Voltorb43's Trainers 101: Drawing and Searching
(As seen on Pokeschool!!!)
Chapter 3 - Disruption
Good Pokemon players build good decks around a variety of themes and strategies. One particularly powerful one is disruption. If you can throw a monkey wrench into your opponent's plans, you've taken a big step toward gaining the upper hand and winning the battle. Besides, messing your opponent up is just plain fun!
There are two basic kinds of disruption, play area disruption and hand disruption. In the first case, you try to interfere with the cards your opponent has in play. In the second, you attack his hand and try to take critical cards away from him before he can play them.
Disruption Trainers are powerful weapons. Let's look at some of the most popular and most effective ones.
ENERGY REMOVAL (Base): One thing all Pokemon have in common is that they need energy to power their attacks. If you can keep your opponent's Pokemon powerless, you have a much better chance of beating him.
This common Trainer lets you choose an Energy card attached to any one of your opponent's Pokemon and discard it. One particularly nasty trick is to use Energy Removal to get rid of any Double Colorless Energy cards your opponent may have attached. Unless he has another Double Colorless Energy in his hand (and he can only have four in his whole deck), it will take him at least two turns to replace the lost energy.
Crafty players will notice the kind of energy an opponent's Pokemon uses. If an opponent has Pokemon that can use Double Colorless Energy, a good player will sometimes hold an Energy Removal card in his hand until an opponent attaches a Double Colorless Energy to one of his Pokemon, then zap it away.
SUPER ENERGY REMOVAL (Base):
If Energy Removal is nice, Super Energy Removal is, well, super! This card lets you discard one energy card from one of your Pokemon in order to discard TWO energy cards from one of your opponent's Pokemon.
That's really a good deal. If you use Energy Removal to discard one energy, your opponent often has another one in his hand. Unless you've removed a Double Colorless Energy, he just replaces the energy you removed and he's right back to the same level of strength.
However, if you remove two energy cards with Super Energy Removal, it will take him at least two turns and sometimes longer to recover what you took away.
Usually, you'll discard an energy from one of your benched Pokemon that isn't going into battle any time soon, and you'll usually strip energy off your opponent's active Pokemon. However, if you see your opponent building up a big attacker on his bench, use Super Energy Removal on it so it never gets the power it needs to come out and hurt you.
Super Energy Removal is a rare card, though, so don't expect to get as many of these as the regular Energy Removal cards.
Several Pokemon like Dragonair have attacks that remove energy cards from your opponent's Pokemon. A very effective battle strategy is to build a deck with these energy removing Pokemon in it and load it up with both of these energy removing Trainers too. With both your Pokemon and Trainers working to attack your opponent's energy, he'll have a really hard time.
GUST OF WIND (Base):
This common card is one of the best Trainers in the game. It lets you choose one of your opponent's benched Pokemon and switch it with his active Pokemon. This can help you in several different situations.
If you see an Abra on your opponent's bench, you can be sure that he wants to evolve it. Gust it up and knock it out while it's still an Abra. This not only gets you an easy prize, it means you won't have to face Kadabra or Alakazam any time soon. Do this with any weak basic you see on your opponent's bench.
In similar fashion, if your opponent has a big hitter like Zapdos or Articuno on his bench but he hasn't attached any energy yet, Gust it up and start attacking it. Since big hitters usually need three or even four energies to power their big attacks, you stand a good chance of knocking it out before your opponent can get it powered up. That's a big victory for you and a big loss for your opponent.
If your opponent is hitting you hard with a big hitter as his active, Gust it back to the bench and bring out somebody else.
There's one big mistake to avoid when playing Gust of Wind this way, though. If you're using Gust to send an opponent's big hitter back to the bench, don't Gust out a Pokemon like Scyther that retreats for free.
If you do that, your opponent will simply retreat and bring his big hitter back up. If you're trying to keep your opponent's big hitter out of action, it's usually best to Gust it back to the bench and bring out the Pokemon that has the highest retreat cost. He may still retreat and bring the big hitter back out, but you want him to pay as high a price as possible for doing that.
Gust of Wind is really good in just about any deck-including those that don't use any other kind of disruption.
Another disruption tactic is to attack your opponent's hand. If you can take good cards away from him before he can play them, you stand a much better chance of winning. Unfortunately, two of the three major hand disruption Trainers are rare. One is a holo and the other has both a holo and non-holo version.
Also, hand disruption is harder to do effectively since it takes a combination of Trainers and the ability to look at your opponent's hand and figure out which of his cards are the most valuable to him. For that reason, I recommend that beginning players who want to use disruption as a battle tactic concentrate first on mastering play area disruption.
Still, we'll take a look at the major hand disruption Trainers so you'll know what cards to start trading for. Then when you're ready to try hand disruption, you'll have the cards you need.
IMPOSTER OAK'S REVENGE (Team Rocket):
This one's uncommon. You have to discard one other card from your hand in order to use it, but it makes your opponent shuffle his entire hand back into his deck and draw just four cards.
This works nicely with Erika--a Trainer that lets both you and your opponent draw up to three cards. Use Erika first, then Imposter Oaks Revenge. You get to keep the cards you drew, your opponent doesn't.
ROCKET'S SNEAK ATTACK (Team Rocket):
This one comes in both holo and non-holo. There is no difference in how they work in the game, so you might want to go after the non-holo version for your decks. There should be more of those available and should cost you less to get.
This card lets you look at your opponent's hand and if he has any Trainer cards, you choose one and he has to shuffle it back into his deck. This can be devastating when your opponent is counting on using an Oak or Computer Search on his next turn and you take it away before he can use it. It takes some practice, though, to know which of your opponent's Trainers you should make him put back in his deck when you Sneak Attack him.
THE ROCKET'S TRAP (Team Rocket):
This one comes only as a holo and will be the hardest one to find. It depends on a coin flip so it doesn't work every time, but if you flip heads, you can choose up to three cards at random from your opponent's hand and make him shuffle them back into his deck. You cannot look at his cards, just choose three.
These three cards together make up the dreaded "Trapper combo" which is so powerful, they've named an entire deck type after it. If you have all three of them in your hand, you can reduce your opponent's hand down to nothing. First use Imposter Oak's Revenge to reduce it down to four cards. Then use Rocket's Sneak Attack. If one of the four cards is a Trainer (and it usually is), make him put that one back in his deck. Then play Rocket's Trap. If you flip heads, you put his last three cards back in his deck leaving him with no hand at all.
Hand disruption can hurt your opponent any time, but it is most effective very early in the game before your opponent has had a chance to get much in play or attach much energy. When you can pull that off, you can generally build a big advantage that can't be overcome.
Some players concentrate heavily on one kind of disruption, while others build decks to do some of both. Again, I recommend that new players not try to use much hand disruption until they have gained some experience and understanding of the game.
I really enjoy playing disruption decks. They are generally pretty effective, but even when you don't win the game, it's still fun to mess up your opponent's plans.