Format Shift!

pokemon-paradijs.comNo, this is not a new trainer card. Once a year The Pokémon Company revises its list of what cards are appropriate for play and what cards are retired. It is annoying to have a deck that has taken you places be phased out, and reading the comments of various posts here on, I’ve seen a number of commentators bemoan that there will be a format change after Worlds.

So, I thought I would write my first article for SixPrizes to explain the reasons why the format shift is not just a good idea, it’s essential. I’m also going to suggest where I think the format shift will end up based on the trends I’ve been seeing. If you already know all the pros of a format shift, this article won’t appeal to you much, but if you’re questioning why your Uxies and Claydols are going away, then please, read on.

Let’s start with a little history, though. Back when the first few sets were released there was one deck that, pretty much, dominated all competitive play: the “Haymaker.” Because it was fast and powerful, players’ options were to play a “Haymaker” or play for fun. I can’t tell you how many times I was frustrated by a turn-3 loss thanks to a Scyther with a PlusPower. So back during the Neo block, Wizards of the Coast (who once ran the trading card game in the US, younglings) announced that no set released before Neo Genesis would be legal for tournament play.

This, of course, caused an uproar because these cards we’d spent a lot of money on were effectively made useless, but something else happened. For the first time since the game originally released there were very competitive decks that were not “Haymakers.” Since taking the rights back from Wizards of the Coast, The Pokémon Company has generally tried to phase out older sets on a regular basis. So here are a couple of reasons why a format shift is a good idea.

First, it really does keep the game fresh. People will naturally play what they know, but locking old favorites out of competition will make players search for new options. We don’t have the Professor Elm Trainer (not Supporter) card and Cleffa draw anymore, but we do have other options that have become prominent thanks to the lack of those cards. If those cards had not been removed from the competitive scene, they would still be a dominant part of the metagame today. Sure that sounds like a great idea, but “Haymaker” lasted almost five years. Can you imagine “Luxchomp” dominating the tournament scene for that long?

pokemon-paradijs.comSecond, it improves The Pokémon Company’s bottom line. Yeah, we’re in an economic depression, and money is tighter than ever, so forcing us to buy more cards seems bad. However, if we never bought any new cards because the old ones are so good, there would be no new cards ever again. Have you seen the Harry Potter Trading Card Game recently? How about The Lord of the Rings Collectible Card Game? If cards do not sell, the game goes away, and this is something that we don’t want to see.

So with that said, let’s look into the future to see what the format is going to be. Some have said it won’t change, others have said it will get rid of everything prior to Heart Gold Soul Silver. I think both of those suggestions are wrong for two different reasons. The first would cause stagnation. The second would cause frustration with the limited card pool. No, I think that the next format shift will be Platinum-on. Here is why:

Generally when a format shift occurs it is in a two-block cycle. That means that the format that is cycling out contains sets from the current block (Heart Gold Soul Silver in this case) and the two prior blocks (Platinum and Diamond & Pearl, respectively). The new format, then, consists of the current-block’s sets, the block before, and any future sets on the day they release. Now, this is not always true, but as a general rule of thumb it works. If this pattern were to be followed, the Platinum block falls into line as the previous block, with Heart Gold Soul Silver making up the current block. Granted, Platinum was a short block with only four sets released in it, which could reduce the chances of this theory being true.

However, this is not my sole reasoning on why I believe that Platinum-on will be the next format shift. My other solid reason has to do with the Professor Cup this year. The Pokémon Company has announced that the Professor Cup will not be a booster draft this year. Instead it will be 30-card deck, Modified-Constructed tournament. The big catch is that Modified-Constructed does not mean Diamond & Pearl-on. It means Platinum-on. I think that The Pokémon Company is using the Professor Cup to test out the new format to see what is going to change starting during the next tournament season.

Now I could be wrong, and we won’t know for sure until The Pokémon Company officially announces the new format sometime in the next couple of months. However, this is my best guess based off of the information available. I hope you enjoyed this article and are now a little more informed.

