View Full Version : Attention, duelists! Let's Play Pokémon: Trading Card Game: The Game!

03-28-2009, 09:47 AM
Yes, it’s time for us to play a video game based on a card game based on a video game. The laws of adaptation decay would seem to indicate that Pokemon: Trading Card Game: The Game should rank among mankind’s most awful crimes, but it’s actually pretty fun!


I have a confession to make: Many years ago, I was a pretty fierce Poke-tard. I was still subscribing to Nintendo Power at about the time the advertising blitz for the series’ western debut was beginning to kick into gear, and I was enthralled. For about two years I devoured everything I could find with the little yellow rat emblazoned on the front, from the mainline games, to the cartoon, to the weird spinoffs (Snap, Stadium, Stadium 2… I drew the line at Hey You, Pikachu! though) to (of course) the card game.

That last one really rankled at me. I don’t know if you guys remember, but back when Pokemon first came out, the trading cards were expensive. It was not uncommon to see booster packs of 10-12 cards selling for eight bucks apiece, and the most popular rare cards went for $30-50. This frustrated me to no end, as I was just a poor kid with no income of his own at the time and the type of parents who wouldn’t subsidize my hobby. I had about a hundred cards, mostly commons, to make do with, and I lived far enough away from urban centers that I couldn’t often make it to tournaments. Although I still read strategy articles and bought magazines about the game I mostly gave up on actually playing it.

So, when Nintendo decided to localize a year-old Japanese Game Boy Color Pokemon spinoff based on the card game, I was thrilled. Here I could collect all the cards that were too dear for me to acquire in real life and build any deck I wanted. I received the game for Easter nine years ago Oh god I am so old and promptly went to work.

I played the game for years.

I collected every card, built hundreds of decks, beat every computer opponent dozens of times. I imagine that my total hours logged on this game were greater than the mainline games at the time (in which I doggedly raised my chosen team to level 100). So it’s surprising, when I was trying to think of games that I knew really well to LP, that this game didn’t come to me sooner.

(These days, I pick up one of the mainline games whenever a new generation comes out, but that’s about it. You know, like a normal person.)


Here is the hero of our little tale. His default name is Mark (making this the second game I’ve LPed in which the player character’s default name is Mark), but we can and should name him anything we want. It seems that Nameless Hero Boy here has heard tales of powerful legendary Pokey-man cards being held at the mysterious Pokemon Dome. NHB wants some of that, and sets out to win them for himself. To do this, he’ll have to travel around the world, collecting and trading Pokemon cards with the assistance of his mentor, Professor Mason. Once he’s strong enough, he’ll have to visit each of the eight Clubs and challenge the eight elementally-themed Club Leaders. Winning will net him a Medal; with all eight he’ll be able to go to the Pokemon Dome and duel the Four Grand Masters, thus winning the legendary cards and becoming recognized as The Greatest Pokemon Trading Card Game Player of All Time.

…Okay, so it’s not original. Still, though, although the framework is similar to the mainline Pokemon games, it actually plays out very differently. The mainline games put their monster catching, trading, and fighting into a pretty typical Dragon Quest-style RPG, with money, towns, sidequests, and an evil criminal syndicate to tackle. Pokemon TCG doesn’t have any of that. There is literally nothing to the game besides collecting, trading, and dueling cards, but you’re much less restrained in how you chose to proceed. You can tackle the eight Clubs in almost any order and change your deck at any time, making success more a question of tactics and sound deck-building than pure statistics.


All right, Talking Time! Before we can begin this hoe-down, I need three things from you:

1) A name for the main character. Six letters, all caps. I thought about naming him “Yugi”, but I figure that I’ll probably be making enough Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series references in this LP as it is, so I passed on this. Maybe you cats can come up with something cooler?

2) After the tutorial, we’ll be asked to select between three starter decks; this will form the core of our deck for a while. The three decks are Bulbasaur & Friends; Charmander & Friends; and Squirtle & Friends and they’re all pretty miserable. Charmander is probably the strongest right out of the box and is the one most easily converted into a solid deck, but Bulbasaur and Squirtle have strong high-end rare cards that will be more useful in the long run. The choice is yours.

3) Our deck needs a name that’s a little less Saturday morning cartoon. Don’t worry about space restrictions (the game can fit “Charmander & Friends” without truncating anything), but remember that whatever you chose will be rendered as “[Whatever] Deck”, so keep that in mind. (I realize that this probably means I’ll spend the game piloting the “Poop Deck”, but I have faith in you guys.)

Also, I have a more general question: How much detail do you guys want me to go into, in terms of what individual cards do? My preference would be to only point out significant or important cards and let the rest go by, but I could see where that could get confusing. On the other hand, explaining what each individual card does and whether or not it’s good and why would quickly grow tedious to write, and I can’t imagine it would be very interesting to read.

All right, you guys hash these questions out. I’ll probably close the voting and start the LP proper late Sunday or Monday sometime.

Next time: The maiden voyage of the [Whatever] Deck

The Dread Cthulhu
03-28-2009, 10:01 AM
1) Sakura.

2) Bulbasaur and Friends, since I never play as Bulbasaur in the actual games.

3) It's probably because you said 'Saturday Morning' and I immediately heard 'Strong together, united forever, they're the best of FRIEEEEEENDS', but I suggest Watchmon.

03-28-2009, 10:43 AM
1) Bandana
2) Bulbasaur and Friends.
3) Saturday Morning Deck

Octopus Prime
03-28-2009, 11:29 AM
Name: Rogers
Deck: Bulbasaur & Friends
Deck name: I like Watchmon, go for that.

03-28-2009, 11:49 AM
Seeing that bandanna the kid is wearing, and also seeing as you're making Yu-gi-oh: the abridged whatever references anyhow... I think the only logical name for the kid is Keith.


As for the deck, pick Blubasaur. 'cause Blubasaur is the first Pokemon. However, I'd name it "Salad Bar" as you're probably going to cannibalize it pretty early on anyhow as it kind of sucks if I'm remembering this game correctly.

03-28-2009, 12:15 PM
1. Name: Ash and Oak are both trees... so what's like a mason?

Layer --> Larye --> Larry
Larry Mason

2. Cards: Bulbasaur, for all the reasons given above.

3. Deck:

Observation Deck
Holo Deck
Hollow Deck
Sleepy Hollow Deck
Hollow Man (or Hallowe'en) Deck
Bacon Deck
Verhoeven Deck

03-28-2009, 01:10 PM
I know nothing about Pokemon and never got into it. However, when I was younger I watched the original Digimon cartoon, when my brothers weren't around to make fun of me.

1) Flex your Japanese Honorifics Muscle and call him Man-kun/Mankun
2) Charmander, just to be contrary.
3) Because of my, noted, lack of Poke-knowledge: Digimon Tamer Deck

03-28-2009, 02:16 PM
1. Name: Ash and Oak are both trees... so what's like a mason?


Name him Brick.

03-28-2009, 03:09 PM
1] I'm with Kishi on this. You must name him Brick.

2] Charmander & Friends. He's probably my favourite of the three starters, so he should get first pick for the deck.

3] FireRed/LeafGreen/WaterBlue, depending on which starter we pick. I'm original!

As for detail, I think it'd be a good idea to only focus on explaining the cards with unique abilities or anything else that's different. As much as I'd like for you to cover, say, Nidorino, he doesn't really have anything that warrants any extra explanation compared to, say, the Trainer Cards.

03-28-2009, 04:19 PM
1) Brick
2) Bulbasaur & Friends (because it was the one I always chose)
3) I strongly support the 'Salad Bar' name for the deck.

03-28-2009, 04:46 PM
1) Brick
2) Bulbasaur & Friends
3) Grand Old Deck

03-28-2009, 05:01 PM
1. Brick
2. Bulbasaur & Friends
3. Holo

03-28-2009, 07:26 PM
I'll go with the Squirtle & Friends deck just because nobody else has mentioned it, and, of course, Keith is the only possible name.

03-29-2009, 09:39 AM
All right, it looks like Brick and Bulbasaur have run away with the first two, but deck name suggestions are all over the map. Nothing has really jumped out and grabbed me... Holo Deck is a nice pun. Keep in mind that I'll be stripping the Grass out of the deck sooner or later, so don't lean too heavily on Grass/vegetable-themed names.

I'll probably play the first section tonight. If we don't have a solid deck name by then, don't worry; I can change it at any time.

03-29-2009, 10:08 AM
I'm looking forward to this thread too (I really wish later versions of the game would come out in English), and have a suggestion. Once the starting game is finished, why not accept challenges for the next segment? For instance, we could challenge you to not use any rare card, or only colorless Pokemon, etc.

I've seen this done at SA, and I think it works really well.

03-29-2009, 10:33 AM
Once the starting game is finished, why not accept challenges for the next segment?

'Cause I don't wanna. I saw what you guys did to Brickroad. :)

Seriously, though, it's not that I couldn't, but I'd rather do the game "normally" first and save the weird off-the-wall stuff for the end. This LP is going to contain a lot of decklists. I'm pretty sure everyone can find something to suit their taste.

03-29-2009, 11:06 AM
Huh, I guess people really like Bulbasaur.

Also, why don't you have a Kemo avatar yet Tanto

03-29-2009, 07:25 PM
Xeriscape Deck?

03-29-2009, 09:06 PM
Count Deckula?

03-29-2009, 09:08 PM
Kicked in the Deck.

03-29-2009, 09:17 PM
Heh, "Poop" Deck.

03-30-2009, 12:48 PM
And we’re back! I had already played the first segment by the time Brickroad suggested “Kick in the Deck”, so I used a more generic name instead. Rest assured, though, that sucker is getting renamed at the first possible opportunity.

Speaking of Brick…


He’s ready to begin his quest for the magical cardboard rectangles!


Turns out he doesn’t actually know how to play the game yet, though, so he heads to the lab of his good buddy, Dr. Mason.


Here’s the world map. That building in the center is the Pokémon Dome, where the Four Grand Masters hang out. Directly north of it is the Challenge Hall, where a tournament called the Challenge Cup is held every so often. To the west of the Challenge Hall is the home of the famed card collector Ishihara, and directly south of that is Mason Laboratory. The other eight buildings are the eight Clubs: Fighting, Lightning, Rock, Psychic, Fire, Science, Grass, and Water.


Brick rushes into the Laboratory and demands instruction in the fine art of children’s card games.


Dr. Mason suggests a practice duel against his tech Sam. Using an unshuffled deck and rigged coin flips, not to mention Mason himself standing over our shoulder and telling us what to do.


All right. The card game is a pretty decent simulation of the Game Boy games in that it consists of two monsters fighting it out one-on-one. At any given time, you will have at your disposal one Active Pokémon, who is up front, does all the attacking, and takes all the damage, and up to five Benched Pokémon, who sit in reserve and wait to be deployed. These Pokémon start as “Basic” Pokémon at their lowest level of evolution, and gradually evolve to “Stage 1” and “Stage 2” Pokémon by playing evolution cards on them.

You start out by putting a certain number of cards from the top of your deck aside face-down; these serve as “Prizes”. Whenever you Knock Out one of your opponent’s Pokémon, you get to take a Prize; when you have them all, you win. (You can also win if your opponent doesn’t have any available Pokémon or if they can’t draw a card from their deck when required; this last one is commonly referred to as being “decked”.) Then you draw seven cards from the top of your deck. If you have a Basic Pokémon among those seven cards, you can put it into play as your Active Pokémon; once you do, the game starts.

During your turn, you must draw a card from your deck and put it into your hand. Then, you can choose to do any, all, or none of the following:

1) Attach one Energy card from your hand to one of the Pokémon you control. Energy cards are used to pay for attack moves.

2) Play any number of “Trainer” cards. Trainers are one-shot effects: You play them, they have an immediate effect, and then they go straight to your discard pile. Trainers have a variety of effects, from drawing extra cards to buffing your Pokémon to disrupting your opponent, and form the core of the game’s strategy.

3) Put any number of Basic Pokémon from your hand into play, as long as you have a free space on your Bench.

4) Play an “evolution” card on any of your eligible Pokémon, allowing it to transform into a stronger form. A Pokémon is eligible to evolve if a) it did not come into play this turn, and b) it has not evolved already this turn.

5) “Retreat” your active Pokémon. Retreating allows you to switch your Active Pokémon with one of your Benched Pokémon. To do it, you need to discard a number of Energy cards attached to your Active Pokémon equal to that Pokémon’s “Retreat Cost”.

When you’re ready to end your turn, you can choose to attack with your Active Pokémon. You can attack with any of your Active Pokémon’s moves (most Pokémon have two) as long as you have enough Energy cards attached to it to pay for that attack. Not all attacks do damage; some cause status effects, and some have even more esoteric effects like damage prevention. Once your attack is complete, your opponent’s turn starts automatically, and the cycle begins anew. (You can also choose to end your turn manually without attacking.)

Those are the basics. There are some other elements to worry about here and there, but I’ll save them for when they become relevant.

Vs. Tech Sam, with the Practice Deck


Enough talk; let’s have some action!


In our opening hand, we drew two Basic Pokémon, Goldeen and Staryu. My preference would be to play out Staryu as our Active for a couple of reasons, but Dr. Mason railroads all our actions in this practice duel, so we have to play out Goldeen instead.


In this practice duel, we play for two Prizes. In the real card game, you play for six, but most minor foes in the Game Boy game play for between two and four.


Goldeen has only one attack, Horn Attack, which costs one Energy and deals 10 damage. (Staryu’s attack, Slap, costs one Energy and deals 20 damage, which is one of the reasons I’d have sent it out first.)

03-30-2009, 12:51 PM

Sam’s Machop hits our Goldeen for 20 damage on his turn, leaving Goldeen on the brink of defeat. To save it, we’ll evolve into Seaking, which will raise its maximum HP from 40 to 70, giving us a few extra turns in which to use it.


In addition to Goldeen’s Horn Attack, Seaking has an additional attack, Waterfall, which deals 30 damage for two Energy.

However, because we foolishly started out with Goldeen and let it get beat up in the Active slot before evolving it, Seaking doesn’t last very long, and we have to send in Staryu.


We had nearly knocked out Sam’s Raticate when he retreats it, denying us a chance to finish the job and claim our Prize. This is the primary function of retreating. It also cures status effects — only the Active Pokémon can be inflicted with status effects.


Here we’re using the Trainer card “Potion”. Potion heals our Pokémon for 20 damage, giving it a little extra life.


After evolving into Starmie, we gain access to the Star Freeze attack. In addition to dealing 20 damage, this move allows us a chance at inflicting Paralysis on our foe. There are a lot of coin-flip reliant moves in Pokémon; it’s one of the game’s great flaws.

For the record, there are four status effects in the Pokémon TCG:

Paralysis: The inflicted Pokémon cannot attack or retreat. Wears off automatically after one turn.

Sleep: The inflicted Pokémon cannot attack or retreat. At the end of each player’s turn, the Pokémon’s owner flips a coin; if heads, the Pokémon wakes up.

Poison: At the end of each player’s turn, the inflicted Pokémon takes 10 damage.

Confusion: Whenever the inflicted Pokémon tries to attack or retreat, the Pokémon’s owner must flip a coin. If tails, that attack or retreat fails; in addition, a failed attack will result in the Pokémon doing 20 damage to itself.

Some of these overwrite the others, but I don’t quite remember which ones… It doesn’t come up that often anyway.


Anyway, we won our first duel! Whee!

About the only thing the practice duel doesn’t cover is Weakness and Resistance. If a Pokémon is attacked by a Pokémon of a type that they have a Weakness to, it takes double damage; if it’s attacked by a Pokémon of a type that they have a Resistance to, it takes 30 fewer damage.


Dr. Mason gives us a handful of cards and offers to build us a deck based on one of the first-gen starters. Brick has a thing for lizards with plants on their backs and takes the Bulbasaur & Friends deck.

Here’s how Bulbasaur & Friends appears right out of the box:

Energy (23)
11 Grass
9 Water
3 Fire

Grass Pokémon (14)
3 Bulbasaur
1 Ivysaur
1 Venusaur
2 Caterpie
1 Metapod
2 Nidoran (female)
2 Nidoran (male)
1 Nidorino
1 Tangela (level 12)

Water Pokémon (9)
1 Seel
1 Dewgong
2 Krabby
1 Kingler
2 Goldeen
1 Seaking
1 Vaporeon (level 42)

Fire Pokémon (1)
1 Flareon (level 28)

Colorless Pokémon (4)
1 Jigglypuff (level 14)
1 Meowth (level 14)
1 Kangaskhan
1 Eevee

Trainers (9)
1 Professor Oak
1 Switch
1 Poke Ball
1 Pluspower
1 Defender
1 Gust of Wind
2 Full Heal
1 Revive

(Decks must be exactly 60 cards, with no more than 4 copies of any card with the same name except for basic Energy. A level in parentheses means there is more than one version of the card, and the level denotes the specific version used.)

This deck is, quite frankly, a disaster. It fails on every count that a Pokémon deck can fail: It’s inconsistent (because there are about fifty billion different Pokémon families, with no more than one copy of any evolution, so you’ll be struggling to match up Basics with their respective evolutions), slow (because all the deck’s power is concentrated in those evolutions), and weak (because those evolutions aren’t even very good). I wouldn’t use this deck as a paperweight: It’s going to take some major surgery before I wouldn’t feel embarrassed taking this deck to one of the Clubs. (For the record, the other two options aren’t much better.)


Things aren’t all bad, though. Here’s our new marquee card, Venusaur. In addition to an efficient 60-damage-for-four-Energy Solarbeam, Venusaur has a Pokémon Power: A special ability that can be used during your turn. Venusaur’s Energy Trans allows you to move Grass Energy cards between your Pokémon as you please. This has some pretty cool applications, but you really have to build a deck around it to make it work, and with only one copy each of Ivysaur and Venusaur and very little card-drawing, we’re not going to see the big lizard too often.


