First Ticket – Is It Playable?

by coolestman22 ~ July 16th, 2012.

Hello to all One Hit KO people who may be reading this article. It’s me, coolestman22, with another article, a rather short one in fact, this time it’s going to be the start of a new series I’m going to do called Is It Playable?, kind of like how Pikkdogs has his Pikks Three articles. What I’m going to do is review an upcoming card and talk about whether I think it will be playable or not.

I’m going to review First Ticket (or Fast Ticket, as Bulbapedia translates it), which is a card that’s sparked discussion on Pokemon TCG forums everywhere, some are big believers in the card, and some don’t think it’s going to be very good.

To start, First Ticket is a card that may or may not be in Dragons Exalted.  Because it was in the mini-set, Dragon Selection, it will probably be in our next set but we don’t know for sure. What it does is you can play it when you start the game if it’s in your opening hand, and if you do, you go first. If your opponent also plays First Ticket, you play “Rock-Paper-Scissors” to decide who goes first. There’s a lot of talk over whether it will be in the set or not, and there are also people discussing whether it will be playable or not. I’ve been testing First Ticket, and I’ve decided that it’s worth 3-4 spots of your deck.

The first reason is that in the current format, going first is such a huge advantage that if you can boost your chances of going first, even if it’s only by 20 or so percent, it’s definitely worth three to four spots of your deck. It can decide a game, either by allowing one player to get a donk or by allowing one player to attack first. A lot of mirror matches are also decided by who goes first, and no matter how diverse a format is you’re almost always going to have mirror matches (Unless you play a rogue deck).

With Dragons, mirror matches become a lot more based on who goes first because the first knockout will come a lot Hype for what?faster, because of weakness, and there’s no room to heal. If both you and your opponent get T2 Garchomps and a T2 Altaria, whoever can attack first will be getting a knockout, which forces his or her opponent to evolve a Gabite, disabling Dragon Call. Sure, you can Dragon Call for another Gabite and then Dragon Call for Garchomp, but you will run out of Gibles or Gabites after a few times doing that, and whoever goes first will generally be on the winning end of that prize trade.

Another example is in Speed Darkrai, where if you go first you could be attacking before your opponent even gets to have a turn. This will either earn you the donk, or cripple your opponent’s setup, which will probably eventually lead to a victory anyway. First Ticket becomes even more important here, as if you get a T1 Darkrai going first, or even a T2 Darkrai going first, you’re in good shape.

The general reason people don’t like First Ticket is because the odds of going first if you play 4 and your opponent doesn’t play it are only 70%. However, I believe that if you go first 70% of the time, that is definitely worth playing 4 of a card in a deck, even if you can’t use it in the late game. It also means that your opponent would only go first 30% of the time, so it is more like a 40% boost. I’d rather it be 70/30 in my favor and have a 56 card deck with 4 useless cards than have it be 50/50.If it’s 70/30, that means you’re going first in about three out of four games, and seven of ten. If you need a bit more space you can cut one First Ticket, which decreases the odds by about 7%.

I also don’t see much difference between First Ticket and Sableye SF, which was a $10 4-of staple in just about everything once the new first turn rules were in effect in MD-BW. If people played 4 Sableye to go first in that format, and then would retreat and attack instead of using Impersonate or Overconfident, why wouldn’t people play one of those that doesn’t take up an Unown Q and a bench space? And with mulligans, the odds of getting a T1 First Ticket are a bit higher, probably around 71%, unlike Sableye (because Sableye had to be active). Having the mulligan option isn’t great, but is a nice advantage over Sableye even if it doesn’t matter much of the time.

Another thing people are forgetting is the situation in Games Two and Three of Top Cut. Generally the loser would pick who goes first, but with First Ticket, you have the ability to override that. Your odds of going first just jumped from about 0.00001% to about 41.00001%, assuming your opponent doesn’t play First Ticket. If you win Game One and then get to go first in Game Two, you get an advantage there too, because normally this would be next to impossible. (There was only one time I would have ever liked to go second in a game since BW came out, and I had a bad hand and was hoping to get N’d). I know many people are unfamiliar to Top Cut, but if you expect there to be Top Cut (Which there probably will be at every tournament in Masters), that’s all the more reason to play First Ticket.

