Pre-releases have wrapped up and I am proud to say I had the best record I’ve ever had. I played two events going 4-1 and then 5-0. If only there was more prize support for the pre-releases. There are two things that I really would like to address, things I’ve learned from these two prereleases. The first is what benefits do pre-releases provide and the second is “Vinnie, when did you get good at Pokemon?”
After the second pre-release wrapped up the Whimsy Tackle crew was sitting around playing some casual games when the question was raised what’s the point of paying for this? I believe the exact argument was “I could buy two Reggigas EX for what I’m paying to play”. Granted this is true but lets see what the pre-release experience can give you that those Reggigas EX cannot.
First you’re getting packs that you were most likely going to buy anyways. On top of the six packs you’ve purchased you’re getting two more packs for free. FREE CARDS, what else could you want! Also with those packs comes the cheap little fold up deck boxes. Honestly if you aren’t using them trade them off. Kids and collectors love these. It’s an easy way to bump a trade in your favor by throwing it in or possibly picking up a few of the new trainers you wanted, maybe even rares.
Second big draw for a pre-release, and why I personally love them, is the chance to play with cards in the set that won’t be seen in top tier decks. In my second pre-release I was able to play Shriftry to shuffle in my opponents Mewtwo EX with Exp. Share attached as well as 4 energy. This is also a great to chance to play with Pokemon you’re fond of. Starmie will not be going up against Magnezone/Electrik anytime soon but I still love Starmie as a Pokemon.
The final advantage and biggest draw for competitive players is the need to innovative. It’s practice thinking through the game. Typically at a Battle Roads you’ll get paired against something you’re expecting but on the off chance you don’t, you’re going to need to find creative plays to get around your opponents rogue strategy. Another advantage is playing in a restricted format may bring some new deck ideas to the surface. I would also suggest using a pre-release to get the trades you want before players settle in and get comfortable with their new cards.
After the pre-release my brother asked me “Vinnie, when did you get good at pokemon?” I think two major changes have happened that have allowed me to jump leaps and bounds as a player.
The first is simple play technique. I consider every card I’m going to play that turn and then the order in which I’m going to play them before I even draw a card. This also brought my play speed down drastically. I’m now that slow player who is pushing time every round. Part of this includes realizing that I need to take my random chances prior to making my guaranteed plays.
For example: If I have a Dual Ball, a Pokemon Collector and a Sage’s Training. I play the Dual Ball first because depending on if I succeed or not will affect which supporter I play this turn. This seems like a simple concept but it can really help your consistency just to slow down and think.
The second is I started taking myself seriously. I’ve set a goal for myself to be within the top 20 in Wisconsin after the next Battle Roads, I’m currently ranked 26th. I also dedicate time to people who know what they’re doing. I’m reading articles both by pro-players and enthusiasts and trying to think along side the best of them. As soon as you can think like your opponent you can out smart your opponent.
Also play to win. Have fun at your leagues, that’s the time to run inventive decks with Zebstrika or mess around with Pinsir combos. Pokemon is a game that doesn’t provide a lot of ranked tournament support. You need to make every Battle Roads or Qualifier match count in order to boost your ranking.
Any inventive deck ideas throw them in the comments. Pinsir with Flip-tini is my pick for the moment. Anyone out there think it could actually work?