Mason also gives us a small handful of cards in the other three colors. Among those are these gems, Hitmonchan and Electabuzz, two of the strongest Pokémon in the game. Chan and Buzz are what’s known colloquially as “Haymaker* Pokémon”, defined as being a Basic Pokémon with 70+ HP and quick, efficient attacks. This type of card is the foundation of most good decks in the Pokémon TCG. By the time this game was released every color had picked up a Haymaker Pokémon: Fighting has Hitmonchan, Lightning has Electabuzz, Fire has the level 31 Magmar, Grass has Scyther, Water has Lapras, and Psychic has the level 60 Mewtwo. I’ll go more into why these guys completely break the Pokémon TCG once I can actually use them, but until then, suffice it to say that if you pull one of these cards in a pack, consider yourself lucky.

* Etymology time: Legend has it that when the Pokémon TCG was first being localized for American release, Hitmonchan’s second move was nearly named “Haymaker”, only to be changed at the last minute. A fellow named Brian Brokaw, one of the game’s first western strategists, built a really strong deck early in the game’s western life built around quick, strong Pokémon and powerful, aggressive Trainers in which Hitmonchan and Electabuzz were the centerpiece. Brokaw was friends with one of the translators and named his deck “Haymaker” in reference to the near-miss. The Haymaker deck, properly tuned and improved with each new release, became the bane of the Pokémon TCG tourney scene for a couple of years, and lent its name to its feature Pokémon and their friends.

03-30-2009, 12:53 PM
All right. Your temptation upon completing the practice duel is to immediately run out and press your luck at one of the Clubs, but that’s not the way. This deck needs improving, and I’m not going anywhere until I modify it.


First things first: We have to head back to the practice table and beat Sam several more times without Mason’s help. This is tedious, but a necessary evil…


…As Sam will give us a booster pack filled with Energy for winning. Energy’s pretty scarce in the early going, so we need all that we can get. There’s nothing quite as bad as having all the, say, Fighting Pokémon we need for a good deck, heading to the deck-building menu, and finding that we have only four Fighting Energy cards.


Next up: We head to the computer and check our mail. The only person who will ever e-mail us is Mason, but whenever he does…


…he attaches a free pack. Here we score a super-valuable Computer Search as our rare. Computer Search is a Trainer that allows us to discard two cards from our hand to search the deck for any card. In short, it allows you to get exactly what you want whenever you want. Computer Search is one of those great cards where you don’t always have room to play the full four, but you should always play at least two, and I always play as many as I can.


Mason’s Lab is filled with these Auto Deck-Building Machines. As you might expect, these are filled with pre-built decklists, and if you’ve got the cards on hand they’ll automatically make it for you. Right now only one is active, containing the starter decks and a few bad theme decks, but once we’ve collected more Medals this whole room will be humming.


It wouldn’t be a Pokémon game without an obnoxious rival hounding our steps everywhere we go. The first time we step into a Club, we run into our rival, Ronald, who’s every bit as arrogant and annoying as Blue was back in the day. He give us the low-down on the legendary cards — get all eight Medals, then head to the Pokémon Dome — then leaves without so much as a “Smell ya later”. Jackass.

03-30-2009, 12:56 PM
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/Poke%20TCG%20LP%20Ch1/poketcg_85.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/Poke%20TCG%20LP%20Ch1/poketcg_89.png http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/Poke%20TCG%20LP%20Ch1/poketcg_90.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/Poke%20TCG%20LP%20Ch1/poketcg_93.pnghttp://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd55/TantoKingOfSwords/Poke%20TCG%20LP%20Ch1/poketcg_95.png

Well, forget about Ronald for the moment. What we’re really here to do is run around and introduce ourselves to as many Club Leaders as we can find. Most of them won’t give us the time of day until we meet their standards, but it’s important to just talk to them. The Water and Science Club Leaders are being guarded by overzealous minions and the Grass Club Leader is nowhere to be found, but the other five will all talk to us, even if they aren’t particularly gracious about it.


This is important because whenever you talk to a Club Leader, even if you don’t fight them, Mason will send you an e-mail with tips on beating that player — and a pack. Combined with his introductory e-mail (which he sends right away), that’s six free packs without lifting a finger.

Incidentally, there are four different sets in the Game Boy game, which don’t correspond with real-life sets. The four sets are Coliseum, Evolution, Mystery, and Laboratory. Of those, Coliseum is by far the strongest, containing not just Haymaker Pokémon like Electabuzz, Hitmonchan, and Scyther, but also dozens of other strong Pokémon and key Trainer cards like Bill, Professor Oak, Computer Search, Item Finder, and Scoop Up. If you ever get stuck, there are worse strategies than finding someone you can beat who hands out Coliseum packs and just setting up shop next to them, farming Coliseum for as long as you care to. You can improve your deck with every pack.

Six free packs, though… That’s still not quite enough to save this deck. I’m out of freebies, but I have another source of packs…



Imakuni? is the Tingle-esque mascot of the Japanese version of the TCG. He’s evidently really huge over there, so much so that he’s got a whole slew of special joke cards to his name, like a Doduo that can only attack when its owner is singing and a Trainer card that allows you to put damage on your opponent’s Pokémon when they’re not looking (and to deny it when caught). (Both are illegal in tournaments.) When the game was being localized, Nintendo and Wizards of the Coast (who was in charge of the game’s western release at the time) wisely decided that Imakuni?’s uniquely Japanese brand of insanity wouldn’t play too well in America and excised him from the western releases. They couldn’t edit him out of the Game Boy game, though, hence Imakuni?’s western debut.


Vs. Strange Life-Form Imakuni?, with the Imakuni? Deck


Imakuni? plays with six prizes for some reason, but his deck is very weak, consisting entirely of weird Pokémon like Farfetch’d, Slowpoke, and Psyduck with no evolutions.


Plus, he plays with his joke promo card Imakuni?, which confuses your own Pokémon. Not your opponent’s, your own.


No fooling, not only did Imakuni? start out with only a single Farfetch’d as his active, he played the Imakuni? promo on turn one, confusing it. I killed him on turn 2 having suffered not a single point of damage.

03-30-2009, 12:58 PM

Whenever Imakuni? loses, he hands over one pack from each of the four sets, making these virtually no-effort cards as opposed to the genuinely no-effort cards we got from the e-mails.


From the Coliseum pack we pulled the two most important cards in the whole game, Bill and Professor Oak. These Trainer cards are pure card advantage, allowing us to pull more and better cards from our deck and giving us more options.

I am a devout believer in the Quad-Bill Theorem, which has two precepts:

1) You should play four copies of Bill in every single deck.

2) You should play Bill as soon as you draw it.

I hold these truths to be self-evident. Bill is two cards for the price of one, and there’s no reason not to use him.

As for Oak, I’ll probably get some argument on this, but I think every single deck should play four copies of Oak as well. It is simply the most powerful card in the whole game, bar none. I’ll undoubtedly write more on the Art and Science of Oaking in future installments, but for now suffice it to say that Oak is the engine that makes decks go. I can’t imagine playing without it.

Ten free packs is enough for us to start making modifications to our useless crappy starter deck.

3 Fire Energy
2 Caterpie
1 Metapod
2 Nidoran (female)
1 Tangela (level 12)
2 Goldeen
1 Seaking
1 Flareon
1 Jigglypuff (level 14)
1 Meowth (level 14)
1 Poke Ball
1 Defender
2 Full Heal
1 Revive

Most of these changes are easy. I pulled all the random unevolvable Pokémon like Meowth and the female Nidoran, axed the underpowered evolution lines like Caterpie and Seaking, eliminated the vestigal third color, and removed the useless or limited Trainers.

1 Water Energy
1 Nidorino
1 Koffing
1 Tangela (level 8)
1 Krabby
1 Kingler
1 Vaporeon (level 29)
1 Kangaskhan
2 Eevee
2 Bill
1 Professor Oak
1 Energy Search
1 Energy Removal
1 Computer Search
1 Pluspower
1 Gust of Wind

I fleshed out the remaining evolution lines somewhat. The crappy level 12 Tangela gets replaced with the superior level 8 version, and a Koffing is added. (These cards are useful against the first Club we’ll be tackling, but probably don’t have much of a lifespan beyond that.) The Trainers are vastly improved, with more strong manipulation Trainers like Bill, Oak, and Computer Search, as well as cards like Energy Removal and Gust of Wind that allow me to affect the board. I pulled a Kangaskhan in one of the Coliseum packs and, since this deck is severely lacking in Basic Pokémon with any vitality, I put her in to serve as a meatshield while I get evolutions ready.

That leaves us with this:

Energy (21)
11 Grass
10 Water

Grass Pokémon (11)
3 Bulbasaur
1 Ivysaur
1 Venusaur
2 Nidoran (Male)
2 Nidorino
1 Koffing
1 Tangela (level 8)

Water Pokémon (9)
1 Seel
1 Dewgong
3 Krabby
2 Kingler
1 Vaporeon (level 29)
1 Vaporeon (level 42)

Colorless Pokémon (5)
2 Kangaskhan
3 Eevee

Trainers (12)
2 Professor Oak
2 Bill
1 Energy Search
1 Energy Removal
1 Switch
1 Computer Search
2 Pluspower
2 Gust of Wind
2 Potion

Better, but still not what I’d call good. This deck still craves better consistency and fewer evolutions, but this is the best I can do at the moment with a limited card pool. It should be enough to get us through the first Club.

I was going to go ahead and do the first Club in this update, but it’s running a little long, so I’ll save it for the next update. Until then…

Next time: Rock on

Octopus Prime
03-30-2009, 01:27 PM
Holy mackeral! I demand a copy of this game for myself!

Or a DS remake!

Probably the remake!

03-30-2009, 01:35 PM
I'd forgotten about Imakuni for all these years.

You jerk.

03-30-2009, 01:57 PM
i tap two islands and counter?

You seem to know the ccg very well, Tanto. I look forward to reading this.

03-30-2009, 03:10 PM
Holy mackeral! I demand a copy of this game for myself!

Or a DS remake!

Probably the remake!
Man, now I want a DS remake (with more cards!) so bad.

Octopus Prime
03-30-2009, 03:17 PM
Man, now I want a DS remake (with more cards, and WiFi!) so bad.


03-30-2009, 03:49 PM
Was anyone else as terrified of Imakuni as I was? As in, nightmare inducing. He just seemed really creepy.

03-30-2009, 08:26 PM
God, now I wish one of my copies of the game hadn't had a bad battery so that I could recreate my deck that could beat anything.

All I remember was that it was a Psychic/Electric deck that ate cards, but it had plenty of energy and heavy hitters to allow me to do so.

Still, I'm really looking forward to this, and you're bringing back good memories of the game. I wish we had gotten the sequel.

03-30-2009, 11:19 PM
Imakuni is very strange. (http://rodlockwood.tripod.com/Imakuni.HTML)

04-02-2009, 07:16 PM
Was anyone else as terrified of Imakuni as I was? As in, nightmare inducing. He just seemed really creepy.


04-02-2009, 07:45 PM
...That's right, I should be working on this, shouldn't I?

Expect an update... tomorrow, maybe. Next part's half-done anyway; I've just been sitting on it out of sheer laziness.

Dynastic Bird
04-03-2009, 08:59 AM
So many memories....of getting those stupid things >_<. Now I wish I pushed for a Blastoise with its Raindance ability. Ah well.

But at least Imakuni was fun. And I liked the Game Boy game. I kind of worry about a DS release though, considering how many expansions the game has had since then; are "base" (from the original release) cards even allowed in tournaments now?

04-03-2009, 12:38 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play the Pokémon TCG! Last time, we spent some time scurrying around gathering cards to improve our abortion of a starting deck. And with those cards, we’re now ready to tackle our first Club.


And that first Club is the Rock Club. Regardless of your starting deck, the Rock Club is going to be one of the first stops for any player, as it lacks any strong members, its leader doesn’t have any conditions for fighting him, and its theme isn’t strong against any of the starting decks.

I suppose I should talk a little about the types… the Pokémon TCG constricts the fifteen original Pokémon types (remember, this is pre-GSC, no Dark or Steel) into seven. Fire and Lightning are the same, but Fighting, Grass, Water, Psychic, and Colorless have picked up some new members: Fighting now includes Rock and Ground Pokémon. Water types are joined by Ice. Grass also encompasses the original’s Poison and Bug types. Psychic shares space with Ghosts, and Colorless includes Normal, Flying, and Dragon types.

The Rock Club focuses on Fighting types with an additional focus on the Rock/Ground side of the spectrum, which means that our best bet against them is Grass. Thankfully, we have all these spiffy new Grass types from the Bulbasaur & Friends deck…

In the Rock Club lounge, we run into a kid by the name of Matthew.


He seems to think he’s got a claim on the legendary cards, but we’re here to prove him wrong.

Vs. Rock Club Member Matthew, with the Hard Pokémon Deck


Matthew’s deck is build around Pokémon like Onix and Cubone that can use Harden-type moves to reduce the amount of damage done to them. This is a decent stall tactic, but Matthew has no offense to speak of and will go down in a hurry if we can get a decent Grass Pokémon going. Poison works well against him as well, which is why we brought along Koffing and Tangela.


This is why coin flip cards like Geodude are so bad.


Of course, sometimes it goes the other way. I remember reading somewhere that the coin in this game is not perfectly fair — its odds are tilted to help the computer. I have no way of confirming this, but it certainly lines up with my perceptions. You’ll rarely ever get more than two or three heads in a row, and long losing streaks are not uncommon. However, the computer will frequently pull out streaks of six or seven heads in a row.


After Matthew lucks into beating Kangaskhan (as a Colorless Pokémon who doesn’t fly, Kanga is weak to Fighting Pokémon like Geodude) we sent in a fully powered Koffing. Koffing’s a pretty sweet card in that it’s one of the only ones where coin flips can work for you. Koffing’s Toxic Gas attack deals 10 damage and causes you to flip a coin. If heads, the defending Pokémon is poisoned; if tails, they’re confused, meaning you’re guaranteed to get something good no matter how the coin falls.


Anyway, Matthew’s defensively-oriented cards have no defense against the steady decay caused by poison. Even Trainer cards like Defender (which reduces the amount of damage done to the attached Pokémon by 20 for one turn) only slow down our assault.


Eventually we get out Venusaur (with some help from Computer Search) and sweep the rest of Matthew’s Grass-weak bench for the win.


When you beat a player under normal circumstances, they’ll hand over two packs of a specific set. Matthew here, for example, gives two Mystery packs once humbled. There are a few exceptions to this: Imakuni?, as mentioned, gives a single pack from each set when beaten, Ronald hands over unique promo cards, and the Grand Masters give the legendary cards once defeated as a group (but nothing individually).


In the main room of the Rock Club, we’re quickly accosted by another of the Rock Club members. He wants to be a “hard rocker”, and figures that the best way to accomplish this noble goal is to play children’s card games. Rock on, Andrew. Rock on.

Vs. Rock Club Member Andrew, with the Blistering Pokémon Deck


Andrew’s gimmick is that he’s attempting to metagame players attempting to conquer this Club with Grass. His otherwise unremarkable Fighting deck contains both Fire Pokémon like the Rapidash line and Psychic Pokémon like Jynx in order to capitalize on Grass’s two weaknesses. However, his deck isn’t particularly focused and he’s playing three colors, which means he’ll frequently stall out on Energy, giving us time to pound on him.

Most of the Clubs have a player like Andrew designed to trip up players relying solely on type-matching. Some of them are even competent!

04-03-2009, 12:42 PM

One thing to note about Andrew’s deck is that he’s made a good choice in the Rapidash line. Both Ponyta and Rapidash are easily “splashed” into non-Fire decks because they have attacks that require only Colorless Energy, meaning that they can theoretically be used in any deck. Generally, the more Colorless Energy in a Pokémon’s attacks, the better for you, because it puts less strain on your Energy base. With versatile Pokémon like that, you don’t have to stress about getting the mix of Energy in a multicolored deck exactly right.

The best Grass Pokémon in the game, in fact, is effectively a Colorless Pokémon…


Anyway, we get lucky against Andrew. He starts out with only a sole Ponyta as his starter, and we get a Krabby on our bench. After loading up Krabby with Energy on the bench, we use the Switch Trainer card to bring it into play and attack Andrew’s Ponyta with the 20-damage Irongrip. Since Ponyta has a weakness to Water Pokémon like Krabby, that damage is doubled, allowing us to take out Ponyta on the second turn for the win.


You should always be on the lookout for quick wins like this. Don’t marry yourself to your cute combos or fancy evolutions if the win is just an attack away.

Andrew gives us the sweet, sweet Colosseum packs, from which I pull yet another Kangaskhan as my rare. I mean, Kangaskhan’s a good card and all, but it’s almost completely defensive in nature (no attacks below four energy) and I need some Haymaker Pokémon to bolster my attack.

All eight Clubs have three members in addition to the leader, which means one more to go…


And it’s Ryan. He doesn’t seem to be too interested in doing the card game thing with me, but puts down the chisel long enough to indulge me.

Vs. Rock Club Member Ryan, with the Excavation Deck


Ryan’s deck is based on the “fossil cards”: The Omastar, Kabutops, and Aerodactyl lines. These cards all evolve from a single Basic: A Trainer card called Mysterious Fossil that can be played as a Basic Pokémon. This was an attempt to replicate the whole “cloning Pokémon from fossils” thing from the main games, but the designers didn’t bother to properly balance these cards correctly. Omastar and Kabutops are at the power level of weak Stage 1 Pokémon despite technically being Stage 2s.


Ryan almost always leads off with Shellder for some reason. Shellder has an attack called Hide in Shell that prevents all damage done to it if you win the flip… but at only 30 HP, one missed flip means that it’s dead meat. I had all the tools to snare another turn two win here, with a Krabby, some Energy, and a Pluspower Trainer card (which allows my Pokémon to do an additional 10 damage for one turn)… but Ryan kept winning the flip, stalling me long enough to collect a few extra Basic Pokémon.


I, meanwhile, was drawing nothing but unplayable evolutions and Energy. This is the hazard of playing decks without a strong card manipulation element: Sometimes you’ll just draw a hand of purest shit and there won’t be anything you can do about it.


Krabby held out for as long as it could, but there’s only so much you can do with a lone 50 HP basic and no Trainers facing down rampaging Hitmonchans.


