Master Faster: New Season, New Hopes

Hey everyone, I’m back from Worlds and it was a blast. It was lots of fun and I love going to the event every year. I tried to Grind in and failed because of a discouraging situation with judges, but none of you want to hear about that.

Now it’s after Worlds, and we are all trying to figure out what the play is in this new format with Catcher, Gothitelle and a few other cards. Today I won’t be talking about cards but more about the game as a whole. It’s a new season and it’s the time for change!

How so? Well there are changes in game mechanics, tournament system, prizes structure and lots of other things. I like to think of it as when most of the new ideas and plans come out. Today I would like to give sort of a wish list of things I want to see happen or change with Pokémon within the next year (more like multiple years but who knows).

1. The Luck Factor

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There are different types of luck in this game, some that is just part of the game and cannot be stopped, e cards you draw and prizes. There is also a part where it is up to the card makers for making and the players for playing, e cards that have coin flips involved.

The thing players hated most about the Nationals/Worlds format was the amount of flips that were having a big impact on the way games turned out. Pokémon Reversal and Baby flips were the most common offenders and they were played in almost every deck so it was hard to avoid them.

Flips in the game are not a horrible thing, but they shouldn’t make cards that have a strong enough effect that it’s worth playing in competitive decks. Luck based cards and competitiveness do not belong together as shown by Nationals and Worlds.

Now with the release of Pokémon Catcher people believe that it will fix the luck factor. It replaces Pokémon Reversal and it will make baby flips irrelevant… well not exactly. It gets rid of a bunch of smaller flips that take place over the course of the game like Reversal, but just makes one flip way more important; the opening flip to decide who goes first.

If you go first and then on Turn 2 can Catcher your opponent’s basic they are trying to set up and KO it you are definitely ahead of them in the prize race. Yes, your opponent should make sure they bench multiples of Pokémon they really need but sometimes that’s not possible. Also if you need to get multiple energies on the Pokémon then it might not even matter if you have multiple copies of a basic on the bench.

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Even if Catcher does take away some of the flips from the game the new set still brought some more flips. Crushing Hammer is a reprint of Energy Removal 2 and though not as good as Pokémon Reversal. It’s still a flippy card that will see play in competitive decks. It also really hurts Pokémon that need multiple Energies to attack.

What I would like to see change is them to stop making flippy cards that imitate really good old cards.

For example, Pokémon Reversal was like Gust of Wind or Pokémon Catcher except with a flip. Crushing Hammer or Eenrgy Removal 2 was like Energy Removal, again with a flip.

I know that it’s cool when they make a card close to something that was great before but they have to worry about making it too close to the original.

Like I said, flippy cards are not bad. Just don’t make any that could be used competitively, especially with extremely game changing effects like Pokémon Reversal.

2. Power Level

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As I said in the first point the problem with Pokémon Reversal was the fact that they made it too close to the original. Well what could be worse than that? PRINTING THE ORIGINAL! REALLY POKEMON!??!?!?

If I were to ask any player who knew a fair amount of Pokémon card history about what the top 5 cards in Pokémon are, EVERY single one of them would put Gust of Wind on it. It’s just such a good card, one single card that allows you to attack anything on the field.

It stops your opponent from being able to set up and encourages the use of faster decks. It also makes planning out everything and having attackers ready not possible. If you’re behind but you got some silver bullet Pokémon that will deal with your opponents Pokémon and will get you back into the game, it doesn’t matter.

They will just Catcher it up and continue to beat you. Yes you could say the game becomes more complex because you have to think about what happens if they Catcher, but the majority of the time you just can’t. If you go second then the entire came you are playing hoping they just don’t have Catcher.

With Junk Arm they will have Catcher most of the time and if you can somehow play around it your setup is slower so you’re still put at a big disadvantage.

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Catcher on a stick

Now I spent a fair amount of time talking about Catcher and I will say that I think Catcher is the only real problem in this particular format. Looking at other formats there was not usually such dominating cards/decks. LuxChomp was around the top of the power creep in Pokémon and the funny thing is that LuxChomp also contained a Gust of Wind like effect.

The main point is that the card designers should really think about what will happen if they create cards. I would like to think that they do but Pokémon Catcher makes me question that.

I’m going to take a page out of Magic the Gatherings book; they have this statement they use whenever they are thinking of banning a card:

“If every deck plays the card or hates against the card, then it is too oppressive and probably should be banned.”

Yes we have not had any tournament results yet with the card, but I am 100% sure this statement is true.

What I would like to see is for Pokémon to really smarten up with what to print and if Catcher proves to be too powerful maybe ban it.

