Challenge: The Plan

by Ed ~ November 17th, 2011.

Pokemon ReversalThe Motivation: Okay, so maybe announcing the idea without discussing the plan wasn’t the best. I know that some people are very skeptical, but I’m hoping that you stick with me and hear me out. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you might want to read the Challenge: Announcement before continuing.

Before I go further, let me dispel some obvious (as in I understand why you’d make them) misunderstandings. I’m not expecting people to build me a top-tier deck. I’m not doing this to save time, and I’m definitely not doing this to save money. I’m doing this as an experiment to build community around something new that I hope will be exciting and enjoyable for all participants.

I keep using the word “experiment,” because I feel very unsure about all of this. At times, I’m very excited about trying something new and crazy. At other times, like now, I feel fairly down, because I wonder if anyone will care to become part of this thing I’m hoping we can create together.

The main problem is that it’s a crazy idea, and I don’t know anything like this that has been attempted before. I’m hoping that makes it unique and intriguing, but only time will tell. I really want to find people that are willing to help me create something new and build a community that works together to make something out of nothing. I hope that is enough motivation for some to take the initial leap. Then maybe others will see how it’s working and join in later.

The Plan: The plan is that I will build a deck and play it in tournaments. The community will supply the cards. Let’s get this out of the way first. NO, I don’t expect you to send me your hard-earned Yanmega/Pachirisu/Magnezone/etc.

I expect that most of the donations to the card pool will be of the “I wasn’t going to use this anyway” type. Now, for some people, that might be because they already had 4 of a staple card, aren’t into trading, and don’t see the need to carry a 5th. For most, though, it will be like, “I run 4 Pokemon Catcher in every deck I make, why do I need these Pokemon Reversal? Maybe Ed can use them.”

I find it interesting to build decks based on constraints. For example, when I build my daughter’s deck, I am constrained by trying to optimize for her playstyle. There are many cards that I think would be better if I was building the deck for myself, but I know they would work worse for her. Take Junk Arm. It’s an awesome card that I would normally play in just about every deck I’d build. I won’t put it in her deck, because I know that if she discarded the wrong thing early in the game, she might not recover later. Plus, if she’s faced with a tough decision, she may decide not to decide, and then it’s a dead card. So, there are cards I just won’t put into her decks, and that slightly constrains the card pool.

I always thought booster draft and sealed deck tournaments (like the Pokemon prereleases) were a fun format. I enjoy trying to optimize a deck from a bunch of random junk. My main problem, though, is that the deck is essentially throw-away. You build it, play it in one event, and then it’s worthless. It has no merit outside of that one event. What if we could do that on a more grand scale, play it in multiple events, and have it evolve into something better each time?

So, the people that choose to team up with me will supply this “random” card pool. Yeah, you get to choose what goes into it, so it’s not random in that respect. I don’t know what will be in it, so it’s random from my viewpoint.

How To Donate: If you want to donate, email me at I’ll send you my address, and you can send me an envelope with some cards. If you’re sending just a regular envelope from the USA with not so many cards in it, I think you can do it with a normal stamp. That’s going to be less than 50 cents. If you want to send cards in a padded envelope, I guess it could be a couple bucks depending on packaging and all that.

I just want to say please don’t send boxes of cards. Limit it to envelopes. This way no one person will over-influence the card pool. I’d much rather get a few cards from many people than many cards from a few people. Remember, my main goal is to create a community around this.

In your envelope, I will also ask that you include your name, and a comment. The name could be (or the name you want to be known as) could be “Anonymous” or “Team AB” or whatever. The comment could be a sentence, the URL to your website, your email address, or whatever. I’ll plan to build a table of the donations and publish these on

Also, there are some local people that I know that may be interested in donating. Because I don’t want any one person (or group of people) to over-influence the card pool, I ask that you too follow the same rules of actually mailing me an envelope (again not a box). The practical side of me thinks that it’s a waste to pay for shipping if it’s something you could just hand to me. If you have an envelope that you would TRULY have sent to me in the mail, I will accept in in person. Just know, though, that I would rather receive it in the mail, and if you give it to me in person, it will be too late for me to use in that event (assuming you hand me the envelope at a tourney).