I immediately challenged Ryan to a rematch, only to suffer a similar fate. Ryan drew his Hitmonchans right away this time and quickly cleared out the Kangaskhan I put up front to stall. I tried to use Tangela’s status effects to buy time to draw into some superior Basics, but once again the cards and the coins are not with me. This is just how it goes sometimes while you’re just starting out.

You technically don’t need to beat Ryan to proceed with the game, but I can’t allow myself to be bested by a guy using Shellder and Omanyte. Game 3!


This time I get a Computer Search in my opening hand and immediately use it to go get Oak, allowing me to pitch a slow hand filled with worthless junk. Ryan once again brings the Hitmonchans, but this time I get out a heavy hitter of my own: Vaporeon. With a few Energy Removal Trainers to slow Ryan down, Vaporeon starts taking control of the board, eventually allowing me to collect all my prize cards and put Ryan in his place.

One more duel and the first Medal is ours…


Gene, the Rock Club Master, is the only one of the eight Masters who will fight you with no preconditions. Most of the other Masters will require you to beat their subordinates or fulfill some other condition before they’ll accept your challenge, but Gene here takes all comers.

Vs. Rock Club Master Gene, with the Rock Crusher Deck


Gene’s deck doesn’t have any tricks or combos, just the strongest of the Rock/Ground side of the Fighting Pokémon class. He plays with a lot of weak stuff like the Golem line, but his Pokémon tend to be pretty durable. Combined with the six-prize match that all the Masters require, this means that the duel can take a while.


If you don’t draw any Basic Pokémon in your opening hand, you have to reveal it to your opponent, shuffle it back in, and try again. This is called a “mulligan”. In the real life version of the game, your opponent got to draw an additional two cards whenever you took a mulligan, but that drawback was removed in this version.

I remember a thread on the official Wizards boards back in my noob days. It was a really long thread with a lot of meaty deckbuilding advice, but one of the things discussed was a mathematical analysis of how few Basic Pokémon you could play in your deck before the cards you were giving your opponent via mulligans outweighed the extra cards you drew from your Trainers. As I recall, the magic number was something like eight… more on this much later, though.


About the only quick attacker Gene has is Diglett here. He’s got beefy Onixes and Rhyhorns to stall, but they’re wimpy attackers; 30 HP Diglett is the only one you have to worry about on offense. Diglett’s a really good fighter, with a 30-damage-for-two-Energy Mud Slap, but its fragility makes it dangerous to use except as a metagame call against Lightning decks.

04-03-2009, 12:43 PM

Poison is again a good way of clearing out the high-HP basics Gene uses as walls. Gene lacks any Colorless Pokémon, so Grassers can cut through his lineup without fear of reprisal. A single Fighting-resistant Scyther can go all the way.


Gene is among the easiest Club Masters, which is why it’s always a good idea to make the Rock Club an early stop on your quest for the legendary cardboard.




Gene hands out Mystery, which is filled with a lot of really weak stuff. It is, however, the only set that contains Double Colorless Energy. As the name suggests, this card provides two Energy for the price of one, but it can’t be used to pay for colored Energy costs, so don’t go too crazy with it. Also, it’s not a Basic Energy Card, so you can only play up to four in a deck.

Hmm… I’ll have to take a look at our collection again before I start making further changes to the deck. Rest assured that we’ll have an update before we begin challenging the next Club.

Next time: Going green

04-03-2009, 01:01 PM
I remember reading somewhere that the coin in this game is not perfectly fair — its odds are tilted to help the computer. I have no way of confirming this, but it certainly lines up with my perceptions. You’ll rarely ever get more than two or three heads in a row, and long losing streaks are not uncommon. However, the computer will frequently pull out streaks of six or seven heads in a row.

You can do this as well. When I played this, I seem to recall discovering that the outcome of your own coin flips is based entirely on the timing of when you press the button. If you get it down, you can ensure that it always comes up heads just by pressing the button at the exact moment.

04-03-2009, 03:15 PM
You can do this as well. When I played this, I seem to recall discovering that the outcome of your own coin flips is based entirely on the timing of when you press the button. If you get it down, you can ensure that it always comes up heads just by pressing the button at the exact moment.

Really? I remember doing that in the original Pokémon games when I tried to catch Pokémon. There were tons of rumours involving timing (i.e.: press and hold A just as ball starts to move, press A as soon as the ball clamps shut, etc.)

04-03-2009, 03:54 PM
Really? I remember doing that in the original Pokémon games when I tried to catch Pokémon. There were tons of rumours involving timing (i.e.: press and hold A just as ball starts to move, press A as soon as the ball clamps shut, etc.)

I still automatically do this in modern Pokemons. It takes an act of will for me to keep myself from doing it. I just started playing Sapphire a couple of days ago and was greatly disappointed to discover that the pokeball animation didn't include the circular graphic I used to time my A press in Red/Leaf Green. How am I supposed to time my superstitious button pressings now?

04-05-2009, 01:51 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Pokémon TCG. Last time, we polished off the Rock Club, earning our first Medal. Where to next?


Before we decide, we hunt down Imakuni? and beat his ass again. Imakuni? reappears randomly in one of the eight Clubs every time you load your save, so seeking him out and beating him right away is a good way to expand your collection with no real effort. Imakuni? put up a better fight than he did the last time, but not by very much.

Where to, where to…


Grass Club, I guess. Although you can take the Clubs in pretty much any order, you can definitely see traces of a tier in their power levels. Two — Rock and Grass — are very easy and intended to be challenged earlier in the game. Three — Fire, Lightning, and Water — vary in terms of challenge based on the composition of your deck. If you have enough cards in the right colors to take these Clubs down, they’re pushovers, but they might give you some trouble otherwise. They’re the intermediate Clubs. The final three — Science, Fighting, and Psychic — have several good players and are best taken with a deck you can’t build until you’ve collected a goodly amount of cards.

As in the main game, the Grass Club members are where you go if you want to learn how to be a proper little lady. (Everyone knows the Water Club is where all the sluts hang out.) They use the classic Grass Pokémon, which are generally weak to Fire.

Deckbuilding time!

The deck we were using when we finished with the Rock Club looked something like this:

Energy (24)
11 Grass
11 Water
2 Double Colorless

Grass Pokémon (8)
3 Bulbasaur
1 Ivysaur
1 Venusaur
1 Koffing
1 Tangela (level 8)
1 Pinsir

Water Pokémon (7)
2 Seel
2 Dewgong
2 Vaporeon (level 29)
1 Vaporeon (level 42)

Colorless Pokémon (3)
3 Kangaskhan
3 Eevee

Trainers (18)
2 Professor Oak
3 Bill
3 Energy Removal
3 Energy Search
1 Computer Search
1 Switch
3 Pluspower
3 Gust of Wind

This deck is severely underpowered. It held up nicely in the Rock Club, but let’s not get overconfident here: The Rock Club was full of Pokémon that were weak to ours, and we still barely pulled it out. In a Club using Pokémon that we have to fight on equal terms, we’ll end up on the wrong side of the power curve.

Changes are needed. What I didn’t anticipate is how extreme those changes would end up being.


Kick in the Deck v. 1.1
Energy (22)
10 Fire
9 Fighting
2 Double Colorless

Fire Pokémon (10)
3 Ponyta
2 Rapidash
2 Magmar (level 31)
3 Flareon (level 22)

Fighting Pokémon (5)
4 Machop
1 Hitmonchan

Colorless Pokémon (6)
3 Kangaskhan
3 Eevee

Trainers (18)
2 Professor Oak
3 Bill
2 Energy Search
3 Energy Removal
1 Switch
1 Computer Search
3 Pluspower
3 Gust of Wind


Well, I certainly didn’t expect to be pulling both our starting colors so soon in the game. What usually happens is that you supplement your starting deck for a while with cards pulled from packs while clearing out the Clubs that are weak to your starting colors. Then you scrap your original deck and build something more appropriate for taking on the rest of the Clubs.

But look at our two starting colors. In the decklist above, I’m playing the strongest Water and Grass Pokémon we have access to at the moment. That consists of a Grass evolution where the Stage 1 and Stage 2 forms are restricted to one copy apiece, a Water evolution where the Basic and Stage 2 have only two copies each, and a bunch of fragile Basics with questionable attacks. I simply didn’t have any confidence that the Pokémon base would be strong enough to beat a deck that wasn’t completely weak to it.

Moreover, it’s slow, and fragile in the early going. Kangaskhan has 90 HP and is a nice wall, but none of the other Basics are worth writing home about. All the power is concentrated in the evolutions, and we don’t have enough redundancy built into the deck to get those evolutions out consistently.

Then consider the decks we’re likely to face in the near future. Grass is strong against Rock, but nothing else is, and we’re done with Rock. Water is good against Fire, but the Fire Club Master won’t accept our challenge until we’ve collected (I think) 200 different cards, and we don’t have that many yet, so they’re off limits. The Science, Fighting, and Psychic Clubs are out of our league at the moment. Lightning’s strong against us, so no dice there. That leaves Grass and Water, both of whom are neutral against us. If you’re going to challenge a Club without the type advantage on your side, you’d better have an extreme disparity in card power, and we don’t yet.

So, out with the Grass and Water. But what to replace them? Well, the Grass Club is weak to Fire. A quick examination of our collection reveals the Rapidash line. Ponyta and Rapidash are solid and easy to get, so in they go. We’ve collected a few Flareon, so they can serve as a straight swap for the Vaporeons we’re currently running. And the level 31 Magmar is probably the strongest Fire Pokémon overall.

Nothing really jumped out at me as a secondary color (in fact, I played a game with Water as the second color, but decided that the deck was too reliant on evolutions), so I decided to go with the tried and true route of splashing a few Machops and Hitmonchans. Both of these Pokémon are quick, efficient attackers that can do their thing with only a single Fighting Energy to their names, making them ideal supporting players in a deck that’s primarily another color.

Note that the Trainers are exactly the same in both decks. This is a major weakness of the Pokémon TCG: Regardless of your colors or your strategy, your Trainer base is going to look largely the same. Cards like Bill, Oak, Energy Removal, Computer Search, and Gust of Wind are equally useful in just about every deck, so there’s little rationale for taking any of them out in favor of weirder stuff.


In the Grass Club lounge we encounter our first trader. Trading is an underdeveloped element in this game — all the traders want exactly one card, and are willing to offer exactly one card in return. It’s probably asking too much of a Game Boy game to want haggling and negotiation, but it does make trading a little limited.

This particular trader has a fetish for Oddishes, and is willing to offer a Vileplume for one. Oddish is common and Vileplume is rare, so this is an easy decision.


Also in the lounge is Brittany, the first member of the Grass Club.

Vs. Grass Club Member Brittany, with the Etcetera Deck


Brittany has probably the worst deck in the entire game. It’s four colors with no real theme, and consists entirely of weak Pokémon who exist only to evolve, sans their respective evolutions. The Pokémon card game, both in real life and electronically, is packed with situational cards and improbable combos, but at least that’s something; theoretically, those things could get their god draw and run you over. Brittany doesn’t even have the potential for a good deck; she relies entirely on you getting off to a slow start.


Gust of Wind is one of my favorite cards. It allows you to select a Pokémon on your opponent’s bench and switch it with their Active Pokémon. Not only is this a great offensive tool (as it can be used to pull a weak Pokémon off your opponent’s bench, allowing you to KO it in one turn), but it can be used defensively as well. If you’re in a precarious situation, try pulling up a Pokémon with a high retreat cost and expensive attacks. By doing this, you can buy yourself a few turns to hopefully draw into a solution.


Here we use Gust of Wind to pull the fire-weak Tangela off Brittany’s bench just in time for Rapidash to devour it. Rapidash is using its Agility move, which is pretty sweet: Not only does it deal 30 damage for three energy, which is decent, but if you win the flip it also prevents all damage and effects of attacks that would be done to Rapidash during your opponent’s next turn. Combined with a free retreat cost, this makes Rapidash a really flexible Pokémon, useful in a lot of different situations.


We score another cheap KO towards the end of the game by using Gust of Wind to grab a puny 30 HP Diglett off Brittany’s bench so that Flareon can murdalize it. Gust of Wind: The “d” is silent.

04-05-2009, 01:55 PM

You’d think Brittany would be a good source of packs, and she is, but she hands out Mystery, which is probably the weakest set overall.


In the main room of the Grass Club, we encounter another member, Heather. She informs us that the Grass Club’s leader, Nikki, is away at the moment, and that to learn her location we’ll have to defeat all three Grass Club members. And you know what that means…

Vs. Grass Club Member Heather, with the Kaleidoscope Deck


Heather’s deck has a lot of polychromatic elements that allow her to hit any weakness. She’s got Eevee and a bunch of Evolutions for it, Ditto, which can transform into more Eevees, Porygon, which can change our Pokémon’s weaknesses, and Venomoth, which can transform itself to the color of any Pokémon in play. This makes her versatile, but also slow — she’s playing four colors and no real strong Basics, so if you can get out a strong Pokémon out early it will in all likelihood go on a KOing rampage that will win you the game.


Energy Removal is especially effective against Heather, because she’s so reliant on having the right color energy at the right time. Here, we’ve crippled Heather’s Vaporeon, leaving it ripe for the picking by our Flareon.

Incidentally, these Vaporeons are the only thing a Fire deck has to fear in this Club.


Late in the game, Heather gets a Venomoth out to screw with us, but as predicted our early Flareon goes all the way.


Heather gives Colosseum… Huh?




Scyther isn’t the best attacker in the game, but it’s probably the most versatile Pokémon ever. There are very few decks that can’t be improved by the addition of 2-4 Scythers.

Scyther is technically a Grass Pokémon, but its main attack, Slash, requires only Colorless energy, so it can be played in any deck. And it should be played in any deck: It has a lot of strengths and is useful in a lot of situations. Aggressive decks like it because it mixes up their colors somewhat, making it less likely that Fighting, Psychic, or Lightning decks will get screwed over by a random resistance. Defensive decks like it because it’s a 70 HP basic with resistance to Fighting and a free retreat, meaning that you can stick it up front to take damage for you, then easily pull it back once you’ve got a better attacker ready.

Compare this with the Kangaskhans we’ve been playing. Kangaskhan has 20 more HP, but it can’t attack for damage at any less than four Energy. More importantly, it has a retreat cost of three, meaning that once we’re ready to start attacking, we either have to waste three turns attaching Energy so that we can retreat it, waste a Computer Search looking for a Switch to get it out of there, or simply let it be Knocked Out, giving our opponent a free prize. In the same situation, Scyther can be easily retreated back to the bench once our attacker is ready and is almost as durable.

Needless to say, this one goes straight in. Once we collect more, they’ll go straight in as well.


The other pack gives us an Electabuzz, the best overall Lightning Pokémon. I’d say that was a pretty profitable duel for us.


The final Grass Club member is Kristen here. She agrees to take time off from her flower arranging to duel us.

Vs. Grass Club Member Kristen, with the Flower Garden Deck


Kristen’s deck is built around three Grass evolution lines, all of which go up to Stage 2: Bulbasaur, Oddish, and Bellsprout. This, of course, makes her deck hideously inconsistent, because she’ll rarely be able to match the evolutions in her hand with the Basic Pokémon on the field. Furthermore, the Oddish and Bellsprout lines aren’t even that good (the Bellsprout line, in fact, is terrible). A solid Fire deck will have no trouble with her.


Professor Oak’s only real drawback is the possibility of getting the shot seen here: Getting more than one in your hand at once. Since Oak requires that you discard your hand when you play it, having more than one at once means wasting one.


A Tangela brings down our Kangaskhan with Poison Powder, but we respond with a quick Rapidash that begins tearing through Kristen’s forces.


Eventually Kristen brings in the beefy Lickitung to stall, but we’ve got an answer for that too, in Machop.

Fighting Pokémon are the best in the game if you just want to put together a cheap, efficient offense. It doesn’t get any better than 20 damage for one Energy; a trait both Machop and Hitmonchan share. Plus, Fighting Pokémon shred Colorless walls like Kangaskhan, Chansey, and Lickitung that normally slow down aggressive decks.

About the only weakness of Fighting Pokémon is that all fliers resist them, and every color in the game has at least one playable flier. (In the real card game, in fact, Hitmonchan’s power level took a severe downswing once the Fighting-resistant Scyther started showing up everywhere).


One of the weird things about the computer is that it is completely unwilling to stall the game. If you’re on a roll and collecting prizes, rather than retreating Pokémon to buy time, the computer will often just trade attacks, even when that’s a losing strategy for them. Other times, the computer will use weird moves like Bellsprout’s Call for Family (which allows you to search your deck for another Bellsprout card and put it on your bench) that do nothing to advance its position.

04-05-2009, 01:59 PM

Kristen coughs up Evolution packs… nothing much there, but we did snare a Blastoise and another Rapidash.


Upon being defeated, Kristen reveals where Nikki has been hiding: The house of the Pokémon card collector Ishihara. (Needless to say, she’s not there until all three Grass Club members are beaten.) She goes on to request that we hunt her down and bring her back if we want our Medal.




Ishihara isn’t in yet, but Nikki is. She consents to duel us, but we have to trudge back to the Grass Club for it to count. Well, that was pointless.

Vs. Grass Club Master Nikki, with the Flower Power Deck


Like Kristen, Nikki’s deck is built around three different Grass Pokémon lines: Bulbasaur, Oddish, and Exeggcute. Furthermore, she’s got a pretty nasty combo: Venusaur + Exeggutor. Exeggutor has an attack that allows it to flip a coin for each Energy card attached to it, then deal 20 damage for each heads. Venusaur allows Nikki to move Grass Energy between her Pokémon at will, so if she gets both out, she can move all her Energy to Exeggutor and start the flipping.

Thing is though — and I’m not exaggerating — I have never, ever seen this work. I suppose if you sat there and did nothing for 20 turns she might eventually get it out, but in a real game? No way. She doesn’t have any card manipulation to help her find her combo pieces, and she doesn’t have any defense to protect herself until she does. Just a bunch of weak Basics, some evolutions she’ll never play, and Energy. Nikki may not be the weakest Club Master, but she’s close.


