The TCG Design Thread


As far as short term fixes to the current metagame, more versatile Supporters and reprints of Level Ball and Heavy Ball would be essential. I can’t think of any strong stage 1 or stage 2 deck (heck, even that obscure mill deck) that runs effectively without Level Ball, with Heavy Ball being the optional cousin. Maybe it’s bad enough to warrant spots for Dual Brains Magnezone so you can use Pokemon Fan Club and another draw supporter in the same turn.


Until we start seeing a dp-Blw format in tornuments or even Dp on, evolution decks will be dead. Some of the pokemon in older sets can answer to the big bad EX Pokemon of our time and offer support to the stage 2 decks that currently exsist or exsisted.


Exist is spelt exist not exsist.

Majorly considering the rule basis and the top deck of unlimited currently but, I very highly doubt they would go as far as offering a DP-on format as it would not mesh well with this format, though some of the deck mechanics can go a long way in decks, it still wouldn’t matter what kind of deck you would play, you would auto lose to drifblim/porygon2 (thanks rule system and BTS (not broken at all).


Finally I can pinpoint where we weren’t connecting in our own attempted discussion!

  1. My proposals always involve slowing down big Basic Pokémon, so that opening with a big Basic attacker becomes 2-3 turns wasted. In our hypothetical, a Moltres is going to just sit there while Charmander does its prep work and Charizard does even more.

  2. The idea is that the player of the hypothetical Moltres must make a choice; give up approximately two attacks worth of advantage or run a different Pokémon to aid in set-up. Either way, this helps to balance out the difference between a fully Evolve Basic, fully Evolved Stage 1 and fully Evolved Stage 2, Note: “Helps” does not mean that the entire process relies on just this one fact.

3a) I actually don’t have a problem with the hypothetical Charmander and Charmeleon being useful enough that the hypothetical Moltres would like to run them. If the hypothetical (sorry, but I fear if I leave that word out someone will assume we are talking a specific, real version) Charizard isn’t good enough to be worth running, that’s a “separate” fail.

3b) Real life examples of Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon used as support without their Stage 2 form have been a combination of broken “other” attacker (or even “other stuff” in formats fully of overpowered cards) or Stage 2 “fail”. Eelektrik (NVI) had all of that going on; there were so many overpowered cards to fit into decks built around it, it had attackers that clearly don’t meet my prescribed guidelines and the available Eelektross were all under powered compared to the format, even after factoring in potential combos with said Eelektrik.

3c) I had planned on these hypothetical useful lower Stages having better synergy with their higher Stages. This was another reason I brought up roles earlier. Again this is still all theory, but the idea is that if I run the hypothetical Charmander-Charmeleon-Charizard, each will cover at least one role in the deck. If you want to go with an all Basic deck, you save no space because to remain competitive, must run just as many cards to cover the same “roles”.

  1. The top Trainers and Energy right now are broken. If I must explain why I shall, but if you disagree that definitely makes my argument less comprehensive. Right now Trainers and Special Energy are doing a lot of things that they shouldn’t; usually something that is fine on a properly balanced Pokémon, sometimes even on a Trainer when it too is properly balanced, but not on the cards “as is”. Unless the game is radically changed so that discarding your entire hand will almost always be an appropriate drawback (I can allow for a “little” luck, but not the synergy the modern format has), then cards like Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore have got to go! The exact thing we were fearing when we saw them happened; combined with other cards, it propelled the format in a direction where players run “disposable decks”. If we get to the point where it is nearly as painful for a mono-Basic deck (and that is part of what my guidelines should help accomplish), maybe things like that can come back.

  2. What fully Evolved Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokémon have going for them is avoiding pacing restrictions that plague other cards. Assuming we do away with generic, universal Evolution acceleration, then a Stage 2 can’t hit the field before a certain point, and thus effects that would be “broken” before that point are only allowed to those cards.

I will add that I had “rule changes” in mind as well, but I didn’t want to go into them earlier for fear of making a longer and yet more confusing post. I am scared to work them in here for the same reason, but I doubt I can wait. This next suggestion may end up not working with my previous suggestions, in which case it is the one to abandon.

I believe what is best for the game is truly streamlining the “first turn” rules… so that there are none. Balance between a player going first or second will be accomplished by creating completely homogeneous rules for Evolution. “A Pokémon may only Evolve if it was in play during your opponent’s previous turn.” This helps for “flavor” (your Pokémon “experienced” last turn) but that was not why I suggest it. Now the player going first can do anything the player going second can do; there is no difference. The thing is, as the player going second has never had a turn, the player going first will still not be able to Evolve his or her Pokémon that first turn. Any Pokémon the player going second has in play during the turn of the player going first will be able to Evolve immediately.

