Hello everyone! I am very happy to be back writing once again. Though admittedly not a ton has happened in the TCG universe since my last piece, I think many (including myself) have gotten into the full swing of making our preparations for Burning Shadows. Though the set itself will not be legal until Worlds, this “off season” period has everyone theorizing and trying to figure out what the next big thing is going to be. Not everyone will be attending the World Championships or the Anaheim Open unfortunately (though I would recommend any with the appropriate means to consider such a venture, especially if you are considering playing competitively next season). Thankfully, rotation has been announced as well!
It is somewhat unfortunate that the only PRC-BUS format tournament is going to be the most important event of the year. I am never a fan of such limited or narrowly-relevant formats, but I suppose there is a time and a place for everything. The rotation towards BREAKthrough and onward caught few by surprise, and I think leaves a lot to be desired. Keeping it at BKT leaves us with an odd amalgamation of various types of cards and mechanics, and if anything, you’d think that the most intelligent decision would involve cycling sets to a point with as few mechanics, terms and keywords as possible to be as open to any prospective newer players.
If we were to cycle to something crazy like Sun & Moon-on, it would make the card pool quite limited, which unfortunately was not the case. Instead, with BKT-BUS, we’ll have everything from BREAK cards to several Mega and GX Pokémon, which I think is understandably not satisfactory, as many players have already expressed. I, for one, cannot wait for the day when Professor Juniper, Professor Sycamore, and N are no longer in the format and only until that day arrives, do I think we’ll be able to observe a noticeable difference in the way games play out and formats progress. However, I do always enjoy the freshness and novelty that any rotation might provide and so, despite the obvious shortcomings of BKT-on for Standard, I will look forward to preparing for this format come the fall.
Finally, it is worth addressing the lack rotation for Expanded. In the past, I know I have expressed a desire for Expanded to rotate (instead of banning), though I noted that this would likely be improbable. Then, I felt like I was in a minority with such an opinion, but now that years have passed and BW-on has been the Expanded format for several years, it does feel somewhat strange that nothing (aside the pair of bans) has occurred. Perhaps next year, Expanded will get the shakeup that it deserves and maybe even a third format will be introduced! Who knows?
I think the biggest thing that helps keep a game alive is accessibility towards a newer audience the precedence of Expanded is easily the most limiting thing for a newer player.
Black and White was released in 2011, and while many of the cards do not hold much of a value anymore, they are certainly not readily available, which complicates the matter even further. The longer one has played, the easier it is to keep up with a larger card pool, but, frankly, the BW-on card pool is just too large for there to be a predictable metagame or points of easy access for someone who has not been playing the TCG for several years. I do not look forward to another year of anticipating multiple rounds of Night March, Yveltal/Maxie’s while playing Seismitoad/Crobat, but I do have some faith that we will see a new and updated ban list over the next year. At any rate, happy hunting to those already focused on the 2017-2018 season!
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