Contest September 2023 CaC: Attacking for Free (All Results Up!)

PMJ

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We used to, but we went back to every other month to give us (and everyone else) a break.
 

PMJ

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Results are posted on or around the first of the month.
 

Jaxolotl

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AHHHHHHH IM INTERNALLY SCREAMING IM SO READY FOR RESULTS
 

PMJ

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Some new faces this round! That's always great to see. I hope you all continue to join us in the future.

You guys all had cool ideas. Nothing too broken or overpowered, but I think that's part and parcel of having a theme where you can attack for free. It was interesting to see how you all went about it. I was hoping not to see a bunch of cards with no-Energy attacks and I was not disappointed.

The biggest problem this round, with just about all of you, is the Pokedex stats. Remember: unless you say otherwise, your entry is assumed to be created for the current era (Scarlet & Violet), and in this era, Pokedex numbers have four digits instead of three. Keep that in mind for next round.

Drifblim – Psychic – HP 120
Stage 1 – Evolves from Drifloon

NO. 426 Blimp Pokémon HT: 3’11” WT: 33.1 lbs.

Ability: Hot Air Balloon
This Pokemon’s attacks cost 1 [P] less for each [R] energy attached to all of your opponent’s Pokemon.

[P] [P] [P] Float Over 90
If this Pokemon has no energy attached to it, this attack also does 20 damage to all of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. Also apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon.

Weakness: Darkness (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-30)
Retreat: [C] [C]

This Pokemon can generate and release gas within its body. Because of this, it can control the altitude of its drift seamlessly.
My Thoughts
All right, I can see where you're going with this and I like the thought behind it, but there are a couple issues that prevent me from wanting to take this out of the binder. First of all, Hot Air Balloon's activation requirement is extremely specific. While it's true that Luminous Energy can also provide Fire Energy for the purposes of this Ability, needing a specifically colored Energy in the first place means that more often than not you are not going to be triggering its effect unless against a deck that specifically plays Fire Energy.

There is nothing wrong with requiring a specific condition to be met to activate the Ability, but when that specific condition relies on your opponent, you get much less mileage out of the Ability than you might otherwise. Think of cards like Drapion V, whose costs are reduced for all Pokemon with battle styles your opponent is using. While it was printed to combat Mew VMAX's dominance, Drapion V doesn't limit itself only to Fusion Strike Pokemon. Mightyena ASR only requires your opponent to have a Pokemon VMAX in play. It also was printed to fight Mew VMAX, but Mightyena doesn't require Mew VMAX specifically, just any VMAX (and there are a lot of them). See what I'm getting at? These cards have their uses because they have feasible ways to activate their effects that are not strictly limited to one specific use case. It's more common for your opponent to be running any battle style than just Fusion Strike. It's more common for your opponent to be running one of the dozens of Pokemon VMAX than just one specific Pokemon VMAX.

If you want a specific activation cost, it's best to have it be a cost you can control as the player so you can build your deck around fulfilling it. You can't make your opponent use battle styles or use Pokemon VMAX, but you can control your hand size to activate Medicham SIT's Chakra Awakening, for example.

With regards to Float Over, it is a somewhat powerful attack, but the situationality of Hot Air Balloon makes the effect difficult to trigger. In the worst case scenario you are paying 3 Energy for 90 damage and no effect, which is awful. Now, you can say that the power of this card lies in using it when Hot Air Balloon can trigger, but as I mentioned before, triggering it at all is not that common, to say nothing about Float Over's effect requiring you to have no Energy attached. Now you not only have to hope your opponent has Fire Energy in their deck, but that they have 3 of them attached. It's all or nothing, and in the majority of cases it's gonna be nothing.

I would fix this by loosening the restrictions on Hot Air Balloon. Make it easier to proc and give Float Over's effect a real chance of triggering and you'll be miles closer to making this card worth consideration.

Wording errors:
General
- In current era, Pokedex numbers have four digits (0426 instead of 426) [-1 point]
- Accented é missing throughout [-2.5 points]
Hot Air Balloon
- The numeral "1" here is unnecessary. When describing reductions, just list the Energy colors reduced. (Radiant Charizard, Medicham SIT) [-1 point]
Float Over
- Always capitalize Energy, in every instance. [-1 point]
- ...this attack also does 20 damage to each of your opponent's Benched Pokemon." (Weezing MEW) [-1 point]

Creativity/Originality: 15/20
(There are good ideas here. The theming is on point as well. But the execution is just a little lacking.)
Wording: 8.5/15
(These are all very simple errors, easily fixed.)
Believability/Playability: 11/15
(In addition to the playability problems listed before, I'm dinging you a point for the 2 Retreat Cost. While Drifblim FB does have a Retreat Cost of two, that's an outlier due to its outsized HP and sniping ability. Most Drifblim have 0-1 Retreat Cost and I see no reason to deviate from that on this card. The 120 HP is also a bit questionable, but since it's not that far out of the typical range and we've only had one SV-era Drifblim card, I'm letting that slide.)
Total: 34.5/50
Elekid HP: 30 [L]
Basic

elekid.png

NO. 239 Electric Pokémon HT: 2'00" WT: 51.8 lbs.
[] Plug-In Overload
Discard all cards attached to this Pokémon and attach it to a Pokémon in play (yours or your opponents) as a Special Energy card. While attached, this card provides [L] Energy. The attacks of the Pokémon this card is attached to do 20 more damage to the opponent's Active Pokémon (before applying Weakness and Resistance). Each time the Pokémon this card is attached to attacks or uses an Ability, put 2 damage counters on that Pokémon.