Yes, this will require balancing attack costs on Stage 1 Pokémon to follow the guidelines I gave earlier for “big Basic” Pokémon - I don’t want Stage 1 “T2” decks to become disproportionately powerful and to still keep “set-up” and early game disruption attacks from being viable. Pacing will also still be an issue; effects that would be a problem on a player’s first turn can’t be on Stage 1 Pokémon unless they are only a problem Turn 1 and not Turn 2 (even though Turn 2 is Player 2’s first turn). If absolutely necessary, some effects may require wording to simply prevent them from being used on Turn 2 (I’d rather it was card by card, printed plainly, than some overarching rule).


I do see a trend of the EX’s getting downpowered. The Mega Evolution rule to me is likely going to prevent Mega EX’s from being playable for the foreseeable future, It’s going to take something with 250hp, or a cheap and reliable attack that can OHKO regular EX’s for them to be playable. My biggest problem with the format for this upcoming season is the presence of Garbodor. I was mad as hell when I saw being reprinted in LT, as it centralizes the game round it. Now that you can’t just Catcher it up and (Megaphone doesn’t effectively deal with it either,) more importantly it kills a lot of creativity and rewards the power players at the expense of every other player type.


Building on what StormFront said, I come from the school of thought that FLF was not printed for Charizard, but for Pyroar. It was a card that single-handedly disrupted many decks in the current metagame. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing is a different discussion. I believe that, rather than find a solid way out of the predicament, a lot of players went towards antimeta and Garbodor decks, abandoning things like Deluge and Plasma because Pyroar (and in some cases Druddigon) simply wrecked face all the time. No one likes to be continually beaten like that, especially by one card in particular. The chain reaction from the printing of Pyroar, in my opinion, was the increase in Garbodor deck play.


cough, cough*Da Toad*** cough, cough***

[quote=“StormFront, post:45,
I was mad as hell when it was reprinted in LT

Don’t get me started about that. I was heartbroken.

Ps: I had to make my own quote section, so it may have not worked.

EDIT: OMG! My quotes worked! I can’t believe it. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Not sure whether that is a good thing. We switched from one metagame-destroying deck to another, and then back again


I don’t think Garbodor is OP. I think the problem is that we have too many Pokemon that are OP without abilities.

Examples: Landorus EX and Mewtwo EX. Both Pokemon are extremely powerful and aren’t hurt by Garbodor being played. When we add some ability based counter, Garbodor shows up.

Garbodor would be fair if playing it actually hurt you as much as your opponent or if playing Garbodor just evened the playing field.


I agree with StormFront about 'bodor. It provides too much of a safely net for big basic decks. This is why I was intrigued by Promo Goodra, as it was the only card that completely renders Garbodor useless so long as it’s on the field.

For those that don’t know Promo Goodra was given out in Japan for those who bought a box of Wild Blaze and has the ability that prevents both players from playing down tools. It’s a stage 2, but I thought it could possibly be paired with Pyroar in NXD-FLF preventing both garbodor and an evolutions access to muscle band. It was never released outside of Japan, but with the new cards added in FFI and soon Phantom Gate, it’s lost any appeal to me it had.

It’s still an interesting ability, which if printed on a Stage 1, could really shake things up.


Excellent point. I will add that the metagame is such that all three cards in the example benefit to a problematic degree. Right now we are in a format that rewards the traditional “Haymaker” style build: fast-paced beatdown coupled with disruption. Fortunately a “true” Haymaker deck isn’t quite viable (at least not yet), but we are coming close with the Garbotoxin backed beatdown decks focused on big, Basic Pokémon.

Seismitoad-EX is unlikely to curtail the heavy usage of Items; the format rewards them too much apart from Item lock. That doesn’t mean I don’t expect Seismitoad-EX to fail… I actually expect it to be a pretty common attacker for certain decks and in those decks, be a bit like Neo Genesis Slowking: when I first saw it, I assumed it would cause people to run fewer Trainers… instead they just adapted, still ran almost as many, and Slowking was dreaded when not being countered (and “countering” it was often getting your own into play first).


I’m going to use your numbering to respond to your points.

1 and 2) Unless Charmander and Charmeleon are doing something worth their space over other trainer cards that could be played instead, those turns are effectively “wasted” as well.

3a) Agreed, but in order for Charizard to be playable over Moltres, he would have to have some advantage that makes him worth the difficulty to get him in play over Moltres.

