Can P!P Dodge a Bullet?

Discussion in 'Feature Articles' started by eriknance, Feb 28, 2011.

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  1. eriknance

    eriknance New Member

    Note: Many threads lately have featured spirited discussions about the current state of the format. While I know that many people have differing opinions on that issue - as well as decisions that Play! Pokemon (P!P) makes concerning said format - I'm asking that posters please try to keep the discussion civil and constructive. Just think twice before posting something like "If you don't like the game, just stop playing" or "SP sucks, this game sucks, everything sucks, blah blah blah." Like I said, if we can keep the discussion civil, purposeful, and hopefully not pessimistic, that would be awesome. Thanks!

    Can P!P Dodge a Bullet?

    I can assume that as long as new sets for the Pokemon TCG have been in production, it's always been a challenge for those who control Pokemon's competitive (tournament) scene to accomodate the delay in set releases that exists between Japan and the rest of the world. Cards get shuffled around (examples: Majestic Dawn, Triumphant), formats get bruised every now and then, and the whole ordeal probably requires much planning to strike a fine balance between proper business decisions and the health of the game itself. Lately, however, I've been wondering to myself just how P!P is planning on tackling the release of Black & White in the world outside of Japan.

    For those who are unaware that there are some issues with the release of Black & White for our modified format (currently MD-on), let me go over those issues:

    1. The release of Black & White in Japan prompted a change in the gameplay rules. While the new rules in Japan's format work quite well, those same rules - when applied to our own modified format - may present many unique challenges to organized play that will result in a terribly unhealthy format. With one of the new rules being that players can use trainers, supporters, and stadiums on the first turn, many have mentioned Sableye SF and Uxie LA as being able to easily achieve wins on the first turn without the opponent ever getting a turn. The presence of Seeker in the format also allows these cards/decks to win even if the opponent has a Pokemon on the bench. Even Gastly, which would normally prevent the opponent from playing trainers, falls hard to an opponent going first. Before the player can say "Pitch Dark," they've lost to a Pokemon Collector for an Unown Q, Unown D, and Sableye. And of course, all players unfamiliar with Sableye should look it up and read its unbelievable Poke-Body in such a format with such rules!
    2. Some of the cards in Black & White are simply not meant for an MD-on format. Even if we don't shift to the new Black & White rules, I'm sure there are many combos out there that threaten an already troubled format, one of the most obvious is that of Pokemon Catcher and Max Potion with Gyarados. Pokemon Catcher, a reprint of Base Set's Gust of Wind, gives even more power to a 130/150 HP Pokemon that can already hit for up to 110 damage for no energy. Max Potion, which removes all damage from a Pokemon after discarding all of that Pokemon's energy, is also a possibility with Gyarados. Though many people will talk about how VileGar is capable of taking on Gyarados, there's always the threat that the entire format will start revolving around two or three decks. Or, since Sableye commonly finds its place in Gyarados builds, perhaps the deck is only a couple of Special Darks away from being the uncontested "best deck in format" (this I mention with the idea that we end up adopting the Black & White rules). No matter what, there's a huge level of uncertainty about what the Black & White cards will do to an MD-on format; I can definitely say, however, that people aren't looking to slow down their strategies with the new Black & White cards.
    3. If Black & White gets released without any sort of rotation from the world outside of Japan, it will only further the rift that has suddenly grown concerning the different ways in which the world plays the Pokemon TCG competitively. The decision by P!P to open up the card pool was, in my opinion, a welcome one. Leaving the format at DP-on one season and MD-on the next seems to me an active decision to somehow parallel Japan's format. In the past, there have been times when Japan was playing with more sets than we were. As a result, the way we played the Pokemon TCG felt "watered down," leaving many strong combos (like Gardevoir/Gallade) to go on unchallenged during a season. Unfortunately, a larger card pool right now does very little to advance the game. Many of the most recent sets have been entirely disregarded save a handful of cards because of the unbearable strength of sets prior to HGSS. It seems clear to me that HGSS-on sets were produced in an attempt to drastically slow the game down and return eventually to an era of setup decks again (yes, many speed decks are currently performing well in Japan; I feel this will change with the next couple of B&W sets, just like the Diamond & Pearl release saw a momentary rise in speed decks before Secret Wonders/Great Encounters was released). This slowing of the format won't be felt by anyone but Japan unless we have some sort of large rotation. Consequently, B&W sets will probably continue to give us very little to work with unless sets prior to HGSS are rotated away.
    4. With the release of Black & White, Japan has changed the way that Rare Candy works. With another indication that they want the game slowed down, Rare Candy can only be used when a player's Pokemon has been in play for at least one turn. For our modified format, this change is momentous, providing many players with yet another reason to never use anything above a Basic Pokemon in competitive play. Broken Time-Space will be the only viable alternative, meaning that Dialga G, a card released in early 2009, would gain even more power.

