The Trashalanche Pokemon Podcast

Greatest games of all-time, RNG in gaming, Players Cup Invitational, great moments in the grinder, Iron Rule-GX, Pokemon Unite: Blissey!, GLC, What makes a good format?

August 18, 2021 Brent Halliburton Season 2 Episode 2
The Trashalanche Pokemon Podcast
Greatest games of all-time, RNG in gaming, Players Cup Invitational, great moments in the grinder, Iron Rule-GX, Pokemon Unite: Blissey!, GLC, What makes a good format?
Chapters
The Trashalanche Pokemon Podcast
Greatest games of all-time, RNG in gaming, Players Cup Invitational, great moments in the grinder, Iron Rule-GX, Pokemon Unite: Blissey!, GLC, What makes a good format?
Aug 18, 2021 Season 2 Episode 2
Brent Halliburton
Transcript
Brent:

What's weird is what are the things that really jumped out to me and made me super sad is somebody I think said that the VGC PA imitational had like 50,000 viewers and the TCG had like a thousand. I was like, man,

Brit:

And that that's always true, you know, of any, any given live event it's frustrating, but like, it makes sense. I think. And I don't know if anything to me, I wish I wish it would be used as well. You know, evidence that like, yeah, the, the entry barrier play, the video game is probably too high. If, if this is the amount of people interested in watching it every single time, and this is the amount of people who actually show up to our events, like, that's always how I think about it. Like, or at least like, it's easy, so easy to watch the video game. Like you watch the anime or play at like a single Pokemon video game. Like probably figure out what's going on and in a competitive game, generally speaking, but like a card game can be hard to follow. Even if you yourself play it. It's like, and again, just not as interesting as the video game, of course, visually and stuff.

Brent:

Yeah. Yeah. There's a, it's a much slower to see how RNG affects the game. Is it one of the weird things I think about like commentating a TCG is like like I really enjoyed I don't know if you guys saw. JWS a new YouTube series on like the greatest games of all time or whatever. And he, he did a, like he walked through the Azule six prize turn from what regional was that? Charlotte, something like that.

Mike:

Yeah.

Brent:

The Whaler one. Yeah. Which, which was a, if it that's what I like. I mean, that all starts when you flip sides on the orchid, like if you flip sales in the order pad, it can't get a field blower to blow the tool off the garb. It's like, he just, he just loses boom aims over, up loses, but like he flips heads and it starts a like 10 step process where he went. But like when you flip heads on order pad, that's supposed to be the moment where like, the crowd goes wild. But honestly you put that, that order, like it's less obvious how that RNG impacts like. But yeah, that are there you go. Right. And then, but he has to like shaman for four and get a, you know, a superior, he recruitable off the shaman or something. And like that's a little bit RNG, but like at that point he'd already done everything else and it was just really find the second spirit in a tier three. We'll win the game and shamans and gets it and like, yeah, he went. I recognize a lot of expanded next would like that. It's like this five minute grindy process of like shuffling cards and flipping coins and all this stuff to like find out if a win because this turn takes a long time and his opponent just sits there and watches it.

Mike:

I want to watch, I saw that the second one that he did was on the truth. So I'll probably watch that one at some point for sure.

Brit:

I should tell him, or at least, I don't know, I've sort of had an interest in similar projects or at least have had This conversation with people here and there about like, what is the best game, you know, what's the best game ever played you know, on it. And at least for me, it's always been Dylan Bryan versus Tom dozzle it's 2012 nationals. It's just like a masterclass of patients from Dylan. He's just like getting blown out of the water, the entire game. And then he just wins out of nowhere. It's it's, it's such a good game. I don't really remember that Dylan was playing so Tom dozzle 2012 bats, Tom Doza was playing to speed, dark ride. He kind of invented it or at least showed up with the version of it. That would be really prominent at worlds, a format later, kind of this like, you know, and it's just Tom dozzle. He just plays these Uber consistent decks seemed just like, there's nothing to them. How can they win? They're they're just pure consistency. But he showed up the year before a nationals with Tyra restroom type login. And he did it again the following year, but it was Dylan was playing like Vileplume. like Ms. I believe, which just like Ms. Majors could just move psychic energies. It can only do one per turn, so it wasn't like super good. But for whatever reason, this was just a deck that showed up at national association. And it's, you know, one of those very twin heavy sort of decks with tracking and things like that. And it's just, yeah, I'd recommend watching it. It would also recommend it to JWS as a as a game to go over. It's always been a really good one for me, but I'd have to think more. And I don't, I don't even know this, this little game you were talking about. I'm not familiar with the, any famous games or matches from kind of that time period when I didn't play at all.

Mike:

Okay.

Brent:

You should go back and watch it. It's a great game. Yeah, there there's one game that I, I remember somebody had talked about in some in like, Hey day or something, and they were talking about best games ever. That was a Dylan Bryan game at a national championship where like the final turn. He what's the what's the card. This was before my time, the card that makes both of you pick up a phone.

