The TCG Design Thread


The better idea would be to design EX’s that aren’t fast enough to prevent players from setting up Evolutions (coughSeismitoad cough Landorus).


None of the cards you pointed out are stage 2s. Just pointing that out.


You said ‘not an EX’. Stages weren’t mentioned.

Besides, they are making good Stage 2s. Blaziken FFI is a fantastic card which easily outclasses the old Blaziken ex (a dominant card back in the day). What they haven’t done is create an environment where cards like Blaziken and Kingdra PLF (which would have been downright broken in any pre-BLW format) can be competitive.


That’s what we need.


You just defined the current format. Except that we have enough search cards that drawing into cards ins’t much of a problem. Sure, your “one off” might get prized, but that happens now anyway. You would need to prepare for that contingency like decent players do now.

No, because people would probably just play other stuff that has synergy. I don’t think people would play random EXs with little to no synergy when a weaker Pokemon has better synergy.

I meant CHANGE the rule. As in, evolving into a Mega no longer ends your turn, but, so Mega Pokemon can’t just steam roll people, you are allowed only one. (Kinda like the videogame)

You’re right, but the game would be a whole lot more flavorful than it is now.

Those cards are only good because good the current EX dominance.

Haven’t see a good Fairy deck in a while. Even when there was one, it was because of Rainbow + Prism + EXs or it was because of M-Kangaskhan EX

Only because Dark Patch rotated and because Yveltal EX and Darkrai EX

Last played effectively in Donphan I believe, which is popular because it is cheap and definitely not Teir 1. It is getting some hype again due to Gengar EX, but, well, you get the picture.

Both of which are just plain outclassed by the fact that I can run big basic EX Pokemon that wreck you before you can even set up.


First one has to realize that yes, if circumstances force players to run either Broken Card A or Broken Card B, and one is noticeably better than the other, you can have two broken cards where one is a staple while the other hardly sees any competitive play. Ace Spec cards gave us a taste of this; the best do compete with each other, but there are many that are still fantastically powerful and yet also clearly inferior to the best. I consider the Ace Spec mechanic to be problematic: either you have “lucky draws” or you have decks that can reliably use and/or re-use Ace Spec cards, bypassing the fact that said “luck” element was supposed to balance them out.

From that we get to what I refer to this as the “Mountain Range” principle… or something like that. As broken cards can come in all shapes and sizes, it doesn’t matter that something is a “small” mountain; it is still a mountain. This also means that the combination of perspective and size can “hide” other broken cards. Just as larger mountains can obscure your view of smaller ones, and even smaller ones can still obscure your view of larger ones if the larger ones are far away and you’re at the foot of the smaller mountain, so too can broken cards obscure other broken cards. Tinkering with the symptoms and not the cause of the problem makes it very easy to get to the same position but with different problem cards, or to find out that there was something worse that you just couldn’t see from where you started.

Ugh, definitely too much rambling.

TL;DR: Massive power creep is a design flaw inherent to almost any remotely competitive modern cards. Pokémon-EX aren’t the problem, its the design decisions that make monsters like Mewtwo-EX and Yveltal-EX… which also gives us the potent big Basic non-Pokémon-EX as well as Evolutions that have proven to be competitive. Just banning or restricting them won’t address the underlying problems, so at best we’ll meet the new boss, same as the old boss (slightly tweaked deck lists, or new faces that play the same as what we already have)… or we’ll make a huge mess as things risk becoming even worse!


@thflame - I have no idea why you quoted the Pokemon I listed as part of a different discussion. I made no comment as to why they are good, and I made it perfectly clear why cards like Blaziken and Kingdra are not competitive.

@Otaku - I think we are in agreement here. I don’t find anything I want to contradict in your post. Restricting EX to 1 copy of each per deck would result in a format full of decks like the Ross Cawthon one in the video I posted earlier (a deck which took second place against the highest quality field).

Basically, I have a problem with any theory that seems to suggest you can ‘fix’ the game by somehow preventing people from playing commonly played cards/cards people don’t happen to like. The alleged ‘variety’ that this creates is an illusion as one set of dominant cards simply gets replaced by another.


