Hello and welcome to a special edition of The Expert Belt. With the Pokemon TCG Malaysia Regional Championships 2017 hitting up this weekend in Quill City Mall in Kuala Lumpur, how about a small read of techs for the upcoming tournament. Some are the obvious ones to look out for, while some not so much, but can cause a stir if not taken seriously. So let’s begin!
*If you are looking for more information on the Pokemon TCG Malaysia Regional Championship event, click here.
- Salamence EX (XY 170 Promo)
This is like, the most obvious and straightforward tech in meta decks like Volcanion EX and Darkrai/Dragons. Pretty sought after card and with good reason. With the meta-decks still relying somewhat on EXs (i.e Shaymin EX, which runs in almost all decks), Salamance EX is crucial due to it can be a tide turner and can take a sudden OHKO if your opponent can’t OHKO it first. Mainly strong against decks of its own kind, like M-Rayquaza EX, Volcanion EX, M-Mewtwo EX and Darkrai/Dragons since their main attackers are in fact EXs. So if you are in fact running an heavy EX deck lineup, do watch out for its beastly fangs.
Pros: Incredible damage against heavy EX decks; easily KO-ing them most of the time.
Cons: Weak against heavy GX decks; Weak to disruption decks.
Meta-Decks to tech in: Volcanion EX, Darkrai EX/Dragons.
Random Decks that might tech in: Deciplume (the one that plays Rainbow Energy), M-Rayquaza EX/Volcanion EX (DCE and Fire Energy played).
2. Entei (Ancient Origins 14/98)
Entei is perhaps, the most underrated and underutilized Basic Fire Pokemon in Volcanion EX decks. No love for the legendary fire dog? 120 HP; not the best but average, 2-Retreat Cost; same as Baby Volcanion, 2 Energy Attack; Pretty good but very dependent on your opponent’s Bench. So the main turn-off for Entei is his 2 [R][R] Energy attack called Combat Blaze. Utilizing it is somewhat difficult at first but will pay off if played right and against certain decks. Yes, there is still Parallel City which can reduce your opponent’s Bench to 3, in which Combat Blaze does 20 + 20 x 3 = 80 Damage. Parallel City is now mainly played in Darkrai EX variant decks, sometimes in Volcanion EX and M-Mewtwo EX decks. 3 Bench Pokemon = 80 damage only? First off, its only 2 Energy, and you do have “Steam Up” Ability from Volcanion EX to boost it multiple times.
Another aspect of Entei is “mentally playing” your opponent. Showing an Entei early on your Bench, might stop your opponent from splashing all his Pokemon on the Bench immediately (mainly Hoopa EX etc). Here are one strong aspects of Entei, Against M-Rayquaza EX decks, Entei is King, compared to Salamence EX, you are a one-prize attacker and dishing out 20 + 20 x 7 or 8 = 160 or 180 damage alone; for 2 Energy; and that’s without any boost of damage from Volcanion EX’s ability.
Pros: Low Energy Cost attack; Efficient damage; Mentally playing your opponent.
Cons: Not the best starter to show; Heavy counts of Parallel City; Unreliable damage
Meta-Decks to tech in: Volcanion EX
Random decks that might tech in: None, Entei is not versatile enough to be played outside of Volcanion EX decks.
3. Enhanced Hammer (Latest Print: SM2: Guardians Rising)
One of the original disruption cards in Pokemon TCG. Enhanced Hammer is mainly to help slow down decks who utilize Special Energy; mainly Double Colorless Energy. Using it at the right moment can set back your opponent’s attack for one turn, maybe more, allowing you to gain more momentum and advantage. Pretty straightforward usage and pretty much slightly underutilized in decks EXCEPT Quad Lapras. Enhanced Hammer is great against M-Mewtwo EX, M-Rayquaza EX, Darkrai/Dragons and occasionally Deciplume if they fail their Vileplume setup or they get Hex’ed Maniac.