Pokémon’s new slogan: “Gotta Catcher them all!”

3. Tournament Structure

Currently our tournament structure has been as follows:

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Battle Roads, Cities, States, Regionals, Battle Roads, Nationals, Worlds.

Rinse and Repeat.

This is a fine system, all the events are leading up to worlds, the biggest and best event of the year. Well what if there happened to be other big events that were not worlds? Both Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic have events like States, Nationals, and Worlds, but they also have a few other major events that happen internationally every year.

Magic has the Pro Tour that happens three times a year and then a Worlds, and Yu-Gi-Oh has a couple of YCS events and also Worlds. These events are big in terms of prize payout, attendance and just how much they have to offer. There is usually one in the US and the others are international, like places in Europe and Asia.

These events allow people to be able to play big events multiple times a year of they are going to them all, or allow people who can’t travel as far to go to a big event. It would also allow more than one format to be shown on the big stage, and let the pros have a chance of making lots of money.

Now having these events would cost Pokémon a fair amount of money (that’s why they don’t do it), but I have actually thought of one way to fix that problem. At big events like Regionals and Nationals they could add a small entrance fee of $5-10 dollars.

People usually travel a decent amount to get to these events so I don’t think a small entrance fee would stop them from going. It is a small price to pay but for Pokémon it would make a big difference. US Nationals 2010 had 1,303 people show up, that’s $13,030 if everyone paid $10.

That’s also only US Nationals, all the other Nationals and Regionals would make Pokémon a lot more money so they could run big events like I talked about before.

On a side note Pokémon is changing a bit with some of the Regionals being held in November, I don’t know where they are going with it but we shall see.

4. Rules

pokebeach.comOver the past few years I have seen some rather bad decisions in the rules department. The most recent examples are the change to what you can/can’t do on the first turn and the Supporter placement change. There are other examples like how they kept on changing the way Looker’s Investigation worked.

An important thing to know before I start talking about how bad the rules and all are is that Pokémon USA follows whatever Japan does in terms of rules. This may not seem bad but Japan has different legal sets and use 40 card decks with only 4 Prizes, so to use the same rules doesn’t really make sense. The only reason they do this is so that come Worlds our format is more similar to their format so it’s not as hard to shift for them.

Now even when this is true some of the rules they have changed are destroying our format and the Japanese don’t even like it. The major rule that needs to be changed is the allowing of Trainers and Supporters on Turn 1. This rule was brought in when the format was MD-BW, and it completely destroyed that format because Sableye could win on Turn 1 most of the time even against the best decks.

So they changed the format to HGSS-BW but kept the rule because “what possibly could go wrong now?” Nationals and Worlds were not too bad but everyone was saying that going first was a deciding factor in a lot of games.

The problem with this rule is that it gives the winner of the flip all of the advantage. Before there were times where you wanted to go first and times you wanted to go second. If you went first you would not be able to set up next turn all the time but you would be able to evolve first, get the first Energy drop, etc.

Now you just start the game at an advantage based off a flip, does that not seem bad? No other card game does that, there is always some kind of restraint to going first.

I don’t understand why they have not changed the rule or why they even brought it in the first place but it will become an even bigger advantage now with Pokémon Catcher and I hope that Pokémon will re-evaluate it.

Overall they really need to understand what happens when they change rules, test out games if it is a game play rule or think of how rule changes can hurt a format or the game as a whole.

5. Pokémon Online

I want to end this article on a good note; it’s not all about Pokémon’s failures. I would like to point out one of Pokémon’s biggest successes in a long time. Pokémon Online was one of the big things that Pokémon needed to move forward as a game. All the other major TCGs have it and some TCGs are only online, it’s a great way for testing frequently and with people from all over the world.

Before there were a few programs for playing like Red Shark and Apprentice, but they were not the best programs because they were not meant for Pokémon; they were just edited so that they could run Pokémon. Also these programs are not made by Pokémon, they are fan made and are not as advanced due to how much it would cost to make it as good as Pokémon has now.

They have only just come out of Beta but it already looks very good. No bad glitches, runs smoothly, already has fine trading systems and it is planning on releasing more features. It is going to put tournaments into the game in the future so there will be good ways to practice competitive play, the events may even win you good prizes.

Some people don’t like how you need to get codes from buying packs to get the good cards but it is cheaper than any other online TCG. Most online TCGs cost around the same as a real collection and you can just buy codes for Pokémon online for cheap (I don’t think it’s allowed but who cares right?).

If you have not played it yet I would strongly suggest trying it, I can only see it getting better and keep up the good work Pokémon!

