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Tag Team Pokemon TCG Podcast
Tag Team Pokemon TCG Podcast

Season 4, Episode 50 · 3 months ago

4-50. The Final Countdown

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Worlds is coming up, and coming up fast! The boys are gearing up for the final week before the world championship, and looking to give you a sneak peek at some of the off-meta strategies to come.

Tag Team is brought to you by MANSCAPED! Use code TAGTEAM at checkout for 20% off and free shipping.

Yo, what is up, guys? Welcome back to tag team, the POKEMON trading card games premier podcasting do oh. My name is Riley Houlbert, joined as always by my good, good friend Mr JW Pre Wall G W. How's it going today? Hi, pretty good, Riley. I'm feeling excited. excited. Why? Oh, we got the world championships just around the corner and a week and a half. Oh my Gosh, man, I didn't know. You had no idea. I got a plan. I need to pack because we're heading out to New York on Saturday, so I'm losing like a couple of days. So I need like tomorrow to get into the zone and just get everything packed so that as I think of more things, I can add them instead of just throwing everything together and like inevitably forgetting the the outlet adapter or, you know, my floss, not for dude. Well, you know how you can't get good tooth care over in England, so I don't want to forget toothpaste floss. What do you say? I just lost all of the listeners from the Huh? Yeah, that's not good. Yeah, I feel that I went to the store earlier today just to buy some odds and ends, and I also made sure to get like an extra thing of deodorant to pack along. And I second think of toothpaste, so I could have a specific one for travel, as if you know having to remember to pack by one from home, you know the little boy. No, it's a it's a full size one. But can you take full size boys? Yeah, really, yeah, it's the limit is pretty large relative to the size of like a toothpaste. Well, I have like crest ones that are about Ya big, maybe a foot long, a foot or like eight inches, the biggest tuesdays too. Over the world, my sense of my sense of measurement is a little bit off when it comes to things of that. A foot is like a sixth as tall as you are. Okay, maybe maybe eight inches. Yeah, can you take that? I'll take it. Yeah, okay, it's like so besides. At the point, though, the point is travel stuff is being taken care of. I got you some laundry this weekend, though, but I'll be around this weekend. I guess you're planning your outfits. Got All your I try to plan your trip. I don't necessarily associate them to a given day, but I, yeah, make sure I have my fits. Try to try to look fresh, try to have some flow. Oh for sure. Yeah, I'm wearing today the black full grip shirt. Yes, and it's actually super cool. I like it. Is that a new edition? I think so. Yeah, it looks good. Did they mail it to you or what? Did you get it last? Last time I was an Acron, I picked it up. Yeah, it looks Nice. Yeah, speaking of shirts, we have our shirts there in the mail right now. So it is tbd as to whether or not they will arrive in time for London. That would be, Um, you know, sad if they didn't, but ups is just it is how it is. So we have the sea. They are in the mail. So that's the update that I have. Godspeed to the to the shirts shirts that hurt, probably right. Yeah, bless their hearts. L GW. We got plenty to talk about as we lead up to the world championships in just a week and a half, so let's go ahead and dive into it here. We'll start off by talk about some of the recent developments in the petted scene. We'll talk about some of the more niche decks heading into the world championships, and then our deck profile in the latter half of the stream will be all about ice rider, the love it or hated deck heading into the world championship here. But let's start from the top here, J W, and that's with some of the I hate to call it drama, but kind of his drama Um surrounding a certain player, at being Zach Cooper. For the unaware, Zach Cooper was caught palming a boss's orders from his discard pile at the North American International Championship got subsequently D q. This is not Zack's first time at the Rodeo, so to speak, but nevertheless he's still in the top of the leaderboards, gets that stipend and is on the World Championship player roster heading into worlds next week, and it's got a lot of people not so happy. A J W, I've...

