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William Hung's Underground Card Laboratory
Conquering US Nationals -
Part I: New Age DragTrode

June 21, 2006

Hello trainers,
I would like to discuss one of the major contenders in winning Pokemon TCG US Nationals, coming up in the Independence Day weekend.  It is Dark Dragonite/Dark Electrode!  Yes, this deck is not only alive, it is a major threat.  I would hate playing against this deck at US Nationals.  I'll explain after I offer up a sample decklist:
Pokemon (20):
4x Rocket's Sneasel ex
3x Dratini (Dragon Song)
2x Dark Dragonair
3x Dark Dragonite
3x Voltorb (Fire Red Leaf Green)
3x Dark Electrode
1x Rocket's Scyther ex
1x Holon's Castform
Trainers (25):
3x Holon Transceiver
2x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Lass
1x Holon Scientist
1x Holon Adventurer
4x Desert Ruins
1x Rocket's Hideout
4x Rocket's Poke Ball
3x Rare Candy
1x Scott
2x Switch
2x Rocket's Admin
Energies (15):
4x Darkness
3x Rainbow
4x Dark Metal
4x R Energy
This is one nasty deck.  The strategy is very obvious - you're trying to dominate your opponent with Rocket's Sneasel ex.  Starting with a turn 1 Drag Off for disruption, games can be decided by turn 8 or so if your opponent gets a slow start.  [You may not win by turn 8, but it could get to a point where your opponent's chances of coming back are rather slim.]
Rocket's Scyther ex is a nice "tech" card against Sand Damage Dark Tyranitar and Nidoqueen.  Since both of these Pokemon are likely to show up in US Nationals, it is a nice Pokemon to have in your deck.
This is a rough draft of the deck.  I believe the trainer engine could be slightly better with additional playtesting.  Overall, I really think its consistency is a big strength.  Good luck if you choose this deck.  I will also provide some strategies against specific decks as well.
Key matchups:
vs. LBS (Lugia ex/Blastoise ex/Steelix ex) - This will always be a tough deck to beat.  It can comeback against any deck fast.  Your best strategy is to start with Rocket's Sneasel ex and Drag Off Squirtle like crazy.  Force them to find the Wartortle or Blastoise ex + Rare Candy quickly or lose.  However, you need to be careful using Drag Off on Blastoise ex.  If your opponent is fully set up with Blastoise ex and Pidgeot, they will simply find a Switch card with Quick Search and destroy you with Steelix ex, Latias*, or Lugia ex.
vs. Lunarock - This is also a tough matchup, although it could be close.  You will need to use Dark Dragonite as the main attacker, because Rocket's Sneasel ex's Weakness to Fighting is terrible.  Energy Removal 2's will play a key role deciding this match.  Give up prize cards by sacrificing Rocket's Sneasel ex as needed if they play Warp Points.
vs. Mynx (Mew ex/Wobbuffet/Unown's/Jynx)  - Focus on Drag Off against Wobbuffet.  If you can get away with not playing Dark Electrode on the field, it would be great - because that's 1 less valuable target for POW! Hand Extension.  You should be able to win the stadium war vs. their 4 Battle Frontier.  I like your chances.
Those are most likely the top 3 contenders for winning US Nationals 2006.  Other contenders may include:
vs. Ludicargo - Win the stadium war vs. your opponent's 4 Battle Frontier.  Drag Off on Magcargo, and use Switch cards to keep your Pokemon from being KO'd easily.  Also, as always, try to keep your side of the Bench small.
vs. Espycham - This will be the toughest matchup.  You will want to go first, and hope for the best by swarming with Dark Dragonite.
Until next time, this is a serious deck that I playtested in my "Pokemon TCG lab".
Best Wishes,
William Hung

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