Mike:

seeker.

Brent:

Seeker. So he, yeah. So the final turn, he portraits for seeker and then plays seeker and ventures. The guy. Yeah.

Brit:

I did that at the 2011 nationals, which was sort of infamous for its turn one dogs. I had a, I had like, it was funny because a lot of all those dogs kind of involved the babies, the baby Pokemon, who could not be damaged if they like stayed asleep. But it was just damaged, not damaged counters. So I had this, I had this funny game where I was, I played lost car at this nationals and which just played seeker because I wanted to, I wanted Pokemon to be in your hand, but I just also it's other attack was just like spread for damage counters for two energy. So he had like Clefa and tapping and I, I seeker and an attached to another energy. And even though he stayed asleep, so like ordinarily that would have been fine against Tyra or something. I still got him.

Mike:

Yeah,

Brent:

Yeah, a love, a love, the recounting of a great games. And, and even, even Jacob and Wagner's games, it went really quickly. But like in terms of commentating, I mean, you're always looking for those. Like the things where something happens and everybody knows you win. And there's that like in game three, Jacob and Ragnar is to shaman for too. And if he gets like a way to discard cards, then he can ma Archie's

Mike:

Right.

Brent:

and he like shamans for two and gets a calm search once again.

Mike:

The only other game that like immediately comes to mind is there is a regional where Frank Diaz played against like say block and maybe top four or for the finals or something like that. It was, it was like the first regional of the year. Maybe not Collinsville. Like the Indiana or Ohio, or know one of those ones and

Brit:

probably.

Mike:

Fort Wayne. Yeah. Yeah, that sounds right. And I just remember, like, watching him play is kind of, kind of like the same thing you're talking about with Tom dozzle versus Dylan Bryan. It's like, you know, vanilla, evil, tall, but he's just doing all these little things to play really, really well against say block, like attacking this Calvio yaks and you know, things like that.

Brent:

Yeah. Frankie, he plays a little better than everyone else, right,

Mike:

Yeah, exactly. So this is all good relevant conversation too. I don't know. This could be, or

Brent:

exactly. Right. Exactly. Here. Right. When you thought that is the cold open we're over Welcome to the Trashalanche. It's Brent Halliburton as always Mike Fouchet Britt fibers joined me. Attendance is 100% no new reviews this week, but we got a lot to talk about. So we want to jump right in the world. We were talking about this, as we said, maybe we should start the pod, cause this is exciting stuff. Pokemon just announced a new, exciting competition featuring the best of the 20 14 20 19 Pokemon world championships. I assume when they say showcasing the top decks and top level players from 2014 to 2019, that way. So was that is 2014.

Mike:

No, that was,

Brit:

was verge of VG. That's Andrew strata,

Brent:

Gotcha.

Mike:

2011 was the truth. Yeah. So 2014 was the VG world. 2015 was Jacob bagging Wagner with the Archie stories. then

Brit:

Adina 17.

Mike:

wait, what was 2016?

Brit:

Oh my God.

Mike:

Oh, I dunno. That was like the night March year. Yeah,

Brit:

Then

Brent:

They're the real truth, right? My God, you know, it works against one deck.

Mike:

yeah. 2017 was Gardy Diego. Right

Brit:

Zuora. Garb.

Mike:

then Zororoc 2018 and then tag teams in 2019.

Brit:

Yeah.

Mike:

Okay. Cool.

Brent:

If you were just listen to our amazing intro, you heard us talking about a big games all the time. Are there big games in, in here that you think will be interesting or relevant.

Mike:

And do you think like the Idino matches were pretty good? Interesting. Like I remember I played a couple of years ago, me and Pablo recreated that finals Adino versus Greninja and that I think is a pretty fun matchup. So I I'd love to see that.

Brent:

it's Easy as I'd, you know, just walking over Greninja right.

Mike:

no, no, no, it's pretty close. I think,

Brent:

Yeah

Mike:

like toad bads versus Blastoise in theory is a good, like a really close matchup. It was just like those two games. Jacob just kinda stones.

Brent:

exactly. Exactly. When you drop bonkers, it's super, super great.

Mike:

Yeah. I think guardian is like so far and away the best deck, so I don't in, in its year, but I'm sure there's like good games. That final is pretty cool too. That was like the Melissa pod right. Came in second. And then I mean, Robbins, the Zuora garb was just like a 50, 50 back. So I feel like any matchup with that is a pretty cool, It does make it sound like that the players may, like I said, eight of the best Pokemon players. Right. And so they're probably like picking people similar to the invitational or something like that, but then it says each round. They'll use an exact copy of the deck. So it doesn't sound like they're going to be building their own backs. They're just going to be like given decks from these events, which could be cool. It might be a little lame. I don't know.

Brent:

To shake things up before the term begins, the players will draft the decks. They wish to play,

Mike:

That's cool. That's really cool.