...certainly seen a lot of vitriol. What is what is your experience been so far? Yeah, I mean the twitter discourses all over the place. I just think that there's a lot of Um hate being directed towards him and also tpc I, and so it's just really, really acidic out there. Acidic is a one way to describe it for sure, and yeah, I agree it's kind of CO directed at Zac himself as well as TPC I, and so my goal is not for us to be like a drama podcast or anything like that. It's not really what we do. Never really been into that, but I think this is an interesting kind of case study into, you know, what does it mean to like play legitimately in the POKEMON trading card game? What is the POKEMON companies response and call to action when they see or are aware of the things going on? You know, what do we use a community need to be aware of and make sure that we're doing to safeguard ourselves from, you know, bad actors here? And I think the first really interesting point, and something I've seen a lot of people starting to echo in these conversations online, is, you know, Zach is that has been dcut from multiple events at this point, and and follming is not the greatest thing to be caught doing. Of course, at what point do you have to just draw the line and say, you know, you cannot flight, your banned for Future Pokemon events? And you know, what does that mean if people like him are not getting banned? Is, you know, the broader question that I had raised. You know what, what is the consequence of cheating? If it's only every time you get caught, you'd get d cute at worst from that event and sometimes not even yeah, that's the question. Is Like, how do you how many times does somebody need to get caught for it to be habitual and for an outsider looking in, I would argue that the severity of the cheat and the amount of times that Zak has cheated in the past Um would indicate that there is, you know, habituality to his behavior and I just would think like at a local level, let's say that there was a player that exhibited this type of behavior at the local game store down the street, I have no doubt that they would be banned from that store, you know, after less second or third offense, right like I just couldn't imagine that the store owner would be like, okay, yes, you know, the integrity of our tournaments is not compromised by you being here, so come on back, you know, we'll just catch you again in the hat in the act, like you're you're totally welcome here. That's just weird to me to think that on a local level someone with that track record and notoriety would be banned and yet on an international, like world level, they're not. It's very confusing to me because I just think in a different context he'd be out of here in a minute. And I really sometimes I wonder what the Cooper family has on TPC, I like, what dirty stash they're hiding, you know. But I just I hate the president, that you could be a repeat, repeat offender, almost infamously so, and basically had a slap on the wrist in the form of a d Q. Even if it's not a long term band, you gotta take away the world's invite right, like they can't go to world's Day two with the stipend right. It's just really interesting. It's really really interesting. It brings up a question too, for a lot of players, I'm sure of well, how much cheating goes on in Pokemon, especially amongst the top level players. And you just gotta ask yourself after you start seeing these players go, you know, x and no to start day one, you know like seven Oh to start day one, repeatedly just doing well at these tournaments. I think there's enough variants that it's very hard to do that actually, but it just makes you wonder how much of this is rampant in the pokemon community at large. I would argue from my perspective and, as you know, an above average player, that there isn't that much cheating that goes on Um like that. I've seen. I really haven't had anyone cheat against me. I I am not a cheater Um. So I have never cheated against someone else. I don't that's true, very true. You got me there, but from my perspective I haven't seen that meant that much cheating occur, and so I just you know, I would like to put that into the listener's ear...

...that while this is an isolated case, I don't think that it extends to the community as a whole. But it just makes you wonder, though, how much of this is going on at the top level, and I think I think it's worth saying that it's not. It's not like every table of every match is cheating, right, but I do think, I do think there's not an insignificant amount of it and I've also I've joked around with some of my friends about the concept of like the six Oh stimulus package, you know, because no one's watching you when you're three and oh at table three playing Randall Dandel and they're not paying attention when you pomp the card from your discard pile. Um. So why not just like do something here or there to adjust the game state it's slightly in your favor, even doesn't even have to be as blatant as palming Um, and slightly advanced the game state towards you. Slightly, get that variance in your favor and over the course of those five rounds he's aret off with the five, Oh, six, oh, stimulus, and then you're in day two, you know, and then that puts you in contention to top eight. I think that's what the majority of cheating looks like in Pokemon. If I had to guess, it's not people doing crazy like I think the only times we truly see the crazy stuff like the palming the boss is, uh, the GRNIGIA in the lap type scenarios, is when does people get away with it for long enough that they just lose all sense of what's reasonable even and just go for it, you know, they feel invincible. Um. It's either that kind of person or a person who just has lost their mind to start with and they're like this is a good idea actually to just palm this card u. So yeah, I think that's what it looks like, though, if I had to pinpoint, it is people are getting the six Oh stimulus, they're getting into day two and they might even play completely clean after that point, but it puts them so far ahead of the pack and into contention that they're just naturally going to accumulate more over time. Yeah, yeah, that's a good point, right, is you're in those bottom tables, you know, first round, second round, like there are just too many people for a judge to be looking over your shoulder, right, and so you're just, you know, uh, going at the margins, right, you're just kind of, you know, increasing your win percentage. You know, one win in over the course of the tournament could be the difference between a day two or not, or a top eight or not, and so if you're able to cheat in those early rounds, that's a huge benefit. So I guess the conversation now turns to how do we prevent cheating? I think there's a lot of different ways you can do that. Obviously, one of the major ones that I always tell people is shuffle your opponents deck. That you know, we are big advocates of doing that. Also be sure to ask your opponent how many cards they have in their hands at all times. You know, and these are things that we've talked a lot about, but just to reiterate, Um, if you're new, if you're a new listener, like those are those are some of the ones that I really really preached to two players. Yeah, I think keep keep track of key cards and the discard pile. Like no accounts of those things. You don't have to know the exact count of their sixty right, but you should know, like, okay, they have two boss in the discard pile at this point in time. You know. Does that number change ever, without them interacting with it? Um, count the cards in hand. It's pretty easy to know how many cards should be in your opponent's hand if you're keeping track. You know, don't just zone out and watch the game next to you, for you know, the five minutes of your opponents doing their turn. Shuffle deck. If you're not shuffling after every single you know opponent's shuffle, at least vary the way that you cut as a minimum, because they if they notice, if Peter's noticed, that you're cutting in particular ways, they may opt to, you know, stack their deck based on that cut. You know, those are just the basics and I think just even just having like an air of vigilance and, you know, truly actively paying attention during your opponent's turn in of itself. Is it a turrent? We have a question in chat. You think people have cheated against you in the past that you probably missed? Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised, especially if while I was a newer player, I feel like anytime recently, probably not. Um, I try and pay really close attention, but maybe when when I was newer, like in that first year or so, I probably wouldn't be surprised if that happened. So what do you think, Riley, is the precedent that TPC I is sending or are they just I mean, is there in action sending a precedent it? It does seem like I think it's more in that ladder bucket. I think the the lack of severity and action. That's a really bad precedent that. You know, if if the risk versus reward is having as phenomenal of the season as Zach Cooper has had and the only risk is that you made get d q from one tournament, out of the season but still get all your prizes and all your stipends and the top eight like. Yeah, that seems like a favorable outcome. Um, in a strictly outcome and focused mindset, it's...