What Happens To The Cards: You will not get the cards back! To me, that would move this idea from crazy to insanity. If this goes well, I will have small envelopes of cards coming in from all across the country (and maybe even the world). I don’t think it would be realistic for me to return them when I’m done. Also, I think it would cheapen the entire experiment if people were just lending the cards.

This saddens me a bit, but you have to realize that I might not use the cards you send. If the card pool contains a strong line of fire Pokemon, I might end up playing a mono-fire deck. If you send me 4 metal Pokemon, I’m not going to include them if they don’t work with the deck I decide to build. You might want to keep this in mind when you send cards. I’d still love to get the 4 metal Pokemon from you, because I might use them if other people send some good cards to accompany them. However, my suggestion would be to send at least one card that you think I could immediately use. That might be an trainer or a supporter or maybe even a some basic energy. I’d very much like to try to use one card from each donation, but I really can not guarantee that.

I really hope that this is fun, interesting, and builds a sense of teamwork toward a common goal. If it keeps working toward those goals, then I could see this continuing on past Cities, into States, and indefinitely. However, there’s a chance that hardly anyone participates, I go 0-5 in 4 tournaments, and nobody cares. That’s the risk. If that happens, then I’ll go back to my normal way of building decks from my own resources. That would leave me with an unused Challenge Card Pool. When that happens, I will draw on suggestions from the donators to help determine what might happen to the cards. I don’t expect them to be worth much, and I won’t guarantee that they will be put to any particular good use after that. I have some ideas for what could be done, but we’ll just see how things go.

How Will The Deck Be Built: I will publish the list of cards in the card pool. I will also discuss my thoughts on what I can do with them. I might go as far as to discuss the decklist I plan to play. During any of these steps, I really want your input and suggestions. Just realize that I can’t use all of them (suggestions or cards), so I will make the ultimate decision what 60 cards to use. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, but I imagine that some people might be sad that I didn’t use the cards they sent or that I didn’t build the deck the way they thought was best. There’s no right or wrong answer, but in the end, I have to play the deck, so I’m going to build it to my playstyle (and potentially metagame).

As far as the type of deck I imagine will come of this project, I assume it will need to be some sort of meta-breaker. To have any chance of winning, it will need to be something most people won’t prepare for. I am thinking of tactics such as energy removal, discard, hand disruption, and maybe even Lost World. These strategies are not currently mainstream, so people don’t generally prepare for them. Also, since they’re not mainstream, the cards are often buried in binders or otherwise unused and valueless. My thought it that this is where an exploit might be found to win some games with cards people wouldn’t otherwise care about.

I don’t want to have to do this, but I believe it’s necessary. I (or maybe my daughter) will supply an entire pre-constructed theme deck for the card pool. I think it’s necessary so that I am guaranteed to have a tournament-legal deck come City Championship time. If nobody (or barely anybody) donates, I can still play something.

The reason I don’t want to start with a pre-made deck, is because it removes much of the organic nature that the donation-based community-driven goals for the experiment. To mitigate this, I have decided to not announce which theme deck I’ll use. If I announce it, people may only donate cards they think will go with the deck. I’d prefer to steer away from that. I have one theme deck in mind (because it’s one my daughter owns). Maybe I’ll use that one, or maybe I’ll buy a new one. I’d rather see what cards end up in the initial pool and add a theme deck that complements those cards than the other way around.

If, under some unforeseen miracle, I am able to build a realistically usable first deck without the help of a pre-constructed deck, then I will forgo the theme deck plan. Also, later on, if things go well, I’d like to remove the theme deck from the picture entirely. It’s not important, but again, I’d prefer to drink from the organic community-supplied pool.

