Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Great Junk Arm

Hello all The Deck Out followers!


Today’s update is something I’ve promised to do few updates ago. No - this isn’t another Eye on Japan article. This is an article about Junk Arm. Yes – only and only about Junk Arm. I must admit that this is an update that I do first and foremost for myself so I don’t have to analyze Junk Arm in my every new deck article again and again.

In this article I try to get as in-depth with Junk Arm as is humanly possible. I’ll try to cover every single relevant aspect of Junk Arm and maybe some details as well. Even though this article is mainly for my own purposes, I hope that you can find this informative as well and maybe find new point of views to Junk Arm. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this article! 



Junk
Arm

The first question is: why I’m writing about what’s even more important – all the decks usually run 4 of them. That makes Junk Arm already the most played trainer- item card ever printed by Nintendo. It also makes it the best trainer card in the whole format. And why Junk Arm? It’s only one card. The reason why I write about it is that it’s played in 95% of formats’ decks. And it’s so good? That’s what I’m here to find out. 

The following headers are in no order - they just came to me in that order so that’s why the order of them might seem illogical at times.



Junk Arm making playing more carefree

It’s true. Never in my 7-year career hasn’t the playing been so carefree as nowadays. Things were easy before NV but along with Super Rod the carefreeness of playing rose to whole new level. With a Junk Arm and the right trainer card you can get from your discard pile every kind of card excluding Special Energy cards and Supporter cards. 

One very important thing especially with stage2 decks that have huge retreats is Switch – Junk Arm combo. In the past you could lock your opponent by just Catchering a 3 retreat Pokémon because it was very difficult to draw the Switch just at the right moment. Now, we have Junk Arm and because of Junk Arm you can AND want just use Switch “in vain” to get it to the discard pile. In discard pile Switch is almost all the time available for your decks’ 4 Junk Arms. In the past you had to use your Switches carefully, nowadays you just burn them whenever you draw them and get them back just in the right time.

You can use Sage’s and just discard the Pokémon and basic energy away with it and take the cards you need at the moment. You can even discard trainers that you run only 1 copy in your deck. And this is all thanks to Junk Arm. Playing Junk Arm means that you WANT the tech trainers to be in your discard pile. That way you have an easier access to them via Junk Arm.

Thanks to Junk Arm – Super Rod -combo you can recover even from a misplay or a horrible draw.


Gameplay example: You’re playing Gothitelle. You lay down 2 Solosis (your 3rd one is prized). Due your misplay/bad draw you don’t draw an evolution for Solosis and you are forced to discard your Super Rod with Sage’s in the next 2 turns while your opponent snipes your Solosis with Catchers and Linear Attack. In a normal game, you would’ve lost already. However, thanks to Junk Arm you can now recover from this situation. You can play Junk Arm, search Super Rod, use Super Rod, take Solosis back form discard pile and play them onto your bench with Collector – all this in a one turn.



Junk Arm making deck building more versatile

Even though it’s making the playing easier – it’s also making the deck building more versatile and at the same time challenging. I don’t mean that building a working Zekrom or ReshiPlosion deck is challenging. The more sets are released, the more versatile building a tournament-WINNING deck is going to become. The card pool is growing with a lots of tech trainers that you want to put in and that’s all thanks to Junk Arm.

Even though Junk Arm makes the game a bit stale because it makes the playing easier, the deck building is still an enjoyable task. Thanks to Junk Arm, the possibility to run any trainer card in any deck is something this game hasn’t experienced for a while. In my opinion most players aren’t even using the full capacity of Junk Arm because they are just happy with their basic lists.



Junk arm in energy acceleration decks

Most of you are already too familiar with a deck called ReshiPlosion. You can thank Junk Arm for that. Nowadays we are used to discarding things from our hand. In the past formats discarding was DIFFICULT. Can you imagine that? I honestly can’t any more. Decks used TV Reporters and Holon Engine to discard cards from their hand. Sometimes MetaNite which had the power of Eelektrik couldn’t even use Dragonite’s power because it didn’t have Lighting Energy in the discard pile.

With Junk Arm, Sage’s and Juniper you must be careful not to discard too much. The way the game is played is drastically changed from the old days. The reason why we must thank Junk Arm for ReshiPlosion is its ability to use Rare Candy again and again.  Since Candy was nerfed Stage2 decks became worse than before. However, thanks to Candy, Reshiplosion is able to stand in the tier1 of the format because at the same you use Junk Arms for Rare Candy, you combo with Typhlosion Prime’s power.