Weakness:
Resistance:
Retreat:

It generates electricity by whirling its arms. However, it can't store the electricity it makes.

My Thoughts
Those who know me in our faking community know that I hate baby Pokemon in the TCG. They are not worth the cardboard they're printed on and I think that's dumb, so much so that I made an entire set devoted to making them better. The newest babies aren't anything to write home about, but this...

This is a powerful anti-Ability card. Attaching this to Baxcalibur means they can only use Super Cold eight times, severely limiting their ability to take down high-HP targets consecutively. And Gardevoir can forget about using Refinement over and over again to replenish their hand after a Judge or Iono to low. Powering up a Gardevoir can cut Gardevoir ex's life nearly in half, making Boss plays on it that much easier. The Bibarel/Skwovet engine is also short-circuited by this card. The damage you can do with this card makes it more than worthy of consideration for the deck slot, especially since you don't have to devote any Energy to the attack. I like your thoughts about using it with Ting-Lu ex, but I think Radiant Alakazam is a better method of damaging stuff you don't want using Abilities. I will agree that not needing Alakazam means you can use a different Radiant Pokemon--Greninja sounds great for its ability to toss out Energy, which could make you not need Squawkabilly ex at all--but Alakazam provides so much utility over the course of the game that it's hard for me to imagine the deck using anything else.

As powerful as the effect is if you attach it to your opponent's Pokemon, is it worth attaching to your own guys? I can't really see any instances where you'd want to use this to pay for a Colorless cost or something, and the fact that Powerful Colorless Energy gave a +20 boost with no drawback, it's hard to sell this as a worthwhile Energy for your own use, especially since you have to attack to get it attached. Increasing the damage to 30 might be the solution here; in Lightning decks, a single attack can remove the need for Regieleki VMAX for your Basics while at the same time not making it entirely irrelevant since it only works for the Pokemon you attach Elekid to. It pushes a lot of Lightning Pokemon's damage up so that hitting 280 is actually feasible for them. On your opponent's side, it pushes Gardevoir ex's Miracle Force to 220 damage, a relevant number. This increases the risk involved with saddling Gardevoir with an Elekid.

I dunno. Twenty damage isn't terrible. I just think it needs an extra bit of oomph to justify attaching it to your own Pokemon since removing the self-damage isn't an option.

Wording errors:
General
- In current era, Pokedex numbers have four digits (0239 instead of 239) [-1 point]
- In current era, inch measurements ending in 0 are removed (2' instead of 2'00) [-1 point]
Plug-In Overload
- "This card provides L Energy only while it's attached to a Pokemon." (Charjabug UNB) [-1 point]
- The phrase "each time" is only used when making multiple selections in an attack, like Zeraora VSTAR. You're better off saying "When the Pokemon this card is attached to attacks..." [-1 point]
- You are missing reminder text to place the damage counters after the attack or Ability (Weezing CEC) [-1 point]

Creativity/Originality: 19/20
(I think this is pretty cool. Choosing who to attach it to can be a tough decision depending on your deck makeup, but I think it skews just a bit in favor of giving this to your opponent rather than using it yourself. An excellent Pokemon choice for this card as well!)
Wording: 10/15
(Some of this is due to user error, some of this is due to this being a weirdly worded attack. I'm not sure which Klefki you meant to reference because there isn't one in Silver Tempest. Did you mean Steam Siege?)
Believability/Playability: 14/15
(Great work making a baby playable. It's clear that you want the player to consider attaching Elekid to their own Pokemon, and I'm only taking a point off because of how lopsided I feel the choice in the matter is. Awesome fake overall.)
Total: 43/50
Electrode - L - HP100
Stage 1 - evolves from Voltorb

NO. 101 Ball Pokémon HT: 3'11'' WT: 146.8 lbs

Ability: Activation Link
This Pokémon's attacks cost [L] less for each of your Benched Voltorb.

[L][L][L] Detonation Chain 120
You may discard any number of your Benched Voltorb. Then, for each Voltorb you discarded in this way, choose 1 of your opponent's Pokémon and do 50 damage to it. (You can choose the same Pokémon more than once.) (Don't apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.) This Pokémon is Knocked Out.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance:
Retreat: [C]
The more energy it charges up, the faster it gets. But this also makes it more likely to explode.
My Thoughts
Very cool. I think killing yourself and requiring three Bench spots in order to pull this off is worth the damage it can cause, especially with Manaphy putting a damper on the sniping shenanigans. I like the added bonus of being able to pick and choose where you want to put your damage, too.

There isn't a whole lot to say about this, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It gets me thinking a bit about how to use Detonation Chain as often as possible (a heavy Miriam/Super Rod count, perhaps?), but it's really a one-trick pony and aside from the obvious game plan it doesn't really push me to think about how to use it in innovative ways.

