Saturday - August 21st, 2010 @ 9 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

The Undaunted Redshark release is now available for download! Redshark allows you to practice the Pokemon TCG on your computer and against friends online. It is the only fan-made program created specifically for the Pokemon TCG. You can download the Windows installer below; unfortunately, the Mac installer is not ready due to technical difficulties and may not be available for a few weeks. Sorry Maccies! Just another reason to switch to Windows. :D

[Windows Download (3.70)]

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Friday - June 25th, 2010 @ 2 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Sorry for the lack of updates this week! You guys (hopefully) know I never miss news stories unless something major comes up. I’ve been packing for my trip to Japan (going today!) and there was a major emergency in the middle of this week with my 90-year old aunt that delayed a lot of what I had to do before going (took her to the emergency room, got thrown up on there… smelled minty, stayed there until 4 AM in the same room my nana was in before she died… very nice memories :/, took her to our house to watch over her for a few days, sleep schedule was completely wrecked, emotionally and physically drained, etc.). Needless to say, I had more important things to worry about this week, so I hope you all understand! :)

I’ll be getting on the plane in 10 hours and the flight lasts for 12 hours, so I’ll arrive in Japan on Saturday afternoon their time. I have a lot of news I need to post, but I obviously haven’t had the time to write it, so I’ll try to post on Saturday night or Sunday. Hopefully I’ll be able to get free Internet in the hotel; I ain’t payin’ 2000 yen a night for Internet! As for what I plan to accomplish, while I’m not expecting to replicate the success of last year’s trip with the early game footage and early movie screening, I’m going to actively be on the hunt for Pokemon news opportunities (that’s the main reason I’m going on the trip, after all – I’m not even getting credit for the classes I’m taking since they’re the same as last year’s). I’m doin’ it all for you guys!! Hopefully I’ll get some cool Black and White news. If I can’t find any I’ll go punch it out of someone. I know where you’re located, Gamefreak. :D

Oh, and I don’t have time to write down a will and all my passwords like I was able to do last year for my first trip there, so if I die for some reason (plane crash, Godzilla attack, Third Impact, angry Pokemon officials, etc.), the site goes to Bangiras, Shakepeare, and Shining Raikou. My mom’s got my (outdated) passwords in a vault somewhere (as well as Firefox profile backups on external hard drives with all the passwords), so hit her up if something happens you guys! Sell the site and I’ll kill you, merge the site with another and I’ll kill you, let it die and I’ll kill you. >:D But I myself don’t plan to die since I have too much to live for, so no worries anyway! /just-in-case-paragraph

Ja matta ya fuels!

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Thursday - May 13th, 2010 @ 11 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

The HS – Unleashed Redshark release is now available for download! Redshark allows you to practice the Pokemon TCG on your computer and against friends online. It is the only fan-made program created specifically for the Pokemon TCG. You can download your installer by clicking one of the links below; make sure to uninstall any previous versions of Redshark before attempting to install the new one!

[Windows | Macintosh]

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Monday - May 10th, 2010 @ 1 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Update (6:00 PM) – Added seven more pieces of fan art.

As with Zoroark’s silhouette, the members of PokeBeach forums have been creating their own fan art of what they think the new Black and White starter Pokemon will look like. Some of them are serious attempts, some are drawn on the fly, and some are just jokes. Click the thumbnails below for larger images and use your left and right arrow keys to scroll through them like a slideshow. If any of the artwork below has the wrong artist’s name, please e-mail me and I will correct it immediately. If you would like your fan art showcased, feel free to post it here. The artists who come closest to the real Pokemon gets a mention on the front page (if you have a Devianart I’ll link to it too).

As of now, the real starter Pokemon have not been revealed yet: everything you see posted across the web is fan art, including the authentic-looking magazine scans that our old site artist CascadeGonPory drew as a hoax. The starter Pokemon will only be revealed through CoroCoro magazine scans and there is a very good chance we’ll get them early in the morning (which means I have to stay up super late again!). Be sure to keep checking back – we’ll be on the constant lookout as usual! CoroCoro should also be revealing the name of the new region and how to evolve Zorua.

Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Shadowken42 Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Lunchbox Starter Pokemon Fan Art by sarydactl Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Plateman Starter Pokemon Fan Art by BlazeGryph Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Guardian of Aura Starter Pokemon Fan Art by lambo_chu Starter Pokemon Fan Art by lambo_chu Starter Pokemon Fan Art by burningcharizard Starter Pokemon Fan Art by 7YearsinTibet Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Pokémaniac Starter Pokemon Fan Art by ArceusTrainer Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Nidd15 Starter Pokemon Fan Art by HikaruAyame Starter Pokemon Fan Art by HikaruAyame Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Gamebeast101 Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Prinplush Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Elfteiroh Starter Pokemon Fan Art by StiX Starter Pokemon Fan Art by kevin1988 Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Solar-Sceptile Starter Pokemon Fan Art by _Furret Starter Pokemon Fan Art by _Furret Starter Pokemon Fan Art by ~Rukario~ Starter Pokemon Fan Art by dwarfstar123 Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Krow Starter Pokemon Fan Art by sax87ton Starter Pokemon Fan Art by MrMadMan Starter Pokemon Fan Art by BlazeGryph Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Rayquaza808 Starter Pokemon Fan Art by peterrab Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Limpa Starter Pokemon Fan Art by howelllawson Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Xous Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Film Visionary Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Skoopa Starter Pokemon Fan Art by 42 Chocolate Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Lord Muha Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Benny Starter Pokemon Fan Art by sketchfox7 Starter Pokemon Fan Art by Shiny Scyther
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Tuesday - May 4th, 2010 @ 12 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Our forum supermod PMJ has spent the past two or so months writing an extremely comprehensive HeartGold and SoulSilver walkthrough / guide. It details almost everything there is to the two remakes and is a great resource for anyone who owns them. Be sure to check it out if you need any sort of help! The guide has been added to the left menu under “Games” for future accessing.

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Thursday - April 15th, 2010 @ 11 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

The following article was written by Gale from our forums. If you would like to read articles written by PokeBeach forum members, check out our Article Submissions forum. Thanks Gale for your hard work in writing this article!

Intro

Double Colorless Energy (#103) from HeartGold & SoulSilver

States are long over and Regionals are this Saturday! This year, there were a heavy variety of decks used at States, with no one deck dominating any one division. Individual cards that were introduced in the new Pokémon Collector, Pokémon Communication, Pokémon Reversal, and possibly the most important of the bunch, Double Colorless Energy.

While the Supporters / Trainers could be used in almost any deck to help with consistency or disruption, Double Colorless Energy was only useful in a handful of decks. It added speed and greatly helped cards such as Garchomp C LV.X. Along with new Trainers and Energies, HeartGold & SoulSilver also brought many new Pokémon to the format, including Jumpluff and Donphan (Prime), who are both recognized for their intense speed and damage output.

SPs have been doing surprisingly well, but only one variation of the deck noticeably swept States. Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X was definitely the deck to beat, placing first in over half of the State Championships and placing second and third in others. I’m not saying other SP variants didn’t also do well, but Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X have the most wins by far. Returning decks such as Gyarados, Gardevoir, and Gengar continued to dominate States after an impressive show at the City Championships. Just how much did HeartGold & SoulSilver change the States metagame, and what does it mean for Regionals? Read on to find out! This article focuses on a few of the top decks in the format. Each deck will include a synopsis and detailed deck list. This article is intended for beginning and casual players of the game.

Luxray GL LV.X / Garchomp C LV.X

Luxray GL LV.X (#109) from Rising Rivals

Luxray GL LV.X and Garchomp C LV.X originally began as a combo during City Championships, along with Blaziken FB LV.X. Players eventually decided to drop Blaziken FB LV.X and this new, highly effective combo was born. The deck revolves around controlling your opponent’s field while dealing massive damage to whatever Pokémon you want. The combination of Luxray GL LV.X’s “Bright Look” Poké-Power make this easy, along with Garchomp C LV.X’s attack “Dragon Rush.” Cards such as Double Colorless Energy help speed up with process. The pure speed combined with the brutal disruption is the appeal of this deck, and many times it’s too much to handle for slow decks or decks with low HP Pokémon. There are few things that can stop the driving force of this deck because it gets set up too quickly, but be sure to watch out for decks like Donphan. As long as you make the right choices, this deck will perform well against almost anything. The deck has many options, and it can adapt to changing situations during a battle.

For example, if your opponent plays Mewtwo LV.X to try and stop you from attacking, you have several options, including just sending it to the Bench and pick off Prizes alternative ways, or using other possible tech cards to shut it down and/or eliminate it. Because it’s an SP deck, Luxray GL LV.X/Garchomp C LV.X (or, “Lady GaGa,” as it is commonly referred to) has many options and is definitely one of the best decks in the format. Expect to see this played quite a bit during Regionals.

This deck has many other options aside from the ones I’ll be showing you in the decklist. You can run it with Blaziken… you can run it without Dialga… you can basically do whatever you want with it. It is a very flexible deck, so don’t be afraid to tweak things.

Pokémon: 17

Trainers: 29

Energy: 14

Gyarados

Gyarados (#19) from Stormfront

After winning numerous City Championships, it wasn’t a huge surprise when Gyarados top cut time and time again at States. Even with its weakness, Luxray GL LV.X/Garchomp C LV.X, seeing a lot of play, Gyarados can hold its own in this difficult format. With its combination of speed and pure power, Gyarados is not only one of the most practical decks to use, but also one of the fastest.

Many people argue that it’s a bit of a risk to play, because if you have several Magikarp prized, you’re in a difficult position for the rest of the game. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening, and Gyarados has a few tricks up its sleeve anyway. Because of the deck’s charming simplicity, there isn’t a great deal of things to say about it. The strategy is to get a Gyarados out as soon as possible with three Magikarp in your discard pile, an Expert Belt on your Gyarados, and a good backup plan if you need one. A majority of the time though, if you can get your Gyarados set up fast enough, you’ll have taken a prize or two before you lose your first Gyarados. After that, it’s all up to you. Once again, it’s an easy deck to understand on the outside, but once you actually start playing it, you’ll need to be thinking several turns ahead and be sure you can get another Gyarados out if your current active one dies. Gyarados was one of the best choices for States and is still one of the best choices for Regionals.

Gyarados doesn’t have a huge variety of techs to choose from. There are two “main” versions of Gyarados: one that focuses on speed, and one that focuses on disruption. I’ll cover the version that focuses on speed for this article, but know the one that focuses on disruption uses Palkia LV.X, Team Galactic’s Wager, and an increased Luxray GL LV.X line. Both versions are viable, and it all comes down to preference.

Pokémon: 21

Trainers: 32

Energy: 6

Cursegar

Gengar LV.X (#97) from Arceus

After becoming increasingly popular during City Championships, Gengar was having a good year. In most of the previous season, a different Gengar was causing problems for the entire format. For a while, it seemed like the new age version of Gengar would be causing even more problems. At States, Cursegar definitely left a mark, taking home a few first and second places.

The secret lies in the deck’s ability to lock, spread, and survive all equally well. Early game you use cards such as Spiritomb to lock your opponent by preventing them from using Trainers, and give you the ability to evolve your Pokémon quickly; after that you set up your Gengar (Platinum: Arceus) and start getting damage all over the field, while alternating between other forms of stall. Gengar was also used excessively during States because of its positive matchups against almost every deck. It seemed like Gengar was able to put any viable tech into any list and it would take care of a whole deck. This isn’t to say Gengar didn’t have its faults, but it certainly covered its weak spots. After you’ve set up your lock and done your spreading, you can finish your opponent off with a blow from Gengar LV.X, using its Compound Pain attack, or another tech card you might decide to put in. While Gengar isn’t necessarily as fast as Luxchomp, it still is able to pump out significant damage very quickly, while damaging the opponent at the same time.

There are many techs for Gengar, such as Mr. Mime, which can help you against Gyarados and other low energy cost decks, Nidoqueen, which helps greatly against another Gengar deck or other spread decks, and Mewtwo LV.X, which makes the matchup against SP decks in your favor because of its Poké-Body. Once again, play around with them depending on your metagame.

Pokémon: 26

Trainers: 22

Energy: 12

Plox

Gardevoir (#7) from Secret Wonders

This deck has won countless events, and it’s little surprise it’s been winning even more now that States have come and gone. For most of its life, Plox has been a solid deck, but with the release of HeartGold & SoulSilver (more specifically, Double Colorless Energy), it became even more viable. Plox’s forte is an easy, early game lock; using DCE, you can get it setup even earlier.

Plox is short for “Psychic Lock,” Gardevoir’s attack. Both Gardevoir and Gallade can utilize Double Colorless Energy, which means you can be locking your opponent early game with Gardevoir’s Psychic Lock as early as turn two, and perform a late game sweep with Gallade’s Psychic Cut. Each attack does a substantial amount of damage for only two energy. Combine this with a simple damage booster such as Expert Belt and you’re dealing even more damage with the same great effect. Combine this with disruptive techs and a strong draw engine, and you have quite the combo going.

Plox’s biggest problem is its matchups against high-tier decks – specifically, Gyarados and Gengar. They’re not auto-losses, but they may cause problems depending on their builds. That said, States has proved that Plox can still hold its own, and Plox continues to remain a great deck to use for Regionals as well.

There are several variations of Plox, including ones that focus completely on locking, ones that focus on pure damage, ones that focus on disruption, and ones that focus on other things. For the sake of keeping this article simple, I’ll use the most universally accepted version of the deck, but please know there are others. The most popular alternate choices are a speed-focused version of the deck that does not use Spiritomb, a disruptive version that uses cards such as Dusknior and Palkia LV.X, and a lock-focused version that uses Mesprits to make sure the opponent never uses powers.

Pokémon: 25

Trainers: 22

Energy: 13

Jumpluff

Jumpluff (#6) from HeartGold & SoulSilver

Ever since the first translation of Jumpluff appeared on PokéBeach, players have been eagerly awaiting its release and their chance to use it at States. Has it lived up to its expectations? I’d say yes, more or less. Jumpluff did quite well at States, although it didn’t necessarily do any better than what was expected of it.

