The Expert Belt – 22 February 2017

Expert Belt Basic - Copy


Alola (also known as hi) Pokemon Trainers and welcome to the first ever edition of The Expert Belt! This series will feature a chosen card weekly that made an impact in the Malaysian competitive TCG scene. We will be dissecting the card literally and discuss on its playability and impact it will provide in the scene while also have some opinions from local players.

So what’s the first featured card of The Expert Belt? Well since we are kicking things off with the dawn of the Sun & Moon expansion era, we might as well dwell with one of the cards from the Alola expansion.

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Welcome to the Sun & Moon Era

When Pokemon Sun & Moon the video game was released last year, everyone would be wondering how or what the next Pokemon Professor would be? He or she? Young or old? Attacked by a Poochyena? (Sorry Professor Birch). Well then we are introduced to none other than a hunk of a kind, Professor Kukui.

In game, without spoiler to those who didn’t played the game yet, Professor Kukui definitely knows how to make surprises outta nowhere (RKO !) throughout the game. Which fits the bill when his Sun & Moon TCG expansion translation came out. So what’s all the fuss about? Let’s have a look at our first featured card for The Expert Belt, Professor Kukui from the Sun & Moon expansion.

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Professor Kukui Full Art from Sun & Moon Expansion

General Information

Professor Kukui is a Supporter card and is card numbered #128 and #148 in the Sun & Moon expansion of Pokemon TCG.

It’s effect when used is “Draw 2 cards. During this turn your Pokemon’s attacks do 20 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon (before applying Weakness and Resistance).

Doesn’t sound like much. Draw 2 cards and 20 more damage? That’s it? Let’s inspect closer and find out why this card is getting all the buzz lately.


Playability

In today’s metagame of Pokemon TCG, its all about getting the crucial Knock Outs, which means getting the numbers right. Despite 20 damage doesn’t sound like much but believe me, it definitely ain’t small at all. With the rise of high HP pokemons via Mega Evolution, Fighting Fury Belt and the recent addition to the list, GX Pokemons, not getting the KOs at the right time can turn the tide into your opponent’s favor. Why? Tempo.

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It broke the boundaries of HP with +40 HP to your Basic EX/GXs. 

Tempo is when you get the upper hand in resources against your opponent. Damage, energy acceleration, and even KOs all take into account for tempo.

Popular Pokemons with bulky/high HP tend to be around 170 to 220.

Here is a scenario: Volcanion EX with one “Steam Up” ability, does a 160 damage with Volcanic Heat. A bit of a bummer if you are facing a Yveltal EX with 170 HP. The other way is to do another “Steam Up” for the KO, but wait, you can just use Professor Kukui alone to take the KO and draw 2 cards from your deck. Sounds sweet? How about another “Steam Up”and a Fighting Fury Belt to reach 220 damage? Why? Because it’s mainly the magic number of KO-ing the popular kids on the block.

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Mega Mewtwo Y EX, Mega Gardevoir, Lurantis GX and Yveltal EX + FFB (Fighting Fury Belt), the 210 HP Club.

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Mega Rayquaza EX, Volcanion EX + FFB, Tauros GX + FFB and Darkrai EX + FFB, the 220 HP Club.

Now, not always that Professor Kukui can be used to OHKO (One Hit Knock Out) your opponent’s Pokemon but it sometimes help you to change from a 3 Hit KO to a 2 Hit KO. The theory is never ending.

The best thing is, it fits into almost any deck. Mostly as a 1 or 2 count in the played decks.

Comparing to previous expansions in the past, Pokemon did try to make Supporters that add damage work. Here are the examples:

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Giovanni’s Scheme was a decent tech card but it didn’t provide the consistency most decks needed as you can only choose one of the options. Well, Giovanni, Professor Kukui just whoop ya hard.

As for Buck’s Training, it is actually like a stepping stone for Professor Kukui as the damage increased is 10 between Buck’s Training and Professor Kukui. But well, it has been rotated (like duh its from 2008). Who knows, maybe Buck and Kukui is somehow related?