Reader Interactions

41 replies

  1. eli moses

    Thx alot man i was wondering what it would be but it kinda does suck though no more claydol's is so dumb Luxchomp will still dominate because it doesn't need the uxie's and the call nor the roseannes either Charizard and Donphan will be a lot bigger though because there really dont in this format and they don't need claydols or Roseannes just BTS rare candies and draw card that are not Claydol, via Ninetails or mabye even manaphy Cleffa or dunsparce from HGSS and HGSS UL i mean yeah its gonna suck but still then it gives more kids chances to win.

  2. Bradley Weber

    Platinum on would work best for format shift. And for anyone moaning about the loss of Claydol…look towards the new Magnezone. People at my league believe the format will be Stormfront on….but that would leave that sets Gengar and Machamp unchallenged, which would be pretty bad for the format.

    I for one will be sad when Call energy is rotated out, along with Glaceon X, which is the first good deck I built that I still use often.

  3. Perry Going

    Cutting DP out will be the cleanest because we wont have a huge trainer base if DP-platinum was cut out or DP-Rising Rivals. It will put a twist on the game but I still have to say Charizard will have the upper hand in the format. Because it runs like 6 cards from the DP block.

  4. Andre Fossto Östlund

    i say dodrio, noctowl, ninetails and magnezone as new draw powers….. maybe some pokemons that says draw 2 cards etc will be popular.

  5. Thanos Prokopidis

    Well, the “current+previous block” theory isn't exactly true as it has never happened before. For example, the '08 format was HP-on, not DS-on, some of the Deltas were cut, some not. Anyway, the Platinum-on format seems to be the most possible, though it has some problems. First one, Drapion Lv.X. If Stormfront is rotated out, there won't be any Drapion to play your “legal” Lv.X on, making it a dead card until around November 2010 when we'll get our fourth HGSS set which may or may not have a Drapion. Second and most important, SP's. They are dominating the format right now, imagine what will happen if the cards that make other decks stand a chance against SP's (Claydol, Uxie, Chatot, etc.) get rotated out. SP's will keep the insane search power of Cyrus and SP Radar, the speed Energy Gain adds and Power Spray for disruption. Other decks won't be able to set up before Luxray and Garchomp KO everything in play. It'll basically come down to “play LuxChomp or play for fun” as you said. Plus, if Luxray stays in the format for one more year, it'll easily hit 100$. xD

    Imo, the ideal format would be HGSS-on. Yes, limited options at first, I know. But at least decks will have an equal chance to shine. Drawing power may be just Manaphy and Cleffa for the time being, but at least no deck will have the unfair advantage of a card searching for a Supporter, an Energy and a Trainer made exclusively for said deck.

  6. jordan baker

    I’m excited for the rotation, because the format definitely need a change. However, like NM2 mentioned above, unless they cut platinum or rising rivals it’s going to come down to play SP or play for fun. SP is already so broken that stage 2 decks have to be amazing to stand a chance. I have a feeling that POP is going to neuter the crap out of the game, which is a good thing.

  7. Collan Baker

    I know I won't be the only to think about quitting the game if they, for some reason, make only HeartGold on legal.

  8. Einar Bogsnes Hegge

    Yeah, even if it isnt really that likely, Id prefer that too… would be really fun, but to be realistic, I think it is at best a slim chance of that happening, possibly none at all

  9. Ed Mandy

    You're right. The shift is completely logical and necessary. I am actually looking forward to losing Claydol and Uxie, and I love those cards. I welcome the chance to build new deck styles. In fact, besides the part where my cards become worthless, I am in favor of the new format being HGSS on. It would require a lot more creativity. Also, whenever new cards come out, it would have a much higher impact on the game. I mean, come on, how much impact did Unleashed even have? Now imagine if the format was HGSS on. How much impact would Unleashed have had then? That impact leads to excitement. The loss of binder value is the major downside, in my opinion.

  10. Saturn

    I knew from the beginning that it would be silly for them to go HGSS and on. Platinum would have barely got any play time. (And they are making a killing off Luxray GL LvX ^_^) It really does look like they are testing things out on the professors. :D

    Makes sense though since Worlds is usually when they make new rules and see how everyone actually plays the game and makes changes. It will be very interesting not to have Uxie and Claydol but it's not the end of the world.

