TCG Fakes Base Set Rebalanced (feat. Jungle and Fossil)

This post has been a long time coming. It tackles a couple of topics I wanted to touch on for a while, and it just so happened that their implementation conglomerated on a couple of cards. This also makes it hard to pick a good point to start on, but since the first set of cards I’m revealing today are Eeveelutions, lets begin with the concept of shared evolution.
When a couple of Evolution Pokemon share the same Basic card, it has both advantages and disadvantages - but it was always my hunch, that it’s more detrimental than positive. Yes, it is indeed easier to maintain a bench, where the same Basic evolves into multiple Pokemon, as you only need to look for the single Basic, instead of a whole specific collection. However, it is also true that you only have at max four Basics to work with. It is much less likely you’ll draw into all four without searching them up, whereas with 3-4 different Basics you can set up what you get, then “tutor” for the rest. Your single Basic is also very vulnerable to sniping, or even getting Prized, which immediately cuts you off from even having that additional Evolved Pokemon.
Whether you’re swayed by advantages, or the disadvantages, there’s one thing that’s universal - these are tools that can be used to balance cards more finely. If your design for these cards focuses on the disadvantages, then you may embolden them for a desired effect. In this case, if you’re afraid that multiple effects may stack unhealthily with each other, then placing them on Evolutions that come from a shared Basic makes it harder to maintain them. The stacking doesn’t even have to be specifically unhealthy, but perhaps you want to make it more of a challenge - a player may choose to play one of these effects as normal, or center the engine of their deck on delivering that full stack in sake of other advantages. That’s exactly what I wanted to go with in the case of Eeveelutions.

Another aspect that becomes apparent is that there’s a few cards that benefit from increased damage - mainly Leech Lifers, or the Persian from the post above. I had an effect that increased damage on my wishlist for a while now, as presenting these types of cards and attacks, and then NOT giving them a way of increasing damage is just a massive downer.
Nowadays, increasing damage isn’t anything special, but in the Base Set times, increasing damage by even 10 can make a massive difference. I want players to be able to increase damage by 20, even 30, but only if there’s a price to be paid.




I went with many iterations on the Eeveelutions, but finally settled on this formula: “If your Active Pokemon has [Type] Energy attached, its attacks do 10 more damage. Only apply one of these abilities, per Type”. It is not the cleanest ability I can think of, but I like the effect for a couple of reasons. One, it does not specify the beneficiary has to be of the same type as the energy, so even though these cards reinforce their own Type, they don’t pigeonhole your deck into it. Second, it has the stacking effect I have talked about - to get the +30, you must have three different Eeveelutions, but also three different Energy cards on your Active Pokemon. If not for the latter, then it’d be obvious that the best option is to run four Eevees, one of each Eeveelution. Now it’s not so clear, because they also influence your Energy choice as well. You may run one of them to improve a deck that already uses said type, or make an Eeveelution deck that runs all three types and gets that coveted +30.


As for the Eevee, I simply changed it’s Quick Attack into one that requires an energy attachment - it goes well with the idea behind the “Eeveelution deck”, though it’ll obviously go underused if you’re using a single one for support, rather than attack.

Consult the Monkey


I went with a similar effect on the Mankey-Primeape line, though not in the form of an ability. If I were to truthfully start a description of many of these original Pokemon lines, they would all begin with “This Pokemon’s attacks were unimpressive and it’d be hard for anyone to justify adding them to their deck”. It’s simply the truth - there’s no reason to run a Pokemon that has attack you can find anywhere else. As such, I gave both monkeys the “Training” attack, which increases the power of your next attack, whoever the user might be.
1. How ironic that the release of these rebalanced Eeveelutions coincides with the Eevee Heroes set update!
2. This would work great with Lugia from Neo Genesis!
3. This project deserves a special Lackey plugin of it's own! Or something of the kind, anyways.
My apologies for having over a week without updates - apparently there’s a thing called “real life” that features “responsibilities”. It sounded fake to me too.

I would not say, however, that this time was spent completely fruitlessly, nor that these “responsibilities” were the only thing that prevented me from uploading. If you might recall, I have mentioned that these two sets should be a breeze, as the amount of Trainer cards in them is heavily limited and, for each Pokemon card, you can always rework them if their design falls completely flat. This was quite optimistic from my side, as there was another hurdle to jump through I haven’t realized - tons and tons of Grass.

Base Set tried as hard as it could to maintain a somewhat-even split between the Types, however even there Grass has ruled supreme with 13 unique cards, followed closely by Water’s and Normal’s 12. But once it came to filling the TCG Pokedex with missing Pokemon, any concessions were off the table and Jungle features a staggering 18 Grass Pokemon, compared to Psychic’s just… one. That’s more than 1/3rd of the whole set, in a game that is supposed to feature 7 Types. Even changing the Types isn’t an option, as most of these Pokemon are some mixture of Grass, Bug and Poison. There’s only so many “basic”-feeling ideas you can do with a type before you are forced into designing some more niche stuff and that can get frustrating, especially if you’re trying to design primarily for good gameplay.

So yes, redesigning 18 Grass Pokemon that originally featured boring and uninspired attacks can get quite annoying. For some, there was still enough design space to introduce something new, yet simple. For one of them, I have specifically made them to be an anti-Grass card. This is that card.