Another thing is that, for a player whose whole strategy revolves around getting as much Energy into play as possible, Nikki gets Energy-screwed more often than any player I’ve ever seen. No fooling, for the entirety of this six-prize, twelve-turn duel, Nikki played maybe three Energy cards. Add to that the fact that not a single one of her Basic Pokémon has more than 50 HP and you’ll start to see the problem. We got out a Rapidash and just swept her bench, and she didn’t have any options except to just sit there and watch us do it. If you need evidence as to the weakness of evolutions, you’re looking at it.




Maybe you just suck?


Well, the easy ones are done…


You know… I wonder… if all the players in this game have unlimited packs to hand out when they lose, why are their decks so bad? I’ve been kicking ass and taking names with a very limited cardpool; you have to figure that with infinite cards, I’d be unstoppable.

Anyway, Nikki’s Laboratory packs each contain a level 31 Magmar, allowing us to use a full four-pack. Yippee!


On our way out, still high from our conquest, we bump into Ronald. Our rival is just as abrasive as he was the last time, but this time he wants to throw down.

Vs. “Doesn’t merit a title” Ronald, with the I’m Ronald Deck


Ronald is the only player who changes decks as the game goes on. Right now he’s using a fairly mediocre Fire/Water evolution deck, but later on he’ll be playing decks that run the gamut from a multicolored aggro deck built around Haymaker Pokémon to a defensive stall deck with Psychics and Colorless walls. Regardless of strategy, Ronald is consistently one of the best players in the game, ruthlessly using Gust of Wind and Energy Removal to exploit your Pokémon’s weaknesses.

04-05-2009, 02:03 PM

Scyther is pretty much the ideal starting Pokémon. If you put it up front, it can take a few hits for you while you draw a few cards, scope your opponent’s strategy, and decide what to do. Because of its free retreat, you can send in a different Pokémon whenever you’re ready to do so at no cost, and virtually no Basic Pokémon can defeat it on the first or second turn.


You know, it’s weird: Most Fire Pokémon are slow, straightforward, and aggressive in nature, but the level 31 Magmar, arguably the strongest, is fast, versatile, and defensive. Where most Fire Pokémon are big bruisers designed to hit for maximum damage at great cost, Magmar is cheap, efficient, and relies on status effects.

The typical Magmar strategy is to attack with Smog until it sticks, causing poison, then switch to Smokescreen. Smokescreen forces the defending Pokémon to flip a coin whenever it tries to attack; if tails, the attack fails. By hiding behind Smokescreen while poison does its work, Magmar can dish out a surprising amount of damage in a short amount of time, for a minimum of commitment.


Scyther is also a good Pokémon to send out if your Active gets Knocked Out unexpectedly. You can send it out as a stopgap until you draw your card and decide on the correct course of action, then retreat it once you’ve decided on the proper Pokémon to proceed with.


Pluspower is one of my favorite cards. It seems so unassuming at first: 10 damage? Who could possibly waste a card on that? But 10 damage is significant in a surprising number of situations. Whenever I’m playing a deck without Pluspowers, I always wish I had access to them, even if I excluded them for good reasons.

In addition, Pluspower allows for the occasional “oops I win” draw, something like Hitmonchan, Fighting Energy, Pluspower, Bill, Bill, Pluspower, Professor Oak, Computer Search finding Pluspower, Pluspower, attack your only Basic for 50 on turn one, good game.


Anyway, it was a tough, drawn-out fight (note that Ronald took down a couple of my Pokémon), but I eventually prevail.


Ronald doesn’t give packs, but he will cough up unique promotional cards like this Jigglypuff when bested.


Speaking of packs, Nikki is one of the Masters that can’t be spoken to at the beginning of the game, so I check my e-mail to see what Mason has to say about her. The attached pack contains a Hitmonchan — seriously, I am getting crazy good pulls from packs this time around — meaning it’s time to revamp the deck again.

Kick in the Deck v. 1.2

Energy (21)
10 Fire Energy
9 Fighting Energy
2 Double Colorless

“Grass” Pokémon (1)
1 Scyther

Fire Pokémon (10)
3 Ponyta
3 Rapidash
4 Magmar (level 31)

Fighting Pokémon (6)
4 Machop
2 Hitmonchan

Colorless Pokémon (2)
2 Kangaskhan

Trainers (20)
2 Professor Oak
4 Bill
3 Energy Search
3 Energy Removal
1 Computer Search
3 Pluspower
4 Gust of Wind

Notice how much the deck has changed in just a few iterations. There’s only one remaining evolution line. The average HP of our Basic Pokémon is now closer to 70 than 50, meaning we can get off to faster starts and are no longer as vulnerable to bad draws. We’ve finally reached a point where I am no longer embarrassed with any of the cards in the deck. While it could still be improved, we’ll need more rare cards to make it happen.

Weirdly, pulling the Hitmonchan from that pack pretty much nailed down our next destination for me. Check it out in the next update…

Next time: Under the lights

04-05-2009, 06:16 PM
I forget, is Wigglytuff available in this game? As long as we're going with classic archetypes, this one is hard to beat.

04-05-2009, 10:12 PM
You can do this as well. When I played this, I seem to recall discovering that the outcome of your own coin flips is based entirely on the timing of when you press the button. If you get it down, you can ensure that it always comes up heads just by pressing the button at the exact moment.

This definitely works, but for some reason, the computer always seemed to cheat my last flip once I reached 5.

Tanto, I envy your awesome pulls from those packs so bad. I NEVER had any luck with them, and as such almost always had to trudge through the clubs with a pretty mediocre deck. I also didn't have the patience to farm packs from trainers much, so it could be my own fault too... but I swear the game hated me in that respect.

Afterthought: Wigglytuff! *shakes fist angrily*

04-06-2009, 08:19 AM
I didn't strategize Pokemon back in first-gen like I do now, but as I recall Scyther, Electabuzz, and Hitmonchan were all badass motherfuckers born and bred on the hard streets of Harlem in the regular game too.

04-21-2009, 02:46 AM
I didn't strategize Pokemon back in first-gen like I do now, but as I recall Scyther, Electabuzz, and Hitmonchan were all badass motherfuckers born and bred on the hard streets of Harlem in the regular game too.

IIRC, Scyther and Electabuzz were pretty good, but Hitmonchan... not so much. His claim to fame over the other Fighting types was supposed to be his access to all three elemental punches, but his below-average Special and lack of STAB meant that he couldn't really use them to full effect. As such, he wasn't as much the gamebreaker as he was in the TCG.

On another note, I like to think that the crazy good cards you're getting is the RNG's way of saying sorry for what happened way back in Fire Emblem with Lyn. 's all good.

04-21-2009, 03:13 AM
Reading this LP is pretty surreal! I don't even like the pokeymans!

04-21-2009, 09:26 AM
I haven't forgotten about this, incidentally. I've had some real-life issues over the past few weeks that really demanded my full attention, so I deemed it prudent to put my side-projects, like this LP, on hold until I could clear my plate a little. (You'll notice that my posting in general has been down over the past several weeks.) I'm just about done with said issues, though, so updates should resume in the near future.

Expect an update... soon. Yeah, soon.

Dynastic Bird
04-21-2009, 05:46 PM
IIRC, Scyther and Electabuzz were pretty good, but Hitmonchan... not so much. His claim to fame over the other Fighting types was supposed to be his access to all three elemental punches, but his below-average Special and lack of STAB meant that he couldn't really use them to full effect. As such, he wasn't as much the gamebreaker as he was in the TCG.

On another note, I like to think that the crazy good cards you're getting is the RNG's way of saying sorry for what happened way back in Fire Emblem with Lyn. 's all good.

Interestingly, the three morphed greatly in the following generations.

Scyther: Got an evolution in Scizor in G/S, which was slower but stronger. Pokemon were so different that both are tournament worthy.

Electabuzz: Got an evolution, Electrivre, which is now considered top tier.

Hitmonchan: Perhaps not the best, but at least the Physical/Special split makes him SOMEWHAT viable now XD. Still somewhat overshadowed by Bruce.

04-23-2009, 01:26 PM
Hitmonchan is awesome, Hitmonlee is dumb, and Hitmontop isn't worth mentioning. You cannot argue, because this is fact.

05-11-2009, 10:56 AM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Pokémon: Trading Card Game. Due to real-life issues, this has lain fallow longer than I’d expected or hoped, but I hope to finish it off over the next couple of weeks. I had a lot of work to do over the last several weeks of the semester, and it burned me out to the point that I couldn’t bring myself to write even when I had the time to do so, and the LP was the main casualty of that. I’m finished now, though, and my schedule has opened up once again, giving me plenty of time to spend on frivolities like this.

So where were we?

Oh, yeah — the Lightning Club.


Let’s talk Lightning. The Lightning type is the smallest set of Pokémon in the game, and also the weakest overall. Electabuzz is fantastic, of course, but it is literally the only compelling reason to play with Lightning in this version of the game. Pikachu and Raichu are okay, but nothing to write home about. The various versions of Zapdos are strong, but expensive and hard to use. And the Electrode and Magneton lines are virtually useless.

Moreover, Lightning Pokémon are weak to Fighting, and it’s incredibly easy to put together a solid offensive core of Fighters, even early in the game. Hitmonchan and Machop are even more ridiculous than usual, with the ability to strike for 40 damage a turn starting on turn one, and otherwise-limited Pokémon like Diglett here are just plain immortal. About the only thing a Fighting deck has to fear here are the Lightning fliers, Zapdos and the Flying Pikachu promo card, which resist Fighting rather than being weak to it, and can stonewall your entire offense without too much effort. For that reason, it’s a good idea to splash a second color so that you’ll have an out in the event that these Pokémon show up on the other side of the field.

Kick in the Deck v. 1.3

Energy (21)
8 Fire Energy
11 Fighting Energy
2 Double Colorless

“Grass” Pokémon (1)
1 Scyther

Fire Pokémon (4)
4 Magmar (level 31)

Fighting Pokémon (12)
4 Diglett
2 Dugtrio
4 Machop
2 Hitmonchan

Colorless Pokémon (2)
2 Kangaskhan

Trainers (20)
2 Professor Oak
4 Bill
3 Energy Search
3 Energy Removal
1 Computer Search
3 Pluspower
4 Gust of Wind

This is virtually the same deck we were using before, except that we’ve swapped out the Rapidash line for Dugtrio. Diglett and Dugtrio are too fragile to use under normal circumstances, but their Lightning resistance renders them invulnerable to the vast majority of attacks in this Club. Magmar, Scyther, and Kangaskhan will serve as our anti-flier patrol.


First up on our hit list for the Lightning Club is probably its strongest member, Jennifer. She’s armed with a novelty deck based around Pikachu.

Vs. Lightning Club Member Jennifer, with the Pikachu Deck


Jennifer’s deck has no Pokémon cards except Pikachu and Raichu. To get around the four-of rule, she plays with four copies each of the Surfing Pikachu and Flying Pikachu promo cards, which don’t count as the same card as regular Pikachu. (They also can’t evolve into Raichu.) Because of its limited scope, it has trouble putting together a fearsome offense, but few decks are better at stalling your own assault. Flying Pikachu, in particular, can grind the duel to a halt with a few well-placed coin flips.


Jennifer plays with the Poké Ball trainer card, a card that entices novices. Poké Ball lets you flip a coin, and if heads, you can search your deck for a Pokémon card and put it into your hand, no strings attached. The drawback is that if you flip a tails, nothing happens and you’re down a card. This unreliability makes Poké Ball unworthy of serious decks; it’s almost always better to play cards like Computer Search or Pokémon Trader that, although they have drawbacks, always get what you need.


Flying Pikachu is one of the most annoying cards in the game to face. It’s weak, and has only 40 HP, but your Lightning-smashing Fighting deck will have trouble damaging it. In addition, its first attack causes paralysis and its second has an Agility-type effect, so with a few heads the card can stall the game far longer than its puny frame should permit. (Not shown is Flying Pikachu wearing down my Hitmonchan with lucky flip after lucky flip.)


Fortunately, the rest of Jennifer’s deck isn’t anything special, and Fighting Pokémon will wipe her off the map in no time at all.


Next up is Brandon, playing a mono-Lightning deck with no real theme.

Vs. Lightning Club Member Brandon, with the Power Generator Deck


Brandon’s deck is a case study in how much Electabuzz changes a deck’s power level. Brandon’s deck is mostly full of harmless Lightning Pokémon like Voltorb and Magneton and can be crushed pretty easily under most circumstances… but he’s also playing with four Electabuzzes, and if he gets a few of those out early he can make your life hell. He’s also got a few Zapdoses as a late-game finisher, so keep an eye on his bench in case he starts building one up. (He might also put it up front early on so as to stall your Fighting Pokémon — in this case, Gust of Wind is your friend.)


In this game, Brandon started off with only a single lonely Voltorb, which I matched and bested with my Diglett on turn two, despite his Defender trainer card. I played him a few more times to try and see a little more of his deck, but he managed to last only slightly longer in those games. Without Electabuzz, Lightning Pokémon just don’t have much going for them.


This was fortuitous, because Brandon hands out those precious Colosseum packs when defeated.


The final Lightning Club member is Nicholas, who is piloting one of the very weakest decks in the game.

Vs. Lightning Club Member Nicholas, with the Boom Boom Selfdestruct Deck


Nicholas’s deck is three colors that don’t work well together (Lightning, Grass, and Fighting) and is built around Pokémon that, as the name suggests, blow themselves up. These moves deal heavy damage to the Defending Pokémon and both benches, but they also cause the user to faint. Self-Destruct type moves are strong in the mainline games because they don’t cost anything to use, so you can use them to score cheap KOs out of nowhere or deal a lot of damage with a nearly-fainted Pokémon. In the card game, though, you have to invest a lot of cards just to get a Self-Destruct move online. When you blow up your Magneton or Golem, you’re throwing away six or seven of your own cards just to get rid of one of your opponent’s, and that kind of math is never going to work out in your favor. (You don’t even end up ahead on prizes, because your opponent gets to take one even if you knock out your own Pokémon.) It’s an okay move on a cheap, easily-disposable Pokémon like Magnemite, but the more expensive, evolved versions are terrible.


Furthermore, the component pieces of the evolution lines Nicholas plays are pretty terrible in and of themselves, even if he never gets around to blowing them up. Friends don’t let friends play with Geodude.

05-11-2009, 10:58 AM

In one of the Colosseum packs that Nicholas handed us after being soundly defeated contained a Scoop Up trainer card. If you put a gun to my head and told me to name my favorite card in the Pokémon TCG, I would have to go with Scoop Up. Sure, Bill and Oak are ridiculously powerful, Hitmonchan and Electabuzz are great attackers, and Scyther is comfortingly versatile, but Scoop Up is simultaneously powerful, tricky, and enables the kind of decks I like to play.

Scoop Up allows you to return one of your Pokémon’s Basic to your hand, removing all damage from it and causing all cards attached to it (Energy and evolutions) to go to the discard pile. The best-case scenario with this card is that you use it to save one of your Pokémon right before it’s knocked out, both denying your opponent his hard-earned prize, fully healing your guy, and allowing you to promote a new attacker. Used at the proper time, it allows for tempo-shifting, game-changing plays in the way that a lot of other cards don’t.

In addition, unlike cards like Oak and Energy Removal, Scoop Up doesn’t go into every deck. It’s near-broken in decks with a lot of Haymaker Pokémon or durable walls, but it’s much weaker in decks that are reliant on evolutions, so you have to think before you put it in your deck.


The Master here, Isaac, was working on fixing the lights. He doesn’t finish with this chore until you’ve defeated all three of his subordinates, but we have, so now he deigns to duel us.

Vs. Lightning Club Master Isaac, with the Zapping Selfdestruct Deck


Isaac’s deck is similar to Brandon’s, with four Electabuzzes and a few random Lightning evolutions. His deck is too slow and underpowered to pose much of a threat unless, again, he gets out a quick Electabuzz or two.


Fighting Pokémon are, again, ridiculously good here, as unlike his minions Isaac doesn’t play any fliers to stall our attack. Isaac will use Kangaskhan to try and buy some time, but even it is weak to our Fighting assault.


Hitmonchan is the real all-star here, though. Its Special Punch can wipe out any of Isaac’s Pokémon in a single blow except for Kangaskhan, and it can even take her with Pluspower assistance. Hitmonlee, if you have any, doesn’t even need the Pluspower.


Medal get!

Hm… Three medals?


That means it’s Challenge Cup time!

The Challenge Cup is a three-round tournament held periodically at the Challenge Hall in the far northern part of the map. It’s held twice during the main game (after you’ve collected three and five medals), and every so often randomly after that. The first two opponents are selected randomly from the ranks of the Club Members you’ve defeated so far, the third is always Ronald, and the prize is a rare promo card, unattainable anywhere else.

The challenge would be building a deck that can win three games against random opponents, but… the game allows you to save and modify your deck in between matches. Which seems like it defeats the purpose of a tournament to me, but hey, I’m no game designer.


Our first two opponents were Kristen and Jennifer, who we crushed without much fanfare (using an only slightly-modified version of the deck used in the Lightning Club). Jennifer annoyed the crap out of us with her Flying Pikachu shenanigans as is her wont, but we eventually pulled it out.


As for Ronald, he’s swapped out decks again, and is now using a strange Grass/Fighting concoction. It has potentially strong cards like Scyther and Muk, but also mediocre trash like the Golem line, so its power is uneven.

05-11-2009, 10:59 AM

When I was a kid it used to bother me that the card game did not conform precisely to the rules of the Game Boy games, but a lot of that stuff is just arbitrary anyway. Witness the Poison-type Grimer getting poisoned here, for example.


Ronald stalled by evolving his Grimer into Muk for the HP boost, but that didn’t stop Magmar from finishing the job.


Our prize for winning this Challenge Cup is the level 60 Mewtwo, by far the strongest Psychic Pokémon. It’s a Haymaker Pokémon, and with the right draw it can be a savage attacker, but it requires more infrastructure to make work than do the other types’ Haymaker Pokémon.

