed using a mathematical formula he devised to determine whether or not a card was really helping you as much as it seems. On top of extensive research on his
formula, he defined the need to ignore the formula from time to time in order to gain Technical Advantage. With his penchant for capitalizing random letters, the short name of this theory was TecH.

Let's clarify what, exactly, draws the line between TecH and the other concepts. If, while building a deck for Unlimited Format, you had a single opponent with a pesky Clefable Deck, you could "TecH" in a counter-card to any deck in order to give yourself the Technical Advantage.

Clefable is a Colorless Pokémon that can use your Pokémon's attacks against you, no matter how weak or strong your attacks are. The ideal counter is anything that reduces the damage it deals. This is where Sprout Tower enters the picture; it's a Stadium card that, while in play, reduces all damage done by Colorless Pokémon by 30.

If you were running a deck type such as Electric that neither has Weakness or Resistance to Colorless Pokémon, then TecHing in one or two Sprout Towers would be appropriate defense against that single Clefable deck.

Where, though, is the line drawn between TecH and the second-most- abused term...


Definition: Countering the play environment.
A deck specifically built to interrupt and defeat the most common OR most powerful decks in an environment.

For this instance, let's assume the area you play in is vastly overpopulated by Fire decks of all kinds. Four out of five games you play is against a deck centered around Fire, because Fire Pokémon tend to have very high-damaging attacks. You're looking for a way to beat everyone...what's your first impulse?

Whether or not you're familiar with the term, you're most inclined to Metagame. This means you look at the way the majority of the opposing decks are built, and make a deck specifically to fight them. In this case, Fire Pokémon tend to have Weakness to Water Pokémon. So,
knowing this, you build a very powerful Water deck and proceed to run rampant, beating everyone's Fire decks, but you're also having some trouble against the other decks.

Well, if you can only beat the decks you're Metagaming against, perhaps you should change the...


Definition: Anything helping a deck's strategy run more smoothly.How versatile your deck is, and whether or not it can handle lots of different decks.

A deck with good Structure is able to stand on its own in just about any environment. Even if it can't always beat decks it has Weakness to, at the very least it can make a stand against decks with neither Weakness or Resistance. If you decide to build your deck around a specific version of a Stage 2 Pokémon, you may decide to also include one or two other versions of that the Stage 2 to add some diversity. The main focus of the deck is a version of that Stage 2 that's very powerful, while perhaps another version has a helpful Pokémon Power.

Placing in Trainers that combo with your main Pokémon is also Structure; it ensures your strategy gets going and actually happens. Choices about your Special Energy cards are also factored into Structure, since they help your deck function more quickly or more effectively than mere Basic Energy.

Application of the Terms

Let's continue the examples from above. The Water deck you built to Metagame your environment was running into issues against non-Fire decks. Well, you decided to change the Structure of your deck, adding a secondary line of Pokémon that helped smooth out the strategy you had decided on. After playing lots of games, you've discovered that you can beat just about everything except one Electric deck...looks like it's time to TecH. You really like the Structure of your deck, and don't feel like shifting the entire deck, so you start looking for a single card to help. How about a Tyrogue? For a single Colorless, it has an attack that lets you flip a coin for a chance of dealing 30 damage. It's a Fighting Pokémon, though, meaning if you flip Heads, that's 60 damage to those pesky Electric Pokémon. You only need one or two Tyrogues in the deck to have a good defense.

Quotes and Confusion

"I TecHed in 20 Fire and Fighting Pokémon for fun."

This one really blew me away...nevertheless, here's the correction. It can't be TecH if you aren't countering one specific deck with the inclusion. It can't be TecH without lots of forethought and decisions on what card would be the biggest help in the smallest possible space. And most of all, altering 1/3 of the entire deck is well above and beyond the narrow changes that TecH provides. You, my friend, were changing the Structure of your deck. ;)

"I TecHed in this 4/4/3 Stage 2 Grass Pokémon line to fight my strongest opponent."

Even though a change of that magnitude (11 cards, over 1/6 of the deck) changes the Structure of the deck, it was done specifically to fight against a particularly strong opponent - this means you're Metagaming. Any changes you make after that, in order to help the deck run more smoothly, contribute to the Structure.

"I couldn't beat that Jirachi deck, so I decided to Metagame and put a Mt. Moon Stadium card in to help."

This is something of a fine line, but since you're having issues with only one Jirachi deck, and you found a good counter that could be used in only one or two cards, this falls under the area of TecH.

"I need to TecH in something to beat all of the Electric decks I'm facing!"

This is where it's most dangerous to mix up your terms - when you're asking for help. If you only ask for a TecHed addition, you may have an expert player that could normally give very relevant advice only recommend changing one card. If you had asked for help Metagaming, then they could give your deck a large facelift and put you well on the way to a tournament-quality deck.

Well, that pretty much wraps it up. With a reference in place for the original (and correct) uses for these terms, I hope everyone can communicate a little bit more clearly now.

Cheers, 0bsol33t



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