It has been a couple of months now since we last talked about the game-breaking cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game (PTCG). We looked at how all games have rules that regulate how you play them. The PTCG is no exception and it too has rules about how to play the game, what you can do and when you can do it. But, we also told you that there are ways round the rules of the game, and that…
“Where the text on a card overrules the rulebook, the card text takes precedence.”
With that in mind, over two issues we looked at some of the cards that could break the basic rules of the game when it came to evolving and placing energy cards. In this issue we will continue to look at how the rules can be broken or bent by the text on our Pokémon, Trainer, Supporter and Stadium Cards. We finished last time on page nine of the rulebook, taken from the Stormfront ‘Dark Rampage’ theme deck. We looked at how you could get round the rules on placing one energy from your hand each turn and how some Poké-Powers, Poké-Bodies and even Attacks could allow you to play extra energy each turn.
Since that last report the Platinum set has been making a real impact on the tournament scene and Platinum Rising Rivals is set to hit the shops before this issue goes on sale. That set is bound to add new game-breaking cards to the game. In the meantime, let us continue to look at the current crop of game-breaking cards, as we go back to page nine of the rule book to look at how you can get round the restrictions on playing Supporters.
“On the first turn of the game, the starting player cannot play any Trainer, Supporter, or Stadium Cards from his or her hand, including Fossil Pokémon (such as Claw Fossil, Root Fossil, etc).”
Not being able to play Trainer Cards, Supporters and Stadiums when you are going first is a serious setback. In the past going first only meant you missed the chance of playing Supporter Cards, but now it prevents you from playing anything other than Basic Pokémon and Energy. Going first may get you ahead by one energy drop but it can certainly cost you the game, especially if you cannot play a much-needed Supporter Card. So what can you do to get round the no Trainers, Supporters and Stadiums on turn one if you are going first?
Sableye from the Diamond & Pearl Stormfront Set is a useful starting Pokémon, because he allows us to not only ensure we go first through his ‘Overeager’ Poké-Body, but he also has a great first turn attack ‘Impersonate’. Impersonate says…
“Search your deck for a Supporter Card and discard it. Shuffle your deck afterward. Then use the effect of that card as the effect of this attack.”
This means when going first we can use the effect of a Supporter Card and that could just help us win the game! But, remember you can of course use the ‘Impersonate’ attack again next turn, even after you have already played a Supporter. Which means you can get round another rule of the game and effectively play two Supporters in one turn.
“Supporter Cards are played like Trainer Cards, except you can only play one Supporter Card per turn.”
There is another Pokémon that can enable us to play two Supporters in one turn and it will not cost us an attack. It used to see a lot of play in the past, but that has fallen out of favour recently – Gardevoir, from the Diamond & Pearl Secret Wonders Set has the Poké-Power Telepass. It says…
“Once during your turn (before your attack), you may search your opponent’s discard pile for a Supporter card and use the effect of that card as the effect of this power. (The Supporter card remains in your opponent’s discard pile.) You can’t use more than 1 Telepass Poké-Power each turn. This power can’t be used if Gardevoir is affected by a Special Condition.”
So Gardevoir gives us another way to get round the one- Supporter-card- per-turn rule too. Unfortunately Gardevoir is very likely to leave the Modified Format in September, so consider playing it in your decks while you can.
On page ten of the rulebook we are told that you can only Retreat your Active Pokémon once per turn. Now that could be a problem, especially when you need one Pokémon active for part of a turn to use a Poké-Power or to Level Up, but you want to attack with another Pokémon.
There are a number of cards that allow you to get round the rule on retreating only once per turn. One of them has been with us since the start of the game, it was in the original Base Set and is still part of the current Modified Format – but what is it? Well, it’s Switch, of course!
Warp Point also allows you to change your Active Pokémon and has the added advantage of forcing your opponent to do the same thing. They have to choose a Benched Pokémon to switch with the Active Pokémon first before you make your choice of Benched Pokémon to switch out.
With the addition of Platinum to the Modified Format you can now also use Poké Turn to ‘Return one of your Pokémon SP and all cards attached to it to your hand.’ This means Poké Turn can not only act as a form of Switch when used on an Active SP Pokémon, but it can also be used to heal damaged Pokémon regardless of whether they’re active
Using cards like Switch, Warp Point and Poké Turn also has the added advantage of allowing you to retreat, switch and swap your Pokémon without paying their retreat cost, either. And of course you can also switch out Pokémon that normally could not retreat because they were asleep or paralysed. Not forgetting of course that going to the bench or being returned to your hand will end all those pesky special conditions like Burn and Poison, too.
There are also Pokémon that have attacks that can switch your Active Pokémon with one on your Bench, like Donphan and Furret from the Diamond and Pearl Secret Wonders Set.
Donphan’s attack with Rapid Spin does 40 damage and then your opponent is forced to switch his/her Active Pokémon with one from his/her bench. You then switch Donphan with one of your Benched Pokémon, just like a warp point that does damage.
Furret, meanwhile, has an attack Baton Pass that does 40 damage and then gives you the option to switch Furret with one of your benched Pokémon. If you do you move as many energy cards as you like from Furret to the new Active Pokémon, it acts like a combination of Switch and Energy Switches combined that can also do 40 damage – fantastic!
Moving on to page 11 of the rule book, we can go from Retreating to Attacking. The rule book states that…
“You are only allowed to attack once during your turn, (if your Pokémon has two attacks you can only use 1 of them each turn).”
So just how can we get more than one attack in per turn? Well we can use a card from the Diamond & Pearl Stormfront Set that Ditto thought would see more play than it has. Raichu LV.X has the Poké-Body Link Lightning that allows you to attack once with Voltage Shoot and then again with another attack of Raichu afterwards. You can only use Link Lightning when you first place Raichu LV.X on Raichu and of course having to discard two lightning energy when you use Voltage Shoot does not help.
However, chose your Raichu carefully and you could be using attacks like the Mysterious Treasures Raichu with its Electromagnetic Induction attack. For no energy you can search your deck for up to two Lightning Energy Cards and attach them to one of your Pokémon. If you used this as your second attack and chose to put the energy onto Raichu LV.X, you could be powered up and ready to use Voltage Shoot again next turn.
Or you could choose to use the Majestic Dawn Raichu that has Agility attack; for one energy of any colour you can do 20 damage and flip a coin. If you get heads you prevent all effects of attacks, including damage done to Raichu during your opponent’s next turn. Use that as your second attack and you not only do 20 more damage, but you potentially stop your opponent from attacking you.
The rule book also tells us also on page 11 that we cannot use an attack unless we have the correct energy attached to our Active Pokémon. Well Honchkrow from Mysterious Treasures has a useful Poké-Body Dark Genes, that will let us ignore that rule. Any Murkrow can copy any of Honchkrow’s attacks and use it as its own, even if it does not have the required energy attached to it. All you need to do is make sure that your benched Mysterious Treasures Honchkrow has the required energy attached to it for each of its attacks. You can then swarm the field with Murkrows and keep on attacking even when they have no energy attached at all. And while you do that you can keep Honchkrow safe on your bench, ready to deliver the knockout blow when it is needed.
That is it all we have space for this issue on the Rule Breakers and Game Makers. Next time you build a deck, look for those cards that can help you break the rules, the ones that allow you to retreat where and when you like, that can attack more than once in a turn and that can attack without having the required energy attached. Go on, break the rules – and have fun and win while you’re doing it!