Jumpluff’s game is simple: swarm as fast as you can while keeping yourself alive. Whether it be by increasing your HP, decreasing the damage you take, or just pulling a full-out offensive maneuver, Jumpluff has many tricks up its sleeve. Jumpluff only has a few threats in the metagame, the largest of which is Luxchomp, Gyarados, and arguably other Jumpluffs, due to each deck being as fast (or faster), harder-hitting, or more disruptive than Jumpluff. Because Jumpluff is so straightforward damage-wise, it has a lot of techs, but you can’t use every tech under the sun and still expect to win consistently.

Like I said before, there are many versions of Jumpluff you can use. For this article, I’ll use a very popular version that has recently been seeing more and more play, and will most likely be the best variant for Regionals. Once again, there are many other variants of this deck. One variant focuses on using the aforementioned Shaymin LV.X and Cherrim to keep Jumpluff alive thanks to the increased HP from Shaymin and the decreased damage from Cherrim, one is a damage-focused version that uses Cherrim (Stormfront), and a straightforward version that only plays Jumpluff, Claydol, Uxie, and Azelf. Try each one out to find which one you like!

Pokémon: 22

Trainers: 31

Energy: 7

Flygon / Donphan

Donphan (#107) from HeartGold & SoulSilver

Much like Jumpluff, Donphan is a card that many have eagerly awaited to be released. Because it can do 60 damage for one Fighting Energy, Donphan is one of the best donking cards in the format. Although it has its pros, players thought Donphan was too risky to run and wasn’t worth trying to set it up on the first or second turn. Donphan also has a very rough time against Gyarados, which was a big problem for players running it.

Flygon, on the other hand, is not such a new card. Flygon has been doing great the past year, but unfortunately was expected to not see much action during States. It was clear to some that Donphan needed a “backup plan” in case it didn’t get the donk on the first few turns. Flygon was the perfect backup plan. The strategy for this deck is pretty simple: try to donk with Donphan using power-increasing cards like Expert Belt, but if you can’t, get a Flygon ready on the bench so you can retreat Donphan for free and start swinging away with Flygon as you build up a swarm of Donphan on your bench. If your Flygon dies, just rinse and repeat. Both Pokémon are heavy hitters and can take out a good chunk of the format. Using techs like Nidoqueen is a good idea if you’re worried about your Flygon dying. At the same time, combine Nidoqueen’s “Maternal Comfort” Poké-Body with Donphan’s “Exoskeleton” Poké-Body, and Donphan becomes a tank that is dealing massive damage at the same time.

This is only one version of this deck, obviously, but you can run Donphan or Flygon by themselves and have good results.

Pokémon: 23

Trainers: 23

Energy: 14

Conclusion

As you can see, the metagame for Regionals is looking to be a good one. A large variety of decks that counter each other is a fair format, and it is definitely balanced. Of course, these aren’t all of the decks that won State Championships. There were other ones that didn’t win as many, or came in second or third, or were played, but weren’t quite ready to win. These decks might be back for Regionals, and if they are, the competition is sure to be interesting. Thanks for reading, and good luck at Regionals!

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Tuesday - April 6th, 2010 @ 11 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

First official PokeBeach Redshark tournament!

Redshark 3.51 has now been released! The update adds several new features to the program, the largest of which is compatibility with SteveP’s Deck List program. If you are a Windows user, right-click and save this link to download the new installer; if you are a Mac user, save this link instead. The program will now install to “C:\redshark” for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, so you will not have to manually change the installation path anymore. The list of changes and updates in this release can be viewed here.

And now for the exciting part! From now on, PokeBeach will be hosting official Redshark tournaments that will be advertised and promoted on this front page! The first official tournament starts this week and will be held on the forums. It will be split in to two different groups: members with zero to fifty posts will be in one tournament and members with over fifty posts will be in another. For the full tournament rules and to sign-up, please read this forum thread. You will obviously need to create a forum account if you do not have one yet. Registration ends Thursday night at 11:59 PM PST, so sign up ASAP!

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Tuesday - February 23rd, 2010 @ 9 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Bangiras has translated the FAQ from the official Japanese Pokemon website for the Revived Legends set. It should help with understanding how a lot of the new cards work both on their own and when interacting with cards from previous sets. Check it out! The link to the FAQ has been added to the Revived Legends page, which you can access in the future under “Japanese Sets” in the left menu.

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Saturday - February 20th, 2010 @ 1 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

With the latest in Sony Blu-Ray 1080p Dolby surround sound Lucasfilm THX Real-D prettiness technology, Shakespeare has scanned in all of his HeartGold & SoulSilver cards with his high-quality scanner, replacing the scans everyone kindly sent in during the prereleases. Check ’em out! If you see any of the old scans, try clearing your cache. Sadly, I doubt we’ll ever see Shakespeare’s other scans (such as promos) because I have no programmer to help me make a Card-Dex (well, we have had a few programmers, but none of them could ever finish the projects they started, leaving me with half-completed Card-Dexes and tons and tons of wasted time). I think I’ll be done with this website before we ever get a good one.