    The Health of the Format
    In the midst of all this talk about the future of our game, we should remember a few things. First of all, the Pokemon TCG is healthiest when it lines up with the way Japan plays the game. This is for fairly obvious reasons, as they can see the effect each set has on the game and make counters when needed to "overpowered" combos. When we deviate from that model, things get messy. Many people have commented before on this phenomenon, and I don't think it's something to be overlooked. Simply put, we should desire a format that parallels that of Japan. It keeps unintended combos from dominating a format and promotes a healthy format overall.

    One of the most surprising things I as a player have seen is the relative uselessness of recent sets. I have been completely discouraged from attending Pre-Releases as of late simply because the sets don't offer anything new and refreshing to the format. As I mentioned before, a very small handful of cards from HGSS-on sets have seen competitive play; otherwise, most people stick to SP's and SF's (Gyarados, Gengar, Machamp). To me, a healthy format is something in which multiple strategies can be implemented to be successful at the game, not just the mechanics of those same 3-5 Pokemon from almost 10 sets ago. Japan has realized this and made their necessary move by going HGSS-on. In hindsight, it actually makes a lot of sense, as it's something they've been preparing for (with their HGSS sets) for quite some time.

    "Hey, Where'd My Binder Go?"

    The last thing I want to say is this. Nobody who plays this game likes looking at an entire binder's worth of cards and labeling them as "unplayable" because of a card rotation. Trust me, I know. I've been playing this game for over five years, so I know the pain a rotation causes. With the way our format has gone recently, and with the multiple challenges that the release of Black & White presents, it's no surprise that we're due for a card rotation. Whether P!P will enact this rotation during our season or not remains to be seen (though I for one would appreciate an early indication about where our game is going). However, there's a lot to be happy about with a rotation. I for one look forward to going through my HGSS sets and seeing combos that I previously shrugged off in the face of a speed-infested format. I look forward to going once more to a Pre-Release and marvelling at cards that have the potential to change the format (and no, not just a single card in an entire set like Lost World). I look forward to having an opponent ask me which way he or she flips their active Pokemon when they're asleep rather than just frown and dump their benched Wartortle into the discard when I attach another Double Colorless Energy to my Garchomp C X. I also look forward to playing the game as Japan - the very creators of the Pokemon TCG - plays it. I don't want to move further and further away from their meticulously crafted format. And finally, I look forward to the multiple strategies, combos, and ideas that have been mysteriously absent from this game for so long. It used to be that each new set offered a whole list of new ideas. As it is right now, each set offers us maybe a new deck, maybe (HGSS=Jumpluff, Undaunted=VileGar, Call of Legends=LostGar).

    After States...

    In my opinion, this looks to be one of the most challenging years in recent history for P!P. They have many careful things to consider while still preserving the health of the format. Japan went through a massive card rotation recently for a reason - something P!P has to look at seriously if they want to help direct the Pokemon TCG once again to a healthy level. Among other things, they also have to look at the business of things. Though the game is currently growing, one must wonder how much the release of one "boring" set after the other is hampering the development of the competitive scene. What incentive do players have to go to a Pre-Release like the one for Call of Legends, which featured no new Primes or Legend Pokemon and was capable of only coughing up a single card - Lost World - to actually change the format in a significant way? How will newcomers look at the release of B&W-on sets when SP decks continue to win tournaments? These are some of the questions I'm sure P!P is asking themselves. I for one look forward to how they respond.
  2. cmak37

    cmak37 New Member

    Brilliant post Erik. I believe you hit every single issue that P!P is facing right now.
  3. Austino

    Austino New Member

    Mid season rotation at the release of B/W would be a solid move IMO.