I think it's bad. I don't think it's it's a good idea to set that precedent. I think at least to like qualify for world specifically and to have the stipend you should have. There should be some sort of like good standing program sure, if your d q new season, you can't go to world. That's like. That seems like a very reasonable thing to say. That's that's tough because, like, you can't always prove intent. So that's not to say it's fine, though. It's like it's whatever, like you're just not good standing, you know, just like it's the way it is and at a certain at a certain point, I think, with major, Major gameplay discrepancies, ones that would result, first off, like things that result in the d q nine percent at the time, the judges are trying to display that they think. I I agree with your point. I think it could be something like a like a red card situation in soccer, right where if you accumulate to or something over the course of it. I think too many, though. I mean, you know, that's I think DQ is enough. But you can get like you can get d q for not having the proper sleeves right where you have worn your sleeves over the course of a tournament, you know, and they get on them and stuff. I get it, like and I've seen people get DQ for things that I don't necessarily agree with. But I think I think like harsh or penalties aren't a bad thing in general and like I've said before that I don't think world should be the end all yell either. Same thing with like travel stipends. I think travel stipends especially, no shot. You get those if you're D qt in that quarter at least. Yeah, in no way you get the top sixteen day two thing if you've been deputed at all. Right, like we could at least agree on that. I I definitely agree, and it's just like we have to take a harder line, I think, and I think it's frankly not acceptable that pokemon has is letting it bleed through so hard right now. There you have it. Lots more to say on the scandal, but we've got plenty more to talk about in this episode. That's right. So let's talk then about some of the niche decks heading into the world championships. We can pile a couple of them. We'll look take a look at stall, will briefly talk about ice rider before doing our deck overview in the latter half. And then something we haven't really talked about in a while is the single prize decks that are out there. You know have your intelien boxes, your Malamers, your sock and lunatones, even your Reggie's, you know wants to deal with those kind of suckers. So let's start from the top with stall. Stall's main claim to fame is the mew two deck that Sander piloted at the North American International Championship to a top four finish, heavily leveraging the mill tank to slow down your opponent and then eventually having a Youtube v Union that your opponent will potentially not be able to ever knock out with its healing on the super generation attack G W. What are your thoughts about stall as an archetype as we head into the World Championship? I think it's pretty good. It's certainly a deck that's still on the table for me in terms of something that I would consider playing. I think there's strength in mill tank. I think there's a lot of strength in the ME Two v Union, with the obvious downside of just being able to get that guy in the discard pile. That's like the hardest thing. If you if I could just guarantee that I could get them Two v Union in the discard pile every game by turn I don't know, nine, ten, like you know, I'm not even saying turn four right. I'm saying like nine or ten. If I can survive that long and get them you two in there every game like that seems like a great option. Yeah, I I generally agree. I think the stall archetype is pretty strong. I think Mil tank is a card is also just really strong when you combo it with other things that can make your opponent's life miserable. Um, you know, Mil tank by itself obviously won't be able to overcome and Italian deck, but you know, if you have multiple MIL tanks and they're attacking, or if you have mil tanks M M youtube to force your opponent into awkward scenarios, I think the stall like concept is really solid. Right now. Um, what I placed all myself at world's right now. It's actually pretty high up on my list because of all the things I just described. I think the one thing that kind of scares me was stall right now. Is just the pace of those games. You can get a little awkward, especially like if you're struggling early game. It's not the kind of deck that can finish three games super well, which ties and ties are never great, but they're also especially not great at world where after your first loss, every tie is basically just a loss. Yeah, right, Um, so that's like the only thing really that scares me right now. Yeah, you just gotta be playing super on point and I hope...