Next up… Fire Club, I think. At any rate, we’ll go challenge the Club Members next time, and see if that puts us up to the Club Master’s standards.

Next time: Crossfire

05-11-2009, 11:14 AM

Flying Pikachu is the only one of my old Pokčmon cards I can still find. Except he's in German, so its "Fligendes Pikachu."

05-11-2009, 10:19 PM
Tell (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7TiDOt6e2w&feature=PlayList&p=89C3CFCFAB3053B9&index=4) them (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymsVuT0PXfA&feature=PlayList&p=89C3CFCFAB3053B9&index=8) about (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfDxSEc5mDw&feature=PlayList&p=89C3CFCFAB3053B9&index=14) the (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlhyUGOx_oE&feature=PlayList&p=89C3CFCFAB3053B9&index=13) music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucQ6rLeRxyg&feature=PlayList&p=89C3CFCFAB3053B9&index=1), Tanto!

05-16-2009, 08:44 AM
I like how all of Ronald's decks revolve around him in some way. He's just so confident!

05-16-2009, 08:51 AM
I like how all of Ronald's decks revolve around him in some way. He's just so confident!

Wait until you see his final boss deck.

07-05-2009, 09:19 PM
I realize this project is on hiatus and whatall, but...

I actually bought the Japanese version of this game a year (or so) early. I had been terribly taken with Pokémon Blue for a long, long while and was generally pretty geeked out on the entire Poke-craze. So when I found out that my Game Boy Color could play import games and that there was a Pokémon game not yet released in the US I thought "Great! What a great way to practice my Japanese reading skills!"

(See, I was taking Japanese at the time. Oh, did I mention that I was a sophomore in college? Yeah, I might feel embarrassed about that except I'm still playing Pokémon games as a grown ass man.)

So, I got the cart and muddled my way through it. It wasn't too difficult really. The game was marketed to Japanese babies apparently and there was not a single kanji that didn't have a hiragana translation. Plus I had the English card game manual (I don't remember owning any cards, but I must have at least bought a starter deck) so I knew the rules.

At some point I thought "Hey! I have a game that nobody in the US has played yet. Perhaps I should share this somehow."

So I wrote my first and only ever FAQ—which is probably still on GameFAQS? I can't be bothered to check—in which I translated all the deck machine decks in the game.

And then, for some reason, I went even deeper. I must have had a pretty slow summer. I made maps, stitching together screenshots and editing out the main character. This is not difficult in a game like Pokémon: TCG as the world map is a single screen and most of the clubs are 2-3 screens tops.

Then I started knitting them together into a website—that would likely make me vomit to look at today, particularly at the source. I think I was using MS FrontPage. It had frames. Yes. Frames.

The idea was to replicate the in game world in a website so that folks who couldn't read Japanese could figure out who was where and what he or she had. Had this been a game anyone but me gave two shits about at the time I could have been a pretty popular guy. Actually, I don't think statistically much of anyone cared about this weird little spot of inbreeding.

I finally caved to boredom when I was typing in descriptions of every card in the game (from the English language cards from WotC).

Oh yeah, I was also pretty proud of the title of this website. Are you ready:

"Of Electric Mice and Bitmapped Men"

You know, I'm not in the least bit embarrassed about this. Well, only that I 1.) stopped studying Japanese when I transferred schools and my largely spoken training did not prepare me for a wholly written curriculum and 2.) stopped doing crazy shit like this.

Sadly, the mass of screenshots I had amassed and maps I had created have been lost. I'll be kicking myself for not ripping the hard drive out of the last Windows machine I owned. That paltry 15GB had a trove of shit just like this. Like the custom bearded River City Ransom avatar I had made of myself.

07-09-2009, 11:20 PM
I loved Pokemon: TCG but man was I awful at it.

07-10-2009, 04:13 AM
This LP made me dig up my old copy of the game cart and my Gameboy Advance SP. Not to play, but to feed my curiosity regarding how much I played the game. Looks like I put in 19 hours to collect 221/226 cards, 3695 individual cards in total. That's a lot of playing... I had enough to make two fairly competitive decks (a Wigglytuff deck and a Rain Dance deck, in case you were curious), and is seems I had a deck specifically for the Rock Club.

I also found my stash of physical cards as well... I played the game up to the Team Rocket set (and perhaps early first Gym expansion) and was in charge of the Pokemon TCG League while I was a part-timer at Toys R Us. Looks like I still have two decks put together - a basic Wigglytuff deck, and an interesting Wildfire deck. Good times.

... Yikes, I think I've said too much... at least I didn't get into my deck cardlists. I guess I'll save that for after the LP finishes, should it start up again.

Mr. J
08-01-2010, 01:31 AM
/cast Resurrection (Let's Play Pokemon: Trading Card Game: The Game!)
/cast Coup (Tanto)
/cast reset button


Our protagonist wakes up in a sterile white laboratory. All along the walls he sees strange devices with pictures of odd looking creatures on them. They are quite small and some are closer to monsters than the animals that run around outside; why, one could call them pocket monsters. The devices look like vending machines with slots for input and output. Just as he walked up to get a better look at them, a man in his 60s wearing a white coat stopped him.


“Woke up from what?” our confused subject inquired. “The last thing I remember was being in some sort of strange hall. There were all these bright flashing lights and the person sitting across the table from me looked quite upset. Then everything went black. My head felt like a grape in a wine press and I felt someone going through my pockets.”



“thank you.” Our hero turned and started to leave, but was stopped by the scientist . . .


Well now that that’s all out of the way, let’s move on to the more important things. I am hereby commandeering this thread and will be running this let’s play. As my first action I decree that we shall use the charmander and friends deck. The previous tenant somehow got away with using a bunch of garden weeds and I will not stand for that. From now on this thread will be about burning many, many things. So why don’t we go ahead and clean up the garden with our new friends and by clean up, I mean incinerate everything until all that is left is a black spot where it was (aka, we’ll be doing the grass club first). Let’s get a move on it then!

What’s that? I’m not the dictator here? But I threw the last guy out the window, can’t I at least create an empire built from the flaming remains of my enemies?


Well lucky for you all my counselors have just informed me that this place is something called a “Democracy” and I need to ask you all for permission before I can do much of anything. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but I’m sure he was thrown off a cliff or something for it. At the very least I bet he was forced to watch reruns of American idol until he smote himself with the largest object he could find. Well, enough of this political discussion let’s get down to business. I decree that you shall all vote for me to use the charmander and friend’s deck (I want to use the charmander and friends deck so the beginning of this isn’t a carbon copy of everything Tanto did). See, that wasn’t too bad. A few more decisions like that and we’ll be well on our way.

What? I can’t make them vote for something? I can only start a motion?!?! I’ll start a motion of my fist right through your skull!

*several screams are heard in the background followed by the opening of a window and a loud thud*

Now that that’s all dealt with we need a name for this country. The signs on the wall all said BRICK, but I made sure to burn them up on my way in and have some new ones hung in their place. I came here to conquer the world, not name an empire; so, I’ll leave it up to you common folk to name this place (we need a name for our guy, we can keep BRICK or we can use something else, choice is yours . . . mostly).

08-01-2010, 01:51 AM
As sad as I am to see Bulbasaur go, I can sympathize with wanting to go with a different deck, and Charmander is obviously cooler than Squirtle.

As for a name, I say we be called BJORK.

08-01-2010, 06:54 AM
I am excited for resurrections and empires and Charmanders (but Squirtle is awesome and you are crazy).

Captain Keene
08-01-2010, 07:33 AM
Charmander is clearly the superior choice for superior people. I am most pleased by your decision, good sir. As for name, I propose we stick to the original theme of Pokemon protagonist naming and dub ourselves ORANGE.

08-01-2010, 08:18 AM

I just read this whole thread and I like the way Mason -> Brick -> Wall works.

08-01-2010, 08:27 AM
His name, it is BEEF, his deck, it is BARBEQUE.

08-01-2010, 04:31 PM
How about STONE or CLAY, keeping in theme with building materials.

Mr. J
08-01-2010, 07:02 PM
Episode 1: Adventures in Theory Land!

WARNING! The following post contains large amounts of theory. If you are a min/maxer, took apart VCRs and TVs as a child, still ask the question why or are just plain curious continue reading. If you have your peanut butter and jelly sandwich everyday and don’t every wonder if bananas would make it more awesome, hi t the optimize/best gear button while playing an RPG, dislike large amounts of jargon and technical talk or fell asleep everyday in chemistry your probably better off skipping this post.

WARNING WARNING! I am not a specialist in Pokemon TCG. I was far too young when it was popular for me to get very deep into theory about Pokemon. All of my theory knowledge I learned from Magic the Gathering but it is still applicable to Pokemon TCG. A lot of my examples will be Magic but I will make sure to explain everything I bring up.

The 3 Basic Archetypes

In Pokemon TCG our goal is to either pick up all of our prizes or eliminate all of our opponent’s pokemon before they do the same. There are many different ways to reach this goal but all of them can be divided into 3 groups, aggro, control and combo. The aggro deck tries to rush full speed towards eliminating the opponent disregarding its own well-being. The control deck tries to stop the other deck from doing what it wants to do while progressing its own position. Finally the combo deck attempts to assemble and protect a group of cards that work together to give it a massive advantage. I will start with the simplest of archetypes, aggro.

The aggro deck is the guy who bypasses the medkits and body armor for more frag grenades and extra ammo. Its only goal is to kill you before you kill it. It plays a lot of efficient basics that can deal a lot of damage very early on. While your opponent is setting up behind his kangaskhan you are punishing him with your hitmonchans, machops and other basics that deal a lot of damage with very little energy input. Often the aggro deck will completely abandon its late game for a very strong early game. The best example I know of an aggro deck is the classic Red Deck Wins (http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=33970) from Magic. The deck’s only perpose is to kill you as quickly as possible. It doesn’t care if you try to stop it or if it runs out of cards. It just wants to kill you before you can really do anything. If it doesn’t kill you by the fifth or sixth turn it will probably lose.

The control deck is the exact opposite of the aggro deck. The control crushes its opponent with incremental advantage. It doesn’t care how long it takes to kill you; in fact, the longer the game goes on the better it’s odds of winning get. Cards such as Magmar lvl 31 which stop your opponent from doing anything while slowly killing them, are the basis for a control deck. A control deck will run a lot of evolutions and support trainers such as defender and potion. One of the hallmarks of a control deck is card advantage which I will explain later. Blue-White-Red control (http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/deck/365) has been a popular choice in magic recently. It keeps you from killing it until it can build up a planeswalker or some hard to deal with threat and kills you.

The combo deck is sort of the weird mutant archetype. Like the control deck it wants to keep you from killing it until it can assemble its combo but unlike the control deck it does not win through incremental gain. Until it assembles its combo a combo deck is relatively weak and vulnerable, but once it gets its combo “online” (meaning having all of the cards you need ready and working) it gains a massive advantage or sometimes wins out right. The quintessential combo deck is the Ad Nauseum Tendrils deck (http://www.mtgvault.com/ViewDeck.aspx?DeckID=57259) (ANT for short). The entire focus of the deck is to put together and protect its combo of ad nauseam (http://magiccards.info/ala/en/63.html) and tendrils of agony (http://magiccards.info/query?q=tendrils+of+agony&v=card&s=cname). It’s early game consists of removing your answers (http://magiccards.info/query?q=!Thoughtseize) (see the vocab section below) and searching ([http://magiccards.info/query?q=mystical+tutor&v=card&s=cname) for the parts of its combo. Then at the end of your turn it casts ad nauseam, draws about half its deck and kills you the next turn with 10+ copies of tendrils of corruption. A good (well maybe not so good) example of a combo deck is Nikki’s deck from the grass club. It uses the synergy between venusaur and exeggutor to get one really powerful pokemon and sweep your board. Her deck is also an example of the perils of a combo deck. Before it gets its combo together the deck is very vulnerable. Secondly, without enough search the deck may never get its combo together.

Now, who loves jargon? Well TCG theory has a lot of jargon so let’s get started on it.

Card Advantage – Card advantage can be most easily described in terms of cards spent and cards gained. If I use the trainer card Bill, I am spending one card to gain two cards. Thus I get a net +1 card advantage from playing Bill. Card advantage doesn’t have to deal only drawing cards though; in fact the most common occurrence of card advantage has to do with eliminating your opponent’s cards. Let’s say I have a machop with 20 hp left and 1 fighting energy and my opponent has a machamp with 20 hp left and 4 fighting energies. When I use my machop’s karate chop attack I am gaining a net +5 card advantage. I am spending 1 machop and 1 fighting energy to get rid of 3 of my opponent’s pokemon cards (machop, machoke and machamp) + 4 fighting energies. So by spending 2 cards and made my opponent spend 7 cards. Now gaining +1 card advantage or +2 card advantage here and there may not sound like much, over a long game it can add up to 10, 15 or even 20 more cards than your opponent. And when you have 20 more cards at your disposal than your opponent your ability to kill them and to keep them from killing you is exponentially greater. I will try to bring up examples of this as I go, so if you don’t understand this right away don’t worry.

Development – development is what you need to do before your deck reaches its full capacity. In an aggro deck, this probably consists of playing energy cards so your creatures can attack. In a control deck this would mean drawing cards and playing energy cards on your creatures. In a combo deck this means assembling your combo.

Answer – any card or combination of cards that negates your opponent’s cards. For example, energy removal would be an answer to your opponent’s venusaur.

Protection – any card that prevents your opponent from negating one or more of your cards. In pokemon protection is usually reactive instead of proactive. An energy retrieval card (it returns energy cards from your discard to your hand) would be protection against your opponents energy removal cards.

Tempo – tempo is complicated and I’ll talk about it in a bit. For now, just think of it as how many turns you spend to do something (ie. How long it takes you to build up all those electric energy cards on your zapdos).

Card Quality – People will often confuse card quality with card advantage. Card advantage deals with numbers of cards, while card quality deals with the power of an individual card. Computer search is a terrible card in terms of card advantage. You are using 3 cards to get 1 card, but in terms of card quality it is amazing. With computer search you can discard 2 extra cards that you don’t need to get 1 card that you really need.

Draw 7 – Named after the uno cards of draw 2 and draw 4 a draw seven, is a card that gets rid of your current hand and gives you 7 new cards (it's also named a draw 7 because it has the words "draw 7" printed on it). In pokemon this is professor oak or imposter professor oak (discard your hand. Flip a coin, if head draw 8 if tails draw 1). In magic these are timetwister (http://magiccards.info/query?q=timetwister&v=card&s=cname), memory jar (http://magiccards.info/query?q=memory+jar&v=card&s=cname), timespiral (http://magiccards.info/query?q=time+spiral&v=card&s=cname) and the new time reversal (http://magiccards.info/query?q=time+reversal&v=card&s=cname) (there are other draw 7s, but these are the best known ones). Draw 7s have been some of the most powerful cards every printed. The ability to get rid of all the cards in your hand and replace them with new ones is incredibly powerful. You can use up all of the good cards in your hand and then replace them with a brand new set that contains more goodies. If you want to see degenerate usage of draw 7s look no further than the academy deck.

Tolarian Blue - by Chris Warren, IL States
4 Tolarian Academy
4 Blasted Landscape
4 Remote Isle
1 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Brass
4 Island
4 Mana Vault
4 Lotus Petal
4 Mox Diamond

4 Twiddle
3 Mind Over Matter
1 Rescind

1 Voltaic Key
1 Scroll Rack
4 Intuition
4 Brainstorm
4 Time Spiral
4 Windfall
3 Stroke of Genius

4 Hydroblast
4 Pyroblast
3 CoP: Red
3 Power Sink
1 Fireball

Well I think that’s quite enough for one update. If you have any questions post below and I'll try to answer them or if you have anything to add feel free. There are many more things for me to discuss but let’s get back to the game.

Next time, Wildfires.

Mr. J
08-02-2010, 12:00 PM
1 more update before we get going. here is the charmander and friend's deck along with the pictures of the cards. If you want to see the full text of the attacks there are here (http://s1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%201/?start=0) (attacks not shown have no additional effects).

Charmander and Friends Deck

2x Charmander Lvl 10
1x Charmeleon Lvl 32
1x Charizard Lvl 76
2x Growlithe Lvl 2
1x Arcanine Lvl 45
2x Ponyta Lvl 10
1x Magmar Lvl 24

2x Pikachu Lvl 12
1x Riachu Lvl 40
2x Magnemite Lvl 2
1x Magneton Lvl 28
1x Zapdos Lvl 64

2x Diglett Lvl 8
1x Dugtrio Lvl 36
1x Machop Lvl 20
1x Machoke Lvl 40

2x Rattata Lvl 9
1x raticate Lvl 41
1x Meowth Lvl 14

Trainer Cards
1x Professor Oak
2x Bill
1x Switch
1x Computer Search
1x Pluspower
2x Potion
2x Full Heal

10x Fire Energy
8x Lightning Energy
6x Fighting Energy

Mr. J
08-02-2010, 12:02 PM
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%201/PokemonTradingCardGame_01.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%201/PokemonTradingCardGame_03.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%201/PokemonTradingCardGame_05.png
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Mr. J
08-02-2010, 12:03 PM
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%201/PokemonTradingCardGame_32.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%201/PokemonTradingCardGame_33.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%201/PokemonTradingCardGame_36.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%201/PokemonTradingCardGame_37.png

08-02-2010, 01:07 PM
There's some fairly decent pokemon in there.

Still, last I checked wasn't Charizard kind of pointless if you didn't have a Venusaur to support it with energy?

Mr. J
08-02-2010, 01:32 PM
Yep, charizard is unfortunately fairly weak. It's nice to have such a large body and be able to deal 100 damage, but only being able to do anything every-other turn (unless you have a venusaur or stacked a ton of energies on him before hand) makes him fairly bad. Also being a stage 2 evolution he requires a lot of work to even get out.

Expect about half of the pokemon to be taken out. machoke is fairly pointless, machop is almost strictly better than ratata, meowth is just terrible, Pikachu lvl 12 is bad, zapdos takes too much to get going, etc.