One criticism I do have is that I don't like that Detonation Chain's extra damage can be piled onto your opponent's Active Pokemon. Even if you have to kill yourself, doing a relatively easy 270 damage for no Energy is a bit much. This may have just been an oversight on your part, but I'd fix this by only allowing the player to target Benched Pokemon with the extra damage.

Wording errors:
General
- Evolves not capitalized [-1 point]
- In current era, Pokedex numbers have four digits (0101 instead of 101) [-1 point]
- Period missing after lbs. [-1 point]

Creativity/Originality: 15/20
(The ability to make a huge play out of nowhere is cool, but its one-dimensionality leaves a bit to be desired.)
Wording: 12/15
(Pretty good, all things considered. Nice work.)
Believability/Playability: 12/15
(The attack needs some kind of limiter on it to bring it in line.)
Total: 39/50
Scrafty – [D] – HP100
Stage 1 – Evolves from Scraggy

NO. 560 Hoodlum Pokémon HT: 3'07” WT: 66.1 lbs.

Ability: Greedy Grab
If you drew at least 5 cards during this turn, ignore all Energy in the attack cost of each of this Pokémon’s attacks.

[D][D][D] Speedy Fling 10+
You may discard up to 5 cards from your hand. This attack does 30 more damage for each card you discarded in this way.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance:
Retreat: [C] [C]
It can smash concrete blocks with its kicking attacks. The one with the biggest crest is the group leader.
My Thoughts
Interesting. Counting the number of cards drawn in a turn has the potential to get a bit confusing, so you wanna be careful with stuff like that. I can see the synergy between Greedy Grab and Speedy Fling, but I don't think that the attack is really worth using. First, it caps at 160 damage. This isn't terrible for a Stage 1, but losing five cards to do it is a hugely steep cost, arguably worse than simply paying the overpriced three Darkness Energy. It doesn't leave you much room to recover after the attack, either. How often do you have more than five or six cards in your hand at the end of your turn, assuming you're playing a deck like this? How are you supposed to stream Scrafty when you are throwing out your resources every turn? Say you're using Bibarel as your draw engine, and instead of killing Scrafty, your opponent kills Bibarel instead, leaving you with a hand of (likely) no cards and now you're in topdeck mode.

I like where your head is at with this card, but it definitely needs some tweaks to be usable. One simple tweak would be to make its attack do damage for each card in your hand, rather than for each card you throw away. This way you can still attack for free with Greedy Grab and not have to worry about throwing out the cards you amassed over the turn. Second, the HP definitely could use an increase - 100 HP is too low for the current era. 130 or even 140 would be more suitable.

Wording errors:
General
- In current era, Pokedex numbers have four digits (0560 instead of 560) [-1 point]
- In current era, single-digit inch measurements forgo the leading zero (7" instead of 07") [-1 point]
- In current era, Darkness-type cards featuring Dark-type Pokemon have Grass Weakness. Fighting Weakness is for Poison-types. [-1 point]
Greedy Grab
- The wording you should have used here can be taken from Cramorant LOR's Lost Provisions Ability. However, as of 151, this effect has new wording, seen on Nidoking MEW. Your wording is still incorrect, so you're gonna lose the point regardless, but make a note of Nidoking's wording for the future as that will be the correct wording going forward. [-1 point]

Creativity/Originality: 17/20
(I like it, and the idea of messing with the number of cards drawn in a turn, even if it can possibly trip up younger players.)
Wording: 11/15
(Simple errors tripped you up, but for the most part, pretty good.)
Believability/Playability: 10/15
(It's a good start, but as it stands I would not take it out of the binder. Only requires minor tweaks to become worth a second look.)
Total: 38/50
Hisuian Braviary V – [C] – HP200
Basic

[-] Airstream
Search your deck for up to 3 cards and discard them. Then, shuffle your deck. If you discarded any Energy cards in this way, put 1 damage counter on each of your opponent's Pokémon.

[C][C][C][C] Gale Force 130
If this Pokémon has any Psychic Energy attached, put 3 damage counters on each of your opponent's Benched Pokémon that has any damage counters on it.

Weakness: [L]×2
Resistance: [F]-30
Retreat: [C]
My Thoughts
An attack that can discard two Archeops and the Energy of my choice, for free, on turn one, and additionally ping my opponent's entire board for 10? Sign me up.

Outside of the obvious use case of Lugia, Airstream is highly situational, and Gale Force is stupidly expensive but also very not bad. Running a couple basic Energy wouldn't be too difficult for Lugia. Fog Crystal searches them out easily enough and we've got Item search available to us.

I wish that I could take your Hisuian Braviary VSTAR into account with this fake, as Lifting Star would make Gale Force significantly easier to use, at least for a turn, and the synergy with Airstream is obvious, but unfortunately I cannot. On its own, it's really just... meh. It's a fun new toy for Lugia and maybe Regidrago VSTAR, but it's still a pretty situational attacker since you do have to go out of your way to attack effectively with Gale Force.

Wording errors:
Gale Force
- I don't like your use of the word Psychic over the symbol "[P]" in the attack, but in the interest of being consistent across everyone else's entries who used the word in some places, I'll let it slide. [-0 points]
- No other errors. Great work!