The abundance of Grass Pokemon does not mean it’ll actually be the most-played Type, so it might seem excessive to introduce a dedicated “hate” card, but Pinsir has something else going for it. It is distinct in Generation 1, as the only fully-evolved, purely Bug-type Pokemon. In the TCG, Bugs are still Grass, but Bugs is also meant as a counter to Grass in the video games, hence the design. The fact that two Pinsirs can leave each other at exactly 10 HP is intentional - the damage output is meant to be impressive, but not absolutely overwhelming.


Speaking of open design space, here is yet another Pokemon that profits from Status Conditions. The design isn’t very inspired, but the attacks cost no colored Energy, meaning you can pack Parasect into any Special Condition-focused deck as an effective off-color attacker.


Thankfully, Jungle does not just feature Grass cards and other Types get some space too. In a stark contrast to its original design, Seaking now possesses an attack with the largest theoretical damage output in the format, at 120. Obviously the stars for that must align pretty heavily, but hitting 40 or even 60 for two energy isn’t anything to scoff at.
Man, am I glad I found this thread! I'm also working on my own custom created Pokémon TCG format, of over 1500 cards. (Which has taken me around 10 years to make) So you can imagine I enjoy custom cards creation. I have to say, these changes you're making seem very well thought out, and for some of them I'm hitting myself in the head for not thinking of them myself. Placing additional poison counters, and making the retreat costs more reasonable etc. are all very elegant solutions. It's also a really interesting thought experiment to rework the Base set with the knowledge we have of the PTCG now.

I would love to play-test these cards some day. I have found a good resource. I have also seen several people in the comments mention other resources like a Discord, could someone send me a link to that?
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Are you missing the Jungle set logo on the cards??

I cannot yet decide on what I’ll do about the set symbol - I want to make it clear that these cards belong to the same format, and using different (but original) set symbols might throw people off. I am building them as a block anyway. Ultimately, I might make my own symbol to put on this whole block.

Today we’re finishing off Lightning cards. Since Jolteon’s already done, that’s two whole cards - and that’s a 100% more Lightning cards per post (woo). I am glad to say they are a bit more exciting than yet another set of Grass cards.

The Jungle set in particular I have packed with effects that increase damage - and attacks that profit from having increased damage. There is no reason why Lightning should not join the fun, and Electrode has just the perfect attack that only needs a little bit of tweaking. Once again, I have removed spread damage and replaced it with targeted Benched damage, but this time it is limited to Pokemon of the same type, while also scaling to be the exact same damage as you’ve dealt to the front Pokemon.


This has a couple of consequences. Yes, you can increase the damage with all the Eeveelutions, but you can also do it just with hitting for Weakness. Additionally, any type of damage prevention also prevents Benched damage, making it a double-edged sword. I would not go as far as to say this dynamic could improve (or at least deepen) every form of Benched damage, but in this specific case and with these specific limitations, it definitely makes for an engaging card.

If Pikachu is so good, why haven't they made Pikachu 2?

Okay, I will admit, I have literally not seen the Pikachu card on the Jungle list - I have just mentally skipped over it every time. There are a few cards that get multiple evolutions in these three sets, but I was not expecting to see another Pikachu.
While it might not be surprising to see everyone’s favorite rodent getting a second card in the format, it is worth noting that Jungle’s Japanese release date predates that of the first anime episode by a few months. Were they already planning on making Pikachu the franchise’s mascot by this point, or is it just a happy coincidence? Regardless, we now have a second Pikachu card to deal with.


I have changed the Base Set Pikachu into a card that can theoretically be used by every deck, so I have no problem leaving this one with an attack that's quite offensive and specialized.
While we are back to Grass for the time being, we have an evolution line on our hands that actually has something going for it, in terms of strong identification and theme - that’s Nidoqueen. With Nidoqueen, I really wanted to create a card that feels special, especially since so many of her cards are simply checks for whether you control a Nidoking or not. That’s also the case with her original Jungle card, and I believe that’s a shame for multiple reasons. One is just good design - if you want to create a clear interaction between two game elements, it is best to avoid direct references that close its usefulness to that single interaction only. That’s not to say a mechanic cannot have any references, but that it’s a choice that’s not to be taken lightly - if you want to add downsides (and closing up interactions is a downside), then have a clear reason for why you’re doing it.
Second point is that it just must suck to be a Nidoqueen fan. These cards should coexist and cooperate, not have one of them play second fiddle to the obvious “main one”. Now that we have that established, let's get to the design.

I gave the Base Set Nidoking an unique ability to increase Poison damage, by placing an additional Poison marker on the Defending Pokemon. Since that is its “gimmick”, a Nidoqueen card obviously has to somehow interact with it, while keeping in mind everything I’ve outlined above. But before we get to the Nidoqueen, let’s check out the pre-evolutions.


As with the previous “Call of Family” attacks, we now know putting such restrictive costs and wordings on them is a bit of an overkill. Nidoran (F) is actually the only Pokemon thus far to get a basic version of a “Call for Family” attack, so that might play a role in its usage.
As for the second attack, I needed to tie the line back with Poison, so I’ve added my trademark “downside bonus” to a pretty mediocre attack, making it actually quite strong - 10, 20 or Poison.


