"Doctrine of the Donphan Effect" – An Examination of Current Netdecking

This is the companion discussion topic for this article.

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I think that list availability has only made more public (and more pervasive), something that has always happened in Pokemon.

There are some excellent players who are not particularly innovative (or even interested) in the art of deckbuilding. They have got card-for-card lists from friends (who were great deckbuilders) and been very successful with them because they can a) recognise when something is good and b) play it optimally without much effort.

Typically, this was done by very good, well-connected players but to a certain extent the process is now open to everyone. Not every player is willing or able to make lists their own, yet they still want to play something good. I used to find this annoying, but now my view is much more along the lines of ‘let’s just let everyone play/enjoy the game how they want’. I wouldn’t bring morality into Pokemon for anything short of cheating/gamesmanship/tournament manipulation.

That said, if players are interested in improving their game and their understanding, they would do well to heed the advice in this article.


One way stray away from netdecking is building a list before watching pooka or reading the article and analyze the changes

A way I used to expedite my playtesting was to make very frequent and small changes to my lists. Every game or two I’d make myself change at least one card in my deck and this would quickly help me understand what made the deck work. I think this is a good approach to take if you start off with someone else’s list. At worst you’ll have a better understanding of the deck and at best you’ll improve it.

Sorry Brit. I just don’t see an ethical dilemma here. I am familiar with the philosophical problem you reference and it does not apply in this case because I can’t see an ethically wrong action.

What if I were to tell you:

  1. I wanted to Play in a Regionals after Dylan posted his deck
  2. I looked at all my deck options and liked Dylan’s best because I believe it is objectively the best deck in format card-for-card (meaning I cannot find any changes that make my version objectively superior to his)
  3. I play it successfully

How is that ethically different from:

  1. I wanted to play in a Regionals after Dylan posted his deck
  2. I have no clue what to play and haven’t really been testing anything
  3. I see that not only does Dylan explain how to play the deck in his article - but he also gives additional input in the comment section on how to play particular match ups
  4. So I just throw his deck together card-for-card and I play it successfully

How is that ethically different from:

  1. That looks cool - I am playing it
  2. I play it successfully

I don’t see any ethical dilemma here because

  1. there is nothing proprietary in question
  2. there is no intellectual theft
  3. I must play the deck successfully

Without the ability to actually play the deck, I might as well be playing anything/nothing.

For example: I was playing against Donphan last night. He benched a Mewtwo EX late game and attached a DCE hoping to fish out my Enhanced Hammer. What he didn’t realize is that the Mewtwo was actually the bigger threat! I gladly stripped the DCE because I already had an unrevealed plan for his Donphan once he Wrecked with a Strong Energy (that I knew he had in hand). Since we actually have to play the decks, and understand how they work optimally, I see no ethical conundrum with a cut-and-paste mindset.

That being said: I agree with everything else you wrote in the “Authenticity and Netdecking” section. In the end, we won’t grow as persons or players without a bit of reflection on our part.

It’s definitely not about ethics. I’m not saying it’s unethical to do so. What I am saying is that I don’t think that it’s something that an excellent player would do – insofar as it doesn’t push their capacity for bettering themselves and so on. If you just want to win for the sake of it, then by all means, do whatever you want. But if you fall into that camp it becomes kinda tough to not justify cheating at a certain point. We learn and grow by adapting to change, but by mere plagiarism. The fact, however, that you have disputed point shows that you have a rational capacity higher than what I’m attributing to most netdeckers so in a way, you’ve already proved your rightness. Does that make sense?

agree with you although i note i do see people playing lists card for card even with an obvious typo in the posted list! Those folks need to follow the advice …

Ha! It does make sense. I think you should write a paper entitled “Netdecking: TCG Deck Selection as an Indicator of Rational Capacity” in your next applicable philosophy class (phenomenology? decision theory? game theory?). If you could show some kind of connection between the rational capacity of a person and the means by which they build and play decks, it would be a very interesting read.

I thought there was an element of irony to this given that I see Brit’s friends post all the time that they “used a deck list provided by Brit” (for TDK for example (https://www.facebook.com/groups/virbankcity/permalink/660102244087505/) ) for the tournament they attended. Your friends must be still working towards excellence!

I continue to work on it as well.

Regardless, after testing Dylan’s list and your list, my son played a deck similar to yours at a league challenge and had a lot of success (benefitting from how the junior meta lags masters, very few mirror matches). As I am sure you experienced, it is awesome to have the raichu free retreats when you are spinning, plus you can lock down the 2HKO with a circle circuit when needed.

As we evolved the deck for Phantom Forces, we really struggled because running two thick lines of stage one pokemon while adding robo sub, VS seeker, and more fighting energy (to counter Aegislash and enhanced hammers) really tightened up the deck list.

Any thoughts on how you would evolve your Donphan/Raichu concept in the current meta?

Thanks for the innovative Donphan thinking!

I think that Donphan/Raichu could still be very strong! My initial thoughts were that Raichu is unnecessary with the advent of Manectric, but early city results are proving me quite wrong. Yveltal has proven to still be good which may make Raichu and worthy inclusion once again. I’m not sure how I would try to get everything into the list though. I would definitely want to fit 1-2 Robo Subs, VS Seekers and so on.

Get to work, man! I can’t post on Virbank that I used a Brit Pybas list if you don’t give me one! :smile: