Voltorb43's Trainers 101: Drawing and Searching
(As seen on Pokeschool!!!)
Chapter 2: Drawing and Searching
With very few exceptions, this is the most critical function your Trainers will have to perform.
The player with the best battle plan or even the strongest Pokemon doesn't always win the game. Instead, victory usually goes to the player who gets his main attacker out and powered up first. So, if you want to give yourself the best chance to win, be sure your deck has plenty of drawing and searching power.
Some of the more sophisticated battle strategies need two or even three different Pokemon in play, and some need special Trainers called Stadium cards to make them work at full strength. Obviously, the more cards you need to get into play, the more searching and drawing power you will need in your deck.
This is really important so I'll say it again; the player who gets the cards he needs out of his deck first usually wins the battle.
There are two major card drawing Trainers. Unless you are building a stall deck that is designed to win by making your opponent run out of cards in his draw pile first, you need at least one if not both of these in your deck.
PROFESSOR OAK (Base) & PROFESSOR ELM (Neo Genesis):
Both of these cards get you a new hand of seven cards. This is a HUGE help when you need to draw a particular card. However, each comes at a price. Oak requires that you discard your current hand to get a new one. Elm lets you put your current hand back into your deck so you can draw those cards again later. However with Elm, you may use only the Pokemon and energy in your new hand immediately. You must wait until your next turn before you can play any new Trainers.
People's opinions will vary on which one is better. In truth, that depends on your deck and your current situation. Suppose you want to get Blastoise out quickly so you can use his Power to power up your Pokemon before your opponent powers his up.
You have one in your hand but you don't have a Squirtle. You wouldn't want to Oak your Blastoise away trying to get Squirtle. However, it wouldn't hurt to put it back in your deck temporarily where you can get it again after you find a Squirtle and evolve it into Wartortle. In that case, Elm would be better.
However, if you needed one of your other Trainers, you might be able to draw it using Elm, but then you couldn't play it until your next turn.
I personally like Elm better overall-especially in my decks with evolutions. You can put four of them in a deck with no problems. If you use four Oaks, you will seriously deplete your deck and run the risk of losing because your draw pile ran out of cards. That's called getting decked.
Fortunately, both of these are uncommon, not rare, cards so they shouldn't be too hard to get.
Most decks need additional drawing and searching power to be competitive. So, even if you use Oak and/or Elm, you will still need some of the following cards in your deck, too.
This common card used to be a staple in just about every deck. When you play Bill, you draw 2 more cards. It's still just as useful today as it ever was, but there are now several other choices and fewer players are putting Bill in their decks.
MARY (Neo Genesis):
This card works just like Bill, except that after you draw two cards, you have to shuffle two cards from your hand back into your deck. This is good to help keep you from depleting your draw pile, but can be bad if you happen to need every card in your hand.
This is a rare card, though, and I don't expect to see it used very widely given all the other drawing/searching cards available today. I wouldn't trade away any good cards to get a Mary.
MASTER BALL (Gym Challenge):
This is an excellent card if you need to find a particular Pokemon. You can look at the top seven cards in your deck and keep a Pokemon. It can be either a basic or an evolution. You shuffle the other six back into your deck so you don't permanently lose anything you don't need at the moment. However, Master Ball only finds Pokemon. You can't use it to pull a Trainer or Energy card from your deck.
It's uncommon, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find or to pull from a booster pack. It's generally worth trading any other uncommon card for.
POKEGEAR (Neo Genesis):
This is a Master Ball for Trainers, but with one significant drawback. You can use the Pokemon you get with Master Ball immediately. PokeGear makes you wait until your next turn to use the Trainer you get from your deck. I haven't seen too many of these in use yet. It's rare so I really don't expect to see too many, and I wouldn't trade away any other rare card to get one.
MISTY'S WRATH (Gym Heroes):
Like Master Ball, Misty's Wrath lets you look at the top seven cards in your deck, but with Misty's Wrath you get to keep any two of those seven that you want. However, you must discard the other five.
I don't really like this card much. The discard means you can't use very many in a game or you'll deplete your draw pile. Of course there is no guarantee that the card you're looking for will be in the first seven, so it may take more than one Wrath to find the card you need. Also, if there are more than two cards you really want in the top seven, you have to throw away something good.
POKEMON TRADER (Base):
Sometimes you'll have a Charmander on your bench and another one in your hand, but no Charmeleon. With Pokemon Trader, you can put the extra Charmander back in your deck, then get the Charmeleon you need out of your deck. This is a good card to have in decks that use Stage 2 evolutions or that run a high number of Pokemon. It's a rare, though, so don't expect to get a lot of them, but it's worth trading for.
COMPUTER SEARCH (Base):
This is the ultimate searching Trainer. Get and use as many of these as you can. Good decks usually run at least three of them. Unfortunately, it's a rare and a lot of players use them in their decks so it may be difficult to get more than just a few of them.
It lets you go into your deck and get any card you need. You can also use that card immediately. The down side is that you must discard two other cards from your hand to get the one you want from your deck.
Still, this is a great card for many situations. I try to use four in just about every deck, but sometimes I have to compromise and use only three.
One really powerful combo is when your hand is running low on cards, use Computer Search to get an Oak or Elm out of your deck and get yourself a new hand!
Exactly how many of these searching/drawing cards you'll need depends on your deck, but I generally recommend at least 3-4 Elm, 3-4 Computer Search and at least three copies of one of the others, usually Master Ball or Pokemon Trader.
In Chapter 3, we'll look at how crafty players use Trainers to disrupt an opponent's plans.