Archive for the ‘Article’ Category

2012-2013 Season Wrap up

Posted: June 26, 2013 in Article

As I come to the end of my season, the introspective really comes hard and heavy. Here are a few learning points from the year.

Tunnel Vision
As the build up towards Nationals continued, I did quite a bit of research. The results were stark. TDK variants that went heavy counts of Kyurem with preferably a tech Absol were the best around. Furthermore, the crux of the game was using Blizzard Burn to KO EXes and occasionally Spiral Force for the mirror. Thus the last time I edited my list, I went all in, maxing out counts of Kyurem and running high counts of Switch.

Not only did I assume I would almost always get a T1 Kyurem(mainly because I could while in play test), I believed that I could freely rotate Kyurem like my opponents didn’t have Catcher.(Something that never happened even during playtesting) When it came to Nationals, I made plays that were dubious and YOLO in nature. I had trouble believing I didn’t start Kyurem, that I was missing energy attachments, that even more preposterously – my Kyurem were getting knocked out! The nerve of my opponents to run well and play better than me!

This anecdote is to show one thing. It is easy for humans to become dogmatic and lose sight of the greater picture. I became insanely focused on having my cake and eating it too: a deck that could consistently blizzard burn and spiral force. Of course if that really happened everyday, I must have stacked like a street magician. Preoccupation with the panacea is a trap that humans fall into: Perpetual motion, cold fusion, MLMs.

The community has only increased in size over the course of these two years. Friends have been known and lost. Inadvertently, I have felt a growing sense of alienation. This led to an unwillingness to play at leagues, to share ideas and to play with others.
Yet, I know I was wrong in my feelings. The community is still tight knit as ever, even if new players form their new enclaves. I only have to look at my own gym or those with a good foundation of the veteran players. Even the word veteran is misleading, as some of the gym leaders are quite new in their own right.
On the flip side, this season I’ve had the opportunity to know a lot more international players. Partly due to my blog but largely due to my participation in online play testing on Playtcg. Thank you Jeremy, you were the one who inspired me to take that first step when I first saw you thriving in the online environment. Big shoutout to Michael Martindale for organizing the PPTCG series!

This season provided a wealth of international exchanges, especially due to the previously unmined data that were Japanese tournament results. For the first time in recent history, people could be privy to what was going to be the new metagame. The prevalence of sites like 6P and The Deck Out provided a bandwagon for people to hop onto. Arguably this has been going on for the previous season too, but we can only really begin to see how hype can sweep the playing community into a frenzy.
Going into the next season, the mastering of hype – when to believe it and when not to, will be important.



Posted: May 30, 2013 in Article
Tags: ,

If you are a reader of my blog, yes all five of you raise your hands, you will know Flip or Die does not usually release decklists unless they are on public domain already. But today is a special occasion, like when you drink too much and regret it in the morning.

So here I am, with a deck list I’m going to post so that people can juxtapose it with an existing one. I’m not out for blood because the flaws in the deck are so obvious even an amateur deckbuilder like me can spot them.

Now I know the intentions for the “bad” list is for the better players to keep their cards closer to their chest, in a manner of speaking. Furthermore it is not said anywhere that it is a “good” or even “decent” list. The exact word used is “concept”. Still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

So I too, took a look around online and remixed a list from the ones I saw. It has 4 Lasers and Virbank to closely resemble the core concept of the Carnival winning list.


Winter is coming…

Posted: April 1, 2013 in Article
Tags: , ,

[All images below were obtained from]

Team Plasma returns for one more strike against all trainers! What can we expect from this set? We will most likely get all of the cards from Spiral Force/Raiden Knuckle, Plasma Freeze’s Japanese counterpart. Since we know the card list, let’s break down the 5 most important cards from the set!

Deoxys EX

Deoxys will be the crux of all Plasma-based decks. A stackable pluspower for all Plasma Pokemon with no drawbacks? Imagine Lugia EX doing 150 damage with its attack or Snorlax Ps doing up to 200 damage a turn! Describing Power Connect as ridiculous is an understatement.

The only short-coming of Deoxys EX is its average attack and the fact that it is a 170HP EX benchwarmer with a retreat cost of 2.

However, things could be worse. Float Stone will be released together with Deoxys EX which nulls a Pokemon’s retreat cost, while Helix Force makes Deoxys EX the de facto Mewtwo EX counter in Plasma decks. As it stands Deoxys EX is shaping up to be the most powerful support Pokemon in the game.

Thundurus EX
At first thought to be an average card by the Japanese, Thundurus EX quickly took center stage in Plasma decks.

Raiden Knuckle by itself is a strong but not overpowering attack. However when paired with Deoxys EX and Hypnotoxic Laser it becomes an attack that puts insane pressure on opponents with its damage output and energy acceleration. With Colress Machine and Thundurus EX, Plasma could well be the only beast that can outspeed decks that run Dark Patch or Victini EX.

Thunderous Noise is not too spectacular but comes in useful for knocking out both versions of Tornadus EX and Lugia EX, all sure to be seen in the Plasma Freeze metagame. Its energy removal effect also comes in handy as a defensive attack.

Kyurem Ps

Kyurem [W] 130HP
[W][C] Frost Spear 30
Does 30 damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon.

[W][W][C] Blizzard Burn 120
This Pokemon can’t attack during your next turn.

W: [M] R: RC: [C][C]

Like Thundurus EX, Kyurem appeared to be a very ordinary card. While Frost Spear is very much like our good friends Darkrai EX’s Night Spear, it’s front damage output is quite ordinary. Blizzard Burn is also rather vanilla.