...that you're winning your game once. Yeah, or you're finding some sort of strategy to make your games quicker in like your dominant position type of games. You know, right, because sometimes stall will be in those really dominant spots, but it needs to just like let it still take right, like. So finding some sort of route to speed that situation up. I think those stalls like still a top tier archetype. I think Mil tank as a card is really strong right now, again, when it's paired with something else that can leverage mill tanks sort of disruptive ability, because, if you think about it, mill tanket of itself is a disruption card because you're forcing your opponent to place, you know, energies into maybe suboptimal places and use attackers they wouldn't want to use. Otherwise it's taking away their resources from cards they'd rather be powering up. So I think stall is great. I think Mil tank is great right now and even though decks play answers to it, it still forces them into awkward situations. Yeah, it's a really good point about mill tank. I think we've been thinking about that card a lot how best to play it. Stall might just be the way. You know, there's other options there, blissy, you could throw it into some other archetype like you know archaeas deck. But yeah, tank, yeah, let's go. But there's one deck actually has a pretty okay matchup against all that people have been thinking about lately, and that is, of course, ice rider. Ice Rider is definitely a hot and cold kind of deck. You know, people love it or get it in the opinion seemed to be very strong in both directions right now. We'll talk about ice rider super in depth in the second half, but JW, what's your ten thousand foot view right now on the ice rider deck? Ice Rider is definitely an x factor deck because it doesn't have a time of terrible matchups and it can get around some of these really awkward decks in the format, like stall right. You can hit those high numbers and it can one shot the Paulk is, the archaeus is, even with a big charm attached. So it's really an x factor deck in the sense that it can hit the numbers that few other decks can and that could be really scary. Yeah, I think the way I would describe ice rider is it's got good matchups, but it's a bad deck, if that makes sense, like in theory, like it's one of those decks like it theory, I beat everything, it's perfect and then you like roll up with it on the table, you're having the worst day of your life, or maybe the best day of your life if you're drawing the right side of the ice rider quite flip Um. So again we'll talk more about ice rider, but very like hot and cold, and I think that's the reason that people have such polarizing opinions on it. Yeah, absolutely, it doesn't have that much built in Um. You consistency other than the INTELIAN engine, but you're relying on well, in the way it has built an inconsistency because it's getting rid of its energy. Sure, exactly exactly. You're very reliant on a number of different things. You're reliant on the choice belt to your reliance on the melanies. You're you know, you're just very reliant on all these different pieces kind of coming together that if you miss one piece here there and it doesn't quite work out, then you don't really have much of a backup plan totally. So let's talk then about the other big x factor heading into a world, and that is single prize decks. Single Prize decks actually handle both of the previous two decks that you mentioned very very well and it's something not a lot of people have necessarily been giving a lot of credence. We saw quite a bit of the lunotone soul rock deck very early in the Pokemon go format. I think that was largely a trend. If I had to say anything, you know, it's just it's been a fun new deck. Yeah, it was the fun new deck. You know, there's all is the single price deck. That's the fun new deck that people like to play for two weeks. But you know, think of the archaeus and or sorry, that's not the arqueus, but the intelligan toolbox kind of decks, or some of these other like high damage single prize decks like the Ridge deck or Malamar. Not a lot of people have been thinking about those, and certainly they could be a factor heading into worlds. We just talked about two decks that they have potentially good matchups against GW. What are your thoughts on single price decks and what among them is your favorite right now? Sure, I think the single prize decks are strong, but they feel like they do things that other decks could also do in terms of damage output for you know, a certain amount of resources, but they take more resources to do. So that's kind of what if it feels like you're, you know, a plus b equals see, but then you've you know, B is equal to D E,...

F G H Times X, Y Z. I'm just saying that you're you're taking way more, you know there there are way more pieces than you need to do these combos like to to make this damage output that you're trying to hit. You're just trying to run in circles around and it's like do you feel smart when it happens? But there are simpler ways, there are easier ways to hit those numbers, and so that's how I feel about the Intellian decks, uh, the Intellian box decks, I should say the single prize Intellian box decks. I do like the chars ARD based ones with a few of the COMBOS. I was trying that out before Milwaukee, you know, with Zero Aura and you know, just all these different pieces that you could play to to try to give weakness hit weakness on your opponent's Pokemon. But ultimately I've kind of given up on the radiant charis ARD. I liked it a lot heading into this format. I thought it might be good as a deck into its self. I thought it might be good with archaeas, but it's just kind of left me wanting a little bit for those reasons where it's just you're doing a lot. You know you're hitting these numbers, but it's taking you a lot more to get there. So again, when you're trying to combo all this stuff together, if you miss a beat then you just get down too much. And I think another big weakness of the deck, if we think about the Meta game as a whole, is that you're playing a lot of Palkia and they have like an inherent immediate nerve on two of your sovels early game. You know that you have to protect yourself against right. So you're diverting resources that could go towards more sovels to getting a man of fee and play, and that's just slowing you down even more. And so not a huge fan at the single prize in telling on Dick. Yeah, I I definitely agree regarding single prize in Italian. It's it feels like it's doing a lot to accomplish a little, if that makes sense. I think that's just a it was probably a more distinct way of what I said. Yeah, yeah, but you know, it doesn't even feel like it's actually getting there in all the matchups, in my opinion. You know, you just have so many moving parts to really scrape the home of the victory, and that's not really the kind of situation I want to be putting myself in at the world championship. You know, I want to feel like I am in control and confidently winning my games well, and it also goes back to that time issue that you talked about with stall right, these games take a long time because you're trying to get down to the last three prizes, two prizes won, prizes for your opponent so that you can go ahead and good about it. We'll addit that in post Um. But you're trying to get down to those last few prizes so that you can go off with the chars ARD, so that you can pull off your Rye Han Combos, and so you're not really you don't have a great sense of okay, whether or not you're going to win or lose until those latter stages of the game. And again, that doesn't really lend itself to the best of three at worlds, where ties are essentially losses, agreed, agreed, and I don't really think any other single price decks are really up to snuff. Um. You know, Malamar just feels like it's constantly got a banana and the tailpipe at the moment, especially with cards like rock sand in the format, and the Reggie deck has yet to prove itself in the first place. So I would stay away probably from the civil price decks at the world championship. Now there was a lunatone soul rock deck. That did do pretty okay at a late night tournament the other day. I think it went nine and four nine. It was cool. I mean it. It was very turbo focused and had pokers stops and twelve energy and just yeah, I'm like on the lunatone soul rock technology. To be honest, I don't know, man. I actually that's one of the decks I haven't played yet. Can you believe it? Ever, yeah, how long has this step been out? I keep saying every stream I'm like, okay, we're gonna play Lunaton soul rock after this first. I never, I never get there. So maybe maybe this week. Maybe it wasn't meant to be in the first place. It's gonna come back to buy me. When it does, I think TPC I is gunning for Zach Cooper to win the world championships. That way they can d q of Post mortem and knock you out the money. Now that's a hot take. It's sane conspiracy. That's like tip of the iceberg, Bro Yeah, that's that's deep down under there. So, buddy, all right, let's dive into our cart of the day in our ads before we talk more about the most Polis and back in the format, an ice rider, so j...

