Mistakes and Cheats

10.12.2013 wrote: Martin Janouš in category Trading Card Game

Hello everyone!


Today I´d like to speak about a topic that is discussed a lot during tournaments and that can easily cost you games. I´ll speak about our own misplays as well as about cheats which can be made by your opponent. This topic is always tricky. It is very often a subject of fights between players. My goal is to show you some mistakes which people do a lot and some cheats which can happen very often.




What exactly is a mistake? In Pokémon mistake isn´t only when you play someting wrong. You can make a mistake during building your deck. Only top players were able to build their decks to beat the others. But now almost everyone just take a list from the internet and play it as their own. That´s the worst thing you could do! Of course everybody has to "netdeck" sometimes but you should take it only as an inspiration. The fact that somebody won a tournament with something doesn´t make it the best deck in field. I know it from my own experience. Sometimes I really don´t understand how the hell can the deck be good.


Only the builder of his own deck knows when is the right time to play some card so only he knows why he plays cards as he does. I didn´t know a single thing about reasons for this card and that card. So here is my advice – build your own deck. You can get a lot of experiences when you come up with some kind of tech or rogue deck. And what´s more, you are no longer reliant to what have won somewhere else.


Misplays of course happen during games. You play something wrongly or make a bad decision and so on. We have to realise that we are only human and that mistakes can be made pretty easily in this game. Why we make mistakes?


1. We are stressed -  The rules have changed and we now play best of three matches with the limit of 50 minutes. That forces us to play faster. We are under bigger pressure. We don´t have enough time to finish three games  every single time so our opponent might be pushing us forward when we are in the lead. This can couse some mistakes too. You can easily choose wrong card or forget to do something. You should try to ignore your opponent and continue with your own game. If he still has some kind of problem with you he can call a judge to check the fluency of the game.


2. We don´t know our deck - This is the major problem of a netdecking. Sometimes we can´t remember the exact numbers of some cards and we are surprised with what we drew. You can easily sort your cards in your discard pile to find out how many cards you still haven´t played.


3. We don´t know cards in general - Mistake that can be easily made by beginners but some long time players can make it as well. You see a weird basic Pokémon on the other side of the field and you don´t have any clue what might his evolution do. Because of that you play very safely and you are afraid of the unknown. My recommendation is to go through all of the scans when a new set comes out (e.g. here on 60cards.net). You never know which cards does your opponent play in his deck.


4. NOT KNOWING THE LAW ISN´T EXCUSE - In Pokémon we should better say that if you don´t know rules you aren´t excused. It is discussed a lot during tournaments. The mechanics of the game are settled. Steps go one ofter another. This is a bit tricky because you can do something for a long time wrongly but suddenly there is an opponent which won´t tolerate your misplays. You should know the mechanics because you might be harmed by rules if you don´t know it. Here are some examples:


a) You´re playing a Blastoise deck. Without a single word you just attach Water Energy cards from your hand because you have Blastoise in play so it is obvious that you´re using Deluge. But suddenly you draw a Lightning Energy with you Juniper and you want to attach it to Black Kyurem EX. But your opponent calls a judge and says that you didn´t use the ability for one of the Water Energies. You can be upset but your opponent is right. You can´t attach a Lightning Energy so you might not win the game because of it. When you use something always say the name of the thing you are using! It is sometimes weird to say "Deluge" 8 times but you can´t fall into the trap.


b) You can only flip with a transparent dice. Many players just take a non-transparent dice and flip heads. But your opponent can immediately call a judge and force you to reflip with a transparent one.


c) Playing 2 cards at one time. You don´t want to waste time so you just play 2 Level Balls in the same time. But your opponent can call a judge and claims that you didn´t find anything with the first one. Always ask your opponent if you can play 2 cards at the same time.


d) Searching - better safe than sorry. You want to find a Piplup from Radiant Collection because you need to use the first attack but you mistakenly take the other one. You have already shown it to your opponent so he doesn´t have to allow you to change it. When you search your deck for something always choose wisely because you can´t take it back.


e) The mechanics of the game - I very often play against players which don´t know what should be done first. If they have to promote new Pokémon after their opponent takes prizes or vice versa. It is useful to know this things. It is very important to do everything the attack says before taking prizes. Example which happened – a player used Emerald Slash and immediately took a prize card for a knocked out Squirtle. But she wanted to search her deck for Grass Energies but because there is "you may" written on Virizion EX she wasn´t able to find them. The effect was not used. Sometimes there is no reason for denying the effect of an attack when your opponent do something wrong but here the prize card could mean that she would have attached it to a different Pokémon than she previously wanted to.


To err is human. Sometimes mistakes are cruel but that´s like the game works. My brother lost in the finals of Nats back in 2010 because he benched a Pokémon and then realised that he has to use Unown Q to give a free retreat to his active Pokémon as well but that he has no free spot on his bench. Mistakes and misplayes are our own errors. There is no reason for blaming others. The fact that your opponent knows rules better than you doesn´t make him a bad person. If you have played as you should have your opponent wouldn´t be able to say a single word.


I would like to say one more thing. It is important to deal with our fights during game. There is saying that when you play football you should keep your emotions on the pitch. It should be like this in Pokémon too. A lot of players want to win a tournament and the fact that they know rules and that they use them against you is completely legal. You have to decide if you want to be like that. There is a nonwritten rule: if your opponent allows you to take something back you should allow it to him as well.




Why do players cheat? I have several theories. It can be caused by prizes - booster packs or scholarschip. If you finish well you can get a lot of booster packs and then sell them so you can make some money. Second reason might be that you want to be good at something. There is a long way for success which can be skipped by cheating. The third reason I can come up with is that you want to try where is the top you can reach. You can get bored and just easily try whatever you want.


Either way you should know how to defend yourself. You can´t be afraid of calling a judge. In the Czech Republic (in other countries it can be like this as well) is calling a judge something you do when you are a bad person who tries to win by not very good manners. I think that it is not good. As I already said the fact that I know rules and call a judge to say that you´re right is completely legal. If you want to play professionally you should move your game to the higher level. If you want just to enjoy the game and to let your opponent take moves back better go to a Pokémon League. But during Regionals or Cities you can´t expect your opponents to be easy-going. By calling a judge you show your opponent that you aren´t afraid to ask about rules. Next advice is to look at your opponent´s game. Don´t be distracted because your opponent could make the most of it. He could very easily heal his Pokémon or take a card from a discard pile to his hand. Just stay focused and whenever you have a problem with anything call the judge.


I´m not happy to say this but you can sometimes meet a very "friendly" player but when he has the chance he will cheat. So if you don´t play against your very good friend better stay focused. Sometimes even a very good player can cheat against a beginner because he didn´t get the right cards so he is upset so he comes up with some really weird rules. That beginner will listen to him because he isn´t as skilled as his opponent and then he finds out that it is nonsence but it is too late. He even can no longer want to play the game when he has this experience. Never listen to your opponent´s nonsence and just call the judge. They are there to solve your problems.


I hope you find this article instructive and you will not make such mistakes.


Good luck to all of you!


Martin "Onix" Janouš


Translated by Tomáš Just

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Martin Janouš

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He is playing from 2005. He is known as Onix. His top achievements : Top 32 Worlds 2013, Main Event Worlds 2009 from LCQ, Nationals Champion 2006, 2007 (Seniors); 2012 (Masters), 5x Worlds competitor. He is also known for his unpredictible playstyle. He usually plays Lock. His favorite deck was Chen Lock.