Creativity/Originality: 16/20
(Definitely gives Lugia something else to do turn one, which is nice, but other than helping power up another fake card, it doesn't have much use.)
Wording: 15/15
(niiiiiice)
Believability/Playability: 13/15
(If Hisuian Braviary VSTAR were real, this would be much better. It's nice in Lugia, but even Lugia doesn't need it. It's still playable, though.)
Total: 44/50


3rd Place: Qman400’s Electrode, with 39/50 points.
2nd Place: Falling Skies’s Elekid, with 43/50 points.
1st Place: Kaleidophoenix’s Hisuian Braviary V, with 44/50 points.
 

PMJ

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Whenever jabs posts it. We have lives too. Just be patient.
 

Jabberwock

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I appreciate your patience, @Jaxolotl and everyone else.

I've been in the middle of a particularly hectic set of applications lately, and have had much less time than usual to work on CaC this and last month. I know how frustrating it is to wait on new rounds of this contest — right after I started entering, CaC went away for almost two years! But scores take time, and some months are just better than others for doing them. At least for me, knowing how much effort you guys put into your entries each round, I'd much rather take the time to do scores right than rush them out without giving them the consideration they deserve.

Image scores and the next round of the competition are gonna be at least another few days, with my sincerest apologies. We might do an abbreviated November round, or we might hold off and then run a couple of flash rounds in December before this year's Fakers' Marathon. While you wait, we're open to hearing what you guys would prefer for this.

Thanks again for your patience; I appreciate it as always. See you in (hopefully) another few days with results. :)
 

Jabberwock

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Image-Based Results


Judge: @Jabberwock


I apologize again for the late scores this round! There will be no December round out of respect to our yearly Fakers’ Marathon, but we’ll see if we can’t set up some sort of Flash CaC on Discord to tide everyone over till then.

This month saw a good diversity of free-attack effects, from powerful attacks that could have their costs reduced to innately free attacks that are only meant to provide setup or chip damage. It was great to see how many ways a seemingly restrictive theme like this one could be interpreted!

One note, particularly apt for this round, but still relevant in the future: SV-on cards no longer say “This Pokémon’s attacks cost [C] less.” Instead, they now say “Attacks used by this Pokémon cost [C] less.” Wo-Chien and the Simisage/sear/pour trio from Paradox Rift are currently the most recent cards with this wording, but you could also have seen it even at the beginning of September on Pokémon League Headquarters and Seismitoad OBF. Keep an eye on wording changes where new eras are concerned!

~~Jabberwock


uc


Man oh man, it is challenging to get in-game screenshots to be usable for custom cards, much less cards as sleek as this one! I have a distinct memory of trying to use XY screenshots of the Mega Evolution animation for M Pokémon-EX some 10 years ago, and needless to say it did not go well. Part of this is a testament to how far the games’ graphics have come since then, but much of it is also a testament to your skill in manipulating the base screenshot this card comes from.

I appreciate the attention to detail on the theme. It would be easy this month to formulate an attack weak enough to cost no Energy, tick the box, and forget about it for the rest of the card, but you’ve let the theme permeate virtually every part of this Pichu ex. From the Ability granting additional benefits as long as Pichu and another Pokémon have no Energy to the decision to make it an SV-era Baby Pokémon in the first place, it’s clear you’re letting the theme drive your creative flow, and that’s always what I like to see.

The one place I think the thematic flow falters a little is when you have to discard two Basic [L] Energy in order to take full advantage of the Ability. I might have liked to see that be some other discard requirement, so the attack combo can truly be used without any Energy. It definitely ticks the box for the theme as it is — I just think you could extend the (already awesome) attention to the theme even further!

The ability to chain Silver Zzzaps one after another on your turn is very powerful. In fact, with the way it’s currently worded, you don’t even need that many Pichu ex — just two will do. You can use Silver Zzzap with one, discard 2 [L] Energy, switch into the second, use Silver Zzzap, discard 2 [L] Energy, switch back into the first … and since both Pichu ex have no Energy attached, you can just keep doing this until you run out of [L] Energy. Drop a couple Superior Energy Retrieval and it’s not too hard to get up to some pretty crazy Energy counts, and then you start doing 60-80 spread damage per turn (on top of Hisuian Braviary!).

That’s the main thing I would change — limit the attacks to one per Pichu per turn. At that point, I find it still quite good, since all it really does is force you to sacrifice a couple more Bench spots to Pichu ex. Being able to spread 60-80 damage to your opponent’s whole Bench is no joke. It also reinforces itself by fleeing to the Bench and having the Bench-protection Tera trait, so the opponent won’t find it so easy to deal with turn after turn. But I think at that point, it will be more manageable for the format — it’s not just a simple two-Pichu combo anymore.

