Base Set Evolution (formerly Base Set Neo) is a re-envisioning of the TCG, meant to blend elements of the Base-Fossil format with updated game mechanics, creating a unique experience enjoyable for players of either format.
Base Set Evolution is a standalone set featuring 200+ custom cards and a few imports from the TCG. How do we create an environment recognizable enough to Base-Fossil and Standard players, while being unique enough to offer a reason to play it? I've taken a few steps:
1. Pokémon HP and Retreat values are based largely on their video game HP and Speed stats. This undoes many years of HP creep and ensures each Pokémon "feels" like the right Pokémon. A low-HP Chansey or high retreat Electrode simply wouldn't make any sense. That said, I've given most final stage Pokémon a 20% HP buff to better reflect TCG gameplay. For example, Venusaur, with 80HP, instead gets 100 (80 * 1.2 = 96 rounded). [Note: A few high-HP Pokémon, like Chansey, get no bonus]
2. To keep the game feeling modern, we introduce card types like Supporters, Tools, and Stadiums. We also feature Pokémon ex; while multiprize Pokémon are controversal, the eras of evolving 2-prizers are typically looked upon fondly (gen 3, gen 7 pre-tag teams).
3. A commitment to making Evolution Pokémon worth the deck space. Giving an evolved Pokémon 60hp and a 30-for-3 attack doesn't cut it when Hitmonchan and Scyther exist. Compared to the retro format, evolved Pokémon will be dealing more damage and take less energy; no more Kabutops 40-for-4 on a Stage 2.
Pokémon Design Philosophy: Revamp and Reconstruct
Card designs for this set come in three categories.
(1) Cards that did well typically maintain their original identity. Particularly iconic cards get the ex treatment, while "goodstuff" like Retreat Aid Dodrio will remain largely unchanged.
(2) Cards that fell short, but had potential, get adjustments to damage, energy costs, and effects.
(3) Cards that would not be able to compete in the format are given new identities.
Blastoise ex is "uncapped": it has 140hp, Rain Dance attaches to any type of Pokémon, and Hydro Pump has no damage limit. Players new and old should both immediately recognize the impact this card will have once it hits the table.
Hitmonlee lived in the shadow of its brother, but it now embraces its identity as a dedicated bench sniper. High Jump Kick can fly past the Active Pokémon and score a key Knock Out, but if Hitmonlee keeps going, he'll crash! Note the extra [C] in Hitmonlee's attack costs and the general improvement to Stretch Kick.
Rattata theoretically had a niche as a 20-for-1 attacker that resisted Psychic, but few serious decks would pick it over big normals like Lickitung or Kangaskhan. A new identity inspired by Magic's Relentless Rats opens new deckbuilding possibilities. 50-for-1 is incredible, but are you willing to fill your deck and bench with a 30HP Pokémon to take advantage of it?
Raticate maintains its original niche with Super Fang while also now serving as a great boss to a dedicated Rattata deck. Poison Spray is this format's sidegrade to PlusPower. You can't stack 40 damage in one turn any more, but you have synergy with effects like Raticate and any Abilities that care about Special Conditions.
Trainer Design Philosophy: Maintain and Buff
Ask a player of another game what makes Pokémon stand out, and they'll mention cards like Professor's Research. With no sideboard, high-power draw and search cards are what keeps Pokémon decks running and able to run techs. Computer Search is a card I consider emblematic of Base Set Evolution: it's high-powered but allows skill expression via the discard. It's a card I want in the format, and that means other Items like Pokédex need buffs to stay relevant.
The introduction of Tools and Supporters also breathes new life into certain cards. Full Heal can now be used proactively against Poison, while problematic cards from the original format like Professor Oak, Gust of Wind, and Super Energy Removal can be reigned in to a once per turn effect.
Dumping over 200 cards at once makes it hard to parse the information. I want Base Set Evolution to be a playable format, and part of that means helping players process what's going on. So, much like Base-Fossil, I've split the cards into 3 distinct parts. I'll go into more details in the next posts, but here's the idea
Fresh Beginnings is an 82 card set that shares the same goals as Base Set Evolution as a whole. Players looking to play the format should start here. You'll have access to the starters, various early game Pokémon like Beedrill, and the iconic Haymakers. With a focus on iconic Pokémon and simpler supporters focused on card draw, even brand new Pokémon TCG players should have a good time.
Journey sets out to fill the format with powerful Evolution Pokémon representing a variety of strategies both old and new. Supporter cards here are targeted towards enhancing your strategy. For example, Gambler buffs the results of your coin flips, letting flip-reliiant attackers such as Beedrill and Sandslash deal more damage.
Lunar Eclipse introduces "Lunar Pokémon", a subset similar to Light, Dark, or Plasma Pokémon. This set also introduces Stadium cards, but the main theme of this set is controlling tempo. Pokémon include big basics like Lapras and damage mitigators like Mr. Mime. The Supporter cards feature the retrains of Super Energy Removal and Gust of Wind.
This post will go over Base Set Evolution: Fresh Beginnings in more detail. I've already shown several cards from this set in the original post, such as Blastoise ex, Hitmonlee, Computer Search, and Professor Oak.
Note: Images are failing to load on PokéBeach, so you can view the full explanations alongside images here as well.
Starter Pokémon & Archetype Support
If you squint closely, every type in the TCG has a bit of an identity. For example, while Exeggutor does have Big Eggplosion, "stack energy for damage" is traditionally done via Rain Dance and Water Gun/Hydro Pump. Similarly, Fire types discard Energy for attacks while Grass Pokémon have a focus on status and healing. All 3 of the starters are designed to embody these traits.
Blastoise has Rain Dance, so I've included two major partners for the line. Seadra is a Stage 1 option, able to manipulate Energy that's already been accelerated to pick up precise KOs. Poliwrath offers faster damage scaling, rewarding players for successfully setting up multiple Stage 2 lines.
All members of the Venusaur line have an Ability, encouraging players to set up their field with cards apart from the highest stage. Venusaur's Poison Strike provides a pluspower-like effect, synergizing with Poison Spray. Parapoison Vine is the primary attack, but Solar Beam has also been imported from the original Base Set Venusaur, now at an easier-to-fulfill requirement. The extra 20 damage can help pick up KOs.
Venomoth is a partner that can easily inflict Poison, while Weezing can amp the severity of Poison and even inflict Poison (2).
Charmander has a 30-for-1 attack, making it among the hardest hitters for basics that can evolve into a Stage 2. The biggest change comes with Charizard, which has its original ability baked in--it can now attack using only Colorless Energy. This frees up space for Bathed in Flames, which applies a constant Burn to the opponent's Active Pokémon. This means you can take a KO and chip the next Pokémon, bring up a Charizard after your own Pokémon is KOd for counter damage, or even combine Charizard with attackers like Squirtle, retreating to the Bench and then applying Burn damage in between turns. Charizard applies consistent offensive pressure without ever even needing to attack. However, Charizard's this comes at the downside of being a Stage 2 with only 90HP; you'll need Defender and healing items to put Charizard to full use.
