So Pokémon Changed The Rules…

Alright, so I was just about to write a Card of the Day article, when PokéBeach released news that the Black and White rule changes will be in effect as soon as the set is released on April 25th. And you know what that means, right? No more SpeedChamp, SP will dominate, and SableDonk and Gyarados will see rise in play. All of this happens after Regionals, mind you, so you still have that chance to play your speed deck one last time before it’s goodbye to the old rules and hello to the new ones.

So, what changes?

Honestly, not too much changes, but some of what changes is pretty big. For all information, check out Pokébeach’s post here.
You are dead to me! At least until next format.
  • All Trainer, Supporter, and Stadium cards will be referred to as Trainer- Item, Trainer-Supporter, and Trainer-Stadium, respectively.
  • Card text now states “This Pokémon” instead of the name of the Pokémon when an attack affects itself.
  • Abilities are introduced and independent of Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies.
  • Removing damage counters is now called healing.
  • On your first turn, you may play Trainer cards.
  • Rare Candy now works like Pokémon Breeder, Potion heals 30 instead of 20, Great Ball acts like Master Ball, and PlusPower no longer attaches to your Pokémon.

As you can see, some of these are very drastic changes. While others are little, they will clear up some of the confusion in the game and make it simpler for newer players to get into the game without having to question what everything means.

How does this affect me, the player?

As I said in the beginning, nothing will happen to you just yet. For the moment, you can keep testing for Regionals with that Shuppet Donk, Uxie Donk, SpeedChamp, SpeedDra, or SpeedInsertPokemonNameHere that you have perfected to take out the metagame and claim the Regional title, because you’re just that good. After that, I am afraid that these decks are pretty much gone until the next format hits.

I don’t believe Shuppet and Uxie Donk will survive because of the increase in Sableye and Spiritomb being played, making it really difficult to pull off the proper donk strategy, but people have made things work when they face major adversities (I’m looking at you post-Felicity’s, pre-Junk Arm Gyarados).

What this will affect is the gameplay, specifically what you’re doing. You will need to start preparing for a new style of play, one that involves your opponent’s ability to set up faster than you if they happen to go first as they can play all of the Items cards they want and still have that Supporter card to play down.

This can, of course, be avoided with a Spiritomb start, but his errata will be changed to reflect that ‘Trainers’ have changed to ‘Items’, alllowing them to still play that Supporter first turn.
I used to think you were cool, but now you're just evil!

How am I supposed to prepare for that?

It’s not mine to say what you have to do, because everybody plays differently and have different decks that have to be worked in different ways, but it looks like you’re going to have to avoid donks, so here’s what you have to do: Put down more than one basic for your start, even if it’s an Uxie and you have a dead hand.

I know it sounds bad, but when you think about it, Sableye can come in with an Expert Belt and donk you before you have the chance to do anything for your turn, so it would be better if you at least had a chance to set up, right?

Well, I guess you’re right on that part. Anything else?

You may just have to straight out find a new deck to use, or if you’re a rogue player, do the unthinkable: Play with the current metagame decks!

But, I’m a rogue player. Do I really have to?

No, I’m just messing with you, even though it is suggested. There are plenty of decks out there that don’t require Rare Candy and are not in the metagame. Magnezone has not officially hit metagame status, and he’s starting to take some medals, so start jumping on that so you can be hipster and during next format say, “I played this deck before it was popular.”

But seriously, it’s a good deck. Also, you might want to look into other decks that contain current metagame Pokémon, like that one deck that’s been kicking butt and taking medals in Europe, Gengar/Garchomp C. Combining cards that work in the current metagame with other cards that nobody knows about tends to be a great way to make a rogue that can compete with the metagame. (Am I wrong, Sableye?)

Well, what if I want to start playing with metagame decks? It seems kind of hard to make a rogue deck that works like that.

Traitor! Just kidding. It would seem that you can pretty much keep on using what is currently being played in the current metagame, and possibly Machamp, but it’s going to need to be changed a bit to benefit, as well as protect, from the rule changes. Gyarados is looking pretty solid, because it benefits from Professor Oak Professor Juniper along with the whole playing trainers first turn thingy.

And, since most Gyarados use Sableye as a starter, it could turn out beneficial by being able to use Pokémon Collector and then use Impersonate for Professor Juniper to dump your three Magikarps in the discard pile to power up your Gyarados in one turn without Regice. In fact, my friend magneto1992 has played Gyarados for a while and he would suggest this list:

Pokémon – 22 

4 Magikarp SF
3 Gyarados SF
2 Crobat G PL
3 Sableye SF
1 Smeargle UD
1 Azelf LA
1 Combee SF
1 Regice LA
2 Mesprit LA
1 Unown Q MD
1 Unown (DARK)
2 Uxie LA

Trainers – 31 

2 Bebe’s Search
4 Broken Time-Space
2 Expert Belt
1 Luxury Ball
3 Pokémon Reversal
2 Pokémon Rescue
4 Seeker
3 Junk Arm.
4 Poké Turn
3 Professor Juniper
3 Super Scoop Up

Energy – 7 

4 Rescue
2 Warp
1 Special D
Yes, I can still function, thanks to BTS! (Warning: May cause harder matchups against other Stage 1 or Stage 2 decks.)

