Why Aren’t Evolutions Winning Yet?

Discussion in 'UG Article Talk' started by swanton1717, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. swanton1717

    swanton1717 http://www.sixprizes.com/forums/account/avatar

    This is the thread for discussing the following article:

    Why Aren’t Evolutions Winning Yet?

    Post your comments and questions below! Any and all honest feedback is much appreciated.
  2. VanillaGorilla

    VanillaGorilla New Member

    I play in a league that allows unlimited cards. And since BLW I've been playing with Machamp SF, even though it's a stage 2 it destroys every meta deck this format. I think that a reprint of it may need a little nerfing since 1 fighting energy for an instant knockout on an EX pokemon for 2 prizes doesnt seem that fair. But then again, neither does having super beefy EX pokemon that leave stage 2 pokemon (many with good attacks/abilities) in the dust. Maybe once they release those Plasma pokemon we'll have some hope for evolutions....
  3. Otaku

    Otaku Well-Known Member

    So I read the article and I've got to disagree on your solutions, and part of what you identified as the problem. In some cases below I will be using the royal "we"; I shouldn't speak for others, and don't have time to carefully fix it.

    The most basic elements of the problems plaguing Evolutions can be surmised as follows:

    1) Speed of the early game
    2) Card design fail

    Pokémon Catcher isn't the problem; it is all these Pokémon that can attack hard enough first/second turn to OHKO something you need to Evolve. Cards like Pokémon Catcher and even damage boosters like PlusPower all serve important functions to the game, but they become an issue because so many Pokémon can abuse them for a donk (either an actual donk to win, or a first turn KO just for serious advantage).

    The last is both a reference to the amount of "filler" Pokémon we get (a whole separate article) and a failure to balance all fully Evolved Pokémon against each other; the Basic that doesn't Evolve at all with the Stage 1 that doesn't Evolve with the Stage 2 Pokémon. As implied above, nothing should have "that kind" of attack early game; if you can use it on your first turn, let it help you set-up, let it disrupt your opponent, etc. but don't be an attack for damage.

    Next don't make big, Basic Pokémon self-sufficient. If it is meant to be the main attacker, make it require a "partner" to open for it, or else you're sitting there trying to power up a Legendary Pokémon-based Pokémon-EX for two turns, watching its HP drop as it gets attacked. We don't need stuff that hits hard first turn and just gets better as time goes on.

    Lastly, Evolution should be a pro, not a con. Make lower Stage Pokémon combo with their Evolved forms. Doing this can offset the increased space and time required. Basic A might be good at setting up, and when you Evolve into Stage 1 A you get something that has a decent offensive attack but also sets up for the fattie of the deck, Stage 2 A. You shouldn't want to skip these Stages, because they make it hard for your opponent to sabotage your set-up, and using them should yield advantage similar to what the extra slots (usually going towards Items) give a mono-Basic Pokémon deck.

    To summarize, when you can't go on the straight-up offensive early game, but have constructive activities the game is still "fast", but the KOs take a few turns. Quite speeding up set-up (be it hitting hard, Energy attachments, or Evolving) and you can create a format where an all Basic Pokémon deck still runs like 12 Pokémon, because you won't have a hard hitting main attacker that is also a good opener/closer. Meanwhile an Evolution based deck won't have as much room for items, but it is okay since all the Evolving Basic Pokémon are good to open with, and what you Evolve from is generating advantage in addition to what you Evolve into.
  4. Crawdaunt

    Crawdaunt Active Member

    Thanks for the shout out Colin! :) Last night I updated the 'Gym thread with all the T32 information available. I think the T32 totals are something more representative of what we would expect to see over the Cities season if the format were to stay the same.

    I just wanted to point out though that Squirtle's Ability really aids Blastoise's viability as a Stage 2 deck that can survive Landorus and Darkrai. And I'd add that Empoleon has a decent shot if Landorus becomes over-bearing.

