Ok Great, We’ve Heard the News! So Now What?

As many of you have likely heard by now, the next rotation is going to be HeartGold SoulSilver – on. Even more astounding, this rotation could even take place mid-season, July 1. This has, rightfully, caused a massive surge in message board activity and generated many questions and opinions. Here are what I see as needing a comment on:

Initial Reaction


Then the company could have studied the results from Battle Roads, Nationals, and Worlds to make an informed decision about the fall rotation. If the format showed stability, the company could have chosen to leave the rotation at RR-on for next season.

This would have been my personally preference. If Pokémon Catcher is ever printed, the format is going to devolve back into a basic deck party. Stage 1 or 2 decks will not be safe to set up without Spiritomb AR.

With all of that being said, a HS-on rotation was the second best option on the table. I am relatively pleased with this decision.

They Actually Listened

I am also pleased that the company listened to its fan base. I have an idea that they knew this would happen. I do not think that this is a knee-jerk decision by Pokémon.

I think that they saw this coming in advance, but just wanted to confirm their decision with a mid-season rotation from the player outcry.

Is it fair?

One thing that makes me mad is that the players will have to abandon their competitive decks. I think that you should be able to play the decks that earned you a Worlds invite at worlds.

Also to players like me who could not afford SP decks, it is not fair. If the game came down to deck building and being original, I’m sure the Worlds invites would look incredibly different.

What will Battle Roads look like now?

pokebeach.comI think that the threat of a rotation will result in a more diverse field than most people think. I think that the players who need the extra 20-30 points to secure a World’s invite will play Sabledonk. The deck is just that good right now. I also think that those players will make top cut and do well. I would not be shocked to see Sabledonk win several Battle Roads.

The rest of the field, however, will be diverse. We have two possible situations. Nationals and Worlds will either be MD-on or they will be HS-on. If they are MD-on the powerful decks are a known. You will see LuxChomp, VileGar, Gyarados, Sablelock, Sabledonk, etc. There is no need to test other decks.

However, if they are HS-on, those people are going to need to test a lot. Therefore, people will be playing their HS-on decks at Battle Roads for testing.

But, the format will only be 7-ish days old!

Well, we can see it coming now. So, in actuality the format will be nearly three months old.

How are the SP only players going to fair?

This is one of the biggest questions I personally have. This is going to be a huge question mark. Of course the great players of this game will continue to thrive: Fulop, Ness, Pooka, etc. However, the Top Cut is routinely filled by relatively new players who paid the piper and bought full SP decks.

What are these players going to do when they have to build new decks that require things like (gasp) evolving Pokémon. So, what will be viable?

Cards to Stock Up On

– Rare Candy: This card will still be a staple. It still speeds up Stage 2 decks to roughly the same speed as a Stage 1 deck. Without fast snipers in the game, this ruling will not be a huge detriment.

Pokémon Collector, Switch, Pokémon Communicator, Judge, Professor Oak’s New Theory, Seeker, Junk Arm, Interviewer’s Question, Fisherman, Engineer’s Adjustment, etc.

Smeargle UD/CL, Noctowl, etc.

Rescue Energy, Special M Energy, Special D Energy

Basic Decks to Look Out For

These decks are going to be the most popular. They most closely mirror the SP decks. Fast basics who can hit hard and early will be popular.

– Reshiram: This deck will be one of the first decks to be anointed Tier 1. This deck can utilize one of the stronger draw engines in the new format, Ninetales. It also can run energy accelerators in Emboar and Typhlosion Prime.

– Zekrom: This deck could use Pachirisu for energy acceleration. It will need a draw engine.

Mew Prime Variants: The ability to potentially utilize any attack from your deck turn two is going to be scary good.

Stage 1 Decks to Look Out For

pokebeach.comScizor Prime & Steelix Prime: These decks need a starter and a draw engine. However, they are going relatively fast and can abuse Special M Energy. They are weak to Reshiram though.

Donphan Prime: It hits hard and fast. Add in a great Poké-Body and the deck will be fast.

– Cincinno: This could be the better version of Jumpluff. It is fast and colorless. You can use the Ninetales draw engine if need be. Add in Pokémon Collector and Double Colorless Energy and this hits for 100 turn two. Watch out.

– Tangrowth: With multiple energy dropping Pokémon in the format, Grind could become lethal.

– Eeveelutions: These could see an increase in play. With Umbreon Prime becoming a tank with several other Eeveelutions on the board.

