The Pokemon Trading Card Season traditionally runs from World Championships to World Championships. They have altered that slightly, beginning the new season both this and last year in July so that you can start building PLAY! Points earlier through league play. This was done because of the new PLAY! Point requirement for entry into the National Championships, a response to the “free t-shirt mob” that threw the 2011 Nationals into chaos (a large group entered for the free shirt and then dropped/didn’t show for round 1). At any rate, the close of each season also usually brings with it a rotation of card sets (usually around 3 sets) to make room for new sets coming in the next year and attempt to shake up the format a little by removing cards that have become staples in many decks. For the 2013-14 season, the Modified Format will be Next Destinies-on (NXD-on). This rotation will officially take place on 8/28/13.
The following sets will be legal for play in the 2013-14 season:
Black & White—Next Destinies
Black & White—Dark Explorers
Black & White—Dragons Exalted
Black & White—Boundaries Crossed
Black & White—Plasma Storm
Black & White—Plasma Freeze
Black & White—Plasma Blast
Black & White—Dragon Vault
Black Star Promo Cards BW33 and higher.
*also, any new sets released later this year/season
The sets that are rotated out are the following 3 sets:
Black & White
Black & White—Emerging Powers
Black & White—Noble Victories
For those who collect and follow the sets, this rotation was where most expected it to be. Next Destinies was the first set with the big basic EX cards. It also was the first Black & White set to start reprinting cards from previous sets as “secret rares”, usually in the form of a “shiny” version of that character. These and several “promo” reprintings may cause a little confusion as to what is still legal and what is not, which we will try to cover in a minute. For now, lets look at things that are clearly gone.
The biggest blow for many players is the loss of Noble Victories Eelektrik with the ability “Dynamotor”. This liver-fluke-looking electric leech has been the basis for many variants of one of the most successful and consistent decks in the game since we at the Gym have been involved in the game. Originally partnered with Thundurus and Zekrom, the deck has shifted through Mewtwo EX versions and most recently into decks centered around Rayquaza EX, which became even stronger with the advent of Keldeo EX and “Float Stone”. All variant aside, the Eels” are no more.
Another big blow to popular format decks is the loss of BW KlingKlang. “Klang” was another card that journeyed through several popular and successful decks, most recently in “Plasma Klang” decks. Its “Shift Gears” ability, in all of its variants, has allowed players to move Steel energy off of damaged Pokemon, play “Max Potion” to heal them completely and then move the energy right back. While slow in setting up, the deck(s), once set, would make sweeping comebacks over other more powerful opponents. Along with Eels, Klingklang says, “Adios”.
One of the last major players (by major we are referring to fresh off winning the Masters Division National Championship) on its way out is Emerging Powers Gothitelle. Gothitelle‘s ability, “Magic Room” blocks Item cards from being played by your opponent. Combined with Accelgor/Mew EX using “Deck and Cover”, poisoning and paralyzing your active, this deck could basically lock down anything, defeating them in a very slow, deliberate, repetitive and often brain-numbing game. A reprinted version of this card is floating around in Japan in “Ex Battle Boost” sets, but for now, we do not anticipate a return of this card. Gothitelle, grab your leech and set of gears and send us a post card. Stop on the way and pick up the little guy with the pointy head, because both versions of Victini with the “Victory Star” ability are gone as well.
Most of the Trainer Item, Supporter and Stadium cards that are in play right now will stay. Of note, what we know we are losing is “Energy Search”, “Revive”, “Crushing Hammer”, “Plus Power”, “Pokemon Communication”, “Super Scoop Up” and “Recycle”. Thanks to being reprinted as “secret rares”, both “Pokemon Catcher” and “Max Potion” survive this rotation. Several other item cards like “Eviolite” and “Rocky Helmet” remain legal as they were released again in the NXD-on sets. “Energy Retrieval” gets reprinted in the next set, so it will also remain legal. No Supporter cards or Stadium cards that are currently in play will be rotated, as all of those that were introduced in Black & White have also been printed again in sets that remain. As far as decks go, the only one truly wiped out by this is the Darkrai EX variant, “Hammertime”. Hammer, don’t hurt em (because you can’t any more). The loss of “Energy Switch” is a pretty big blow to all Darkrai variants.
The confusing part of this rotation is the rather large # of Pokemon characters from the sets being rotated that will remain legal by being reprinted as either BW-promo cards or as “secret rare” cards in NXD-on sets. All of the “Outrage”dragons (Reshiram, Zekrom and Kyurem), as well as the “Genies” (Landorus, Thundurus, Tornadus) survive the rotation. This means that your cherished “full arts” of these guys are good for one more year. As for as the “Trio” of swordsman, only the Noble Victories Terrakion survives for now (secret rare in Boundaries Crossed). However, it looks like Virizion (NV) will return in the next set as a secret rare. If that is the case, then it will be legal again. As for Cobalion (NV), it may join its companions later, but it is rotated for now.
Secret rares keep a somewhat random mix of Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokemon from the rotated sets in play. The ability Serperior, Emboar, Hydregion, Archeops, Chandelure and Reuniclus from the rotated sets all stay legal thanks to their “rare” reprint. Non-ability Zoroark (Foul Play) received the rare reprint, so it is still good. Several other of these secret rare reprints are of cards that are NXD and newer cards, like Empoleon and Garchomp, so they are unaffected by the rotation anyway.
Confused yet? It is not as confusing as I may make it sound. If you have any questions about what is legal and what is not, feel free to ask us either at league or via our league email. There are several handy tools that we use to double-check ourselves. The “Researching Tower” on the pokegym.net is a good page to look at cards by set. There is also a good list of BW-promo cards on Bulbapedia if you want some help on the promo cards. Just remember that numbers 33 and higher are still good, 32 and down are rotated out. We may have missed a card or 2 of importance that gets rotated…. if we did, understand that we are still sorting this out a bit for ourselves.
Just to make sure you are clear, if you only have, for example, Reshiram (BW 26/114), you may still use it because it was reprinted as Reshiram (NXD 21/99). You do not have to have the new version because all of the stats and text on both cards is identical, it just has a different picture. The good ‘ol Black & White one is still good. The same goes for all reprinted cards. As long as the text or definition of what the card says or does remains the same, you can use the older version.
Our main advice to our league players is to buy Next Destinies and newer packs the next time you get to shop for cards. The newer the set, of course, the longer the cards will be in play. Be mindful when trading that you do not trade for something that is being rotated. A rotated card that was very valuable loses its value instantly once rotations are announced. You probably don’t want to make trades for cards that you cannot use. Also, if you trying to improve any of your decks, check your cards and replace those that you know are being rotated as soon as you can. The next tournaments (excluding the World Championships) will be in the new format, so you might as well start testing it.
We will keep our Gym decks as they are until the official rotation (8/28), which means you can challenge Gym Leaders with all Black & White cards until that date. After that, Gym Challenges (both leader decks and challenger decks) will all be in the new format. Bring your cards and questions to the Gym and we will be glad to help you sort it out. Until then, see you at the Gym!