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Saturday - February 13th, 2010 @ 12 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

The HeartGold & SoulSilver set Redshark release is now available for download! If you are using Windows, you can download the latest installer by clicking here; if you are using Macintosh, download this link instead. Redshark allows you to practice the Pokemon TCG on your computer and against friends online. It is the only fan-made program created specifically for the Pokemon TCG.

If you are a Windows Vista or Windows 7 user, you must input “c:\redshark” when it asks you what folder you want to install the program to. For all Windows users, be sure to uninstall any previous versions before attempting to launch the installation program. For Macintosh users, drag the redshark_350.app application to your Applications folder to replace the previous one.

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Sunday - January 17th, 2010 @ 1 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

I know I always post personal, crazy stories but there’s no news and this one is just so entertaining! :p You don’t have to read it of course… maybe if you’re bored you’ll want to?

So as some of you may remember, my laptop was stolen on Christmas Eve at Fry’s Electronics. The cops went through the security tapes to see who stole it, but the cameras conveniently shut off right where it was probably taken. I started to use my ancient, in-multiple-pieces laptop as a substitute, but it was a real hassle to take to class and extremely slow. Luckily, my youngest brother is now letting me use the brand new laptop he got for Christmas, and so I’ve been updating the site with it for the past week. Thank goodness he’s letting me keep it for now since I wouldn’t be able to make all those large news stories or do any homework in a reasonable amount of time.

My aunt, who is blind, broke her hearing aids last week so I went to her house today to help her with the new ones. While I was there, I knew Pokemon Sunday would be revealing the mysterious question mark from last week, so I walked around the neighborhood looking for a free Wi-Fi signal to update the site. I found one at the local high school, and though I knew PokeSun was probably just revealing Pokemon Ranger: Tracks of Light (which is what it turned out to be… they showed the main characters and Ukulele Pichu), I still wanted to make sure there weren’t any surprises. So I sat on the street corner for a half-hour, waiting for news to come. My brother repeatedly ran down the street to get the laptop from me (“someone’s going to steal my laptop!”), but I kept pushing him away and telling him nothing’s going to happen. He kept grabbing it from me and we fought for a few minutes (he was being a brat all day long – even my mom was mad at him – honest! :p), but I eventually figured out how to hold it down without breaking it. He finally gave up and walked back to my aunt’s house.

Less than three minutes after he was out of sight, an adult pulled up next to me on his bike and asked if I was able to get an Internet signal. I told him yes, thinking he was looking for a signal too (he must want to update his site too, naive me thought :p). While still on his bike, he leaned down toward me and asked if he could use the laptop, reaching for it simultaneously. That’s when I knew something was up, so I pretended like I didn’t see him do it and remained calm, telling him I was busy with something and could not accommodate him. Since I was calm and staring at the screen, he figured I hadn’t seen him, so he told me he wanted to show me something funny on the Internet in a second attempt to get me to hand it over. “It really is funny, you should see it!” Again, I said I’m busy and not interested, but he continued to hunch his body toward it.

He took the plunge and grabbed the laptop with both hands! Still remaining calm, I asked in an annoyed but polite voice, as if this was no big deal, “Do you mind?!!” He was actually grabbing it rather violently and pushing me, but I was able to keep it down as I had done so a few minutes earlier with my brother. I kept thinking to myself, “I’m not losing two laptops in one month, dang it!” I still acted like this was no big deal even though I was clearly being mugged. In a flash, his face turned completely furious. His entire demeanor changed. This is when I got a little scared. He turned his head to look around… as if he was about to do something. Just as quickly, he unzipped his jacket and reached for something in one of the pockets. He held his fingers in a way that I thought it might be a knife. Before he could get his fingers in the pocket, I jumped up and screamed at the top of my lungs, “Would you please leave me alone!!” He obviously wasn’t expecting me to yell that loud (I’ve had a lifetime of practice with my brothers), and just like that, he took off like a Zubat out of the Reverse World – so fast that I barely remember him leaving.

I walked up the street slowly and kept looking over my shoulder to make sure he didn’t see where I was going even though he had gone down another street. I walked in to my aunt’s house and said I was almost mugged, but my brother and dad just laughed, thinking I was kidding since I was acting too calm and because my brother had just warned me that would happen (that little brat – how dare he be right about something!). They realized I wasn’t faking it when I walked straight to the phone and dialed 9-1-1. After a few cops came to the house, we learned that a man on a bike has been robbing people with a knife for the past few weeks, though they wouldn’t tell us if anyone had actually been stabbed (this was on the outskirts of L.A., by the way). If this was a Pokemon episode, my Pidgeotto would find him, Pikachu would shock him, Officer Jenny would arrest him, and we’d find out he is part of the same evil syndicate that stole my laptop a month earlier! But alas, to this moment, they still have not found him. I was also a bad witness and could not remember what he looked like since I was looking at my laptop most of the time and because it happened so fast, so he probably won’t be found. :(

Lesson #1! If you’re getting mugged, yell loud to draw attention to yourself and the bad guy! Lesson #2: Remain calm! Lesson #3: Don’t act stupid like me and put yourself into a situation like this in the first place! I was an idiot to advertise the laptop on the street. Lesson #4: Probably give them what they want in the first place? In this case, I didn’t have to since the guy was kind of chubby and he put his bike wheel right next to me, so even if he had pulled out a knife or gun, all I had to do was kick him and his bike over… but that’s probably not always the case.

