The TCG Design Thread


TPCi are not responsible for card design or game rules. That all comes from Japan.


oh. I didnt know that. Well, then japan has some work to do.


[quote=“yoyos, post:57, topic:2318, full:true”]
What I get from here is people asking for more cards for singular effects, why can’t there be more cards with multiple effects?[/quote]

Because they are more likely to be overpowered, as demonstrated by the last several years of the game. Even though they can be balanced, the recent track record is abysmal.

Yes. No one is saying that it was not good right away. For those of us on the Pojo CotD crew (apparently I missed that one) you can just read our CotDs on it here: it was the collective review team’s number one pick for the set. :wink:

What has changed is that certain other cards have gotten better (or suddenly exist) and so they are made *even better by Muscle Band. The most obvious are Fighting Types which now have Strong Energy (plus a few less generic) options!

Honestly, I am not sure of what you are saying here.

No, it isn’t different as in “unprecedented”, it is different as in “more of it” or “requires less effort/skill” or “requires more luck” or “renders even more of the card pool as filler” or (as I think) some combination of all of the above, plus a few I probably missed. The main thing is that elements that have always at best been questionable (and at worst clearly unbalancing) are back and easier to execute than ever before.

[quote=“yoyos, post:57, topic:2318, full:true”]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.[/quote] Which is how many of us feel, and makes me wonder if I have misunderstood your post. @_@

I’ve elaborated why this is a problem; universal Evolution acceleration means you have to “pre-nerf” Stage 2 Pokémon to balance out their effects with said acceleration, and anything that gets around this has the potential to be overpowered. It also practically guarantees that Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon are nigh useless. If everything else in the format was balanced, this might not be a problem but right now the-powers-that-be have enough troubles to deal with, so they need to get rid of crutches like this that produce misleading results and simplify.


Does anyone remember the ‘Mario’ controversy at the start of the DP era?

Nothing to do with me . . . Mario was a deck built around these cards

It did pretty well at the time, making top cut at US Nats and winning numerous smaller tournaments.

Anyhoo, the reason it was controversial is that many players believed that Mario ‘was not a deck’. Why? 2 main reasons:

  1. It was quite luck-reliant (Riolu and Machamp coin flips, lack of solid draw engine)
  2. There was no synergy in the deck. No acceleration, no combos, no disruption. It was just a couple of powerful (for their day) Pokemon, put in a deck together because they shared the same Type.

To players who were used to decks like Metanite, Flygon, Dragtrode . . . even Infernape, Mario seemed extremely cheap, unsubtle, and skill-free to play. They derided the deck and (to an extent) those who chose to play it. There was a massive fuss about it on the Gym with posts deleted, threads locked, and people banned.

And here we are today, when the BDIF is probably something that takes a 2-2 line of Garbodor and then adds a selection of the following:

Landorus EX
Mewtwo EX
Tornadus EX
Seismitoad EX
Lucario EX

It’s a funny old game . . .


Yep, I remember Mario. It made no sense to me at the time. I don’t remember if it was actually that good or if players wrote it off beforehand or what, but it was everywhere at US Nats 2007 and did quite well. @Ruiner should have lost to it in top cut, if I recall correctly. (His relatively inexperienced opponent fumbled a game away.)

Many decks now are quite reminiscent of Mario.


Really? I always assumed your screen name was a reference to the deck. ^^’


Nah, I played against it in t16, and it was a pretty favorable match. I won a comfortable game 1 against it, and game 2 was weird because we had about 15 minutes to play it, and I just spent the whole game guaranteeing I wouldn’t give up 6 prizes opposed to trying to win it.

The big problem the deck had isn’t really a lack of synergy. I mean, keep in mind, most of the players at the time remembered the old Haymaker days. Just running a slew of powerful cards was pretty common place in this game. The problem was, while Lucario was an impressive card, Machamp was just an unnecessary inclusion. I get the idea is "lead Lucario, an easy to get out stage 1, to offset the difficulty of getting a stage 2 out " but the deck wasn’t as fast as other alternatives ( I’d take the Eevee build of Lucario over it if I wanted that ) and it was less powerful than the devoted “set up” decks of the time. It straddled some middle ground, and not in a good way.

The other big issue I have is that there was no type diversity. If you want to throw together powerful cards, do so in a way that covers types and weaknesses. These Pokemon did not do that, and Psychic was actually a very good type in this format. Lucario was a pretty good Pokemon, Machamp…less so. Even now, we have the fighting deck, which somewhat violates that rule, but at least the attackers diversify weaknesses.

Also, arguing “garbodor with big basics” is similar is extremely off base. They run an array of types to be able to cover different weaknesses. Also, it is far closer to say, the old Slowking deck in Unlimited, or more aptly the lesser used Muk haymakers. You ran a disruptive card to shut down the unfair aspect of other decks while beating them with sleek, efficient attackers.


Ha ha . . . noooooooo. Never played that deck in my life. Can’t even remember playing against it very much. It may not have been all that popular in the UK. My screen name comes from playing Mario Kart a lot at the time.