Brit:

Kind of sounds like, at least to me. What I wanted from the players and invitational the entire time, something much closer to this. rather than say that the players or the players invitation, wasn't a really good experience, but it was just kind of like, all right, it's the players cup again, but it was the only celebrity players that, you know, what have you like same format, same cards, but we're as opposed to like, this is like not only sort of a nice timeline of players, but a timeline is decks as well, but that sounds great. I'm excited.

Brent:

so, so how much did you guys watch the players invitation?

Mike:

I watch maybe half of it throughout the weekend.

Brit:

Yeah. I had it on here and there throughout the weekend too. I never was never quite my focus, but I caught, caught some games or at least, you know, I think it's fair. At least it's just funny to me seeing Alex, when it again, and him just saying like, I meant to change the deck less and play a different deck.

Mike:

Yeah. Yeah.

Brit:

That was one of my biggest takeaways. I'm just kind of curious as to what he meant, what he was like, what he wanted to play in stats, sort of what his read on the meta game was. But yeah, maybe just, I don't know, just what a Testament to the power of fresh food Inteleon for the moment.

Mike:

Yeah, there was some cool stuff in there though. Like Zoroark Shadow Rider list had some interesting texts. We didn't really see them have like a huge impact. The MuTu we saw a little. Do some good stuff, but like he had the, the other Marshall shadow that copies an attack. And I don't think I ever saw him use that throughout any of his matches, but it was a cool tech that list. And then like Henry brands, ice rider list was a little bit off the norm as well. Still had for melody, unlike shouldn't TAROS, but it's cool to see some different stuff. And apparently it was a closed list tournament. So I think that probably played into a lot of these players shaking things up.

Brent:

Right, right. Way more fun to play Q techs when people don't know the kid texts are coming.

Mike:

Right,

Brent:

Like your, your incentive to try to tech for decks, it's sort of harder to play around it. If you don't ask them.

Mike:

Yeah, exactly. So yeah, it was, it was pretty fun to watch it. I mean, the, the level of play was very good, which was, you know, nice to see. It's much nicer watching the prerecording. Being where, you know, nothing about it going in really like both, both of the players, we've already talked about like the regional finals of players cups and how that we already know the results. And then even the global finals is not quite as exciting as it could be. Like, this was much more exciting to me to watch it. Like not really knowing all the players until the day before and not knowing what they were playing and knowing that it was closed list. Everything about it was more excited.

Brent:

Yeah. And, and obviously I assume this draft, the world, that things kind of their, their next step in this. I like what Pokemon is trying to do here.

Mike:

Yeah. Yeah. I agree. And bringing back to your motto, obviously, like that was sweet. That was awesome. I'm sure Brett, you love that.

Brent:

Yeah. So talk to me about that guys. Cause obviously I was not around then and it meant relatively little to me.

Mike:

So, I mean, Kyle alluded to it a little bit in his explanation. He was actually pretty funny. I don't know if you guys saw, but when chip asked him, Kyle, I was like, well, how long you got chipped? I could talk about this forever. And I, and I do feel like he could. So we get, have a little bit more time to elaborate. Yeah. In 2004 this is the first time the Japanese players that ever played against people from the the Western world. And they all showed up with this team, magma deck that nobody played in Europe or the Americas, or at least not the same way that it was built. And they all like at one, all three divisions beating all three of us. Top decks and the finals and your motto is kind of the spearhead of that since he was in the 15 and over division and the masters division and yeah, so like he immediately became a legend for that. And then the following year, he came back to worlds and remained undefeated until the top eight of worlds, 2005, where he lost to Ross. And then so I mean, by that time, like this guy was the best player in the world because, you know, he just didn't lose at worlds really. 2006 worlds. I don't think he did that. Well, he might've even like, had to play in the grinder. I forget. I remember in 2006 they played a lot of the Japanese players, including your motto played the lbs deck, but they didn't run wartortle. So they got really screwed by the Neutrik deck with, with disconnect. And then I think your motto top rated again in 2007, does that sound right for it

Brit:

I think it was, I want to say it was taught four cause he was playing in furniture, right?

Mike:

he played yeah. In for NAPE with like a one-on-one in poli on,

Brit:

Yeah. Yeah.

Mike:

yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, so within four years or 2,004,000 5, 10, 6, yeah. Within four years he won top aided and top four worlds. And so like that era of Pokemon, he was the best player almost for sure. Like the only person in that era, you could make an argument for being better as Jason, maybe, but the motto is probably the best player in the world. Up through 2008 and then he kind of started playing less after that. He still was at worlds for the up until like 2012 ish. I want to say maybe a little bit longer, but didn't have the results after that. But so those early years of Nintendo, the motto is the goat.

Brit:

He also. Yeah. So even I think, worth noting too, is he had maybe, maybe it's more, I think, I think, I think you're right about maybe oh six or something being a grinder year, because part of the resume too. He just grinded in so many times. And so one of the things too, I think or at least what was so kind of quintessential of these early worlds up until, gosh, when did they get rid of the grinder? I know it was just sort of around the same time with, and like the world threats we're really low. I want to say that was the year they got rid of the grinder the year that it was 300 points to qualify.