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Friday - January 8th, 2010 @ 3 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

The following article was written by Galefail on our forums. If you would like to submit an article for our many forum users to read (which may eventually be posted here), please do so through this section on our forum. The section is a great resource for reading articles as well, obviously. Thanks Gale for your hard work in writing this one!

Intro

Expert Belt from Arceus (#87)

As many of you know, City Championships are upon us once again and breathing down our necks! There are so many different decks and variants that it’s difficult to decide what to play. This comprehensive article is here to help you, the indecisive player, deduce what to play for City Championships as well as to learn what big decks are in the format. Enjoy!

It’s quite obvious that certain decks such as SPs have been doing surprisingly well, although not so surprisingly once you take a look at how people have been using them. Gengar is taking a backseat along with Gyarados to many other decks dominating the “first tier,” which is mostly comprised of SP decks. Flygon is doing well as always, although it isn’t shocking considering how a fair chunk of the format has a problem with it. After long enough, hyped-up decks such as Gliscor/Spiritomb have not been performing as expected, and Salamence is not even considered a “tier-worthy” deck at this point. Tangrowth has seen little to no play, and Charizard, although not horrible, is not seeing much action right now. Gardevoir/Gallade decks have been doing surprisingly well, as have many other slower stage 2 decks thanks to two cards that have been changing the format: Expert Belt and Spiritomb. These two cards allow for more survivability late game, fast set up, and early game locking. It’s pretty obvious that SPs are the dominant decks in the format with there being so many variants, and in my opinion, there are six “top decks” out there, with four of them being SP decks. That’s saying something, especially considering many players (including myself) believed SPs wouldn’t be seeing much play during City Championships. I’d also say it’s pretty evident that the new Arceus set has changed the game a LOT – much more than expected. Is this a good or bad thing? I think the usage of cards from the set in popular decks speak for themselves.

For this article, I’ll just be going over what are considered the six “big” decks in today’s metagame. After doing so, I’ll provide you with a short analysis of the deck and a list that I myself have created.

Dialga G / Garchomp C

Dialga G from Platinum (#7)

Dialga G is a name that should not sound unfamiliar if you have been playing since States 2009. After having a great run back then up until Worlds, Dialga G took a small break during Battle Roads. Once Arceus came out, however, Dialga G was given a second chance, and players decided to pair him with Garchomp C LV.X. Garchomp C LV.X was like a Poké Turn but better. It still allows you to heal your Dialga G, but you can keep all of your Special Metals on it as well. So after you start with a Dialga G early game, you can use Deafen for a few turns to lock your opponent and pile on maybe one or two Special Metals if you have the field advantage. If you ever think your Dialga G is in trouble, keep the Special Metals in your hand and wait until you can bring up another one to revenge kill. If Dialga G ever gets weak, instead of Poké Turning and doing all of that work again, just bring up Garchomp C LV.X and take that damage right off. Dialga G LV.X is obviously still used in this deck and it works quite well. Being able to lock your opponent’s bodies (Spiritomb’s, for example) can put you at a real advantage early game. Remove Lost also helps with disruption and does more damage than Second Strike anyway. Garchomp C LV.X’s attack one shots Claydols and Uxies and is very useful, even if you have to discard. It’s a fairly simple deck to play normally, and really doesn’t have big problems that it can’t get around.

Being an SP deck, it has many techs to utilize. Some of the most popular are Toxicroak G for Machamp or Quagsire GL for Fire-types such as Blaziken FB LV.X. Play around with techs and see what works best in light of your metagame.

Pokémon: 18

Trainers: 31

Energy: 11

Blaziken FB / Luxray GL

Blaziken FB from Supreme Victors (#2)

I would say that currently, out of every deck in this format, BlazeRay is the most consistent. The deck itself uses Blaziken FB LV.X and Luxray GL LV.X to hit hard and hit fast. Every turn you’re almost guaranteed to do at least 60 damage, or disrupt your opponent by forcing them to switch with Blaziken FB’s Luring Flame or Luxray GL LV.X’s Bright Look. Although some decks do have a way of getting around this disruption, for the most part, it can really mess up a lot of early game setups. Also, because you’re doing so much damage usually pretty early in the game for such little Energy, your opponent will always be in a tight spot. It is very easy, however, for them to one shot your Blaziken FB LV.X after a Jet Shoot, but it’s just as easy for you to either get another one up or revenge kill with something. It is an EXTREMELY simple deck to play that counters a lot of the metagame. It can have problems with Water-types due to them being able to one shot Blaziken FB LV.X, and sometimes power locking can hurt too, but for the most part, this is a fast, powerful, and consistent deck that has a nice and steady flow throughout the entire game.