Stage 2 Decks to Look Out For

– Fire Deck: The attacker could come in many forms (Emboar (non-ability), Arcanine, Typhlosion (non-prime), but this general deck build will be good. It has arguably the best draw power in the format and two ways to utilize energy Acceleration.

Gengar Prime: This, in my opinion, is going to be one of the best decks in the format. It (allegedly) dominated the HS-on format in Japan with all the Black and White rules. Why would it not do the same here? It is fast once set up, disruptive, and has one of the potentially better starters in the format. Mime Jr. could potentially become a disruptive force. Try recovering from 2-5 cards sent to the Lost Zone early.

pokebeach.comMagnezone Prime variants: This could be paired with the fire engine, Pachirisu, Feraligatr,etc. I still have faith that this card can be great. It has built-in draw power without a power lock option in the format.

– BlastGatr: It will be the most dangerous sniper in the game. Zekrom could likely hold it in check, but it is the only deck (to my knowledge) that will cause players to pause when placing un-protected basics on the bench.

– Serperior, Samurott

I’m sure that I might have left out several potential decks. Please do not crucify me over that. All I know is that Pokémon almost got it completely right.

It could have been handled better, but at least they made a tough decision that is better than what we had to begin. Let’s get some good discussion going.

Reader Interactions

28 replies

  1. George

    Great thoughts at looking ahead. The new format will be exciting to see develop. Thank you for your time in analyzing the new format and its potenital deck archetypes.

  2. Edgar F

    I think you’re forgetting Tyranitar in this article; a toolboxy T-Tar with Mandibuzz, Zoroark, and Umbreon (as a magnezone counter) could be seriously competitive.

    I’m rather hoping Gengar Prime doesn’t find itself BDIF, but I think DonChamp and Zekrom are just going to be too fast and too punchy for Gengar to keep up with.

    Reshiram is consistent, but slower; will slow and steady win the race? I also think Blastgatr has a lot of potential to be big simply because of its massive sniping potential.

    • Anonymous  → Edgar

      Yeah there are definitely other decks than the ones I listed that will warrant a serious look. T-Tar is one of them. However, this deck will be relying on a Stage 2 line and two Stage 1 lines.

      I also like BlastGar. However, I’m a not sure that a deck which requires two Stage 2 Pokemon be fully set up before it can attack will be extremely successful.

      However, I really do think that a LostMewGar deck could be scary good. It could Hurl on turn two with Mew Prime while setting up Gengar Primes. I could easily see six Pokemon in the Lost Zone by turn 7ish. I’m just not sure that other decks can knock out six Pokemon that fast. Then it just becomes a waiting game to get out Lost World.

      I really think that a well rounded deck like Magnezone Prime / Zekrom / Pachirisu or Emboar / Reshiram / Ninetales. Will be very solid. They will have high hp, quick hitting basics to start and massive, hard hitting Stage 2 to close the game out.

      • Martin Garcia  → Anonymous

        maybe, but remember that unless we get a time extension in top cut, lostgar is doomed to be a topcutting deck that never wins events.
        I dont know what you think, but i wont play a deck that has realistically no chance to take a tourney.
        It coud be different if we get more time to play top cut matches tough.

        • Anonymous  → Martin

          Yeah I see the time possibly being a problem in Top Cut. However, Mew Prime could be the Pokemon that speeds the deck up. The reason why it struggled now is that it sits behind Spiritomb early and it needs to. However, with the extremely early, extremely fast SP out of the deck, maybe the deck will be able to get off fast enough to do something better in Top Cut.

          Just a thought.

  3. Anonymous

    did everyone forget that legend cards got printed? suicune entei can start destroying turn 2 and has double damage plus burn on donphan and steelix and can fit in water decks or fire decks that use ninetails. add indigo plateau and that thing isn’t going down until it has taken 3-4 pokemon with it.

    • Anonymous  → Anonymous

      I guess the Legends could see more play now, but they will need to be proven. First, you could only run two sets of any legend in your deck. So, it better take down at least 3 Pokemon or your deck is in trouble. Second, without Bebe’s Search it will be much more difficult to get one out. Before all you needed was Bebe’s Search, a Pokemon, and Pokemon Communicator. If you maxed out all of them, you were looking at approximately a 40% chance of having one of each in your hand. However, now it is not that simple to consistently get the Legend out. Not to mention the energy costs. For example, Torrent Blade really needs Feraligatr out to be effective and be able to keep the damage output up. So, now you are relying on an inconsistent Legend and at least one Stage 2 Pokemon. That is clunky even for next format.

