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DjJoe's Rants

Bon Voyage!

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Today I decided to rant about something everyone is familiar with: July 1st 2011 Rotation. But before I do, I'd like to make one thing clear- when I rant, I am expressing my own personal opinions and thoughts. I by no means assume I am correct, but merely wish to be. If there are conflicting ideas, I would love to have a comment conversation, but if and only if there is constructive criticism and explained though processes.

As we all know, on July 1st 2011, the following sets, and only the following sets, are legal for Constructed Modified Play:

Heartgold & Soulsilver
HS: Trainer Kits
HS: Unleashed
HS: Undaunted
HS: Triumphant
Call of Legends
Black & White
HGSS Black star Promos
BW Black star Promos
Black & White: McDonald's Series

With Rotation, we see the exit of 10 sets. Below, I listed them:

Pokemon Rumble
Diamond & Pearl: Majestic Dawn
Diamond & Pearl: Legends Awakened
Diamond & Pearl: Stormfront
Platinum: Rising Rivals
Platinum: Supreme Victors
Platinum: Arceus
DP Black Star Promos

Essentially, we've been cut in at least half.

My rant today isn't about the shift in meta, its not about Sabledonk, SP, or any other MD-on format quirks or about any HGSS-on worries. Today I'm ranting about the cardpool as a whole.

Now I mean as a whole, and here's where I'll start: Deck Construction.

In the past, we'll all easily admit- we were spoonfed. We were given basic effects that made obvious combos (Donphan & Machamp, Yanmega & Judge, for example) or we were given cards meant specifically for each other (The entire SP line that worked only with and for SP Pokemon, and the Arceus cards, for more example). Now, in a HGSS-on format, we were not given such obvious combos as we are given obvious advantage.

In my last blog I ranted about Reshiram and Zekrom. These cards set a bar for basics. The Primes from the HS block set another Bar on cards to build around. Currently, we have no other legs to stand on.

When people build decks, now, we all follow the same basic principles if we aren't already copying somebody else. Hit hard, hit fast, with as little effort or inconsistency as possible. Donphan Prime's attack costs for 60 damage; Yanmega Prime can hit for 70 for no energy; Cincinno can hit for a very easy 100 for a single Double Colorless Energy; Zoroark can match power for a Double Colorless Energy.

When decks are built, these cards are looked upon for tech, a card that can be thrown in with little splashing of types, and can combat a weakness or defend with a resistance.

The point I make here is that while yes- our format with Majestic Dawn-on was severly tilted towards Donks, it did give newer deckbuilders Options. And that's what this rant is about- For beginning players who are learning the game, or for players who are trying to be quirky or have fun, the Options are severly limited.

In my last rant I mentioned how I'd rather be donked than stare down a 130HP wall. This is why- no matter what combos I can come up with to have fun, Zekrom and Reshiram can more than likely halt them and force me to change strategy.

Any current format Emboar based deck hits hard when it's set up. This is fine, considering it is a set-up deck, but not when everyone is doing it.

When we are forced into a corner of select cards, and of those select cards only a bucket is playable (Show me a Grumpig deck or Musharna build that the player is proud of), not only do individual card values skyrocket (Magnezone Prime went from being a $6 prime to a $40 prime and may go higher) but individual deck ideas decrease.

Go to the Decks forum. It could be here, Pokebeach, whereever. Most of the threads there are the same 4-5 basic decks that people are trying to adjust to so that they can make a smooth transition in the Format change. While this is great to get Nationals and Worlds out of the way for competitive players, other homebrew decks do not really share such Limelight.

When I sit down to build a deck, I NEVER build to win. It's not fun. Everyone else can build to win, I want to build a deck that can last over several turns, can exchange prizes without being overpowered, and really stress that this is a "Game".

To give you an idea of how the flow game is, to me, to how it should be, also to me, let me refer you back to Pokemon Red & Blue versions.

The very first battle, you Vs Gary. Your pokemon were evenly matched, and it really came down to one of a few things. Those of course being luck, did you use Scratch/Tackle or Leer/Tailwhip, and did you remember to check your personal PC for a potion before hand. That's partially how I expect games in the cardgame to be- evenly matched, players battling for the win but at the same time enjoying the thrill of a match by putting their best foot forward but not really stomping down.

The next battle I want to refer to is against the Ghostly apparition of Marowak. You fought this in Lavender town, which you needed a Silph Scope to even see. I'm talking about a battle (for those of us who didn't use a guide and just rushed up the tower of course) with the ghost before obtaining the Silph Scope. Your pokemon responded with too scared to move, you couldn't throw any type of Pokeball at it, and you were basically left with Running away. That is how I feel the Cardgame has become- where if you didn't do exactly like everyone else (which was go get the Silph Scope there, or resort to overpowered Primes and expensive combos) you were left standing there with all your time and effort ready to pee your pants.

Now anyone can easily argue that not everyone resorts to using that limited competitive cardpool and sometimes games are with thought and skill. I commend those people. But that's not my point here. My point here is that as long as power exists, people will seek it over effort, and we will be stuck with stagnant formats built upon the same 20 or so cards and about 6-8 cards everyone will try to use as tech.

That's all for today.