Of course how this all shakes out will depend heavily on how the packs work out.

08-02-2010, 01:39 PM
So does that mean you're also going for a Haymaker deck?

Or is it going to depend on what you get?

And really, you can always just beat down Imakuni until you get what you need.

Mr. J
08-02-2010, 01:46 PM
So does that mean you're also going for a Haymaker deck?

Or is it going to depend on what you get?

And really, you can always just beat down Imakuni until you get what you need.

Currently the deck is tooled more in that direction. The fire pokemon make for decent quick high damage, so cutting out the extra evolutions and slower pokemon is a natural evolution of the deck. Although, I won't know for sure until I see the packs. I'm not going to grind any packs unless I really need something (like if I end up going combo and need a 4th computer search). One of the best parts of deck building is limiting yourself.

08-02-2010, 01:51 PM
You and I have opposing views then.

I always just decide what I'm going to do before hand and work to get that deck, with the exceptions if I get some really useful cards for another kind of deck.

Besides, the last time I tried just going with whatever I got in this game I ended up with this four color monster of a deck. I think I still beat the game, though I have no clue how the hell I did that.

Mr. J
08-03-2010, 10:44 PM
My inferiors have informed me that you all have been slacking in your voting duties. There is currently a 4 way tie and unless someone cast the deciding vote I'll be doing it myself. I'll be checking back on you slackers in one day. If no one else votes or we end up with a new tie I'll be deciding the name myself (currently leaning towards WALL). Then we can get on with the game.

WALL - 4
BEEF - 1

08-03-2010, 11:08 PM
The answer is obvious.

*Casts 5 votes towards WALL*

It is the only mature choice.

EDIT: Yeah, sure, WALL, why not.

08-04-2010, 12:01 AM
I guess WALL I can do is throw my vote onto the pile, huh?

08-04-2010, 12:11 AM
I'll change my vote to WALL. BJORK was just a joke in the first place.

08-04-2010, 12:06 PM

So many hours of my childhood have been spent on this game.

Alpha Werewolf
08-04-2010, 01:16 PM
I have quite a few disagreements with your theory post (deck choices is a big one), but I'm only going to post the most egregious one here.

You example of draw 7 in Magic is flat-out wrong.

-Timetwister is legitimately powerful due to it's ridiculuosly low cost.
-Time Spiral is hilariously broken because of the untap trigger that is attached to it. It's free if you have the mana to cast it.
-Time Reversal is probably crap, though only time will tell.
-Memory Jar's power has nothing to do with drawing 7 cards. Have you ever heard of JarGrim? This was a combo deck that was so consistent, so powerful, that WotC had to issue an emergency ban on the Jar. The problem with JarGrim? It used Jar to force you to discard your full hand with at least one Megrim in play, dealing 14 damage right out - and it could do that multiple times, or with multiple Megrims, very fast and very consistently.

That said, in Pokemon there's no limit to Trainers (or at least, there wasn't when this game came out). Oak is broken for this reason, and of course ever deck should start with all your Pots of GreedBills.

Regardless, I'm impressed. Hope to see you finish this LP.

Mr. J
08-04-2010, 02:35 PM
I have quite a few disagreements with your theory post (deck choices is a big one), but I'm only going to post the most egregious one here.

You example of draw 7 in Magic is flat-out wrong.

-Timetwister is legitimately powerful due to it's ridiculuosly low cost.
-Time Spiral is hilariously broken because of the untap trigger that is attached to it. It's free if you have the mana to cast it.
-Time Reversal is probably crap, though only time will tell.
-Memory Jar's power has nothing to do with drawing 7 cards. Have you ever heard of JarGrim? This was a combo deck that was so consistent, so powerful, that WotC had to issue an emergency ban on the Jar. The problem with JarGrim? It used Jar to force you to discard your full hand with at least one Megrim in play, dealing 14 damage right out - and it could do that multiple times, or with multiple Megrims, very fast and very consistently.

Regardless, I'm impressed. Hope to see you finish this LP.

I don't see what you are disputing about my argument with draw 7s? I know that the cards you mentioned are very broken in part because of their other abilities, but the draw 7 part of them is incredibly powerful still. draw 7s let you see 7 more cards out of your deck. Also, the ability to use them when they are most useful to you can be huge. A single draw 7 card can get you a lot of card advantage. Stacking multiple draw 7s means you can hit another draw 7 off of your first one giving you even more cards to look at. In pokemon oak is powerful because he can get you to what you need. Really need that one evolution card? You opponent have 1 prize left and all you need is a gust of wind? Gone through all of your energy cards and need more? Oak can get you to those cards you need, just like draw 7s can. running low on cards while comboing out? Timespiral/twister/warp will get you more cards to keep going with.

Also, I'm curious what you mean by deck choices? Do you mean aggro v. control v. combo?

Mr. J
08-05-2010, 02:34 AM
And WALL wins. Update in the morning.

Until then
one of the nice things about GBC games is that the quality is low enough I can edit it in paint!

Alpha Werewolf
08-05-2010, 07:00 AM
I don't see what you are disputing about my argument with draw 7s? I know that the cards you mentioned are very broken in part because of their other abilities, but the draw 7 part of them is incredibly powerful still. draw 7s let you see 7 more cards out of your deck. Also, the ability to use them when they are most useful to you can be huge. A single draw 7 card can get you a lot of card advantage. Stacking multiple draw 7s means you can hit another draw 7 off of your first one giving you even more cards to look at. In pokemon oak is powerful because he can get you to what you need. Really need that one evolution card? You opponent have 1 prize left and all you need is a gust of wind? Gone through all of your energy cards and need more? Oak can get you to those cards you need, just like draw 7s can. running low on cards while comboing out? Timespiral/twister/warp will get you more cards to keep going with.

Also, I'm curious what you mean by deck choices? Do you mean aggro v. control v. combo?

In pokemon, I agree. In Magic, the effect highly depends on the cost.

Deck choices: I mean using UWR for control and using ANT for combo. control has much better options to show (any form of draw-go), and for combo I think you should pick a more iconic one (Stroke is a big one). RDW works for aggro.

08-05-2010, 01:22 PM
Small correction: The "flip a coin, draw either 1 card if tails or 8 if heads" is Gambler, not Imposter prof. Oak.

Imposter prof. Oak actually lets your opponent shuffle his hand into his deck and the draw 7 cards... Which is entirely pointless, really.

Actually, I'd like to see you run a non-aggro deck, since that was what we saw last time... But making a combo or control deck demands a lot of dedication - they rely mostly on rares, and finding them in multiples is no easy task.

Mr. J
08-05-2010, 01:43 PM
Small correction: The "flip a coin, draw either 1 card if tails or 8 if heads" is Gambler, not Imposter prof. Oak.

Imposter prof. Oak actually lets your opponent shuffle his hand into his deck and the draw 7 cards... Which is entirely pointless, really.

Actually, I'd like to see you run a non-aggro deck, since that was what we saw last time... But making a combo or control deck demands a lot of dedication - they rely mostly on rares, and finding them in multiples is no easy task.

I just might make a control deck, but I'm going to need some more cards first. If we get some decent combo cards I can grind some packs to make it work if people really want to see that kind of deck. Thank you for the correction, I couldn't remember which one of those it was.

Mr. J
08-05-2010, 03:15 PM
Episode 2: Slash and Burn

Okay, who was put in charge of naming this place? I came to work this morning and right as I entered the lobby there was a sign on the wall that said “WALL.” I walked into the break room and on the coffee pot was a sign that said “COFFEE.” On my desk was a sign that said “DESK.” I half expected a sign on my pen, someone got to my pencil though! Last time I check this place wasn’t a kindergarten classroom! So, I went through a ripped off all the signs except for the one in the lobby. Some smart-ass had super-glued it to the wall, there goes our deposit!
Well before you people get any more bright ideas I’m going to pick up our shipment of energy cards.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_04.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_05.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_06.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_07.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_08.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_09.png
I had to convince the deliveryman to let them go, but it didn’t take very long. He’s so predictable!
Now before we head off to the grass club for some clear cutting, my sources tell me that we can convince some poor old man that we’re way ahead of where we should be and get some free packs out of it. Off I set to do my daily bad turn when this guy showed up.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_11.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_14.png
Oh no he’s spotted me! Evasive action!
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_15.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_16.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_18editted.png
Let’s hope this works!
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_20editted.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_21.png
Hah! The old milk gag, works every time!

Mr. J
08-05-2010, 03:16 PM
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Yes, we already knew that; now let’s get back to ripping off Dr. Mason.
And here’s the highlights from the packs.
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The articuno and pinsir won’t be too useful right now, but maybe later. That Rapidash on the other hand is gonna be a big help.

I continued along with my day when out of no where a UFO flew out of the sky! The pixilated woman next to me started screaming! A bunch of people grabbed hand held cameras and started running! Every dog in the neighborhood started barking! It was chaos! The army rolled in with their tanks and artillery but it was not very effective! In a moment of desperation the gruff commander turned to me and said. “we’ve got nothing left kid, you’re our only hope!”

I knew what I had to do. Play a children’s card game with him until he returned back to his home-world!

Mr. J
08-05-2010, 03:17 PM
He led off with a some strange alien mind powers! Luckily for me he forgot to make it resistant to fire!
And our magical space lizard took it out.
Next he transformed our local sleep doctor into some strange yo-yo holding animal! As his wife screamed in terror our lizard defeated the monster with a breath of flame and an amplified slash of his claws.
Then, Imakuna unleashed his ultimate attack, Swarm of Farfetch’d! How would our hero ever make it through the storm of leaks and coins?
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_49.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_50.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_51.png
Luckily our scientists had just finished their special coin flip jammer and every single fartech’d missed (seriously he had 3 farfetch’d in a row and got tails with every leak slap attack).

All that was left was to defeat his true form! A psychic couch-potato!
Well that was easier than I expected!
The army commander rushed up to us and thanked us for saving the entire planet. As a reward he gave us 4 booster packs that had nothing of interest in them. “Gee thanks” I said sarcastically as I opened another goldeen.

Now with all of our free cards, it was time to fix this piece of junk we’ve been carrying around.

Mr. J
08-05-2010, 03:18 PM
Charmander and Friends Deck 2.0

2x Charmander Lvl 10
2x Charmeleon Lvl 32
1x Charizard Lvl 76
2x Growlithe Lvl 2
1x Arcanine Lvl 45
3x Ponyta Lvl 10
1x Rapidash Lvl 33
1x Magmar Lvl 24

2x Magnemite Lvl 2
1x Magneton Lvl 28

2x Machop Lvl 20

2x Rattata Lvl 9
1x raticate Lvl 41
1x Jigglypuff Lvl 14

Trainer Cards
1x Professor Oak
3x Bill
1x Switch
1x Computer Search
1x Pluspower
4x Potion
2x Energy Search
1x Energy Removal

12x Fire Energy
6x Lightning Energy
5x Fighting Energy
1x Double Colorless Energy

In –
1x Charmeleon Lvl 32
1x Ponyta Lvl 10
1x Rapidash Lvl 33
1x Machop Lvl 20
1x Jigglypuff Lvl 14
2x Energy Search
1x Energy Removal
1x Bill
2x Potion
2x Fire Energy
1x Double Colorless Energy

Out –
2x Pikachu Lvl 12
1x Riachu Lvl 40
1x Zapdos Lvl 64
2x Diglett Lvl 8
1x Dugtrio Lvl 36
1x Machoke Lvl 40
1x Meowth Lvl 14
2x Full Heal
2x Lightning Energy
1x Fighting Energy

The 2nd Charmeleon, 3rd Ponyta and Rapidash were easy includes. Jigglypuff seems like an odd choice, but its first ability coupled with its decent two-damage-for-two-energy attack means it can stall out your opponent for quite a while and get in there for some damage. A stall pokemon seems like an odd choice but it’s good to have a plan in case of an energy light draw or an aggressive pokemon that counters your decks main type. I am not a fan of the Pikachu line just because they don’t have enough power to do what we want. Zapdos requires far too many lightning energy cards to played without the Pikachu line. Diglett and Dugtrio are too weak for the deck and their grass weakness won’t be much help in the next club. Machoke is a personal favorite pokemon of mine, but I feel the deck doesn’t need him. Machop by itself is really great and the deck should be fast enough to win before it needs machoke. Meowth is just terrible.

Energy Search is another auto 4 of along the lines of bill. An energy search is strictly better than a basic energy because it can get any type you need. If you have more than one type in your deck (which you should to avoid getting blown out) then you want 4 energy searches. Energy removal is a great way to keep opponents off the energy they need to run. Its better against control decks than aggressive decks, but putting your opponent back a turn energy wise can slow down an aggro deck. Bill the 3rd has joined our merry band of brokenness. Swapping 2 full heals for 2 potions will help keep our guys alive longer. Once we get some better trainers (oaks, computer searches or gusts of wind) these will be swapped out for them, but for now the free heal provided by potions will help keep our guys alive long enough to do their job.

Energy-wise the deck is still a little shaky. Luckily a lot of our guys run off colorless energy so having 3 types in the deck doesn’t hurt. Adding more fire energy is nice because charmander and charmeleon’s allow us to turn those extra fire energy cards into pure damage. Most of our pokemon only require 1-2 energy to operate so we can dump the extras into ember and flamethrower. Depending on what we pull from the next few packs I’ll either cut fighting or lightning and go with just 2 types. If we get some really crazy stuff I may scrap both and get a new color (water is actually looking okay right now, but it’s skewed towards control and wouldn’t gel well with the current deck).

http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PTCGCD1.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PTCGCD2.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PTCGCD3.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PTCGCD8.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PTCGCD9.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PTCGCD10.png

Mr. J
08-05-2010, 03:19 PM
Now that we’ve got our new deck and let’s go beat a grass club!
Let’s do this! Oh wait… no basics.
Let’s try this again…
There we go finally.
This adventure isn’t off to a great start… that machop is going to take out our growlithe before we can take it out.
Luckily we draw a potion so we’ll come out ahead against him.
Growlithe even takes a good sized bite out of the tangelo that follows up. It finishes off our starting growlithe, but a second one takes his place and finishes the fight.
This ghastly is a momentary distraction and keeps our growlithe asleep for a while, but he goes down with the help of a pluspower.
The prizes don’t yield too much but we do get a farfetch’d one of my personal favorite pokemon.

Mr. J
08-05-2010, 03:21 PM
Now on to the actual club! Losing to Brittany is actually quite difficult. Her deck is absolutely atrocious and her pokemon are severely underpowered.
Heather isn’t much better, especially because she starts with only 1 basic pokemon.
Here’s our opening hand (the rattata and ponyta that it started with are already out). It may not look too great, but against heathers start we can win on turn 2! Rattata + a pluspower we can get with out computer search will KO ditto in two hits. Unfortunately when I went to get that pluspower I found it was in my prizes :(
This actually happens a lot and is one reason you want to be careful running singletons (1 copy in your deck). They can get stuck in your prizes and they won’t be there when you want them.
Luckily, Heather doesn’t draw another pokemon and rattata goes all the way.
Once again the prize packs don’t give up any good cards :( it seems Tanto used up all the luck.

Now onto our final club member before Nikki the club leader, Kristin.
Here is our opening hand.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_130.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%202/PokemonTradingCardGame_131.png
It is very energy light, but we can dump most of it play and then use oak to refill.
We basically start out with a huge pokemon advantage. Charmander starts out but oak gives us a fighting energy for our machop so I retreat back charmander and go to town on lickitung.
Unfortunately Kristin makes up for Imakuni’s bad luck and nails 4 heads in a row.
That’s okay because ponyta and a pluspower come in to clean up.
A gloom and an oddish later, ponyta tramples over kritin’s face.
What? Your Ponyta is evolving!

Well unfortunately guys that’s as far as we’ll be going right now. I’m saving Nikki for the next update along with Imakuni’s return and updating the deck.

08-05-2010, 04:44 PM
This is making want to play the game again. I think when Black and White come out I'm going to get back into the TCG. I like the simplicity of it. Really wish they'd make a DS version. Just toss in all the DP, Platinum and Arceus cards.

08-05-2010, 08:42 PM
Okay, who was put in charge of naming this place? I came to work this morning and right as I entered the lobby there was a sign on the wall that said “WALL.” I walked into the break room and on the coffee pot was a sign that said “COFFEE.” On my desk was a sign that said “DESK.”


08-06-2010, 09:38 AM
Actually, I'd like to see you run a non-aggro deck, since that was what we saw last time... But making a combo or control deck demands a lot of dedication - they rely mostly on rares, and finding them in multiples is no easy task.

Problem is, there's no real reason to play this way, at least in the Game Boy version. The AI opponents can't really beat you unless you give them loads of extra time, so the optimal deck is the one that denies them this. Trying to draw the game out by setting up a Damage Swap lock or a Moltres kill just gives them more time to draw into something stupid, and isn't even more effective than rampaging through with Hitmonchans and Electabuzzes, so why bother?

Energy Search is another auto 4 of along the lines of bill. An energy search is strictly better than a basic energy because it can get any type you need. If you have more than one type in your deck (which you should to avoid getting blown out) then you want 4 energy searches.

Not quite; Energy Search thins the deck of an Energy, making it less likely you'll draw some in the future. Most decks like this, but some don't; in a deck I was fiddling around with prior to starting this LP (ah, happy days), I played 14 Energy and 4 Search and would frequently run out if the game went long. There's nothing more disheartening than having to use an Item Finder on an Energy Search, except maybe not finding any Energy when you play it.

08-07-2010, 11:55 AM
I am thoroughly enjoying the funny screenshot edits.
I'll definitely be tuning in for the next episode.
"Pokemon: TCG - Gotta beat 'em, WALL" or "Grass Club - A WALLk in the park"

Mr. J
08-09-2010, 10:04 PM
Working on the next update as we speak. It should be done either tomorrow night or the day after. I'll try to squeeze another one out around Friday, but after that I'll be off for a week because I'm heading to Oklahoma for orientation!

So I've been watching Evangelion ...