However, given that the card pool has Deoxys EX, Colress Machine and the LaserBank combo, Kyurem becomes a beast!

170HP EX Pokemon being a problem? Kyurem knocks out them out with Blizzard Burn, 2 Deoxys EX and a HTL + Virbank in play. All not too implausible to pull off mid-game. To top it off, all your opponent can revenge is a Pokemon that nets that 1 prize. Kyurem is the key non-EX attacker in Plasma decks when I was in Japan and it’s easy to see why. Plasma decks all come down to who can use their Kyurem most effectively.

If I want to further the comparison to Darkrai, Night Spear has a maximum output of 110 sans Laser. However, Kyurem can snipe or Blizzard Burn. Both attacks share similar attack costs so the Costs/Benefits can quite clearly be seen. While Kyurem can’t shoot consecutive Blizzard Burns, it doesn’t have to. With Plasma’s insane acceleration and pressure you most likely can have another Kyurem at the ready.

Absol Ps

Absol [D] 100HP
[D][C] Mind Jack 20+
Does 20 more damage for each Benched Pokemon your opponent has in play.

[D][C][C] Shadow Fear 60
Look at your opponent’s hand

W: [F] R:[P]-20 RC:[C]

Ironically one of the current anti-Plasma techs in Japan, Team Plasma’s Absol punishes Plasma players for their extravagant benches. Also very effective against RayEels and Blastoise decks, Absol is a strong secondary attacker in both Plasma and Darkrai decks. Coupled with either Dark Claw or Deoxys EX respectively, Mind Jack starts at a healthy 40 damage which increases to 170 or even 180 with Power Connect. Look out for Absol as the must have tech as Plasma and EX hate comes strong and harsh in the coming months.

Super Energy Retrieval/Frozen City

Super Energy Retrieval
Discard 2 cards from your hand. (If you can’t discard 2 cards, you can’t play this card.) Put 4 basic Energy cards from your discard pile into your hand. (You can’t choose an Energy card that you discarded in order to play this card.)

Frozen City
Each time either player attaches an Energy from his or her hand to 1 of to their Pokémon (excluding Team Plasma Pokémon) put 2 damage counters on that Pokémon.

I put these two cards together because they are the two sides of the deck: Blastoise. Super Energy Retrieval puts Blastoise/Black Kyurem at the apex of the “I win everything if I set-up” deck archtypes while Frozen City punishes Blastoise the most heavily. Whose side will you be on? Make your choice on May 4th!

That’s the end of this report from me. There are other strong cards in Plasma Freeze such as Plasma Ball and Tornadus EX, however the cards I listed above are the ones I’m really, really excited about and I hope you feel the same as me as well!

Hello my dear readers, I must apologize for the lack of updates. Life has been far too busy and there was a lack of Premier Play events in Singapore. However I did plan for a trip to Japan and that has finally been done with. I shall detail the Pokemon-related things that happen below.

Like all good PTCG players, I made my way down to Akihabara, Tokyo where the passion for Pokemon burns brightest (ie. all the nerds are there)

The street of maids, moe and electronics, Akihabara

The street of maids, moe and electronics, Akihabara

I was led to a shop called Cherumo by a Japanese acquaintance. Located in one of the numerous buildings along Akihabara, it would have been easily missed had it not been an A4-sized poster outside with Pokemon related images pasted on it. Taking a cramped and suspicious elevator to the fourth floor, we exit to find a feast for any Pokemon TCG player. Cards and Japan-exclusive sleeves display neatly in shelves and on the walls.

The wall of shiny cards

The wall of shiny cards

More cards

More cards

All the sleeves you can stuff like stacks of cash.

All the sleeves you can stuff like stacks of cash.

I arrived too late for the gym challenge but managed to get a glimpse of the participating players. As it was a weekday, the number of players were small. Spectating was in itself a sport though, learning about which new cards were viable and how Japanese players play the game.

For those unfamiliar, Japan’s casual play system is unlike that internationally. Instead of just coming together to play, they have mini-tournaments called Gym Challenges. Participating for prizes always adds a little spice to your normal play!

I’m pretty certain that the joy as they play is the same anywhere else. However, I really like how they can sometimes just use quirky decks, which is something I don’t quite see in Singapore.

Black was obviously the colour of the day

Black was obviously the colour of the day in more ways than one

After their gym challenge ended, I passed around some otherwise useless reverse foils as souvenirs for the people there. A pretty good souvenir as Japan does not have reverse foils thus making it a memorable gift.

I also managed to squeezed in a couple of games before I had to make my leave. Playing against a Plasma deck with RayEels, I lost horribly both games. These new cards are not to be trifled with!

While I would like to go into more detail as to how the metagame is like, I’m afraid a single gym challenge with 4 people doesn’t really give insights nor do I feel that the information is would be of sufficient quality.

I also managed to make a trip down to the Pokemon Center. I was not sure of their in-store policy when it came to taking photos, so I only took photos of its exterior.


That’s all and look forward to future articles!

Plasma Storm! The winds of change!

Posted: January 27, 2013 in Article

As Team Plasma approaches, new combinations and ideas will definitely be on players’ minds. I take a look at some of the decks I’ve seen mentioned in Gym Challenges Reports and discussed online.

Here’s the second part of what I had wanted to write: A look at the decks of the metagame around the Battle Carnival (BC) period in Japan.


They do claim that imitation is the best form of flattery.