3b) Very much agree.

3c) Let’s say I need to play Moltres, Entei, and Ho-oh to cover the same ground as Charmander, Charmeleon, and Charizard. There is still a convenience factor to playing all basics.

  1. The only Special Energy I have a problem with is Strong Energy right now. That’s more to do with cheap attacks for little damage turning into cheap attacks for good damage.

Rainbow Energy’s issues stem from ability effect wording. If abilities like Dark Cloak and Verdant Wind specified basic energy, Rainbow Energy would just be a wild card energy with a slight downside.

I think DCE is fine. Attacks like Quaking Punch and X Ball are the problem.

As far as Trainer cards go, we have Hypnotoxic Laser. A trainer card should NEVER afflict a status condition.

Muscle Band is becoming an issue recently, but that could be easily fixed by not allowing damage boosts to stack. I think Muscle Band actually makes more cards playable.

Rare Candy is a problem. I like the idea of having a card named “Rare Candy” with an effect that affects Evolution, but the current card has done nothing but make all “middle stage” Pokemon worthless. I may want Stage 2 Pokemon to be more powerful than Big Basics, but you should still have to go through your Stage 1 first. Something like this:

“Search your deck for a Pokemon that evolves from one of your Pokemon in play. Reveal it, then put it in your hand.”

I would like to hear some specific areas where you think trainers over step their bounds.

2nd 4) I’m game for this, but wouldn’t that make Evolutions more versatile (and therefore, more powerful) than Big Basics? If I have to wait 3 turns to deal damage anyway, I might as well play a Stage 2 with a powerful ability so I “get my money’s worth”. Or would these abilities be on Pokemon with little other use? (Inferno Fandango Emboar)

Overall, this is my biggest issue:

Given the mechanics of evolution and the nature of how a card game works, I don’t see how you can make “Moltres” just as powerful as “Charizard” (similar HP, attack costs, etc.) and have them be “balanced” once you factor in the mechanics.

Let’s take current Charizard and Reshiram (LTR)

Reshiram - Basic - 130 HP - [R]

[C][C] Outrage 20+
This attack does 20 damage plus 10 more damage for each damage counter on Reshiram.

[R][R][C] Blue Flare 120
Discard 2 [R] attached to this Pokemon

W: [W], R: -, Ret: 2

Charizard - Stage 2 - 160 HP - [R]

[R][C][C] Split Bomb
This attack does 40 damage to 2 of your opponents Pokemon (don’t apply Weakness or Resistance for Benched Pokemon)

[R][C][C][C][C] Scorching Fire 150
discard a [R] attached to this Pokemon

W: [W], R: -, Ret: 3

Charizard has arguably better attacks and more HP than Reshiram. This would make Charizard slightly better than Reshiram, until we look at history. Reshiram used to have it’s very own, Tier 1 deck. Even when ReshiBoar became RayBoar, people still played Reshiram as a non-EX attacker in that deck. Reshiram still sees play occasionally as a tech or a backup attacker. Charizard never saw serious play. (There was a deck that used Celebi to utilize an attack from Charmeleon with Charizard’s HP, but that was Tier 3 at best. More likely “league”)

The problem isn’t that Reshiram had better stats than Charizard. The problem is that you can run Reshiram with Emboar and still have space for consistency cards.

If you tried to run Charizard/Emboar, you would have no space for consistency cards and probably have to cut some stuff other decks take for granted.

Even if all the ReshiBoar deck could run in those extra slots was energy, it still means that ReshiBoar will draw into energy more consistently than ChariBoar.

I would like for you to design a few cards for me.

Design a Moltres and a Charizard that fill similar roles with similar power and a Charmander and Charmeleon that go with Charizard to make it worth playing. They don’t need to be perfect, I would just like an example of what you would consider balance between a Stage 2 and a Big Basic.


[quote=“thflame, post:52, topic:2318, full:true”]
I’m going to use your numbering to respond to your points.[/quote]

No fair waiting until its so late that my brain is half shut down! :wink:

If even the emoticon is not enough to make it obvious, yes I am joking. It is late enough for me that I will only address one point because you need to do a lot of explaining for me to… well… take it serious.

I am not trying to sound like a condescending jerk (I just come by it naturally): it is easier for me to just tell you how severely I disagree with you so that you know that - if you want me to understand - you’ll need to explain it to someone that almost completely disagrees with you at a very fundamental level, instead of beating around the bush.