Wording errors:
- I’m not sure I can get behind the “may attack again” wording. Your rationale for the new effect is largely sound, but “may attack again” implies to me that it’s the same Pokémon attacking twice. Something like “The new Active Pokémon may also attack” would be better here, I think. [-1 point]

Fonts and Placement errors:
- The text in the Tera trait box should be Gill Sans Bold Condensed (same as for attack names), not just Gill Sans. [-1 point]

Creativity/Originality: 14/15
(Outstanding attention to the theme in virtually every facet of the card. The only thing I might do to take it a little further is have a requirement other than [L] Energy in the Ability, so the card could in principle be used without any Energy whatsoever. Granted, this would require some rebalancing!)
Believability/Playability: 12/15
(Edges into overpowered territory from being able to chain Silver Zzzaps between two Pichu ex an arbitrary number of times, limited only by the [L] Energy you can get into your hand. I would suggest, at a minimum, limiting uses of the attack to one per Pichu per turn.)
Wording: 9/10
(Not sure about “may attack again”.)
Fonts and Placement: 4/5
(Lack of bolding and condensing in Tera trait text.)
Aesthetics: 5/5
(The texturing is gorgeous, though some holosheeting perhaps wouldn’t go amiss. The way you managed to get to that illustration from a screenshot is extraordinary!)
Total: 45/50
06_revavroom.png


Hmm, it’s an interesting route to go in for this theme. “Do more damage for each Energy attached” has been done to death in both the official TCG and the custom world, so usually I wouldn’t be too impressed to see it in a CaC. I gotta say it’s bold to do an attack like this in the “Attacking for Free” month, but the anti-synergy makes sense. How many times in 2013 did I look at a Keldeo-EX with two Energy attached and wish I had some way to attack anyway? Now I can.

Ultimately, though, I’m still not sure it’s anything too crazy — it’s just the pitfall of using “do more damage for each Energy attached” here, no matter how meta you’re being with the theme. Part of the trouble with attacks like Metal Blast is that you could just copy-paste them from any Pokémon to any other Pokémon of the right type. I like Revavroom as much as the next guy, but where’s the Revavroom-ness in that attack?

Of course, Nitrous Boost is the centerpiece of the card, and I do think it’s awesome. Making your car go recklessly fast at the cost of some damage is great flavor for this card, and it’s mechanically interesting, too — not only for the theme, but on its own merits. There’s some great creativity at play in this entry, to be sure. I just wish it extended more to the attack.

On the balance side of things, the scaling seems essentially fine. 0 for 110, 1 for 130, 2 for 150, and so on, with slightly less of a drawback with each Energy you attach … yeah, that seems fine in this day and age. I’d be curious to see how often the attack gets used at each damage output, though — I sort of suspect the returns are diminishing, and the free-for-110 option would see the most use.

Wording errors:
- The preferred wording for changing attack costs seems to have changed — per Pokémon League Headquarters, it should be something like “During this turn, attacks used by this Pokémon cost [C] less for each damage counter you placed in this way” in SV-on. [-2 points]

Fonts and Placement errors:
- Looks good.

Creativity/Originality: 12/15
(I like Nitrous Boost a lot. I wish I could say the same thing about Metal Blast. They play together in an interesting way, but not quite interesting enough to lift Metal Blast out of its depths.)
Believability/Playability: 15/15
(It seems playable — 0 for 110 and 1 for 130 with minor recoil are generally good. I would guess it would be played for these more than for the higher-cost options, which is probably appropriate given this month’s theme.)
Wording: 8/10
(A wording update.)
Fonts and Placement: 5/5
(Looks good.)
Aesthetics: 4/5
(I like the colors in the illustration! I fear it runs into a similar issue as ishmam’s art with holosheets, though — the holo pattern doesn’t accentuate the background as much when it’s a flat holosheet on top of lots of solid colors.)
Total: 44/50
njpr06_marowak-alolan-form-png.18190


I see people reprint Vengeance-style attacks in their custom sets all the time, but DPPt is a special case for these effects for a couple reasons. One, at such low HP levels, it’s easy to overdo it and make a Pokémon that runs through the entire format. And two, there’s so few good ways to get the cards you want into the discard pile. (Pre-Triumphant builds of Gyarados have to run Felicity’s Drawing, but they would sure prefer to have Junk Arm!)

I think it’s remarkable that you threaded the needle here. Cursed Club offers a good way to discard Pokémon, very efficiently if you can Belt your Marowak and hit early-game Basic KOs, and Remembrance Dance lets you do comparatively big damage with a Stage 1 for two Energy. I can’t think of many cards or archetypes that work this way in DPPt, though Banette SW comes close. I’m sure it would be a lot of fun to play, trying to piece together your 6 discards every turn.

It could probably stand to be a little stronger. While 60 damage is respectable for a Stage 1 with two Energy, getting 6 Pokémon into your discard pile is still pretty challenging in this format, and it all but guarantees that you won’t be pulling this off on back-to-back turns — not the kind of unreliability you want in an attacker. One option might be to start the base damage at 20+ and allow you to shuffle up to 4 Pokémon back into your deck for 10 more damage apiece, which would lower the burden of getting 6 Pokémon into the discard every turn and guarantee you at least a little bit of damage even if you can’t find enough to hit the max. Another option I kinda like would be making it [R] instead of [P]. Fire is a valuable offensive type in DPPt since it lets you easily burn through many of the format’s heaviest walls, like Dialga G LV.X and Torterra LV.X, but there aren’t that many splashable Fire attackers to work with. Making this card [R], even if you don’t change the damage output at all, would ensure it sees play — as a wallbreaker tech if not a main attacker.

