Hey everyone, great news for the Pokemon TCG world! After over a decade of waiting, we’re finally being given our 10th type in the Trading Card Game – Dragon! Japan will be getting a new set next January, focusing on Dragon-type Pokemon entitled “Dragon Selection”. There haven’t been many details posted yet, but it’s certainly going to be something to watch out for. Hopefully, our friends over at Hardrock-Pokemon will have these packs in stock, and if rumors hold true, such as the set being all-foil, then these will surely be a hot commodity to kick off 2012. It also raises the question of when this new type might be hitting the US, in order to be playable at the 2012 World Championships.
New type aside, let’s take a trip down memory lane, to when the card game got it’s 8th and 9th types. The set launched in Japan just after the turn to the 21st century, and the American release followed one year later. For the first time, Pokemon expanded beyond the original 151 Pokemon (152 if you count the anime’s use of Togepi, and 153 is you predicted that Episode 1’s Ho-Oh was Ho-oh) and as a result, introduced two new types into the Pokemon universe: Darkness and Steel.
The card game, of course, wanted to reflect this new, exciting element, and so created cards of these types, as well as adding support for Baby Pokemon and the ability for Pokemon to hold items, in the form of Pokemon tools. The English set, 111 cards, contained a grand total of 3 Steel cards, 3 Darkness cards, 4 Pokemon tools, and 4 baby Pokemon.
All 3 Steel cards were Holo rares, all 3 Darkness cards were rares, the tool varied between rarities, and the baby Pokemon were holo (Pichu) and rare (Elekid, Magby, and Cleffa). Recall, as well, that until 2007, Darkness and Steel were not basic energy types, so you could only have 4 of each energy in your deck. Never mind that given the trainer engine available, this set also brought a huge change to the metagame.
But who could forget that this set also brought the first two cards to be banned from the Modified (Team Rocket-on) format. Sneasel 25 and Slowking 14. Each would be banned from the format, and oddly enough, for different reasons.
Slowking 14 was mistranslated from Japanese to English, and as a result, had a Pokemon Power that could be used while in play, rather than the Japanese version, which had to be active. As a result, a player who could effectively reduce their opponent’s ability to play trainers to 1/(2^k), where k is the number of Slowkings in play. It was considered to be a problem for the game, and as such, was banned.
Sneasel 25 was a different monster in and of itself. With the ability to use such a strong trainer engine, not only was it possible, but it was easy to get 2 Special Darkness energies by turn 2, as well as a full bench (possibly containing multiple free-retreating Sneasel). This would result in a 6-coin flip attack, doing 20xHeads + 20, resulting in the potential to do up to 140 damage starting on turn 2 and never look back. Considered too powerful for the format, it was then banned from the format.
I hope that you enjoyed the bit of good news and the trip down memory lane! I’ll leave you with one parting thought. Given the fact that 40-140 damage Turn 2 was considered “too powerful for the format” in 2001, what does this mean for our current metagame? The ability to drop a turn ONE Thundurus/Tornadus/Zekrom doing 80-120 damage being acceptable? The fact that the same Sneasel is currently in the format, and not even played? It certainly raises an interesting question. And in that same vein, imagine the ramifications of a Gothitelle – a Gothitelle whose ability was active on the bench. Would the game be broken by Gothitelle races?
On that parting note, Kohrok out!
Tags: Card Collecting