Discussion Vmaxes, ADP, and the Terrible Power Creep

Discussion in 'PTCG Competitive Play' started by The Last Shaymin, Dec 13, 2020.

  1. cardgjammer Aspiring Trainer
    cardgjammer

    Member

    Maybe you're correct: The Shining Fates banlist announcement is released, and it includes ONLY an unbanning list, with NO traces of an ADP ban. If they want a broken, boring, big numbers game while refusing to change it in any way whatsoever to fix it, then that's a sign of a rotten card game...

    Boo... :(
     
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  2. Otaku The wise fool?
    Otaku

    Member

    As someone who has been playing since 1999, I've been checking in on this thread from time to time. There are things being said that I agree with, things being said that I don't agree with, and things reminding me how hypocritical I can be, because of many long, long posts I struggle to read through all the way before mentally shrugging and moving on. XP Yet the comment I quoted is the one that prompted me to finally comment because... well... only the details of the modern metagame ought to be surprising. All of this has, in some form, been seen or done before.

    I mean, Big Basics is a term from Base Set. Let that sink in; they did not debut in 2012, they debuted in 1999. XP

    Since I'd like to keep my hypocrisy to a minimum, I'll keep this post short by asking:

    Do any of you want to hear what I have to say?

    If you don't, there isn't much point explaining my observations and analysis from the last 22 years of the Pokémon TCG. Even I know and freely admit I have gotten a lot wrong over the years, and even now I could still be horribly mistaken.
     
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  3. Please. I (and many others, probably) would love to see your point of view on this topic
     
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  4. Charmaster:) The Cube Master, Charmander fan, & Lapras rider.
    Charmaster:)

    Member

    For instance, how would you compare the difficulty and expense of completing a modern set with completing an EX series set with a large number of ex’s and Gold Stars?
     
  5. ShaQuL @KabutoKingTCG
    ShaQuL

    Member

    Come on, give us that essay! I am interested in hearing about how the game has changed over all these years :)

    This thread's about the game itself, more than collecting, but from what I've heard from other people who have been collecting for a while, it is terrible now in comparison to what it used to be.
     
    Otaku likes this.
  6. I did address the large sets and the problems with them, so I would say its not entirely off topic.

    But this tread is mostly so I can rant about how garbodor pokemon is
     
  7. Otaku The wise fool?
    Otaku

    Member

    Okay I... forgot to check back in on this thread until I was yawning and nodding off in front of my keyboard. Go me. XP

    Let me try something sort of simple, sort of not. I believe there needs to be balance between the different types and Stages of Pokémon. Every Pokémon is someone's favorite, and even if that wasn't the case, some of us just like a lot of different Pokémon. You leave out potential customers by making their favorite or favorites automatically bad cards because a particular Stage or type is significantly better than the rest. In other words, it is not good to have a metagame dominated by Basic Pokémon to the exclusion of any other Stage, but it also isn't good to have a metagame where Basic Pokémon are all a joke until proven otherwise. At the same time, perfect balance may be impossible, because every Stage 2 has a Stage 1 and a Basic, but not ever Basic has a Stage 1 and/or Stage 2. So, even if the Stages of Evolution are well balanced, I expect to see more Basics than the other Stages because there are more Basics than the other Stages.

    Okay, let me know if my sleep-craving brain made that clear, or if I need to explain more or if I just got it wrong. XP I hope it will make more sense as a beginning point as we go along. Also, yes, it is perfectly okay to tell me when I'm repeating what some of you have said. Maybe I missed it, maybe I think I'm saying something different, or maybe I think it is worth repeating. ;)
     
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  8. I agree with this too. I think making every single pokemon good is going to be near impossible, though. I think an example format where stage 1s, stage 2s, basics, and even megas saw play was 2017 NAIC. If i recall correctly, Mega Mewtwo was played so that counts :). This format was well balanced to a point where people are playing it to this day for fun.

    now lets look at current standard

    The only available options for people to play are Vmaxes and Tag Teams. This means that you can have your favorite stage 2 card on a basic or a stage 1, but its almost unplayable as a stage 2. Basically, all we can play is Basic Pokemon and Stage 1s. I think Pokemon shouldn't have printed Vs on basics but rather on their respective stages, like stage 2s. This would make them like breaks but better but worse at the same time.
     
  9. Otaku The wise fool?
    Otaku

    Member

    You can, but you're either getting away from where I was going with this. ;) Seriously, though, I'm just explaining why I won't be addressing most (perhaps anything) that you just said, but continuing on with my long-windedness. XP

    I didn't stress it as much in my previous comment, but I think that the different Pokémon types need to be more or less balanced as well. This can be difficult with how individual expansions often "highlight" a particular Pokémon type. I may address it more later, because I think this thread is chiefly focused on Stages and what I refer to as "Specialty Mechanics"... but which I might need to start calling "Rule Box" Pokémon (or something like that).