    A great discussion of the current format! I can't imagine what a turn-around the current format would take if something like Dark Feraligatr or Machamp SF were in the format. I have to agree that it would be a great check to have Dark Feraligatr especially. An ability like that would probably force every single deck to run an evolved attacker, or Garbodor :p And any format where Garbodor is a tier 1 check, is a format I want to see! :p

    Now if TPCi were to actually implement ideas like these is another question.

    Otaku I would nonetheless say Pokemon Catcher is a serious reason that Stage 2's are getting chased out of the format. You can argue that we shouldn't have T1-T2 attacks, and I agree. But in the SP days, there were cards like BTS and the Rare Candy Errata. Machamp SF etc... Pokemon is always going to have decks that can go off T2.

    T1 is a bit extreme, but that isn't really a huge problem. The only main attackers generally capable of hitting T1 in BW-DRX are Rayquaza, Mewtwo and Tornadus EX. And each of these T1 attackers are balanced by either requiring a special energy (and even a stadium) or a negative effect (milling 2). Landorus is going to be ridiculous just because there's no drawback, and the simplicity of a T1 Hammerhead is ludicrous.

    So I wouldn't say that the problem currently is the big attacks, because those'll happen T2 no matter what you do (be it in a Stage 2's format or Basics format). I would agree with Colin that the problem is being able to KO precisely what you want such that Stage 2 decks don't get to start up.
  5. Otaku

    Otaku Well-Known Member

    I have learned that it is always important to see what is the ultimate cause of a problem with... anything really. When I procrastinate, for example, I shouldn't blame any activities I was doing in lieu of my work, I should blame myself for procrastinating. Without fast, powerful attacks that score OHKOs, Pokémon Catcher becomes a useful tool (not to be confused with a Pokémon Tool) for preventing Bench-sitters from dominating.

    Remember that all Pokémon who can't be readied in a single turn suffer from Pokémon Catcher; plenty of Basic Pokémon that don't Evolve suffer for it as well; you can't build them safely on the Bench like you could have in a past format. We need to identify the common problem in all scenarios; sure Pokémon Catcher is being used, by why are the top Pokémon largely unaffected? Because the ones that work all work quickly; this enables them to outpace Evolutions and slower Basic Pokémon, but still compete against each other.

    Just think about Mewtwo EX or Darkrai EX in this format with access to everything... but Energy acceleration. No Double Colorless Energy or Dark Patch, besides all the lesser used or more deck-specific options. Your opponent always sees Mewtwo EX coming a turn before you can use X-Ball. The first few turns of the game, you can field Basic Pokémon and not one is getting OHKOed. While I don't advocate getting rid of all Energy acceleration, restricting it to Stage 2 Pokémon that can't hit the field until your third turn does quite a bit.

    Only if they choose to enable such decks.

    Seriously; my entire point was the need for TPC to design and streamline the game so that this isn't a factor. Arguing against that by saying It is like me claiming we will always have Pokémon Catcher. We will... if they choose to continuously reprint it. Actually, most formats we have had something at least similar or else sniping attacks tended to reign.

    When you accelerate Evolutions, sure you won't have a Basic dominated format but... you won't have a better format, either. You'll trade one form of diversity for another. I've experienced formats where Basic Pokémon dominated and where you only played them to Evolve from them. The best find the balance between the two... and even then suffered when we had pre-erratum Rare Candy.

    I have to disagree. You named three Pokémon capable of "going off" first turn relatively easily. You also left out damage boosting effects like PlusPower. Like Pokémon Catcher, cards like that have been unduly blamed for causing problems that really boil down to actual pacing; PlusPower (and similar cards), like Pokémon Catcher, play an important role in this game's balance and fun factor. This is three Pokémon too many.

