Ruling Unown now banned in Expanded Format

Discussion in 'PTCG Competitive Play' started by PokeMedic, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. PokeMedic Don't talk to me or my Pokemon ever again

    Articles Staff Activities Staff Member

    Unown (Sun & Moon—Lost Thunder, 90/214) has been banned from the Expanded Format by Organized Play. This follows on the heels of it being recently banned in Japan. Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick (XY—Primal Clash, 133/160 and 158/160) has also been banned. The ban will take effect on February 15, 2019

    The news reports that these cards, while not a problem now, will become troublesome with the introduction of newer cards that are coming up.

    Some folks out there have been hoping that DCE or Zoroark-GX would be banned— but alas!

    Edit: this has now been reported on the front page
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
    Toni Kensa likes this.

  2. Otaku The wise fool?


    While the banning was announced today, I didn't think it actually went into effect until February 15th?
  3. PokeMedic Don't talk to me or my Pokemon ever again

    Articles Staff Activities Staff Member

    I could've wrote what I said better...
  4. Toni Kensa Playing and Collecting
    Toni Kensa


    Pardon my ignorance, what Pokemon will create a devastating combo with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick?

  5. FlashRayquaza Rayquaza Fan


    The main reason for the ban is Omastar (SM9). Actually, it is effectively a stage 2 but can be brought into play turn 1 by Maxie. It's Ability locks opponent's items if you have fewer Pokémon in play.
    Toni Kensa likes this.
  6. Otaku The wise fool?


    The official reason isn't always the real reason, though at least there's overlap. ;) If you can spare the time, I'll explain in some detail.

    I believe the "real" reason is that Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick has causing issues for a while. The latest releases just made it crystal clear problems were going to continue popping up. Possibly, given the very high standards Japan seems to have for getting a card banned, I almost wonder if they purposely released two Pokémon in SM9 - Omastar and Kabutops - that would "cross the line" and justify the ban in most fans eyes.

    It helps to understand the last time Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick dodged the ban-list-bullet. A general rule of Pokémon card design is that some effects are balanced out by not being available on either player's first turn. Whether this is because the designers think Evolutions need the "help" of stronger effects or because it really is as simple as "This is broken T1 but not later.", that's how it is.

    If you're not familiar with the Expanded Format, Ultra Ball was (and I think still is) the go to Pokémon search method. VS Seeker is pretty much a four-per-deck staple. Battle Compressor usage was near universal back then, but is still reasonably common now - adding it to a deck that wasn't using it is a fairly simple feat. Why do these matter? They facilitate running just one or two copies of Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, plus one or three [F] Type Pokémon for Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick to Bench, in any deck that can spare as few as two slots!

    Which is where Archeops (BW - Noble Victories 67/101; BW - Dark Explorers 110/108) and Gallade (XY - BREAKthrough 84/162). I vaguely recall there being a third popular [F] Type Evolution which sometimes joined them, but if your opponent was running a deck built around Evolutions and you went first, you could try for a relatively easy hard lock on them playing Evolution cards from their hands. Yeah, there were ways around it, like running Evosoda or (before he was banned) Wally, but you were still in bad shape if your deck required multiple Evolutions once Archeops hit the field and its "Ancient Power" prevented you from manually Evolving your Pokémon. Gallade provided a solid, single-Prize [F] Type attacker, easily fueled by just a Double Colorless Energy while also using its "Premonition" to improve your draws.

    You'd see this trick in almost every deck that could make room for it... which meant most beatdown decks built around Basic Pokémon. Many could spare not just two slots, for the minimal version, but five or six, for the "I still can pull it off if one piece is Prized!" variety. Archeops was banned for this reason; I don't think it will return as even with both Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick and Wally gone, now we've got Ditto {*}; one turn slower but arguably easier to implement. As for Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick's new partners, Omastar can enable a T1 Item lock if your Bench is smaller than your opponent's while Kabutops can enable T1 Supporter lock if it is your Active. Having a smaller Bench can be a real sticking point when you're trying to pull off a T1 Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick - it is usually supplemented with cards like Shaymin-EX (XY - Roaring Skies 7/108, 77a/108, 106/108) so filling your Bench while going for the combo is pretty common. Obviously, you cannot lock down both aspects of the game at once but...

    ...imagine what the combo could now do, slipping into various beatdown decks.
  7. GamePhoenix Fellow Mortal


    I agree with what you are saying, at the time Archeops was banned I thought it should stay and Maxies been banned instead. But now with Ditto * keeping Archeops banned is the right thing to do. Also, you mentioned remembering there being a third option. Was it Marowak (XY Fates Collide 37/124)? It prevents all effects done to your hand and your Pokemon by your opponents Pokemon.
    Otaku likes this.
  8. Connor Ritter TCG Player
    Connor Ritter


    @Otaku you bring up a good point with Kabutops and Omastar being released intentionally to necessitate the banning of Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick. Either or both of these Pokemon could've been released as water types which would've put Archie's Ace in the Hole on the chopping block, but there are far less versatile uses for Archies 's (primarily Blastoise). Maxie's on the other hand has become a home for higher stage fighting techs (Gallade, Archeops, Machoke, Marowack) which will all be nerfed with this ban.
    Otaku likes this.

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