I remember using Infercatty for a long while, then switched to Blissey MT. Blissey may well have been the next evolution of the ‘put two good Pokemon together’ method of deckbuilding (Lucario, Magmortar, Electivire).


…so now I’, going to have this urge to abandon you even though it means losing the game, or to start throwing turtle shells at you. I’ve never been much of a fan of the “baby” characters joining the Mario roster. I am now debating if I should start a Mario Kart thread because this might be a fun topic to see who prefer using what character.

I can’t speak to how similar the old Machamp/Lucario decks were to the modern Garbodor/big Basics decks, but they are indeed similar to Muk/beatdown decks. I was not a competitive player at the time: locally I had a slight reputation but considering I independently developed Haymaker and then later ruined it by over-tweaking it (and merely thought subsequent deck failures meant I had “lost my touch”), and this was in the isolation of my High School, playing other upperclassmen. Even that was kind of rare as I wasn’t part of the “popular” nerd clique. Still trying to figure out how we had at least two nerd cliques (let alone a “popular” nerd clique) in a 7-12 Jr-Sr High School of under 400 students. >.>

As best as I can ascertain from my limited first hand experience, later readings and attempts at researching the format (and similar ones) via recreation, Fossil Muk backed beatdown decks could have become more potent except they were overkill. Actual Haymakers outperformed other decks through judicious use of Type matching and S/ER usage, and so the Muk backed beatdown had to struggle with two to eight slots (I don’t know if anyone competent bothered maxing it out) of dead weight.


(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 24 hours unless flagged)


@Otaku There is a lot of things to say but to get to the point, with less complicated cards come a much more simplified format and when it’s more simplified it becomes a factor where decks that do better competitively are much simpler to setup game after game, this is an extremely simple format with 2 cards that should offer the same effect, adding more cards that in general aspect do the same thing differently just make building decks imo more tedious and the more tedious cards you have in your deck filter out good consistency even if you need those 2 cards that could be one out the door (and has been a large problem at making solid evo decks bcr-on).

Making more or less complicated cards doesn’t always have bad draw back, holons transceiver, castaway, power spray, holons castform, etc, it adds more diversity, yes they/there made be so called over powering cards but most of the time they are only that good because of the engine those cards are placed in. But there can be slightly complicated cards offering levels of play to the player as opposed to there juts being different levels of players in general.

In general there should always be something that should add some complexity to the game, I find that it has left the game in the more or less recent years and instead we are left with a very simple deck strategy that just leaves me with more time to watch luther when I should be testing imo.

Isn’t it always like that there is always that one fighting deck that destroys everything, machamp, lucario machamp, groudon (the theme deck that destroyed worlds 04). He was talking about garbo as an accessory to landorus EX!!! with lucario maybe, idk I don’t like it, cause I didn’t buy the single, to expensive for my blood.


Giving up 2 prizes on an EX knockout isn’t even a drawback anymore.


It doesn’t cost game, but is a substantial setback if you can’t send up something else to retaliate. (And retaliate not as in the attack(or revenge), but setting up your pokemon to hit back)


That’s why I’d like to see the rule changed to, “You may only play one copy of [Pokemon name] EX in your deck”. It would make EXs more powerful, yet less format breaking.

I mean, run a Seismitoad EX deck when you can only play one Seismitoad EX.

Cards like Emolga EX become much more playable and cards like Mewtwo EX don’t define a format for a year.

On a related note, changing the mega rule to, “One M-Pokemon EX per deck.” Would make the cards worth more than pretty binder fillers.


That would actually make the game much worse.

Restricting EXs to a single copy doesn’t improve gameplay, or introduce more skill, it just reduces the game to the lottery of who can get their best EX out first (better hope it isn’t Prized!). Can you imagine what a pile of zero-synergy junk the decks would be?

I don’t understand why restricting Megas would make them more usable. Why would people play them at one per deck when they don’t play them at four?

Better game design isn’t just about restricting the powerful/commonly-used cards. All that does is promote the next most powerful cards to the dominant position. It’s about fundamental principles and how the game is constructed. The TCG wouldn’t become better if people were somehow forced to use a load of lesser EXs instead of the ones they use now.


I think he meant that Megas would become more usable if that was the only restriction (no “ends your turn” rule).


If you want to see what decks would be like under the ‘1 copy of an EX’ rule, then see Ross Cawthon’s deck from the Top Cut Invitational

Just throw in a Seismitoad.


What I’m saying is, the problem I have with the format is it’s EXTREMELY rare to see a good pokémon in a set that’s not an EX.


Whaaaaaaaaaaat, that is not true at all.


The best cards in any set are usually EXs, but not even all the EXs are good. Out of Furious Fists, Seismitoad is excellent, Lucario is good, Dragonite is maybe ok, and the rest are nothing to write home about.

You could argue that Dedenne, Beartic, Hawlucha, Landorus, and Eevee are all good non-EX cards. Not in the same league as Toad and Lucario, but still playable. FLF gave us Pyroar; XY gave us Raichu, Aromatisse, baby Yveltal, Trevenant . . .