Discussion of Rule Changes and Possible Format Changes

by Pikkdogs ~ March 31st, 2011.

Last October the Pokemon world was shaken up by news from Japan.  When Japan got there Black and White sets they also got new rules changes and a mid season rotation.  Fast forward to April, and now North America, Europe, and South America are about to get the Black and White set.  What will this mean for the format?  Will we also get the rules changes and the format change?

If you haven’t guessed already, the topic of this article will be the possible changes to the rules and format changes.  Before we begin to talk about the impact of the changes too much, lets review what happened in Japan.

What were the changes in Japan?

  1. Rules change so that Trainer/Goods cards can be played on the first turn of the game.
  2. Supporters are now called “Supports” and are considered Trainer/Goods cards and can be played once per turn, even on the first turn.  They are now immediately discarded after use.
  3. Stadium cards are also considered Trainer/Goods cards and can also be played on the first turn.
  4. Rare Candy cannot be played on either player’s first turn, and they cannot be played on the same turn that you first played the basic Pokemon.
  5. Poke-Powers and Poke-Bodies are merged into one category called “Abilities”.
  6. After you knock out a Pokemon, you draw your prize card before your opponent sends out a new active Pokemon.
  7. The format was changed to HGSS-on.

Will we get them?

All signs seem to be pointing to the fact that we will get at least points 1-6.  The rules changes are already in effect on the online game simulator (www.pokemontcg.com).  It seems unlikely that they would make different rules for online play.  I also heard that someone from Portugal’s organized play stated that they would follow the rules changes that the U.S. employs.  That seems to suggest that the U.S. will have rule changes.

What about a rotation?

A mid season format rotation is a powerful thing.  It would mean that a large percentage of everyone’s cards will become almost worthless. Decks that people have been playing all season could now be deemed illegal.   It could turn a lot of people off about the game.

Regardless of the negative aspects of the rotation, I think a rotation is needed.  If there is no rotation, I think that most of games would end on the first turn of the game.  The problems in the format are trainer cards like Poke Drawer and Pokedex, that allow you to go through your deck fairly quickly.  Other problems are Sableye SF and Uxie La.  Sableye guarantee’s that you go first, so that your opponent has no chance to brace themselves against a donk. If you start Sableye all you would need to do is use a Pokemon Collector for an Unown (dark) and 2 Uxies, and you would be very close to winning the game.   Speaking of Uxie, like the Trainer cards, Uxie will help people go through their decks really quickly.   If these cards are ousted from the format longer games can take place, and games would rely less on luck.

So now that we know we need a rotation, what should it be?  Japan got rid of all of their Diamond and Pearl and Platinum sets, but Im not sure if thats really neccessary.  If we would get a similar rotation that we had the last two years, it would mean that the format would be Rising Rivals on.  To see if we need a large rotation, lets look at the problem cards in the format, and find out what sets they are from.  Besides cards that i have previously mentioned, I will also include SP cards since I believe they are the cause of our stagnant format. In the list, I will italicize cards that would be rotated if the rotation is RR-on.

  • Poke Drawer +-SF
  • Pokedex Handy 910’s-PtExpert Belt - AR
  • Super Scoop Up- Unleashed
  • Expert Belt- Arceus
  • Cyrus’s Conspiracy-Pt
  • Energy Gain- Pt
  • Power Spray- Pt
  • Sp Radar- RR
  • Uxie-La
  • Sableye-Sf
  • Unown (Dark)-UD
  • Luxray Gl-RR
  • Garchomp C-SV
  • Double Colorless Energy-HGSS

As you can see, most of the problem cards will be taken care of with a format of RR-on.  With the loss of Sableye, the important drawing Trainers, and Uxie; it will be a lot less likely for the game to end with a donk.  And, even though there will still be SP cards in the format, the SP deck will no longer work without the SP engine.  The loss of the SP engine will make sure that the format is not in the same stagnant state that we have had to deal with in the last couple of years.  But, I fear that if Japan got the HGSS-on format that we will also receive it.

Impact on The Format

Obviously a mid-season rotation would radically change the format.  The only deck that would stay similar to the way it is now is Lostgar Lock.  Other decks like Machamp, Gengar Sf, Uxie, Gyarados, Luxchomp, Dialgachomp, and many others will be wiped out.  Besides taking out main attackers, it could also take away a lot of staples like Uxie, Spiritomb Ar, and supporters like Palmer’s Contribution.

All decks would have to be changed and adjusted to the new format.  The new format would be a lot slower without Uxie, and would be more reliant on Trainers (and Trainerlock).  If a rotation comes we will all have to re-work our decks and completely change them.  It will make Nationals a lot different than States and Regionals.


A lot of people are understandably opposed to a large format change.  But, I think a mid-season format rotation would be great for the format, taking away the SP problem and making sure that the new rule changes will not lead to a format of all donks.  I don’t really see the need for the rules changes, but if they are going to make the rule changes they also need to rotate at least 4 sets out of the format.

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