For Nidorina, I let her keep the Supersonic attack, but her second attack, which is obviously meant to be an expansion on the original, was changed just as the Nidoran’s was. This time, ANY tails results in a Poison.


And finally, it is time for Nidoqueen. In any regular Poison deck, her first attack would be a cheap way to deal 30-40 damage - not too shabby. With Nidoking, however, her damage potential rises to 120 for 1, which is as exciting as it is impossible to achieve in a regular game. Still, 60 for 1 is definitely brutal, and Nidoqueen also features a colorless attack for a good deal of damage, if you ever find yourself needing one.
Today’s post did what any respecting post about Pokemon mechanics should do - it evolved. What started as a simple presentation of the new Rhydon line, sidetracked into a much larger topic of Double-Colorless Energy and its impact on the game. Ultimately I am forced not only to rewrite the entire post, but even introduce an additional Pokemon line. But before we get to that, we do need to talk about DCE.

I have included DCE in my original Base Set, even though I am personally not the biggest fan of the card. I was aware that it’s going to impact my set design and I decided to keep it, and work around it instead. Some ideas for a DCE-rework did float in my head, I even considered removing it, but ultimately it stayed - the negative gameplay it creates can be somewhat controlled, and the more of the original cards I keep, the better. But what is that “negative gameplay”?
In short, when designing a card in a format with DCE in it, every “CC” cost in a Pokemon’s attack becomes a target for DCE. In fact, “CC” cannot really be treated as “2 energies”, more like 1.5. This is especially annoying for me, when I am trying to remove Types from energy costs as much as possible - that “CC” is going to appear way more often.
Double-Colorless Energy is just a ramp card, it lets you skip a whole turn ahead at very little cost. If you need that DCE to keep up with the metagame, then the game heavily depends on whether you’re able to get one on time, or not. In Base Set Rebalanced, I feel like DCE will be a very common sight.

While I don’t want to DCE to completely lose its steam, I want it to lose some of its efficiency. Part of that can be done just by adjusting attack costs between evolutions. It’s true that, in general, the energy costs should progress linearly - you don’t want to create a Stage 1 card with a 3-energy cost attack, that evolves into a Stage 2 that only has 2-energy cost attacks (unless you DO want that for a specific reason). However, in the case of DCE - which is not a part of the original card’s design - it seems reasonable to allow a player to use DCE to “skip ahead” on Stage 1, but be punished if they wish to evolve, by not having any DCE-able attacks (for instance: Stage 1 has an attack with a cost “FCC” and the Stage 2 has attacks that cost “FC” and “FFC”).
Another way of de-powering Double Colorless Energy is to simply introduce hate cards. There are a few ideas available that do not refer to DCE by name, but tackle its essence effectively. Obviously we’d be striving for best possible gameplay, and it’s also quite obvious that we have a few “empty slots” to fill. This is where the Fearow line comes into play.

The Pidgeotto from Base Set had the ability to move energies from your KO’d Active Pokemon to one of your Benched Pokemon. It’s fitting that a much more aggressive Spearow-Fearow line features attacks that deal with energies more offensively.


Spearow has a couple of uses. The most obvious one is to attack any Energy to it, attack, discard that energy and find a specific type of energy to attach to one of your Benched Pokemon. It’s not as good as an actual ramp, but you get to do some damage in the process. It also deals with Special Energy, by reverting them back to basics.


Fearow is definitely a scary card - and that’s not just a pun. Its Fury Attack has multiple uses - for one, it scrambles the energy on the Defending Pokemon, which can randomly make it unable to attack. It also mills quite a lot of energy, especially in decks that rely on stacking them, such as Rain Dance. On top of that, it nullifies any DCE attached. With so many uses, I expect Fearow to be a popular tech card for many, many different matchups.

Good enough

I hope it hasn’t seemed like I have assumed that each form of stall is bad. In reality, stall can be a vital part of the metagame, as long as it allows a player many “outs” and, instead of testing their damage output, it tests their deck’s coherence. The main role of stall is to ensure that single-gimmick tactics cannot take hold, as there should always be a counter to them - stall is simply one of the mechanics that work in that context. That’s why Mr. Mime is a perfectly acceptable form of a stall card. The “test” is built right into its ability, as it’s a hard counter to any deck that relies solely on a high damage output. In a perfect environment, a card like that is never played, but it acts as a guardian that jumps into action the moment they are needed. If a strategy becomes too strong and too popular, the counter-card starts appearing in decks, and hopefully its design isn’t just about auto-winning these encounters, but facilitating engaging gameplay.


Scyther is a perfectly fine card in design, even if people mostly remember it for being oppressively strong. It’s average damage output is 30 per turn, but it definitely feels more impactful in bursts of 60. Again, this type of hyper-aggressive Basic Pokemon will lose a lot of power without the Trainers that made them broken.


I’m about Rhydone with this set

It slowly becomes clear that we’re nearing the end of Jungle, but also that even with the inclusion of Fossil, the amount of cards we have to use is limited. As such, we have to make sure that the “specializations” of each Type I have mentioned earlier get enough tools to truly stand out.