    With the idea that we don't want any Stage to be seriously better or worse than the others, we need to discuss the idea that things can be "equal" without being "identical". You can have a great draw card, a great search card, a great attacker, etc. but the cards involved can be Pokémon, Trainer, or Energy. They can be different types, different Stages, etc. I'll be referring to these as "roles" in a deck. I believe a serious issue with game balance comes from one card fulfilling too many roles too often.

    Yes, the previous sentence was edited; though I think many understood what I meant, I don't think I was being clear. A historical example was Darkrai-EX (DEX). In most Darkness decks, when first released, it was:
    • A useful Bench-sitter due to its "Dark Cloak" Ability
    • A pivot Pokémon when Dark Cloak applied
    • A decent technical attacker
    • A good main attacker
    • A good opening attacker
    Again, when this Darkrai-EX was new, it had Dark Patch and Dark Claw. Dark Patch granted speed and/or reliability. Dark Claw gave an extra edge in power. And Darkrai-EX was not alone; many of the best cards in this error were filling at least two roles! Note this is where this big edit ends.

    While it is possible to find a balance between cards that specialize and generalists, it isn't easy. If that isn't evident to anyone reading this from their own Pokémon experiences, let me know and I'll back that statement up as best as I can. I will also add that I understand roles in decks can change over time; what used to be necessary may no longer be needed, and while new roles may develop as the game itself evolves.

    The issues with balancing cards that can fulfill multiple roles ties into the issue of balancing out Stages of evolution. When you can drop a Big, Basic attacker that functions as both your opening attacker and main attacker, it makes it much harder for Evolutions to compete. This does not mean that Big Basics should be barred from being main attackers, or even from being opening attackers... but they shouldn't be both without something else to balance out how your deck basically just freed up a few slots. The "opening Active" role is actually one of the ways to balance Basics versus Evolutions, but ties into what I'll discuss next, once this comment has been read and either accepted, or discussed as needed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
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  10. Otaku The wise fool?
    Otaku

    Member

    I am hoping the lack of follow-up comments means folks are just waiting. Well, that or they're just busy. XP

    I keep getting lost, because we're far enough in that there are multiple things I could cover at the same time, and a lot of overlap between them. So I'm going to cover something still builds on what came before, but isn't quite where I was heading last post.

    Treat Pokémon like algebraic expressions.

    I don't use math like this very often, so please pardon me if I use a term incorrectly (including with what I just said). As we want all fully evolved Pokémon to operate on a similar level, I believe we need to think of them like math equations. If "y" equals a balanced Pokémon regardless of Stage, then everything that goes into "y" can be thought of as the expression on the opposite side of an equation. No, I do not have anything resembling the specific equations. What I mean is that, instead of trying to find a way to make a fully evolved Stage 2 "good enough" to compete with a non-evolving Basic, we find a way to balance the intrinsic advantages of being a Basic with the inputs for being a Stage 1, Stage 2, etc.

    So, one obvious advantage of being a Basic is that (normally) a Basic Pokémon needs no other cards, or one card in your deck means one copy of that Pokémon available. A Stage 1 Pokémon usually requires you also run its Basic, and a Stage 2 usually requires you run its Basic and Stage 1 (excluding stuff like Rare Candy). So, there are a few relatively simple things that can be done to balance this out, things the game rarely tries, and which need to be the norm to work.
    1. Don't let a Basic main attacker actually be the main attacker immediately; require it take time to build.
    2. Don't let a Basic main attacker serve another role in the deck.
    3. Make evolving Pokémon more than just "stepping stones" to their Final Stage.
    Leaving a role to a Basic leaves one or two slots for
    • Supporting Pokémon and/or
    • More Trainers and/or
    • More Energy
    versus a Stage 1 or Stage 2. Skipping lower Stages is not the answer. Evolution is an iconic mechanic for Pokémon, so skipping it should be for special occasions, or not at all. Instead, we make the Evolving Basic useful for setting up, and find something worthwhile for the evolving Stage 1 to do. Probably not attacking in either case. The Basic should probably aid in setup, but an evolving Stage 1 could do a lot of things, whether they directly or indirectly support running the Stage 2 of the line.