Basic Energy: I view basic energy as basically free. It’s not worth a stamp to send me basic energy. I’ll supply the basic energy. I will accept basic energy, but I don’t feel that it’s worth anyone’s time/energy/money to send those.

Goals: First and foremost, my goal is to create something new. This is a game we’re building on top of a pre-existing and well-established game (Pokemon TCG). To call the experiment a success, I would like this new game to be enjoyable for all involved. Everyone that donates or follows along should voice their opinion as to whether or not things are going well.

I will not base success on wins versus losses! However, it is inevitable that losses may get me down. I will keep in mind that it’s not the ultimate goal. If there’s a sense of community built around the project, if I am having fun, and you are having fun, then (in my mind) things are successful.

If some people initially donate, but then nobody is discussing the cards/deck, nobody seems to care how the tournaments go, or it becomes a joke, then I will likely view that as a failure. I’ll try to keep you guys informed, and I think you’ll know if things are going poorly.

I guess success means that we should continue. Failure means we should abandon the challenge.

As for in-game goals, I do believe that we need to set some lofty goal(s) for the Challenge aspect of the experiment. For me to walk away from a tournament with a “Wow, we did it!” attitude, I think we would need to hit 50% wins in any tournament. Around here, there are often 5 rounds of Swiss. If we hit 3-2 at a tournament, I feel like that would be achieving our initial challenge.

What do you think?: If you’re ready to join in, email me at

Category: Challenge | Tags:
  • Anonymous

     You do know that -any- marking could be enough to make a card unplayable right, especially if it appears intentional

    • Ed

      Hmmm.  If you have a card that’s signed by the artist (or whatever), is that considered marked?

    • Ed

      From the official rules, “A card is considered marked if some aspect of the card makes it possible to identify it without seeing its face.” 

      Unfortunately, it also says, “Cards marked by pen, marker, etc., are not permitted for use in a sanctioned tournament. This includes autographed cards.”

      So, I’ll revise that section of the plan.  Thanks for the quick heads-up.

      • Anonymous

        Awwww, you mean I can’t send you my copy of “Victory Hat”?

        BTW, where is that pic from?

        • Anonymous

          I’m guessing his daughter Ava, though it looks like I drew it. 

        • Ed

          I think Ava made that at last year’s Midwest Regionals.

          I have to say that I’m still half-tempted to ask for autographed cards, but if I got called on it, then the entire card pool would be in jeopardy.  It’s not worth risking the entire thing, but I really liked that aspect of it.  I wanted something like that where the donators were right there with me in each match, and the opponent might ask about it.  Maybe I can come up with something else to replace that aspect of the plan.

  • Anonymous

    Good Luck Ed, should be cool. 

    I think you should set yourself up with a limited money pool.  So if someone donates 4 Hyrdreigons, you will need to spend a buck or two to get Deinos and stuff like that. 

  • Anonymous

    This is actually kinda neat. I’m interested to see how far you can go with this.

    • Ed

      Me too!  [crosses fingers]

  • Imakunineo

    Still not buying it, I understand that we will not be sending our valuables to you, but do you know how much cards go in the bulk market? Why not just use your OWN cards that might get donated from your league? Why not pool all your cards that you probably have, list them and have the community vote on them? Why do we have to send you all of our “useless” cards to you?

    I still dont see a great benefit from spending the time to send you 4-6 cards from my random stack. If we average people sending you their stuff at 5 cards per reader… I would say, sure! Lets go with it! But how many readers do you actually have? How many will send their cards? 100+ donations at an average of 5 means 500 cards. Between commons, uncommon, rares and the lucky super rare donation you could easily get somewhere between 50-60$ dollars from this bulk sale at mayor card retailers. And this is only for 100 readers… Its almost like throwing free money at you. Would had been better to ask for donations in that case.