Pros: Able to slow down certain decks to gain momentum; denial of Special Energy
Cons: Pure basic energy decks (Volcanion EX/TurboDarkrai EX); Vileplume
Meta-Decks to tech in: Quad Lapras GX; M-Mewtwo EX; Volcanion EX; M-Mewtwo EX; Turbo-Darkrai EX; Umbreon GX
Random decks to tech in: M-Rayquaza EX; Darkrai/Dragons; Deciplume
4. Hex Maniac (Ancient Origins 75/98)
One of the popular disruption Supporter cards in format, Hex Maniac essentially shuts down all Abilities. Hugely popular to help aid against Decidueye GX/Vileplume decks and Volcanion EX decks as well. Shutting down Shaymin EX and Hoopa EX is also another perk, slowing down your opponent’s build up. Using a Turn 1 Hex on a M-Rayquaza freezes his or her Turn 1, with no Abilities from Hoopa EX and/or Shaymin EX. Pretty straightforward and terrifying card to watch out for.
Pros: Shutting off popular and strong Pokemon Abilities; Gaining momentum faster than your opponent.
Cons: Can only be played once per turn as it is a Supporter Card; tough to hit at the right moment
Meta-decks to tech in: M-Mewtwo EX; Quad Lapras GX; Darkrai variants; M-Rayquaza EX
Random decks to tech in: Volcanion EX
5. Celebi (XY 93 Promo)
Extremely rare to be seen, probably not known as much to the community, this Celebi promo is pretty pesky tech for Deciplume decks. It has an Ancient Trait which prevents all Abilities from affecting Celebi (mainly Garbotoxin; Power of Alchemy; Feather Arrow). Single [G] energy attack called Sparkle Motion which puts one damage counter on all your opponent’s Pokemon. And an Ability; which can only be turned off with either Hex Maniac or Silent Lab; makes you FLIP a coin when Celebi is Knocked Out, if heads, shuffle Celebi and all cards attached to it back into your deck and your opponent can’t take any Prize Card for it.
Talk about pesky. Although a mere 70 HP, with good flips, you just might spread a lot of damage with Sparkle Motion AND not to mention your Benched Decidueye GX dealing extra damage via Feather Arrow. Double Ew.
Pros: One to None Prize Attacker; One Energy Attacker; Extremely good Ancient Trait; Great Ability to tank incoming attacks
Cons: 70 HP; Unreliable Ability; If your dice rolling/ coin flipping is bad
Meta-decks to tech in: Decidueye GX/Vileplume
Random decks to tech in: Solgaleo GX/Lurantis GX
And last, but not least,
6. Delinquent (XY-BREAKpoint 98/122)
To top it all off, this is the tech card you need to watch out for in Regionals for this weekend. Usually strikes without warning, you can probably lose the game on the spot, just like a crocodile strikes it’s prey.
One of the most irritating and devastating disruption Supporter cards, Delinquent can force your opponent to throw away resources aka their hand cards into the discard pile. Knowing when to use is also crucial if you are playing it as well. However, playing against it, is rather, by instinct. Almost any deck can fit in one copy of Delinquent, and it can change the dynamic of the match itself. Players will always have keep at least 4 cards in hand to avoid getting Delinquent to a 0 card hand. Believe me, you don’t want that to happen to you. In order for Delinquent to work, there should be a Stadium card in play, doesn’t matter who’s Stadium card it is. Once a Stadium card is already in play, that’s where Delinquent shall wait till the right moment to strike.
Sometimes, using Delinquent when your opponent has 4-5 cards in hand can make a difference as there might be cards they want to utilize during their turn. Maybe a Pokemon card waiting to evolve? Energy cards? Supporters? Or even Ultra Balls since they get to use it to search out Shaymin EX to help draw more from their deck. Extremely technical card which relies on the user’s way of judging when to strike with Delinquent.
Pros: Discards any Stadium card; Opponent loses 3 cards from hand; Opponent loses resources
Cons: Disruption usage only; Dead card during your Turn 1
Meta-Decks to tech in: Darkrai EX variants; M-Mewtwo EX; Volcanion EX; Quad Lapras GX
Random decks to tech in: Umbreon GX
And that’s it for this special edition of The Expert Belt! Good luck to all Pokemon Trainers attending the event this coming weekend. For my fellow travelling foreigners, do have a safe journey to Malaysia. Thanks for reading and see you guys on 6 – 7 May 2017 at Quill City Mall for the Pokemon TCG Malaysia Regional Championships 2017!
If you missed out on the last edition of The Expert Belt, click here.
*All graphics belong to their original owners and no copyright infringement intended.