Mike:

Yeah, I think the last Grindr was in DC like 2014. I think that was the, that was the last

Brit:

That sounds right. Yeah. And so, so if you didn't have, I mean, this was just such a good way to get people to play. If you didn't have your world to invite, there is this the Friday before worlds, there was this open tournament. But what made it interesting is that it was usually sometimes I think in the later years it was just like straight up a single elimination bracket. But usually at least in the early, the early days it was Swiss, but it was more or less still single elimination. Like you kind of had the X out through, or like, maybe you could go X and one in a combo would sneak in, but it was really, really hard or at least kind of not only was it hard, but usually like. There was usually like a narrative within the world itself as someone doing very well, who also have qualified through the grinder. And, you know, I believe like Jimmy O'Brien's top four, I believe he grinded in that year and a few other early good stories as well that your motto just had a really good streak of grinding in he grinded in, in 2011. He, I know he was, he lost the final round at Aaron Curry at the 2012 Grindr, I believe. And I'm not sure if he played it after that, but that was just sort of, sort of a part of the story too. And I want to say he might've only grinded in, in 2010 of course, to win when he played Gardevoir and Lux chump.

Mike:

Right, right.

Brit:

in that year as well. And top, top 32, I think, or 16, but yeah, just just kind of like one of the first celebrities, all stars of the game, I think. And like, I dunno, I think it was interesting maybe. If I had both thought about that a little harder and not been so pessimistic, I maybe would've thought to guess it because I was kind of there was such a disparity between the TCG players who were invited and the VDC players who were invited, you know, it was just like, Hey, why did the VDC, they invited some Japanese players, like, where are they? Where are they are for the, the TCG. So it was nice to see that answered with your motto and yeah, that was really awesome and really good nostalgia for, for people like me.

Brent:

Didn't Jason also win a grinder one of those years.

Brit:

He might've grinded in and.

Mike:

I think we did he grind in the year that he won in 20.

Brent:

That's I think I would've started that. He had

Brit:

13. Right, right, right. Cause he, he he'd beat he'd beat Michael Slutsky in the wind and then yeah, yeah. I forgot. I forgot. He kind of didn't even, it's just crazy to think that Jason or your motto, you know, some of these players just like are clearly the best in the world, but they don't have, they've got better things to do than qualify. They'll just show up for the grinder. No problem.

Mike:

Yeah. And I think that year, like you NEDA also grind it in and then either top eight or top 16 or something like that. Like, so yeah. There's so many stories, like you said, Brita, very good players grinding in and then doing quite well at worlds.

Brent:

I'm a proponent of the grinder. Liam won the grinder. That's how we got into Pokemon.

Mike:

Yeah. I mean, I, I really enjoyed the idea of the grinder I always have.

Brent:

Yeah. So, so how many, how many times did you guys do the grinder?

Mike:

Hm.

Brent:

Brett, you only one of you qualified.

Brit:

Yeah. I mean, I, I, I, yeah, I, I didn't qualify the first year I played and it was in Hawaii, so I didn't go. And then I just like accidentally qualified over a year after that. But yeah, I never heard, I never, I'm trying to think. No, I would. I would. I guarantee you because I didn't like I didn't go to work. W where was this most recent worlds? I'm blanking.

Mike:

Do you see.

Brent:

DC,

Brit:

Oh, Yeah, Cause it was in DC again. yeah. I didn't go to that. Just kind of for various logistical reasons with like, you know, I I'd bet a whole lot that I probably would have shown up even, you know, even if it was of course to inevitable, like, oh, oh one or something like that, like the grinder gets people, gets people out of their seats and empty events. So I've, I've always loved that sort of for that like lots of players, lots of, especially to kind of like for us older players, like a lot of our kind of friends and similar similar groups, the Mike and me they would always, they were always sort of very, at least when I was playing, like kind of only showed up to nationals, but then they would still always also show it to worlds because there was a grinder and now those people just don't play anymore, Essentially and so there's, there's something about the allure of the world championships that we'll just get the, those sorts of people to participate.

Mike:

I think I probably played the grinder four or five times and at least most of those years were years where I didn't really play throughout the year, but just wanting to hang out with people and went to worlds. Like I think the last one was the first, yeah, the first time it was in DC, I probably put like two tournaments the whole year, but it was in DC. It was close and I wanted to play. So it did.

Brent:

I didn't have in-person tournaments. I wanted to talk about this for two seconds. I know. I feel like three or four pods ago, we were enthusiastic about like regional schedules are probably coming. Like, I feel like you know, in the interest of being on message, Pokemon's probably pulled the plug on that a bit, right?

Mike:

Yeah, probably.

Brent:

Yeah. You don't want to be the person who likes says, Hey, we are, we've got giant in-person events scheduled starting now.

Brit:

Okay.

Mike:

Yeah.

Brent:

pushed out to January. Like, I don't know, you know, I mean, I assume they're just going to hold on it until they feel like they have a handle on what's going on.

