Pikkdogs v.s. BittyBoy: The 30+3 format.

by Pikkdogs ~ November 11th, 2010.

Hey everyone in Omar-Nation.  This is Pikkdogs and BittyBoy, here.  We are here to bring you a new article, “Pikkdogs v.s. Bittyboy.”  In each article we will debate each other on a hot button issue in Pokemon.

This week we are talking about the 30+3 Format.  Bittyboy will be arguing for it while I will be taking the anti-30+3 stance.



My opinion is that the new 30+3 format just is not good for the game.

One reason for this is because it limits your deck options. I will not run the same types of decks that I did last year, because of the 30 +3 format. This format promotes decks that are fast and can take quick prizes. If your deck doesn’t setup in the first two turns, and your opponent’s deck can, you will lose. There simply is not enough time to come back once you are down a few prizes. It seems like TPCI is pushing all players to run SP, because these are the decks that have the best chances to win in the 30 +3 format and in sudden death.

Another reason that this format isn’t good for the game is that it doesn’t stop stalling, it helps people who stall. Yes I understand that once you get to the +3 part of the format, stalling does no good. Unfortunately, it is easier to stall up to that point. The reason is that, instead of stalling for 40 minutes, you only have to stall for 30 minutes. So all you have to do is run a deck that lets you take 2-3 prizes early, then take your time for the next 15 minutes. It gives you 10 less minutes to stall, and makes it easier to keep track of time.

A third reason why I don’t like this format is because it’s a little confusing. Now, I understand the format perfectly, but it’s impossible to look at a new player and say “we’re playing a 30 +3, okay?” What this results in is the tournament organizer having to delay play for 5 minutes while he explains the 30 +3 system to 2 people. This makes everyone mad and just delays the tournament, and it is necessary for every tournament from now on, until they change the format.

The 30+3 format also doesn’t really speed up the tournament like it is supposed to. I don’t have any hard numbers to prove this, but at my local BR’s this fall, there didn’t seem to be any real change in the time it took to run each round. Last year, it took a long time to finish each round, and the same thing has been happening this year. If anything, the +3 part of the format just takes more time than any 4 turns have in the past. When someone hears that the +3 turns are about to start, every player relaxes and knows that turn-length is not a factor, so they take their time with each decision they make. This just makes each game last longer than it did before.

So, what’s a good solution? Just return it to the time limit like it was last year, to around 45 minutes or so. That time is way too long to stall, and gets rid of the confusion with all the +3 stuff. The KISS system works! “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”

Overall, I believe that 30+3 is a good idea!

The 30+3 format really helps speed things up. Do you ever remember being at a tournament late at night playing top cut? I believe this move was made mainly because of this reason. Tournaments were simply taking too long, and now they can speed up a little a bit. I will be the first to say that I am tired after playing a couple games at something smaller like a City Championship, and I am beat. I can only image what it must be like being a judge or tournament organizer who has to stay there for hours on end while we play, stall, and have fun! Contrary to what Pikkdogs believes, I think that 30+3 does speed things up to some extent.

Another reason why I believe that 30+3 is a good idea is because it makes it easier to win by defensively. That is the exact reason why I love this idea! Games aren’t fun when your opponent is intentionally stalling you out by playing slowly and waiting for time to be called.

The interesting thing about 30+3 is that things like Chatter Lock are still going to work! Even though you can’t win on prizes as easily, you can still use defensive tactics like that, and then take out something for an easy prize on the final turn of the game. If you ask me, I think this makes Chatter Lock even more effective than it was before! You can lock the opponent through the 30 and the +3 and then KO their active in sudden-death.

Personally I think this does prevent stalling to some extent even though Pikkdogs doesn’t think it will. I can tell you for a fact that a lot of people in my area won’t be happy that they can no longer run time out once they have a lead. They’ll now have to play an honest game. In the +three turns, I don’t care. You can take as long as you want! I doubt we will be able to have a time limit where stalling is impossible, but I think this will help greatly.

As for Josh’s third reason, I also believe it can be confusing for new players, but, on the other hand, as long as there is somebody there to explain it to them they’ll get it. How did you learn about it? All of us got surprised by 30+3 this season and we all adapted to it fairly well, I think. At least I did!

The Judges in my area go over 30+3 before every tournament. If you go into 30+3, they usually explain it again to make sure you get it. Everything goes fairly smooth, and I believe that new players will get it just as easy as we did.

