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 SixPrizes.com, 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.