Mike:

Yeah. That sounds accurate.

Brent:

Like there's no incentive for them to make an announcement. Nobody's waiting, expecting an announcement, except that they announced there's going to be a world's next year and there's going to be some Path to qualify for it, but like, they should just sit on it. Right.

Mike:

I think

Brit:

maybe, maybe the, the, the more time that passes and, you know, if they are, you know, set in stone, worlds is kind of going to happen no matter what I'd like to see, you know, I mean, I thought I had these thoughts even about you know, now that we're talking about the four day worlds or what have you, I always sort of thought that like, maybe some of those days should just be like really, really low, like might as well just make them hinder. But if we just don't have events or there's just clearly not enough space or again, you know, maybe they, they changed the, the online and we can start consistently earning championship points from, you know, official PTCGO then. But like, yeah, the more time that passes, if we're set in stone for London, 20, 22, like how are people going to qualify? You know, it doesn't seem likely, but the grinder always an easy solution.

Brent:

we're fixing we're fixing organized plates problems on the pot. It's fantastic.

Brit:

Yeah.

Brent:

well, I guess the last thing I should ask about 25th anniversary, maybe we talked about this last week is remonstrating our students.

Mike:

Sure seems like it. I mean, the fact that he was beating shatter riders somewhat consistently, like what else can compete then

Brit:

I mean, not only is he, you know, I've thought about definitely I have wanted to go back and really watch the matches, but he's not just like, you know, he's not just this, isn't just Alex, great player, casually winning games are going to Shadow Rider against, you know, nobody's in the online tournament, he's beat, you know, he'd beat us in what seems like, you know, a tough matchup. So I think that just to me, seems like, you know, that, how can you deny that sort of evidence? Like clearly it can. You know, I overcome adversity weakness again and again, however you want to think about it, but Yeah. I wonder I'm just really curious, mostly know like what the, the, the main cards that like Alex wanted to swap out, because I guess while we're still talking about the play of cup, kind of, one of the more interesting cards I showed up in a couple of lists was the Cobalion GX. Just kind of as a build your own gang, Gar, I guess like, it's, it's not as good, but it shares a splashy wall sort of thing.

Brent:

Yeah. I felt like iron rule GX was the big thing that came out of this tournament.

Mike:

it was cool to see.

Brent:

have you guys played any games with Cobalion recently?

Mike:

Nah, I haven't, I haven't played, I didn't really play any standard this past week.

Brent:

I mean, I feel like it underscores to me just how oppression Mike's earlier comments about the value of Inteleon it's like, that's all about just like, I could squeeze out a few extra things that win the game. Right.

Mike:

Okay.

Brent:

And it's interesting when, when Cobalion, when people were running, Cobalion in like the MuTu decks I was always like, I just you know, I recognize I'm terrible, but I could never quite figure out how to get good value out of our home. And I was like, ah, it's not obvious to me when I want to do this thing and how to get value. But like, when you have quick shooting on the board, you're like iron roll. It's great.

Mike:

Yeah. And the other thing, right, is those, the MuTu Dex had a lot of other appealing GX attacks. This one, obviously doesn't so it's yeah.

Brent:

Yeah, yeah. That I was always like, why would I use this GX attack? Like getting an extra turn when this turned doesn't end with me attacking just doesn't seem that helpful. But but here, like, you know, once you got two or three quick shooting Inteleon down and you're like, we're getting real value out of it. We're like ridiculous value game winning value. All right. Anything, anything to say in terms of Pokemon unite news?

Brit:

Yeah, well, I'll keep it brief. PoliSci came out today. Excited, excited for a new character to be a support. It doesn't, again, I don't think I'm very good nor do I put on possibly enough time to be good, but my very cursory remarks on Blessy is that I'm underwhelmed. They don't seem that's great. I like there. I like it. But it didn't seem as good. It just seemed strictly worse than basically any of the other supports. And then on the little direct to this morning, they announced there's some mobile stuff. So if you were way up there, I know I can think of a couple of people I know who don't have a switch. So they've kind of been twiddling their thumbs while we all have fun with ours, but it's coming out thankfully for them on mobile devices relatively soon. As well as they announced mammo, swine and Sylvia, which I don't know, again, I play this very casually, but I think as, as long as they support it, I'm going to probably be playing my little day. Doing my little weekly missions about that much, but yeah, just like I don't have real, any real interest in grinding ranked or anything. Okay. I got it. I got too much time. I think about that a lot now that I am working. I'm I've I have a lot of interests, all in different kinds of forms of gaming. I just don't understand how people, you know, can do it all and have a job. Like it would make sense if that's all they were doing, but like, I don't know how people are. They're making their YouTube videos. They're, they're grinding to master rank and unite. They're also playing TFT, you know, they're auto battler of choice. I'm just like, I have three hours, like, you know, maybe he's here and they're like, I don't know. I can't, I can't even keep up with Pokemon

Brent:

That's how easy it is for Russell to par to grind a masters

Brit:

Yeah.