    Just don't ruin it by having a bunch of Basics that can hit the field and start scoring serious damage (let alone KOs) the turn they hit the field. Ideally, there'd be enough time to manually evolve to a Stage 2. So, the fastest offensively minded decks would still only start swinging for KO's on that player's third turn. Maybe it needs to be Player 2's third turn for game balance purposes, but something along those lines. If an aggro deck doesn't want to sit there doing nothing, then it needs to run a different opening attacker. Hopefully your Evolving Basic has something it can do, like search the deck for more copies of itself as a coming-into-play Ability. Which means using slots in their deck for that, reducing the card count advantage of Basics versus Evolutions for the same role. Imagine an Evolution line where the Stage 1 has a coming-into-play Ability somewhere between an Item and Supporter in power... that helps offset the card count difference further.

    Yes, I'm started to get really rambly there. Sorry, I used more time than I meant to on this post.

    I thank you all for bearing with me, as yeah, I'm still not quite to the end yet. I needed to explain the Basics V. Evolutions thing. I think next are general pacing issues and/or power creep, and that finally, finally, finally should bring us to the issue with specialty mechanics.
     
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  11. JaxuTCG i love swinub
    JaxuTCG

    Member

    Just play legacy ;)
     
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  12. Charmaster:) The Cube Master, Charmander fan, & Lapras rider.
    Charmaster:)

    Member

  13. Otaku The wise fool?
    Otaku

    Member

    For those indulging my long-winded analysis of the game and how it (hopefully) pertains to this topic, some IRL issues are eating up most of my time right now. My apologies for the delay.

    For those who are not interested in my posts, enjoy the me-free time. ;)
     
    The Last Shaymin likes this.
  14. bhenmia0 Aspiring Trainer
    bhenmia0

    Member

    I do agree with a lot of what you have put in this thread btw. The game is still fun to play, but jesus, it's so much more expensive when I can't even begin to compete without a top tier deck.

    get-mobdro.com
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
  15. jamashawalker Ikouze!
    jamashawalker

    Member

    I would definitely argue the game is super super cheap right now. Most of your staple cards are avaible in a 29.99 tool kit. And most of the top tier decks are avaible in battle boxes, Pikarom and ADP. Just looked up Dedenne-GX and that is going for around $2 right now.

    As I was about to type out that Eternatus was expensive, I was looking up the price of crobat V and even that is only $6 right now.

    So yeah...compared to what the game used to be for staple cards ($60 for a Tapu Lele GX and I've heard Shaymin EX at its peak ran for $100) This is the best time finacially to get into the game
     
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  16. Carl Miller Wild MISSINGNO. appeared!
    Carl Miller

    Member

    As a primarily MTG player, I, too, recoil in horror at what Pokémon has become of late. It's starting to look a lot like Yugioh with normally-sized cards.
     
  17. FireLizard Dragon shipper
    FireLizard

    Member

    To be honest,I haven't played the Standard format for a long time,and one of my best decks was Ultra Prism Garchomp.
    I also rarely play TGC,if I do,I play theme deck format.
    And that format is pretty wild too.
     
  18. Alolan Teddiursa Aspiring Trainer
    Alolan Teddiursa

    Member

    I am not sure about standard since expanded is the only format I play now but I can guarantee that ADP is an incredibly powerful deck and easily beats all one prize decks. The problem is the broken combo of Tag Call & Guzma and Hala and this makes turn one Altered Creation way too easy. This deck is beatable BUT really affects the diversity in expanded.

    I also agree that ADP players can win easily in two turns just by OHKOing a Dedenne and Crobat. This is definitely unhealthy for the meta-game and believe me, this happens way more often than you think with the help of great catchers and VS seekers.

    In conclusion, most matches are no brainers, turn one GX attack, and the rest of the game is either spamming Brave Blade or targeting those smaller GX's or EX's, usually winning in less than four turns in total. Zacian with a fighting fury belt hits for 270, which is enough to OHKO most stuff in expanded.

    Some people may say: Pokemon Ranger. Then I have to say, usually when you get it or use it, it's alreay too late. ADP is extremely fast yet consistent. Playing Pokemon ranger means sacrificing your draw support and in most occasions, you don't want to use it early in the game, EVEN if you have access to it.

    However, ADP can be beaten by stall decks, mirror matches, and fire decks. But again, a deck that's beatable doesn't mean it's healthy for the format.
     
  19. Matthew the Fairy Lover The Lover of everything Fairy
    Matthew the Fairy Lover

    Member

    As someone who plays Yugioh from time to time Pokemon is nothing like Yugioh. Yugioh's problem comes from not being able to play at all from the unbreakable boards that say "hey, you can't play". But even with Pokemon and how bad Standard is right now, you will be able to play without everything you do getting countered or stopped.

