The Top Cut Mailbag Week 5 – Drew Holton

Hey guys, Drew here this week to answer your questions! Remember to send questions in to for next week’s mailbag! Kyle will be answering next time.

Hey Drew! I asked Pram what deck Crimz was supposed to give you for losing the Nationals Fantasy Draft and he didn’t know. What deck are you planning on playing or if you don’t know yet what would you like to play? – Ian Williams

Hey Ian, I honestly have no idea what Crimz has in store for me. With any luck he will just forget about the debt and I’ll get off scot-free. In the unfortunate event that he does remember, I hope he chooses something fun, in line with the following:

Cradily (Plasma Blast)/Stage 2s: Lifesplosion is definitely one of the more interesting attacks in the game right now. While the deck seems a little ill-suited for City Championship level competition, it is perfect to unleash on some poor, unsuspecting regular at a League Challenge.

Carracosta (Plasma Blast): No real reason for this pick, I just like turtles.

Sigilyph (Plasma Blast)/Trubbish (Plasma Storm): Similar to Cradily, a League Challenge seems like the perfect environment for this deck.

Haxorus (Plasma Blast): I just want to say “Strike of the Champion” all day.

Cofagrigus (Plasma Freeze): Much like Haxorus, Cofagrigus has an awesome attack name and I would love to deliver a “Slap of Misfortune.”

Snorlax (Plasma Freeze): Snorlax is just one of those Pokémon that everyone has fond memories of.


Dragonite (Plasma Freeze) or Zebstrika (Next Destinies): Trainer denial is just a unique strategy that I am always intrigued by.

There are really a ton of cards that I would enjoy playing, so I’m crossing my fingers that Josue respects the fun nature of the Nationals Fantasy Draft when making my deck.

Hello Drew, I am a new player I was wondering if you could specify ways to figure out the bad cards in your deck? – Daniel Ervin

Hi Daniel, I hope you don’t mind, but I interpreted your question to really be asking: How do I develop a decklist? While the Pokémon Company does create some truly bad cards, I hope you are able to identify the majority of these before they make it into your deck. For the rest of the cards though, hopefully I can shed some light on how to tweak your decklist and develop an optimal build. Keep in mind that every player has their own process for developing and fine-tuning a decklist, so what works for me might not work for you.

I find that it helps to start with a pretty generic, but solid list and go from there. At the beginning of the process I am much more concerned about testing the consistency of the deck rather than actually winning games. Keep in mind that specific matchups can often be made much more favorable with tech cards later on, but you will never regularly win tournaments if the deck itself is not consistent in the first place. After consistency is established, I can usually identify a few cards that can be cut without harming the flow of the deck’s setup.

Constantly evaluate which cards and the quantity of cards you are using in games. If you are truly paying attention to your results you should be able to find yourself recognizing cards that you just don’t find yourself using too often. For instance, maybe you find that you are able to cut down from four to three Professor Juniper, or maybe even slim down a Pokémon line. At this point I can slowly start inserting tech cards for specific matchups and figure out what does and does not work. Keep in mind that you should only be changing a few cards at a time as too big of an alteration at once makes it hard to identify which changes were actually effective. It can take a long to develop a good deck and the best players play constantly to perfect their matchup knowledge and lists. However, the rewards for all that hard work can be immense. For example, take Dustin Zimmerman, who was kind enough to answer some questions for us after his third place finish at Worlds. From the article:

“I started out lightly by playing PTCGO until I decided on which deck I was going to play (which I will discuss soon). Then in the few weeks leading up to Worlds, I managed to play several games against all willing members of my team; Team Hovercats. I bought a watch, set a timer, and played several timed games to make sure that I could operate my deck both quickly and as intelligently as possible. Several changes to the list were made, some of which courtesy of my fellow Cats. I tested repeatedly against Plasma, Blastoise, and Darkrai until I knew exactly what I was doing every single time. I did not test against Gothitelle because I choose not to be clinically depressed during a game of Pokémon. I also continued to play about 15 games a day on PTCGO, just to be sure that my list was operating as intended.”

To me, that paragraph is very telling about the effort necessary to become a great player. Dustin was playing 15 games a day! I hope I was able to shed some light on how to develop a deck, and remember what works for me might not work for you.

Hey Drew and everyone else at the Top Cut, would it ever be possible for fans who enjoy writing or other special guests to write articles for the Top Cut’s website? – Matt Price

Hey Matt, we love having people send in articles and have definitely posted a few on the site in the past. I would encourage people that wish to submit an article to inquire with us beforehand so that we can make sure the topic is appropriate. Additionally, keep in mind that all submissions have to pass Pooka’s rigorous quality control program so please don’t inquire and then submit a train wreck of an article.

Will we be having a Ric Flair chest chopping match at Nationals next year? If so, I’ll buy a replica Flair robe for the winner to wear. – Aaron Wang

As much as I would love to engage in a good old fashioned chest chopping match, I find that I am getting too fragile in my old age and can’t afford to suffer a catastrophic injury. That and my “Woo” ego probably could not handle a defeat. Besides I don’t think you could afford the robe even if I did accept your challenge.


Thanks for all your questions and please be sure to send Kyle plenty of stuff for next week!

One response to “The Top Cut Mailbag Week 5 – Drew Holton”

  1. austin stewart

    Drew i have a question, what would be better plasma with lugia or without.