Charizard partners with Arcanine, who now has a respectable 110HP on a Stage 1 and an ability that boosts Burn damage. A bench full of Arcanine lets Charizard deal 140 damage per turn (70 x 2), though it should be unrealistic to set that up. Compared to the original card, Flamethrower has had its cost reduce from 3 Energy to 2, though it has gained an optional Energy discard effect to inflict Burn. Growlithe also offers some value as a 60HP basic with Stoke, which can help charge itself up or attach energy to the bench. Charizard needs all the help it can get if it wants to use its 4-energy Fire Blast.
Eevee can evolve into 3 different types; I believe the best design space for this Pokémon is in a "weakness box" strategy, able to hit any type in the game for Super Effective damage. To help achieve this, I've given all 3 of them attacks that cost [C][C], powered up by a single Double Colorless Energy. I've also designed Jynx, Scyther, and Sandslash to follow this trend, providing the deck coverage for the missing types. Scyther was good in the original format, but to help adjust to the power creep, Slash now costs 2 Energy rather than 3. Sandslash is a straightforward Pokémon and a good comparison with Scyther; in exchange for setting up a Stage 1, Sandslash's attack deals more damage for the same energy cost.
Lastly, Pikachu and Raichu are designed to be thematic cards, rather than necessarily powerful ones. Pikachu evokes the feeling of playing through Pokémon Yellow, searching out the various starter Pokémon. This deck may work better than you'd expect, as filling the bench will empower Eevee's Version Split attack, and Blastoise is able to power up both Eevee and Charizard with Rain Dance.
In contrast, Raichu is all about hitting hard and fast. Quick Attack deals an incredible 50-for-1, but it only works on the turn it evolves. Thunder also hits above curve at 70 for 2, but requires carefully managing the bench to get use out of it.
Other Deck Archetypes & Support Pokémon
All members of the Haymaker archetype have been given buffs to exemplify the changes being made in Base Set Evolution. Hitmonchan and Electabuzz receive the ex treatment, Scyther was discussed above, and Magmar combines the trait of both of its cards.
The Butterfree and Beedrill both take inspiration from their status as early-game bugs, featuring 4 different methods of evolving quickly! Beedrill is a dedicated deck, while Butterfree offers minor disruption and healing. Balancing the investment of a Stage 2 with the ability to bring them out much quicker than normal can be tricky, so they're likely candidates for reworks if this format ever catches on.
When designing support Pokémon, I wanted to create a deckbuilding choice: a Stage 2 line with better payout vs a Stage 1 line with faster payout. To do this, I gave the Persian line access to Trade, while Pidgeot gets to draw 2 without a discard. To balance things out, Air Mail Pidgeotto has been imported, while Meowth features a better attack than Pidgey.
As mentioned in the original post, the supporters of Fresh Beginnings are focused on card draw, with non-search cards all avoiding the need to shuffle the deck. Oak was already shared above, so let's talk about the others. Bill is our equivalent to Cheren/Hop/etc, but now has a conditional that allows it to draw a 4th card. I also designed a card that ended up being very similar to the upcoming Iono, though it was pure coincidence (I started working on this set back in December/January). A few others also exist, functioning in certain kinds of decks or metagames better than others.
Apart from draw cards, we have a few power cards: Mr. Fuji takes on the role of Mr. Briney's Compassion, Pokémon Breeder functions like Wally (though you can't play a Supporter turn 1).
We've discussed many of the types of items in this set back during the original post, from Switch to Rare Candy and Computer Search. However, there are several categories of cards we've yet to go over.
Apart from Pokédex, Pokémon search comes down to Ball item cards. Rather than their original effects, I've designed the cards to be based on Pokémon, requiring a steeper cost to obtain more powerful cards. Initially, the cards were designed without the cost and simply added different HP ranges to your hand (e.g. Great Ball was 60-100), but it seemed off-theme that a Great Ball wouldn't be able to capture a Pokémon that a regular Poké Ball could.
There are a few other cards I'd like to discuss. Maintenance now has the unique effect of adding the top card of the discard pile to the hand. This works as a sidegrade to cards like Junk Arm; you only have to discard 1 card, but you'll need to properly sequence to get the card you want back. As an added bonus, Maintenance can retrieve Pokémon too! If your main attacker gets KO'd, it'll always be the top card.
I believe having a "cycle" card in the format is also a good tool for deckbuilders that prefer compact consistency. I started off with a simple "draw 1 card" Item, but I decided to turn PC Retrieval into an effect similar to Pidgeotto's Air Mail.
Energy Removal is a key component of the Base-Fossil era, yet is simultaneously too strong to remain unchanged. Crushing Hammer is a poor solution, so I've decided to give it the tradeoff from Super Energy Removal. You're now trading Energy 1-for-1, but you're also losing an extra card in Energy Removal itself. Players can still maintain an energy advantage by targeting Double Colorless Energy, but I believe the effect should be much healthier.
Rounding out the set are 2 Special Energy cards: Double Colorless and Double Rainbow, imported straight from gen 3. As with many card imports and changes, this is designed to give Evolution cards an edge over big basics.
As mentioned in the original post, this set focuses on a wide variety of Evolution Pokémon. Not every card in a TCG can be equally viable; but whether they have a unique ability or a powerful attack, I want every fully evolved card to do something interesting about it. If we were to port these cards to 1999 and a kid opened a booster pack, the Rare slot should make them thing "Wow, that's cool! I can do something with this!"
During my initial draft of these cards, I went overboard and gave a ton of Pokémon 3 traits. As I've refined the card designs, I've realized the filler attacks don't usually add much to the card, so many have been discarded or reworked into singular attacks.
Note: Images are failing to display on Pokébeach, so you can also view the full explanation alongside images here.
Legendary Birds and also Victreebel i guess
Initially, all 3 birds had a 2-cost attack that dealt 20 damage + 10 to all benched Pokémon. However, as I thought about the role I wanted these cards to play, giving them a generic value attack felt wrong. We want to make sure Big Basics don't dwarf everything else in the format, yet at the same time, Legendary Pokémon rightfully should have a big impact.
How do we solve this? All 3 have abilities with the potential for immediate value as they come into play, alongside a powerful high-cost attack.
Articuno offers protection against Status Conditions, saving your Pokémon from Charizard's Bathed in Flames and the variety of tricks available to Grass types. Moltres can discard [W] Energy, offering a tech agaisnt Rain Dance decks. Zapdos can paralyze on a coin flip, helping decks buy extra time. Articuno is the most likely to be able to attack, as it can pair with Blastoise to have energy accelerated. Zapdos seems the least likely to become a successful primary attacker, as there are few ways to paralyze opponents prior to your attack. However, it can pair with the Victreebel line!
Bellsprout and Weepinbell have effects inspired by Strike and Run Dunsparce. Even though neither is quite as good, you can more consistently find your starters or bench a Pokémon with free retreat to act as a wall for a turn before switching in your primary attacker.
