Discussion Vmaxes, ADP, and the Terrible Power Creep

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

  1. Yaginku Aspiring Trainer


    I've just realized that my dislike for the general Gust of Wind/Boss's Orders effect might be influenced by the fact, that I've never played in a format that did not feature Pokemon EX/GX/V.

    The most frustrating scenario in which Boss's Orders is used, is in the classic "if they have it, they win, if they don't have it, I might win". In a "regular" game, that would only happen if both players are down to a single prize, something that's not going to happen in every game. In a format that's mainly EX/GX-based, that's going to happen way more often, and not just due to the fact that's it's just mathematically two times as likely, but also due to a number of other, more subtle factors. With triple-prize Pokemon, that scenario is going to happen constantly, in back-to-back games. To "flatten out" the randomness you need time - that's why we play Best of 3 or Best of 5 games. The shorter the game, the more random effects have a larger impact over skill.
    Shinxed3 likes this.

  2. Charmaster:) The Cube Master, Charmander fan, & Lapras rider.


    So it would make sense in one respect if Boss’s Orders only worked on single prize Pokémon.
    Since these days single prize Pokémon are primarily consistency or support engines, and not attackers, that would only serve to put pressure on the consistency of decks that ran single-prize engines.
    I dunno what to think of this option. If anyone has feedback, I think that would be a great addition to the current “case study” being amassed on this thread.
  3. Otaku The wise fool?


    As a reminder, Gust of Wind's nickname was "Gust of Win" in a single Prize Format. Gust of Wind debuted in 1999: we didn't get our first multi-Prize Pokémom until 2003.

    However, I think I get what you're saying. Here's my alternate take, and I think I've explained enough other stuff* that I can just say it; we're back to a pacing issue with KO's. Multi-Prize Pokémon exacerbate the issue, as it allows even larger swings. The main problem is that all but the largest single Prize Pokémon (barring protective effects) are OHKO's, and even some of the Double-Prize Pokémon.

    Think of it this way; if you need at least two attacks to score a KO against something, then Gust of Wind is only for serious threats on the Bench or chasing down the injured. Switch becomes a counter to Gust of Wind. "Oh, you used your last attack on my Bench-sitter you forced Active? I'll just Switch it to the Bench. Got another Gust? No? Then you just wasted your attack, eh?" Item versus Item seems like a fair enough trade... but with everything else out of whack, having that same effect on a Supporter sometimes seems unbalanced. @[email protected]

    *I will get back to that other stuff, though.
    Shinxed3 likes this.
  4. Yaginku Aspiring Trainer


    I still don't think Gust of Wind is a particularly balanced design (even on a Supporter), every effect that "deals damage on the bench" is somewhat balanced by Energy Costs, gated behind evolutions, etc.
    Gust of Wind allows you to completely skip that and just override any tactical choice your opponent has made. While the removal/nerfing of Gust effects would necessitate more effects that target bench-sitters and ability Pokemon, I still believe the format with Counter Catchers only was immensely healthy in that single regard (and in almost no other).
    Shinxed3 likes this.
  5. Charmaster:) The Cube Master, Charmander fan, & Lapras rider.


    Yeah, I always kinda hated gust effects. Attacks with forced switching effects are already frustrating to deal with, but at least they are balanced an add an extra layer of gameplay interest... but being able to CHOOSE which Pokémon gets switched in?
  6. Otaku The wise fool?


    I've also played in older Formats that lacked a really good, generic gusting effect. It wasn't fun, because the Bench was too safe. There's a balance that is needed. Like I said, one possible solution is a Format where the gusting effect doesn't lead to a quick OHKO. That doesn't mean it is the only solution, though.
  7. jamashawalker Ikouze!


    When BOSS was introduced during the Rebel Clash format it was met with alot of mixed reviews.