Rhyhorn starts with a weakened version of a spread attack, only spreading to Pokemon that were already damaged. With the Horn Attack, I’m bringing it all the way back from the talk about the DCE earlier - it’s an attack that definitely benefits from it, but it does not maintain that upgrade after the evolution.


Once again, we are bringing yet another Pokemon to the fun of increasing damage and benefiting from it. There’s not much else to say here, other than I am excited to see how the first Pokemon to be designed will be used.
A while ago I wrote about how real life can be a bit of a roadblock in making new posts - apparently switching jobs is in the same category. But hey, I get to be a game designer again! Meanwhile, since this set has experienced a delay that was longer than I anticipated, I decided for my next post to finish it all in one go. Problem is - there are a bunch of problematic, or just straight-up boring cards we have to discuss, along with explanations for effects I have introduced.

Trimming the Grass

Once again, we have to finish up our adventures with tons and tons of Grass Pokemon. We have only two lines left in this set - Victreebel and Venomoth. Their original cards weren’t anything to write home about, but I believe the lines I’ve created can at least peak the interest of a few players.


I will approach this line unusually, and showcase Weepinbeel first, as it’s very different from both its evolution and pre-evolution. Its ability allows it to heal quite significantly, making it a formidable middle-game brawler. Once again, it’s up to the player to decide whether they want to lose this ability in favor of stronger attacks.


Bellsprout and Victreebel feature very similar attacks, both sharing the “Acid” one for increased damage on the Defending Pokemon. While many effects in this set increase your future damage in order to take advantage of specific attacks, this is a different approach that results in a similar combination.
I have no problem with sharing Ninetales’ “Lure” attack with other Pokemon, as long as Ninetales remains the strongest user by maintaining the “can’t retreat” clause. Victreebel’s lure is technically weaker, yet will usually result in similar effect.


I thought about having an ability to “turn off” the effects of attacks, and the one presented on Venomoth is perhaps the closest to that. Coinflips are definitely a more robust mechanic in this format, so they warrant a dedicated “blocker” card.

Heavy Hitters

The following two Pokemon were, in one case, changed marginally and, in another, not changed at all. These are actually quite exciting Basics, which I believe might be quite playable on their own.


Kangaskhan is just a good Pokemon - tanky Basic, that lets you draw cards and set up your bench, while having the option to go ballistic for actually quite impressive damage. The original attack flipped 4 coins for a maximum damage of 80, with an average of 40. I’ve given it my coinflip treatment, switching the numbers to a maximum of 60, but an average of 40-50.


Tauros hasn’t changed a bit, yet becomes very scary with the amount of damage-counter moving effects in the format. Not every Pokemon can hit for 70 damage, not even the Starter Trio, yet Tauros can go quite ballistic if given the chance - and all of that on a Basic.

Final Fairies

The Jigglypuff/Wigglytuff line was actually one of the toughest one to redesign. I wanted to maintain the identification between Fairies and coinflips (or just luck in general), but ultimately most of my ideas have fallen flat. I wanted it’s attacks to resonate with the line’s iconic (but often forgotten) ability to “Inflate” like a balloon.


Jigglypuff remains completely unchanged, as its Lullaby is actually extremely strong now. However, the original Wigglytuff’s attack can now be found on the Gyarados, so it needs some new identification. “Inflate” immediately suggests some form of scaling, so I just needed to choose a factor. I have decided to Trainers played - it can be used quite aggressively and for high damage. I do not believe the card is overtly strong, but I hope it’s at least inspiring as a build-around.


This concludes the Jungle set - as I am writing this, it is nearly 2AM, and the pictures are yet to be uploaded, but I am happy to have this burden off my chest. In my adventure with this set, I “accidentally” made a bunch of Fossil cards as well - while I’m sure it won’t be a breeze, it will at least give me a head start. See you in Fossil!
Fossil Resurrected

Yes, you’re reading that right - we have reached the final tome of our Base Set Trilogy, and the last set of cards before I pull the curtain on this format - or, at least, stop adding new cards and start another exciting venture, which is playtesting.

Much like with Jungle, this set is relatively small and features mostly Pokemon - although there are more Trainers here, with 5 compared to Jungle’s single Poke Ball. That said, I feel like there are more exciting designs here that just wait to be slightly tweaked, instead of getting massive overhauls. Most importantly, the amount of Grass Pokemon is greatly reduced.

As I’ve alluded to before, I already have a couple of Fossil cards ready to show and what better place to start than with the actual “Fossil” Pokemon? They are the real innovation here, getting to evolve from a single Trainer card, creating a very Eevee-like gameplay structure. Before we get to them, though, we must first re-introduce the item that started it all - the Mysterious Fossil.


The Fossil has remained largely the same, though one question definitely needed to be answered - whether KO’ing a Mysterious Fossil counts as a KO or not. In Base Set that was not the case, making the Fossil an objectively better Poke Doll and letting players stack up to 8 of them in a deck if they wanted. Modern sets tend to count these kills as “proper” KOs and I agree - there is no reason Mysterious Fossil should be a better Doll, and the fact that other Pokemon can evolve from it gives it a niche that needs to be emphasized.
That said, it’s also clear that Base Set treats Mysterious Fossil as “lesser” and/or “easier”, because the Pokemon that evolve from it tend to have rather measly stats, even when they’re Stage 1 or 2. Maybe with the “no KO” rule I could see the reasoning, but that’s gone now - and having a Fossil as a pre-evolution is NOT an upside in any way. As such, these Pokemon will not just be brought to the same level, but perhaps exceed it slightly.