    You need to think long term for the overall game, and short term when evaluating such cards while actually playing. If you leave a potential donk candidate in the game, you always run the risk of it being actualized. Thanks to set rotation, this is less a problem for Pokémon. However all those changes I cited? All are rendered worthless if a pure aggro deck arises. Now I can use "aggressive opener" (even if he has a draw back) to ruin my opponent's set up, allowing a cleaner to be set-up over the next two or three turns to secure the win. The only defense against this? A lucky, fast set-up followed by skilled play.

    When deciding if something is balanced, make sure what we would consider the "long term" exists; this was a huge issue in Yu-Gi-Oh when I played. You would have decks arise that burned off all their own Life Points (the sort of equivalent of Prizes) or where a player would deck themselves... but it didn't matter because said player's deck depleted all of his/her opponent's Life Points or deck first. Both arose over time, and taught me not to leave cards that violated principles because they were harmless; you have to guard against unseen, future combos.

    I experienced (and hated formats) where the problem was T1/2 attacks. Accelerating Evolutions and Energy will always be a problem when it happens early and/or is generic, because it prevents properly balanced game design. Cards that aren't properly "adjusted" for the acceleration become broken, while those that are then are considered "too weak". When you don't have a good way to disrupt the Bench, then the Bench becomes too powerful

    I invite you to read your own statement:

    You said "KO". Not "Catcher up", but "KO".[/quote]
  6. Crawdaunt

    Crawdaunt Active Member

    Argument 1: If you take away the Darkrais, and the Mewtwos and everything else hitting major attacks on T2, then what are you left with? Combos like Empoleon + Candy + Catcher KO. The options for a strong T2 attack with a Stage 1 or Stage 2 are not absent from our metagame. Removing the ability for big basic EX's to attack on T2 just means other Pokemon will be. I maintain the main problem is Catcher, and nonetheless agree (as I stated before) that overpowered basic EX's are also an issue. Examples of Stage 1 Pokemon with threatening attacks that are easy to unleash on T2 might be: Ninetales DRX, Cinccino BW, Wigglytuff NXD etc... Pretty much any pokemon that takes 1-2 energy cards to attack for 60+ damage. A competitive deck will never be unable to attack as early as T2. Thus, Catcher will nonetheless be the problem preventing Stage 2's from being viable. Replace Basic with Stage 1 if you want, but you'll still get the Stage 2 basics being KO'd on T2 reliably as a consequence of Catcher.

    Argument 2: It's called power creep. If they print a bunch of crap cards that take too long to set up, then there will be no interest in new sets and the game will die. Even if they then rotate and we're left with a slower metagame where all the worthwhile attacks cost things like WWW or FFCC, there'll be no one left to play. I also wouldn't say this makes the game better personally. I see the fundamentals of your argument being with power creep. It's very difficult to reverse. releasing cards with effects like Mr. Mime Jungle is probably the only way I can see a format being reverted to slower decks.

    But at the same time, I don't see the enabling of T2 Stage 2's or T2 big basics as the main problem. The reason we can do that is because we have consistency. I like consistency. The problem is when cards can ruin your potential, even if you would consistently be able to fulfill it. Cards like Pokemon Catcher.

    Argument 3: I've run up the numbers on how often a donk really occurs many times now. DCE being a 4-of unsearchable (not true now due to computer search) combined with your T1 DCE-abuser of choice results in odds of donking being poor to begin with. Couple this with a 50% chance to go first and you find decks with all the cards being run to hit T1 Mewtwos and Tornadus' to win by donk somewhere between 1/10 and 1/20 games. I'd add that those estimates only really apply when your opponent starts with a lone basic, capable of being donked. Rayquaza is worse because just like Landorus the ability to attack with it is far too easy. But at the same time people aren't running 4 Rayquaza's in their deck. Why is this? Because focusing on a T1 40 damage is a poor strategy. And the majority of tournament-winning decks aren't running Pluspower, so I could care less about that card. It's going to be pretty great in Landorus, but my problem with Landorus is entirely separate from the inherent format problems we're discussing.