Player’s Perspective

Now, before we get into the opinion from players, here’s a gentle reminder of the results from last weekend’s League Challenge that happened at Toysbar on 18 February 2017.


Pokemon League Challenge 7 @Toysbar :

1st – Ryan Kai (Mega Mewtwo Y/Garbador)
2nd- Navin Raaj (Mega Ray/Magearna)
3rd – Chua Lip Yee (Volcanion)
4th – Rinesh John (Mega Mewtwo Y/Garbador)
5th – Jacob Qian (Passimian/Mew)
6th – Syahmi Razak (Turbo Darkrai/Yveltal)
7th – Darren Khong (Mega Gardevoir)
8th – Jason Yong (Yveltal/Garbador/Tauros GX)


Since it was the first League Challenge where Sun & Moon is legal for play, I caught up on few players regarding their opinion on Professor Kukui and what did it contribute in game.

4th Placement – Legendary Rinesh John with Mega Mewtwo EX Y/ Garbador.

“Kukui is a broken card. First when it was released I thought it was just another boring supporter card but when I started to think about it , the 20 damage and draw 2 makes a lot of difference. During the league challenge, Professor Kukui won me 2 games..First game I was short of 20 to hit a Volcanion EX with FFB but Professor Kukui helped me out. In my 3rd game I had to one shot a Mega Glalie EX and Professor Kukui gave me the nice number to do it. Overall it’s a 8.5/ 10 card”.

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Get one shotted from 220 HP #rekt

3rd Placement – Lip Yee Chua with Volcanion

“Unfortunately, as of this moment I don’t find Professor Kukui useful, the power to draw more than 2 plus my natural ability to add damage via “Steam Up” and FFB kinda made the card redundant. If I was to play the deck again it will be taken out for something more useful preferably a 3rd Float Stone or 4th FFB for consistency. I only found Professor Kukui useful in one situation when I was 1 Energy short and I didn’t want to thin my deck further for a KO. Secondly it might also be the fact that I play only one copy hence i am a bit bias. But if I had an option of Sycamore/N over Kukui, of course I would choose Professor Kukui.”

2nd Placement – Navin Raaj with Mega Rayquaza/Magearna 

“Well I was playing Mega Rayquaza. So if my bench got reduced to 5, Kukubird Professor Kukui would help me reach 170. Draw is good. At one point I had 6 cards in the deck and 2 DCEs inside.And Professor Kukui got me the DCE. I was playing with probability, permutations and combination. I could have used N. But yeah just the 170″

1st Placement – Ryan Kai with Mega Mewtwo EX Y/ Garbador 

“I run 1 copy inside my Mega Mewtwo deck. It does help me sometimes hit the magic number. I’ll only use him mostly just for the OHKO. Like when I’m trying to bet for 1 Basic Energy while I run out of DCE and still short of 10-20 damage to finish my opponent with Mega Mewtwo’s Psychic Infinity. It’s definitely a better version of Giovanni’s Scheme.”


Conclusion

With the meta-game circulating on tempo and important Knock Outs, Professor Kukui can definitely fit right in with some added flavor to it. #LimauAis

Professor Kukui is mainly used for the 20 damagemost of the times“. The draw 2 cards is like an added bonus to keep you going and increase your tempo (draw out more resource). Even the myth, the legend himself rated Professor Kukui a 8.5/10. That’s gotta be something.

Professor Kukui is like a trump card that surprises your opponent, much like Professor Kukui in the video game itself.

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Here’s a +20 damage for this turn bruh!

And that’s it! We’re done for the first edition of The Expert Belt! It’s been some time since my last article  (last article was on 23 February 2015) but I’m back and will be looking forward to bring you more content in the upcoming weeks! Have a great week everybody and thanks for reading!

*All graphics belong to their original owners and no copyright infringement intended.

Feed-backs from readers are encouraged in order to improve the quality of our articles. Do let us know how we did! – Darren

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