Help A few beginner meta questions

Discussion in 'Pokémon Trading Card Game' started by Sheimeix, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. Sheimeix Aspiring Trainer


    (Didn't post this in the competitive section because it's more on the beginner side of things- apologies if this sort of thread is more suited to the Competitive forum!)

    So, to start off, I've mildly played PTCG competitively in the past (around 2008, my last event was the Stormfront prerelease), and have played YGO competitively for a few years. Now that I'm able to actually buy a large amount of cards (as opposed to in 2008), I would really like to go back to my TCG roots and get into the competitive/tournament scene for PTCG. I've got a few deckbuilding theory questions, though, from the perspective of a YGO player-

    In YGO, draw power is everything. A card like Hau would be banned before it can see tournament play- but in PTCG, I've seen a lot of people disregarding him as if a +2 card advantage isn't as useful. I assume that's due to a large amount of searching doubled with dropping Hau would be taking up your supporter card for the turn?

    On another note, though, to prepare for ULP/SM5 (and because I love Solgaleo), I'm going to be grabbing copies of some cards to get a Steel deck going. I've sort of familiarized myself with ratios for how many pokemon/energies/trainers should be in a deck, but one thing I haven't seen discussed is Rare Candy vs Stage 1 use. For example, would it be better to run 3x Cosmog 1x Cosmoem 3x Solgaleo-GX and 3x Magnemite 1x Magneton 3x Magnezone and 4x RC? Would ignoring Stage 1s entirely be the better route, and just RC into the stage 2s? Or use RC as a in case you don't draw your S1s? (Edit: 4 RC would probably be cloggy, now that I think about it, but for the sake of example...)

    Any tips for these are much appreciated!
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017

  2. thom ye Aspiring Trainer
    thom ye


    cool that you are getting back into the pokemong TCG scene.
    re Rare Candy. keep in mind that you have to have the combination of rare candy and stage 2 in hand. which doesn't always happen when you want it to. sometimes, you need a backup and thats just to naturally evolve the pokemon. i think once you build your deck and run it 10, 20 times, you can see what the right mix is for you and your deck.
    re Hau. draw support is very useful. but compared to Sycamore (discard hand and draw 7 cards), Sycamore is a LOT better. don't worry about decking out. it rarely happens... even if you run x4 sycamore. most players run a few N also, both as draw support and to disrupt opponent.
    take a look at some of the forums and websites for typical deck list and builds. top 8 decks are also listed after each regional.
    once you start playing a little, you will get the hang of the current meta. Speed decks still do well. Energy acceleration is good also, but many decks run attacks that are energy "efficient"... that only take 1 energy. Take a look at Garbodor Trashlanche. it does damage based on Item cards in discard pile... so if you are agressively running rare candy and ultra ball.... you have to be careful.
    average ratio in deck. pokemon in the low teens. a dozen energy. and the rest trainers/supporters.
    good luck. practice and play and you'll see what works for you and what you like.
  3. Otaku The wise fool?


    How deep do you want to go for an explanation? You're not wrong, but that is only part of it.

    Pokémon has mandatory 60 card decks for Constructed Formats, or 40 for Limited Format events unless you're using the obscure 30-Card rules variant (only legal for Side Events, not ranked tournament play). I don't know all the variants for Yu-Gi-Oh, but for Traditional and Advanced Formats, you have to have at least 40 cards and no more than 60 cards in your main deck. I think... there wasn't a cap on the main deck, except in stuff like the video games, when I played the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG (2002-2009). So, unless you max out your deck size, each card drawn in Yu-Gi-Oh takes a bigger "bite" from your deck, making it more likely to hit what you need. With respect to a minimum 40 card Yu-Gi-Oh deck versus the default 60 card Pokémon deck, every two cards drawn in Yu-Gi-Oh is like drawing three cards in Pokémon, or a 2:3 ratio. Disregarding the differences between a Normal Spell and a Trainer-Supporter for a moment, that means Pot of Greed is equivalent to Hau, instead of Bill.

