Saturday, January 23, 2016

BREAKpoint on a Budget

When I returned from my two year hiatus in 2014 to get back into Pokemon, I made a few decisions to help me become a better player and save money. As a senior, my parents did not let me purchase cards online, and I went to every prerelease. This meant that my only way to get cards was by opening packs, which led to me building some suboptimal decks. I feel bad when I open a pack, because the pack is instantly worth less once you open it, on average.

Since getting back into the game, I don't buy or open packs, so I certainly don't attend Prereleases. Instead, I spend what I would have spent at Prerelease on singles, trying to keep the cost below $25, which was the price of the Prereleases I went to.

I want to give you an insight into the process in which I buy cards from a new set. I guess which cards I will need, while trying to stay on a budget. This has ended up saving me money since I came back, and I've done it all without opening a single pack. Here are the cards that I am going to buy from BREAKpoint:

Slowking






Slowking has a lot of potential, especially in the type of deck that would set up a lot of them to stack the effect. Lucario/Hammers is a deck in Standard that runs Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer to discard energy as Lucario piles on the damage. Imagine moving all of that energy, or a bit of it every turn onto a Pokemon where it wouldn't be so harmful. For example, you could move all of the energy onto a benched Shaymon-EX, Hawlucha, or Octillery. Crawdaunt's Unruly Claw is much more effective, but that only works when you put it down. Slowking has the potential to disrupt every turn!

Slowking decks have a couple of cool options that energy disruption decks of the past didn't have. Brigette BKT can easily hunt down three Slowpoke to get the Slowking train rolling. In addition, the new Slowbro card could feature a place in the deck if the deck already runs Double Colorless energy.

Expect Slowking to see play in some deck, so get your playset before the price goes up.


Manaphy-EX



Manaphy EX is a lot like Darkrai EX from Black & White: Dark Explorers in that it gives free retreat to Pokemon with a certain type of energy attached. In Standard, it could see play in Fairy-Box to give Pokemon that have Rainbow Energy attached free retreat, which would allow play of a different Stadium besides Fairy Garden.

One major difference between Manaphy EX and Darkrai EX is that Darkrai had a powerful attack in addition to its useful Ability, whereas Manaphy's attack is subpar. I think that Manaphy will see fringe play in water decks and that it's worth picking up now, but I don't think it deserves a spot in Blastoise or any other current archetypes.

Frogadier

Greninja gets a bit more powerful with the release of Frogadier. Frogadier's attack searches for three more Frogadier to go onto your bench, all of which can become Greninja on the following turn. Miltank/Greninja might make a comeback, this time with Fisherman and the ability to swarm Greninjas.

In the past, you would want to pack some Rare Candies into your deck and run a 4-2-4 line, but now a 4-4-4 or a 3-4-4 might be preferable. The deck has Fisherman, which it didn't have before, which could make it even more powerful. Will the deck run Greninja BREAK? My answer to that is no, for the reason that Greninja BREAK has to be Active for its Ability to activate. I would rather just run an extra Water Energy or Greninja EX for the versatiliy than Greninja BREAK, but I could be wrong.


Hypno


Hypno will see play in the same way that Munna BCR saw play. The difference here is that Hypno is a Stage One, and that it does not require a coin flip. Because of the flip, Munna saw play in multiples, which meant that people ran two or three in order to always hit heads. Munna could also easily be teched into decks that ran Keldeo or Virizion EX because it was a Basic Pokemon. Hypno needs more space in a deck (a 2-2 line) and it needs a partner to go with it.

In Expanded, we have Keldeo EX and Virizion EX that can remove the status condition sleep, whereas in Standard all we have are Zoroark and Sparkling Robe. Maybe a deck that can run lots of Pokemon can run Hypno, like Vespiquen, but more likely Hypno will be paired with Sparkling Robe in some sort of lock deck.




Espeon EX

Espeon EX will take up one slot in spread decks, and that will be its purpose. For one C, the highest Stage Evolution card is put into the opponent's hand, which pairs perfectly with Mega Gallade or Dusknoir. For example, in Mia Violet's Yveltal/Dusknoir deck, Espeon EX would only take up one slot and it would significantly change the matchup against decks with Stage 1s, Stage 2s, or Mega Evolution decks.

Garbodor:

I'm not sure what Garbodor's place in the Standard format will be, bug I do know that based off of its play in the Expanded format, it's worth having a 2-2 line.


Phantump

Trevenant XY just got a lot more powerful with the release of BREAKpoint. If you miss the turn one Wally, you can attack with Phantump to leave a Trevenant active at the end of your turn. This increases the odds of leaving your opponent Item-locked from the first turn by many degrees.

Trevenant XY is not a bad attacker, but with the addition of Trevenant BREAK, it gets a supplementary attack and a decent chunk of HP. Both Trevenant XY and Trevenant BREAK have attacks that spread damage and reach for the same goal: soften things up for Gengar to deal with. In addition to buying Phantump and Trevenant BREAK, I would also stock up on Trevenant XY at this point as well before their price skyrockets.