Victreebel is the main allure of the line, with Trap Spore being able to inflict any Status Condition. Paralysis is going to be the choice in most cases, but Burn and Poison can help pick up a KO. Putting on status conditions can force the opponent to switch, which Victreeebel punishes with Honeypot!
Earthquake & Spread Attackers
The Diglett line have some of the lowest base HP values in the game. As one of my design goals is to keep the "feel" of many Pokémon in tact, these values have not been artificially buffed. With an evolution line focused on Speed and Attack, both have no retreat, and both deal damage well above curve for their Energy costs. Diglett features a more defensive ability that offers immunity from gusting, damage counters, and snipe damage. Dugtrio goes full glass cannon, damaging the opponent with Burrow Trap whenever the opponent switches out. With Honeypot and Burrow Trap in effect, the total damage from a Switch can go up to 100!
Golem's Earthquake is less powerful than Dugtrio's, but it is easier to use. If you can take one Knock Out with Earthquake, your damaged Golem can then explode for what's likely a 2nd prize. Rolling Stone also makes Golem a useful support Pokémon.
I also buffed the original Geodude card's attack a bit so it deals at least 10 damage, but I don't think it's a big deal.
While not quite Earthquake, Dewgong is certainly a Pokémon with a focus on bench damage. Triple Twirl is inspired by UNB 45. Triple Twirl can come out turn 2 with DCE or Double Rainbow, but you'll have to discard it afterwards.
Rage (& Other Damage Counter Manipulation)
As Earthquake puts damage on every Pokémon, let's transition to cards that want Damage Counters. Surprisingly, Primeape--a Pokémon with the sole personality trait of being angry--did not originally feature Rage. This has been changed.
The main issue with Rage attacks is keeping your Pokémon sufficiently damaged. Primeape's Afterlife Riot allows you to keep any extra damage counters. For example, if a 10HP Primeape takes 30 damage, you'll be able to move 2 damage counters to other Pokémon, instantly turning Rage into a decent 30 or 40-for-1 attack. Keeping your Pokémon damaged makes them easier to OHKO, but you can gain an advantage over the course of the game by using cost-efficient attacks (Rage only costs 1 Energy, after all).
Tauros' Raging Herd can deal up to 80 damage for a single DCE, but it takes some work to set up and requires that none of your Tauros have been prized. A free retreat cost makes it easier for your damaged Tauros to avoid Knock Outs.
The Alakazam line also supports Rage strategies by allowing free manipulation of damage counters. It only has 70hp, but Psyshock can deal over 100 damage if you've tanked a few hits with Damage Swap first. Kadabra has no attacks, but 4 unique effects on Spoon Trick, making it a support Pokémon that can fit into a variety of decks.
Machop has an HP buff, further cementing it as the "Hitmonchan at home."
Machoke's Daunting Pose ability gets imported. This offers a countermeasure against the Earthquake decks discussed above. It can work in any deck, but it's an interesting interaction with Rage; bench sniping will increase the damage from Rage, but as you want low HP to get maximum value from Rage, the decks may also be most vulnerable to it.
Machamp has Fissure, a nerfed import of Take Out (Stormfront #40). Even the mighty Legendary Birds and other high-hp Pokémon ex will be Knocked Out in one hit. I've also included Rage over Seismic Toss for flavor reasons; Machamp is all about taking a hit and retaliating harder!
New & Returning Archetypes
Slowpoke has an attack similar to Wigglytuff's original Do the Wave, but it only counts Pokémon with Withdraw. Slowpoke probably won't end up using it though, as Slowbro can copy the attack for no Energy! You'll also need to manage your bench properly; Shellder can search for Slowbro, but discards itself from play, reducing the number of Pokémon with Withdraw in play. Additionally, if you want to maximize damage from Shell Smasher, you can't have any support Pokémon like Persian or Pidgeot on your bench.
With most Pokémon having 1-2 Retreat, a single Tentacruel is hitting 40 or 60 for 2, with the potential to scale higher with additional copies set up. However, players can counteract this with Dodrio and its Retreat Aid ability! Doduo is an extremely rare case: I've changed no attributes of this card compared to the original Base Set. Dodrio, however, has a nifty new attack. By gusting the opponent, we dodge abilities that prevent benched damage (e.g. Squirtle, Machoke) and can potentially strand an Active Pokémon--especially if paired with Tentacruel to increase the Retreat Cost! Lastly, switching out Dodrio after the attack allows us to switch in Pokémon like Charizard, Venomoth, or Machamp, which punish the opponent for attacking into them.
All 3 members of this line have low HP for their Stage. To balance this out, I've given them a focus on cheating Pokémon into play; you never know when a ghost might appear! I think these cards fit the flavor quite well.
Gastly and Haunter both accelerate Stage 1 Pokémon into play, while Gengar deals damage based on the number of Evolution Pokémon you've discarded. Players can use Haunter's In Memorium to set up copies of Kadabra or Hypno without running any Abra or Drowzee. Avoiding the need to evolve Pokémon lets players aggressively use cards like Professor Oak and Computer Search to power up Gengar's attack. And, once one Gengar is set up, you can start chaining a new Gengar each turn.
I don't think there's too much to say about this one. Pokémon are, on average, a fair deal bigger than the original Base format (e.g. the 3 Legendary Birds). To accomodate this, Big Eggplosion has been buffed from 20x to 30x, and Exeggcute has an attack that fits the theme of accumulating Energy. Note that Blastoise ex's Rain Dance has no type limitation, so Exeggutor is a potential recipient for your [W] Energy!
The design for the Seaking line is inspired by its "Lightning Rod" ability in the video games.
Ponyta's Stomp is a fire-type version of Scyther's Slash, but Swords Dance and the extra HP have been exchanged by a small Support ability. Rapidash can combine with cards like Scoop Up, Mr. Fuji, and Devolution Spray to repeatedly draw extra cards and fire off boosted Quick Attacks.
The Paras line were also colorless attackers in the original set, but they had no ability to compete with Scyther. Parasect's Slash now deals more damage than Scyther alongside a chance to inflict Sleep. And if that Sleep is successful, the opponent will have to deal with Bedhead Parasite making it more difficult to wake up.
Drowzee's Dream Eater deals big damage, but it's unlikely to work without support from Parasect. Hypno, however, is a great choice for any deck that relies on low-HP attackers. By having Hypno on your bench, you can turn your 40-HP Dugtrios or 70-HP Alakazams into 100-HP attackers. As you also have the benefit of not losing your attacker's Energy when Hypno is Knocked Out, I believe this card could end up being rather powerful. If changes need to be made, I'd consider limiting Hypno's damage transfer to its Remaining HP, then go from there.
I wanted to give Electrode a different design, but I thought having a Buzzap equivalent was important to the format. Marowak seemed like a fitting choice, essentially turning itself into a ghost to support your team. Revenge Punch is also a good late-game attack, hitting as high as 70-for-1.