It’s especially important in Game 3, giving you the advantage of going first even in comeback mode from an 0-1 deficit. You will have either lost the second game and gone home, or won the second game and have had to go second. But with First Ticket, you will have the possibility of going first in that game too. Even if your opponent also has First Ticket, you still get to play “Rock-Paper-Scissors” (I’m not sure if this is the official ruling, but based on how it’s worded I’d assume it is) (This wasn’t the case with Sableye, Sableye says “If both player’s Pokemon have the Overeager Poke-Body, this Poke-Body does nothing).

Another advantage of playing First Ticket is that you can get good at strategizing for Rock-Paper-Scissors. Some people think it’s 50/50, but in truth that’s not true at all. If you take your time thinking about what your opponent is going to do, you should be able to win most of your Rock-Paper-Scissors games and go first. I’ll probably do another article about Rock-Paper-Scissors strategy if First Ticket comes out and is big, but for now this should be enough.

First Ticket is a dead card once the game starts, but a lot of cards are dead pretty quickly in the past few formats. Pokemon Collector, Sableye, Sunflora HS, Bebe’s Search, Electrode Prime, and a bunch of others are all useless in the late game. You can use Ultra Ball and Professor Juniper to discard them, and although they clog your hand for Bianca and the upcoming Bicycle card (Trainer-Item, draw until you have 4 in hand), you can opt to play Cheren instead.

I agree that it isn’t a good card in every single deck, but i definitely think that it is worth playing in just about every deck you can, with the exclusions of Hydriegon/Darkrai, which is a comeback deck anyway, and Gothitelle EPO/Accelgor/Darkrai EX/Mew EX/stuff, which is also a comeback deck. I think First Ticket is cool for the game and is a very interesting card. I’ll be glad to have Rock-Paper-Scissors back in Pokemon (Just look at these guys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZOYXDnffNA ). First Ticket is a card worth playing in most decks and I believe that it is going to become a staple.

Well, that will wrap up my article, and look forward to more Is It Playable? type articles from me in the future. If you want me to do one of these for an upcoming card from Japan, let me know in the comments. Let me know about your opinion in the comments below, and thanks for reading and visiting OneHitKO.com!

Category: Card Discussion, Is It Playable? | Tags: , ,
  • Ed

    That RPS video is funny.  At some point, I think we need the article about winning at RPS.

    First Ticket is a pretty intriguing card to me.  It definitely fits in with the play style I’m going for lately.  I’d like to mess around with it, myself.  Only time will tell if other people end up playing it much, though.

  • TAndrewT

    When people play rock-paper-scissors against me, I wonder how they will strategize. Will they think I’m a paper kind of guy, or a scissors kind of guy?

    • Ed

      Rock

      It takes the least effort.

    • coolestman22

      They will generally base it off of your record how smart you are, and then will decide if you would likely do rock, paper, or scissors. Rock is generally the default.

      • Ed

        When playing RPS (for Pokemon) is there any problem with just rolling a 6-sider and basing your throw on that?

        You could hide the die and just make up a rule (like 1-2=R, 3-4=P, 5-6=S).  Heck, you wouldn’t even have to base your throw on the die, but your opponent would think you were throwing completely random (which would be the main point).

        • coolestman22

          There isn’t, but it would be a completely random outcome. There would be a lot less ties though. It might be a bit better to plan ahead, I’ll get an article about that up once First Ticket is confirmed for the set.

      • TAndrewT

        Awesome. There I was thinking I was smart for starting with rock most of the time, but actually that’s the stupid start.

        So from now on, I’ll just start with whatever’s in my pocket. Usually rock, I guess.

      • pikkdogs

        I thik scissors is the way to go, seems more phallic. 

        • Ed

          Dude, what kind of split phallus do you have?

          • pikkdogs

            That’s not the point

            I was talking about when the blades are together, than it looks phallic.  And everybody knows that phallic objects are better than non-phallic objects.  Unless the non-phallic object is an order of nachos, of course. 

          • Ed

            So, instead of RPS, we could play non-phallic, phallic, nachos, except that nothing would ever beat nachos?