Also, not a lot of new players will actually go into 30+3. I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but their games usually never last more than 30 minutes, from what I’ve seen.

Personally, the few times I have played 30+3 this season, I have enjoyed it. I do agree with Josh on this one. We do get a little relaxed when we hear “plus 3,” but I usually still play at a decent pace and life goes on. The extra 3 turns does give you time to relax a little bit and better think your moves as well! The change is that there will be a judge hanging over you in +3, so you will most likely still have to play at a decent pace or risk being penalized.

So thats what we think about it, so what do you guys think?

Category: Pikkdogs v.s. Bittyboy | Tags: ,
  • Anonymous

    “The 30+3 format also doesn’t really speed up the tournament like it is supposed to. I don’t have any hard numbers to prove this”

    This is not a valid argument. Claiming something without having a way to back it up, especially when the hard numbers prove otherwise.

    30 minutes < 40 minutes. This also increases player speed for the most part, with players knowing they'll need to play faster if they're wanting a normal pace. No more slow play, removing some slowplay elements. This rule change isn't for small events anyway, it's to reduce play time of BIG events like states/regs/nats. At a BR, you may have 4 rounds, saving you an average of 30-40 minutes (factoring in +3 element) total at the event. However, at an event like states/regs/nats where you have 7-9 swiss rounds, you're saving 70-90 minutes, which can make the difference between getting out before midnight or after 1:30am. It also frees up time for lunch/dinner breaks at bigger events. After all, you don't want a bunch of kids up late on little to eat.

    This also lessens the amount of playing we have to do over long events. I personally don't like playing 7-8 40 min rounds with the same deck, gets taxing.

    • Anonymous

      even though I don’t have the evidence to prove it, it is still a valid argument. This is because I didn’t notice a difference between the old time format and the new one. That in itself is proof.

      It may just be my area, but overall I can’t tell the difference from last year.

      • bittyboy72

        He’s right. Different areas have different players, different amounts of players, and different types of player. Some play fast, some slow so it does greatly depend on your area if this will speed up an event.

  • Papa_Mash

    Essentially, Pikkdogs has a valid “hypothesis” that games may not be shorter, but he does not have any evidence to prove the hypothesis. In theory, it should take less time for games because 3 turns should not take 15 minutes to play without significant stalling.

    As Austino says, the true effect will be at the big venue event. This change will likely allow some of these events to continue to be played in one day. I know there is always talk of having the events split into two-day formats (I think a couple already may be). I personally do not have a problem with either a one- or two-day format but I know many players would prefer to keep it to a one-day format.

    I don’t think the rule affects stalling that much. I agree that play seems to be brisk at the beginning of the game but the rate of play does not appear to be being maintained throughout the game. Not all, but some, players who grab a quick prize lead slow down their rate of play…basically, if someone stalled before, they will likely stall again….rule change or not.

    As far as the difficulty to understand….it really doesn’t affect the newest Juniors and a one minute explanation will usually cover it for an experienced Junior. If a senior or master can’t figure out the rule, they should quit playing.

    Where I think the biggest affect of the rule is where I agree with Pikkdogs–the idea that the new format “limits your deck options”. The 30+3 format has to be factored into your decision as to what deck to play at a tournament…especially for me since I like playing Stage 2 decks that take time to develop and invariably have to come from behind. I did not worry as much about the faster decks as long as I thought I could withstand the initial onslaught, drain the speedy decks of resources and then mount a comeback. However, now, I have to determine if I can do that in the more limited time frame. Theoretically, if everything is equal, i.e., if players play at the same speed in the 30+3 format that they were playing at in the old format (and not saying that they do just saying theoretically if), there should be less turns being played in game. Thus, less turns to develop the deck and make a comeback. Pokemon seems to be trying to address some of those concerns with the release of the come-from-behind cards in Triumphant. I find Twins, in particular, to help with this issue but it does not totally alleviate the problem. The change means you have to lean towards a speedier deck.

    Not just the 30+3 rule, but I also think the change in the match play rules will affect the deck you choose even more than the rules before affected the choice. Even if a slow developing deck wins the first game of match play, since you don’t have to have 4 prizes in the second game of match play to have a winner of that game, a slow developing deck will find it extremely difficult to win in match play (unless you don’t get to a second game, which would mean the game play is tantamount to a dentist’s visit). Again, I think this rule change must be to speed up the tournament process, especially in the large venues.

  • Anonymous

    I would say Pikkdogs wins this