Vileplume UDpokebeach.comThat should keep Pokémon busy for a while so I’ll stop here. As I said these things will probably take a while to fix and I don’t expect them to be fixed right away. I only wish that it will be noted because I would love to make the game better.

I know most of you want to hear something about what I think of the new format so I got a few notes that I have accumulated with my LIMITED testing, don’t take this too seriously.

– Like I said all decks are playing Catcher or hating against it

– Vileplume is hands down better than Gothitelle. Yes you may get a few hands where you can blow out your opponent with T2 Gothitelle but most of the time if it gets KO’d and you don’t have another you’re in a bad situation.

– If you still want to play Gothitelle, you need Reuniclus so it isn’t KO’d so much.

– Anything that requires multiple turns to power up for attacking is discouraged unless you have Vileplume.

– If you play Vileplume or Gothitelle you need 4 Twins.

– Yanmega is still really good but Magnezone lost a lot of playability, unless you use Vileplume.

– ReshiPhlosion seems to still be very good.

– Playing more Supporter cards like Professor Elm’s Training Method may be better if you’re afraid of Vileplume.

I hope you liked this and I swear my next article will be able decks and all that normal stuff!

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Reader Interactions

16 replies

  1. Mekkah

    Redshark is made for Pokemon, it’s just a bad program for other reasons.

  2. beyblade1410

    ive always hated catcher, it just makes the foormat worse and ruins good fun decks that could’ve had potential. 

    • Ron Routhier  → beyblade1410

      Totally agree. Why can’t pokemon take a few notes from MTG. No attacking round 1, ban cards “If every deck plays the card or hates against the card, then it is too oppressive and probably should be banned.”, rely less on coin flips. In case Pokemon hasn’t noticed, more adults (18+ years) play this game than kids, so perhaps Pokemon needs to start listening to those of us that spend the money on their products, before MTG widens the gap more than it already is………

      • beyblade1410  → Ron

        ya I understand it makes the format worse and pokemon can’t see it. We need to take action, catcher spells bad news for the game.

        • Adrian Olszewski  → Kyle

          Oh, and every single “Play against it” means trainer-locking or low-retreat Pokemons. Or both. So how is it good?

          You can’t play now anything safely. With Catcher, even the safer bench is just like another active.

        • tim h  → Adrian

          @srsmeowth:disqus 

          ‘learn to play against it’

          lol at you

          Yeah, we should totally play against the ability to instantly kill our benched pokemon which is also unpreventable unless you have trainer lock up

          I’d like to see how quickly your opinion would change after losing to a stage 1 rush/zekrom deck with 3-4 catcher ten times over…

        • tim h  → Adrian

          @srsmeowth:disqus 

          ‘learn to play against it’

          lol at you

          Yeah, we should totally play against the ability to instantly kill our benched pokemon which is also unpreventable unless you have trainer lock up

          I’d like to see how quickly your opinion would change after losing to a stage 1 rush/zekrom deck with 3-4 catcher ten times over…

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Adrian

          srsmeowth has a point.

          Like it or not, we now have Catcher. There isn’t going to be a MTG/YGO style ban. We just have to adapt because complaining will do no good whatsoever.

          Yep, Players will have to look at Trainer lock, abusing Catcher with speed decks, or playing Pichu/redundant Basics. Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so. The counters are there regardless of whether everyone wants to play them. Competitive Pokemon has always been about playing the best decks rather than the decks you like.

          It’s better than a Reversal format anyway.

  3. alex bob

    I agree with you on the first turn supporter rule, but I dont agree with you because I play Zekrom Donk….

  4. erick

    Catcher is fun :)

    But if there’s no catcher the emerging powers set won’t be as bad as this, they will need to add other cards (useful ones) for people to actually buy this set.

  5. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    I highly doubt that Pokemon USA has any choice at all when it comes to introducing the rules they get from Japan.

  6. martin kaninsky

    few more rules are stupid, like they say we cannot play cards from differend languages because kids are confused. If that is so . . .why they ban in all categories?? They could have let Master to play with JPN cards . . . it is just about money X(

    also they could make Master category like 18+ and give real money prizes to attend more ppl

    also think about othere location for worlds . . not just the coast  so mby Japan or even Europe

    Creating more internationl events would be great and banning cards too.

  7. Myles O’Neill

    Having played against catcher a lot over the last couple of weeks I think the concern is overhyped. Maybe its bad for pokemon as a game, maybe its not – I don’t really care. We have the card, as far as I’ve seen it hasn’t made the game less fun it just makes it more interesting. Hate if you will, but it will do nothing, just live with it and enjoy the game.

    And if you really really hate it, try running Vileplume or Gothitelle – there are plenty of awesome decks for either.

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