      As for the SEL specifically, it is going to be weak to two of the formats potential tier one attackers in Zekrom and Magnezone Prime. It is just too easy for either one of these Pokemon to OHKO SEL in consecutive turns. That would give up four prizes in two turns to your opponent. Not a good situation.

      I’m not saying that there is absolutely now way they can work, but I just do not think that they are as powerful.

      • Anonymous  → Anonymous

        both zekrom and magnezone prime fall hard to donphan who requires far less set up than a 3 energy suicidal basic and a super clunky stage 2 with resource management issues. of course if you splashed in SEL donphan wouldn’t be a total wall.

        • Anonymous  → Anonymous

          All it takes is a 3/4 card tech in Umbreon to bring Donphan down. Also, it would not be too crazy to have Zekrom set up for 120 on turn one and easily by turn two.

          Anyway, the point is that I really do not think that the Legends will be big factors in the game. Yes, there are always one or two brilliant players with a little luck that will top cut with the most unusual things.

          The other point is that without Pokemon Catcher (which I do believe will come out eventually) there is not going to be any deck that can handle everything. As of right now, all of the possible Tier One decks fail hard to something, but that “something” fails hard to another deck. This will create good diversity and parity in the game.

        • Anonymous  → Anonymous

          how does zekrom do 120 on turn one? pachirisu, 3 lightning energy, and 2 energy switches? Also Umbreon has to hit donphan 6 times to bring him down, and is not immune to attacks by non-ability pokemon like sawk. take a look at what’s missing and what is in hgss and b/w.

          this format will be defined by quick attackers, weakness/resistance, and energy management, much like the base set. It will be very diverse and fun and anything you can lay on the bench that has more than 100 hp and can attack for 2 or less energy will be good.

        • Anonymous  → Anonymous

          Zekrom can hit for 120 turn one with either Pachirisu and energy switches or Pachirisu and Shaymin.

          That’s the point though with Umbreon. You just switched out your Donphan Prime and I can return OHKO Swak easy.

          The format you just described will not be too diverse. By saying “anything you can lay on the bench” implies a Basic Pokemon. Yet there are very few basics that can swing hard from two energy or less. You have to expand to Stage 1 and 2 decks to get more Pokemon that can hit hard for that small energy requirement.

          I’m saying that I think the format will slow down enough to allow for a bigger set up. More decks with 3-4 energy attacks are a possibility.

  4. Mike

    I love the new format and hope TPCi puts it in as soon as possible. The death of SP brings a smile to my face.

    I am thinking of building a Samurott spread deck or going forward with a LostGar, either will be so much more fun to play than SP-trash.

  5. the sidewalk

    I can’t believe we had DP-UL for World’s last year and we may have HGSS-BW by July of this year. Losing that amount of complexity within the format is unfathomable.

      • the sidewalk  → Anonymous

        Hm.. Interesting.

        I’m super curious to know why you think the lose of multiple draw engines in edition to hundreds of cards doesn’t translate into a loss of complexity within the format. Would you be kind enough to explain?

        • Anonymous  → the

          First, the # of cards in the format does not equal complexity.

          Now the format is dominated by ONE general type that only has three consistent variations. SP is the general engine, with LuxChomp, DialgaChomp, and SableLock being the variations. After that we have only have two other consistent Tier 1 decks in VileGar and G-Dos. The format was stale.

          Most of the Sp decks are within 10-15ish cards of being identical lists. That is even comparing “different” decks like LuxChomp and DiaglaChomp. They are SO similar. Many SP players were making the lists even closer and running LuxChomp with a DGX tech or running DiaglaChomp with a Luxray tech. That is not complexity.

          Second, it is not complex at all to just run a bailout draw engine like Uxie. “Herp a Derp, I’m going to burn my hand just to play down Uxie for 7.” That is not complex. Now, people are going to have to make tough choices on how to draw. What is best? Ninetales? Magnezone Prime? Do I really want to discard my WHOLE hand with Juniper? Judge? PONT? Maybe I go down to a Noctowl for one card per turn. Who knows?

          That my friend is complexity. People are going to have to get creative and make game changing decisions when he/she needs a hand refresh or to draw a couple more cards. the Uxie safety net will be gone.

          Third, there will not be a standard starter like we have seen recently (especially in evolution decks). Basically, every Stage 2 deck right now runs Spiritomb Ar. Most other non-SP decks run Spiritomb or Sableye. That is not complexity.

          Fire decks will run Reshiram. Lightning decks will run Zekrom. Water decks will maybe run Manitee. What about everything else? Do you run a card that mimics Call Energy, like Stantler? Or do you run a card that gets a cheap draw early like Relicanth? Or do you just run you basic Pokemon in and evolution line.