    I came from the beginning where we had no draw cards like that. Then I quit (because I thought it was all over when they started to reprint sets by sets) and then came back into the game and oh look, claydol? uxie? draw power in decks? Really? What is up with this? I'm sure there will be other cards printed to be simular though. The new Magnezone, I think people will try to use but as a stage 2, it will be ruff. There are cards out there that draw but not much Noctowl HS and Dodrio in SV, however if you have 2 in play, you draw two cards instead of the one and much harder to powerspray because you would have more of them on your bench?

    We just have to throw on the “To be continued…”

  11. Karol Nowak

    Well, I must say, great article. I haven't seen an article that has opinions about rotation in ages. I am at least glad to see someone has expressed opinions about this. Well, yeah, rotation has its ups and downs all right, and you seemed to emphasized this a lot.

    Once again, great article! I enjoyed reading it.

  12. lenny56

    I completely agree. this is a great article and i would like to see a lot more articles like this that talk about new formats. i know that the next format wont be announced until after worlds, but this is a great opinion on what the next format will be. i personaly am not looking forward to it

  13. lenny56

    i agree. luxchomp is almost to powerful to contend with. it would be a lot more open if pl was cut

  14. lenny56

    i agree. charizard will be the easiest to be changed.Also roast reveal might be a good choice because, as you said, it uses draw engine ninetails, and it runs few cards from dp.

  15. lenny56

    Dodrio is a nice draw power. thx for pointing that out. i might just have to try it. it would be good for people that do not want to run a fire deck because ninetails is a great draw power but really can only be used with fire decks.

  16. espy87

    i would want Platinum cut, im all for RR-on. I just want the TG trainers out of here. The format is boring with them.

  17. Thanos Prokopidis

    That's my point, the current format is actually great. My objection goes to the predicted PT-on format which will pretty much ruin all the decks you mentioned apart from LuxChomp. LuxChomp is already doing well in a format with four or five tier 1 decks, just imagine what will happen if Gyarados, Jumpluff and co. become unusable.

    In a HGSS-on format, I don't think it will come down to one or two decks dominating the game. Pretty much everything is equal, Donphan will get its chance and so will Crobat, Kingdra and maybe even Ursaring. Cards like Metagross UL that are just meh now will turn out to be usable. Vileplume, Scizor Prime and Legend Box will come out sooner or later, more decks will be tested. I don't see how an HGSS-on format can be bad, unless we get something equal to 2008's G&G in a future set.

  18. Renfield89

    We have the most open format of ALL TIME at the moment, and still you all find reasons to complain. “BAN LUXCHOMP! I CANT HAS FUN AT TOURNAMENTS!” Give me a break!

    Jumpluff, Gyarados, and other SP variants (Dialga G, Sableye/Garchomp C) still win more than a decent chunk of tournaments. A Flygon/Torterra deck WON German Nationals!

    In every previous format, only players with exclusive lists of the 1-2 playable archetypes won major tournaments. Now we have the most parody ever, and the Pokemon players want MORE?? Let me break the news to you: this is a good as it will get.

    In a HGSS-On format, the same story will play over, due to shear lack of options. Be grateful for once?

  19. Matthew Tidman

    I apologize. That was a case of “did not do the research.” I originally wrote previous year, current year and future sets, but looking at the sets that didn't appear to be right. I shall now commit ritual suicide by slitting my wrists with a League Promo Uxie. ;)

  20. Matthew Tidman

    Cleffa is a baby card from Neo Genesis which had an attack called Eeeeeeek! The attack made you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw seven cards, just like Professor Elm. It was a staple in a lot of decks because it was one of the best draw engines at the time and it was difficult to knock out thanks to its baby power (opponent had to flip to attack it), especially when used with Expert Belt (Pokemon Tool: Attach this card to a Pokemon. If that Pokemon would be knocked out by your opponent's attack flips a coin. If heads that Pokemon is not knocked out and has ten HP remaining.).

