Friday, March 30, 2012

Ask Esa: Answer Time!

Answer time!
Hi everyone!

It’s already Friday, so a great time for the third entry of this week. Last week, I introduced you to my new series: “Ask Esa”. Alongside with that I also wanted to hear YOUR The Deck Out –stories, if you have benefitted from my articles. I got a decent amount of questions for the “Ask Esa” –series but I only got a few The Deck Out –stories. I really hope that you’ll e-mail, Facebook or Twitter me you’re the Deck Out –stories because I know a lot of people, who have them!

Anyways, the topic of this entry is “Ask Esa”. Today, I’ll reveal – in my opinion – the most interesting questions, I received and I’ll answer them, the best I can. I hope you enjoy this and I hope you will send me a lot of questions for the future “Ask Esa”’s as well, so I can make this entry series a regular part of my blog as well. However, let’s get into the questions of the very first “Ask Esa: Answer Time!”.

Question #1

I'm writing, and asking for advice in a new deck i'm building.
The main idea is to use Vanilluxe's Slippery Slope, along with an EX (more on that in a bit), to constantly stream my opponent with huge attacks.

2 ways for achieving this are:
1.-Zek/Eels way, to constantly Strong Volt with at least 2 Zekrom EX turn after turn, while recharging the "depleted one" with Eelectrik's Dynamotor.
2.-Kyurem EX's Frozen Wings and/or Hail Blizzard attacks.

Issues with both approaches are:
Disrupting Eels (for Zekrom's apporach)
Slower setup and energy attachment (for Kyurem's approach)

Vanilluxe's role is bench-warming/Slippery Slope, and thus, helping against Catcher or a lack of Switch, and also allowing the active pokémon to get to the bench and be recharged with Eels, or use Hail Blizzards every turn. It also, disrupts the opponents plans with switch as he/she must change his/her active pokémon with a benched one a lot of times.

This is a very preliminar decklist (with more than 60 cards, so i can play with the numbers/cards)

3-1-3 Vanilluxe NEX
3-4 Kyurem EX or 3-4 Zekrom EX
1 Kyurem NVI or 1 Zekrom NEX-EPO (outrage one and optional, in case of using 3 Kyurem EX/Zekrom EX)
2 Mewtwo EX (just in case, and hoping to find the 2nd one)
2 Cleffa
4-4 Eelectrik (Dynamotor) (for Zekrom's approach)

3 Pokémon Collector
3 Twins
3 Sage's Training
3-4 N
1-2 PONT
2 Level Ball
2 Dual Ball
1 Battle City
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Switch
2 Revive
2 Super Rod
1 Junk Arm
3 Pokémon Communication
3 Rare Candy
2 Eviolite
= 37-39

7 Water/Electric
2 Prism

=71-74 cards

*I left 2 spaces at purpose, for something (not known yet)

Possible changes:
+1 Shaymin EX as finisher (if needed)
-1 Mewtwo EX (only have 1)
-2 Revive
-2-2 Musharna
+1 Twins
+1 Regigigas EX

P.D.- A tech i saw for the Kyurem's approach is the use of Cofagrigus NVI46, since its Damagriiigus attack heals a benched pokémon, while transfering that damage to the defending pokémon, in this case Kyurem "The Tank" EX. (maybe a 1-1 or 2-2 line). I wanna know your opinion about it.

Esa answers:

I think this questions is great because it’s educational for many players at the same time. Also, I can talk about my favorite thing of Pokémon TCG- consistency - when it comes to the answer of this question. As we can also see from the amount of cards in this deck, there’s a lot of work to do.

First, let’s take a look at this deck’s strategy. In my opinion, the strategy is solid but there is one problem with the deck. This problem is very common among new players. The need to create something completely new is very common among new players. We can see this in this deck list as well. If we look closely at the deck list, we soon realize that the deck is really an Eelektrik/Zekrom deck with Vanilluxe put in. Zekrom/Eelektrik has won even States Championships without Vanilluxe so is there really a need for Vanilluxe in Zekrom/Eelektrik? The answer is no. If we want to make the deck work, we need some serious changes. I respect the core Pokémon lines of this deck (excluding the Vanilluxe) and some personal touches of this deck, so I’ll mostly just touch the Trainer and Energy lines to show, how we can get the deck tournament viable. The final list would look like this:

4 Zekrom EX
1 Zekrom NEX-EPO
2 Mewtwo
2 Cleffa / Smeargle(CL)
4-4 Eelektrik (Dynamotor)

2 Pokegear 3.0
4 Pokémon Collector
4 N
3 Sage's Training
1 Pokémon Communication
1 Level Ball
3 Pokémon Catcher
1 Super Rod
3 Switch
4 Junk Arm
2 Eviolite
1 Battle City
= 31

8x Lighting Energy


So, I removed all the unnecessary cards like Rare Candies and Vanilluxe, so I could get to 60 cards. The Pokémon lines are now clear – the deck uses both Zekrom EX and Mewtwo EX as an attacker. Cleffa is a great starter but can be replaced by Smeargle if wanted.

Also, there were a lot of search and draw cards in the deck, so I decided to take the normal way with them (Pokegears and Collectors). These cards guarantee the early game basic search. The other option to basic search is to run Dual Balls, Level Balls and Pokémon Communications but I’m not a fan of flipping when it comes to search cards, so I took the supporter way to that. I also added 3 Junk Arms. If you don’t know why I added the Junk Arm count to 4, I suggest you took a look into my The Great Junk Arm article, which can be found here. Junk Arm is your MVP, no matter, which deck you run.

Energy-wise I only maxed out the DCEs because this deck’s attackers need it. Both Zekrom EX and Mewtwo EX become very lethal thanks to DCE so maxed DCEs is the way to go with this deck.

Question #2

Hi Esa!

First of all, sorry for any English errors - That's not my first language, and if you want my opinion, it shouldn't be my second either! ;)

Second, thanks for the opportunity to your readers expose their questions to you. I think it's great for the game and it show us that you really care about the people who follow your articles.

My name is Bruno, Fuzzy in everywhere except for my mom, and I'm from Brazil. I recently finished the college and unfortunately find myself unemployed. My "job", if it would be ever considered a job, is write Magic the Gathering related articles in the notice channel (My editor don't like the term BLOG, but it's the same thing) of one big webstore here in Brazil - No fake humble here, I'm quite good on it.

They will open one "physical" store (Hope it make sense) in a couple of weeks, and they will expand their product line to Pokémon as well. They want/need one person to write Pokémon-related articles, but I'm feeling insecure about it - I used to play A LOT the game when it was hyped with the anime (Basic-Jungle-Fossil era, Blastoise is the BEAST) and only recently came back (A little early than the release of Emerging Powers, I believe).

I read EVERYTHING I can find on the web and play the game only in PTCGO, but with so little experience in this "new" game do you recommend me to write something for them or I should wait?

Thanks for your time, Esa, waiting for your opinion!

- Bruno "Fuzzy" Lopez

Esa answers:

I think this is a great question because it’s such an unique question. First of all Bruno, thanks a lot for your question!

I think that you should definitely write about Pokémon TCG even though, you might be experienced of the current format. First, It will greatly help the store’s business (there are similar shops in Finland as well so I’m familiar with the situation). Second, you don’t have to necessarily write about the difficult or “pro” things of Pokémon TCG. In my experience 90% of people, who buy Pokémon TCG cards, don’t even know that they can really play with the cards.

Even though you aren’t a real expert, you are an expert compared to newcomers and I’m sure you can help them to become even more interested in the Pokémon TCG. When targeting your articles towards new players, you’ll probably benefit both – the shop and yourself. I’m sure that writing an articles, will create a spark among new players and you’ll be growing the game around you and at the same the store will get more loyal customers. Maybe one day you can start a league in the shop/ nearby the shop and get even more playmates and customers to the shop!

I hope that helped and I wish all the best to you and the store!

Question #3

Hi, I wanted a little help with my Reshiphlosion deck for States/Regionals. Here's the list:

3 Reshiram
3 Typhlosion
2 Quilava
3 Cyndaquil HS
1 Cyndaquil CL
2 Mewtwo EX
2 Terrakion
1 Cleffa

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Sage's Training
2 Pokemon Collector
4 Pokemon Communication
3 Rare Candy
3 Junk Arm
2 Pokemon Catcher
2 Pluspower
1 Switch
1 Super Rod
1 Eviolite
1 Pokemon Center

3 Prism Energy
1 Rescue Energy
8 Fire Energy

I took the Decklist you posted, but I've made a couple changes to help it with Zekrom. The Cyndaquil CL is great for Donking Celebi or Tynamo with a pluspower, and Terrakion helps against Zekrom (Specifically the EX). Right now, I have had almost no problems with your CMT decklist (about 5-1 in testing so far), but even with the 2 Terrakion, it still has a little trouble with your Zekrom list (2-3). Should I play the Terrakions even when I can't use them immediately? Or should I be worried about them being knocked out and only play them when I need them? Another thing I was wondering, is since the Rescue Energy hasn't been too useful yet, would that be better if it was replaced by a DCE for a better chance of an early Donk, or a 4th Prism to help Terrakion?

I'll be testing these things out, but I wanted to see what you think. Also, if there's anything else that would help, let me know! 