    Yes, it may cause confusion, but the competitive players at events will know anyway, and those who show up for the first time at that event are just as likely to have rotated cards as well.

    The speed of the format has wiped recent sets' (aside from Triumphant) importance off the radar.

    A move to HGSS-on or even RR-on would definitely take things back a few steps and change the pace of the game, however I would be concerned with slowing the game back down while we just reduced Time Limits. I think the main issue is really the T1 capability with the new rules that come with B/W. Either a rotation as the rules hit or postpone the new rules until a rotation would be "the play" for P!P.

    I still hate that so many cards are currently unplayable in a competitive environment due to the current pace of the game though. Things like Ursaring, Kingdra prime, even eeveelutions look appealing, but not worth losing your rating over wanting to enjoy new decks.
  4. Regis_Neo

    Regis_Neo Moderator

    Umm...considering that at min the format is going to look like RR-On (or more hopefully HGSS On), I really don't see the new rules impacting our format as most of the cards that would otherwise seem very broken under them (SP, Sableye, etc) will already be gone or broken up. So eh, I don't see it being a problem, but who knows what it'll actually be like in 5 months.

    I agree with the other points for sure though, stop it with the useless cards, no useless filler sets, and the like. I mean granted, they're probably still making bundles of money from those sets, but much of the older crowd should be seeing through that veil that most of them are reprints and thus useless if you already have them for play. Certainly the TCG is only getting stronger it seems, so from a business standpoint they're doing something right, but it could certainly use some tweeks to make it even better.
  5. SD PokeMom

    SD PokeMom Mod Supervisor Staff Member

    imho this is an article worthy of the front page, so...*whoosh*

  6. Raen

    Raen New Member

    Very, VERY good post, Erik. Very thoughtful and brings up some great points. It really is a good summary of the challenges P!P is going to be having in the near future.

    When it comes to my personal feelings, I think they need to either 1) Rotate to HGSS-on with the release of BW or 2) Delay the fundamental rule changes until rotation. The first option is a little frustrating for people, as many cards quickly become useless, but I think it's a better option than #2, which doesn't really make sense, since rule changes ought to be in the base set of the series they are implemented, for simplicities sake. So here's hoping the right decision is made, or at least a non-apocalyptic (ya gotta sensationalize things, right?) decision (such as no rotation and rule changes implemented) is made!
  7. Aron Figaro

    Aron Figaro New Member

    I honestly think #1 is the only way to keep a remotely serious, competitive atmosphere this season. I don't think that's how they'll play it, though. I'm just hoping I drum up some interest in a Base-Rocket event or something while the format stabilizes. If this is what's coming this season, I'll probably stick to more casual events.
  8. Chairman Kaga

    Chairman Kaga Active Member

    First, Erik, I'm glad you posted this as a well-thought and objective argument. Way too many people here would have posted this same thing with much more "tpci is teh stupid lol". Personally I prefer to operate from the assumption that the guys driving our game are not, in fact, drooling idiots.

    Observing this from the outside, I feel like TPC is in a no-win situation, or is at least down by a lot of points with a minute to go.

    The rules changes are the crux of the matter, in my opinion. They are simply incompatible with the current format. SPs are already dominant; allowing first-turn trainers makes them even more so. The new trainers and changes to Rare Candy et al simply compound the issue -- slowing down evo decks in a format where they're already getting run over, and providing more weapons to a set of decks that already have a nuclear arsenal.

    Making things even stranger is the announced release date for BW. What should be the early-May set is coming in April, immediately after Regionals. I almost wonder if this isn't setting up for a mid-season rotation -- we play States and Regionals under the current format, and then immediately shift to something new with the maximum amount of time before Nationals.