Brent:

takes an

Brit:

I mean, yeah. I mean, at a certain point, if you're really good at it, it doesn't take a lot of time, but I just mean, I don't know how to juggle. I don't know how to juggle, trying to get good at multiple games at once is, was the point I was trying to express, like, I want to get it, get it, get good at fighting games. I want to be better at the Pokemon card game. I would like to be good at unite. Like I got to pick and choose. I don't know how you do it all.

Brent:

Exactly, exactly. Hence, I'm able to like talk about Pokemon TCG for you know, an hour and a half every week. And then I'm like, guys, that's all the fun.

Mike:

Right.

Brent:

Oh, very sad. All right, guys, should we, should we dive into the meat of the pod?

Mike:

Yeah, let's do it.

Brent:

Let's go. So, so guys, we said last week we were going to do it. Indeed. We are going to do it. Jake Roelofs wrote me a Twitter DM. He said, could you guys talk about what makes the format good? I was also thinking would be cool to hear about some of the most fun, even skillful match-ups in the TCG history, being new to the game. I see so many people hitting on the current post retail format and how the context really understand why that is. listened to Mela Magikarps interview with Mohan, and it was disheartening to hear no excitement for evolving skies and that the biggest content creator has no interest in playing anything other than this meetup format.

Mike:

I didn't listen to that interview, but that does sound pretty depressing.

Brent:

You know what I, yeah, I, I feel like a big scheme of things. I understand. Like, I mean, when people create a new thing, they love their new thing.

Mike:

Yeah.

Brent:

So that's probably more about his enthusiasm for his new thing. And, you know people seem to be enjoying it. Have you guys followed this whole is a GLC. I think that's.

Mike:

Yeah. I've like I just learned and all the rules the other day, and I've seen people posting lists. It seems kind of cool. Maybe, I don't know. Maybe if there was. a little more, if there was like a big tournament being run for it, I might get interested in it, but it's not, there's the barrier of entry, I guess. Like you could just play like whatever deck, but like the barrier of entry to like, make it be really fun. I think it's pretty high because it's all of expanded and you only can run a single card. So you really have to like comb through a very, very, very large carpool to, you know, find interesting and unique things to do. Which sounds fun. But it's also a lot of work, so I don't know.

Brit:

Yeah, I've been, I've been interested and I've, I've been a little surprised that we haven't hit it yet, but I, I sort of similarly. You know, I think it reminds me of, you know, just into your various format when everyone's like, sort of not very into standard. And then all of a sudden, you know, what the good format is actually expanded over here has been secretly great the whole time. And it's really, and you know, of course that's not true. Expanded is just as bad if not worse, but there's just this, like, there's just this novelty effect. And like, I get that. I, you know, I, I certainly don't want to knock that from like an appeal sort of perspective, obviously. Like, sure. You're tired of it. Why wouldn't you try something new? But like, that's, I mean, I just kind of, I kind of I'm skeptical that it could be much more than that. Like kind of as Mikey notes, there's just kind of. Kind of technical stuff that go into it and just like how, how deep can that really go? And like, I've played in some Singleton tournaments here and there and like some old like iron chef tournaments and things like that. And I just like, I, I don't like limited formats kind of just in general, as I've made clear with cubing and stuff like that. So I, again, I think some of my disinterests would be rooted, predicated and, and those sorts of ideas still too, but I just, like, I just don't don't think it can really be all that great. Like you're just decks are bad, right? Like you just kind of fall playing the ad, you know, a bunch of one offs and stuff like that. Like I, how consistent can they be? You, you can, you can create like a consistent chain of events where like, functionally you do the same thing every time. But like, unless I'm missing something, I haven't, I haven't looked at the necklace very closely. So maybe they're much better than I'm giving them credit for it. Just in terms of what they're capable of doing. But Yeah, it just, I dunno, it just sounds like a per professor format. cup format to me. And like, those are fun. Those are fun. Like I've played in professor cup tournaments before when I had zero interest in competing. And that's just kind of all it is at the end of the day. It's I mean, I guess you could say the same of card games, but like that's where it stops, you know, you don't go, no, one's revisiting the professor cup formats. Like you're, they're fun. You learn them, you play them and then you move on something

Brent:

Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head there. Like, like I remember they had like a, they had the parent cup that they were running simultaneous to like the world championship, maybe the last two years. And there were like, definitely some parents that they were like, I built 25 decks in this weird format, like, and we're testing them off against each other. And I was always like, guys, that's all I can do to test with my son, the decks that he actually wants to play at worlds. You know, can you just pick the third best deck that you guys figured out? I'll take that deck and play it. But yeah, like I, I think your point is a really good one. Like, you know, in cubing you be having a lot of fun playing a cube, but at a certain point you've explored the space and you're like, okay, we got there. I mean, Pokemon, they got to keep adding cards.

Mike:

Yeah.