Trevenant BREAK

Darkrai-EX


Darkrai-EX is a card that I think will warrant one spot in Expanded Yveltal decks. In Dark Pulse, we have the chance to hit for a lot of damage, but it is more of a late-game attack. Dark Head also works quite well with Hypnotoxic Laser if you can flip the heads. In Standard, I don't think there is a way to easily put an opponent to sleep, or stack a lot of energy on the board with YZG, so I think that most of Darkrai's strength lies in Expanded.

Hypno will exist in Standard, but it would need a lot of space, and it would need something to wake Darkrai up, like Zoroark. In that sort of situation, Machamp/Ariados would be better because it uses FFC to get a knockout on EXes with one bench-sitter as opposed to two.


Shoutout to All Night Party to wake up Darkrai after something like Hypno puts it to sleep.

Puzzle of Time

I think that Puzzle of Time is one of the most influential cards in the set, helping Battle Compressor decks immensely. Battle Compressor decks face issues when managing resources. It is very easily to draw through your whole deck, but it is hard to do so without discarding crucial resources, like Double Colorless Energy for Night March or Vespiquen, or Superior Energy Retrieval for Blastoise. Puzzle of Time offers a solution for this. Late game, you can get two cards back, letting you be riskier for great reward in the early game. This way, Blastoise might actually be able to consistenly get off four Superior Energy Retrievals in a game, or Night March might not have to run Milotic.

One of the great things about Puzzle of Time is that if you see it in the early game, it doesn't block Archie's or Maxie's (because you can always play it down), and it just is not a bad card overall, especially if your deck already plays something like Unown.

Puzzle of Time also gives an advantage to a deck like Sableye, allowing it to not give up any prizes. For example, imagine the Sableye player has an active Sableye with Life Dew attached. They use Junk Hunt to grab two Puzzle of Time. Then, Sableye's opponent knocks out the Sableye, discarding Life Dew but not getting a prize. Then, the Sableye player can use the Puzzle of Times to get back the Life Dew and attach it to a new Sableye. In this way, without N or Lysandre, the Sableye player can consistently not give up prizes.

Puzzle of Time is going to change the format. Pick up a playset of these.




Max Elixir

Ether may have been a huge disappointment, but Max Elixir is Ether on steroids. In a deck that plays at least ten energy, there is a good chance that you can hit the energy and accelerate it. I have a friend who thinks that this card is going to make Yveltal EX very good, and I personally can't even yet imagine all the potential for it. Definitely grab some of these.




Burst Balloon

Rock Guard is now outclassed. Burst Balloon packs the power of Rock Guard while only lasting for one turn. Imagine a Robo Substitute with Burst Balloon attached: what a dilemma! Burst Balloon is another card where I can't yet imagine how it will fit into decks. Maybe it will go in Sableye? I would definitely get these though, because this is a cool card that will have some place in the metagame.



Fighting Spirit Belt


Fighting Spirit Belt is going to change the game like Muscle Band did. With more than twice the power of Giant Cape, Fighting Spirit Belt is like a combination of Assault Vest and Muscle Band. Imagine a Wailord EX packing 290 HP. The magic numbers change, the Tool Scrapper count has to increase, I'm very excited to see which Pokemon Tools that people choose to run with such a great selection.

Delinquent

Delinquent is a powerful but balanced card because of its stipulation that a Stadium card be discarded, so that it can't just be endlessly looped. Delinquent is also balanced because the opposing player gets to choose which cards get discarded from their hand. Because Shaymin EX is in the format, it has the potential to backfire, so I think that it has the most potential in the late game. If your opponent has three or less cards in their hand, you can put them instantly into topdeck mode. I think that lock decks will pop up that make use of this card, but its most important feature is that it will change how people play.

You might want to use Exeggcute's Propagation before ending your turn in case there is a delinquent. In the same way people thin their deck in anticipation of an N, it might be necessary to buff your hand in anticipation of a delinquent.




Final Ideal Shopping List:

4 Slowpoke - $1
4 Slowking - $4
1 Manaphy EX - $4
4 Frogadier - $1
2 Drowzee - $.50
2 Hypno - $2
1 Espeon EX - $4
2 Trubbish - $.50
2 Garbodor - $2
4 Phantump - $1
2 Trevenant BREAK - $6
1 Darkrai EX - $4
4 Puzzle of Time - $2
4 Max Elixir - $2
4 Burst Balloon - $2
4 Fighting Spirit Belt - $2
4 Delinquent - $4

Total: $58

Charles Randall's Actual Shopping List Because He Isn't Made Of Money:

4 Puzzle of Time - $2
4 Max Elixir - $2
4 Burst Balloon - $2
4 Fighting Spirit Belt - $2
3 Delinquent - $3
4 Slowpoke - $1
4 Slowking - $4
2 Trubbish - $.50
2 Garbodor - $2
4 Phantump - $1
1 Trevenant Break - $6

Total: $25.50

Credit for these scans goes to Peter Kica, who compiled them all here. Thanks Peter!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment below if you think I left something important out or if you really think that I should buy an Espeon EX.