The Return of Talking Time

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  #1  
Old 03-28-2009, 09:47 AM
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Default Attention, duelists! Let's Play Pokémon: Trading Card Game: The Game!

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
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2009, 10:01 AM
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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.
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2009, 10:43 AM
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1) Bandana
2) Bulbasaur and Friends.
3) Saturday Morning Deck
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2009, 11:29 AM
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Name: Rogers
Deck: Bulbasaur & Friends
Deck name: I like Watchmon, go for that.
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  #5  
Old 03-28-2009, 11:49 AM
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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.

...IN AMERICA.

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.
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  #6  
Old 03-28-2009, 12:15 PM
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1. Name: Ash and Oak are both trees... so what's like a mason?

Stone
Mortar
Grout
Tile
Brick
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

Last edited by Aquadeo; 03-28-2009 at 02:07 PM. Reason: six degrees of Larry Mason
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  #7  
Old 03-28-2009, 01:10 PM
DarkBlueFlannel DarkBlueFlannel is offline
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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
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2009, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquadeo View Post
1. Name: Ash and Oak are both trees... so what's like a mason?

Stone
Mortar
Grout
Tile
Brick
Name him Brick.
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  #9  
Old 03-28-2009, 03:09 PM
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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.
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  #10  
Old 03-28-2009, 04:19 PM
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1) Brick
2) Bulbasaur & Friends (because it was the one I always chose)
3) I strongly support the 'Salad Bar' name for the deck.
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  #11  
Old 03-28-2009, 04:46 PM
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1) Brick
2) Bulbasaur & Friends
3) Grand Old Deck
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  #12  
Old 03-28-2009, 05:01 PM
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1. Brick
2. Bulbasaur & Friends
3. Holo
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  #13  
Old 03-28-2009, 07:26 PM
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I'll go with the Squirtle & Friends deck just because nobody else has mentioned it, and, of course, Keith is the only possible name.
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  #14  
Old 03-29-2009, 09:39 AM
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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.
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  #15  
Old 03-29-2009, 10:08 AM
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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.
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  #16  
Old 03-29-2009, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Netbrian View Post
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.
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  #17  
Old 03-29-2009, 11:06 AM
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Huh, I guess people really like Bulbasaur.

Also, why don't you have a Kemo avatar yet Tanto
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  #18  
Old 03-29-2009, 07:25 PM
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Xeriscape Deck?
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  #19  
Old 03-29-2009, 09:06 PM
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Count Deckula?
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  #20  
Old 03-29-2009, 09:08 PM
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Kicked in the Deck.
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  #21  
Old 03-29-2009, 09:17 PM
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Heh, "Poop" Deck.
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  #22  
Old 03-30-2009, 12:48 PM
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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.)
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:51 PM
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:53 PM
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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.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:56 PM
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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?!

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.
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  #26  
Old 03-30-2009, 12:58 PM
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Tanto Tanto is offline
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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.

Out:
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.

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

Or a DS remake!

Probably the remake!
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  #28  
Old 03-30-2009, 01:35 PM
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DemoWeasel DemoWeasel is offline
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I'd forgotten about Imakuni for all these years.

You jerk.
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  #29  
Old 03-30-2009, 01:57 PM
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shivam shivam is offline
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i tap two islands and counter?

You seem to know the ccg very well, Tanto. I look forward to reading this.
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  #30  
Old 03-30-2009, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OctoPrime View Post
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.
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