    Mostly due to single prized evolution pokemon being kicked out of the format in favor of big 3 prizers. Now that we are a few formats in after BOSS's release, we see that this isnt even the case. Most attacking stage 2 pokemon can't even 2HKO a VMAX, yet alone be consistent enough to set up multiple stage 2s throughout the game. I believe BOSS had nothing to do with this as it just shows how bad power creep is. What makes BOSS powerful though, is that you almost can't run it in an evolving deck anyways. BOSS is more of win-more style of card if you have everything set up already, which is extremely rare in a MARNIE format.

    So yeah, I can't say I hate easy Gusting, as much as I hate that it can't be used in anything other than big 3 prize decks. Great Catcher was a PERFECT card because it meant you weren't using your supporter for turn. I would like to see that card return but be used for only non-rule box pokemon. Saying something along the lines of "You can only use this card if you don't have any non-rule box pokemon in play, Gust up a rule box pokemon"
  8. Charmaster:) The Cube Master, Charmander fan, & Lapras rider.


    If it’s big shiny cards TPCI wants, just make Ultra Rare “Equalizer Rare” item cards with a flashy new template that are designed solely to make single prize Pokémon better when used against multi prize Pokémon. Problem solved.
  9. Shinxed3 Get Shinxed bro


    Imo, they way Evolution Pokémon work needs to be redesigned. The current benefits of evolution are great for a format like HGSS-NVI, but in Standard they don't work because they provide less even though they take longer to set up.

    Cards like Base Set Pokémon Breeder/Rare Candy are just plain lazy game design. Instead of making the reward of a Stage 2 worth the 3 turns of setting up, its an acknowledgement that they aren't actually properly designed to be worth it. You aren't playing a Stage 2 deck. You're playing a Stage 1 deck that needs an extra card. If Stage 2s got 3 genuinely good abilities/attacks each, or if Evolving a Single-Prize Pokémon let you accelerate Energy from your hand to it, I think it'd do wonders for Standard. TPC can have their 340 HP Pokes, there are ways to make Evolution Pokémon viable alongside them.
    jamashawalker likes this.
  10. Otaku The wise fool?


    I normally try to wait for things to have slowed down, but I have a chance to further my clunky spiel, so I wanted to take it.

    So far I've tried to explain why:
    • It isn't good for them to have any Pokémon types be significantly better or worse than the others.
    • Fully evolved Pokémon ought to be on more or less even footing with each other, regardless of actual Stage.
    • It isn't good for a single Pokémon to fulfill too many deck roles.
    • Evolving Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon need to be more than just filler, but are probably best left to supporting roles.
    • Not all broken cards are equally broken
    • Though unlikely, a broken card can actually go unused in a given metagame.
    Next up is another aspect of pacing, specifically the fact the PTCG needs higher HP scores! If I just epically failed to see I'd covered this before, let me know. I really thought I had, but I couldn't find the post. >.>

    Clearly it isn't that simple, since the game has higher HP scores relative to past Formats. We need higher HP scores to that it takes longer to score Knock Outs. This ties into the conversation on gusting effects: Gust of Wind was so broken back in the day it was nicknamed "Gust of Win". However, it is really just the opposite of Switch, a card that has been pretty well balanced since the beginning, and available in most Standard Formats. Why was Gust of Wind broken? Because of the rest of the metagame.

    Evolving Basics had HP scores that were too low relative to the damage output from low attachment attackers. Even without PlusPower, anything with 30 or 40 HP and [F] Weakness was a OHKO for Hitmonchan (Base Set). With PlusPower, Hitmonchan's range for OHKO's increased; up to 80 HP for something Weak, 60 HP for something "neutral", and... I don't remember how Resistance interacted with PlusPower back in the day (PlusPower worked differently prior to its re-releases). Even if your opponent had to rip through their deck, if they went first they might have a 2 Prize lead against a deck built around an Evolved attacker. Even going second, they probably had a single Prize lead. If you didn't Bench enough Basics at the same time, you might never reach your fully Evolved form!