The next update is only imakuni + nikki but it's still 72 pics >.>

Mr. J
08-10-2010, 02:02 PM
Episode 3: Cleaning Up

Last time WALL was burning through the grass club and had just discovered the location of the club leader, Nikki. So why don’t we go ahead and beat her?
Well, because we’ve got some business to take care of. Imakuni’s back and well who doesn’t like free packs?
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_02.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_03edit.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_04.png
Here’s our opening hand; fairly weak without any great basics. Hopefully imakuni will do what he does best and flounder for several turns.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_05.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_06.png
This doesn’t look too good…
Fortunately Imakuni doesn’t have enough psychic energy cards and with the help of an energy removal hypno goes off to take a nap.
Meanwhile, we’ve drawn a charmander and have been powering it up.
Now this is when I make an awesomely bad mistake. I completely forgot that ratata doesn’t have a retreat cost and that charmeleon only had 2 energies on it. So, I put an energy on ratata to cover the retreat cost. When I retreated him I realized my mistake but it was too late. The end result, instead of slashing this psyduck into submission, charmeleon just sat there like a bump on a log and got hit for 60 damage! Remember kids, reading is important.
The next psyduck goes down from a flamethrower and imakuni brings out his farfetch’d again. He actually gets a heads for once though and takes out charmeleon (if I hadn’t messed up before, charmeleon would still have 40 damage left before he was KO’ed). It was okay because I still had my ratata and a machop all ready to go.

Mr. J
08-10-2010, 02:03 PM
The rest of our match went by without any issues and imakuni coughs up his 4 packs. It seems WALL’s luck is turning for the better!
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_20.png (ignore the energy retrieval and focus on the gust of wind at the bottom)
Going into the third pack I’d have been happy with what we got so far, but the game decides that it really wants WALL to have a water deck.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_21.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_22.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_23.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_24.png
The 4th pack didn’t have much but the rare was interesting.
The ability to remove 2 energy cards may sound awesome, but it isn’t really as great as it looks. First of all we have to get rid of one of our energy cards resulting in the same net difference as normal energy removal. Secondly, both of the energy cards have to come from the same pokemon. The vast majority of times, removing 1 energy card is all that WALL will need to “disable” a pokemon or a specific attack. If super energy removal could get rid of energy cards from multiple pokemon it would be great because you could effectively eliminate their active pokemon and the pokemon are going to bring in next.

On a side note, I accidentally swapped gambler with imposter professor oak in my theory post. Here’s gambler. It’s not very good because it can really screw you over and getting 1 more card compared to oak isn’t worth a 50% chance to toss the game.

Okay, now WALL’s all set to challenge Nikki! He finds her over at her boyfriend’s house and berates her for slacking (oh the pokemon puns) at her duties.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_29.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_30.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_31.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_32.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_33.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_34.png

Mr. J
08-10-2010, 02:04 PM
Before she goes, she stops to make out with her boyfriend for a while. WALL promptly pukes in the guys planter.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_35.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_36.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_37.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_38.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_39.png
Yeah sure, books… if that’s what kids call it these days!

WALL pulls himself together and heads over to the grass club, it’s medal time!
Or not, we’ve got a lot of cards so let’s work on our deck before we defeatduel Nikki.

Mr. J
08-10-2010, 02:05 PM
Charmander and Friends Deck 3.0

3x Charmander Lvl 10
2x Charmeleon Lvl 32
1x Charizard Lvl 76
3x Ponyta Lvl 10
2x Rapidash Lvl 33
2x Magmar Lvl 24

2x Machop Lvl 20

2x Rattata Lvl 9

Trainer Cards
1x Professor Oak
4x Bill
2x Energy Search
3x Energy Removal
1x Switch
1x Computer Search
1x Pluspower
1x Gust of Wind
4x Potion

18x Fire Energy
6x Fighting Energy
1x Double Colorless Energy

In –
1x Charmander Lvl 10
1x Rapidash Lvl 33
1x Magmar Lvl 24
1x Bill
2x Energy Removal
1x Gust of Wind
6x Fire Energy
1x Fighting Energy

Out –
2x Growlithe Lvl 2
1x Arcanine Lvl 45
2x Magnemite Lvl 2
1x Magneton Lvl 28
1x raticate Lvl 41
1x Jigglypuff Lvl 14
6x Lightning Energy

These swaps actually worked out perfectly. I put in all the new stuff and then took out what I didn’t like and it lined up nearly perfectly! So let’s start with what went in.

Charmander and Rapidash filled out more of our core creatures. Magmar seems like an odd choice but his very efficient 3 damage for 2 energy fire punch and flamethrower (-1 fire energy for 50 damage, just like charmeleon) gives us something else to dump extra energies into. Playset (4 of a specific card. Comes from number of copies of a unique card allowed in a deck, 4) of Bill get! 2 (!) more energy removals adds a lot to our deck’s disruption package. Now disruption is something that I haven’t talked about yet, but is a key part of aggro decks. Disruption – Anything that slows your opponent’s development down. In magic you’re the basic disruption spells are bounce (http://magiccards.info/query?q=!Man-o'-War) (returning their creatures to their hands so they have to pay for them again) and land destruction (http://magiccards.info/un/en/38.html) (because you can only play 1 land per turn, land destruction sets them back a turn in effect). In PTCG energy removal is your disruption (you could argue that gust of wind could be disruption too) because it sets your opponent back a turn energy wise and/or color screws. Going from 1 to 3 energy removals will give us quite a bit more game against control decks because we can stop them from getting to the higher energy requirements for their attacks. Gust of Wind is always great and will let us steal (winning a game you would lose otherwise) a lot of games by pulling in a weak benched poke for that last prize. More fire energy is always better. I don’t really need this extra fighting energy but so any of my pokes have a colorless energy in their attacks that it won’t hurt us and we’ll gain more consistency with our machops.

Now the more important part of this, what came out. I am really happy with this part because I’ve wanted to take out about 90% of these cards and it worked out perfectly :). The growlithe line comes out because it lacks the speed that we’re going for with this deck and because I really hate arcanine as an evolution. Out goes the electric pokemon. I never actually used any of them but trust me they are fairly weak and not what we’re looking for. Raticate is one of those cards that is decent but just doesn’t have a place. It’s a good evolution because it is at it’s worst ratata with more health, but the idea with ratata is to get in for an attack or two and then retreat for your charmeleons, magmars and rapidashes. Raticate is just not needed. Now this final cut was the hardest for me. I love Jigglypuff Lvl 14, but it just doesn’t jive with the deck and because we have a lot more power I don’t need to worry about stuff like articunos, laprases etc. At one point I had it as a 1 – 1 split (one of each) for ratata and jigglypuff, but I feel like ratata fits better. Just in case I bring it up later, a miser is 1 copy of a card in a deck, our single jigglypuff would be called a misery jigglypuff. Electric pokes take their energies out with them.

Over all I am very happy with this deck. I’d like another charmeleon, ratata, rapidash, charmander and some more oaks + computer searches; but we’re in a really great place right now. I’ll move through another gym club or two with this deck and then hopefully work on that water based control deck that the deck is broadcasting to me (maybe water and grass? Poison is amazing in control decks). I’ll start taking deck name ideas if you guys have some.

Mr. J
08-10-2010, 02:06 PM
Okay, back to the game. WALL tries again, a little more cautiously this time.
Okay here’s our opener.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_46.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_47.png
Very solid, Machop will serve as a good early offense and charmander can sweep through her team once it gets enough energy.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_48.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_49.png
Unfortunately Nikki gets a decent draw this game. Here Gloom poisons Machop (poison causes 10 damage between every turn so in effect 20 damage per turn!) which is bad news for WALL.
Fortunately switching out removes poison. Charmander takes this gloom out with ember, but Nikki has another one fully powered up.
Unfortunately I messed up and forgot that between the 20 damage from Glooms attack, 20 poison damage and the 10 poison damage already on charmander he’d be KO’d. I even had a potion to prevent this.
Machop is left to hold the ground against gloom through poisoning. This isn’t looking good for WALL.
Never mind. This ponyta alone could sweep through Nikki’s whole deck. WALL has a rapidash in his hand too. Talk about turning the tables.
A potion and an energy removal allows machop to take out this gloom.
Bret Michaels gets revenge on WALL and finished off machop before it can hurt Nikki’s new walking palm tree. That’s okay because rapidash can do it just fine.
This just in, Agility is stupidly broken.

Mr. J
08-10-2010, 02:08 PM
Rapidash proceeds to kill the rest of Nikki’s bench... without taking a single hit.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_69edit.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_72edit.png
Oh and with this second rapidash, poison isn’t much of a problem…
I kind of feel bad for Nikki. She was kind of close to winning for a little bit, but then WALL manage to hit every single coin flip for the rest of the duel.
Nikki is so touched by WALL’s play that she renounces her life of sin and goes off to join a convent.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_75.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_76.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_77.png
Medal count – 1
Her packs aren’t half bad either!
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_80.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_81.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_82.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_83.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_84.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_85.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_86.png

Mr. J
08-10-2010, 02:09 PM
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_87.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_88.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%203/PokemonTradingCardGame_89.png

Now I really think the game wants me to build a water deck. First though, WALL needs to go beat the lightning club.

Next time on Let’s Play Pokemon: The Trading Card Game, Fire and Lightning!
Sorry about the micro post. I don't have the program that I used to combine screen shots any more.

08-10-2010, 02:14 PM
I think karma is finally striking back on this game with all those coinflips you won.

Aside from that, your mistakes are really hurting your Charmander and its evolutions.

08-10-2010, 03:23 PM
When I played this game, I found I could easily make coin flips land the way I wanted them to by timing my button press well.

Or was I just imagining that?

Mr. J
08-10-2010, 03:34 PM
I honestly don't know. It remember having somewhat the same experience when I played it a long time ago, but it may have just been confirmation bias. When I beat the game a year or two ago I used a deck like nikkis (using venusaur and exeggutor) to beat the champions and I noticed quite a bit of randomness.

08-11-2010, 08:14 PM
So I started playing a game of my own when this LP got picked up again. Just finished it a couple hours ago. I played it back in the day, but I had zero grasp of strategy.

I'm convinced I beat Ronald in the most humiliating way possible;he decked out from Firestarter/Scoop Up abuse without even taking a prize in the process. I could've ended it earlier, but I found it too amusing to pass up.

Mr. J
08-16-2010, 07:44 PM
I haven't forgotten about you all. It's orientation week and I don't have the time to do a full episode so expect one Sunday or Monday.

Mr. J
08-21-2010, 09:04 PM
Episode 4 – Riding the Lightning

Welcome back to Let’s Play Pokemon: The Trading Card Game! The last update was a little short because I split the grass club into two sections; luckily the lightning club went quite a bit smoother. Actually, it was a walk in the park (oh the puns) compared to the grass club. The Charmander and Friends deck is finally coming together and working like a well oiled machine. Small Spoiler warning-not a single trainer in the lightning club has a chance at victory, ever. I think that’s enough introduction so let’s get on with the show!

Hey look it’s Imakuni!
Ooooh free packs!
Imakuni holds out on WALL though and he is forced to resort to drastic measures. Battling with a children’s card game! Fortunately, Imakuni’s horrible at it.
But alas, he has run out of booster packs so instead of 4 booster packs, WALL gets…
The worst trainer in the game :(

Well, WALL’s moving on to the lightning club and even though it is quite easy, having some type advantage never hurts.
2x Diglett LV 8
2x Fighting Energy
2x Rattata Lv 9
2x Fire Energy

Now, onto the lightning club! I actually really love the inside of the lightning club. It’s like the stage for a rock concert with all these lights that flash and a spotlight on each trainer. Most of the other clubs feel so bland compared to the lightning club. You’ll see the others in a bit (hopefully) and will get to see for yourselves. Here’s Jennifer and her Pikachu deck. I’m not explaining their decks for now because Tanto’s already done that for me. Once WALL starts getting into new content (approximately the update after next) I’ll give a little blurb beforehand.
So I herd you like paint edits . . .
Here’s WALL’s opening hand
Normally I would start this hand out with charmander. I have enough fire energy for 2 embers or a flamethrower (once I draw a charmeleon) and a pluspower to take down anything with an odd amount of health. Because this is the lightning club though, diglett is the obvious lead off. It has a strong 1 energy for 2 damage (If I haven’t mentioned this before, all damage in pokemon TCG comes in multiples of 10 so when I say 2 damage I mean 20 and 7 hp means 70 hp, etc.) that will wreck about 90% of the pokemon used by lightning club member. You could argue against using diglett because if Jennifer leads off with flying Pikachu your dead in the water, but Jennifer is too. Flying Pikachu’s strongest attack does 30 damage, which becomes 0 because diglett is resistant to electric. WALL’s deck’s mid-game is about 1000 times better than Jennifer’s, so stalling out for a bit is okay.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%204/PokemonTradingCardGame_41.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%204/PokemonTradingCardGame_44.png
WALL draws a switch will be handy if charmander get taken out somehow. It’s not really needed, but it helps.
Meanwhile, flying Pikachu’s been doing a whole lot of nothing and charmander has been getting ready for the eventual charmeleon.
Pikachu has fly which is exactly like rapidash’s agility. Charmander can’t switch in until Jennifer misses a coin flip.
Magmar is getting charged up and if WALL gets him to two fire energies before drawing a charmeleon diglett will come out and magmar will go in.
Speaking of charmeleons.

Mr. J
08-21-2010, 09:05 PM
Diglett switches out for charmeleon and a pluspowered slash takes out flying Pikachu. Pluspower is one of those cards that seems underpowered, but a lot of pokemon have hp that requires an extra hit without a pluspower. This Pikachu would have been able to get a fly off and possibly kill charmeleon without a pluspower. Many pokemon have 7 hp so they take three hits from a 3 damage attack. In these cases a pluspower is a time walk (http://magiccards.info/query?q=time+walk&v=card&s=cname).
Surfing Pikachu joins his friend at the bottom of the ocean thanks to a flamethrower and WALL claims victory because Jennifer only has 2 pokemon.
The game keeps broadcasting that water control deck. Mr. Fuji is a really cool card and is kind of like a scoop up. You don’t get the basic pokemon back, but you can still get those cards. If you have only 1 of a given evolution or have used a double-colorless energy, then losing both of those to a scoop up hurts. Mr. Fuji also works amazingly with slowbro because you can use him to sponge 70 damage and then use fuji to shuffle him back in.
1/4 down. Now onto the hardest guy in the club. Personally I think that Brandon should be the lightning club master just because his deck is so so so soooo much better.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%204/PokemonTradingCardGame_62e.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%204/PokemonTradingCardGame_63.png
Here’s the opener. Not the best hand, but a charmander means a quick charmeleon slashing away because of the double-colorless energy.
And ironically this is the first draw!
Magnemites are some of the most annoying pokemons because a few lucky flips and your fully powered up evolution goes down to a magnemite with 1 energy . . .
Luckily Brandon misses his flips and magnemite almost take him down before evolving into magneton.
Unfortunately this is the only attack magneton can use, which is terrible.
Magmar makes short work of him.
Brandon then sends out eevee, one of the odder pokemon cards in my opinion.
It’s absolutely terrible by itself because it has low hp and bad attacks, but it can then evolve into flareon, vaporeon or jolteon. They are decent, but the fact that you can only have 4 eevees in a deck means you can only really have 3 evolutions, which makes running more than 1 of the evolutions not such a great idea.
Magmar takes eevee out handily and with him Brandon.
This is one of those odd times when Brandon does not draw an electabuzz. If he had an electabuzz it would have been bad news for WALL because that magmar would not have lasted long and the only thing left was a charmeleon with 1 energy card and a ponyta. Electabuzz can stall you out with thundershock and then finish off with thunderpunch, coming out completely unscathed.

Mr. J
08-21-2010, 09:06 PM
And WALL gets more bad rares
Time to modify the deck a bit.
1x Machop LV 20
1x Ponyta LV 10
1x Diglett LV 8
1x Magmar LV 24
Even though magmar did well in the last match, he doesn’t work well in a pure aggro deck because he has no turn 1 attack. He requires 2 fire energies to do anything making him work. Ponyta can lead off with a double colorless and be all set for agility shenanigans when it evolves while getting in some solid damage.

Now onto the really easy guy. You can probably beat him with the squirtle and friends deck, even with the type disadvantage.
And the opener. This one is really, really good.
T1 (T means turn) charmander, scratch.
T2 computer search double colorless, evolve to charmeleon, slash.
T3 start flamethrowering.
Yeah, koffing isn’t going to last long here. . .
This is why self-destruct really sucks some times. This magneton could suicide to take out WALL’s charmeleon, but because it’s Nicholas’ last pokemon it is forced to use the terrible sonicboom.
Charmeleon takes it down like a pro and WALL is ready to take on the gym master.
But first the packs. A second oak, finally. Now WALL can safely computer search for oak if he needs it. Before if it was in the prizes WALL was SOL after ditching stuff to computer search and would have to get something like a bill.
Okay, let’s do this!

Mr. J
08-21-2010, 09:09 PM
Gotcha’ we’re gonna go back and get some more free packs first. I want to make sure WALL has enough cards for that new deck.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%204/PokemonTradingCardGame_112.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%204/PokemonTradingCardGame_114.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%204/PokemonTradingCardGame_115.png
Easy packs. Good packs too.
I really love this tangela. It can T1 paralyze. T2 T3 poison and then just start stalling with stun spore until they die to poison.
Another Rapidash, energy removal and gust of wind are welcome additions and go straight into the deck along with hitmonchan.
Now we can take on this guy.
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Episode%204/PokemonTradingCardGame_148e.png He looks like he would be at home in Nazi Germany to me
The opening hand (the other cards are a fire and fighting energy). Looks very good to me!
Oh no! This electrabuzz can be bad news for WALL.
Thanks to the magic of energy removal though, electabuzz basically sits there doing nothing (I think I draw 3 of them in this game)!
And after some agility shenanigans, electabuzz drops out.
Isaac sends out a magnemite, so WALL retreats rapidash (no retreat cost is amazing) so charmeleon can easily 1 shot it with flamethrower.
Just to highlight the power of energy removal, here’s the comparison of Isaac’s board and WALL’s board.