This deck shouldn’t use too many techs. You want to be hitting fast and hard, not clunking up your hand with a bunch of useless cards. Ninetales is nice in case your opponent for some reason decides to play Mewtwo, the Toxicroak G promo (DP #40) is still a favorite, Infernape 4 LV.X is nice for Dialga G, and really, anything with a low Energy cost that isn’t too difficult to get out is great in BlazeRay.

Pokémon: 19

Trainers: 29

Energy: 12

  • 7x Fire Energy
  • 3x Lightning Energy
  • 1x Psychic Energy
  • 1x Multi Energy

Palkia G Lock

Palkia G from Platinum (#12)

Palkia G is another card that you might remember if you have played since States. It got just as much recognition as Dialga G did and was arguably just as good as well. After sitting on the sidelines for most of Worlds, Palkia G returned once again in Battle Roads to show what it can do, and during Cities, it’s even more dangerous. The deck’s basic strategy is to fill up your Bench early with one-time effect cards such as Mesprit or Uxie, and then use Palkia G LV.X to “throw away” what you don’t need anymore. Mesprit is just great because it can lock the opponent, and Uxie allows you to draw whatever you need to get Palkia G going early. If you want, you can also use Super Scoop Up to reuse your Mesprits and Uxies if you feel that it’s necessary to do so. As you’re completely locking them, Palkia G spreads damage and does 50 damage to the Active for 3 Energy (2 with Energy Gain), or can do an 80 snipe for 4 Energy (3 with Energy Gain) and discard 2 of those Energy. Really not bad considering you’ll have a few techs to back you up, early game disruption, and spread.

Palkia can play quite a few techs, due to its ability to just get rid of them when it doesn’t need them anymore. Azelf is one of the most preferred techs for Palkia because you’re already playing the other two Pixies required to activate his Body, which can be a saving grace against other SP decks. There are several others, and it just depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice when needed.

Pokémon: 20

Trainers: 27

Energy: 13

Luxray / Garchomp

Luxray GL from Rising Rivals (#9)

This is a newer SP deck that has caused a big uproar already. It utilizes two cards that you would not think would quite work together perfectly in a hit-and-run style deck. Your main strategy should be to have a Luxray GL as your Active and a Garchomp C and Bronzong G on your Bench. After leveling up into Luxray GL LV.X, using Bright Look, and killing something, if Luxray GL LV.X doesn’t die, you should move the Energy off of Luxray GL LV.X with Bronzong G to Garchomp C, retreat Luxray LV.X for Garchomp C, and level up to Garchomp C LV.X, thus healing your Luxray GL LV.X. After that, just attach an Energy to Garchomp C LV.X, attach an Energy Gain, and hopefully score a Knock Out with Dragon Rush. Then just go back to Luxray GL LV.X (preferably by Poké Turning Garchomp C LV.X), and keep the process going. You’re healing yourself every turn, and if they don’t K.O. you, you’re in pretty good shape. Its ability to easily one-shot Flygon and Palkia G makes this deck a big contender in today’s format. Disruption, survivability, damage, and above all, speed. This deck has it all.

There aren’t very many popular techs for this deck as you have two obvious main attackers. The Toxicroak G promo is still the best thing here because, like BlazeRay, this deck’s job is to hit fast (while praying that they don’t kill you).

Pokémon: 18

Trainers: 29

Energy: 13

Flygon

Flygon from Rising Rivals (#5)

I’m sure seeing Flygon here is a welcomed change in light of all the SP decks. Flygon has been a threat to the format for quite some time now and still continues to do so very well. There are several versions of Flygon, and each of them are useful in their own way, but currently, due to the inflation of SP decks and Shuppet decks, Flygon/Machamp is literally the BEST way to play Flygon. Flygon can sort of handle SPs on its own for a while, but eventually they begin to overwhelm the deck and take it down. Machamp gives Flygon not only some breathing room, but also a way out in case SPs surprise it. FlyTrap is still a viable version of Flygon, but for right now, there aren’t enough decks for Flygon to stall out against to win. Flygon needs speed, and that’s exactly what Machamp brings to the table. FlyTrap does have the advantage of playing Mewtwo LV.X, which does help it a considerable amount, but nothing beats killing an SP for only one Energy. Although there are many ways to get around Machamp, it can still frighten SPs when they see Machop hit the field. Even if they attach Unown G to their Active Pokémon, it can buy you enough time to get ready to send Flygon in and activate Upper Energy.