Prehistoric Pressure

Before I start showcasing today’s “real” cards, I have to explain the theme I have chosen for them. Once again, we are met with Pokemon that are outclassed and don’t really have their own niches, but the Mysterious Fossil evolution IS their niche, and can be exploited in much the same way that Eevee was. Whereas Eeveelutions I have used to limit the amount of positive effects a player can stack, I’m using Fossils to limit something else - control and stall effects.

First on the list is Aerodactyl, which already possessed a strong Ability - a bit too strong for my taste, by blocking all Evolutions from being played. I think the only reason it didn’t see more play was that there were already a dozen other things going against evolution cards in the first place. Locking all Evolution on Turn 2 seems pretty strong to me, but I did not want to completely remove its identification, so the tweak wasn’t that hard to find.


This change is pretty self-explanatory - instead of a full lock, Aerodactyl slows down both player’s development, letting you delay the late-game and possibly rule with your fast attackers before your opponent gets to respond.
So, Aerodactyl is definitely a control card, but it’s not supposed to be the only one. In fact, all of them will feature the same name of ability - “Prehistoric Pressure” - though with different effects. Just as with passive Abilities of other Pokemon, I wanted to place them on Stage 1 Mons, giving them an option of forgoing their stall potential for raw power, if an opportunity requires it. As such, I got to identifying which game elements can get out of hand and can be “limited” by Prehistoric Pressure.

First on the chopping block was Double Colorless Energy - again getting put in my sights for its potentially overpowered ramp speed. The job of limiting it I’ve delegated to Kabuto.


It’s quite fitting for a “prehistoric” Pokemon to assume a sort of “back to basics” approach. This ability also limits off-color energy on Pokemon that need it - in short, the “Psychic” splashes we’ve seen on other non-Psychic Pokemon. It might be a bit too strong of a counter, but I’ll be monitoring the situation during playtesting.

Second on my list was Water decks, with their ability to ramp incredibly quickly. However, I could not find a satisfactory enough form of an Ability to gut decks that are going to stack Energy on a single Pokemon. What I opted to do instead, was to move it to an attack, while reserving Prehistoric Pressure to something else - this time, it’s a much more controlling ability.


Having a maximum of Bill-worth of cards per turn is a double-edged sword - and as with many “double-edged” sword mechanics, it does greatly favor the person that’s ahead in development. I did speak against these types of mechanics and I am not entirely comfortable with including it here, but it’s also not written in a way that completely shuts down the game. Constrict is the Water-hate I’ve spoken about above, perhaps ironically included on a Water Pokemon as well. It’s actually a pretty efficient DCE-attack when going against anything that uses 3 Energy, especially if your opponent opted to stack one of these attacks immediately.

Prehistoric Evolution

As with previous concepts of “Stage 1 Ability Holders”, the Stage 2 aren’t meant to break ground in terms of innovation, but provide solid damage for the drawback of losing your stall-ability.


Omastar’s Constrict, which we do see from time to time in modern play, is definitely nerfed by the reduction of retreat costs all around. As such, it needed some work. Compared to Kabutops’ 2 for 30, here we have 2 for - most often - 30, but also with a possible 0, 60 and even 90 in rare cases. The Hydro Pump is the boring one here, but I enjoy the irony of Omanyte being a counter to its evolved brother.
Omastar’s design kind of inspired Kabutops at the last second, especially with the “self-counter” element. Kabutops is a great swimmer, so it excels in water, which allows it to use Water Energy as a made-up DCE.
Just as with Jungle, one of the first things I want to get out of the way are cards that are Evolutions to previously released, but unfinished lines. In the case of Fossil, this is a bit more difficult, as there are some cards that are evolutions to cards that already received evolutions, essentially giving the player an option - so today I am going to limit myself purely to Pokemon we have not seen before in this format.

We’re going to start with something that was not particularly interesting in its original form, and I decided not to make it into an overly exciting card - just a solid and interesting one. Sandslash’s biggest identifier are its spikes, obviously, but the niche of “dealing damage when taking damage” is already taken by Machamp. I decided to go for a different approach, allowing it to combo with Switch-heavy decks and deal some free damage, especially when fronted after a KO.


The original Hypno was actually an interesting design, but it definitely did not live up to its potential. It also clashed with my previous Type/design list by spreading bench damage, which is not something I want Psychic to do. And last but not least, for a Pokemon that’s all about Sleeping and Hypnotizing, it had absolutely zero references to the Sleeping Special Condition. To fix all of these issues, it needed a remake.


Hypno now definitely screams “Sleeping deck”. Its first attack is a bit of fun, and definitely tough to balance, but it gives it quite a bit of depth, as it has no other way of dealing damage. Megahypnosis is the good old “flip two coins for a sleep” - this would be very overpowered as a static ability, but as something you have to constantly trigger while not dealing damage, it’s actually quite underpowered. Its main usage is meant to be a combo with Base Set Haunter, for some damage spreading action.