    I expect the torches and pitchforks to come out if that is the case. We all have seen how well this community reacts to major shifts (Japanese card ban, hooooo). But I personally think the mid-season rotation is the best option overall. I can personally think of several ways to try to ease BW into the format, but none of them are good. I think instead of dodging the bullet, they should just bite it and make the hard cut mid-season. I can see this year degrading into a repeat of Gardelade if they don't.

    Regardless -- the final course of action, whatever it may be, was almost certainly decided months ago. The Black and White set had to go to the printing press at some point, and all these things had to be prior considerations. So while it's fun to discuss, we should all understand it's very unlikely to change what goes down the rest of the season.
  9. Yoshi-

    Yoshi- New Member

    Nice summary although I dont get whats so new about it, all this stuff has been posted numerous times. I really think all this mess couldve been avoided if we had gotten a pt-on rotation this year, yes sp is far worse off without uxie in a champ free enviroment because sp cant just afford to burn all its stuff and redraw afterwards.

    And somethimes I really dont get whats going on, MD on was soo obviously the worst rotation possible that I just dont understand how these decisions get made. Heck I mades jokes about getting md-on because I thought it was absurd to even consider it.
    What about CoL? With our current sets we dont have a high standart anyway, energy in every 4th boosters, reprints of some primes, some more good foils and a small set without all the reprinted stuff that no one wanted in the first place and we wouldve had a "well its ok for a filler and there is some fun stuff in it" set which wouldve ben absolutly ok, because we know there wasnt much to work with.

    And about the pre nats rotation or whatever, Id take it, Id take a 2-days-before-nats rotation over our current format any day of the week. Anything to gives those tournaments something to be considered real tournaments and representative ways of finding the best player in x. Something has to change, no matter what. The sooner the better.
  10. NoPoke

    NoPoke New Member

    Unplayable cards: a banned/restricted list would help, not to prevent there being unplayable cards as there are always bad cards in any format, but to give other cards a chance to shine if only for a single tournament series. Not sure how that would go down with the 10- players; probably not well :(

    A better balance between the colors and far less emphasis on really big basics with attacks that can do 50+ damage for very little energy would open up more options but I don't know if that would increase the level of skill needed to do well or just make the whole format more random due to more auto-losses in the format.

    Boring Sets: always a problem when power creep gets out of hand and has to be addressed. Fitting the somewhat random Japanese card releases into a strict quarterly release schedule is yet another challenge for TPCi.

    Fast Format: I don't have a problem with a fast format as long as it is still possible to have most game outcomes determined by relative player skill. It does seem that achieving that in a fast format is harder than in a slower format, but there is nothing inherently wrong with a fast format.


    In the end I'll settle for the starting coin flip being less important than it is right now .
  11. GodBlessAmerica

    GodBlessAmerica New Member

    Solid article Nance. I completely agree with you

    CFOURCOLTSFAN Active Member

    I agree w/ everything, while i tend to like the SPs and SF's I do think it is wrong that a set that was released 3 years ago is just still that good, best of all they're all regular rares too :)
    The way the game is going i think will in general be good but if they go to HGSS i still see many a problem w/ LostGar and MisPlume and then Reshiram and Enboar seem to be overpowered unless something relatively useful is released i mean let's look at our GREAT sets(SV-on)
    SV-Good set, but was bad b/c 98% of cards were junk, Blaze FB X, Honchkrow SV and of course GCX stand out but everything else in general is bad or can just be bought for like 3 bucks....

    PA-Solid, but as time goes by this set looks worse and worse. Spiritomb was made league promo, CurseGar is barely used and other than Gengar X the rest of the set is practically unplayable. Arceus is a solid deck but it's easy to just trade for 'em and Tangy has been getting hype lately, but still..

    HGSS-Collector, DCE, Jumpluff, Ninetales(reprinted) and Donphan are in this set as well as Comm. Honestly this is a "staple" set similar to PL but most Pokes in the set aren't used anymore and this set made LuxChomp so good...