    The next thing to consider is the different core card categories, and what they mean to resource management. Pokémon breaks things down into Pokémon, Trainers, and Energy while Yu-Gi-Oh has Monsters, Spells, and Traps. While Monsters do equate to Pokémon and Spells equate to Trainers, Traps either also equate to Trainers or have no representations. Energy is a "resource" card, used to pay costs; while Special Energy cards also include another effect, most of the time that is still about meeting Energy requirements, the cost to be able to attack or make use of some non-attack effects of Pokémon. Yu-Gi-Oh doesn't really have an equivalent to this, though some specific cards will care about how many Monsters you have in play, other Spells on the field, etc. Energy cards are, under normal circumstances, a once-per-turn play. What does this have to do with draw power? Imagine if Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh needed a resource card like Energy... your current 40 card deck would have to cut a lot out to fit them in or become a larger deck to include them. While the exact amount of Energy cards a deck needs varies, this "bloats" Pokémon decks when compared to Yu-Gi-Oh decks, further skewing the ratio. If we assume most Constructed Format decks run about 10 Energy cards, it is like Yu-Gi-Oh decks are effectively 10 cards smaller. I might be blowing the math, but that means we are now approaching a 2:1 draw ratio for Yu-Gi-Oh cards versus Pokémon cards!

    Whew! I know we haven't even gotten into other structural differences, such as five spaces for Monsters in play versus six places for Pokémon, all Active versus one Active w/Bench, Equip Spells/Traps versus Tools, no S/T Zones versus none, the Supporter mechanic versus no equivalent mechanic, etc. Some of this will be touched upon by stuff I didn't lock behind spoiler tags because they didn't require as in-depth an explanation. Others... we can tackle if you really care to discuss it, but tis the season... for Otaku to be behind in everything. XP

    The other, simple thing to explain is that Pokémon just has much better options: N and Professor Sycamore being the two obvious Supporters to run instead of Hau if you wish to draw. Soon, we'll have Cynthia, giving us a card that is always "shuffle your hand away and draw six cards." at the cost of your Supporter for the turn. None of these care about whether or not you're running Pokémon of a specific Stage or Type, though the nature of Evolutions can make shuffling away one's hand or discarding it a bit less desirable. Thanks to the Bench mechanic (something Yu-Gi-Oh lacks), you can have a card like Octillery (XY: BREAKthrough 33/162), Oranguru (SM: Black Star Promos SM13; Sun & Moon 113/149), or Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) sitting on your Bench to supplement your draw power. Tapu Lele-GX and VS Seeker make it easier to have the Supporter you need at the right moment.

    Currently, it is very difficult to run two Stage 2 Pokémon together, unless it is a split Evolution line. This is very different from when you last were trying to play competitively in Pokémon. Remember, Rare Candy received a major errata several years ago when you weren't here. It now works like the original Pokémon Breeder; can't be used the first turn that a Pokémon is in play and only lets you Evolve a Basic Pokémon into its relevant Stage 2. Oh, and they reused the name "Pokémon Breeder" for a new, totally unrelated Supporter two sets ago, and it has nothing to do with Evolution now. @[email protected]

    What is somewhat similar, is you've got to worry about deck flow, Devolution, and anti-Item (anti-"Normal Trainer") effects. With the kind of draw power that is mainstream, it can be a bit tricky to get Rare Candy plus the desired Stage 2 without having had to shuffle away and redraw or just discard one or the other. While most decks do not run a method to Devolve your opponent's Pokémon, we currently have a very easy option to splash into decks: Espeon-EX. It has an attack for [C] that Devolves each of your opponent's Pokémon in play. Rely entirely on Rare Candy, and you've got an autoloss should you run into it... and if your deck ends up being good, then expect people to start running it. ;) Anti-Item effects aren't as big as they once were, but can make running purely on Rare Candy an issue.
  4. Sheimeix Aspiring Trainer


    Thanks for the resplys everyone! Looking at the math and deckbuilding reasonings always was one o my favorite parts of TCGs, especially comparing one game to another.