While I don’t agree with his counts, I’m not qualified to criticize, so I’ll let it stand. You should already know the basic strategy for Gyarados, and if you don’t, there are many articles here on SixPrizes to help you out.

I don’t really like Gyarados and I want to try SP. What should I do?

Here. Here. And here. The last link is not very recent, and I’m sure Google will provide more current answers to questions about the deck. The others are recent lists from SixPrizes writers, so you don’t need to go far to get good information. Also, I’m not qualified to explain these. I play Stage 1 or 2 decks, no matter what the metagame says I should do.

Gee, don’t like SP?

No, I don’t, and I cannot wait until rotation so I can play in a format without them.

Well, would you consider playing some SP-type rogue this format?

Maybe. I mean, I’d play something to capitalize on how broken Sableye becomes in this format and it’d look a little something like this:

Pokémon – 22 

4 Sableye SF
4 Crobat G PL
1 Smeargle UD
3 Garchomp C SV
1 Garchomp C LV.X SV
1 Ambipom G RR
1 Toxicroak G Promo
2 Uxie LA
2 Murkrow SV
2 Honchkrow SV
1 Unown (DARK)
1 Azelf LA

Trainers – 26 

3 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
2 Pokémon Collector
1 Aaron’s Collection
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Judge
1 Twins
4 Poké Turn
3 Energy Gain
2 Power Spray
2 Seeker
1 SP Radar
1 Premier Ball
2 Expert Belt

Energy – 12 

4 Double Colorless
4 Special D
3 D
1 P
So important to the metagame that this image should be used in every article, even if no one mentions an SP deck.

Why do you run it this way instead of turbo donk?

I never like using up all of my resources and power too early, and don’t trust all of these counts. This is this first time I’ve written this list down and I don’t even own most of these cards because I’ve been preparing for next format way too much.

Plus, this one has a way to deal with the Garchomp wars just in case you can’t pull off the Turn 1 donk. Now, a more experienced SP or pseudo-SP player will probably make a better deck than this, but this list came from less than five minutes of thinking. Use this at your own discretion.

Is there anything else you would suggest to play?

Meh, not really. I mean, you can attempt to make a really awesome Steelix/Scizor deck, a perfectly teched Machamp/Donphan deck, or any other awesome rogue or pseudo-rogue in an attempt to rock the metagame, but I really don’t see it happening.

However, you never know what will happen. People didn’t use Gyarados until the French came up with the Felicity’s Drawing combo, and the rest is history, with Gyarados still raging around the format.

Who knows, someone may find a purpose for other cards and make the next best deck, and maybe it will be you.

You know what? This just doesn’t seem right. Looking at what you’ve proposed, it seems like you’re suggesting you make decks that have a high possibility of a donk.

That is correct.

Why? I hate donks!

So do I. I think we’ve all encountered the patented Pokémon-Collector-in-hand donk, and they’re terrible. When you’ve come prepared to play a full 30-minute match of Pokémon and the match ends in one turn, it leaves a really bad feeling. But not taking advantage of this rule change is being a bad or ignorant strategist.

Well, if Pokémon is going on this path, then I’m leaving the game.
Please don't let us down

You’ll probably be back. Chances are you’ve invested in post-HGSS cards and next format will fix the problem if they put it to either RR-on or HGSS-on. I mean, the player going first still has some advantage, but we lose a lot of the speed that we have in this format, making the game focus more on the strategy and skill of the player than the speed of the deck. I mean, I can’t stop you from leaving, but look toward the future. It probably won’t be that bad.

Do you really think Pokémon TCG will survive the chaos?

I have all of the cards that I need for a format that is either RR-on or HGSS-on. Do you?

I don’t…

Do you have four of Pokémon Collector, Pokémon Communication, PONT, Bebe’s, Seeker’s, Twins, Blackbelt, and multiple other cards?

Yeah. Well, most of them.

You’re gonna be just fine. You just gotta ride this wave and let the game change, no matter how bad the storm is going to be. Arceus would not let the Pokémon TCG community down. I think.