          Fourth, the strategies will need to change. Right now, most decks are only about hitting really, really hard really, really fast. Even “rouge” decks follow this model. SP? Dragon Rush T2 for 80. MagneRock? Lost Burn for 100 T3. Charizard? Eighty damage for one energy T2. G-Dos? Tail Revenge for 90 T2. The exception is VileGar that aims to slow the game down.

          Well what will be the play next format? Do you focus extra resources on getting trainer lock established? Do you play a hard tank and heal? Do you spread damage? Do you try to recapture the OHKO era? Many choices on how to play it. That is complexity.

          Also, there is not a single deck that can handle almost everything. Especially with the x2 weaknesses. Every deck is going to have more very difficult matches (beside the mirror match) than decks today. Everyone thinks Zekrom will be huge (including me), but it gets wrecked by Donphan Prime.

          Above all of that, toss in the fact that SableDonk is going to be ridiculous until the rotation. Every. Let me say that again. EVERY deck is going to have to run 4 Sableye or 4 Spiritomb if SableDonk is even half as good as people are saying. That definitely is not complexity.

        • the sidewalk  → Anonymous

          You made some pretty good points there. Thank you for answering my question.

          I would like to point out that I was comparing our format for the last World’s to the intended format for this year’s World’s, and that’s why I said there was going to be a huge loss of complexity, but I won’t dismiss the argument you just put forth, as it was very thorough.

          I agree that our current format isn’t very complex when it comes to competitive play. There are generally only 4 decks you can get away with playing at a tournament currently. And it’s fair to say that tournament play is the only relevant form.

          What I would consider complexity within this tcg would be the number of options that create viable decks. Claydol made practically everything viable, for example. And when so many things are viable, that creates incentive to tech for a greater number of matches, and that ultimately forces people to build the most solid and complex decks possible. The reason why I feel like HGSS-on is going to be the antithesis of this is because it’s going to be a “he who goes first and gets better draws or has a type advantage wins” format since most of the trainer lines are going to look pretty identical, and the information you provided about the next format, in my opinion, furthers this point.

          The other half of the reason I feel like we’re losing complexity is because the B&W cards, so far, are really plain with no abilities we haven’t seen before. Our current format features so many cool cards that create viability for decks through the use of a single Power or attack.

          I’d also like to add that I’m not trying to argue because you clearly have your mind made up. I’m just explaining why I feel like our current and last formats were complex, and why I think HGSS-on is going to feel really basic in contrast to them. I invite you to try testing a HGSS-on deck against a current format deck, and to make a note of how many actions you’re able to take within a turn in contrast to your opponent. That is my definition of complexity.

        • Dave Hueglin  → the

          I think we will be trading one kind of complexity for a different kind of complexity. Chess is a complex game even though it has a fixed number of pieces with simply defined move abilities.

          In my opinion, having cards that individually appear to be less complex than previous cards does not mean the game will be less complex.

  6. Gabriel Brown

    I enjoyed the article. The new format will take some getting used to, but all and all I think everyone will learn to enjoy it. It stinks that the entire meta will change as soon as rotation hits, but I also look at it as a good thing because it’s like playing a whole new game. =)

    I also liked the part where you mentioned cards to stock up on. That’s the kind of thing I’m trying to do now, my only question is will Professor Juniper be an all around good staple in most decks or will it just be a card for a certain few.

    Again, I really enjoyed reading your article, and it gives us a nice insight on what to expect, thanks. =D

    • Anonymous  → Gabriel

      I personally think that Juniper will be a situational card. It will be a staple in some decks but not all. I think it will be paired with Junk Arm successfully.

      • Joshua Hall  → Anonymous

        Juniper is Professor Oak. Professor Oak was arguably the best draw trainer of all time. Unless you have Ninetales or Magnezone or some kind of draw, I see 4 in every deck.

        • Anonymous  → Joshua

          Yes it was in its time. However, the other options were limited. There was Bill…

          Now there is Ninetales for fire decks and PONT.

          It could be great, but I personally am still undecided on it.

  7. Anonymous

    i wokred with noctowl but decided that it wasnt good.1 card a turn for setting up a stage 1 was just never worth it.

  8. Alex Pike

    Just thought I’d point out with the new B&W rules you can be hitting max damage on your first turn. I’ve tested Cincino and had it consistently hitting 100 damage on the first turn.

        • Anonymous  → Alex

          Well, I was talkin’ about with the HS-On format. And anyway, the BW rules nerf Rare Candy, so only BTS would work. 

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.