Notice something here?

Same ability, yet Chandelure isn’t considered playable.


Yeah I notice something, Gengar’s attacks are considerably better.


So people would play this Gengar today if it was legal?

I think thegrovilekid’s point was that these cards are similar, yet back in the day, this Gengar was good, but this Chandelure is meh.

This is what happens when I can play one card (an EX) and it is better than a Stage 2 evolution (3 cards).


Umm that Gengar is a Stage 2 as well…not an EX…


EX’s didn’t exist back then. LVl.X SP Pokemon were the closest, being stage 0.5s


The first ex was in EX Ruby and Sapphire.

Which was released English: June 18, 2003.

That Gengar is from a 2008 set and isn’t an ex or a LV.X pokemon, it’s a stage two.

Actually ex’s existed before LV.X’s. In Diamond & Pearl, Pokémon-ex, along with Pokémon Star, were replaced by Pokémon LV.X.émon-ex_(TCG)

If you want to read about VileGar here:

The card that made this deck possible was BTS.

In the current format stage two are hard to play, that’s why people don’t think Chandelure is going to be that great, also there is no BTS.


I could use a little elaboration. I think stage 2’s are hard to play because of really fast EX’s that hit for big numbers for little energy. It doesn’t help that Toad prevents items (like rare candy and evosoda) from being played and you can’t break the evolution rules (except with Butterfree/Eevee). I hope there is another addendum to the rules that allows rare candy to skip the one turn benched rule for basics. That would open up so many more combinations for deck making.


EX Pokemon weren’t in format when that Gengar was in format (I believe). That Gengar was playable, because, back then, there weren’t cards like current EX Pokemon. Gengar was near the top of the food chain.

Even if BTS was still on format, I highly doubt that our big attackers would be replaced by evolutions. This is mainly because I can play 3 EX Pokemon in the same space as one Stage 2 line, and I don’t need specific items or stadiums to make them good.


Pretty close, but not quite; it isn’t just the “really fast” Pokémon-EX to blame, and even when it is it isn’t because those cards are Pokémon-EX but because they are flat out overpowered (and possibly could be even if scaled down to “regular” Pokémon standards). After all, regular Big Basics, Stage 1, and other Stage 2 Pokémon have long prevented a significant minority (or even the majority) of Evolutions from being competitive.

Otherwise, consider my earlier post; we’ve tried speeding up Evolutions externally, and while it made things “different”, it didn’t really make them “better”. Even the formats I consider “best” never got balance right for Stages of Pokémon (for quite some time being a Basic that didn’t Evolve meant you were probably junk).

Slow down aggressive attacks so we can get first attacks back to use for set-up (or disruption). Stop making Basics (Pokémon-EX or otherwise) jacks of all trades, able to do everything so well that you can run a Quad deck at times! Make Evolving Pokémon useful parts of decks containing their higher forms (possibly even using them on their own). Possibly tweak the Evolution rules so that the player going second can Evolve on his or her first turn. Do not introduce more generic, powerful shortcuts, at the very least not right away and possible never releasing them again at all.

If we just “help Evolutions”… meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Just one of the changes I am suggesting (competent Evolving Pokémon) counters Seismitoad-EX (or at least counters its impact specific to Stage 2 Pokémon).


EXs aren’t the best direction to be taking the game in.


Now this I can (kind of) get behind; right now it seems like the designers are struggling to balance the basics… er… fundamentals of the game correctly. As such, it seems like a poor time to be experimenting with non-essential game mechanics.

The thing is that - once again - it isn’t just Pokémon-EX, and of course if the rest of the card pool and core rules were well balanced then I do believe that the designers could create Pokémon-EX that would be fun and competitive without upsetting that balance.


That is a horrible assumption to make without a large amount of testing with BTS. Broken Time Space was seriously good and in conjunction with stage twos of our day the card would be ridiculous. The only real problem with EX pokemon are the HP. If you cant set up decks before an EX comes a sweeping then there is something wrong with you and not the format.


