Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Improve Your Play!

This free article goes over important steps to improve your play.

08/06/2019 by Zach Lesage

A Local Situation

Yoooooooooooooo! What’s up 60 Cards readers? Its your Tapu Koko Prism Star (TM; 51)  turned into a Tapu Koko GX (GRI; 147)  miscoding writer here, Zach Lesage. Beyond me sarcastically calling out a select few who look way too deeply into articles, I am here with a nice freebie article today. I don’t know how long I want this article to be or how it will turn out, but it is what I want to write about today. This article is basically a reflection of a situation that happened at my most recent League Cup. 

I like to play by the rules, I like to have a clear board state, but one of my opponents decided not to. I like this player, he is an up-and-coming local, and I honestly think he learned something too. In our game at the League Cup, he decided to use an Ultra Ball (SLG; 68) . That is the totally normal part. He discarded his two cards, searched his deck, grabbed nothing, started shuffling his deck and looked at his hand for a bit. At this point I clearly am thinking that his Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)  or Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  were Prized. He then drops a Nest Ball (SUM; 123)  from his hand to search out a Volcanion (UBO; 34)  and a Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) . I was slightly confused because he should only be allowed to grab a Basic to put it on his Bench right? Well, the issue here is that he decided to “double up”!

Doubling Up

What is “doubling up”? The process of searching your deck for multiple cards at the same time to conserve time. In this case, he didn’t follow the actions of either Ultra Ball (SLG; 68)  or Nest Ball (SUM; 123)  and left himself vulnerable to sneaky, albeit correct, rulesharks. DON’T DOUBLE UP were the words that crossed my mind as he did this and the issue for me is that it didn’t save time. It was a local event, so I didn’t call him out on it, but I used my position as a professional player to give him some tips. If I truly desired to do so, I could have called a Judge, explained that my opponent failed his Ultra Ball (SLG; 68)  by shuffling his deck, and my opponent would have been forced to continue the game without a Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) . With zero Supporters in my opponents hand, he likely would have lost that game in a few turns without a blessed top deck. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you play your cards one by one and complete each effect individually. In this particular circumstance, my opponent should have used Ultra Ball (SLG; 68) , grabbed Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) , told me he was going back in his deck, and then using Nest Ball (SUM; 123)  for the Volcanion (UBO; 34) . That we he could efficiently grab whatever he needed and there would be zero issues from an opponent or a Judge. Well, that is half correct, he could have played even better!

Sequencing is Key

There is a certain strategy that I like to drill into my students when coaching and that is the art of SEQUENCING. That is, the process of playing each car in a certain order to maximize your use out of each card. If you need to get a Supporter off a Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182) , what should you do with your hand on your first turn? Does it make sense to play a Viridian Forest (TM; 156)  to search for an Energy and a Mysterious Treasure (FLI; 113)  to grab a Pokémon? The correct answer is to usually play both of them to thin resources out of your deck to have a higher chance of hitting a Supporter off the Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182) ! There are other circumstances where you can do things in the upmost correct order so here is one more scenario. Sometimes you are looking for a specific card and that is something that you need to decide in a game. With cards like Jirachi (TM; 99)  being super popular, sometimes you want to grab either a Trainer card or maybe even just an Energy.


Depending on the situation, it is better to use Jirachi (TM; 99) 's Stellar Wish before or after certain cards to help improve your chances. If you are looking for a Trainer card, it is often better to thin out cards out of your deck by playing Mysterious Treasure (FLI; 113)  to grab a Pokemon and Acro Bike (CLS; 123)  to get a random card before using Stellar Wish. This is because THINNING your deck is one of the most important aspects in the game. You will leave your deck with a higher concentration of cards that you are looking for to improve your chance of hitting them. Even if it improves your chance by only a couple percent, why would you not take the boosted odds? Looking back at the above scenario, you have taken two non-Trainer cards out of your deck to improve your chances of grabbing that Trainer you were looking for. The same works for searching out any card too, you can change the order of how you would play it out to get what you would need. For example, you can use a Stellar Wish before an Acro Bike (CLS; 123)  to improve your chances of getting a non-Trainer card such as a basic Energy card. While we are on the subject of improving our odds, there is another way to find out what your exact odds are for grabbing a card out of your deck…

Search Your Prizes

Yup, this is one that a lot of people know they need to do, but they don’t necessarily do it each game. This is important because it can directly alter how you play a game. For example, if I know I have three draw Supporters in my Prize Cards, I might decide to detour my game plan to draw an easy Prize Card to get out of a patch of poor draws. Beyond that, I might decide to use Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) ’s Burst GX if I know I have great odds of attaching an Energy with it. Those are all great points, but how do you exactly SEARCH YOUR PRIZES? Well, there are many answers, but I believe I have the best way possible. Here is how it works:

You need to know what the numbers are for the three categories in your deck. These categories are Pokemon, Trainers, and Energy. For my current deck of choice, Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) , my categories are as follows: 12 Pokemon, 37 Trainers, 11 Energy. Now that we know these numbers, let me bring you through a hypothetical scenario!