Reader Interactions

13 replies

  1. Chris Barrieau

    I really like the style of this article :) I also like the insight you provided. I don’t have much else to say, just saying, this is good, and I like it. =]


      • Anonymous  → Chris

        OMG! You’re so right! XD I’m pretty sure it was written in less than 5 minutes like my SableChomp list (which also needs MAJOR editting), and my friend was more interested in what he was changing for the format than what everybody already knows. I’ll check with him on what he wants to fix, and I’ll see if I can change the list in the article.

  2. Matt Piela

    Very nicely written, like the personality you imbue this article with, very easily read. I agree with a lot of your points. Gyarados with Professor Juniper is going to be scary scary fast, like.. suck my thumb and mutter things to myself kind of fast.

    I’m running VileGar for Regs, and hopefully for Nats (depending on the possibility of mid-season rotation, or being able to even go). So i’m hoping a Spiritomb /”… Collector” start will at least get me on par with a possible second/third turn fully revenged Gyarados breathing down my neck (scary imagery, i know). Specially without a Regice (registeel for some) to Shadow Room snipe, i’m back sucking my thumb.

    Don’t even get my started on SP Giants (LuxChomp, Sablock, DialgaChomp) being ungodly fast, I mean, c’mon! SP is already annoying, stupidly, brokenly fast, first turn trainers/supporters is going to be just laughable. I’m not dropping this rotation, we don’t know what BW expansions are going to look like, the trainers i’m seeing in BW base are pretty decent, maybe this rotation won’t be as slow as people fear.

    In the end the last few months of this MD-on rotation, is going to be quite interesting. All i have to say is good-luck, good-hands, and let the heart of the cards be with you.

  3. Daniel Middleton

    I must comment on this article as it has been one of my most favourite reads so far. You’ve managed to get across some important messages in a way that doesn’t say ‘SableDonk is too broken’ or ‘play Spiritomb or Sableye as a starter or you’ll lose’.

    What I’m trying to say is that this was a very enjoyable read with some great information for players new and old.

    Look forward to more articles from you.


  4. Ron Routhier

    I guess now is a good time to sell my cards and start playing MTG. At least they seem to have a steady rotation, and stupid rule changes that totally F’s the entire meta game during the biggest tournies of the year.

    My daughter will be disappointed, but i’m sure now she can spend more time with the video game and getting ready for softball season.

    • Anonymous  → Ron

      Don’t quit yet! Pokemon might make a mid-season rotation, and next season is going to be awesome, as SP dominants aren’t going to be as strong as they are now.

      • Ron Routhier  → Anonymous

        If they’re going to make a mid-season rotation, then mid season would’ve been April 1, not mid to late May. It’s crazy trying to keep up with a game that originates in Japan, yet here in USA we don’t have the same format, same rules, or even the same guidance as to what’s going on with the game.
        At least MTG is originated here in the states, the rules are set here, and there is a new rotation every three months, so you don’t have the same stale format for three+ years. we don’t have to wait for cards or rule changes from 7000 miles away, and I like the fact that you can win CASH, not a scholarship that can’t be used for another 10 years or so.
        I can do more with $5000 cash and turn it into more than $10,000 in 8-10 years easily.

        • Ron Routhier  → Jair

          Yu-Gi-Oh runs into the same problem as Pokemon. They can get rid of cards at any time, and you are at the mercy of a company located thousands of miles across the ocean. the cards are so expensive because Konami has no idea how to distribute, so the availability of the cards is rediculous.

          I enjoy playing more than seeing how much money i can play. I just want some consistency in the rules, rotations, a variety of playable decks, and some compitence in how the meta game is run. It certainly isn’t anywhere to be found with Pokemon, I’m afraid.

        • Jair Ramirez  → Ron

          They don’t get rid of ‘any’ cards at a time like Pokemon. They remove whatever they know will be broken or too overpowered due to release of upcoming sets or wins at previous events. The rotation is also consistant, it’s every 6 months, it’s common knowledge and if you actually pay attention to the game you can already know what might/might not getted banned/restricted or come back. And no matter how old your cards are they’ll still be legal and save you some money for staples, I still have some 6+ year old cards that are still legal and great, unlike pokemon or Magic where it’s gone for good (thanks to rotating WHOLE sets out). Konami like Pokemon has domestic companies too, so we’re not at the ‘mercy’ of a company thousands of miles away. They separate the rulings from both Domestic and Japanese formats aswell. The only downside is Yugioh doesn’t come cheap. Otherwise, losing a whole set at a time that might never comeback unless you get a lucky reprint, playing a very narrow spectrum of meta decks and only getting, “a scholarship that can’t be used for another 10 years or so.”, makes paying a little more seem worth it.

  5. Anonymous

    Alright guys, here’s an edit of the Gyarados list:
    +1 Sableye
    +4 Pokemon Collector
    +1 Cyrus
    -1 Smeargle
    -1 BTS
    -1 Rescue
    -3 Pokemon Reversal

    Thanks to Chris for pointing that out!

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