Brent:

So, so yeah, that was a long story short very sad to hear that Andrew Mahoney has no interest in other formats, but like that's temporary he'll come back because I mean, eventually he'll have felt like he got what he wanted to out of his format. Like I think people that love Pokemon take an interest in like people that love trading card games take an interest in like, thinking about constructing trading card games. I mean the three of us are here.

Mike:

for sure. I mean, and that's what we're going to talk about.

Brent:

Should we talk about why people always hate the current format?

Mike:

Well, I think that that might be a good place to start. And then I know in these, I went and read Stefan's article from a few months ago this past week. I don't know if you guys re-read it or not, but maybe we could like use that as a launching point. So kind of summarize that and then go into expand.

Brent:

I think that's a great idea. So, so for people who haven't for people who were trying to follow along at home a stupid Ivan, off-road an article feeling a long time ago, I guess was, I guess it was just a year ago. It on bookie beach called what is a good format? I encourage you to go read it. I feel like he demonstrates that he's super thoughtful and I wish I was nearly as thoughtful about what is a good format.

Mike:

So he highlights one of the things that just to give you context, if you've been playing for awhile, he highlights three formats that he considers to be good. May perhaps some of the best of the last 10 years or so. So the first one is hard, gold sole silver to Nobel victories, which was like the city was format in 20 11, 20 12. So right before YouTube X X-bar comes out, that's one format. The second format is like nationals world's 2017. So like Drampa garb that format. And then the third one that I don't have really too much experience with, but sun and moon to loss thunder. So that was, I believe right when. last thunder was right before tag teams came out, I believe. Right. So the only thing I really remember from that format was Jimmy pen. Darvis winning the regional with Gardevoir swamper 9 11, 9 tails. So those three formats are the three that he considered is very good. So I would say like the biggest point that I came away with from reading, this is. One of the premises of Stefan's definition of a good format is that a format needs to have lots of different types of decks and different types of decks mean like more aggressive decks or more or slower decks control decks. All of these also have to include various types of basic stage one and stage two decks. And I feel like that is the main thing that he talks about as being an ingredient for a good format. There's obviously other things as well. But that's like a really big thing. And so, so I think like one of the, one of the things that he highlights is that you can have lots of different archetypes and a format, but if they all play similarly, then that's not really what he's talking about. So like the current format right now, there are a lot of different. Decks, but they all play very similarly, right? Like w w I think we've mentioned it jokingly at some point, like half of the decks in the format are just Victini VMX in different shapes and sizes. Right. They're all like to hit K O V max X. So that's like a big, that's like a big thing.

Brent:

Yeah, I think, I think and if you wanted to point out like problems with the current format, I mean, everyone else has already talked ad nauseum as have we like it's probably in some ways, easy to point at ADP being the problem, like the last year and a half in terms of making a challenging format, because if you're not a fast, aggressive deck, then you just like immediately taken a heartfelt ADP. Right?

Mike:

Yeah.

Brent:

If so, so people who wanted to try to play decks that were not just like big hitters, very challenging for them to, to survive in this world. You know, one of the things that, that really jumped out at me as I was reading his, like, is figuring out how to build a good environment for control decks seems really hard. Like part of his point was you want control, decks to be viable. Like when you look at Pidgeotto control, like, it just seemed like there were a lot of situations where if a control deck is viable, it immediately becomes like the best deck.

Brit:

I mean, we we've hit that before. And I just think for me, that's just, I just most, and I think Pidgeotto and things like that, it's such a good example. Cause I just, like, I don't believe almost every control deck we've ever had in Pokemon was intentional. I don't know if Pokemon has ever really purposefully given us a control deck. Like a lot of them are just these like little, little happy accidents because they've given us too good of resources. I pun intended research, resource management, but something like that, like, and you know, just little, little things that kind of just, they break the game, but almost too much, like say Lysandre Trump. You a different example of just like kind of pushing it in the wrong direction. Right. Like, I don't think they made that card and said like, yeah, this is clearly gonna make, you know, the hacks towed deck. You know, That's gonna, we, we, we made this card specifically for those sorts of deck, the function. Like, no, absolutely not. I would, I would be shocked if anything like that would be true. And so that, that's such a hard question, I think, because I do think just talking about card games in general, like maybe there does need to be a space for control decks, but I think when I was trying to prepare for this earlier today, I was trying to really What I find often can be just not helpful is almost this notion that we need sort of there just to be some commonalities between all the games and like that's what makes them good. And I'm not sure that's true. I think maybe that, like, if you, you, you, you think of your games more towards like more in terms of their own strength, rather than try to try to sort of compare them to other card games across the board. And so like, if, if that makes sense, so there, there's sort of just like my counterpoint to like, I don't know. I think we could have like a good format without like, sort of, and I know this isn't it, this was not Stefan's argument. I'm not trying to sort of strongman him into a position here, but I don't think, I just don't think control and Pokemon really jive. Well together. I think we're just kind of using in congruent terms from other card games and talking about like tangentially similar ideas.