    I agree with this completely. Decks that completely stranglehold or straight up murder other decks from even being playable is bad. Thank goodness ADP is rotating later this year.

    This. I remember never owning a Shaymin EX when it was legal, I always had to borrow copies from friends. I did owena single Tapu Lele GX but that costed me £50 at the time before the promo came out.

    As much as I hate how Standard is right now, I am loving how accessible it is to grab staple cards like the Dedenne GXs and the Crobat Vs. As someone who plays Yugioh and Magic the Gathering it feels so good not seeing cards be sold at £50+ on release. With £50 I can build a full deck in Pokemon, not anything top tier but something budget like Mad Party.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2021
  20. Otaku The wise fool?
    Otaku

    Member

    Mostly so I don't completely fail to finish up, here's another part of my ramblings. Thanks to all for humoring me in this. Also, a semi-major edit to an earlier post; replaced one sentence with another that - to me - are saying the same thing, but the latter is clearer. Especially as the latter is now accompanied with a paragraph containing an example of the thing. XP

    The title of this thread is "Vmaxes, ADP, and the Terrible Power Creep". I finally chimed in because these are not the big problem with the Pokémon TCG. They're symptoms of it. Am I just playing word games? Maybe, but I'm finally getting close to explaining myself with the above laid out. I think I have one more general principle to go, and I finally remembered what I was going to say when I was awake enough and had the time to say it.

    Broken cards are a mountain range. What do I mean? Whatever we think of as "broken" cards, cards that are damaging to game balance and enjoyment to such a severe degree that it calls for special recognition and (hopefully) action to remedy, it is not a binary deal. Though it may be beyond me to work out in many cases, any card can be rendered broken with the proper conditions surrounding it. That same card can also be any flavor of balanced, or be unbalanced in the opposite direction e.g. be bad and/or filler. Sometimes this is due to the game's rules and how they have changed, other times it is due to combos or even entire decks, and still other times it is due to the whims of players. Yes, if enough of us play Card X over Card Y because "Card X is kewl!" it can distort a metagame where Card X, Card Y, and Card Z all balanced each other out, but only if they're played in roughly equal amounts. If this isn't crazy enough yet, none of these are mutually elusive, either.

    Not only can cards be broken in different ways, but they can be different amounts or "sizes" of broken. Closely related to this is a potentially controversial statement: broken cards may not necessarily be used competitively. So, some cards are just more broken than others; if you don't believe me, we can do a quick thought experiment. We'll use fake cards in a fake Format for the sake of those who believe all Ace Spec card are balanced; if you do not believe all Ace Spec cards are balanced, you already have your answer. The Format is the Expanded Format, but all real Ace Spec cards have been banned. All that exists for Ace Specs are Ace Spec A, Ace Spec B, Ace Spec C, Ace Spec D, Ace Spec E, Ace Spec F, and Ace Spec G.

    Ace Spec A through G are all Trainer-Items, the same in every way except for their effects.
    • Ace Spec A's effect says "Add 1 of your Prize cards to your hand. This counts as taking a Prize."
    • Ace Spec B's effect says "Add 2 of your Prize cards to your hand. This counts as taking a Prize."
    • Ace Spec C's effect says "Add 3 of your Prize cards to your hand. This counts as taking a Prize."
    • Ace Spec D's effect says "Add 4 of your Prize cards to your hand. This counts as taking a Prize."
    • Ace Spec E's effect says "Add 5 of your Prize cards to your hand. This counts as taking a Prize."
    • Ace Spec F's effect says "Add 6 of your Prize cards to your hand. This counts as taking a Prize."
    • Ace Spec G's effect says "You win this game."
    They're Ace Spec cards, so they are all mutually exclusive; you run one and you cannot run any of the others. Even with Item-lock being a thing, it seems unlikely anyone would opt to run anything but Ace Spec G, and that few decks would not run an Ace Spec at all.

    Where do the mountains come in? Not only are there different kinds of mountains (I think), but you can have an entire mountain range with mountains of different sizes, but depending on where you stand, your view of the biggest mountain can be blocked by a mere foothill. Even when dealing with full on mountains, you may not realize Mountain #6 is in your way until you clear Mountains #1 - #5. That is how it is with the metagame. Ban one broken card, and another broken card may take its place, or you may have merely made a particular deck/combo less broken, but the rest is still there plain as day.

    Okay, okay. As always, let me know if anyone still cares about this, and I am so sorry for the massive delay. We really are closing in, and the conclusion will probably be disappointingly simple, maybe even obvious... but I thank you all for putting up with this. I've tried to skip straight to the conclusion before, but I usually then have to explain some or all of the above, with most having written it off long before I finish.
     
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