With Dragonite, I found its original card largely underwhelming. The ability to Switch-in at any time sounds good, but not with so many free Switches running around. Its attack, while impressive for dealing upwards of 80 damage, was simply a “Slam”, not really befitting of an extremely rare Pokemon.
Dragonite is definitely one of these divisive Pokes - and I’m not talking about any particular card, but the Pokemon design itself. Thanks to our commitment of creating larger differences between each Pokemon Stage, Dragonite haters do not need to actually run any, while Dragonite lovers can get a powerful Pokemon that stands on its own.


Mysterious Force is meant to be a strong build-around, ramping up an insane amount of Energy, if you’re willing to sacrifice some deckbuilding material for it. It’s not something that can be theorized about without some proper testing, as though it looks very impressive, it’s also very dependent on other deckbuilding resources. For the damaging attack, I decided to ramp it up even higher, with a possibility of a deadly 100 damage but, again, with really strict deckbuilding conditions. The fun part about this design is that, even if the Dragonite itself turns out to be extremely powerful, the ways to enable it can vary greatly - I would expect players to come up with a tons of Bench combinations.
There are a couple of mechanics that I’ve called “classics” by now, but few are as prominent as Muk’s ability to nullify other abilities. There is definitely a case to be made for countering your opponent’s abilities, though I feel like a blanket catch-all is too oppressive and too limiting for the game at large. It’s usually balanced by applying to all Pokemon, not just your opponent’s, but that’s more of a challenge for the deckbuilder, than any cause for actual depth during gameplay. The only way to eliminate Muk’s anti-Ability is to score a KO on it, which leaves little room for any counterplay. All of this analysis is aided by the fact it’s not just a Base Set mechanic, but something that’s present in many, many formats. I was never a fan of how Muk played, nor I was a fan of many other “blanket”-type control abilities that just stall your opponent until they draw into a Boss’s Orders. With all of that said, I think I came up with a pretty good way of introducing counterplay to this Ability, using a mechanic that’s unique to this format.


The Ability is somewhat flipped on its head, as now it’s not the objective of the player opposing Muk to chase it down - it’s the Muk player that has to actively disable abilities. You might have noticed that this limitation has already existed on Base Set Pokemon and I’ve removed it previously - namely, that abilities are disabled when a Pokemon is affected by a Special Condition. It was definitely an unnecessary clause, but bringing it back with Muk feels quite apt.
As for Grimer, I gave it a scaling attack that hopefully gives it a different identification than just “Poison”. 30 for 1 on a Basic is really strong, so I hope Grimer turns up in some hyper-aggressive decks on its own.


As mentioned when I’ve posted the original Haunter from Base Set, there is a second set of Gastly and Haunter in Jungle, that all evolve into a singular Gengar. Since I intend on retaining Genger’s signature ability of moving your opponent’s counters around, I wanted both of these Gastly-Haunter lines to approach this theme from two different angles. Base Set Haunter was a Sleep-supporter kind of Pokemon, while Gastly was a bit of an “out there” design. In Jungle, I made a very similar pair, with Gastly being an absolute weirdo, and Haunter focusing on Special Conditions. Let’s start with Gastly.


It was obvious to me that the format needs some form of targeted Bench Poisoning, but I was also aware that this effect cannot be too safe - Poison is meant to be a bit of a deeper mechanic, and protecting your Pokemon from Poison is almost a game in itself. As such, Gastly gets to Poison any of your opponent’s Pokemon, but for the price of exploding violently and sacrificing a prize. Still, if you REALLY need to shut down an ability with Muk, Gastly might be a viable option.


Haunter is somewhat straightforward - it’s yet another Poison-related card, yet this time with a more stall-y design, discouraging your opponent from attacking.
Your Poison Running through my Set

Reworking the Base Set (or, should I call it, “Base Format”?) is great, because you get to accidentally learn a ton of things about the first Pokemon generation. One of these things resulted in me having to ask myself - “why am I, again, working on a Pokemon that interacts with Poison?”. Well, as it turns out, the most popular Pokemon type in Generation 1 isn’t Water, Grass or even Normal, but indeed Poison, with 33 Pokemon having it either as a primary or secondary type. That’s over 1/3rd of the entire line-up. In a Generation that has 15 types, that’s just a little bit imbalanced. Hilariously enough, Poison was deemed “not important enough” to get its own TCG type and, in fact, has jumped TCG types three times already, unable to find a home that fits just right. That’s also what partially contributes to the “Grass-pocalypse” of the Base Set line-up.

So, to what extent should Poison be limited as a mechanic? I believe there is a ton of design space for markers/counters in general, so using Poison as a de-facto “marker” mechanic (just like with the Muk above) can be quite engaging. But while I don’t mind expanding on Poison’s capabilities, I’d love to have some more space for other interesting designs. For now though - let’s design some Poison cards.

We are not going to start with a Grass card at all, but a Fire card instead. All of these Special Conditions flying around need some stronger counter-play, and Fire seems to be the most appropriate type to introduce “cleansing” of some sort. The only Fire type beside Moltres we have to work with is Magmar and, ironically, the original Magmar features a Poisoning “Smog” attack. I suppose we cannot escape the curse, but we still have some space left for an attack I intended to put on Magmar in the first place.