...w, instead of a typical pokemon car. I do have an item this week, but I still wanted to give you the fun of the decks entry. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to read the deck entry for the Star Pokemon of the deck that uses this item. Okay, so it'll still be a pokemon that you guess, but that won't be the card itself. All right, it has the power to protect or, sorry, to predict the future. It's power peaks when it's protecting its trainer. Say it again, it has the power to predict the future. It's power peaks when it is protecting its trainer. Is it Geraci? No, that's a good guest, though. Um, it is. Actually, I'll give you one more guess. One of the types on Geraci is correct predicting the future. Is it? It's a psychic pokemon, maybe. Oh, Um, is like. No, that's also a good guest. Um, for predicting the future. At least it's actually guard of our is the Pokemon in question, and that was one of the trickier guard of our deck centries. So don't play me for not getting it. Uh. And the reason that I chose guard of our was actually a throwback to the last world championship that we got to play in in twenty nineteen. And so the card of the day for today is fairy charm, the collective of fairy charms. So part of the reason that the guard of our and Sylvian G X tag team deck was so good, the one that I've played at the World Championship and ended up losing my play into the bubble scenario, is because of the ability charms, or sorry, the fairy charms. And what the fairy charms did is if they were attached to a fairy pokemon, the fairy pokemon was immune two attacks from that type of Pokemon, and so you had very charm ability, fairy charm lightning, fairy charm ultra beast, and you could make your fairies Ak Guard farn Sylvian very tough to deal with because there wasn't any consistent tool removal in that format. The only way to really bypass tools where with tech pokemon that could remove them by an attack or with the lysanders labs, which would a stadium card that would deactivate the tools. So fairy charm as a whole was instrumental to my run at the world championship, where I got top thirty two and if I played a fairy charm ability I probably would have got top eight. But so it goes. You had to pick the fairy charms and I was like correct. So, so, so it goes. But really awesome card, really cool deck and guard of our Sylvian and I thought it was a good round up heading into the next world championship. Absolutely, Let's get let's get that top eight this time. Let's get I'm thinking so. So let's thank then, our sponsor for today before we jump into the second half and for the blissfully unaware tag team, is presented to you by manscaped. Manscaped is the leading producer of men's grooming products and you want to strike while the iron is hot and get nice and clean and fresh heading into the pokemon world championship. Here, G W why don't you tell us a little bit about manscaped? Absolutely, manscaped is the premier company if you're looking to get, you know, things shaved on your body. If you're a man, you got extra hair and you're gonna want to get rid of that. manscaped will help you do that with your nose hair trimmer. There they're grooming their ball grooming kits. It's just amazing the kinds of products they have. We've tried them all and they're all fantastic. I really can give vouches for every single product on their website. It's just been a fantastic company to work with, so I would recommend anything from manscape. We are available as a as a podcast here. We do get a discount code that we can share with our listeners. Riley. Why don't you tell them about it? That's right. So if you want to get on the ground floor with the man escaped action, be a part of the tag team Nation Rock and the man escape merge, you can do so super easily and at a discount by using code tag team at checkout. That's t a G T A M all, one word, and if you throw that in at the check out you'll get not only off but, and catch this, you'll get free shipping. Now, in this day and HW, nobody is paying for shipping anymore. It's it...