    I've played a number of games with my brother since I made OP, so I've gotten a bit more familiar with how things play out. The points you both made were really good points, especially the spoiler tagged stuff from Otaku!

    tl;dr there's a bunch of interesting differences between the games that boil down simply to the core mechanics of the games that causes major differences in what kind of draw power is good, and you can't really get a feel for it until you play for a while

    In PTCGO I've played around with Espeon EX a little, so I realized really fast that relying on Rare Candy is... Not the brightest move, but it's also so good in decks that run S2s that it's silly not to run a few. It also helped me realize how tough it would be running 2 S2 lines *on top of* other tech Pokemon, running dangerously near 20+ cards unless the extras are 1-ofs (and with that many Pokemon, I imagine I would need a crazy amount of energy to help them do what they need to!).

    The difference in card types and playing area differences are also a really good point! YGO doesn't have something like Supporters, the closest would be a card that says "You can only play [card name] once per turn." But as mentioned, there's a lot of other draw power in benched Pokemon that are largely safe to sit on (as long as you aren't up against a sniping deck). Running the math of Pot of Greed vs Hau/Cheren/draw3.supporter...

    3 cards of a full 60 card deck: 5% of the deck
    3 cards on the first turn (7 card opening hand, 6 prizes, and 1st turn draw): 6.5% of the deck

    2 cards of a 'full' 40 card deck: 5% of the deck as well
    2 cards of a first turn (5 card opening hand, now first turn draw): 5.7% of the deck

    However, in YGO, Pot of Greed is banned, whereas Hau, despite having the overall higher % of deck draw power is seen as a less-than-optimal card (early on, at least- later in the game, as deck counts go down, Pot of Greed overtakes Hau in the percentage of the deck it draws). Oddly enough, the best draw power cards in PTCG aren't as convenient in YGO. I'll use Cynthia as an example, because she's the closest thing to another card in YGO that I can think of- Reload (Wicke may be more precise as to how many cards are drawn, but the opponent also benefits from it). Reload lets you shuffle your hand into the deck and draw that many cards. Nobody really ever plays Reload (except for super weird niche decks), meanwhile I expect every deck will be running as many Cynthia as they can fit.

    I think another possible reasoning for it is the amount and scope of searching the two games have, as well as the way YGO has rigid archetypes. In YGO, a good deck will often be able to manipulate and search cards so that every turn your hand is *exactly* what you want it to be, and most of the time you're using most of the cards as soon as you can- the amount of searching and instantly playing cards makes YGO so obscenely fast compared to almost any other TCG I've played. In addition, YGO searching is much more specific- "Search for a [archetype] Monster", for example.

    Meanwhile, Pokemon does have a lot more resource management, as Otaku mentioned. When I'm playing, I find that I often keep some cards in my hand for a few turns before playing them, but searching tends to be more broad. Ultra Ball can find any Pokemon, instead of only a Grass Pokemon, for example. That gives searches a lot more options rather than a focused scope of cards.

    Another difference that may or may not add to it is the prerequisites to some effects. In PTCG, if Sycamore is your only card in your hand, you can play it and discard 0 cards, ideally, and then draw your 7. In YGO, you couldn't do that. If a card said "discard your hand and draw 7", you would -have- to discard at least 1 card, otherwise you couldn't play it. At which point, a Sycamore is effectively a really beefed up Hau! Not to mention, in some higher level play, I see the discard cost of Sycamore or the hand-into-deck cost of N be used as the more desireable effect. I don't remember which game it was, but N would have helped increase the amount of cards in the deck, preventing a deckout situation, and I've also used Sycamore to turbo some metal energies onto my bench with Registeel.

    After playing PTCG for a couple weeks these differences became pretty clear, and Rare Candy question kind of just became more evident as something you need to get a feel for instead of looking at the math of.

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