All of you will probably become familiar with Eelektrik/Tornadus deck as well in the future and Junk Arm will see some serious play in that deck as well.

Gameplay example:
It’s your 2nd turn of the game. You have active Reshiram with one energy attached to it and 3 Cyndaquils on the bench. You use Rare Candy to Evolve Typhlosion Prime on one of your benched Cyndaquils. After evolving the Typhlosion, you use Juniper discarding a Revive from your hand. From Juniper you draw 2 energy, Typhlosion Prime, Junk Arm, Sage’s, Reshiram and a PlusPower. You use Junk Arm again, discard your 2 energy, take the Rare Candy back from the discard pile and use it again for a 2nd Typhlosion. Now you can use Afterburners and attack with your active Reshiram. See how much one Junk Arm affected your game?


Junk Arm – the deck thinner

This is something that most of you may have encountered in the tournament. You have decked yourself out or your opponent has decked themselves out. This has a lot to do with Junk Arm. Whenever you use Junk Arm you use 3 cards from your deck in total. So, whenever you PONT after a Junk Arm, you have 3 cards less in your deck than before the Junk Arm. This amount doesn’t sound like a lot but after 4 Junk Arms the amount is already 12 cards! Combined with cards like Sage’s and Juniper (which are often run along with Junk Arm) you can deck yourself out pretty quickly.

The 2 decks that have to be the most careful with decking themselves out are Magnezone based decks and ReshiBoar. Magnezone draws itself out very quickly because of Magnetic Draw and ReshiBoar wants to resfresh their hands all the time because they need energy for every turn. This happens with Sage’s and Juniper. These both decks are rely on Junk Arm: Magnezone for getting the early Candys and ReshiBoar for Energy Retrievaling.




Junk Arm helps with teching

As I said earlier in this entry Junk Arm is a gift from Arceus to all tech-lovers. There are lots of techable trainers in this format and the amount of them is growing after each set that is released. I’m surprised that teching hasn’t become that popular in the current format yet. Junk Arm gives teching almost infinite options.

Teching can be done in various ways. You can tech your deck to add consistency, durability of your Pokémon or disturbing. If you want to add consistency your number one card is Pokegear 3.0. The way Junk Arm can benefit from Pokegear 3.0. is very nice. Whenever you have Pokegear 3.0. in your discard pile and no supporters in your hand, you may have the Junk Arm in your hand and get Pokegear from your discard pile with it. Now, with the Pokegear you may be able to get the needed supporter and continue your game like nothing bad ever happened.

You can also give your opponent more durability thanks to Junk Arm. You can reuse cards like Max Potion, Eviolite or even Defender. This works only in certain decks but reusing Defender to a Zekrom that has already an Eviolite attached to it makes Zekrom’s Bolt Strike a very powerful attack because it doesn’t inflict self-damage at all that way.

The reason why I think Junk Arm isn’t that bad for the game is that because of it disturbing is easier than ever. Just put 1 Lost Remover in your ZPS and you’ll see the difference in mirror matches as soon as you draw the Lost Remover. In my opinion the game has a lot to offer thanks to Junk Arm and I hope that the amount of disturbing trainers will increase in the future sets. For now we have to settle for Crushing Hammer, Lost Remover and Pokémon Catcher.

Even though the most common “teches” I listed function to help your deck in consistency, durability or disturbing the teching is a lot more than that. Teching is a way to build decks and that’s something where you can use all of your imagination. You can use things like Revive, Energy Search, Energy Exchanger Unit, Energy Switch and even Super Scoop Up. As I said, only the sky’s the limit with teching thanks to Junk Arm.






Junk Arm and Trainer lock

Almost every deck in the format plays Junk Arms. Now we have trainer locking decks. Trainer locking has always been a great strategy but in this format the power of trainer lock is even greater. Never before has the amount of trainers been this huge in the decks. Even decks that run Vileplume – a trainer locking Pokémon – may run 8 trainers (4 Communication, 4 Rare Candy).

Trainer locking is even more powerful strategy than before but for some reason the trainer locking decks aren’t winning tournaments. What’s the reason behind the lame success of trainer locking decks? The reason is that this format has too many trainers. The trainers are a key ingredient for every deck to set-up. Even trainerlocking Vileplume decks have to use trainers for set-upping. There isn’t an alternative way to set-up your deck in this format. You either set-up with trainers or don’t set-up at all. Also, the only trainer locking Pokémons at the moment are Vileplume and Gothitelle – both stage2 Pokémons. If you want to get them into play in this fast format you MUST play Rare Candy, which – of course- is a trainer card as well.  