...is not right. So use our code to get that discount plus free shipping and get your manscape products over to you. They're really awesome again, JEB and. I would recommend them a thousand times over and I will certainly be rocking my manscape boxers two point Oh at the world championship. Gota, Humpy and clean. It's the best deal in Pokemon, best deal on the freaking planet, Dare I say so? True. So check us out, checkout escape and he's Co Tech Team, and checkout. Thank you so much to Mandscape for sponsoring the CAST. All right, the Horsey ice rider Callie Rex v Max. This card has had lovers and haters from day one and it's time to prove its worth at the biggest stage in Pokemon. For the unaware, I used rider. Calie REX v Max has two attacks. The ride of the high king, which is an awesome attack, name first and foremost, or too colorless energy allows Cali Rex to do ten damage, plus thirty more for each one of your opponent's bench pokemon. But that's really not why you're attacking with Calarix, although it is certainly a useful attack in a pitch. You're using Cali Rex for that. What is it called? Like glacier? Is a glacial Lance? Gosh, I should really know this. The Max Lance attacks it's Max Lance. Yeah, it's called Max yeah, Max Lance, Glacial Lances, the video game attack, the Maximilian Lance, the Maximilian Lancimilian, Maximilian Lancelot. Yeah, so Max Lance does what is it tend based? Yeah, okay, Max Lance based damage and you can discard up to two energy. I got the rest of it, Bro I just wanted to make sure the base and the addition was right, because it always trips me up what I'm doing, like I heard, because I know that a cat the two fifty because you could discard up to two and add one each. Insane. Uh. So you do toft, which is really the reason that you're using Caliax, is for that two damage, because when you combo that with the choice belt, you're doing two and there are multiple cards that have that very convenient two hit points, namely the Archeus v Star and the Palki of v Star, the two cards that we've been talking about the most heading into the world championship. And if you're really trying to reach for numbers, you can use cards like Zigzagoon or in Italian or Leon to get up to three ten, for example, which is another key threshold. That's an Arcus with a big charm attached. That's a New v Max Um. Those are basically every v Max besides Cali, Rex itself, v Union, Youtwo, v Union, yes, to get through the stall matchup. The numbers are there, hardcore. They are there for Ice Rider v Max. The only downside, is a set of downsides. Is First, there's not much built in consistency with ice rider when you compare it to a v Star, which typically have abilities that make themselves more consistent implicitly. And you have to discard those energy after your big attacks, which can make it difficult to chain attacks because you're relying on consistently hitting of melody in a water energy turn after turn to hit your attacks. Additionally, you're a v Max Pokemon, so you're on a tighter clock, you're on a tighter schedule, and that doesn't matter like a lot actually, especially if if you have a two prizer in play that isn't evolving into a v Max or gets knocked out before it can. Then you get this really awkward scenario where you opponent can go three to one and take a very clean set of prizes and you pretty much always have that one prize available because you'll have sabbles in play, you know, to power or be barrel or something, so that three prizes really does matter. You really to be taking two two prize knockouts with the calier x to make it worth it absolutely. So what why would you choose to bring Cali Rex into the world championship, if we're looking at these pros and cons? Well, I think it's if you're expecting to see a lot of archaeas I would be. I think one of the decks major strengths is that it's one of those decks that you know, of course, archaeas we think about it just conceptually as an archetype, is trying to heal and it's really relying on the opponent to not be able to hit the two eighties, to not be able to hit the three ten, and all of a sudden you have a deck that can somewhat reliably do that right. Um, additionally, pretty decent into Paulky as well, you know, being able to hit that too. Eighty turn after turn, go through three POLKA, pack it up, you're on in the next round. So Uh, you know, if you're thinking about those two decks as being the core of what you would expect to see, then ice rider maybe the deck for you. On the other hand,...