[quote=“UncleAhkmed, post:99, topic:2318”]
That is a horrible assumption to make without a large amount of testing with BTS. Broken Time Space was seriously good and in conjunction with stage twos of our day the card would be ridiculous.[/quote]

Would it? I haven’t tested it myself, but have you? Please share if you have; it would be most welcome here! :smile:

If you haven’t, odds are most reading this are like me and would love to see the reasoning behind your claims. I don’t agree with exactly what @thflame said, but I do believe that Broken Time Space would be far less effective for decks wanting to run Evolutions as attackers. I will explain why, as it might help you explain your own side of things to see the specifics of why we disagree.

It is important to remember the other cards available at the time of Broken Time Space. This card was released ether shortly before or during one of my (unwilling) breaks from the game, when my time was so pressed that I struggled even keeping abreast of what cards had been released, let alone their effects on competitive play. From what I do understand, decks were able to do so well because they had significant sources of non-Supporter draw.

This is perhaps the crux of my argument (though not that of thflame): Stadiums aren’t quite as important as back then, but they are still fairly important so dropping a Broken Time-Space when you don’t know if you can immediately use it is risk. Even with Broken Time-Space you still have to go Basic=>Stage 1 (and Stage 1=>Stage 2 if applicable); in a format where N and Professor Juniper (or Professor Sycamore) are the best sources of draw power, it can get pretty rough; if you whiff on the Basic for a Stage 1 or if you whiff on either the Basic or the Stage 1 for a Stage 2, Broken Time-Space won’t help you out… and such failures to assemble are as much a problem as the slow pace of Evolving.

So when it comes to attackers (as opposed to things played primarily as Bench-sitters) this seems unlikely that even Broken Time-Space would put most on even footing with Pokémon-EX. Might do wonders for some that are Bench-sitters… and second important part is that the “extreme” results are almost as likely as something in the middle; Broken Time-Space - or something like it - really only helps if with a slime slice of the outcomes, with most making things worse. Perhaps that can be argued of most would be “solutions”.

This ignores that the reason we need such hard hitting attacks is… to 2HKO or OHKO Pokémon-EX. If their HP is lowered, KOing them is easier and we don’t need to rely on attacks that hit as hard… but Basic Pokémon still have a huge speed and resource requirement advantage over Evolutions. So if - for example - all Pokémon-EX received some weird errata that stated we should read the HP of all cards as if it were 30 points less, Pokémon-EX usage would diminish but non-Pokémon-EX “big Basic” Pokémon would pick up most of the slack (some Evolutions would get a small boost).

As an example, why bother with Charizard-EX when you can use Reshiram with Outrage and Blueflare? If Pokémon-EX are maxing out at 150 HP, Blueflare just needs a Silver Bangle* or Muscle Band plus Hypnotoxic Laser or Hypnotoxic Laser plus Virbank City Gym to take them out in one… and everything but the Silver Bangle option works on most Evolutions and other big, Basic Pokémon. You’ll have 20 less HP but you’ll only give up a single Prize. So the HP does matter… but its the wrong thing to focus on if we want Pokémon-EX to not dominate but to still be viable.

With all the cards that are tournament worthy, indeed all the strategies as well, the issue is pacing; they hit too hard too fast and for too few resources. You’ll get some specific bad calls here and there, but what I just said is the general problem.

This one is just patently untrue unless you define everything being said so narrowly that the statement loses its meaning. Many Pokémon-EX hit so hard so fast that the opponent’s Pokémon-EX are not safe, let alone regular Basics and even less applicable still to Evolving Basic Pokémon. Even if you get something set-up eventually, the Prize and/or resource deficit is often too much to overcome. This did remind me that we can’t forget the issue of being dependent upon cards like Professor Juniper; so many games where I’ve had to dump so many resources important for later because not using her meant I was going to lose immediately… I’ve just lost a little more slowly because I had to dump so many important resources that just couldn’t be used immediately.