    A proposal for the skeptical, show us PROOF that you will be DONATING the cards we send you to some place that people will use them. EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE OF THEM! List them, have an inventory and show us. The worst thing that would make me lose faith on this website would be seeing how my cards fuel your “team” or group of players at my own cost and then just letting them go once they are rotated/no longer used.

    Still not buying this, and I hope you take note of this. It all depends on the readership and how many people are partaking on this… 

    Why I say this? Look at 6p model for experiments… The underground was an experiment once, now there are 300+ people reading it each month AND it charges a monthly fee. The difference between your experiment and theirs depend on two factors: volunteers/readership and results or what you give back to the community.

    So far, I can see one being dealt with at an unknown number: Readership/Volunteers. But what do we get? I dont really care for reports or notices since there are better places to look at… What will you add to sweeten the deal and help me move out of my position?

    For all we know, this will end in failure and we end wasting our time. Whats your backup plan?

    -Darumachine / Imakunineo

    • Ed

      Jeez, where do I begin?  I feel like this is borderline offensive.  However, due to how verbose you are and how willing you seem to discuss things, I feel like you’re not trying to be insulting.

      Anyway, I want to address some things.  First of all, it seems that you’re questioning my integrity.  If you don’t personally know me, I don’t know how to prove integrity.  However, it’s hard for me to not get defensive
      when someone questions my integrity/honesty.  I assure you, though, that this is not in any way a scam, get-rich-quick scheme, or any sort of trick created just to get free stuff.

      I believe that I have a new idea, and because of this, some people won’t get it.  Maybe nobody
      will get it, and it’s doomed to failure.  Maybe it’ll be the next big thing.  Most likely, though, there will be some group of people that get excited about it, and it’ll go from there.

      Now, let me address some specifics you mentioned.  Let’s take your assumption that I could
      ultimately get $50-60 worth of cards out of this endeavor.  I don’t see how that’s a negative.  Let’s compare that to some other options.

      What if I wrote an article asking the readers for help claiming to have financial problems?  In it, I discussed how much the game meant to me, how much I wanted to keep the website going, and how strongly the two
      were intertwined.  At the end of the article, I said how, to keep playing, I thought I needed $50-60 to buy cards to stay competitive and keep writing articles and I asked for 10 people to donate $5 each.  I
      could even include a PayPal link so all they’d have to do is click and run through the PayPal process.  I really believe I could get 10 people to do it.  Then, I’d have a whopping $50.  Would that be more acceptable
      than what I’m doing here?

      Why would it be so bad for me to ask for $50?  Why would it be bad for me to ask for $50 worth of cards?  Why
      would it be horrible if my team got $50 worth of random (mostly useless in a tier-1 sense) cards?  As an aside, I’m not sure I have a “team” anymore, anyway, but I will if people join the experiment!

      The fact is that I’m not having financial problems.  I run this site, because I enjoy it.  I’m going forward with this challenge/experiment, because I think it’s an interesting idea that readers will find enjoyable.  If someone wants to join with me, they need to invest very little, but for this to work, I think they need to invest something.  I
      will be investing my time and putting my tournaments on the line.  When someone donates to this project, they become invested together with me and all the others that choose to team up.

      Let’s attack this from another angle you also mentioned, the 6P Underground.  I have no
      problem with the Underground.  I discussed it with Adam before he went ahead with it, and I thought it was a good idea then.  I still believe that.  However, for sake of argument, let’s compare this to that. 
      Again, if we use the $50-60 figure, how many Underground users would it take to get to that point?  FOUR, in ONE month!!!  FOUR!  That’s hardly any.

      Yeah, this experiment is nothing like the Underground, but you seem to be focused on the monetary gain aspect.  That’s why I am discussing that.

      As for the inventory bit, I plan to keep a list of each card donated.  This way, readers can always see what’s in the
      card pool and use that to make suggestions and criticisms about how the deck is built.  I will probably also photograph the contents of envelopes when they arrive.