Thank you!

Esa answers:

Here we have a very decent looking ReshiPlosion list. The 4 Ns help tremendously against CMT, so I’m not surprised at all that this deck list has good results against it. Also, I don’t think that a 2-3 result against Zekrom/Eelektrik is bad at all since ReshiPlosion would be a BDIF if it would win both – CMT and Eelektrik/Zekrom – over 50% of the time! Looking mainly at the Zekrom/Eelektrik match-up, here are the changes I would make.

- 1 Terrakion
- 1 N
- 1 Eviolite
- 1 Rescue Energy
- 1 Prism Energy

+ 1 Tyrogue
+ 2 PlusPower
+ 2 Double Colorless Energy

2 Terrakions is an overkill in my opinion. Even though they might help against Zekrom, you only need to OHKO Zekrom EX probably once a game. Also, Zekrom/Eelektrik functions in a very similar way as ReshiPlosion, except it’s usually faster.

To gain the advantage in the match-up, you need to gain the edge in the early game. This happens with the fixes I made to the deck. Tyrogue is a killer card against Eelektrik variants. With 4 PlusPowers and Tyorgue, you’re guaranteed to get the T1 prize against Eelektrik, if they open with Tynamo OR if you have a Catcher in your hand and they don’t have a Tynamo as their opener. The early pressure Tyrogue gives to your opponent can easily win the game. Also, the 4 PlusPowers help against Celebi variants because Cyndaquil can easily OHKO Celebi if you have 4 PlusPowers and 3 Junk Arms in your deck. You might be able to do it with Tyrogue as well. I also took off one N because if you are ahead of prizes (as you have to be against Zekrom/Eelektrik, N hurts you more than your opponent. DCE is also an addition that might help to gain the early advantage. This can be used in two ways – either to retreat Reshiram in T1 to Tyrogue, or use Outrage to kill opponent’s active Pokémon with the help from PlusPower.

All in all, the match-up is all about the first few turns and with these fixes, you can gain the advantage in the early game. I hope this will lead to very successful results!

Question #4

Hi, first i want to say that i am new to the game, just a few monts. i've been playing a celebi/mewtwo/tornadus based in your list of the mewtwo EX series. So far it has been great for me, i love the deck, by the way can you post your reshiboar list? Thanks. The list now:

Pokémon (11)
2 Mewtwo EX (ND 54)
4 Celebi (TR 92)
3 Tornadus (EP 89)
1 Shaymin (UL 8)
1 Shaymin EX (ND 5)

Trainer (36)
3 Skyarrow Bridge (ND 91)
4 Pokemon Catcher (EP 95)
3 Pokegear 3.0 (HGSS 96)
3 Switch (HGSS 102)
4 Junk Arm (TR 87)
1Revive (BW 102)
2 Eviolite (NV 91)
4 Dual Ball (CL 78)
4 Professor Juniper (BW 101)
4 Professor Oak's New Theory (HGSS 101)
3 N (NV 92)
1 PlusPower (BW 96)

Energy (13)
9 Grass Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy (ND 92)

Esa answers:

This question came by anonymous to the comments section, not on the e-mail but I’ll still answer it.

First of all, all my decklists (including ReshiBoar variants) can be found from The Decklist Out. I’ve also written two articles about ReshiBoar, which you can find here and here.

Second, I think that the list is very decent looking and in fact, I think that with that kind of list, even winning tournaments can be possible. You already know that, I’m a fan of techless Celebi variants (you can find the article for Celebi/Mewtwo here) but if we keep the techs and make the deck even more techier, I would only modify the deck a bit.

- 1 Skyarrow Bridge
- 1 Pokegear 3.0.
- 1 Eviolite
- 1 Professor Oak’s New Theory

+ 1 Tyrogue
+ 2 PlusPowers
+ 1 N

The fixes are pretty similar to ReshiPlosion but it’s no surprise – Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus MUST be fast in order to win games. There is nothing faster than a Tyrogue. I wouldn’t put Tyrogue in the deck if it was a straight Mewtwo/Celebi but since the deck has already been teched out, one Tyrogue won’t hurt the deck at all – the opposite.

No matter, how you look at it, PlusPowers are very vital for this deck. They help in getting the early game prizes with every attacker and they also help getting the Pokémon with a bit more HP OHKOed. 4Ns is also a must in this deck as long as you run Shaymin EX. The combo between N and Shaymin is lethal to your opponent in the late game.

I hope, this improves your results!

Question #5

Hi, my current list looks like this!