    Argument 4: I said KO because of what I was talking about in the paragraph you quoted. The notion that, no matter what, Catcher + KO is going to happen T2 as long as Catcher exists. Be it due to a Basic, a Stage 1 or a Stage 2. If you want to argue that Stage 2's would become playable without big basics being better attacking options, sure. But that doesn't make it a better format (again as you stated earlier in your post). Catcher is the one consistent threat that I have brought up in everything I said, because it applies universally. You too continue to acknowledge in your posts that Catcher is a problem. You just seem to think that the game would be better if Pokemon didn't attack for much before the third turn.

    I think you cut short the effort put in by the game designers to balance these effects. The speed we experience in the format is due to energy acceleration, which is also the reason that we can play games consistently in the mid and end-game. Cards like Dark Patch and Eelektrik obviously serve a purpose in starting to attack on T2, but they're also important for maintaining the flow of the game. Energy acceleration is the heart and soul of consistency in Pokemon. Without it, we lose a great equalizer in ensuring that the player who goes second is not at a significant disadvantage. Without it, the game would be up to who KO'd the opponent's Pokemon first, removing their energy from the field. Afterwards, turns would stagnate as one side struggles to KO a fully set-up Pokemon. The alternative is to make all attacks really cheap, which returns the problem of a quick T1-T2 attack anyways. Thus energy acceleration is a necessity for a balanced game, with the unfortunate side-effect of enabling aggro decks.

    So I completely agree with printing cards that promote the potential for consistent T2 attacks. It's because we have these cards that we can respond on our T2 as well, even if we seemingly have no way to do it from the current board position. And it's because these cards exist that we can play a game which is balanced and enjoyable.

    The problem is Pokemon Catcher.
  7. jbpoole

    jbpoole New Member

    Ditto will help stage 2's. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Ditto will allow you to attach a basic, then rare candy to stage 2 all in 1 turn.
  8. TechnoLegend

    TechnoLegend Active Member

    I have only played when the base set came out, and agian in the BW format, Gust of wind was printed in the first set and i loved it, so when i got back into the game and saw Pokemon catcher it did not even phase me. It was one of the first card concepts designed for the game. It is an amazingly over powered card, but a deck that has a stage 2 set up loves it because they might be able to catcher stall the opponent just 1 more turn to get their set up going. Any card in a format can be used in any deck in that format, so every deck needs to have it or have a way to deal with it, its just a fun part of deck building. I love that PTCG does not make cards banned to often, in MTG it happened alot and it was really annoying and stupid. If you cant beat em, join em or quit play'in, but i agree that if pokemon keeps this up we could start to loose alot of players, happend to me in MTG.
  9. cabd

    cabd Taking over for Tamoo as the girly looking mod.

    So long as that turn is the turn AFTER you played ditto to the bench.
  10. daGlaceon

    daGlaceon Still Can't See

    That's it? Nothing about Boundaries Crossed?

    I see that as a rant that someone got $150 to write.
    kgenthe likes this.
  11. Otaku

    Otaku Well-Known Member

    Crawdaunt: You refuse to abandon your premise that this game is supposed to be extremely fast. This prevents you from accepting my premise that the game can be fast without operating exactly as it is now, and has for far too much of its existence. Which is why I explain my reasoning, things I've learned from casually studying this game, but casually studying it for over a decade. Many of which I only realized recently.

    This is not a new concept nor a new problem. You speed up Evolutions, you just end up with a different mess, and most cards being relegated to filler. You insist that power creep is unavoidable, you just end up with a game degenerating to dueling FTK decks, where even if the game isn't truly over first turn, it might as well be because a comeback is almost impossible... or is possible due to equally unfair "comeback" cards.

