The winds of change – Thoughts on the new format.

If some of you read my first post you may remember that I promised to write a deck profile for my next piece but I decided that I want to talk a little bit about the new format that we have just entered.

The winds of change

New beginnings

New format he says what is he on about? I thought we already had a rotation? Well we haven’t had another rotation, but we’ve had something just as big and important happen to the Pokémon TCG. On the 8th of November the new X&Y rules came in place. If you don’t already know the most important rule changes are:

  • You must flip a coin to decide who goes first before any cards are drawn (The winner can decide to go first or second)
  • If you go first you may not attack on your opening turn.
  • Pokémon Catcher now requires a coin flip.

I’m sure most of you already knew that though and are busy testing under the new rules. And if most of you have had the same experience I’ve had you’ll know that this game just got immensely better and so much more fun to play. No more worrying about donks or turn 1 pressure, you can actually evolve Pokémon and your opponent can’t simply Catcher a Pokémon or strategy that you’ve been building up on the bench and take easy prizes.

One thing it brings back is the skill of deck building. Instead of ensuring yourself a win on the majority of occasions by just copying and pasting lists of the Internet, individuals can now spend time building lists and perfecting decks that couldn’t have been played before in the fast paced format.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 decks now have a place in the format and I’ve really enjoyed playing against some fairly intriguing lists in the past week. We are at a point where nobody knows exactly what is going to be good. With such a wide choice of decks to play it almost certainly depends on the local Meta as to how well certain decks can perform.

Some of the decks that will definitely see some more play:

Rayboar/Reshiboar

Empoleon

Darkrai/Hydreigon

Round

Ho-oh

Klinklang

Catcher vs. Escape Rope

The new looking Catcher

The new looking Catcher

Lastly I’d like to touch on this subject. I have been doing some testing with lists that included Catcher. It’s definitely still a viable card but I think to justify running any at all you need to run at least 3 copies and even then I’d consider changing them for something that adds consistency or improves a certain matchup. I quickly took them out as I think you need to concentrate on your deck’s strengths. Adding more helpful cards will usually win you more matches than the possibility that you may Catcher out 1/2 of your opponents Pokémon in a single game.
Onto Escape Rope. I think it will see some play. At least it guarantees your opponent has to switch their Pokémon (unless they play Togekiss) but of course you don’t have any control over what they switch in. It also has a double use as it provides you with a switch but cannot be relied upon to grab you up the Pokémon you wanted. My tactics against it have been to either:

Promote a Pokémon that can take a hit or that you don’t mind being KO’d

Promote something that can retreat easily or for free.

It’s definitely not a replacement for Catcher but make sure you are ready for when it does get played down!

I think Virizion/Genesect decks have an advantage in this respect in that they can use Genesect’s Red Signal Ability to have the same effect as a Catcher. It’s not something they will use often but it’s at least an option that the deck has.

You may also consider running a 2-2 Ninetales line for 1/2 guaranteed Catchers a game if you can find the space in your deck.

Ninetales from Dragons Exalted.

Ninetales from Dragons Exalted.

Anyway that’s all from me today. I hope you’re all enjoying the new format, and testing furiously for upcoming events (Cities in the US and Regionals in the UK or whatever the next big event is in your country) If all goes well I should be putting up another post next Monday.

Thank you for reading

-Ryan-

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2 thoughts on “The winds of change – Thoughts on the new format.

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