Today, I want to show you the first competitive deck I started to use in tournaments. Back in 2005, I had just discovered that the Pokemon Trading Card Game was played competitively by many people. With some help from the experienced players, I got my hands on my very first real deck, which to this day is still my favorite deck of all time, only rivaled by Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX.
Needless to say, I was not even half the deck builder when I started playing that I am now. My original list was a little bit different, but with my 15 years more of experience, I have remade the consistency engine to reach a better potential. Even the more experienced players back then would still be considered pretty fresh compared to today’s standards, so a lot of things will forever be unexplored.
This is my recreation of the list:
##Pokémon - 23 4 Jirachi DX 9 4 Holon's Magneton DS 22 3 Pidgey RG 73 1 Pidgeotto RG 45 2 Pidgeot RG 10 2 Squirtle RG 83 1 Wartortle RG 50 2 Blastoise-ex RG 104 1 Onix UF 65 1 Steelix-ex UF 109 1 Lugia-ex UF 105 1 Latias Star DX 105 ##Trainer Cards - 28 4 Rocket's Admin. TRR 86 3 Celio's Network RG 88 2 Steven's Advice HL 92 1 Professor Elm's Training Method UF 89 1 Copycat TRR 83 4 Rare Candy EM 83 4 Great Ball DS 90 3 Pokemon Retriever TRR 84 1 Warp Point UF 93 1 Swoop! Teleporter TRR 92 1 Switch DS 102 1 Pow! Hand Extension TRR 85 2 Power Tree LM 76 ##Energy - 9 9 Water Energy RS 106
With the format being considerably slower, the game plan of this deck was setting up Pidgeot with the Quick Search Poke-Power as fast as possible. Abilities were split up into Poke-Powers and Poke-Bodies in this era, depending on if they where active or passive effects. Poke-Powers would also stop working if a Pokemon was affected by a Special Condition, so these had more impact on gameplay earlier as well.
Pidgeot’s Poke-Power let you once during your turn search your deck for any one card you would like and put it into your hand. This is incredible, having access to your whole deck on board every single turn is nothing short of amazing, and made the games more a question of managing your resources and tempo, rather than hoping to draw into what you needed for turn.
To make sure you could set up Pidgeot consistently and fast, there are four copies of Jirachi in the list as well. It’s very similar to the Jirachi from Team Up, but with the key difference being that you can pick any of the top five cards you look at, and not just Trainers.
After getting the Pidgeot up, you could Quick Search to get the Blastoise ex onto the field. Blastoise ex’s Energy Rain Poke-Power lets you attach as many Water Energy onto your field as you would like each turn but it would damage your Pokemon for 10 for each. With the release of Holon’s Magneton, you could pair this with Blastoise ex to let you power up some good attackers which normally had an awkward Energy cost, like Steelix ex, Lugia ex, and Rainbow Energy. Simply attach Water Energy with Blastoise ex and use your hand attachment for turn on the Holon’s Magneton, providing two “Rainbow Energy“, returning a Water to your hand. This Water Energy could be played again with Blastoise ex, making the engine work out consistently.
Steelix ex was an attacker I originally had a two-two line of, but I think one-one would of sufficed. It gives you some excellent board control with its Mudslide attack, doing 100 damage to any Pokemon on your opponent’s field. With its 150 HP and double Resistance, it was also a tank, but could be fragile against some archetypes since it also had a double weakness.
If your opponent was playing an ex-based deck, Latias Star would be your best bet, as 150 damage would be enough for almost anything as well but would only give up one Prize card in return. The star cards can remind you of Prism Star cards since they are limited to one in each deck. However, the Lost Zone was not yet introduced, meaning you could get it back from your discard pile.
Pokemon Retriever is the direct precursor to Rescue Stretcher, having an identical effect. This did not only let you reuse your powerful attackers, but even let you take back “Energy” in the form of Holon’s Magneton.
To top this cycling off, we have two Power Tree in the deck as well. They are almost identical to Training Court, but you are not allowed to use them if you have Special Energy in the discard pile. In play, Holon’s Magneton is treated like a Special Energy, but again, in the discard pile it is still just a Pokemon, so you could still use the Power Tree to get your precious Water Energy back.
There are a couple different pre-Evolutions available, but I believe I have picked out the best ones. Squirtle has Bubble that can paralyze your opponent. This could end up being very relevant, as decks did not usually run too many switching options, and with Poke-Powers being turned off by Special Conditions, this flip could buy you a needed turn if necessary.
The Wartortle has an attack that does 40 damage and switches itself out. This is a very good option against Ninetales, a 70 HP Pokemon with Safeguard and Water Weakness. The Poke-Body makes it immune to all Pokemon ex, which actually makes Wartortle your best option to take it out.
Pidgey has the attack Corner, meaning that if your opponent was not careful with their switching effects, you could potentially trap something like an opposing Jirachi in the active and use Corner until your opponent decked out. Pidgeotto is doing damage as well while trapping but could still be used to stall your opponent for some turns.
The Onix does not have many uses but can retrieve Energy and attack for two Basic Water if needed.
Moving on to the rest of the Trainers, I need to mention Rare Candy right away. If you take a close look at it, you will notice that its worded slightly differently than the new prints we have now. This Rare Candy you could use on your first turn, or immediately after benching a Basic Pokemon. This means you could get a turn one Pidgeot or Blastoise ex, giving you a massive tempo advantage. This, combined with gust effects being very limited, meant that playing a Stage 2 deck was not that much of a hinderance.
A card that was not included originally, but I have added now, is Pow! Hand Extension. This card is basically just a more flexible Counter Catcher, where you could choose to disrupt your opponent’s Active instead of moving it away. This is also the only good form of gust in the format, which we all know today is what seals tons of games.
Great Ball from this era had almost the same effect of Nest Ball, and not the Great Ball you know from today. The difference being that you cannot pick up Basic ex cards, which means only Lugia ex is excluded in this case.
Rocket’s Admin. was the precursor to N, and it feels mandatory to include a full playset of this powerful disruption supporter. Celio’s Network and Professor Elm’s Training Method are great options to help you set up your Pokemon. Steven’s Advice is a more powerful Erika’s Hospitality that you can use with a six-card hand instead of five. Copycat is great if your opponent has gathered a large hand, but you want to preserve your Rocket’s Admin. for later.
For our own switching options, we have one Switch and one Warp Point. Warp Point is the original Escape Rope. Honestly, the deck would love to have more switching cards for the early game, letting you use Jirachi more, but the deck has very limited space. With Pidgeot you won’t have to worry about low counts of anything, since you could always just search it out whenever needed. I also decided to add Swoop! Teleporter to the deck. This acts like a pseudo switch, since you can replace your Jirachi with one of the main setup Pokemon or attackers when you want to transition out of the early game, but also helps preserve your board space.
I am sure I have a lot of bias towards this deck for nostalgic reasons, but I honestly always have a blast playing this for fun with my friends in older formats. The deck offers a lot of options, awesome attackers, and just an all-around fun experience. As you can see, a lot of the card concepts we have today has actually been around for over 15 years already, which is really cool to think about. I hope this article gave you some insight into what my introduction to competitive play was. If you ever have the time, grab a friend, and proxy up some old decks, it will be a ton of fun – I promise!
Thanks for reading, until next time.