...where I would expect ice rider to struggle a bit is when it's not seeing, you know, those two decks plus maybe like stalled x right. Um, when you're seeing one prize x or when you're seeing kind of more rogue strategies or even decks like mew, Mew v Max, can really just get in on you early because you take a little longer set up than maybe traditional Pulkia v Star Deck. So that could also be tough if you're thinking that you're going to be playing into a field of mew or rogue strategies. Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head. The real pro of ice rider is when it's firing on all cylinders. It does do substantial work against the big two right now, an archaeas and ice or and Pakia. Plus it also has a good matchup against all, which is a nice bonus, but against pretty much every you think that falls outside that paradigm. Um, you're looking at maybe having some challenges, especially with me on the rise, which has historically been the gatekeeper for ice rider's success. Right, is the fact that you not only can one shot an ice rider. It can also power up a Gena sect to lunch shot an ice rider with no modifiers, and you're just so aggressive, like you could pick off these ice riders before they even evolved very easily. So that may be a dissuader for the ice rider stands out there. I think the other big thing is the deck does have some implicit inconsistency to it, because you're discarding your energy. Your opponent could Roxanne you, for example, and you might with the Melanie attachment, even with, you know, a couple of cards in your hand and in Italian, you might not be able to get all the way there. Um. Also, if you I find personally that relying on choice belt early for your magic numbers can be very frustrating sometimes, because that often that's like the one piece that you're missing. And if you don't take that early knockout, if you're two hit K oing a opponent's Pokemon v Star, then you've lost that trade because now you're trading two for three. So I think just the inherent flaws of the ice rider deck make it a little bit challenging of a cell to me personally, but I think it's still a really powerful deck. The ceiling on ice rider is among the highest in the format right now. I would say, Oh, it's kind of funny too, because we played ice rider in our N I C decks. Yeah, and I did like it in that deck, to be honest. It felt good. Yeah, and that was more as a compliment to Paulkia. So Paulkia core with a three, three Paul Kia and then a one, one ice rider. But I mean that just goes to show like we've been yeah, ice rider, yeah, whatever. Now would you heading forward? Would you, if you were to play ice rider or suggest to players playing ice rider? Would you suggest to them to play straight ice rider or to mix it up and maybe do two two ice rider to two POLKA? Yeah, I think there's I think the ice riders stands themselves don't even know, to be honest, because we see some people trying to jam it into Pakia decks, other people playing like more of the frank, you know, turbo ice rider with the barrel type of decks, and then you also see, you know, the more traditionalist, so to speak, ice rider without Pakia to straight melanies. And you'RE gonna win that way. I think if I had to choose. I would probably have like a thin line of both ice rider and Palkia, to lean into either option depending on the game, and that's how I would feel most comfortable playing it, because I really like having the Palkia option Um, but I also still want to stick to kind of like my lane in Italian. I wouldn't want the B barrel lifestyle personally for an ice rider deck. So that's where I would land. It's probably like a two two of both type of situation, which maybe is noncommittal to the point of making the deck worse, but I feel like it could work. It certainly could. It certainly could. Is it going to be something that you put time into? I know we have limited time heading into the world's we got, you know, realistically, a week. I want to try to make my decision before I get on the plane so that I'm not stress testing the night of and making just crazy decisions like I'd like to have a deck on decks or not. Are Do pretty early too. That's true. That is a good point. So yeah, F Y email came out today, right, and it was like it's like eight am or something on Wednesday. Yeah, or eight PM on Wednesday. Sorry, right. Yeah, but but the point on Tuesday. I don't want to be like no, not, I'm agreeing with you. It's like there's only one day after we land, so not really trying to make the decision that day right exactly. So anyway, is that something that you would look to be testing here in the last week?...

I. I. I don't want to give up too many of our secrets, but like, what are you thinking about in this last week in terms of what you want to test? And is ice rider on that list? I've dabbled a lot an ice rider but only really kept it to dabbling. So we obviously played it at any I see and immediately following an I see, I tried a lot of permutations of trying to get like exactly the right counts of ice rider things like that. And every time I tried ice rider, no matter what I was doing with it, I always felt like I was a little short of being like a truly great deck. What I mean by that is, like I'm just the one piece I needed early game to feel really comfortable with my start. Uh, and sometimes my opponent would be able to to punish me for that. Other Times they wouldn't, but I never felt good to be in that situation in the first place, and that would happen over and over again every time I played ice rider, which has ultimately dissuaded me from wanting to play it. Is it's just a very combo heavy deck and I don't think that's the strategy I want to lean into heading into worlds. I would rather play a more consistent strategy. It's more straightforward and, instead of relying on hitting elaborate combos, just rely on myself being better at executing than my opponent. Well, I said, I don't think I tried. It is a bad choice, especially if you're completely unconfident in your in your deck choice. Ice Rider might be a good fallback option, for example, because even though it's like Combo heavy, it's game plan is relatively simple and you know you're trying to do the same thing every game, which can be a good benefit in the tournament like worlds. Yeah, there are very few, you know, interesting plays. I find that you can make when a nice rider deck right like you're you, you really don't have that many supporters. You know you're playing probably your fore Melanie, probably playing a few boss that's about it right, because you want to just be playing melanie turn after turn trying to hit those numbers. So try to pull out the choice belt, try to maybe hit a lion that one crucial turn. But it's very much a deck that, like you said, is trying to hit that one thing game after game. So, JW, I want to flip that script on you. Would you consider ice rider and how would it look for you? How would ice rider look for me? Probably a two two ice rider to two PALKIA. I think there is benefit in ice rider being a counter to lightning decks. So Paulkia generally has struggled, and there's debate on this, but generally, from my experience, has struggled with the peaka choose of the world. Certainly would struggle with something like Tabu, Coco, v Max Um and calory. Rex. At least gives you a secondary weakness to Pokemon like that Um such that you could form a better strategy against those types of decks. Being able to one shot the PEAKA is huge. Being able to just withstand an attack from a cocoa is big, although they have the auto paralysis. If you're up on prizes, so you've gotta Watch that. But just having that alternate weakness, Um, gives the Pauky a deck a little bit more depth and allows you to play around certain counter strategies. Right, if we think about Polki of being the deck heading into the world championships, which there's no reason to think that it won't be the most heavily played both in day one and in day two, there's really no reason to think that it won't be the most heavily played deck because it's just that good. Um. But if we think that, then we also had to think that, well, there will be lightning counter decks that pop up solely because they beat the Palkya decks, and so maybe Cali x can give you a little bit of depth in the Paulky deck that you can use to counter the counters. I agree. That was one of my favorite parts of a point ice writer as well, as it felt like I have more agency and type matchups. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So, J W. I think before we wrap up for today we should go through some of our top choices personally heading into the world championships. So what are your top three decks as we wind down for pretty much exactly a week away as we record this from world. Yeah, what's on your mind? What's on my mind? Um, trying to figure out mill tank is on my mind a lot. I think there are a lot of top decks right now that can deal with one mil tank, they can maybe deal with two MIL tank, but they can't deal with three mil tank, and so trying to find the deck that can best utilize that is on my mind a lot. I think about Di Auga is being a possible play, and so that's certainly a deck that would struggle against three mill tank, archaeus and Italian, as long as you have a way to knock out those couple of Italian even if that is a mill tank like, then you three Mil tank is good against Darkias, um pretty...