Red Thread Cut is a situational attack that KOs any Pokémon weaker than Kingler. With 70HP, a healthy Kingler can Knock Out most evolving basics, and even some Stage 1s. Unlike Machamp's Fissure, Kingler will struggle to deal with high-hp basic EXes, but Kingler can be a great secondary attacker, essentially dealing up to 60 for 2 against weakened opponents.
Credit: Lure's redesign came from discord user "adam karl (ptcgo adam_bromma)#5571"
The Nine Tails attack is a bit of a gimmick, but it does have an average damage on par with Arcanine's Flamethrower. This attack is inspired by a promo from the Game Boy TCG game.
Muk was a problematic card in the original format. I wanted to retain its identity as an Ability locker, so the effect is now on the Junk Mucking attack, forcing you to actually use Muk. With relatively low damage output, compared to other evolved Pokémon, there's now a tradeoff to using this card.
Pokédex Quiz is the only entirely new card. I wanted an Item that could emulate Bill's original Draw 2 effect, so I've introduced Pokédex Quiz. This card was designed for "Withdraw", but it can work with attacks such as Quick Attack and Water Gun too.
In my test matches with the Starter Decks posted previously, the Eevee and Blastoise deck both found themselves running out of cards in some games. Recycle's effect can get more cards back into the deck. Unlike the original effect, these cards go on the bottom, so you'll need a way to search them out if you want immediate use out of them.
Pokémon Center now requires Energy to provide healing, putting it in line with modern healing effects.
Revive takes the middle ground of its original and modern print, dealing a static 20. This provides some cost to the revival while also enabling Tauros.
The other 3 cards are 1-to-1 imports of existing cards. Town Map is an import designed primarily to cater to newer players, though it does have its use in serious decks as well. In any case, being able to pick the prize card you want is a good "feel", and an option I wanted available.
The first half of these are self-explanatory support for various decks, so let's focus on the other 4.
Ignoring the costs of item cards makes Burglar a versatile card, though it depends on the opponent's deck. Common targets could include Computer Search (no discard required) and Energy Removal (which no longer needs to discard one of your own Energy).
With the inclusion of Explosion Golem and the rework of Electrode's ability onto Marowak, it seemed fitting to turn Lt. Surge's Strategy into Hiker, a trainer class more focused on rock/ground Pokémon.
The final two cards are my favorites of this group. Channeler is a massive boon for Stage 2 decks, keeping your star players on the field without needing to find another Rare Candy, but it still provides value in decks focused on Basics as well.
Rocket Makes It Double is a card designed with the intention of "let's see what happens." It does absolutely nothing on its own, but can lead to a wide variety of payoffs. Add 2 cards with Computer Search; finish the game early with Cubone's Lone Finish; put 6 cards back in your deck with Recycle. Note that you only get to replace one instance, so an attack like Goldeen's "Ride the Current" can attach 2 Energy to 1 Pokémon or 1 Energy each to 2 Pokémon, rather than accelerating 4 energy total.
* Lunar Pokémon make their debut. This is a grouping similar to "Light" or "Dark" Pokémon, with members comprised of Pokémon related to the Moon Stone or outer space.
* Stadium cards are introduced, offering effects that support a variety of decks with dual-sided effects.
* We finally get Gust of Wind (as a supporter), dramatically changing gameplay with a consistent way to switch out the opponent's Pokémon
* Tough-to-beat Basic Pokémon including Mr. Mime, Lickitung, and Mewtwo debut. Alongside Clefairy Doll and Super Energy Removal, decks aiming to run their opponent out of resources gain more juice.
Note: Pokébeach is failing to load the images properly, so you can view the full explanation post alongside the images here as well.
In the original format, I think the designers had a good idea in "Boyfriends". The deck ultimately suffered because setting up a field of Stage 2s is basically impossible. To remedy this, Nidoqueen now gains a benefit for NidoranM and Nidorino and has a much higher damage cap--170 damage with 4 Nidoking and a Nidorino is enough to OHKO just about anything in the format for just 2 energy. NidoranF accelerates the strategy by being able to call 2 Pokémon, rather than just one.
When Nidoqueen goes down, Nidoking is a reasonable backup attacker. The energy cost is awkward, but still fulfill-able by a single Double Rainbow Energy. With Lunar Blessing, that's 50 damage on one attachment, with the potential for more with some lucky flips.
Clefable was already a usable Pokémon in the original format, so it keeps the iconic Metronome attack. The rest of the card design for this line focuses on interaction with Clefairy Doll. Note that Clefable can also discard your Pokémon Tools and even a Stadium if you're trying to pick up a Knock Out.
Wigglytuff's Do the Wave is nearly as iconic as Hitmonchan's Jab, meaning Wiigglytuff is incredibly deserving of the EX treatment. There's one problem, though: this line has a massive Base HP stat. As outlined in the original post, I want HP and Retreat Costs to mostly reflect in-game values, so I need a way to bring this evolution line "in line" with the rest of the format. The Air Leak abilities prevents any shenanigans with Pokémon Center, and Lunar Takedown can slowly rack up damage on Wigglytuff. Jigglypuff may still see play in stall decks; 120hp and access to Sleep is quite similar to Base Set Chansey with 120hp and Scrunch.
While seemingly disconnected with the rest of the Lunar Pokémon, Starmie loops itself in with 5-Point Rapid Spin. 70hp is a bit frail, but you can switch out to a Clefairy Doll, racking up damage on the opponent and sponging hits for your squad. Having a powerful attack with a Switch effect also makes it a potential partner for Pokémon with abilities that only work while Active (e.g. use Charizard to deal extra damage).
Control: Basics (Big & Small)
When people think of stall, they default to big basics like Lickitung or Chansey. But there are also "small basics"--cards like Mr. Mime or Dratini that reduce/prevent damage, providing huge value with Damage Swap or Potions. If control is too powerful, gameplay feels slow and dull. Some players hate control and want to see it removed from the game entirely, but if control is positioned healthily, the battle of resource attrition and decision making makes for interesting gameplay. While designing Base Set Evolution, I've done my best to provide multiple routes to combat control; Charizard needs no Energy to deal damage, Machamp can instantly take out any Basic, and scaling attacks like Tentacruel and Gengar can quickly turn the tide against decks that play too passively and let them. Without further ado, let's take a look at the cards!
Mr. Mime, like Doduo, is a great candidate for a 1:1 import! I've introduced a counterpart in Onix, a natural fit given the game stats of "incredibly low HP but sky-high defence". And, as a total coincidence, this is at least the 3rd "Fighting-Psychic" pairing in Base Set Neo.
Lickitung gets a slight HP boost compared to the original printing, which helps scale it a bit to the updated damage numbers. It's iconic Lick attack remains untouched, but I've redone the second attack to give Lickitung a potential attacking option.
Kangaskhan loses Fetch, making it much worse as a generic "big buff opener"; the quick card draw niche is already handled by Pidgey and Meowth. Instead, Kangaskhan gets Retaliate, opening up a late game reversal option that can be accessed with just 1 DCE.
