Each year Play! Pokemon rotates several sets of cards out of the Modified Format used in all organized tournaments that eventually lead to the National and World Championships. The company’s reasoning for rotating cards out of play is to accomplish two things. They want to keep the format “healthy” by forcing out established decks and making players create new strategies. They also want to make it easier for new players to get into organized play. Rotations generally coincide with the beginning of the new year which starts on September 1st, after the World Championships have been completed. The exception to that rule took place last year when the rotation occurred just before Nationals. That rotation took place to eliminate card combinations that led to “donk” decks (mainly, Sable-donk) that eliminated skill and strategy from the game. Play! Pokemon has generally tried to leave around 7 sets in play each year. This rotation will leave us with 5 sets from the current format, with a 6th set coming at the time the rotation occurs.
On September 1, 2012, the Modified Format for the 2012-2013 will be Black & White-on. Many had predicted that the last HGSS set, Call of Legends, would stay in rotation since it was mostly a re-print set. The Professor Cup format at Nationals this year is Call of Legends-on, which many thought was a big hint about the coming rotation. Not the case. The rotation will leave us with the following sets:
-Black & White, B&W Emerging Powers, B&W Noble Victories, B&W Next Destinies and B&W Dark Explorers.
These sets will be rotated out:
-Heartgold Soulsilver (HGSS), HGSS Unleashed, HGSS Undaunted, HGSS Triumphant and HGSS Call of Legends.
What we lose:
As far as pokemon go, we lose some big hitters. All of the “Primes” and 2-piece Legend cards go with the roation. The Legend piece cards never took off in competitive play the way Pokemon hoped. The “Primes”, however, dominated the last year and still are prominent in many decks. We also lose several key support pokemon, such as “Roast Reveal” Ninetails, Pachirisu, Shayman, Smeargle, Cleffa, Tyrogue and Pichu. Trainer/Item lock will take a major blow as well as we lose Vileplume. While the pokemon lost in the rotation will definitely shake up the format, they hardly compare to the Trainer/Supporter cards that will go out. Pokemon Collector, Professor Oaks New Theory, Dual Ball, Junk Arm, Sages Training….. ouch! These are staple cards in every competitive deck. It seems harsh, but it seems that way each time they cut sets. Losing cards you play in every deck takes some getting used to, but it won’t take long to adjust. The main thing to remember is that EVERYONE loses the same cards, so we all will be adjusting to the new format at the same time.
What this means to you:
First off, remember that this does not take place until September. So, for right now, it does not mean much. All cards from HGSS-on remain in play until then, so you still have plenty of time to play with what you have. The main thing to think about from this point on is what sets you purchase. There are no more tournaments outside of Nationals and Worlds. So, unless you are attending one of those events and still looking for specific cards, it is probably best to only buy packs/cards from the Black & White and newer sets. When looking through your collection, don’t forget about cards from the older sets that have been reprinted in B&W sets and will still be legal (such as, Rare Candy, Double Colorless Energy, Switch, Pokemon Communication, Super Scoop Up, etc). Keep in mind that some cards that we lose with this rotation may come back later with future reprints. From what we have seen, they usually do not reprint specific pokemon characters (like Magnezone Prime) or Supporter cards. The cards that we have seen reprinted most often are Trainer/Item cards and special energies. That being said, we never know what Pokemon will do next, so don’t count on a specific card to come back around one day.
As far as our league goes, we are pretty laid back. The Fincastle Pokemon Gym encourages all of its trainers to keep up with the current format so that they are able to enter their best deck in local tournaments and be competitive. However, we will never keep someone from playing if they have mostly older cards. We do keep “loaner” decks from the current format available for use during league play and the Gym Leaders are always glad to help you build decks that are legal for the Modified Format.
If you have questions about any of this, talk to the Gym Leaders at league and we will help you figure it out. Some of veteran trainers have been through at least one rotation with us, so this will not be that much of a shock to them. We will have lists of the soon-to-be-rotated and legal sets available at league to help you sort everything out. As we get closer to September, many of the Gym Leader decks will be unavailable for challenges for a week or two as we rebuild and test them in the new format. Don’t forget that Gym Challenges can only be attempted with decks from the current format, so as September approaches, you may want to start to testing out the new format yourself. Until then, see you at the Gym!