    Things aren't as different as I would like from those days. Evolving Basics are still rather fragile. It makes some sense in the video games, where your HP scores rise as you level-up and/or Evolve. In the video games, though, you get to pick your opponents. Your Lv5 starter isn't staring down a Lv70 Legendary. The TCG is not like the video games in this way. So I think they need to stop "front-loading" HP scores in Evolution lines. Got a 160 HP Stage 2? Its Basic should have more like 100 HP, its Stage 1 more like 130. Please note that the numbers were just selected for ease of conveying a point, I actually think 160 HP is far, far too low for most fully evolved Pokémon. If fast attackers can reliably hit for 100 damage Turn 2, then typical evolving Basic Pokémon should have 110+ HP.

    The other reason higher HP scores are needed is to increase attack variability. Without that factor, we could instead just nerf attacks while leaving HP scores alone, or even reducing them. The thing is, attack design it more constrained when key damage numbers are too low. If the metagame is built around OHKOs, then attacks need to hit hard enough to score OHKOs. If you have two attacks that are exactly the same, except one is 10 shy of the OHKO but includes a flip for Paralysis, the attack with the effect is automatically worse. There's a little more wiggle room with 2HKOs, but not much; if getting to flip for Paralysis means my attack whiffs on the 2HKO in a 2HKO Format, I'm usually better off going with the vanilla attack. Even drawbacks to attacks can be warped by this. Think of the metagames where, instead of using "vanilla" attacks, or attacks with beneficial effects, players figured out how to overcome attacks with obvious drawbacks or intense setups because those more demanding attacks were scoring OHKOs in a metagame of mostly 2HKOs.

    It is also important to mention that, for now, I'm still discussing "baseline" Pokémon. We'll worry about multi-Prize and other gimmicks later.
    The Last Shaymin likes this.
  11. jamashawalker Ikouze!


    Just wanted to touch on some points here with some I agree with and some I don't.

    - "It isn't good for them to have any Pokémon types be significantly better or worse than the others."

    This is kinda iffy. Because it's hard to create a balance between pokemon typing. Now did they have to print Welder and give fire types all the support to be where it is now. Absolutely NOT. lol we can all agree that was complete overkill but they really wanted to sell that Charizard. Welder's existence killed of nearly every grass type out there and gave TTGXs a way to accelerate the game's pace to be over in a few turns. They learned there lesson and printed out Melony which is a much more balanced version of the Welder. But printing Welder to begin with was a huge mistake that tipped the pokemon typing scale

    - "Fully evolved Pokémon ought to be on more or less even footing with each other, regardless of actual Stage."

    Yes!! 100% yes. When I see a stage 1 better than a stage 2, it irks me. That stage 1 has lower energy cost, less of a gimmick and can do roughly the same amount of damage if not more...why should I play a clunky stage 2 deck when this stage 1 is just better.

    -It isn't good for a single Pokémon to fulfill too many deck roles.

    This is where I disagree with. I love having options for my pokemon. But this comes down to the type of pokemon we are talking about. I'll give a good example, Single Strike Urshifu V/VMAX. While they are "different" pokemon. This pokemon gives me 5 different Attacks I can use, and depending on the situation this tests my skills as a player to choose which attack I want to use. (for anyone wondering what those 5 attacks are. Laser Focus, Impact blow, Beatdown, GMAX One Blow and scroll of fury.) While it's role is still my attacker, it also allows me to fufill the role of being a wall against my opponent if they wish to attack into me.

    - "Evolving Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon need to be more than just filler, but are probably best left to supporting roles."

    Funny I was talking to my partner about how evolving basics into stage 2s should automatically have some sort of gimmick so that they aren't just card bulk and usable in some way. There are many examples of them making stage 1s and basics pretty useful outside of their own archetype. Even something that pairs well with their evolving partner. Here's one example we thought of:

    Scorbunny 60 HP: Ability: once during your turn you may put 5 damage counters this pokemon, your opponent switches their active with their bench.
    Cinderace 150 HP: This attack does 40X damage for each damage counter on this pokemon.