Once we get past Kangaskhan, we run into the same problem I had with Wigglytuff; this is the group with HP values I consider to simply be too high. Rather than nerf the stats, I've given them all negative drawbacks. Lapras has 3 weaknesses, essentially making it an 80HP Pokémon in many matchups. Snorlax is a huge risk as opening with it prevents you from fielding any backups if it gets Knocked Out. As the 6th Prize Card, however, it can shine as "the ultimate roadblock", trapping the opponent while repeatedly healing. And if there's a major threat being built up, Roll Over can OHKO any Pokémon in the game, regardless of damage reduction effects. Snorlax is meant to be a "raid boss" or, in Pokémon terms, a static encounter--see how the opponent fares throwing their entire team at a Pokémon that eclipses them all.
Rounding out the group is Chansey, a card I knew I'd be giving an EX. This was one of the first of the entire 200+ card set that I designed. By doubling the damage Chansey takes, the effective health pool is, on its own, effectively the same while Potions become less effective for it. However, if it remains safely on the bench, it's now an even better sponge for Damage Swap.
From the common cave pest to the world's strongest Pokémon, let's "Swoop Across" the rest of the ex Pokémon in the set!
This line is inspired by the Phantom Forces prints, almost certainly the most famous/successful set of bats in the TCG's history. (That said, Crobat has had Surprise Bite as far back as the Neo sets!) Cave Pest is a small bonus, letting you keep all 4 Zubat in your opener for Sneaky Bites. You can't use Scoop Up or Mr. Fuji on Pokémon-ex, so you'll need to rely on the basics if you want to make the most use of Zubat.
When you think of Vileplume, it has to be Hay Fever. Like with Muk, I've taken some steps to mitigate this controversial Ability. Namely, it has to be the Active Pokémon to take effect, and the Petal Dance attack risks turning off Hay Fever right as your opponent starts their turn. And, of course, it gives up 2 Prize Cards as a Pokémon ex.
Mew's most iconic trait has to be copying other Pokémon's attacks, and I think DNAncestor fits the theme quite well. You'll need the right amount of Energy, but Mew's versatile DNA turns everything into Rainbow Energy, making it possible to copy the opponent's attacks in any matchup.
Mewtwo originally had 160HP, like Lapras; rather than a negative ability, the attacks are designed to whittle Mewtwo down over time. Being the ultimate Pokémon, it has the only 0-Energy attack in the game! Combine Mewtwo with Raticate's Super Fang to take Knock Outs and draw more cards, or try to find ways to increase the damage of Mind Crush.
Porygon's original card simply doesn't work; Conversion and Conversion2 are terrible attacks. We fix this with Rapid Color Change, turning Porygon into a Pokémon that can hit anything for Weakness. Or, if you're a more defensively inclined player, you can declare the same type as your opponent's Pokémon to take advantage of Resistance. With 70HP and an attack that allows the player to Switch, Porygon is an alternative to Lunar Starmie for decks trying to implement a hit-and-run strategy. It'll be up to the players to figure out if the more powerful effect and status as a Basic is worth the extra prize card and Energy needed to attack.
Base Set Neo: Journey featured Dodrio with the Targeted Hit-And-Run attack. Lunar Eclipse takes this one step further, introducing Pokémon with gusting Abilities.
Arbok's ability comes from DAA Ariados, performing Gust on any evolved Pokémon. This version of the effect prevents players from taking advantage of vulnerable low-HP basics...but Magneton's Magnet Pull is perfect for doing just that! Pull something straight from the Discard Pile into the active spot, then either Self-Destruct or Retreat to bring in your main attacker. At 100 damage, Magneton won't be able to protect itself with Defender, but you also have the chance to score a KO against 2-Prize Pokémon like Hitmonchan, Electabuzz, and Porygon ex!
As a Stage 2, Dragonite takes the definition of Gust to the next level by preventing the opponent from retreating. Alongside each member of this line having a useful Abiliity and no Weakness, they're a great choice for anyone looking to round out their deck with support Pokémon. One design note is that Dragonair initially had "Evolutionary Call" as a [C] attack; that iteration had direct synergy with Kangaskhan, but was weaker overall. If the Dragonite line ends up being too dominating, I'll probably revert it back.
This section will go over cards that received more subtle changes, such as Headache Psyduck and Leek Slap Farfetch'd. Credit for the Psyduck card goes to Discord user adam karl (ptcgo adam_bromma)#5571
Golduck is a counterpart to Poliwrath, offering [W] decks another type they can hit for weakness.
Farfetch'd now always deals damage with Leek Slap, making it a strong early-game Pokémon. Pot Smash has also been buffed to make Farfetch'd more consistent overall.
Magikarp gets an ability to help with it's low HP. The lack of attacks is a reflection of it being "useless" in battle. Base Set Gyarados has some fame for being the original Rain Dance partner, but in my humble opinion, the Pokémon is much more famous for firing off Hyper Beams (despite not being the greatest user of the move in the video games...). Compared to Poliwrath's Whirlpool, you'll need an extra energy for Hyper Beam, but this is offset by being on a Stage 1 with the same total HP and a lower retreat cost.
From cards that support previous archetypes to standalone cards that don't quite fit with any other lines, let's go over the remaining Pokémon of the set.
During Journey, I mentioned giving Marowak the equivalent of Buzzap because I had other plans for Electrode. Electrode is
(1) the fastest Pokémon in the game
(2) a generator
Buzzap successfully covers 2 and 3, but I think Hypercharged is a fun attack with a place in the meta. Charge can flood energy onto the board, and the Defender + Self-Destruct combo can take multiple knockouts in one turn. It's a huge early-game bomb offering the opportunity for donks, but is likely to have a bad prize trade in prolonged games.
Energy Switch was the final card added to the set, as I wanted a way to take advantage of Charge without allowing Electrode to simply attach to every Pokémon. It also has some utility in other decks to move energy away from weakened pokemon.
The Rhydon line is another Earthquake user. It has more HP than Dugtrio and Golem, but it has no Ability, making it function more as a standalone attacker. There isn't too much to say about them.
Tangela is a Basic meant to support the Poison decks. Vine Barb can keep special conditions on the field, while Poison Vine inflicts the status and gets Weezing/Venusaur online.
Offensive Tentacruel decks should appreciate the inclusion of Pinsir; having an alternate attacker in the deck prevents Tentacruel from slowly being depleted (thus lowering the opponent's Retreat and decreasing your damage output).
Fossil Kabutops may be the single worst Pokémon of the original Base-Fossil format. When you have multiple lines all sharing the same Basic, and that Basic can't even be placed down at the start of the game or searched for via Balls, you have a problem on your hand. Fossil Pokémon need powerful abilities to be worth using.
Aerodactyl has a strong identity in the original format, and it is one I find worth preserving. However, I've introduced methods for the opponent to circumvent the effect. Aerodactyl must be active, allowing it to be Gusted out, and it only prevents manual evolution, meaning players can use cards like Pokémon Breeder to circumvent the effect.