Junk Arm – the most common situations

Here is list the most common situations you’ll usually end up in a match with Junk Arm

Pokémon Catcher - How many times you’ve taken your last prize with a Junk Arm – Catcher combo? Answer: Too many times.

Rare Candy -
Thanks to Junk Arm, Stage2 Pokémon are still playable in a fast format like this. With Junk Arm you can get Rare Candy from the discard pile whenever you need it and prevent your opponent for taking easy prizes from the unevolved Basic Pokémons. Thanks to Junk Arm you can evolve 4 stage2 Pokémons while having only 1 Rare Candy in the discard pile.

Pokémon Communication -
Pokémon Communication is a staple for every deck and that’s why you may end up using it quite a lot of times with Junk Arm. This especially happens in stage2 decks.

Pokegear 3.0 –
If you’ve played Pokegear in your decks, Junk Arm has probably saved your games a few times. Thanks to Junk Arm having a Pokegear 3.0. in your discard pile means that you’re usually able to recover from a bad draw.

PlusPower –
PlusPower ruling was changed along with BW and now you can use same PlusPower over and over again in the same turn with Junk Arm. This is a usual thing to happen but it’s bad for the game. Why it’s bad? Since it’s usually used for donking purposes.

Super Rod –
No one has experience from this yet but I can promise you that you’ll be using Junk Arm – Super Rod many and many more times in the future. The format is fast and you easily discard important cards with Junk Arm and supporters so Super Rod was released just in the right format.

Discarding –
Well, it’s obvious that you discard every time you use Junk Arm but have you ever thought of what you’re usually discarding. There are 3 kind of discarding situations:

1) You use Junk Arm to discard energy cards from your hand to get the something working (e.g. Afterburner).

2) You use Junk Arm to get an important trainer card from the discard pile which you need to use and discard something useless like Pokémon Collector, 2nd Juniper or a trainer card.

3) You desperately need something from your discard pile with Junk Arm but you don’t want to discard anything from your hand. You end something seriously important but you can get them back with Super Rod (e.g. Reuniclus, tech basic energy or your only Revive).



Conclusion

There are probably some people to who I was stating the obvious for the whole entry but I hope some of you found it useful. In my opinion it is very important to understand why certain cards are played in a deck and not just go with the flow and netdeck each list.

When you understand why the cards are played, you also increase the chance of creating your very own secret deck someday. In order to create a whole new and unique deck you must understand how each card works and why this and that card are good together and why this and this isn’t.



I also hope this gave you some really in-depth and perhaps new information about Junk Arm. I thought it was enjoyable to write and I hope there weren’t too many grammar mistakes that would’ve interrupted the experience. I know you guys would like to see mostly decklists and metagame analysis but I think change is always good.

Also, if you felt like something that something relevant about Junk Arm is missing from the article, please let me know! I will edit it later because I want it to include all the relevant scenarios that can happen with Junk Arm. I don’t want to write about Junk Arm anymore so please help me with this. 

That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed it and please leave comments!

P.S. I’ll make the finishing touches on the Eye on Japan: Part 2 tomorrow so I’ll release it next week. Follow me in the Facebook or Twitter to know when it will be released!

16 comments:

  1. I didn't like this article. Everybody already knows how good Junk Arm is, that's why people play 4. We don't need an entire article just saying how oh so good Junk Arm is.

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  2. Annoymous: shut up. there are other kind of vistors that comes into the site. For example, random players in Finland, that want to understand how versatile Junk Arm are. So yeah, quit your meaningless post you foolishly fool of a fool.

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  3. @ Mr No Name: In Finland, we do not have any random/casual/theme deck -players. Everyone knows how to play pokémon, and how to build good metagame-decks.

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  4. Seems great article for new players, veterans know this things already.

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  5. Anonymous: I completely agree with you as you know if you read the entry. 2 quotes of myself directly from the blog:
    "I must admit that this is an update that I do first and foremost for myself so I don’t have to analyze Junk Arm in my every new deck article again and again. "

    And

    "There are probably some people to who I was stating the obvious for the whole entry but I hope some of you found it useful."

    Mr No Name: No need to bash anyone here. All my articles can't satisfy everyone and everyone should have possibility to express their opinions. The good thing about negative feedback is that it's usually more constructive than positive feedback because it makes you think. I'm happy for each comment I get, no matter if they're negative or positive.

    Hero: Nuff' Said, lol.

    Anonymous: Thanks, as I said, it was mostly for new players / my own purposes for the future.