You look at the seven cards in your hand and see that you have one Pokemon, five Trainers, and two Energy. You see, my method doesn’t necessarily see different cards to start, but it will get more in depth in a bit. Based on that information, if every particular card was in my deck, I should have a 11 Pokemon, 32 Trainers, and 9 Energy. With Pokemon and Energy being the lowest categories, if I find those two numbers, I will find how many Trainers I am missing. Looking through my deck with the first card that will let me do so ( Ultra Space (FLI; 115) is a great free search card and Viridian Forest (TM; 156)  is a close second), I will search out my Pokemon…

I found that I have 9 Pokemon in my deck. With the single Pokemon, I know that I am missing two Pokemon out of my deck that are hiding away in my Prize Cards. Next up, I will search my Energy… I see that there are seven Energy in my deck, I have two of those Prized. A quick bonus about Energy, if you only run one type like I do in my Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  deck, I already know two specific cards that I have Prized. In this case, I can confirm that I have Prized two Lightning Energy (TM; null) . With two categories of cards already being found, I know that I am missing two Trainer Cards. Here is what my Prize Cards look like right now:

2 Pokemon

2 Trainers

Lightning Energy (TM; null)

Considering I am trying to find two missing Pokemon out of 12 Pokemon, I should easily be able to find those out. It can’t be my only Pokemon in my hand, but what are the others? I have already memorized the cards that I have played in my list due to countless testing games. In this particular instance, I was able to find that I Prized a copy of Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)  and Zeraora GX (LT; 201) . Not too and because I play more than one copy of each of those cards. Here is my updated Prize Cards:

Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)

Zeraora GX (LT; 201)

2 Trainer Cards

Lightning Energy (TM; null)

Trainers are often the most tricky things to search out of the deck because there are pesky one of cards that are often forgetful or you might skip over your fourth copy of Volkner (UPR; 135) . The best thing that my method has going for it is that you are now searching for your two missing Trainers out of only Trainers instead of a full deck that includes Pokemon and Energy. I typically look at the cards in my hand, choose the first Trainer that I have, and proceed to look for as many copies as I play. After I do that, I have either found a missing card or need to find what is actually missing. You don’t need to search through your cards twice and your deck search will become smaller as you search for more cards. In this situation, I found all of the missing cards!

Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)

Zeraora GX (LT; 201)

Cynthia (UPR; 119)

Thunder Mountain Prism Star (LT; 191)

Lightning Energy (TM; null)

Overall, I was able to do this method fairly quick and well within the limits of my allocated first deck search. I recommend that you try this method out, time yourself, and give yourself as much information as possible. With all of that information, I do have one more thing to go over in this article.

Double Check

This section is gonna a be short and sweet, but I hope you get my point. Did anyone ever teach you to look both ways before crossing a street? I am assuming that someone has and that is the same way that I play Pokemon. I try to double check my hand before making any decision because I don’t want to get ‘hit by a car’. Pokemon doesn’t really include vehicles, but treat it as your opponent easily winning due to your misplay(s). My process usually includes asking myself questions before I play any cards or make any moves to determine if I have all of the info needed to proceed. Questions can be simple like ‘have I attached an Energy already this turn’ to more complex sequences of me doing math to determine my odds. Try it out! Ask questions during your next testing sessions and have an open discussion with your testing partner. I am sure you will have a few different views and it will create for a memorable testing experience. Just remember, DON’T GET HIT BY THE CAR!

Almost Worlds!

That’s it for today! 60 Cards readers. I want to give back to the community and that is why I decided to write this article for free. If you follow these steps, you will be galaxies ahead of most players and you will see an improvement. As for me, I have been playing in League Cups and League Challenges to earn CP for the 2020 season and I am planning on maintaining my status as a pro player with another T16 run next season! I hope to see many of you readers at the events that I attend so if you see me at an event, feel free to say hi! If you wanna know more about what I am up to lately, feel free to follow me on my Social Media from the links below:

Facebook: Zach Lesage

Patreon: zlesagepokemon

Twitch: zlesagepokemon

Twitter: zlesagepokemon

Youtube: Rare Candy

I also have open slots for coaching so if you are interested, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook.


Zach Lesage

[+25] okko


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