Omastar and Kabutops both offer effects that support Aerodactyl (and plenty of other Pokémon, too). Omastar can power up most attackers in just one turn, while Kabutops lets you consistently bring out Evolution Pokémon...if you're able to get out this Stage 2 Pokémon first.
Porygon ex can hit anything for weakness. Electrode can attack twice. With Pokémon like these in the format, I wanted a way for them to expand their options outside of what was printed on the base card. Compared to the original Ancient Technical Machine cards, I've removed the requirement to use an Evolution Pokémon. Additionally, the cards no longer immediately discard themselves at the end of the turn, but rather after they get used to attack. This allows players to load them up, use Professor Oak, and save the attack for the right time.
Reversion is an accessible mass devolution attack which can slot into spread damage decks to take multiple KOs on Pokémon losing HP as they devolve.
Flash Freeze provides this format with a method of tool and stadium removal (Clefable's Sales Rush can only discard your own cards). It also punishes any control players that overbench Dolls/Fossils.
Mind and Body is a way to punish Rain Dance decks. It could work inside of them as well, but Blastoise and Seadra both already have scaling 10x damage attacks, so Mind and Body isn't likely to be worth the requirement of Double Rainbow Energy.
Triple Burst deals 60 damage to the active after Special Conditions. The energy cost is tricky, but Mew could make use of it thanks to DNAncestor. Alternatively, decks using Omastar and Double Rainbow Energy can power up the attack as well.
Stadium cards were first introduced immediately after the Base-Fossil format, in the Gym block. As a reference to this, I've held off on bringing in the cards until the final set, and the cards I've made into stadiums are, well, gyms!
Each stadium card is designed to reflect gameplay that matches the appropriate type. For example, Psychic types are the most likely to place Damage Counters, so Saffron Gym buffs damage counter effects. Note, however, that cards like Dugtrio and Victreebel can also benefit from the effect.
Viridian Forest is the sole exception to the gym theming. As the location of early-game bug types, which are quick to evolve, the effect has been designed to allow any Pokémon to evolve.
Gym Leaders & Elite 4 and also the Psychic trainer class i guess
If we have the Gyms as stadiums, we need to introduce the Gym Leaders as Supporters! To round things out, we also have the Elite 4
Like the gyms, most gym leaders are designed to match their type synergy. Brock protects your Pokémon from Earthquake, Misty provides Energy acceleration, matching the theme of Rain Dance. Erika rewards Evolving (the Grass specialty). Blaine brings back discarded energy.
Lt. Surge likely stands out as an incredibly weak card, but it is the only way to get Snorlax out of your Active Spot. Fitting, given Snorlax's tendency to appear near Vermilion City.
Sabrina is a fun and unique effect to support decks running multiple Evolution lines. It also pairs with Slowbro, allowing it to copy any Basic Pokémon's attack, rather than just Slowpoke's.
With modern cards depicting energy removal as the effect of Grunts, Giovanni is a fitting character for Super Energy Removal. Similarly, Lance felt fitting for Gust of Wind, given the focus on Dragonite and status as a Champion befitting a strong card.
Lorelei can accelerate any Pokémon straight from the deck. Unlike Haunter and Kabutops, this card can even get Stage 2 Pokémon.
If you'd like to try out some games in the Base Set Evolution format, I've created 5 Starter Decks!
Note that these decks are not intended to be fully competitive, but rather to show off the various cards in the set. As such, each deck features 20 Pokémon, which I suspect is suboptimal.
Use the Poison Spray item card or Venomoth's Poison Scales to inflict Poison, then take KOs utilizing Weezing's Poison Amp and Venusaur's Poison Strike. With Bulbasaur and Ivysaur on the bench, you can even turn that Poison damage into healing for your own Pokémon!
There's also a hidden strategy in here. Weezing will normally KO itself with the Expoison attack, but Double Rainbow Energy and Defender can lower the damage dealt down to 40. This applies Poison (2), which Weezing then bumps up to 3 with Poison Amp. Bulbasaur's Poison Heal removes 3 damage counters, and Ivysaur's Heal Boost makes it 4, completely removing the self-damage.
Charmander and Friends
Charizard and Arcanine form a potent core by themselves, freeing up space to run the Persian line for additional consistency. Double Rainbow Energy can power up Arcanine in one turn, while also making Charizard's attack feasible to come out. Defender gives your Pokémon additional staying power and Imposter Professor Oak synergizes with this deck's slow burn. Opponents are likely to switch their Pokémon around to avoid KOs, allowing the Charizard player to mount a late-game comeback.
Squirtle and Friends
This deck is all about loading the field with Energy, taking big KOs with Blastoise, Seadra, and Poliwrath. With infinite energy acceleration, Blastoise decks are able to utilize Energy Removal with no downside, especially with Energy Search and Energy Retrieval helping keep the water flowing. Discard any excess with energy with Juggler to draw more cards, or play Professor Oak after emptying your hand to see a fresh 7!
Note: this build lacks much in the way of Item search, with no Balls, Pokédex, or Computer cards. I think it's the weakest and will probably receive an official revision, removing Energy for more consistency.
Eevee & Friends
With the ability to hit every type in the game for Weakness and no Stage 2 Pokémon slowing it down, I believe this is likely the strongest of the starter decks. Double Colorless and Double Rainbow Energy power up the attacks, while Psychic Energy can be used to enable Imminent Storm, giving you time to find the pieces you need to hit a 4x Damage turn. My rework of Devolution Spray offers a slight buff; you no longer lose the ability to Evolve. This gives the deck options, such as activating a single Flareon's ability twice in one turn or swapping out one evolution for the right one needed to hit Weakness that turn. You do need to be careful, though, as Devolution Spray will detach Double Rainbow Energy.
This modern take on a classic favorite features the Pokémon you've come to expect. Use Hitmonchan and Electabuzz to provide early game pressure, or use Magmar's Fire and Smoke to deny attacks while setting up Punch Up and High Jump Kick. With every main attacker being a Basic, this deck has the space to run Pidgeot. It also gets the most use out of Professor Oak, as you won't have to worry about discarding Rare Candy or valuable Evolution pieces. With 3 different types of attackers, Energy Search and Energy Retrieval are useful tools to get the pieces you need to keep up the attack. And with several Pokémon ex in the deck, Imposter Professor Oak becomes live faster.
Thanks for taking the time to check the cards out! I knew I wanted a Ronald card, but I'm not sure if I'm doing it justice by just making him a buffed Steven's Advice / Erika's Hospitality. The flavor idea here was "if the rival [opponent] plays a lot of cards, you'll rise to the challenge by drawing more cards." If I come up with a better effect, I could see shifting other trainers around to make it work.