The best techs for FlyChamp are really just Nidoqueen and Chatot, and even then I wouldn’t necessarily consider Nidoqueen a tech, but more of a staple. Chatot helps against Spiritomb and it’s your only way of locking them while you set up, so it’s a helpful tech. It really depends how much room you have in your deck, though.

Pokémon: 26

Trainers: 22

Energy: 12

Gengar

Gengar from Stormfront (#18)

Gengar is yet another returning deck. Many of you might remember this card from the 2008-2009 City Championships LAST year. Well, it’s back, and the newly released sets since then have given it some new things to work with. It’s faster, more consistent, and spreads more than ever before. I could sit here and tell you about all of the Gengar variants, but there’s really only two good ones: Gengar/Machamp and Gengar/Nidoqueen. Out of those two, Gengar/Machamp comes in second place to Gengar/Nidoqueen because of the latter’s ability to spread, stay alive, and not get as many bad starts as Gengar/Machamp. The basic strategy behind Gengar/Nidoqueen is very simple. After starting with preferably a Spiritomb, you should get one or two Claydols on your Bench, and proceed to go for Gengar. Once you have one or two Curse Gengar on your Bench and have the Shadow Room one Active, proceed to level up to Gengar LV.X and Compound Pain away. The healing from Nidoqueen will allow you to stay alive long enough to get the Energy on and get the damage spread around before you start taking two or more prizes at once. The boosted HP from the LV.X also helps greatly against many threats to Gengar and allows you to not have to kill Gengar in order to possibly kill the threat with Fainting Spell. Gengar is just one of the best decks around because of its ability to lock, spread, heal, and disrupt. The Curse Gengar is helpful to move the damage around and can be an effective attacker early game if needed.

Techs for Gengar are few, but it’s important that you pick the right one. Dusknoir DP is one of the best techs because it puts SPs in a tight spot and can really help against Flygon as well. Chatot is something to consider but you really don’t need it because you play Spiritomb.

Pokémon: 28

Trainers: 22

Energy: 10

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article! Its main purpose was to inform you about the popular decks players are using this year. Even though we’re almost finished with Cities, there’s still some time left to switch things up. Remember that the decks I’ve listed here are obviously not the only choices you can make! There are plenty of other decks I have not talked about; the ones here are just the ones that have won the most tournaments so far. If you are unsure what to play, make your choice based on what is being played in your area – what you know will do well in your metagame. Just remember that sometimes it is also good to play the deck you know the best! Good luck!

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Tuesday - January 5th, 2010 @ 1 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Sorry for the lack of updates! I can’t help it – the laptop I’m using is ultra slow, can barely run Firefox without crashing, and moving it will cause the power to cut off. There isn’t any Pokemon news anyway. As it turns out, the laptop that was stolen is officially gone. Fry’s and the police department checked the security cameras, but they conveniently cut off just as I walked up to the cash register because it was after the store closed. So there is no way of knowing who stole my laptop, unfortunately. On the plus side, I will be buying a new laptop sometime this month or next month once the new one I want is released.

This quarter at school, I have Mondays and Wednesdays off – my schedule conveniently worked out that way. While this laptop is slow and handicapped, I can still get work done if I have hours to waste. Which I do. On Mondays and Wednesdays. While I’m settling in to school this week, I will start posting again just as often as before.

What does January hold for us? Well, we might be getting new 13th Pokemon movie details in CoroCoro magazine and maybe even a silhouette of “Z” if it is in fact a new Pokemon (if not now then within the next few months). All legendary Pokemon have been used up now, so it only makes sense the next movie will have a 5th generation Pokemon. As Pokemon movies have never had a human character’s name in the title, it only makes sense that “Z” is the codename for a Pokemon. Before the second movie came out, Lugia, after all, was referred to as “X.” It’s almost like using “Z” in this Gold and Silver movie is a homage to using “X” for Lugia all those years ago. So we’ll see what happens – no guarantees for anything, though, as this is just speculation! We should also be getting some card images for Revived Legends, the next Japanese TCG set.

In terms of this website, we’re going to start posting TCG articles again as we did years and years ago. We have an Article Submissions section on our forum where people have been writing articles, and if an article receives enough positive reviews, it’ll be posted here for thousands upon thousands of people to read. If everything works out, the first article will be posted Wednesday. I only stopped posting articles here because I did not have time to play the TCG anymore and could not assess how good an article was, but luckily now, the forum members can tell me! Speaking of the forums, they’re also going to get a redesigned layout soon, so all you forum members can definitely look forward to that!

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Wednesday - November 18th, 2009 @ 11 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Oopser dazers, I forgot to post the high-quality scans for the Supreme Victors and Arceus sets to replace the temporary prerelease ones. Shakespeare of course scanned the new images, so thank-you’s go to him. Unfortunately, the system to display the scans is still broken, so we’re going to have to use the thumbnail pages for now. Expect the system to be fixed in 2014 or 2015 at the rate we’re going. :)

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