Pokemon- 14

thundurus- 2 
Zapdos- 1
tyrogue- 1
Tynamo NVI39- 3
Elektrik- 3
Mewtwo EX- 2
Zekrom BLW- 2

Trainers- 32

eviolite- 2
Plus Power- 3
Pokemon Catcher- 3
super rod- 1
Junk Arm- 4
Dual ball- 1
switch- 1
Level ball- 1
Pokemon Collector- 4
Sages training- 2
Pokegear 3.0- 2
Juniper- 4
N- 2

Energy- 14

9 lightning

Since this is my first deck I am not too sure on the numbers, especially if i should even be playing dual ball or Zapdos. What Pokemon lines and trainer lines would you recommend?

- Kameron

Esa answers:

This deck already seems very solid as well. To answer to your questions, I will repeat myself – either you play Dual Balls or Pokémon Collector –not both ones. Also, Zapdos is good in early aggression but I think Tornadus does the job even better. I want to show everyone the list of Zekrom/Eelektrik and how it would look like with Ball engine, so here’s the fixed list with no-Collectors and a Ball engine.


Pokemon- 15

2x Thundurus
1x Tyrogue
4x Tynamo NVI39
3x Elektrik
2x Mewtwo EX
2x Zekrom BLW
1x Zekrom EX

Trainers- 32

4x Dual ball
2x Level Ball
1x Pokémon Communication
4x Juniper
3x N
1x Pokegear 3.0.
1x Eviolite
3x PlusPower
3x Pokémon Catcher
4x Junk Arm
1x Super Rod
2x Switch

Energy- 13

9x Lighting Energy
4x Double Colorless Energy

The list is aggressive in both – Pokémon lines and trainer lines. The only fix, I wanted to make for the list, is to add 4th PlusPowers but I can’t find space for it in this list. I would suggest to Kameron to try to find the place for 4th PlusPower. It will be very nice to OHKO things like Mewtwo EX with Zekrom EX and 2 PlusPowers. One thing that may be done is to take away the Eviolite to make the deck “über” aggressive.

I hope that helped Kameron!

Question #6

I just came back from Milano Regional (in Italia) with 71 masters and top16, and finished 4rd with a Donphan/Mewtwo EX/Tornadus deck after losing to… CMT. Then I saw you missed tops with CMT, and your top4 was so golden for Donphan. Yet it makes me think CMT should have a weakness as big as fighting is for Zeel, something bigger than just being N'd (resource management could bypass this so I don't consider it a big weakness). What do you think about it ?

Esa answers:

I think this is a question that bothers many of us – does CMT have any other weak points than late game N to 1 to 2 cards? In fact, for one’s part, I’ve already touched the other weakness of CMT in my answers.

CMT may have problems in the late game but it will also have problems in early game whenever your opponent starts the game and gets a fast start. Yes, the early game can be very problematic for CMT against some match-ups. A good example of this is the ReshiPlosion match-up. If CMT starts with a Celebi active and Tornadus on the bench and Reshi is able to OHKO Celebi in T1, the set-up of CMT will be slowed dramatically. The disrupting of energy acceleration is a huge advantage in early game against CMT. This can be – in my opinion – counted as the second weakness of CMT.  

Question #7

Hey Esa! thanks for all that you do, man! Really appreciate it. hey, I saw someone saying that since Dark Explorers has come out with Rayquaza EX (I think...) that Mewtwo Ex has had very little play in Japan. Are you seeing that? Can you confirm that?

- Ken in Ohio

Esa answers:

I want to only confirm that the Mewtwo EX won’t be a 60$ card after the next two sets. It’ll still be played but it isn’t s staple for every deck as it’s at the moment. Sorry that I couldn’t be more help but I don’t want to get into hyping cards! I’ve done it once and we all know how it ended up being!


All in all, I think all the question, I received I got were great and it was great fun answering them! I hope that everyone found these questions and answers thoughtful and learnt a little about them. I also hope that the answers really helped the people, who asked these questions (I sure hope, you’re reading this!).

I’ll be happy to get even more questions in the future so I hope that everyone send their questions to me by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter on in the comments so I can make these entries a regular part of my blog! Don’t hesitate to ask anything TCG related!

Thanks for reading and please leave feedback and questions to guarantee the future entries!


Also, remember to share YOUR The Deck Out -story


  1. Hi Esa, and thanks for answering.
    I see you missed the Kyurem EX approach, and i wanna know your opinion about it :)

  2. Regarding the first guy question... His deck's ideia resolves around Vanilluxe and your answer is removing Vanilluxe? Ok...

  3. Hello Esa,

    I've always wanted to play Snorlax CL, do you know a way to make it playable?

  4. Esa, I sent you an email quite some time ago, will you be answering it anytime soon? Thanks! :)

  5. Look at me! I'm on TDO! \o/

    Thanks for answering Esa!


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