I've been conscripting my friends into testing the cards out a bit, and I've been considering making some changes. I'll make another post on the thread if anything goes through, but for anyone that wants to peek at the design thoughts:
• I probably want to do something with Charmeleon. Wartortle and Ivysaur both have abilities, but Charmeleon is pretty simple. It feels off that Charmander's Ember and Charmeleon's Fire Spin both deal 60 when hitting for weakness, though perhaps that's balanced out by Charmeleon not needing to discard energy.
• Vaporeon's Indifference attack has been a lot of fun vs the Charizard starter deck. With Arcanine having 110hp and Charizard applying burn damage, it usually ends up not being a OHKO, even after weakness. On the other hand, a healthy Vaporeon at 130 can just KO any Pokémon with 60 or less HP remaining. I'm not sure this kind of finishing cut is balanced.
• I think Sandslash is a good balancing point for Stage 1s, having decent HP and reasonable damage on the attack. With this frame of reference, Persian's Bad Deal Pounce could be overtuned at 40 damage. On the other hand, Sandslash attacks for [C][C] and can be teched for weakness, whereas Persian is always 40. It's not something I'd change right away, but i'll be keeping an eye on it as I play more of the format.
• Ultra Ball might warrant a rework. Base Set Neo: Journey is slated to introduce an equivalent to Pokémon Trader / Pokémon Communication. There are currently tradeoffs (e.g. Pokémon Trader lets you keep the other card as a resource vs Ultra Ball setting up cards like Raticate), but for most decks, either one or the other is likely to be superior. I'm not quite sure what to do with the cost though; due to Computer Search, we can't make it "Discard 2 cards" the same as the standard-legal counterpart. One option would be to make it Evolution Incense, or maybe a card that specifically searches Pokémon ex.
• Having both Scoop Up and Mr. Fuji might be overkill, but we haven't tried any stall decks. It's just something I plan to be on the lookout for, especially once the other sets bring effects like Damage Swap and Pokémon Center.
Post #4 has been updated with the most recent pass of cards from Journey! As such, I've brewed up 3 new Starter Decks. Some other decks that didn't make the cut this time include Withdraw, Big Eggplosion, and Paralysis Lock. I didn't intentionally make 2 of the decks Fighting/Psychic, but the synergies just happened to work out that way.
Rapidash and Raichu both have Quick Attack, dealing 50 damage for just 1 Energy. Devolution Spray, Scoop Up, and Mr. Fuji all bring Pokémon back to your hand, setting you up to evolve again. And when you play Ponyta or Rapidash, you're drawing cards to keep your engine burning! By repeatedly returning your Pokémon to the hand, you can also keep a small Bench, letting Raichu fire off it's Thunder attack.
With constant healing and low energy investment, this deck may seem powerful, but don't get too comfortable. Rapidash is the bulkiest Pokémon in the deck with just 80HP. You can't heal off any damage if you get OHKO'd, so a well-timed Hydro Pump or Punch Up can spell doom. And with only 40-50HP on the basics, you'll have a tough time against decks with spread damage.
Dugtrio's Earthquake can be powered up by Marowak, while Hypno absorbs opponent's attacks that would KO Dugtrio. Give Hypno a Defender to gain immunity to Earthquake and further longevity, then heal off the damage with Pokémon Center. With Marowak knocking itself out and the Diglett's line low HP, you'll likely fall behind on prizes early game; Imposter Professor Oak can stabilize the position, and Pokémon Flute can turn the tides by targeting low-HP basics that faint to a few hits of Earthquake's spread damage.
Pokédex and Trade Device help you find Tauros early, while Primeape and Cue Ball enable the Raging Herd attack. Once everything's taken some hits, Alakazam can keep them safe while firing off devastating Psyshock attacks. If any of your Tauros go down, bring them back with Revive, and they'll already be damaged, keeping things moo-ving.
I've been thinking about whether or not to change any core gameplay mechanics. For example, should Pokémon maintain their Status Conditions after retreating to the bench? I'm still mulling it over, but one potential rule change has been sticking out in my mind recently. What do people think of this as a potential change to the game:
When a Pokémon naturally evolves (i.e. you play the card from your hand without the help of any Item cards), draw a number of cards equal to that Pokémon's Stage.
Inspired slightly by Digimon, this would help increase the reward of playing evolution cards in your deck. One of the biggest drawbacks to playing evolutions compared to big basics is the resource investment. The deck space issue is tough to solve, but offering extra cards is a huge incentive. Obviously, if I were to implement this change, I'd nerf the heavier draw supporters like Oak and Lass. I haven't tested this change out, but my initial impression is that it'd be fun for the players.
If anyone happens to read this, let me know your thoughts!
Post #5 has been completed, and thus the entire 237 card set has been posted. Here are the Lunar Eclipse starter decks.
Use NidoranF's Call for Family to get your bench full, then bring out the King and Queen. Rare Candy and Viridian Forest help get your first Stage 2 on the board, and then Channeler and Lorelei keep them there. Repeatedly fire off the Boyfriends attack and score OHKOs on anything that stands in your way!
Use the Fossil Pokémon to power up Porygon or Mew, then use Triport to return it to safety while frustrating your opponent with an active Mysterious Fossil or Aerodactyl. Kabutops and Lorelei can bench Evolution Pokémon straight from the deck, making the effect of Erika more potent. With every type of Basic Energy in the deck, Aerodactyl can hit up to 120 damage.
Drain the opponent's resources with your energy and hand disruption effects, then trap a Pokémon in the Active Spot with Lickitung or Caterpie. Recycle can infinitely return another copy of itself to the deck, ensuring you don't deck out. A variety of tech cards like Mr. Mime and Moltres ex can stop the opponent in their tracks. Once they run low, Snorlax is a 190hp juggernaut that can be healed by your Pokémon Centers until the opponent is completely out of cards.
Also, I've decided to rename this set from Base Set Neo to Base Set Evolution. This should prevent confusion with Neo Genesis and evoke XY - Evolutions, which similarly took a look at old cards and revamped them (even if to little competitive success).
Quality Check & Minor Updates #3 - May 22nd 2023
* Defender and Hypno have been received errata to only apply to damage from attacks. This was always the intended design.
* Energy Switch has been reworded to make more sense.
* Pokémon Flute changed from "a" to "1" to work with Rocket Makes it Double.
* Small typos corrected on Alakazam and Snorlax.
Quality Check & Minor Updates #2 - May 17th 2023
* The change to Ekans' Glare last time introduced a new error. The weakness has been corrected from [R] to [P].
* Arbok's Intimidating Pattern has been erratad to only allow gusting Evolution Pokémon; this was the original intended effect.
* Tauros incorrectly had [L] weakness instead of [F]. It also loses [P] resistance, as a -30 effect does not fit the theme of taking damage.
* Rocket Makes It Double now applies to Abilities, such as
* Viridian Forest and Cue Ball had typos corrected.
* Magmar's attacks have both changed out 1 [R] to [C] in their attack costs. This brings it in line with other basics in the set, as well as providing better parity with Arcanine's Flamethrower (In exchange for being a Basic, Magmar has -30HP and takes 1 more Energy to use the attack, but the cost can still be done in 2 attachments thanks to DCE; further, Magmar can never use Double Rainbow Energy to pay for it).
