Judge Rules, You Win

In the world of Pokémon we train our team for the win. In the Pokémon TCG we build a deck to defeat our opponent. Winning, as I’m sure we’ve been reminded, isn’t everything and sometimes it’s about seeing your favorite Pokémon go in for the knockout. Often while deck building for the Pokémon card game I find myself staring at some of my favorite Pokémon cards and wondering how they can compete, if they could even knockout a single one of my opponent’s Pokémon. I can’t IV train my cards and a reverse foil doesn’t make them deal more damage but what I can do is count on my supporters and trainers to hopefully give my favorite pocket monster a moment in the spotlight.    

Forcing your opponent into a spot where they have to make a decision they weren’t counting on can work wonders in a match. There are two cards that I think do this exceptionally well, the first card being Judge. Having more cards in your hand than your opponent gives you more options and a better chance to have an answer for something your opponent threatens you with. Pokémon is one of the few games I’ve played where there is no hand limit and this provides a distinct play tactic. Draw cards like skipping Team Plasma’s dialogue, as often as you can. About midway through the game my opponent will have 10+ cards in their hand, ready for anything, and I’ll play my Judge. Now like most strategy in a card game you’re banking on luck with this card. There is a chance they’ll draw exactly what they were missing or there is a chance that they’ll be stuck with four cards that provide them no answers. The thing I can guarantee by playing Judge is they will have less variety in their hand and less variety means they have less answers for whatever powerhouse Shuckle combo you’ve worked out (http://tinyurl.com/3j9tswl).

The second card that can really put an opponent in a spot of trouble is Pokémon Circulator (http://tinyurl.com/6ebnn4d). This card has two situations that make it useful. The first and probably most ideal situation is forcing and easy K.O. If your opponent’s bench has only Pokémon you know you can knock out then go for it. It will force your opponent to sacrifice something that they weren’t counting on losing quite yet. The other situation to look for is a bench filled with Pokémon with expensive retreat costs and no energy attached. Forcing your opponent into bring up a Pokémon with two or three retreat cost will give you a few turns for some quick easy blows and turns to hopefully draw into an answer for their next Pokémon. Remember while you might be getting in some below the black belt shots their bench is building.

These cards are cards that will work well in any Pokémon deck with almost any lineup of Pokémon. The key to making the most of these two is finding the right time to play them. Keep an eye on your opponent’s bench as well as the cards in their hand and find the right turn to allow your favorite Pokémon cards the champion moments they deserve.