TAndrewTourney: Spring Battle Roads 2012 (St. Louis Park, MN) with Klinklang EX

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Welcome, you OHKO’ers, to Battle Roads! As a Poképarent, and as an active member of the Twin Cities Pokémon TCG community, I have always felt there is a lot to love about the Battle Roads season. Battle Roads tournaments are worth very few Championship Points, and this gives them a more relaxed and informal feel than larger State or Regional Championship tournaments. Battle Roads tourneys are also a great place for new players to start their experience with Competitive Play. I should know, because a 2010 Fall Battle Roads at Dreamers Cards in St. Louis Park, MN, was the very first Pokémon tournament that my son Paul and I attended. I will never forget that, during round 3 of that Battle Roads, Andy Wieman played our entire match with his cards upside down, just so that I could read the text on each card more clearly. And other Minnesota-area opponents gave Paul and me tips on play during our games that not only helped us become better players in the long run, but even resulted in us winning a couple of matches in that very tournament. So I have always been excited to return to Dreamers for Battle Roads.

This …

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TAndrewTesting: EX Tanking with QuadGroudon, and Her Cheaper, Easier Sister

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Carly Rae and Iz: Musicians I'd like to get wet with. Well okay, maybe one more than the other.

By now we’ve all attended pre-releases for Dark Explorers, the second set in the Black-and-White series to contain EX cards. I hope you all pulled what you hoped for! I can’t say that I was praying for two copies of Glaceon, or to have to run 5 Chanseys in my 40-card deck, or to not pull any Pokémon EX across two pre-releases, but I guess that’s what happens sometimes. (Fortunately for me, my son Paul did a little better.) The release of those Pokémon EX in the Next Destinies set definitely changed the metagame, and I have no doubt that the EX’s in Dark Explorers will change it again. I don’t know if you OHKO’ers have noticed, but these shiny new EX’s are freakin’ BIG. No, I don’t mean virally-famous, Carly-Rae-Jepsen-style big. I mean BIG. More like Iz Kamakawiwo’ole big. Sporting 170 or 180 HP—except for Shaymin EX—it almost seems like the new EX Pokémon would be impossible to knock out in one hit. Okay, many of the EX’s have weakness to commonly used types in the current format, like Tornadus EX’s weakness to Lightning, or Mewtwo EX’s weakness to…well, Mewtwo. Play these Pokémon, and you really do have to watch out for your opponent’s one-hit KO. But a few of the EX’s are weak to uncommon types, and you would expect that these big boys could hold their own in the active spot for quite a while, taking hit after hit without being knocked out. Putting one of these Pokémon EX active is sort of like driving a tank—not very nimble, but definitely powerful.

So, in PokéSpeak, “tanking” has come to mean focusing a deck’s strategy around one or two Pokémon with extremely high HP, and working hard to make sure that those Pokémon can stay in the active position, dealing damage, without getting knocked out by an opponent’s attacks. Tank decks are almost as old as the game itself (I’m told), but the most recent example of a successful tank was probably Ross Cawthon’s “Truth”, which Ross piloted to 2nd place at Worlds 2011. That deck used Donphan Prime HS
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