    Thanks for every comment! Keep em' coming.

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  6. Never once did you mention Yanmega Prime. During Battleroads, I would often see players use Junk Arm to reduce their hand size in order to match my empty hand instead of playing a judge or copycat. Junk Arm can also be used with Magnezone to allow you to draw even more cards from your deck. Let's say your opponent desperately needs one energy for Lost Burn and they don't run energy search (because it's a silly card). In situations like this, Junk Arm helps simply because it allows you to discard cards from your hand! While you did mention Magnezone, you did not reference how his pokepower works with Junk Arm; you only mentioned how the deck relies on Junk Arm to set up.

    Have you seen the Japanese Ultra Ball in the Reshiram/Zekrom EX decks? I am wondering if it will replace pokemon communication in Magnezone-based decks...

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  7. You announced a long time ago that you weren't going to analyse single cards or something like that, but because this is a very useful information for new players and that it will help you gain more time on the next articles, you did well to do that. You know what they say, only fools don't change their minds. :)

    Please, don't do that for Mewtwo EX also. :D

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  8. Ha ha . . . how can an analysis of Jarm make people angry?

    It's pretty clear what the article is about so, if you don't need it, don't read it. Simple as.

    There might not be any bad players in Finland, but there are plenty of them elsewhere, and they would benefit from reading this.

    ~Jak

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  9. (I'm another anonymous)

    I play competitively at Pokémon TCG and I don't need this article, but I like it have been posted here because if one player doesn't know about Junk Arm's uses he/she won't be able to win a few tournaments.
    In case all of us know, this article can't be bad, if you don't like it, better ignoring it.
    I can't cause pains or illnesses, only great knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous: Great point! I totally forgot Yanmega Prime. Thanks for pointing it out, I'll edit it soon into the entry. Thanks a lot.

    As for Ultra Ball, it's played but it doesn't take over Communications place for one reason: You can't recover with it from a bad start. You can't Ultra Ball a Cleffa or another starter. That's why they ran both.

    Zarmakuizz: Yeah I know, I just felt so frustrated writing Junk Arm all over again to every single entry that I wanted to get over it by doing this. I didn't write this to buy me some time I just wanted to write this :D Haha, but yeah I won't be writing an article about Mewtwo EX.

    Jak; Thanks for your opinion. I also think this will be very informative to many beginning players. But the main reason was just to write Junk Arm completely once and for all so I don't need to write about it ever again.

    Another anonymous: Thanks for your supporting words!

    I never thought this article would draw so much discussion. Anyways, I appreciate everyone's opinion equally.

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  11. thanks for the article. like you said, the pros already know this stuff, but a newbie like me finds this article enlightening. the top players in my state do not share metagame info or coach younger players, so a site like yours is needed to be competitive. thanks for sharing, i think we all learned something from this article, even the finnish players :)

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  12. Anonymous: I'm very happy to hear that you found this article enlightening. Thanks for your comment!

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  13. Well I'm a new player to Pokemon Tcg and this article sure helped me a lot to understand the meta game and how junk arm is so good. I've been playing another TCG as many of you may know called yugioh and I played quite competitively, and was very surprised when I saw the immense popularity of junk arm in Pokemon. Cuz by using the universal TCG rule of card advantage, this card is simply a minus 2 in terms of hand size. In yugioh there is a somewhat similar card called magical stone excavation which by discarding two cards from hand you can retrieve a spell card (trainer) from your graveyard (discard pile). This card was never really played in tournies since it was released even though there are powerful spells out there, they are simplify not worth the cost of 2 cards from your hand most of the time. However this article clearly demonstrated the big differences between the two card games and I've learned a lot! Thank you!

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  14. Dshuntblaster: Very interesting to hear! I'm glad this article helped you!

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  15. DShuntblaster: That's because Yugioh doesn't have hand refresh cards like Juniper or PONT. Card advantage here does exist but there are better recovery options to offset the minuses.

    Anyways, thanks for the article! Very informative for a new player like me. Certainly learned a lot and showed me the essential-ness of this card.

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  16. Run this with rescue energy and I was not a fan of the Weavile combo. While it would be awesome with a junk arm and devolution spray combo to be very annoying once DE comes out.

    I run this with Absol G and the Darkrai lvl 48/Darkrai EX. With free retreat cost, the ability to put pokemon to sleep at will, Doom News/Catcher combo on Absol. I've managed to trade some OHKOs against EXs and come out on top with 4 Absol Gs. It really ticks people off. Especially if you snag their EX when they aren't ready.

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