...decent against Paukya, depending on what they are in Italian online looks like. Um, so trying to figure out how three MIL tank works and be it install be it the blissy deck, I don't know. You know that those are kind of on my mind. Though, is to the decks that I'm really trying to like hone in on here heading into because I have my fallback of Paul Kia right that would be kind of my number one choice. I'm gonna be just straight out, straight honest with everyone here listening. Paulky is just so, so good. I feel like I can do so many things. I feel like it has strong matchups across the board. I do feel like I cannot play my opponents in a mirror, although that skill gap is severely diminished at the world championships, but I do feel like there is that you know, I can make unique plays in cool plays against my opponents. So I would say Paulky is number one for me and then anything that you utilize. Mil Tank is two through ten. That's fair. Arcy is not even on the radar unless that's mill tank in it. I'm not throwing archaeas out, I just I haven't been thinking about it too much. I've been leaving that to other players in our testing group. It's really hone in on archias. I Know Kevin has been working on an archaeas list that he likes a lot and if he shows me the results and, you know, can can kind of prove it to me, then I would consider playing an archaeas deck, but for now that's what's high on my mind. I feel pretty similarly. I mean we have fairly similar philosophies. When it comes to two decks, I feel like Um, I. I think Palki is just a really solid fallback. I currently my currency to mind is I would prefer not to play Palkia, but it is my ultimate fallback choice. I feel comfortable playing it. I feel like I'll make the right choices in the Games when I play it, but I would prefer to steer away from it right now, both because it'll be a lot of mirrors, it'll have a target on its back and it's just a frustrating deck sometimes to play. Honestly, especially the arita builds get really, really frustrating if you don't have a good start. You know, Ada does not feel as good of a supporter if you don't already have three pokemon and play. Um, so p gives like my ultimate fallback. I don't know if I'd placed that as like a one, two or three, as you know, if it's fine fallback deck, but it's definitely up there. Um, I agree that I want Mil tank to work. I kind of waffle between whether I think Blissy your stall is actually the way to do that, but that would be like my favorite deck right now. If I had to pick kind of like my quote unquote favorite Um, and then the only other thing I would really seriously consider would be a very aggressive sort of archaist deck, Um that's trying to like really take his prize as quickly. So something like an arksp barrel deck, you know, up her mutation on what is Zul played, but more in line with the current format as opposed to the one at any I see it doesn't seem like a bad choice to me because it's a very straightforward deck, Um, and you know you'll execute your game plan, maybe not exactly as planned every single game, but you know exactly what we're trying to do every single game. No thought involved, which I love that idea. DIAGA is like way down on my radar. I I would love it trivut good enough, though. Yeah, I've put some time in this week into Di Auga and it just it's it's felt like a decent deck, like an above average deck, but it just hasn't felt like a tournament winning deck and I'd love to be proven wrong, but I just don't see it as being as being tournament winning. I mean it might get me into the second day of competition, but I just don't see it taking me all the way. I feel that for sure. So we are tag team. Are hyped up for the world championship. We got more tests to do, for sure. Um, I don't know what we're gonna do for next week, so we'll figure that out when we're in Europe, but we're, it's not excited for the world championship and if you all are going to be there, be sure to say hello. We're always incredibly grateful and excited to talk to you all who support us through the podcast. Um, you all are an awesome community. I always brag about how great the TAG team community is with our friends because you are rock. It's so cool to see you all, Um, and if you're not gonna be at world it's totally fine. We'll give you the full report over on our social media's, where you can find us on twitter primarily. We have a twitter for the PODCAST TAG team Pokemon. Be Sure to follow us there if you want more updates about our merch and the store options for purchasing it. We also have personal accounts, smiles with Ryles for myself and Real John Walter for J W and, of course, as always, be sure to rate and review on your favorite podcasting platforms so we know what to do,...

...you what to improve and we get a little algorithm boost. Absolutely thank you, guys all, so much for listening. We got a week and a half. Riley, I couldn't be more excited the biggest event of the year. Let's let's kick some butt. So thank you, guys all so much. Thank you so much for listening. Guys, cat you on the next episode. Peace. So yeah,.

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