Discussion Vmaxes, ADP, and the Terrible Power Creep


Aspiring Trainer
I'm very curious how the format will look after ADP rotates out, along with Welder and a few other problematic cards. The format should slow down quite a bit. I expect the "ideal" scenario would be for VMAX Pokemon to take the role that "regular" Pokemon took before, and essentially return the game back to baseline, but with 2 KOs per game, instead of 6. It sucks, however, that so many of them have extremely boring attacks.


Aspiring Trainer
I'm at least mildly hopeful that at least a few 1 prize and 2 prize decks can compete. They've printed a few cards that help 1 prizers, cherrim, twin, altaria, maybe some I'm forgetting. Soon path to the peak of course. I'll hold out hope for more... A rule box great catcher maybe, or how about a rule box choice band?


Get Shinxed bro
Fun fact: To add onto the point about how boring VMAXs are, Orbeetle VMAX, Celebi VMAX and Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX are the only three VMAXs that have non-passive Abilities (like Poke-Powers, not Poke-Bodies). But Orbeetle and Celebi might as well have passive abilities, since I can't think of many occasions where you wouldn't want to put a damage counter on each opposing Pokémon/heal 20 from each of your [G] Pokémon.

I think that speaks volumes on the state of multi-prize Pokémon right now.


The wise fool?
Perhaps easy to miss, but after writing this post, I realized I basically rushed to the point which I've been trying to reach from my past series.

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.

I think you just have a much narrower definition of "support" than we do, as you're describing examples of what I am suggesting needs to be the norm. ;) Golbat (PHF, GEN) having "Sneaky Bite" is support for Crobat (PHF) and its "Surprise Bite". I remember this from running decks like Landobats; having the Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the same line both placing damage counters made each better as together they could take out larger targets. I haven't used Golbat (BST) or Crobat (BST) in anything, but I suspect something similar is at work there. "Discreet Draw" is a weaker version of "Drastic Draw", but the main thing is that each provides some draw power.

We actually agree on Rare Candy, but here's my deal, and it ties into my big long... thing... I've been typing up in this thread. The game has an issue with pacing. It seems really unlikely the powers-that-be can design Stage 2 Pokémon that are balanced both when evolving manually over a total of three turns and have those same Pokémon be balanced when it has a shortcut to hit the field a turn faster. I don't think it is impossible, but it just isn't something I expect them to be able to do on the regular. Either you end up with stuff that becomes too good when it hits the field a turn early, or is underpowered when manually evolved.

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.

I know I haven't finished my long discussion, but maybe I've explained enough to just get to the point:

The problem aren't multi-Prize cards as a mechanic, the problem is the combination of general pacing issues and specific broken cards.

Let us start with TAG TEAM Pokémon. They are not inherently broken from a design standpoint. Yes, you get a really big Basic Pokémon, but it is worth three times as many Prizes as a baseline Pokémon, and 50% more Prizes than other Pokémon-GX. I just want you to imagine where we'd be it there were no Energy acceleration available to Rule Box Pokémon:
  • Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX decks have to go first, and manually attach [MW] and attack with "Altered Creation-GX" Turn 3, or go second and just settle for +30 damage the rest of the game. It also takes three full turns to prep "Ultimate Ray", and its attachment effect couldn't be used on another Rule Box Pokémon.
  • Mewtwo & Mew-GX can still utilize any attack from Pokémon-EX/GX in play or in your discard pile, but they've got to power-up one Energy at a time.
  • Pikachu & Zekrom-GX can no longer do 150 Turn 2-4. Turn 5 (Player 1's 3rd Turn) is the earliest they can "Full Blitz", and that attack can no longer prep fellow Rule Box Pokémon. You have to manually build to "Tag Bolt-GX".
  • Reshiram & Charizard-GX no longer can use Welder to speed themselves up. "Outrage" won't come online until Turn 3 (Player 1's second turn) at the earliest. "Double Blaze-GX" without the effect isn't ready until Turn 5 or 6 (each player's third turn, respectively).
  • Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX have to wait to wreck hands, as it takes a player three turns of manually attaching to reach "Night Watch".
This does not stop all TAG TEAM Pokémon from being useful, but it wasn't supposed to. For the sake of discussion, let us assume there are still some TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX that are "too good". That means something else was bungled during the card/cardpool design process.

If you want to balance out multi-Prize Pokémon now, the answer is higher HP scores, lower damage for new Pokémon. All the other stuff I've said needs to change also still needs to change as well, but if we inflate HP scores while average damage output per turn is reduced, new stuff versus new stuff results in games where you have more time to do "stuff", because your Pokémon are not being KO'd so quickly. New stuff versus old stuff means the old stuff hits the new stuff harder, but the new stuff has the HP to soak it. Old stuff versus old stuff remains unchanged, for better and worse. Given time, we can eventually reach a more balanced Standard Format.

... or an old Rare Candy. That would be great.

It didn't work in the past. What has changed to make it work now? I played with "classic" Rare Candy and either:
  • Fully Evolved Pokémon dominated the way multi-Prize do now... too bad, fans of Basic Pokémon!
  • Fully Evolved Pokémon still struggled, because the designers took Rare Candy into account.
In either case, most cards remained filler. All that changed is what is the "favored class" of Pokémon. =/

Edit: Just in case I'm not being clear, or my tone is sounding harsh, my frustratingly lengthy posts are so I can try to explain my point and persuade... but also so that you can see my thought process, and point out where I've missed something. for example, the game has obviously changed since Rare Candy received the erratum giving it its modern effect. I just don't think that, even with the current card pool, Turn 1 rules, etc. Rare Candy is going to be properly balanced. That doesn't mean I've haven't missed something, misunderstood something, etc.
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Aspiring Trainer
Soon to be good news:

ADP is coming out of format soon by normal rotation:

After that, all that's left of the major power creep will be Victini vmax, Banette(ability from
VIV), and Dusknoir(ability from
VIV), as with the only rule boxes in the format will be V/VMAXes, that VMAX can combo with either the devolution ability, or better, the special energy effect nullification ability, to have a field day in standard, as no GXes mean its worst matchups will go out of standard and allow Victini VMAX to become the BDIF for standard 2022...
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