Proof of Evolution

(Editor’s Note: Poke A Man? Poke E Mons? I don’t understand any of these names.)

We are scheduled to get back on…well, schedule…with our podcasting this week with a new episode about Pokemon Sun and Moon and a look at the latest (as far as we knew at the time since I’ve recently learned that they are releasing Sun and Moon cards) card set, Evolutions. I already did an article a couple of weeks ago on my experience in Sun and Moon tutorial. However, I have to update that article because I hadn’t even made it through the whole tutorial as of the writing and I have made it considerably farther into the game. Look for that update in a couple of days. This article will focus on our recent adventures in the card game.

One of my favorite formats in Magic has become limited, as evidenced by my drafts with Chris. I am less fond of sealed than I am of draft, but sealed seemed like a better format to play with the boys as they have a little bit of experience from doing a Magic prerelease with me. There were some issues with the plan. First, how to compensate for the fact that Pokemon packs contain less cards than Magic packs. That one was easily remedied by mathing the situation. 6*15 = 10 * x.

I wasn’t told that there was going to be a quiz today!

(Spoiler Alert: x = 9. Give yourself a gold star if you got it right.)

That brings us to the second potential dilemma. We needed 36 packs, which is a whole booster box. Okay, no problem, I buy booster boxes of Magic all the time. Hop onto Amazon, eBay, where ever you can get the best price for a box, and get that box. Wait, what’s this? Pokemon boxes run about 110 dollars. That’s odd for two reasons. One, that’s about 20 to 30 dollars more than I’ve ever had to pay for a booster box of Magic. Two, and I already mentioned this, Pokemon booster packs come with only 10 cards as opposed to 15 (well, sometimes 14 because of lands in packs), so that makes them more expensive on two levels.

I hemmed and hawed and went back and forth. I will pick one up because it will be fun and maybe it will get the boys interested in their Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh cards again. No, that’s too expensive and we already have so many cards. Maybe it will get me interested in Magic again. The return on investment is nowhere near what a Magic box potentially offers. The boys are only young once, we haven’t had nearly enough time to game together, and it’s only money. Okay, fine, you win.

I don’t care. Even as a “good dad” who makes ample time for his kids, I can’t escape the feels from this song.

I ordered the box and it sat in storage for a month or so until we were able and willing to go through with the “event”. Since Christine has little use for our silly games, we chose a night when she was out. Or, maybe she locked herself into her room to watch Grey’s Anatomy or some other such nonsense. Whatever her excuse, we also had to work around the fact that when you have 3 children, often you have varied interests and each night of the week becomes a battle to get everywhere that they need to be on time and in a proper mood to conduct themselves.

We finally won that battle one night a couple of weeks ago. I pulled out the box, we distributed the packs, and opened them. The first thing I noticed, and this was a huge positive for me, was that the cards mostly were the original Pokemon. More than that, they were the original art. I said to Chris that it was almost like opening an original art Ancestral Recall. Almost, but not quite. Let’s not get carried away. It was cool seeing all of the old cards and the original art and it took me back to when I first introduced Liam to the game, but we were only opening Charmanders and Squirtles, after all.

What have you got against Charmander? Huh, buddy? I bet you wouldn’t say that about me if I was a Charizard or a Charmeleon, would you? You just wait. You will get yours.

After opening the packs and admiring the cards that we all opened, we got to building our decks. Before I talk about that process, though, let me speak a little bit more about the minor treasures that we pulled from the box. Remember when I was a bit surprised that Pokemon cards were more expensive by the box on two levels? Well, one of my theories was that it might be that the game was more popular at the international level (especially in Japan where Nintendo and Pokemon are very popular) that maybe there might be some return on investment into the box through resale of singles. While we got some good cards and some interesting cards, none of them approached the level of the cards that I’ve been able to resell out of Magic packs.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. I didn’t buy the box for that reason. I bought it strictly to play Pokemon cards with my kids. Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tiny bit disappointed. Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get into some of the specifics. Aiden, Liam, and I all have some experience with sealed Magic. I’ve done two prereleases, one with them, and many, many other rounds on xMage and a few on MTGO. Quinn, of course, hasn’t done any partly because he’s only 5. Still, he is remarkably good at building decks for Pokemon, so he more than held his own.

Having done some research on the topic before diving right in, I expected it to be more difficult to find a strategy for my deck. Pokemon has 9 (? Okay, I didn’t do a ton of research) types while Magic only has 5 colors. So, I thought that the cards would be more spread out and it would be harder to build a 2 type deck (similar to the 2 color deck that is most common in a Magic limited setting. In fact, it was a bit harder to fill out the deck because of there being less of each type of Pokemon. However, Pokemon has more colorless trainer cards that made it a little easier to get a good amount of cards in the deck. It made the overall power of the deck lower, but that can be fixed with time and more experience.

Ultimately I got a Charmander and Charizard, so I started with fire type. I also got a Squirtle and Bulbasaur, so I complemented fire with water. It’s not a strategy that I usually play when I play Pokemon and it showed. I lost 2-1 to Aiden and then got destroyed 2-0 by Liam in the second round. Our impromptu tournament ultimately fell apart because Quinn lost in the first round and then threw a bit of a 5 year old temper tantrum about it. We almost talked him into playing again, but he refused. So, Liam and Aiden should technically play in the finals to see who is the Lucas-Mullen Pokemon Evolutions tournament champion.

The grand prize is neither a trophy nor a cash prize. We just play for the love of the game. (Actually, we just don’t have money for such luxuries.)

Overall, the experience was a good one. Even though I lost fairly convincingly, I can’t wait to try it again with Pokemon Sun and Moon, which I noticed has released over at Wal*Mart. So, I just have to order a box, figure out a time that will work with every schedule, and try again. I also did a little bit of research to put together a Pokemon cube that will allow us to practice more with the sealed format. We will have plenty of Pokemon fun to keep us busy over the next few months.

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