      The bottom line is that you don’t have to send me your “useless” cards.  I’m hoping that some people will
      read and be excited to send me some random cards to see what I can do with them.  Others will think it’s a neat idea, but never get motivated enough to lick the stamp.  Still others will think I’m crazy or a

      I just hope that whatever choice you make, you keep reading and see how it goes.  Maybe you’ll change your mind later, maybe not.  Maybe you’ll get some grim satisfaction reading about how I went 0-5 and cried myself to sleep after each tourney, but maybe you’ll cheer along with me when I amazingly hit the 3-2 mark.

    • Anonymous

      Dude, I see your point but I think you’re making a little too much about this.  Since you brought up six prizes, a year or two ago they had an article that asked for donations for a junior so that he could go to hawaii for worlds.  That was an out right beg for money, he might as well have been out on the street corner with a little cardboard sign that no one can read (seriously why do the homeless have signs if they don’t print large enough for anyone to read it?).  So compared to that, this is nothing. 

      Ed isn’t asking for your $30 Pachi, he’s asking for your cards that are worth a quarter that you have 100 of.  And I think thats not even the point, the point is to make a deck out of cards that aren’t that good, and see what we can learn from it.  We will learn a lot about the card game from this, and we will build a bigger OHKO community. 

      So think about this as less of the homeless guy with a sign you can’t read (that bugs me a lot) and more about a community coming together and making a deck.  

  • Imakunineo

    Ed, thanks for your time writing this answer; but my dear Pikkdogs, you seem to be extremely irritated and bugged… You dont sound professional and unlike Ed, who has stablished a counterpoint to all my inquiries, you have that sour and bitter taste of WHATS THIS ONE DUDE/DUDETTE TALKING ABOUT? OH I FEEL SO TROLLED. You could use a little tutorial on PR and communication and not let your annoyances rebuttal in such negative views, dear.

    Ed, Its none of my intention to Insult anyone, even if your fellow writter Pikkdogs seems to be butthurt, I like how you address me and I am starting to find a clear view of whats happening. Again, the role of sending cards and saying outright that you dont have any economical problems was what triggered this whole string of responses. Im not gonna be the one with the cynical and twisted smile if you end 0-X, but instead Ill just watch and think of what went wrong. A 3-2 victory would mean attention from me and see what went wrong, why wasnt it 4-1.

    6P is a different direction as well, the outright cry for donations was indeed an outcry for MONETARY donations. Lets compare:

    -Donations Wanted
    -Money Involved
    -Player had won his Invite but had no $$$ for the trip
    -Invite Earned, therefore he was a reputable player

    -Donations Wanted
    -Cards Involved
    -Player will attempt to win in tournaments [and thus an invite] with experimental decks
    -Player has a ??? Reputation Now [Outside from what we battled on the 2008-2009 season]

    Comparing apples to oranges, again. But see how both work from one single source: The Community of Readers.

    Hopefully we can see each other again at Nationals like we did in the past… Pikkdogs, you never change, do you? Heh. 


  • Ed, I am a friend and colleague of Pikkas and I will have some cards to you soon.  I will probably send a small box worth as we are going to donate as a league and I will give you a list of what all is sent and who it was gifted by.  And by all means, at the end, please feel free to sell them.


    Wow Darumachine/Imakunineo, why the response you had?  Are you one of the many people who play the PokeCard Stock Market?  Did you get butthurt that TPCi decided to put Yanmega Prime in a Promo Box?  
    Personally I would like to know a little more about you before I make anymore judgement calls on you.  Are you still in school either college or high school?  Do you have a job or a career?  Reading over some of your other posts through Disqus it shows that you have some knowledge of Photoshop or equivalent tool.  How do you decide the value of the cards you own? Troll and Toad? Ebay?  If you would please respond, I love debate.