* Psyduck's Water Gun has been removed and replaced with a new Ability that cements its status as a control card.
Quality Check & Minor Updates #1- May 13th 2023
With over 200 cards across the 3 sets, I've made a few errors that I'm working on correcting.
Base Set Evolution - Fresh Beginnings
* Raticate was missing its resistance to Psychic. Rattata intentionally has no Resistance to keep in flavor with being a generic "mob" Pokémon.
* Hitmonlee erroneously had an "x" on Stretch Kick's damage.
* Double Colorless Energy only showed 1 Energy symbol in the top right corner.
* Eevee's Chain Reaction has had the wording simplified (no change in effect).
* Metapod's Harden previously reduced damage from 20. It now flips a coin to prevent all damage, keeping the 20 reduction on tails.
* Kakuna's harden previously applied for 1 turn. It now applies as long as that Kakuna/Beedrill remains active.
* Beedrill's Twinneedle now inflicts Poison (2) instead of Poison (1).
* Beedrill's Swarm Sting has been reduced from [G][C][C] to [G][C].
* Pokémon Breeder now allows Basic Pokémon to evolve into their Stage 2 counterparts on the same turn Breeder is used to evolve into the Stage 1.
* Seadra's Galloping Sea now allows it to Switch in at any time during your turn. Seadra felt consistently more awkward to use than other Water Gun/Hydro Pump Pokémon, so this buff should make it a bit more viable.
Poison Strike has been changed to Poison Shield. As it stood, Weezing's Poison Amp was essentially a stronger version of the effect, and it was found on a Stage 1. Poison Shield also fits the Venusaur's "tank and heal" theming much better.
Both attacks have also had [C] removed from their attack costs. To compensate, Parapoison Vine now deals less damage and Paralyzes less often. Solar Beam remains unchanged, as 60-for-2 is still competing with for 50-with-effect attacks, such as Poliwrath's Whirlpool.
Butterfree received a total rework to emphasize its status as an early game bug. Pollen Gather offers strong card draw, but falls off quickly once both players have set up. Both attacks also now feature bonus effects when used on the first turn. Silver Wind is a potential donk at 80 damage (70 after Double Rainbow), and then offers a consistent 50-for-2 afterwards. This is balanced out by Butterfree's low HP and lack of ability compared to Pokémon like Venusaur.
Rare Candy has always caused a poor gameplay feeling when paired with decks running Professor Oak/Research. Now, the effect of Candy gets banked, allowing you to dig for the Stage 2. This should buff the viability of Stage 2 decks.
I discussed the desire to rework Ultra Ball back in Post #7, and this is the solution I settled on. Putting a card back on top of your deck means you "lose" whatever card you would have drawn next turn, a good middle ground between Great Ball and Computer Search. Of course, this can be circumvented by playing another card that shuffles the deck afterwards. And, sometimes, putting a card on top of your deck will be beneficial, such as to play around Imposter Professor Oak. It requires a bit more testing, but I think this new design does a lot (in a good way).
Base Set Evolution - Journey
Slowpoke had the wrong artist credited.
Base Set Evolution - Lunar Eclipse
Magnemite's weakness fixed from [L] to [F]
Onix's resistance fixed from [F] to [L]
Vileplume's text has been cleaned up.
Ekans has been nerfed from "Trainer" to "Items", allowing Lt. Surge to bypass the effect.
Gyarados now has its missing [F] resistance.
Golduck has been buffed, with Hidden Psyche only applying for Weakness, rather than Weakness and Resistance.
Pewter Gym fixed from Item to Stadium
Vermilion Gym text alignment corrected.
TM Ancient Rainbow now discards itself, matching the other TMs.
I'll be using Post #11 as a conglomerate post for players to see changes over time, but when a card gets a redesign, I'll also make a separate post to catalog things as we go.
Today's major change is Psyduck. Water Gun was a solid 20-for-1 attack, but as a confused lil boi, I saw an opportunity to do something more flavorful while staying in-theme with Headache's control aspect.
(Note: the phrasing "manually" benched/evolved as a substitute to "from your hand onto your Bench/Pokémon". Basically, if it isn't coming out from an effect like Revive or Mankey, you can use it).
The new ability Wrong Team has a few major uses. Like Roadblock Sudowoodo, it can be used to deny the opponent space, forcing them to choose between support Pokémon and their main attackers. It works especially effectively as a tool against the new Lunar Pokémon; Wigglytuff, Nidoking, and Nidoqueen all care about having Lunar Pokémon on the bench, so denying them a slot mitigates the threat.
As a 50-hp basic that your opponent probably can't evolve, Psyduck can also be used as a tool against control decks. If you're struggling to pick up that last Knock Out, you can put down Psyduck, send it to the opponent, and then use Gust of Wind or Hitmonlee to take it out.
Lastly, giving your opponent another Pokémon works with The Ultimate Rival, turning Psyduck into a cycle card that also hinders the opponent.
Additional Testing Thoughts
After playing some more games with more of the starter decks, I am very happy with how balanced and back-and-forth the matches have been. I do think Defender may be a bit too strong as a permanent -20 damage, but every deck also seems to have one attack where I'm grateful to see Defender to balance out the damage. It's entirely possible I do a balance sweep at some point that lowers Defender to 10 alongside several premium attacks (or perhaps I'll increase some attack costs to 3 so they aren't quite as easy to set up).
I was worried starter decks like Rage Against the Technical Machine and Polyamory may be too strong due to their damage scaling (Tauros caps at 80 for DCE and Nidoqueen can get well over 100), but the inherent limitation of needing a fully optimized bench to make this happen has caused them to play quite fairly in the games I've done so far.
Yeah, I'm not sure why :/
They're just imgur links, and they load when I enter the Edit Post section
I've included the link to the albums in a couple of posts so readers can at least see the cards by switching around, but the image issue is frustrating enough that I'm actually working on making a gitpages site to host the info.
The image issue was enough of a bother that I've taken the time to set up an entire gitpages site to rehost everything. (It's very barebones html, but it can be found here, including ways to see just the images in a gallery or to view the sets with explanation text very similar to the descriptions in this thread). The oddest part of the imgur links to me is that they did work when I posted the thread. Moon Ball lasted for 4-5 days before erroring out, for example. I've replaced the Nidoran-F line with the direct links on my gitpages site, so if those still load properly in a week, I'll go through the thread and fix all of the images; don't want to waste the time reinserting 200+ images if they are going to break down again.
Also came into this thread to post the next round of corrections (and 1 balance change):
* Defender and Hypno have both been errata'd to only work with damage from attacks. This was the original intended purpose for both, but the initial wording technically applied to Burn as well. These cards are still being monitored
* Energy Switch has gotten a text update to make it easier to parse.
* Small typos corrected on Alakazam and Snorlax
* Pokémon Flute changed from "a" to "1", allowing interaction with Rocket Makes It Double!