Why I am falling out of love with the Pokemon TCG
by, 08/27/2011 at 03:35 PM (13530 Views)
I was watching the newest episode of Prof-It, a show that I never miss an episode of and praise J-Wittz for doing, when a bunch of negative feelings towards the game started to flood my thinking.
1) All the different types are cool but it really just turns the game into a Rock/Paper/Scissors game. I've gone back and forth on the idea of weakness, but I feel it does more to hurt the game than to better it. I think it is because:
a) There arenít even opportunities for all types. Right now, we have 2 ways to energy accelerate for Fire decks; Emboar and Typhlosion Prime. Because of this, fire decks have a huge advantage and did the best at Worlds/Nationals. J-Wittz was talking about Gothitelle and how one of its downsides is that it takes a while to setup. The same was said about Beartic perhaps having to look to Feraligatr Prime for the needed energy acceleration.
i) J-Wittz goes on to say that Beartic has a good weakness because, "nobody plays metal (pokemon)". It just left a bad taste in my mouth, not because of J-Wittz, but because of the implications for the game. I've heard plenty of discussions online about cards and having a good or bad weakness can make a big difference in how playable the card is. Each type isnít equal, heck some types donít get shown much love at all. I should be able to play whatever type I want to play and have adequate support for it.
(1) Is the modified format just too small of a collection of sets? Is the limited card pool making it harder or easier for certain types to be played? Is this how the game should be played? Iíd sure love to see each of the types have other resources.
b) I guess that someone could argue that each type is supposed to have advantages and disadvantages, but when the game comes down to Ďwho can setup firstí, energy acceleration as an option is HUGE and status condition options arenít as useful, and will often result in complete types not seeing any play, like the metal example above.
2) A huge percentage of each Pokemon TCG set is taken up by evo-filler cards. What do I mean? I mean, that for each important stage 2 pokemon card, there is 2-4 lower stages that have very little affect, at least not as much as the final evolution stage, on the actual game. For example, out of Black and White, we have 91 different Pokemon cards, and out of those, we have 43 actual final stages, and 48 lower stage Pokemon cards. That means that more than half the Pokemon in the set play a very small role in each game. That limits the playersí choices so much and it means that we donít get as much interesting new useful cards out of each set.
a) Call of Legends and now Emerging Powers go down as being lackbuster, borderline horrible sets. Why is that? One might say because there arenít a lot of useful choices in these sets. One reason for this may be because half the Pokemon in the set are just pre-evolution filler cards. Nobody can argue that the trainers/supporters in both sets arenít half-way decent, so they canít be the issue.
3) I guess you could tie this into the last idea, but I just hate that so few actual cards see play at the big events. I think it is partially because of the lack of options created by the pre-evolution filler cards but it is also because certain cards are designed to be much better than others. Because of this, each year at Nationals and Worlds, we see a very small percentage of the cards actually being played. Even in the current format, with 6 sets, on average being around 100 cards, with 90-ish of each being Pokemon cards, thatís 540 cards to choose from. If we cut it in half, per my 50% pre-evolution filler thought, that still leaves us with around 270 different final-staged Pokemon to choose from. Why, with 270 Pokemon to choose from do we only see roughly 1% of them seeing playing? Would that be an accurate guess? 27 different pokemon? I think so, especially when so many decks run the same helpers (Cleffa, Pachirisu, Shaymin, Manaphy, Tyrogue, etc). A deck may have around 2-3 main pokemon. That means that 9 completely different decks would see play. I think this is still more than normal. Iíd almost go to say that 0.5% of all the choices see actual play, around 13.5 different Pokemon, or 4-5 completely different decks. I want to be able to play all my cards, not have 95% of them sit in the binder.
a) I know some cards are perfectly fine for less competitive events, but it doesnít send a good message through the game if the best players in the world are only utilizing a half of a percent of all the available choices of cards.
4) I guess part of me is envious of Magic: The Gathering. The monsters donít need to evolve from lower stuff, and it seems that a much larger percentage of cards from each set see competitive play. Each type (Plains, Forest, etc) donít physically counter each other, although it seems certain types may have a slight advantage over any other type, it is nothing written in black and white, unlike the Weakness/Resistance specifically written on Pokemon cards. And it seems that each type is more fleshed out, with more options at their dispoal.
a) I wonder, why am I playing this game when there could be a much better designed game out there. Why canít Pokemon be more like Magic?
i) It kind of was, with SP Pokemon all being basic Pokemon. Honestly, I thought it was so cool during the SP days that a player could easily tech a random SP pokemon into their deck. It didnít need 3 basics, 1-2 middle stages, and 2 tops. The player could just put in 2 basics, thatís it.
5) What is up with The Pokemon Company (japan) designing all these poor cards? Should I even blame them, though? There has to be good and bad cards, but with half the Pokemon cards being lower evolution filler cards, the lack of options just stands out. When a set like Emerging Powers is released and there are less than a handful of decent final stages, it just makes the set look horrible. Does TPC not understand this? Perhaps they see the game in a different light than us. Perhaps they donít see the game so seriously and actually play more of the cards.
a) I donít like the feeling when I look at a brand new set and go, ďokay, I just need this handful of cards and nothing else.Ē That doesnít spell well for my interest in the game and it doesnít spell well for The Pokemon Company: International making money off the selling of product. Arguably, a more competitive set will lead to more interest, which will lead to more sells.
The Organized Play seems to keep growing. God love TPCi for doing a fantastic job. My interest in the game just seems to keep dropping. I should need to keep taking breaks from the game to keep the spark of interest alive. I want to keep giving Pokemon a chance and my time, but why should I when there are better designed games out there?