Making a Pokemon “immune to Special Effects” takes space and, sadly, the Base Set format just doesn’t work well with more than two attacks or abilities. So, instead of having that Ability plus an attack, I merged them into one, creating a sort of “self-Swift” - an attack that ignores effects on the attacker, not the defender. It’s still a bit wordy, but I believe it can be grasped easily enough.
As for the dreaded “Smog”, I couldn’t let a Fire Pokemon keep the ability to Poison Pokemon - perhaps if the attack used Grass energy, but that’s another can of worms I did not want to open. Instead, I chose to twist it, still relating it to Poison, but in a more subtle and interesting way.



Just like with Gastly, I wanted to have some ways to apply Poison to Benched Pokemon, while not making it offensively strong. Gastly’s idea is to violently explode, but Ekans is a bit more behaved - simply moving the Poison counter from the Active Pokemon to the Benched one. This is more safe, but also not as easy to pull off. Not only do you have to Poison an opponent’s Pokemon in the first place, but your opponent will see it coming and perhaps retreat their Pokemon safely to avoid Poisoning the one they’re trying to protect.


As I’ve said, there’s plenty of design space with Poison Pokemon, and Arbok’s attack is more of a guilty pleasure than conscious design. 80 damage is very high, and it combines with Ekans’s ability to “prepare your prey” in advance. While Poison is generally meant to “wear your opponent down”, Arbok goes the exact opposite way.
As for Terror Strike, it's a slightly improved version of an attack that was already present on Arbok - it's still quite terrible, but perhaps it can be used in edge situations to induce some form of weakness in your opponent's set up.

Poison Everything Speedrun Any%

Early on, when discussing Poison and its rework, I’ve decided that it should only trigger in the active spot - which is consistent with the games, even if other Special Conditions aren’t. However, it is always fun to bring back these “overpowered” ideas as either attacks or abilities, and we have yet another Poison Pokemon that just waits to be showcased.


Because Poison “sticks”, Weezing’s ability is quite worse than Haunter’s identical one, that works on sleeping. That said, facing four Weezings must still be terrifying for the person on the receiving end, especially since each of them might go nuclear at any moment with its attack.
I did not want Weezing to be self-reliant, and at the same time I wanted to put another twist on the “Selfdestruct” attack. I especially like how using this attack can turn opposing Magmars into untouchable killers, as none of your Poisoned Pokemon can now touch any of them. The pros and cons of this attack tug in completely different directions, which I feel adds more depth to it.
Familiar Face?

To reiterate once again, my goal is to rework and include in this format every card that appears in the first GameBoy game. This includes some of the promos we haven’t seen in their physical English versions, at least not while they were released in Japan. Some of these promos actually shake up the meta quite a lot, introducing effects that we, the western audience, weren’t allowed to experience at all at the time. Indeed, even the oppressive decks we know from the Base Set era - Haymaker, Rain Dance, Stall - weren't that popular in Japan, as they've cowered in fear when the card I’ll showcase today hit the board. As a rework, we must realize the origin of its destructive nature, and tackle its broken design, lest it ruins the format for every deck unfortunate enough to not run four copies of it.

Effects that subject your Active Pokemon to unfair buffs are generally unhealthy. After all, Potion has been reprinted in almost every format to date, proving its reliability, as top-scoring decks continue to include it regularly. Providing extra health to your Pokemon is quite unhealthy indeed, but the most broken effects of that kind grant your Pokemon extra statuses, making their attacks more complicated. Complication is the source of all skill in the TCG design, and today’s card definitely adds a major element of skill to each of your attacks. However, “balancing by skill” is a false dichotomy, as this does not place the element in question in line with others, but puts undue pressure of players to improve themselves, or else they have no hope of competing at all. However, that does not mean skill cannot be of any factor, and skillful cards must be ultimately included. However, it is time to present the card in question, no matter how dreaded its appearance might be.


By playing Imakuni?, your main goal is to put the fear of god into your enemy. By adding a major skill-testing element to each of your attacks, you prove that humanity is merely a transitional state to those that embrace the power of the Coin. Indeed, many weaker players might surrender the game outright, before the first flip is tossed. I have re-balanced the card by changing absolutely nothing about it, as it was not a job for a mere mortal. I am, however, proposing to restrict it to a single copy per deck, which hopefully won’t bring the wrath of Imakuni? upon me. Indeed, just suggesting this makes me feel as though he's right behi
Thank you for your effort, it is an interesting work. When we were child, in mainland of China, we did not play cards by following PTCG rule. We just put them on the ground and make them flip backwards then win the cards. It is simple but lost too much fun. And in 2000,there are no copyrighted cards in mainlands, so we play fake cards(shit translation).
So what I am doing now is translating these cards into Chinese correctly and hoping for calling up our childhood memories.
So I like what you have done.
Could you please tell me where can I find the images of original English cards(base fossil jungle rockets gym etc) with good quality like what you used in this project
Thank you and Best regards from the other side of the ocean.
Could you please tell me where can I find the images of original English cards(base fossil jungle rockets gym etc) with good quality like what you used in this project
Hey, I'm using scans from Their scans are pretty good quality, but if you ever find better ones, please let me know.
Hey, I'm using scans from Their scans are pretty good quality, but if you ever find better ones, please let me know.