It ticks the free-attack box, so fair enough. It’s amusing that you chose an Alolan Pokémon and made a DPPt card, either of which would give you grounds to satisfy the requirement on its own.

I also like the holosheet a lot. Some of the larger sparkle circles are maybe a little oversaturated, but the effect on the dark background, next to Marowak with the blue fire in the foreground, is outstanding.

Wording errors:
- Looks good! Good references.

Fonts and Placement errors:
- Your “Alolan Form” text is a little too small — note on e.g. Deoxys LA that this text should be a little bigger than the “LV” text. [-0.5 point]
- The attack text seems to start too high on the blank. You’re allowed to squish text an awful lot in this era, and I would go there before moving the attacks closer to the dex bar. [-0.5 point]

Creativity/Originality: 13/15
(It’s a pretty unique effect for the era, albeit not the craziest design space I’ve seen, and I think it would lead to some interesting gameplay. Players would probably have a blast trying to sequence all their moves to ensure the 6 Pokémon in the discard pile as often as possible.)
Believability/Playability: 14/15
(Generally good — 60 damage for two on a Stage 1 is nothing to laugh at, plus it’s got a decent free attack, so it’s certainly not unplayable. With the dearth of good discarding options in DPPt, though, I have a hard time seeing this card managing to pull respectable attacks off on back-to-back turns, which severely limits its power. You might try starting it off with some base damage, or even making it an [R] Pokémon to take advantage of the format’s unique Weakness niches.)
Wording: 10/10
(Looks good.)
Fonts and Placement: 4/5
(Two very minor errors.)
Aesthetics: 5/5
(The holosheet looks great! The illustration plays well with the blank, too. I suggested making it an [R]-type card for balance reasons, but I have to admit it would be a shame to take away from this color scheme.)
Total: 46/50
floettefullartcacseptfinal-png.18209


I always like seeing the fruits of collaboration in this contest, and this entry is no exception! A beautiful illustration and compelling effects, both. “Light of Hope” is an amusing name for the Ability given that Eternal Flower Floette’s signature move is Light of Ruin.

On the aesthetic side of things, while I love the red-dominated color palette and think it well befits a spiritual “last SwSh promo card,” I must note that many of the conventional blending modes for holosheets do not play nicely with all-red backgrounds. Notice how there’s a clear vertical pinstripe effect here, but most of the color variations are gone. There are a few ways to restore them, including low-opacity layers of the holosheet on a Normal blending mode — and it’s worth looking for others!

The effects are simple and sweet. If your opponent uses a VSTAR Power like Starbirth to get off to a roaring start, you can get a free 90 chip damage in, no questions asked. (It galls me to say that 90 is “chip damage” these days, but here we are.) The longer you can go without using your VSTAR Power, the more of these free attacks you can use. Doing big damage for low costs with single-Prize Pokémon seems to be the name of the game in SwSh, so I think you’re on a great track here. Though it’s not totally without a cost — there’s still the Prize card Floette inevitably gives up. You can do your 90 damage and maybe take out a single-Prize Pokémon, but with only 70 HP, you had better plan on getting return-KO’d yourself on the very next turn.

I might like to see the attack do something else in addition to its current effect. Searching out the VSTAR, while flavorfully apt, would probably only rarely work out in practice, especially since hand disruption effects have been so common for the last several formats. That leaves the 90 damage. Boosting the damage to 100 or 110, more comparable to Cramorant’s Spit Innocently, might make it a little more broadly playable, or you could supplement it with something else. Maybe putting the VSTAR you search for into play by immediately evolving one of your Pokémon V? Or an even more creative effect — there’s lots of options out there!

Wording errors:
- Looks good.

Fonts and Placement errors:
- On Full Arts in this era, including alt-arts, the Ability icon should have the same white stroke as everything else. [-0.5 point]

Creativity/Originality: 11/15
(I respect the thought process: SwSh is an era where things like to attack for low costs, so why not make a Pokémon that conditionally does big damage for free? Referencing Pokémon VSTAR in both effects makes for a nice harkening to the latter half of the era. Though, I could see room to expand the effects, especially the attack, into new areas of creativity, too.)
Believability/Playability: 15/15
(I certainly don’t think it’s overpowered, and would probably induce a welcome change in the format by making your opponent think a little more carefully about whether they want to use their VSTAR Power as soon as possible. 90 damage probably isn’t enough to give it meta-wide playability, especially since it’s so easy to return-KO, but it’s definitely enough to give it a seat at the table.)
Wording: 10/10
(Looks good.)
Fonts and Placement: 4.5/5
(One minor error.)
Aesthetics: 3.5/5
(Diego’s bespoke illustration is amazing, with a dynamic pose and compelling colors. However, I must dock here for a couple of minor technical issues — the holosheet shouldn’t go over the [P] Energy in the attack cost, and the illustration is peeking out behind the edges of the yellow border. Additionally, I’d suggest looking into alternative blending modes for holosheets on red backgrounds!)
Total: 44/50
sp-png.18218


Man, I love a Slowpoke card as much as the next guy, but you gotta read the OP! This round, we were looking for Pokémon that could, themselves, attack for free. Charmaster even asked a question about this here, and it’s been in the FAQ all month. While it’s cool to enable other Pokémon attacking for free, it doesn’t satisfy the criteria for this theme.