    Not only is scorbunny used as a free escape rope so it can be used in other decks not just Cinderace, but it synergizes perfectly well with Cinderace. This allows for more skill when building Cinderace and utilizing scorbunny. They've done stuff like this in recent sets but the evolving stage 2 just wasn't worth the effort. Hence why they need to really buff stage 2 pokemon I believe before making the basics and stage 1s more useful.

    EDIT: To add more to my comment on stage 2s. TBH I'm probably sounding hypocritical but this has been one of the most consistent Metagame for stage 2 pokemon. The amount of tools and consistency they have at their disposal is just amazing. However compared to big basics and pokemon V/VMAXs that need less resources and can afford to go through 20 cards out of their deck, stage 2's speed just doesn't match up. Also Marnie can severely cripple them.

    Also all of our stage 2 attackers we have are just really really bad. The only good one atm is Cinderace SWSH base set, who can power itself up easily. Other than that all of the other ones are way too gimmicky or bench sitting support pokemon like Rillaboom.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
    Otaku likes this.
  12. Otaku The wise fool?


    Feel free: that was the idea. :) I was breaking a truly massive hypothesis down into more digestible chunks so if there was a bad bit, or just a part that wasn't clear, it could be addressed.

    Let me stress when I say significant, I mean just that. While perfect balance is ideal, ideals aren't real. The goal is so that a Pokémon that is [insert type] isn't automatically going to be considered really, really good or bad. Some types can be better than others, but the gap from best to worst shouldn't render anything of that type automatic filler or even probable filler. I'm really glad you ask because I glossed over this earlier, instead of really tackling it. It leads to a rule of thumb for card design:

    If something means certain cards are automatically filler or bait, then that something is probably being done wrong. XP

    Aye. The tricky part is avoiding over-correction, which the designers periodically try and just make things worse. Slow down Basics so Evolutions have time to hit the field before damaging attacks happen, make sure Basics stick to a single role, and give useful roles to evolving Pokémon so they contribute, instead of relying on their fully evolved forms. There's more to it, but that's the condensed version.

    I went into detail about this concept in this post. The short version is we're talking about different things, and now I worry you didn't understand the part about making lower Stages matter. XD Single Strike Urshifu V and VMAX are not useful Bench-sitters, are they? How much setup is required, and how difficult that setup is, are also factors. Don't think Urshifu VMAX, think Darkrai-EX (DEX) or Zoroark-GX in their heydays. ;) Now, if you still disagree, okay, maybe I'm the one not understanding you? That or we really do just disagree.

    Just expand that to "evolving Pokémon" in general and we agree. I don't like how Stage 1 Pokémon are often useless. There are a lot of fun ideas on how to make them useful. Feel free to start a Create-A-Card thread on it. I'd do it myself, but think of how slow I've been with this thread, which isn't mine but where folks are tolerating me explaining my super-messy-convoluted take on the game! XP
  13. rewster1 Aspiring Trainer


    I agree about stage 1s being often useless, and extend that to evolving basics. Too many cards are printed as is, we never needed any alolan vulpix that didn't say beacon on it, they may as well not have existed. Same goes for grovyles that didn't search another grass pokemon each turn. The bigger problem is there are plenty of pre evos that have no utility at all, and when an advantage is given only to
    some, even just "top entry" or "adaptive evolution" the rest become that much worse in comparison. I don't think they should all be the same, but they should all have utility.
    The Last Shaymin, Otaku and Shinxed3 like this.
  14. Shinxed3 Get Shinxed bro


    Instead of middle-evolution stage 1s being inferior to a literal piece of candy and fully evolved stage 1s being restricted to mostly support, what if evolving stage 1s were restricted to support and fully evolved stage 1s could be support AND good attackers? Instead of putting discard attachment Abilities on Pokemon like Malamar and (probably) Starmie, Pokemon like Eelektrik make more sense...