    Create "basic killer" cards and effects, you make that deck good. You don't make the format good, just that deck. Improve Evolution so that lower Stages contribute to the end as more than just stepping stones? Slow down the "straight damage" attacks so that a good opening is about set-up? That is how you level the playing field between Evolutions and Basic Pokémon. You might get a delicate balance without it, but that's not skill, that's luck; nothing exploiting the flaws in the system.
  12. Crawdaunt

    Crawdaunt Active Member

    Otaku By all means, ignore the fact that I said I see nothing wrong with a fast format, and appreciate that the tools that make it fast are the tools that make it consistent. I said the problem was Pokemon Catcher.

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/argument_victory.png
  13. Otaku

    Otaku Well-Known Member

    Actually... that is the premise of my previous post; you are convinced that the format is supposed to be this fast, and this is the only way to make it "consistent". I disagree, and as such I am done discussing it with you on this thread. If we don't agree on this basic premise, how can our conclusions agree? Why waste your time or mine?
  14. baby_mario

    baby_mario Doesn't even care

    Otaku, are you saying that this format is fast by accident, and not design?
    Crawdaunt likes this.
  15. mommasmyth

    mommasmyth New Member

    Ok those reasons for saying stage 2 decks are weaker then basic decks are valid. However, this will change with the next set. Squirtle as a one-deck thing has shell shield that prevents bench damage to it. Also, Ditto allows you to basically bench a stage 2. His trans form ability allows you to evolve the pokemon he trans forms into on that turn.

    Example: Bench ditto, transform into squirtle and rare candy int Blastoise
  16. Charranitar

    Charranitar Well-Known Member

    Ditto doesn't exactly work like that. It's bench Ditto...wait a turn, then play down the basic and rare candy into Stage 2.

    I know a lot of good players have said Ditto is good, but I'm failing to understand what advantage Ditto has over playing down the basic form and evolving that way. Ditto also has a horrible fighting weakness and gets donked by Landorus EX with Pluspower. I almost feel like Ditto is a massive troll card, in which tpci tries to make it seem like it serves some purpose, but really it just clutters up the deck.
  17. Crawdaunt

    Crawdaunt Active Member

    Ditto must be in play for at least one turn before you can rare candy into a stage 2. Ditto becomes the card played on top via its ability. Thus it can't evolve the same turn it was played. It will definitely still help Stage 2 decks compete though. And Squirtle is one of the better basics they've printed since it can't be 2HKO'd by snipe while on the bench.
  18. JayHornung

    JayHornung Active Member

    Catcher Ditto KO is a much weaker play than Catcher Tynamo KO. It also opens up a ton of more plays in playing 1-0-1s....acts as a 5th-8th good opener...etc. Ditto is good imo
  19. kgenthe

    kgenthe Member

    If you're playing Ditto for tech lines, doesn't that decrease the probability of evolving? You would need the basic, candy, and stage 2 all in one turn (not to mention a benched Ditto) to pull it off. Rather than just the 2 card combo (candy, Stage 2).

    While I enjoyed this article, and really enjoy Colin and his blog, but I gave this article a -1. I don't feel this offered any additional insight into the game of Pokemon that I haven't already read on various forums. It's clear the game designers have shifted the focus to the Legendary pokemon have mostly left evolutions out of the spotlight. It seems an article like this should be open to everyone, so everyone can see the concerns, and everyone can discuss this shift has impacted the game. As an Underground article, I feel let down.
  20. Crawdaunt

    Crawdaunt Active Member

    kgenthe The idea of Ditto is more to provide additional outs. It is definitely harder to play basic, candy, stage 2 all in the same turn. And it's simpler to play a basic, wait a turn, and candy into the Stage 2. But the benched basic can be more vulnerable than Ditto, or simply not available at the time. But any time you supporter, play a basic, end your turn, and then the next turn candy into stage 2. That same combo can be done without playing the basic the prior turn thanks to Ditto.

    Ditto's a buffer. It's not inherently better than current options. It's just an additional out to benching your basic of choice when you don't have one, like Junk Arm was an additional out to key trainers.
    JayHornung likes this.