    All in all Pokemon is about having fun and this idea is great in my eyes. Ed has been forthcoming on all of the details and if people decide to send him cards that is up to them.  If you deem this too “risky” that is fine, but you have no basis/right to call out someones intentions/honor.

    Have a good day gentlemen.

    – James

    • Ed

      That’s awesome, James.  I like the idea of donating as a league.  I’ll try to make you guys proud!  :D

      I found out that the first City Champs here will be on Dec 10th.  That gives me about 2 weeks to prepare something.  When you’re ready, either email me using the links in the article or go to and fill in the web-form.  I’ll respond with the mailing address.

      Thanks guys!  Oh, and try not to hate on Imakunineo too much.  I don’t think he has bad intentions.  I think he’s just skeptical.  Hopefully we can show him that this works and change his mind instead of just arguing.

      • The only thing I am hating on is that a reader, who knows nothing about you or your background is making judgement calls on a person they have no previous knowledge on.  You are attempting something new and exciting and it truly feels as if this is trying to be sideswiped before it even starts.  I want to know a little more of his/her background so we can have a constructive discussion here but I want to know what type of person I am going to be interacting with.

        Never enter a battle of wits with an unarmed person.  It is a waste of time and effort.

        – James

        • Ed

          Yeah, I hear you!  It did sadden me that the readers would see such weighty comments against my cause as the initial reaction.  People tend to be swayed by other people’s reactions, so I wonder if many people are taking a wait-and-see approach based on such comments.  However, that’s how things go.  People will be skeptical until proven otherwise.  Hopefully people like you can help build that proof.

  • Imakunineo

    Haters gotta hate… Sadly, James, you dont seem to be in a petition to debate or even talk about without throwing some good old fashioned venom. 
    Judgement calls on a person I have no previous knowledge on? Well, Met a couple of members of Team Omar back when I was a Judge… And of course back when I played the game. Now that I moved out and my job takes most of my time, its hard to keep up with this little children’s game.

    To answer your questions:
    – Response was given out of formal curiosity and also because I didn’t understood the full plan until my doubts where tackled.
    – Stock Market? Dear boy, I barely have time to play! I can go to bigger events just because I like to catch up with old friends of mine.
    – Butthurt? Hahahah, You sure seem to take offense at my position in the first place! I think you are the one butthurt… Or should I say, Buttmad?
    – Graduated, Have a job here in Burbank. Who are you and why so interested on me? Im sure this cockfight of yours is simply trying to take off my mask… But let me tell you, I barely even know who you are as well! Whats with the authority push, kid?
    – Some knowledge of Photoshop, yes. Would you like to see my resume? Again, I dont use disqus much… 
    – I decide my card value on what it helped me when I used to play them. Last set I played with was HGSS and ever since I hadnt bought a single card. They hold a sentimental value more than actual money value.

    If you want debate, chill out first. Oh, and calling the hate on people will only make this little corner of the TCG a little more sour. Dont wanna risk scaring new readers off OHKO with a debate.

    My dear James, I hope the best of luck for you and your league plays in Indiana… But remember that sometimes its better to pick your battles. And when I say that, you dont enter declaring the hate. You wait and analyze, then you can begin an intelligent chat. Why debate when we can talk like good mediators? I am sure you have enough maturity to do so the same way I have been receiving the replies from Ed and Team in a non-disgruntled matter.

    If I made an enemy today, GREAT! It means I stood up for my own words. And as you said “Never enter a battle of wits with an unarmed person.  It is a waste of time and effort.” I couldn’t agree the most on this little blurb. And since I have no reason to debate with a hotheaded, buttmad hater… Ill just wait and see the results of this experiment before sending what little I have of legal play.

    And with that, I have nothing else to say about the subject of The Experiment that OHKO is gonna take for this tournament season. I will watch results first and continue supporting the website… But as you said, I am still skeptical and I would like to see first impressions beforehand. Thank You.

    -Darumachine / Imakunineo