Double Colorless Energy, to the best of my capacity to determine such things, is only “balanced” under carefully controlled situations, where cards are pre-nerfed. The basic rule is one Energy per turn. This card breaks that rule with the only requirement being you spend your one Energy attachment for the turn on it. Yes, it only provides [CC], but that actually comes up a lot when you try to design Pokémon that can operate in non-mono-Type decks and aren’t able to attack for big damage right away.

The two examples you gave would not be completely balanced cards without Double Colorless Energy… but they would indeed be much better balanced for general use. Mewtwo-EX is very vulnerable if it can’t be powered up to X-Ball right away; unlike Yveltal-EX, it is weak to its own Type after all. Without Double Colorless Energy, it would be highly improbable for Seismitoad-EX to attack for a T2 Quaking Punch in Expanded, and I can’t even think of how it could pull it off in Standard under the current format (barring extreme time zone issues when you read this).

Again, I am not saying either attack is safe or that Double Colorless Energy can never be safe… but especially given the current issues, it was a terrible idea to reprint Double Colorless Energy back in HeartGold/SoulSilver, and to not let it rotate out as soon as possible (that is, to continue reprinting it since). Under the guidelines I have been trying to stress (inspired in part by Mewtwo-EX), Double Colorless Energy makes [CC] attacks available on a player’s first turn, forcing them to fall under the “cannot hit for damage” design clause. It means that attacks with costs of [XCC] and [CCCC] are available in almost any deck by a player’s second turn. Even though it requires some luck, if I want to be rid of “tails fails” cards, I am likewise disinclined to promote “lucky top deck” strategies anymore than inherent TCG design already does.

Lastly, since I am going against my better judgment commenting now, I reserve the right to be completely and utterly wrong. That doesn’t mean you don’t get to tell me I am wrong, it just means that if in my less-than-sharp state, I can back out of something by admitting “Yeah, sorry, I was wrong.” without much fanfare. :wink:


I agree and disagree. Most of the decks that could (w out garb in the format) wreak face have abilities and use them. Trevenant, Aegislash (hey, I know what you are going to say, but I have a very good list (if I do say so my self) and it performs well), emboar, Blastiose, flygon/Dusknoir/donphan(Accelgor) and others. All are shut down by that stupid ability. Kind of ironic if you think about it. Abilities shut down by an ability


Imagine how much different the meta would be if X Ball was [P][C] and if Quaking Punch was [W][C]. Guess speculation isn’t going to help us much here.

I do feel for why TPCi is causing a power creep. I think 10 years of doing 10-30 damage with basics and stage 1’s would get really old really fast. I feel a bit stronger doing 60-80 damage for one to two energy than I feel doing 10-30. I think the TPCi wants to promote that feeling of being powerful, of being able to dish out a ton of damage.

Is it a marketable trait? Yes. Does it sell? Absolutely. Is it healthy for the metagame? I think it is but only to a point. Dropping a DCE for such a powerful attack like X Ball was power creep in subsonic motion. Like my opening paragraph, if things had been different…


Something that is worse than Le Toad is the fact that we have very few ways to access pokemon in our deck after the rotation. If Phantom Forces doesnt release some form of Balls(poké ones lads) then I think this format will be extremely difficult to play in.


What I get from here is people asking for more cards for singular effects, why can’t there be more cards with multiple effects? Muscle band was big before it was released in north America, why is it recently that it is good? Did I miss something?

If anything the format seems fairly simple by comparison to past formats, people can attack specific cards and say they are better, etc, etc, but everything now is based off of much simpler combinations of cards that can stack up towards dangerous amounts of dmg for instance it’s always muscle band laser bank, darkness energy and a DCE you have 2 energy on you opponents pokemon and I hit for 170 dmg (which would have only originally cleared 120 before the items came along). Is it bad to have derpy items? No, 2005 was made of team rockets revenge, a ton of trainer cards (items) that dealt status dmg, disrupted opponent’s hands etc. Extra dmg has always been a thing, plus power, crobat G+poketurn, cursed stone (the poke power dmg stadium, hated that), e.belt, jolteon drop, the list goes on, this time it is just something different.

I just wished we had more diversity with deck synergy, search cards and draw cards would change hands, things would change after 2 years as opposed to being stuck in this time warp.

Rare candy is not a problem, it is the rule.


What I want to see is for them to print something like the holon engine or more unique cards like poke drawer+ something, anything to spruce up the dying format.


I hate to admit it, but the format is dying. That’s how it feels to me. You’re either playing Landorus, Mewtwo, Garbodor, or Genesect or you’re not winning at all.


I agree. PTCi really needs to do some serious work