Deck Building 103
Trainer Selection. So if you've kept up with the Deck Building series, you've went through color selection and pokemon selection. This article deals with one of the most important aspects of your deck, the Trainer selection. Frequently, what separates the good decks from the bad decks are what Trainers go into it. I'll cover the general Trainers that should be in every deck, and some other Trainers that go well with a particular type of deck.
Professor Oak, which I regard as one of the most powerful Trainers, should be in EVERY deck. Yes, even the stalling ones. And NO, Gambler is not a substitute, but I'll get into that later. Professor Oak allows you to discard your hand, but to draw 7 new ones from the top of your deck. Even though you have to pay the small price of discarding your hand, it's definitely worth it to get 7 cards when you really need it. If you only have 1 Pokemon left and it's almost dead, Oak everything you have just so that you don't lose the game. If you need just another Energy Cards, or a few more for your Raindance, Oak away. I recommend 2 to 3 Oaks in every deck.
Gust of Wind should be in every deck. This Trainer is a very useful and powerful Trainer. It's pulled me out of frequent jams and I can't count how many times I won ONLY because of it and how many times I've lost JUST because the opponent using it. I recommend 2 to 4 Gusts in every deck.
Those are the only 2 Trainers I suggest in every single deck. Bill is an excellent Trainer, because it gets you that extra card, and helps to get the cards you need. If you are playing a deck whose objective is to defeat your opponent before you come close to running out of cards, you should put Bill in. But do remember that 4 Bills will only yield you 4 extra cards. If you are to use it, put 2 to 4 in, preferably 4.
Certain low energy consuming fast attacking decks make excellent use of Energy removal cards like Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal. I personally think Super Energy Removal should be banned because a game with a good player will be extremely slow and boring since neither side will be able to attack very quickly. But anyway, these cards are EXTREMELY powerful in the right deck. I think the Haymaker type decks wouldn't be anywhere near as strong without these Trainers. These cards aren't banned in America (SER is in Japan), so you should definitely use them if they fit your deck.
Almost all decks should have some form of Deck searching. These Trainers mostly fall in the hands of Pokemon Trader and Computer Search. Most of the time, you should definitely have one or the other, or a combination of both. Pokemon Trader goes well with decks with large numbers of Pokemons, like those with evolutions. Computer Search has a dual purpose in that it can be used to retrieve Trainer cards and Energy cards. I would have to say Computer Search is the better card, but I usually prefer PokeTrader in my evolution decks.
Some decks will make great use of defensive Trainers like Defender, Potion, Gold Berry, Mr. Fuji, Full Heal, Scoop Up, Switch, and Pokemon Center. Cards like PokeCenter are extremely powerful in Alakazam Damage Swap decks and Venusaur Energy Trans decks. These are also the staples in Stall type decks. Switch is really nice in decks where you have many Pokemons with large retreat costs. Very, very helpful when you need to get that Pokemon out of there.
Misc Trainers that are also very useful include the offensive Plus Power. Very powerful in certain types of decks that are generally offensive and fast attacking in nature. Pokemon Breeder is a must in decks in which you need to evolve to the final form quickly, like Blastoise and Alakazam. Item Finder is helpful to break the 4 card limit. For example, use Item Finder on all your SERs to use it 8 times. Energy Retrieval is extremely useful and I put in 1-2 in almost all of my decks. 2-3 go into my Fire decks.
Some Trainers I'd avoid include Gambler. I've tried frequent games and it just doesn't cut it. I've lost too many games because I flipped tails on a Gambler. Winning against a good player shouldn't have to depend on a coin flip. Even my stall type decks lost because I flipped tails. Remember that the main objective in a stall deck is to outlast your opponent. As long as they use two Oaks, you should easily be able to use an Oak. I would generally avoid Oak.
Other Trainers that generally should be avoided are ones that depend on coin flips. Pokeball and Recycle are some examples. Half the times these cards are useless. You may reconsider Recycle, in that is can bring back ANY card (not just a Trainer) from the discard, but I haven't tested it too much.
To close it off, keep in mind what your deck's main purpose is and to use Trainers that will help along with that purpose. Remember that including multiple copies of one card in your deck will increase the chances that it will appear as well.