I’m going to impose a 4-point penalty rather than disqualify this entry completely, since it’s at least tangentially related and not, say, a Slowpoke in a Fire Pokémon round. Please double-check the rules for the theme in the future.

On the card itself, Slowly Getting There is an interesting take on cost-reducing effects — it reduces the cost by a whole lot of Energy, but the requirement for doing so is very steep. Actually, maybe too steep — it’s real challenging to force your opponent to Knock Out something that isn’t bearing down on them with a big attack of its own. If you could activate Slowly Getting There by Knocking Out Slowpoke with your own attacks, that might be a different story.

Furthermore, the cost reduction is quite specific and doesn’t leave you with too many options if you want to maximize its potential. I looked through [W] Stage 1 Pokémon in SwSh and SV, and the best option for this card’s partner is probably … Hisuian Avalugg, I guess? Maybe you can play a Golduck if you’re really feeling crazy. These just aren’t the kinds of effects that get me excited about building a deck.

Confusion Wave is … eh. We’ve seen the attack on real cards before, and for two Energy it’s hardly threatening.

There’s definitely an idea here, albeit maybe not for this month’s theme. Sacrificing one of your Pokémon to permanently reduce your attack costs is an interesting, original idea, and I would look forward to seeing how you develop it if you rework the card into something else. If you’ve got an idea early on in the month and you want to develop it a little before posting, don’t be afraid to ask for help on the Custom Card Community Discord! People are always happy to discuss ideas.

Wording errors:
- You don’t need to specify “your opponent’s Active Pokémon,” per e.g. Cofagrigus ex. [-2 points]
- As of SV, “the attacks of …” should be “attacks used by …”, per cards like Muk 151 and Seismitoad OBF. [-2 points]
- Watch your apostrophes! In SV, they should always be curly.

Fonts and Placement errors:
- Where’s the Pokédex information? [-1 point]

Creativity/Originality: 10/15
(There’s an idea here, and I’d encourage you to develop it further! It would help to know exactly what attacks you want to be using with Slowly Getting There, since most of the options in format now aren’t too inspiring. I’d also be interested in seeing a more creative attack for Slowpoke than Confusion Wave.)
Believability/Playability: 12/15
(Unfortunately, requiring your opponent to Knock it Out without Slowpoke really being a threat on its own means Slowly Getting There will probably almost never see play. Allowing it to activate on a self-KO might help matters.)
Wording: 6/10
(A couple errors.)
Fonts and Placement: 4/5
(Don’t forget the Pokédex information!)
Aesthetics: 3/5
(The art/blank combo is nice, but I could wish for something like a holosheet to take it to the next level.)
Theme Penalty: [-4 points]
Total: 31/50
spinda-2-png.18220


Coin flips! Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re a central part of the game — even though they’re probably the single least-used mechanic on custom cards, at least relative to their real-game presence. They’ve seen widespread play in recent memory through Cram-o-matic, and in the somewhat-more-distant past on cards like Pokémon Catcher, Crushing Hammer, and Super Scoop Up. Even if cards like these get passed over in favor of better options in the current metagame, they’re still pretty good, and it wouldn’t take much for them to see play again. This Spinda might be just the ticket.

The numbers seem right. Spread an average of 15 damage to all your opponent’s Pokémon at the cost of no Energy, but three coin flips. That’s a non-trivial cost, but if you struggle to find the cards that let you flip the coins, you can supplement the cost with Energy. It might be a little underpowered for this day and age, but I don’t know if you would be able to push it much farther. Doing an average of 20 damage for no Energy seems a little high for a Basic. So it works fine, perhaps as a non-meta card. I think it would be a blast in casual play, maybe in an unofficial format not dominated by multi-Prize Pokémon with tons of HP.

The art is adorable. I love that it’s got a little four-leaf clover, which ties into the coin-flip effects in a luck sense. Nice choice!

Wording errors:
- In SV-on, the preferred wording for changing attack costs has switched to “Attacks used by this Pokémon cost [C] less …”. [-2 points]
- Granted there’s virtually no precedent for the Ability, but “for each coin you flipped this turn” doesn’t seem quite right to me. What is “this turn” for an Ability that’s always active? Maybe it would work to make it an activated Ability with wording like “Once during your turn (before your attack), you may use this Ability. During this turn, attacks used by this Pokémon cost [C] less …” [-2 points]
- For more complex effects (basically anything other than doing damage), “for each heads” should go at the beginning of the sentence and not the end. Wugtrio SVI is a good SV-on reference. [-1 point]

Fonts and Placement errors:
- In the Pokédex bar, there should be an additional space dividing each of the stats. So: “NO. 0327 Spot Panda Pokémon 3’7” 11 lbs.” [-0.5 point]

