Hey guys, Kohrok back with another article for Pokezine!
Today, we’re going to be talking about the new rotation that has been implemented. For a little bit of background, let’s look at the past two seasons.
2009-2010: No rotation – by the end of the season, we had all of DP, HGSS, PT, and it was getting crazy. For those of you that followed it, Luxchomp, Machamp, and Gyarados all ran rampant and took top slots at the World Championships.
2010-2011: September, 2010 – rotation through HALF of Diamond-Pearl, leaving us with: Legends Awakened (Uxie, Azelf, Mesprit), Majestic Dawn (Unown Q, Call Energy), Stormfront (Machamp, Gengar, Warp Energy, Gyarados, and SABLEYE), Platinum, Rising Rivals, Supreme Victors, Arceus, HeartGold/Soulsilver, Unleashed, Undaunted, and as the season went on, Triumphant, Call of Legends, and finally, Black and White.
Now, that is a GIANT number of sets for two straight seasons, and when the rules change went into effect this April, the public was, in general, aghast. Basically, because with the ability to play trainers on the first turn, Sableye (SF) was now the most cheap card in the format. A whole deck-type developed around him, which was discussed lightly in my past two articles. I will be writing a Deck Discussion on it in the next week to go more in-depth on what happened and went wrong with the format.
But, following a Battle Roads season that was, for most Masters, not as much fun as past events, Pokemon decided to make a great decision, and rotate early this year.
July, 2011 – Rotation through ALL of Diamond-Pearl and Platinum. That’s right. We took 7 sets away, before US Nationals.
Now while that may seem very destructive to the format, it really did a lot for bringing a stale format up to speed. For starters, you may have noticed I was noting specific cards from the older sets. That’s because these cards were becoming incredibly staple and decks were re-using the same ideas. That’s not to say that all decks lost it, but in general, the format was going stale like a week-old loaf of bread.
So now let’s take a look at some changes.
Last format, we focused on Pokemon like Uxie (LA), Uxie Lv. X (LA), and Jirachi (RR) to help us deal with drawing what we needed. Although it will hurt to lose these cards, we still have Ninetales (HGSS/CoL) and Magnezone Prime (TR) to give us some drawing options. Also, the effective “reprint” of Cleffa (HGSS/CoL) from Neo and Professor Oa-er, Juniper, gave us a few options, along with the ever popular Copycat (HGSS/CoL) and Professor Oak’s New Theory (HGSS/CoL).
Together, this will all combine for a format that is less focused on the Speed-Trainer engine that ran on Pokedex Handy910 and Poke Drawer +, and more on general hand setup through PONT, Juniper, and Copycat. However, Fire decks will continue to enjoy an outrageous advantage through Ninetales, who, thanks to the reprinting of Energy Retrieval, now can let you draw and can recover easier than ever.
Last format, a lot of players used cards like Sableye (SF), Call Energy (MD), Spiritomb (AR), and a few others. All of those, are, obviously, gone, but we have retained cards like Smeargle (UD/CoL) who can be good, even without Unown Q, as well as Stantler (UL), who for one energy works just like Call Energy. Finally, we have Cleffa (HGSS/CoL), who for 0 energy, can shuffle your hand back in, and you’ll draw 6 new cards. Additionally, there’s a 50% chance (via Special Condition Sleep and Cleffa’s Pokebody) that you won’t take damage. Free retreat is a plus, but 30 HP is a danger if you go second.
Together, the format will slow down, especially without Sableye, and Stage 2 decks will mourn the loss of Spiritomb. However, we can continue to setup quickly with Smeargle, and I see Stantler rising in popularity as decks slow down with the format.
Two formats ago, we had what, in my mind, was the best set of supporters ever. Roseanne’s Research was an incredible card that allowed you to choose between searching for Basic Pokemon and Energy cards. It was later supplemented by Aaron’s collection, which only worked for discarded Pokemon SP and Energy cards. Either way, these cards were great. When partnered with Bebe’s Search, a deck could essentially search out any Pokemon at any time, or get energy, all as needed.
However, none of those cards are around today. We do still have great choices, in the form of Pokemon Collector (HGSS) for basics, Professor Elm’s Training Method (HGSS) for Evolved Pokemon, and finally, we still have Dual Ball (UL/CoL) to help us as a trainer. I predict something new to help us search more flexibly, but if not, we still have a decent way to find what we need. Of course, Energy Search is still in the format, and continues to be an option, as does Interviewer’s Questions (UL/CoL).
All things considered, the format is going to have less search, there’s no denying it. It’s going to take a little more effort to set up. But all in all, play will go on, and everyone will be dealing with it together, so you won’t be at a disadvantage (in most cases) if your deck doesn’t get the perfect setup T1.
Everyone, be prepared for a slower format. A format that almost seems as slow as what I started playing back in the days of Base/Jungle/Fossil. I really loved those days, and I cherished the ability to have a deck that didn’t burn through half of itself T1, set up for a donk T2, or involve cards that cost more than a box (At one point, Luxray GL Lv. X…) I’m looking forward to a nice format that involves new strategies. I, for one, have barely tested HGSS-on, and I will throughly enjoy doing that this Summer. If any of you have ideas or thoughts, you know that you’re always welcome to bounce them off of me at MurrysvillePokemonLeague@gmail.com
As always, good luck, and have fun!