Hi there CFB reader! You might know me for my Tablemon brand, or my top placements at tournaments in Mexico and all over the world. However, I’m guessing most of you aren’t aware that I’ve been playing this game competitively for almost 20 years now (since 2001) and I’ve had success both locally and globally since the very first official season that started in 2003 with City Championships (the equivalent to the modern-day League Cups).
In 2019, three-Prize Pokemon were introduced to the game with TAG TEAMs and this continues in 2020 with the debut of Pokemon VMAX in the Sword & Shield sets – two-Prize Pokemon were once a novelty of the PTCG. The EX Ruby & Sapphire set from way back in June of 2003 first introduced two-prizers to the game – they were nothing like what we have today.
A History Lesson
Compare Sneasel ex and it’s measly 80 HP to the powerhouse that is Zacian V. As time went on, more powerful Pokemon ex were released like Rayquaza ex, Blaziken ex, and Medicham ex. However, one-Prize Pokemon were still a force to be reckoned with and there were many great decks that didn’t rely on Pokemon ex because they were a big liability. One of these decks, Queendom (my name for the deck), ended up winning the 2005 Pokemon World Championship – I placed third using it as well.
Back then I was a 17-year-old teenager with too much time in my hands, and I worked along with two friends, Jeremy Maron and Adam Capriola, on coming up with and perfecting the deck.
The original concept of every Nidoqueen deck when EX FireRed & LeafGreen came out, was to pair her with Nidoking from the same set, affectionately called Monarchy. Both cards complimented each other, Nidoqueen’s Power Lariat did extra damage based on Evolved Pokemon you had in play, and Nidoking’s Power Gene allowed Nidoqueen to do extra damage. Even though that deck did see some degree of success, running two Stage 2 Pokemon with no supporting lineup ended up being too clunky and it had a bad matchup to the ever popular Blaziken / Rayquaza ex decks.
After the initial hype when the set came out, the Monarchy deck died out. However, my friends and I were in communication with Team Achamo (aka Team Torchic) from Japan, and they shared with us a very interesting Nidoqueen / Pidgeot / Zapdos ex deck that played Pokemon Reversal. The idea behind this was to use the Zapdos ex tech combined with the Pokemon Reversal to eliminate an opponent’s Pidgeot, taking away their own Quick Search – a super powerful Poke-Power that was crucial to a deck’s consistency.
The Summer Grind
After we tried it out though, we felt like Pokemon Reversal was too unreliable, and we scrapped the Zapdos ex package completely. In its place, we added a thicker Pidgeot line to increase our chances of setting it up, while also helping the consistency of the deck, and maximizing the Evolved Pokemon options for Power Lariat.
After probably hundreds, if not thousands of games of playing between each other, making small tweaks, and trying out the different matchups, this is the list I settled on for the 2005 Pokemon TCG World Championship, directly from the Worlds booklet:
##Pokémon - 21 4 Nidoran F RG 70 3 Nidorina RG 40 4 Nidoqueen RG 9 3 Pidgey RG 73 2 Pidgeotto RG 45 3 Pidgeot RG 10 1 Feebas HL 61 1 Milotic HL 12 ##Trainers - 24 4 Celio's Network RG 88 3 Steven's Advice HL 92 3 Copycat TRR 83 2 Rocket's Admin. TRR 86 1 Mr. Briney's Compassion DR 87 4 Rare Candy EM 83 3 Great Ball RG 92 4 Desert Ruins HL 88 ##Energy - 15 6 Grass Energy RS 4 Double Rainbow Energy EM 87 3 Fighting Energy RS 2 Heal Energy DX 94
I had a robust Nidoqueen line, the main attacker of the deck, although Pidgeot could come in clutch as an attacker once in a while. The Nidoran F and Nidorina have very good attacks (Look for Friends and Fast Evolution, respectively) that helped the deck set up in the first few turns of the game by helping the search for extra Basic and Evolution Pokemon.
The thick Pidgeot line was an innovation at the time, as most decks only played two Pidgeot total – you could only use one Quick Search per turn. However, this deck thrived with the higher counts, they helped increase the damage output of Power Lariat, while also making a turn one Pidgeot much more common.
At this time you could Rare Candy on the first turn, also on a Pokemon that you had just played during a turn, or even in evolving a Basic into a Stage 1 (just to speed things up) – this final point actually played into the decision of including one Feebas and one Milotic. Milotic’s Healing Shower was key to winning the Rock Lock matchup. This deck focused on Dark Tyranitar’s and Dark Ampharos’s Poke-Bodies to spread damage all over the opponent’s field and then it would use Ancient Technical Machine [Rock]’s Stone Generator to remove the highest Stage Evolution from your opponents whole field and take multiple KOs at once. Milotic was a hard counter to this strategy and the Rare Candy rule back then allowed you to immediately evolve the weak 30 HP Feebas into Milotic. This healing strategy ended up being pretty key against other decks and added a very cool dynamic to the mirror match.