Creativity/Originality: 13/15
(A straightforward way to encourage players to use coin-flip cards and get a little boost (reduced Energy cost!) even if their flips are tails. Nice integration with the theme, too. I like it! The card works very well as a simple, cohesive strategy, but the last couple points here could come from the attack doing something more unique than spread damage.)
Believability/Playability: 15/15
(Probably not quite strong enough to be a meta card, but no doubt tons of fun in any unofficial format where HP isn’t quite so high. Alternatively, this would be awesome to see in BW, XY, or even SM if you had wanted to set it back a couple of eras!)
Wording: 5/10
(A few nitpicks.)
Fonts and Placement: 4.5/5
(Spacing in dex bar.)
Aesthetics: 4/5
(The art is adorable and particularly well suited to the luck theme of the card. I wouldn’t mind seeing some sort of holosheet (or reverse holosheet?) to give it that extra “wow” factor to take it to 5 points, though!)
Total: 41.5/50
kpcac25_hisuian_braviary_vstar-png.18223


I’m amused that you went with a rainbow rare bird Pokémon — almost like a kaleido-phoenix, eh? It’s sure ambitious to tackle a rainbow Pokémon VSTAR for one of these contests, textures and all, and I applaud the initiative to make something like this. It’s extra cool when it’s your own art!

The art turned out great, but I would suggest making the Braviary substantially bigger in the frame. Especially on a rainbow card, where the lack of detail in the background isn’t doing you any favors, you probably want as much of the card as possible to be taken up by the subject. Then for the textures, you could probably go a little further with the Color Dodge layer — as long as you’re going all out with a FA card like this, don’t be afraid to make it pop!

On the effects, the card’s strength lies in its attention to its place in the metagame. Your consideration of the details is apt as always — 230 damage is a good amount for a metagame contender, but just a little shy of where it might like to be. Still, the ability to accelerate Energy in tandem with that damage kicks it up several notches, and Arceus VSTAR makes for a good point of comparison. No doubt there are several [P] attackers that would love to be paired with this card, and it’s always good when an effect makes you want to look at other cards for synergy.

That said, the effects aren’t too out-there. The attack accelerates Energy from the discard pile to do big damage, and then the VSTAR Power gives a one-time use of Radiant Charizard’s Ability to one of your [C] Pokémon. They’re very similar to a multitude of effects we’ve seen before, and I usually like to see more than “Arceus with a twist.” It’s cool to think about potential partners and interactions in a particular metagame, but these are custom cards — the sky’s the limit!

Wording errors:
- Generally good references, but Ludicolo EVS and other SwSh-era cards suggest you should have “your [C] Pokémon’s attacks cost [C] less” and not “each of your [C] Pokémon’s attacks costs [C] less”. [-2 points]

Fonts and Placement errors:
- The Pokémon’s name should be Gill Sans Bold, not Gill Sans Bold Condensed. It should be squished horizontally, but Gill Sans Bold Condensed has minor morphological changes to the letters in addition to squishing them. [-0.5 point]

Creativity/Originality: 11/15
(Good attention to the card’s gameplay potential, but I could wish for some new design space to be explored here. The effects are largely tried-and-true, and the card’s main creative strength is in your consideration of how it would fit into the metagame.)
Believability/Playability: 15/15
(Well balanced. Arceus VSTAR is a great point of comparison for the attack’s power level.)
Wording: 8/10
(A minor error.)
Fonts and Placement: 4.5/5
(A very minor error.)
Aesthetics: 4/5
(A rainbow rare is truly ambitious, and your artwork here goes a long way toward pulling it off! My two suggestions are to let Braviary fill more of the frame and to turn up the Color Dodge layer on the textures a little more.)
Total: 42.5/50

3rd Place: A tie between PMJ’s Revavroom and Midarlarsupl & Diego_Brando’s Eternal Flower Floette, each with 44/50 points.
2nd Place: Nemes’s Pichu ex, with 45/50 points.
1st Place: NinJamezor’s Marowak Alolan Form, with 46/50 points.

Congratulations, and see you in the next round!
 

PMJ

Silhouette Gloom of the Sundown Lands
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Well don't I feel silly.

Anyway a few nights ago I dreamt that I had entered a Scizor that earned a 50. I don't remember exactly what made it worth 50 points because when I looked at the card I was like yeah this card is dookie but I was still glad to get the 50.

GGs to all. If you don't know what the Fakers' Marathon is, it's a weeklong event where the goal is to make as many cards as you can. No judgment, no critiquing, just fake. In a way it's very much the opposite of CaC. Here's last year's thread. This is the last post where I go over the numbers.

I'd be interested in hearing everyone's comments about how to improve this year's marathon. Implementing the changes I outlined in the last post would be a great start, but let me hear your thoughts on any other ways we could help balance the scales a bit more.
 

Jaxolotl

The Mashup King. https://www.youtube.com/@Jaxolotl
Member
So No December CaC
Well don't I feel silly.

Anyway a few nights ago I dreamt that I had entered a Scizor that earned a 50. I don't remember exactly what made it worth 50 points because when I looked at the card I was like yeah this card is dookie but I was still glad to get the 50.

GGs to all. If you don't know what the Fakers' Marathon is, it's a weeklong event where the goal is to make as many cards as you can. No judgment, no critiquing, just fake. In a way it's very much the opposite of CaC. Here's last year's thread. This is the last post where I go over the numbers.

I'd be interested in hearing everyone's comments about how to improve this year's marathon. Implementing the changes I outlined in the last post would be a great start, but let me hear your thoughts on any other ways we could help balance the scales a bit more.
 
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