Recently I’ve convinced my roommate to start playing the Pokemon TCG. He’s an avid Magic the Gathering player and plays rather seriously and competitively. He attended a couple of Battle Roads with the members of our Pokemon Podcast TCG group, Team Bouffie (formally Team Whimsy Tackle). Being new to the game we’ve had a lot of in-depth discussion about what the Pokemon TCG looks like as a whole. Last night we discussed information poisoning.
Information poisoning dictates a trend. For example, a lot of the decks we play in the US are influenced by what places well in Japan. Dragons Deck for example ranked fairly high Japan but here in the states hasn’t really shown much face. I have no doubt that the deck would have existed without Japan building it but would serious players have played it had it not done well in Japan?
We then discussed some plays we had seen player Kyle Sucevich, from The TopCut.net, who we admire, make. The play that we really contemplated was a turn where a Supporter could have been played but wasn’t. In a lot of players’ eyes it was a misplay however that Supporter turned into a much more valuable resource turns later. Though there is no definite answer as when to play and when not to play cards there are rules we as Pokemon players have learned to follow.
These rules include things like play an energy every turn, play a Supporter every turn, or play Ultraball before you Juniper. These plays 90% of the time are correct. They’re safe plays that keep us on curve for what we want to accomplish with our decks. They’re the basic plays that move the game forward. To truly reach a next level competence of this game you need to start to identify that other 10%. Find the times when you’d rather keep a Pokemon in your deck than Ultraball or when it’s worth it to Juniper away an N or N away a Juniper. These miniscule decisions are what can put you over the top and onto the top tables. They’re hard to find and even harder choices to make when they’re available. My advice would be to playtest and then playtest more. The more you play the more you understand and the more you understand the better player you’ll evolve into.