It doesn’t matter if it’s 2005 or 2020, consistency is always the way to go and this can be seen in the Trainers I utilized back then. High counts of Celio’s Network, Rare Candy, and Great Ball ensured that you could get the Pokemon you needed early on, as well as the one-one Milotic line in the mid-game in different matchups.
Steven’s Advice, Copycat, and Rocket’s Admin. provided the core draw power for the deck – they were just the best draw Supporters available at the time. For those of you who might not recognize a couple, Steven’s Advice is essentially Erika’s Hospitality, and Rocket’s Admin. worked just like N.
Desert Ruins was a key card to help bring down the HP of Pokemon ex, similar to the more modern Shrine of Punishment. Can you picture 140 HP being a huge number to bypass? Or 120 HP being the maximum for Basic Pokemon worth two Prizes? The most impactful ones against Nidoqueen were Blaziken ex and Rayquaza ex, and therefore, four Desert Ruins ensured that one stuck for the whole game, making those numbers more manageable for your damage output.
Finally, the one Mr. Briney’s Compassion in the list allowed you to heal a Nidoqueen or Pidgeot that was damaged, but the real pro play you could make was to pick up the Milotic and then immediately bench the Feebas and Rare Candy unto Milotic to use Healing Shower and heal your whole board for the second time.
The Energy counts for the deck is where my teammates and I couldn’t find common ground, we basically disagreed on all counts except for the four Double Rainbow Energy. These were essential to cover the deck’s three Energy cost for Power Lariat and they helped to mitigate the potential problems of needing both Grass and Fighting for your attacks.
The higher Grass Energy count helped to pull off turn one Toxic attack – very impactful back then. Taking 20 damage per turn when your HP is 120 is actually quite significant. However, you did need to run Fighting Energy as you needed to power up to a three Energy Power Lariat to do the full 100 damage in some matchups, as the -10 damage from Double Rainbow Energy could have a negative impact sometimes. Finally, the Heal Energy was very useful to deal with Dunsparce’s Sudden Flash attack which could paralyze you, along with that it healed off Toxic damage in the mirror.
This deck had been dominant and was poised to be the top deck at the World Championships, but it had a very tough time dealing with four Desert Ruins and Toxic damage piling up every turn, while it had nothing to trap against Queedom and Pidgeot resisted its most powerful attack.
Having no Poke-Powers could slow a Nidoqueen deck down quite a bit, but with how consistent it was, and the low damage output of your opponent, this wasn’t a problem overall.
This deck was quite a surprise at Worlds 2005 from the Japanese players, but still a pretty good matchup for Queendom due to the thick Pidgeot line. The strategy behind their deck was to blow up Electrode ex, get a lot of Energy into play and use Pow! Hand Extension to KO a Pidgeot with Zapdos ex. However, that wasn’t good enough if you simply had a second Pidgeot set up and if you could continue to search for your resources. The Toxic plus Desert Ruins damage piled up too quickly for them to recover.
A very popular choice in the metagame and a good matchup for you as long as you didn’t take a quick KO to activate their Scramble Energy before you had a bunch of Energy in play and six Evolutions to deal 100 damage with Power Lariat. Ludicolo’s Circular Steps maxed out at 110 damage so they could never OHKO you, but you could OHKO them – thus you were always favored in the Prize trade.
Without Milotic, this matchup was problematic, but with Milotic’s Healing Shower and the heavy Stage 1 lines, you can take the time to build to your Nidoqueens, especially since one of the Dark Tyranitar and Dark Ampharos are both weak to Fighting. Once you have Milotic down, if they use ATM [Rock] to bring it back up to your hand, you can evolve Feebas again and heal, so it’s an uphill battle for them.
Blaziken had both Blaziken ex and Rayquaza ex as attackers, both of which had high HP and can OHKO your Pokemon, while you couldn’t do the same. The Energy acceleration plus OHKO potential was a little too much for this deck to handle.
Nidoran F and Nidorina being weak to Psychic made this matchup problematic, although it certainly wasn’t the most popular pick for Worlds. Their Poke-Power could mess with your top decks but if you could get a Toxic off to shut down Cunning, then you had an easier time as your Psychic Weakness was gone too.
This deck holds a special place in my heart, as it gave me my first taste of glory at the World Championships. I lost a very narrow game against the mirror match in Top 4 due to a silly mistake of over-playing cards, so perhaps in a different universe I am actually the 2005 World Champion! I hope you enjoyed this retro deck article and be certain that I will be writing more of these for ChannelFireball in the near future. Thank you so much for reading and don’t forget to use my code if you decide to purchase something here or sign up for CFB Pro to support my content. Until next time!