Thank you. The best images I could found so far are from pkmncards as well. But some images from PTCGO are better, you have to download the game and loading the game resource and use some software to extract the imgs. I have tried this method, but PTCGO only have new cards and the resolution are close,so not recommeded by me.
Some imgs from are more real,but have to use photoshop to cutout the picture,quite wasting time.
So I have to admit that pkmncards is the best way to get images so far until you have enough money to purchase the Pokemon company(just kidding).
Good luck with your project.
Thank you for your effort, it is an interesting work. When we were child, in mainland of China, we did not play cards by following PTCG rule. We just put them on the ground and make them flip backwards then win the cards. It is simple but lost too much fun. And in 2000,there are no copyrighted cards in mainlands, so we play fake cards(shit translation).
So what I am doing now is translating these cards into Chinese correctly and hoping for calling up our childhood memories.
So I like what you have done.
Could you please tell me where can I find the images of original English cards(base fossil jungle rockets gym etc) with good quality like what you used in this project
Thank you and Best regards from the other side of the ocean.

There are already legit Chinese cards for Base Set and Jungle and few others. These are done by a team of licensed professional translators, producers, editors, and distributors.
So I think you might want to focus more on translating newer cards rather than vintage ones. I haven't really seen any Chinese cards recently.
But be careful because people might think your cards are fake (literally) and not support you. Most players and collectors and PSA hate fake cards.
If you want to just relive your childhood memories, you can make Chinese proxy cards just for yourself, but not sell them.
Long time no see. It pains me to realize that the previous “real” update happened almost two weeks ago. On one hand, I could definitely blame my new job for the lack of time, but there is no underestimating of physical effects and “designer’s block”. As the time since the last update lengthens, so does the pressure for the next update to be bigger - after all, the time elapsed needs to be justified by a more meaty upload. This, however, is a pointless cycle and I’ll break it by posting just two cards and slowly getting back up to speed.

That said, that’s not the only thing that made it more difficult. I have started reconsidering the purpose of the format itself, given how the sets I am basing them on aren’t as coherent on the identification front themselves. When reading the cards from both Jungle and Fossil, I can see that the complexity of cards has increased quite rapidly, despite them being just the first two expansions. Sure, by today’s standards they’re still very timid, but both of them were quick to introduce new concepts, before the real “Base” of the game was properly explored. That also had an effect on me - working on cards, one by one, I was encouraged by the growing complexity into reworking cards to be even more complex and interesting. But the purpose of the “Base Set” isn’t to be interesting, it isn’t to showcase how wild I can be, but to rework the “Base Set” into a more balanced state. Even though both expansions muddy the water here, I would like for the format to remain very simple and be based on basic Pokemon TCG concepts - a sort of “vignette” of what the game is supposed to be, not something that does its own thing. As an intermission, I’m hiding a random Battle Styles PTCGO code here for some ardent reader - thank you for your interest! Tjh-Gzq2-Vdb-Qxt. In short, I sort of don’t want the format to be surprising, I want it to feel familiar. For the person coming back to Base Set with this format, I want it to feel like they’re ACTUALLY playing Base Set, not my set. This made me reevaluate many of the cards I’ve released - and some that I haven’t yet - not only because these cards might be too complex, but perhaps there are gameplay areas I haven’t explored yet, but I should.
Most importantly, I cannot have these thoughts overwhelming me to the point I am not releasing cards, because an imperfect format is better than no format. I will try to go through that analysis as I go on and perhaps some major changes will happen - but for now, the main focus is delivering. Which brings us to some ducks.

Duck Hunt

As I’ve mentioned (here’s that phrase again) along with the Exeggutor line, the concept of Pokemon using Psychic for off-color attacks is split between Jungle and Fossil. Here’s the second part of that split, a pair of psychic ducks that get much the same treatment - I’ve tried designing them with two “routes” to take, whether you’re sticking them in a psychic deck, water deck, or even using both attacks at the same time.


Psyduck’s Headache is actually nerfed from its original appearance, where it blocked your opponent from playing Trainer cards for a turn. A basic Pokemon might slow your opponent down, but not block them completely - Headache might find its usage in countering aggressive decks that need to set up quickly. The Fury Swipes, on the other hand, literally affects the other hand - namely yours - by complying with Water’s identification to deal some bonus damage.


What I didn’t like about the original Golduck, much like with the original Exeggutor, was that the Psychic attack was a really poor supportive-type attack, not really worth investing into. Here, it’s an all-out attack that punishes these greedy Oak hand-holders.
With the Water attack, I really wanted to prevent a situation in which both attacks deal a lot of damage, just in different ways. If you have two attacks on a Pokemon, you want to introduce some real choice, rather than just counting which one deals more damage. In the case of Torrent, the attack has more average damage, but helps your consistency, while also setting up Psyshock for more future damage.
There are already legit Chinese cards for Base Set and Jungle and few others. These are done by a team of licensed professional translators, producers, editors, and distributors.
So I think you might want to focus more on translating newer cards rather than vintage ones. I haven't really seen any Chinese cards recently.
But be careful because people might think your cards are fake (literally) and not support you. Most players and collectors and PSA hate fake cards.
If you want to just relive your childhood memories, you can make Chinese proxy cards just for yourself, but not sell them.
Thank you for your suggestion and kind remind.