  21. lenny56

    thx. that is anice draw power. i think ill try it in my medicham deck that will be posted here on teusday

  22. Adk Zero

    Probably though lenny56 refers to the new Cleffa HS that was mentioned before. It's almost the same as NG Cleffa except that its attack doesn't need any energy to be used, you draw 6 cards instead of 7 after you shuffle your hand and after you use the attack Cleffa is Asleep. The new Cleffa also has a Poke-Body similar but inferior to the “Baby ability” of the NG Cleffa; if it's Asleep, it takes no damage from attacks. IMO in the new format where draw engines will be scarce, Cleffa HS will see play along with Manaphy UL, Dunsparce UL or maybe Dodrio SV/Noctowl HS. To be honest I like Delibird HS as well in Feraligatr decks.

    Also, you probably mean Focus Band instead of Expert Belt. :P

  23. Matthew Tidman

    Ack! I thought Focus Band and wrote Expert Belt.

    Yeah, the new Cleffa (HGSS) Is shuffle, draw 6, Cleffa is asleep. Not as powerful, but may become a viable draw-engine when Uxie/Claydoll are shifted out.

  24. Matthew Tidman

    Ack! I thought Focus Band and wrote Expert Belt.

    Yeah, the new Cleffa (HGSS) Is shuffle, draw 6, Cleffa is asleep. Not as powerful, but may become a viable draw-engine when Uxie/Claydoll are shifted out.

  25. Perry Going

    its heavy on uxie though…. blg will have to be played but you cant afford to throw the energy away

  26. Perry Going

    dudrio has free retreat! which is the best option for non fire decks. but remember colorless decks can utilize ninetails so i think ursaring and flygon will be big with typhlosion pairing

  27. Perry Going

    i say manaphy will be a big one because it has free retreat..

  28. jordan baker

    you are a whiny temper-tantrum throwing little baby, who only communicates in ultimatums.

    that is all.

  29. Anthony Smith

    The other good thing about a format shift is that newer players won't be so alienated anymore. I came into the game with Rising Rivals, just before SV came out and I got hooked.

    Then I realised all these great cards I needed for some of the best decks out then and now were from sets I was never around to collect from. Especially DP sets.

  30. espy87

    i would actually love HGSS-On. I was thinking about how the game use to be and i would love for it to be slowed down again.

    i dont think I could go another year with luxchomp in the format

  31. SMGausch

    Yeah, no way they make the format HGSS-on. It makes no sense for business. You'd lose players because cards they spent time and money collecting play sets of would be worthless after 6 months, their would be only a few playable decks from the pool that we have so thus something new would dominate(become the new luxchomp) and command a huge premium. We'd be no better off, and the game would suffer. I agree with walrus, I'd be done if they make it HGSS-on since I build decks for myself and my 2 younger sisters which costs way to much already for me to be replacing decks I spent $100 on for them to only be able to use for a single BR.

  32. James

    ur just mad because you cant afford the cards or get some dumb little kid to trade you get a job and build a good deck and stop crying

  33. Poteet24

    I read the comments and laughed a little. Really? PL-On would be a LuxChomp fest?

    LuxChomp loses
    Claydol, Uxie, Call Energy, Azelf and Roseannes.
    Some would argue Roseannes is replaced by Collectors, while this is true, it will still make the scant amount of energy LuxChomp plays only searchable with 4 Cyrus'.

    All those cards are consistency cards!
    Don't get my wrong, LuxChomp will still be good, but if you're worried about it killing the format, then I suggest as Renfield said, looking at all the decks there are now, there will be plenty of other playable decks. Rotation will change or destroy every archetype we have now, because they've been adjusted for optimal play within this card pool.

  34. Fritzhans98

    yeah smgausch i like ur first point hgss would be bad for business ive not such a big basis and my kingdra prime-floatzel gl lvx deck would be dead (without floatzel its not what its now, then it would be not good)and i dont know if i COULD play more time i spent 60eur for the pokemon and dont wanna spend it again till nationals :-((

  35. Fritzhans98

    yeah smgausch i like ur first point hgss would be bad for business ive not such a big basis and my kingdra prime-floatzel gl lvx deck would be dead (without floatzel its not what its now, then it would be not good)and i dont know if i COULD play more time i spent 60eur for the pokemon and dont wanna spend it again till nationals :-((

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