2015 Rule Change – Trump Card Banned

sableyeThe Fincastle Gym has seen many “firsts” since we began playing the TCG.  We felt the negative effects of the 1st mid-season rotation in 2011, a move that was made in haste to end Sableye-based “donk” decks that often ended games on the 1st turn of the game.  We say haste, because “donks” continued after that rotation and still do today.  They are part of the game as always will be.  What that rotation did, however, was also eliminate 2 decks that Gym Leader Logan piloted to undefeated runs through 2 State Championships and a Regional Championship (there was only 1 weekend of Regionals at that time, all on the same weekend nationally), just before the National Championships took place.  Logan was poised to take his Spiritomb/Magnezone/Feraligatr deck into a very probable run at the National Championship (this was in pre-net deck times, when deck building was an art and an original creation could dominate the format).  Instead, everyone entered Nats with a limited pool of cards and saw over 75% of the field forced into playing variations of 3 decks, because that was about all you could build.

In September of 2013 at the start of the new season, we saw the most powerful card in the format, “Pokemon Catcher” get nerfed, as first its definition was changed and then it was eventually reprinted to display the “nerf”, adding a coin flip to its “gust” effect.  This was also when the changes to the rules governing the 1st turn were added, again trying to remove the “donk” from the game.  Both the mid-season rotation and the 2013 change were in direct response to a specifictrump card/card combo.  These changes could have been avoided by simply banning the cards in question, but if we recall correctly, we were told the Pokemon does not ban cards.  Well, not anymore.

Yesterday, Pokemon announced the 1st card ban since we at the Gym have been playing the TCG (we think a Sneasel from Neo Genesis was banned, but again, before our time).  Play!Pokemon has banned the supporter card, “Lysandre’s Trump Card” from the format, effective 6/15/15.  Here is a copy of the post from The Pokegym with the details:


The Trainer card Lysandre’s Trump Card is being removed from Pokémon TCG tournament play.”

As of June 15, 2015, Lysandre’s Trump Card (XY—Phantom Forces, 99/119 and 118/119) will be banned from all sanctioned Play! Pokémon tournaments in most of the world. (The ban will go into effect in Japan on June 20.)

This card has created an undesirable play environment because it:

  • Eliminates one of your opponent’s victory conditions (running out of cards in your deck)
  • Allows repeated use of powerful Trainer cards
  • Allows drawing through your deck quickly with minimal repercussions
  • Extends the time of battles

All sanctioned tournaments will be affected by this change, including Pokémon National Championships occurring after June 15 (except in Japan) and the Pokémon World Championships in August.


Well, there you go, in really big letters, nonetheless (sorry, its late and I couldn’t figure out how to resize the quote without re-typing the whole thing).  Anyway, when we look at the format at the moment, that is not the card that really jumps out at us as the card that has to go.  We have heard of some games in the past few months where one player would set up something like “Night March” or chase“Flareon”, only to have it all “Trumped” back in, followed by that process being repeated again and again for the following few turns… meaning nothing happened in a match for 10-15 minutes outside of that “chase your own tail” process.  However, it has not sounded like this hitch was dominating every event, but was more of a rare occurrence.

If you’re going to ban something… ban the right card!

toadWe’ve said it before and say it again, that the most damaging thing to this format is Seismitoad EX.  “Toad” hinders both the way the game is played and the enjoyment that anyone gets from playing the game.  “Donks” were targeted for rule changes because players did not enjoy sitting down, watching the other player go first and win the game before they ever drew a card.  Have you seen player reactions when they sit down across from Seismitoad/Garbodor?  Call me crazy, but we don’t see a lot of enjoyment flowing from those tables.  Let me make a few minor tweaks to the reasons “Trump” was banned as we think it applies to Seismitoad EX.  Here’s how that above announcement could look if it were directed towards the correct card:

This card has created an undesirable play environment because it:

  • Eliminates one of your opponent’s victory conditions (being able to play cards from your deck)
  • Easily denies any use of powerful Trainer cards
  • Easily denies drawing through your deck quickly with minimal repercussions
  • Extends the time of battles
  • Limits the skill necessary to win battles


with meI dunno… just a thought.  To us, it seems that recent releases have really pushed the format towards a “do or die” environment, meaning you either have to play a certain deck, or you have to play something specifically to counter that deck.  When you open a box of 360 cards and only 15-20 of them are relevant, that seems a little off, especially compared to the game when we started playing.  Like they say, opinions are like… earholes….., everybody has them, including us at the Gym (although that’s not exactly how I normally say that).

One thing is for sure, though, which is that “Lysandre’s Trump Card” is no longer relevant.  We suggest that our trainers remove them from you deck right away and start testing you decks without them.  Lots of players, ourselves included, have grown accustomed to “Trump” being in almost every list that we play.  Adjustments will definitely have to be made, which is always lovely to have to do right before the National Championships.

That’s the latest news, which we wanted to share promptly, as it affects how everyone prepares for the final events of the year.  Those of you with questions or looking for help adjusting lists, see a gym leader at league and we’ll help you the best we can.  Wonders never cease.  Oh, and yeah…. BAN SEISMITOAD EX!!!!!!!!  See you at the Gym!

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