Mr. J
08-21-2010, 09:10 PM
Yeah, I don’t think Isaac’s gonna win this.
Lightning Medal Get!
Boosters! Another double colorless is awesome and really helps.

I may go through the lightning club again, but do a video to explain a bit of the turn by turn strategy and to show how the game feels in motion. So, check back tomorrow or later tonight and it’ll probably be up.

I'm taking names for the new deck. It looks like it will be water and either grass or lightning.

Next time, well I don’t know where I want to go next time.

08-21-2010, 10:41 PM
I really love this tangela. It can T1 paralyze. T2 poison and then just start stalling with stun spore until you die to poison.

Surely it can't poison until turn 3 unless you get lucky with a trainer?

Mr. J
08-21-2010, 11:07 PM
Oops, I was thinking of gloom. Sorry you can't poison until turn 3, but it's still a great pokemon for stalling and breaking down big expensive guys like the legendary birds.

08-22-2010, 10:57 AM
Well you can't give us a Pokémon like that and expect us to not see it used! Go Water/Grass!

Also wow. I really didn't know what the hell I was doing when I played this as a kid.

Mr. J
08-23-2010, 10:15 PM
Whew, had some extra time so I threw together 2 videos and made the water deck for you guys.

Here's Ronald and Imakuni (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owy3UhCgE9U)

Here's Nikki, Isaac and Imakuni (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RLpTmx1JqQ)

Sorry about all of the skipping, it's really the only way to keep the games short. If you're having trouble following watch the duel with isaac because I didn't skip anything in it.

Okay, here's the first pass at the water deck. It's actually more of a psychic deck, but almost all of the finishers (besides kadabra) are water so I'll call it a water deck. You may notice that the card selection has gone up quite a bit. I ground on the grass club for a bit for packs and got a decent amount of what I needed. Could use some more pokemon traders though.

The deck revolves around alakazam and slowbro's abilities to move damage counters with scoop up and Mr. Fuji. Then it sticks out a finisher and protects it with that. Most of the trainers are search to find the key cards. I'll go through it card by card tomorrow, I'm really tired right now X.X

Oh and before I forget, it needs a name!

Insert Name Here Deck 1.0

2x Horsea Lv 19
1x Seadra Lv 23
2x Magikarp Lv 8
1x Gyarados Lv 41
1x Lapras Lv 31
2x Articuno Lv 35

3x Abra Lv 10
2x Kadabra Lv 38
1x Alakazam Lv 42
3x Slowpoke Lv 18
2x Slowbro Lv 26

2x kangaskhan Lv 40

Trainer Cards
4x Professor Oak
3x Bill
3x Mr. Fuji
1x Pokemon Trader
4x Switch
3x Computer Search
4x Energy Search
1x Scoop Up
1x Item Finder

8x Psychic Energy
8x Water Energy

http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_32.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_33.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_34.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_35.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_36.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_37.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_38.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_39.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_40.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_41.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_42.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_43.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_44.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_45.png

Mr. J
08-23-2010, 10:16 PM
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_46.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_47.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_48.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_49.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_50.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_51.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_52.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_53.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_54.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_55.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_56.png

Mr. J
08-23-2010, 10:18 PM
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_57.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_58.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_59.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_60.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_61.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_62.png
http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_63.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_64.png http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y333/mrj217531/LP%20Pokemon%20TCG%20Water%20Deck/PokemonTradingCardGame_65.png

Okay I'm going to go collapse now. Thank god I don't have class until noon tomorrow.

Mr. J
09-07-2010, 07:58 PM
I’m going to start this off by saying this isn’t an update (I just have to write it up). The deck list got a little rushed out the door there and I didn’t really get a chance to explain it. “but you’ve had two whole weeks to do this!” some of you may be saying, well my Microsoft office trial ran out the day after I posted that deck list and I’ve been trying to get it back up and running for the last two weeks. After many attempts at downloading 2007, 2010 64 bit and 2010 32 bit I finally got it (about an hour before my chem lab was due too X.X) downloaded and installed. So I’m going to dive head first into the deck by telling you that I’m ignoring the decklist I posted!

Yep, I’m going to talk about why I didn’t go water and grass. Well, in short the deck just didn’t work out at all. I didn’t have enough good grass mons to let me ramp up into the good water mons and the psychic mons distracted me. The psychic mons were just too good and played in with the deck so much better than the grass mons. Oh and I’m going to post the decklist as of the end of the next update.

2x Magikarp Lv 8
1x Gyarados Lv 41
2x Lapras Lv 31
2x Articuno Lv 35

3x Abra Lv 10
2x Kadabra Lv 38
1x Alakazam Lv 42
3x Slowpoke Lv 18
2x Slowbro Lv 26

2x kangaskhan Lv 40

Trainer Cards
4x Professor Oak
4x Bill
3x Mr. Fuji
2x Pokemon Trader
1x Switch
3x Computer Search
4x Energy Search
1x Scoop Up
1x Item Finder

5x Psychic Energy
12x Water Energy

So whenever I look at a decklist the first thing I ask is “what does this deck use to win?” This question will tell you what kind of deck it is. If it’s an aggro deck then it will usually be “a bunch of cheap, efficient pokemon.” If it’s a combo deck the it will be “with these two or three cards that work great together but not as great apart.” Finally with a control deck it will be “with a really big, slow, hard to kill pokemon.” Looking at this decklist, two pokemon show up as ways to win, Articuno and Gyarados. If the deck sticks one of these guys with enough hp left they will go through the entire opponent’s team (you could also lump kadabra in here, but he’s a little too squishy to be a real “finisher” in my opinion [a finisher is just a big guy that you use to win]). So we know it’s a control deck.

Next up we can ask “what will this deck be doing for the first few turns?” So looking at the cards there aren’t very many good pokemon to be put out early. Abra is relatively weak but can lock up the game with paralyze while you build up energy cards; Lapras is probably the strongest pokemon out of the gate but in terms of energy investment to power output, gyarados and articuno far outpace it; slowpoke is okay and his recycle ability can get you back bills and oaks; kangaskahn is a great wall but not much after that. So basically the deck will be holding the front with bulky pokemon and powering up finishers.

After that, “How does the deck stop its opponent from winning?” This is probably my favorite part of deck. Slowbro and alakazam allow the deck to stop your opponent’s offense dead in its tracks as soon as turn 2. That’s amazing! Slowbro’s ability effectively adds 60 hp to your active pokemon, alakazam adds even more. With one of these guys on the bench it’s almost impossible for your opponent to take out your active pokemon. Then scoop up or Mr. Fuji shuffle all of that damage back into your deck or into your hand. I also want to talk about redundancy. Having both slowbro and alkazam in the deck may seem like a little too much, but having more of the synergy (I consider this a synergy not a combo)is always better. This deck needs to have a slowbro or alakazam out on the field as soon as possible.

Also note that there are 21 trainers in this deck, 14 of those get you cards out of your deck. That is how the deck works, if it weren’t for the absurd number and power-level of trainers the deck would simply fizzle (not pull together and loose) about 50% of the time. Having all that card search means that the deck can consistently get its finishers out and its slowbros/alakazams.

Okay that’s enough for now I think. The next update should be coming up either Thursday or Friday.

hint: it's the fighting club

Mr. J
10-04-2010, 07:45 PM
I’m going to start this off by saying this isn’t an update (I just have to write it up).
Yeah, that whole just gotta write it up thing didn’t work out too great. This update was originally two different updates and I had the first update all finished. Then, windows mixed up all of my screen caps into a random order when I attempted to organize some. Well, I went back through and sorted out what went where and edited in a few things and took out a few other things. Several hours later I’m down to a lean 84 pictures X.X

Enough about this though, on with the show!

Let’s Play Pokemon: The Trading Card Game: Episode 5: Knuckle Sandwiches: Why game mechanics don’t always transfer well: revenge of the colons:

WALL recently discovered his father’s collection of bruce lee movies and even though he doesn’t understand much of the stories he knows that fighters are BAD ASS, so he seeks out the local sensei in hopes of training and defeating the evil ninja gang of run on sentences that keep taking his lunch money.
Well, WALL arrived at the crack of dawn in hopes of accompanying the master on his daily 100 mile jog. Unfortunately upon arriving WALL was greeted by a middle-aged man wearing a newly pressed business suit.
“So sorry Son, but old master died last night after chocking on a rice noodle. What a shame, something must be done about those rice noodle peddlers!”
The lawyer stormed out of the compound to go file a lawsuit against scrumdidlyumcious noodle co. WALL still hoped to find a student of the great master who may be able to assist him, but the only person in the dojo was a man sitting cross-legged in the middle of the room wearing nothing but a thread-bare robe.
“I see you have come to learn how to defeat the evil sentence clan. I can help you, but first you must seek out the master’s 3 pupils who have scattered to the winds.”
After quite a bit of searching and a reading from a crazy lady who swore she could commune with the dead via a stuffed cat, WALL discovered the location of the 3 students. First up, Chris!
“I have come here to train with the rock club because I lost all of my other energy cards in a game of mahjong with the behind the grass club.”
Chris’ deck (http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Muscles_for_Brains_Deck_(TCG)) is a fairly standard fighting aggro deck. Machops, mankeys and hitmonchans are all fast and powerful attackers. He even has gust of wind and energy removals! The fightning club member’s decks are a step up from the grass and lightning club member’s decks in terms of card quality (how good eac individual card is) but still are fairly sub-par because of their singletons and 2-ofs.
WALL’s opening hand is fairly good. Articuno basically stops Chris’ entire deck and pokemon trader and computer search mean he can get slowbro out on the second turn!
The first and obvious move is to go grab a slowpoke with gyarados and pokemon trader.
Now, WALL could grab a slowbro with computer search right now, but that would leave him entirely dependent on what he can draw over the next couple of turns so a professor oak is a good choice.
Now for some Oakin’!
Not a bad draw, a computer search to find slowbro, an energy search, a lapras, another articuno and a professor oak to reload.
I’d call that an eventful first turn! Chris simply plays an energy on his meowth (which requires 2 to do anything) and passes the turn back to WALL.
WALL simply grabs slowbro, dumps lapras and a freshly drawn kangaskahn onto his bench, powers up articuno with another water energy and passes back the turn.
A few turns and an oak later, Articuno is powered up to max and sneezes on meowth. Oops!
Eegads! A machop. Wait, why didn’t he attack?

Mr. J
10-04-2010, 07:46 PM
Oh yeah, Articuno is resistant to fightning. I find this slightly ironic because as a flying/ice type pokemon articuno is neutral to fightning and 4x weak to rock types in red and blue! For the trading card game, though, all of the legendary birds are resistant to fightning.
Well, blizzard can one-shot machop so WALL proudly charges in and… misses the coin flip. Well that kind of sucks but hey WALL has a slowbro out!
Another machop goes down without much fight and WALL even gets a heads!
You get this cool little animation of a pow with the damage coming out of it when you hit a guy on their bench.
Oh no! A Hitmonchan, that things got some serious fire power!
The moral of this story kids is to never EVER EVER EVER have just one type in your deck because then you’ll get completely hosed on weaknesses and resistances.
Chris’s packs yield nothing of note and WALL ventures forth to find the next lost student. His search leads him to the fire club.
The ominous fire symbol in the lobby strikes WALL as a great complement to the red rugs that lead into the two rooms.
Still ogling the fine rug, WALL spots a man in a combat gear. It must be the next student!
Or it could just be a random guy. That cat lady didn’t seem to helpful
Never one to back out on a challenge, WALL continues his quest at the grass club! On the long journey he wonders if the girls still remember him and what the name of that cute blonde was.
Unfortunately WALL’s dreams of eloping and escaping this lonely island where all anyone does is play cards is squashed by the next student. He stops WALL in the lobby and challenges him to a dance-off!
Racking his memories of the dance lessons he took as a child WALL blurts out the first thing that comes to him.
Oh no, WALL has been challenged to a dance contest by a zombie! Quickly WALL reaches for his chainsaw but it seems that he left it in his other pants. Frantic and scarred out of his mind WALL reaches into his backpack and pulls out the first thing he grabs!
His Pokemon card deck!

Mr. J
10-04-2010, 07:48 PM
Okay, so the trainer’s name isn’t actually Michael Jackson but this is my LP and I’ll steer it as I please.
Michael (Jackson)’s deck ( http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Heated_Battle_Deck_(TCG)) is the first decent example of a control deck. He has several big pokemon that can dish out a lot of damage with enough energy cards and has plenty of trainers to keep them alive. In addition to big expensive pokemon Michael also has 3 hitmonchans and 2 electabuzzes! That’s pretty fierce and could be a big problem if they get going.

The opener. Fairly weak overall with only a kangaskhan but a good amount of search and card draw. Kangaskhan is weak to fighting so a hitmonchan could be a big problem. Scoop-up serves as a pseudo-switch for when WALL gets a good pokemon out, but it could take a few turns to get rolling.
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), Michael leads with an electabuzz so kangaskhan will serve his purpose as a great wall.
WALL computer searches up an articuno and starts powering it up while kangaskhan soaks up some damage. In the main games switching an articuno into an elecatbuzz is near suicide, but well in the trading card game Articuno is a little overpowered. Yep, no weakness probably the main reason it is my favorite finisher.
Electabuzz goes down like a chump and aritcuno presses on!
Oh, WALL also gets an alakazam out…
Kangaskhan drops like a fly, not even touching articuno.
This is probably my favorite image in the whole update. This is what Articuno’s health is effectively. As long as it doesn’t take 70 damage in one hit (which without a weakness would require something like a charizard) it’ll be around for a while.
Poor Lapras, serving as a damage dump :(
WALL has a Mr. Fuji though so it’s fine. This is why alakazam is so great, you can remove the damage via scoop-up and fujis without removing the ability.
Oh look a primeape. Isn’t it cute!
Woops, seems articuno hugged it a little too hard.
Michael, like a true gentleman coughs up some great packs.
Now, where’s the last student. The cat lady had said it was at the fire club but clearly it was the wrong guy. WALL thought with all of his strength and still got nothing. Down-trodden he walked back to his house and prayed at the shrine of his ancestors.
“hey what’s this cardboard box doing in the living room?”
WALL’s father later remarked before taking his shrine away.

Mr. J
10-04-2010, 07:49 PM
Yep, WALL just walked past her.
Jessica, the highest ranking student, is incredibly smug with WALL and proclaims she’ll defeat him.
“come and try me sister”
WALL breaks his silence and their off to the races.
His pride at stake WALL opens…

Almost the worst hand he could get.
WALL prays to draw something good off his bill or Jessica’s machop is going to take out abra next turn!
Well, that’ll work!
Once again, machop can’t really do anything.
Articuno gears up to put it out of its misery.
Oh yeah, here’s WALL’s board right now…
Jessica scrambles out a rattatta and evolves it into a raticate, butarticuno’s paralyze puts a stop to her plans. This is an example of how powerful paralyze on a high damage attack is. If articuno paralyzes with it’s first attack it can follow up with a blizzard for a whopping 80 damage. That’ll kill about 95% of the pokemon in the game.
Another machop serves as a momentary distraction and WALL completely smashes Jessica.
His pride protected, WALL takes a moment to ponder Jessica’s deck ( http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Love_to_Battle_Deck_(TCG) )
Jessica’s deck is an interesting beast. It has the hyper aggressive rattata and machop alongside 4 pluspowers, but then it also has 4 defenders and the whole machop evolution line. Personally I would take this deck and strip out the rattata’s for more tauros. Tauros is probably the best normal type card in the game as far as raw power goes.

The students defeated WALL returns to the dojo to find that they have all returned.
The man from before is in the same place, it looks to wall as if he hasn’t moved at all! Could it be, he’s the ghost of the former master?!?!
“Nope, kid I’m just the janitor around here. I was hoping you could track down the students because they have been skipping out on rent and they own me a couple thousand dollars. Thanks for all of your help I guess I could repay you with this medal but you’ll have to beat me for it to be official.”
WALL’s opening hand is this plus an articuno. The articuno takes the lead to get powered up while WALL finds a slowbro or alakazam.
More machops?
At this rate Articuno is going to be tried by a war crimes tribunal for mass genocide.

Mr. J
10-04-2010, 07:50 PM
Mitch, the janitor/club master, plays mankey who has one of my personal favorite abilities. Unfortunately it’s small hp (only 30) kind of makes it not so great.
While WALL is distracted by the shiny mankey, Mitch evolves his machop into machoke. This could be bad!
Well, maybe not, Machoke still can’t touch Articuno. This is why I despise machoke, to do anything he basically needs 4 energy cards.
The machoke is followed up by the strongest fighting pokemon from the original games, hitmonlee.
Lee is blessed with a decent sized amount of health and a great 3 energy for 50 damage attack, but his 2 energy attack is downright awful. It’s only real use would be punishing a deck that relies heavily on it’s board. Even then, 20 damage really isn’t enough to do anything before hitmonlee will be KO’d.
Here’ is the pretty graphic when Articuno uses blizzard. I like it =D
And here’s a KO’d hitmonlee
They’ve become resistant! The machop virus has mutated to become resistant to penearticunin! Quick close the borders before the disease spreads!
A timely blizzard shut down the roads out of the town with case 0 before the disease could spread thankfully.
This is why Mankey is kind of unfortunate. Also, it’s another reason why articuno is awesome. Once it lays down a blizzard or two it can soften up the tougher pokemon on their bench so it can one shot every guy they put out.
Another Lee bites the dust!
Still unsure of how he’s going to actually defeat the ninjas that have been stealing his lunch money, WALL walks away with the shiny fightning medal.
Mitch’s deck ( http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/First-Strike_Deck_(TCG) ) is another case of unfortunate card selection. Switching 4 hitmonlees and 2 hitmonchans for 4 hitmonchans and 2 hitmonlees would drastically improve this deck’s viability. 4 bills and 3 gust of winds could mean a real beating for any evolution heavy deck because the basic pokemon of long lines tend to have little health. The 2 defenders would be better served as pluspowers and the 2 potions should be energy removals.

Coming up next time! An Experiment?