    Unleashed-ERL, who's price has dropped recently was hyped and briefly used in LuxChomp but now in Zone. Kingdra prime IMO is going to be the best card never to be that good(save that nats deck) and then it had some "fad" cards in T-tar etc. that stuck around for a little time until claydol was lost.

    UD-Anything good in this set was reprinted.

    TU-Gengar Prime, Mew Prime, Magnezone prime, prolly the SF of the next generation as in a set that is oldish but still very good.

    COL-Holo energies and Lost World, oh and heaven forbade i forgot those epic shinies and reprints.

    Overall i think the sets have been just bad for almost 2 years and B&W could be good but bad at the same time.
    Also i agree w/ NoPoke post about fast format is not good as long as the best player wins, which in my opinion, is most of the time, yes there are donks but in almost every game the best player will win. You don't see a n00b LuxChomp player upsetting a veteran LuxChomp player etc.(and yes i use LuxChomp as an example b/c it illustrates both points well, it can literally be a science when figuring out techs, don't like it, sorry)
  13. taberlong

    taberlong New Member

    I just bought all new cards ($180 worth) and I really hope that mine don't get rotated out -_- I don't know how rotation normally works as I just started back over this weekend so *crossing my fingers* that this doesn't affect my cards. Great post btw!!! :biggrin:
  14. Porii Sames

    Porii Sames Active Member

    Taber, as long as you're beuilding the deck we discussed, you should be fine :thumb:.
  15. fuzzywuzzy229

    fuzzywuzzy229 New Member

    I think a way that P!P can avoid a MAJORITY of these problems is to split the B/W like they did with Triumphant. All the powerful Trainers like Max Potion and Pokemon Catcher will be released in another set AFTER rotation (which will be after the season). Also, the rule change will only happen AFTER the rotation as well. The only really confusing thing would be the Poke-Ability VS Poke-Power/Poke-Body which I think can be settled.

    Now I think next season would probably be HGSS-on or RR-on (since there's no more real overpowered Pokemon).

    Just my 2 cents :p
  16. baby mario

    baby mario Front Page Article Editor<br><a href="http://pokeg

    I REALLY hope not . . .

    $180 spent on a Beedrill deck would be a tragedy.

    On topic . . .

    There has GOT to be either a mid-season rotation OR a hold off on the B&W rules. Sableye/Crobat WITH Trainers on the first turn makes Uxie donk look like a set up deck . . . it would be mental to have that.

    Neither solution is ideal . . . rotation = a big upheaval like never before and not going to B&W rules means we get a false format with cards designed to be played under different rules. It would be so nice just to rotate like Japan does. Not necessarily at the same time cos they get the cards first, but at least in the same way.
  17. wobbufet

    wobbufet New Member

    Woah! You took a lot of time to post this thread! And I took a lot of time to read your post! Yes, P!P has some serious dodging to do. Serperior, in particular, is doing too much damage for too little energy. White Collection lets you re-arrange energy attached to your pokemon while doing 60 for :grass::colorless:. The other one removes 2 damage counters from all your :grass: Pokemon while doing 60 for :grass::grass:. Most of the other cards in the set are extremely underpowered.
  18. Porii Sames

    Porii Sames Active Member

    No, he's running a Leafeon/Umbreon variant.
  19. DonphanAtoZ

    DonphanAtoZ New Member

    I would be up for a mid season rotation, as long as it's announced BEFORE regionals. I don't want worthless md-on cards that no one wants.
  20. Cetra

    Cetra Member

    It's about time someone brought this up as an article...

    In all honesty, I agree 100%. Regardless how much I LOVE playing Regigigas, a format that gives Gdos max potion and pokemon catcher isn't something I want to play in...On the same side of the coin, the day Sableye the deck becomes BDIF is the day I flip a table.

    I would be perfectly fine with a mid season hgss on rotation, but we NEED the rotation by the end of the year.

    As for the rule changes, I'm interested in seeing how they pull those off without something going horribly wrong.

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