    Otherwise, why are middle-stage Pokémon Uncommons? The Common basics in their lines are used more. Why not have them be Common too, instead of competing with Level Ball and other staple trainers in packs?

    Honestly, the state of Stage 1 Pokemon is just as bad, or even worse than Stage 2 Pokémon in the TCG right now.
    Otaku likes this.
  15. Charmaster:) The Cube Master, Charmander fan, & Lapras rider.


    What if middle stage 1s had abilities that supported the stage 2?
    Imagine you are running a Charizard deck. You use a Rare Candy to evolve Charmander into Charizard, but what about Charmeleon? Well, Charmeleon has an ability that supports Charizard, so you evolve one of your benched Charmander into Charmeleon to gain that bonus.
    Yangiku is doing something similar with stage 2 lines in the Base Set Rebalanced. It would be a good way of making each stage in a stage 2 line usable.
    Otaku likes this.
  16. Vom probably forgetting something

    Forum Mod Member

    I think the way to with Stage 1s is not necessarily to make it so you always want at least 1 of them out because Arceus knows setting up Stage 2s continuously is hard enough, but make it so that they are actually useful by themselves while they are out, just enough that choosing between them or Rare Candy becomes an actual decision.

    They did something like this with Disconnect Luxio (Item locks the opponent) but they ran into the opposite problem that Luxray was not desirable enough and it ended up being used with Memory Energy solely as an HP bump. Something else they did with the Crobat line back in the day was they gave Golbat a mini version of Crobat's Ability (placing damage counter), and incidentally they've done it again the recent line but they draw cards instead.

    I think this is the way. Give Stage 1s a little bit of the power of the Stage 2 to make us feel like we are missing out by using Rare Candy. My hot take is that in a perfect world Rare Candy should be a suboptimal play most of the time, but situationally the best play available.
  17. FireLizard Dragon shipper


    The real problem is that since Sword and Shield single cards got worse,and most of them have attacks with no effect or bad effects.
    Is something that I'm recently thinking of.
  18. Charmaster:) The Cube Master, Charmander fan, & Lapras rider.


    Sorry, I don’t think I was making my point as clear as it could have been, but I’m not referring to attacks... I’m referring to Abilities. Yangiku put Rain Dance on Wartortle instead of Blastoise.
    You start off the game with basics so just having them in the deck is sufficient representation for their stage in the line, but with Rare Candy you are trying to SKIP the second line, and even when you just can’t find Rare Candy your goal is often to get past the middle stage as quickly as possible. The problem is, not only is Rare Candy essential in the current format, you could even argue that it is sub-optimal and needs to be returned to its original state. By putting the signature/essential Ability on the middle stage of the Stage 2 line and all the good attacks on the end stage, you create an ideal formula where all stages get represented in (near) equal measure throughout the game and where a Stage 2 deck is no longer simply a Stage 1 deck that requires and extra card to be used. And if Rare Candy was returned to its original version (with a notable anti-rule box clause), it would make single-prize evolved decks much more viable as a whole.
  19. Charmaster:) The Cube Master, Charmander fan, & Lapras rider.


    My question is, in a format with the original Rare Candy and better single prize Pokémon and more single prize support, what can you do to make Vs and VMAXs more of an investment? Without altering the HP and the damage (too much)? I’ve been considering designing a Sword and Shield era set for Lackey and I’m trying to figure out to balance it well. I was inspired by this thread and I have been following it more attentively than before in hopes of learning more useful information.
  20. Altaria101 Aspiring Trainer


    After the next post-rotation, I think the format will be a lot more balanced though stage 2 decks will still suck. At least ADP will be gone and with the additions of rapid strike and single strike cards, the format is a lot more interesting. The pace of the overall game will go down with welder leaving as well. So, I feel like there are quite a few things to be optimistic about the standard format.
    LightYearLiam likes this.

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