Brent:

That's fair. That's fair.

Brit:

Yeah,

Brent:

I mean, obviously like I mean control and Miller different, but they've, they've definitely been made like mill decks, right? Like they feed you the Duran cards and say, go do this thing.

Brit:

right, right.

Brent:

But, but but that's okay. Like that's a totally different thing than control. It's just the thing that puts you on a timer and like, and you can say around refrigerator, I'll put you on a timer too, but like really it's you know, you get down to one, one or two prizes and you lose

Brit:

Well, I think that's maybe another point and I didn't, I don't want this conversation to be about controlled decks. We can, we can move on from here, but I think that's just another point for why controlled X are always an accident, like, because their wind condition is so consistent. Deck out, but they play no specific cards to deck you out. Right? Like, so it's, it's so rare that, you know, like, you know, Duran does a mil deck, things like that. Right. Period. You know, old right. Period. That's a mill deck, but it's just like, no, Oranguru, it's just going to run you out of cards. That's like not a mill deck, nor is it a control deck? I don't think like it's just different. or at least when we use the words, we're just completely talking about different things. Cause when I think of like control decks, you know, I go to magic, I go to blue and like Greek says control, you know, time or so on. Cancel stuff like that. Like those are control cards. And as we, you know, before just power spray is really kind of the only one of those involved. And so I think like real control decks are kind of the ones that do that. Don't that prevent you from doing anything. So I think more in terms of like got the tell Accella or like that would be a control deck for me versus like these just decks that like, ah, you could deck yourself, I'm going to be annoying the whole time and hope, hope I do it for you kind of stuff.

Brent:

I think you make a good point. A cylinder is like, I think the kind of Pokemon controlled that good, like Pokemon imagines,

Brit:

Right, right.

Brent:

you're still attacking with Pokemon. You're still taking prizes with Pokemon. And it's about like managing your resources and managing the other guy's board state to propel you to victory. Right,

Mike:

Yeah. Yeah. Like the Shanda Lorde deck from the format that he, that Stefan talks about. Like there's no way that, that was a, I mean, that's not like a control deck, like pagoda is a control deck, but it was still like, I would consider it a control deck. Would you

Brit:

That one, that one would meet my definition 100 Krista, but also unintentional, probably.

Mike:

Yeah, definitely. I feel like definitely on central. I mean, like chandelier was printed as like a cool card, but I bet they didn't think of like all the combos with Vileplume and and things like that.

Brit:

Yeah. I mean, I don't know, like, at least in my, just very, very brief time in the world of game designers, it seems like, you know, printing a card, like something like new or MuTu. IEX like, they have to know every single car that it could possibly use, and that has to be relevant and their factors, but like, you know, then at the same time too, like it's usually a card like mew, mew, mew tag team that ended up being kind of the main culprits for these sorts of things. Like I, you know, I'm just thinking of other mute, mute cards that were So like, obscure, like the combo where you would still use Vileplume, but you would use the Nyla ducks except until you were about to knock them out. And then you would use the unfair isn't that would give you. A safeguard effect if you flipped heads and just like, those just can't be intentional either. Right? Like, it's just, it's hard to know. Like I would like to give the designers credit, but there are a lot of cards. They ton of cards at all times, but I'd like to think they're usually aware, but like that's why these other combos are just so like more egregious to me is they just don't seem th they're not like really utilizing anything, but there's no combo or anything. It's just like good cards again. And again.

Brent:

Yeah. So I think, I think you made a good point at a very high level. You'd like to be able to build lots of different kinds of decks that have lots of different kinds of like wind conditions and like styles. Yeah. I think one of the things that we've talked about a lot on the pod, I'm a big believer that like, like the true nature of Pokemon is taking advantage of evolutions. And I feel like in their drive to make the game simpler, they print more of these like big basics and V's and V is, and the challenge is the, the prize trade-off is not commensurate with the cost because. It's just so much easier to build a super consistent deck when you play with these, like all basics or basics and stage ones versus like getting out complex evolution lines. Like the cost of those is, is like sky high and deck building. And they've just never figured out how to kind of set the power creep. Right?

Mike:

yeah, yeah. I mean, exactly. You need like the, the, the GX formats, like world's 2017 and Russ 2018, where it's just like a really good example of evolutions being at a good power level. And there were some basic decks that were strong, right? Like I would consider Buzzle Lycanroc primarily basic deck, right? Like Lycanroc was kind of just.

Brent:

Yeah.

Mike:

It's a support Pokemon. But you had Gardevoir you had decidual IDEXX, you had obvious yeah. Zuora index Garbodor index. It was just like a really nice balance because they just made the basics powerful enough to compete, but you know, weaker than the stage one stage two is as, as it should be. And now it's not the case.

Brent:

I mean that stage two Gardevoir GX, you looked at it and you were like, this is a better card than all the other GX is because it's a stage two,

Mike:

Right. One of the other things that is, I think in a lot of these formats is flexible cards, cards that want to be played in a lot of different decks, but can be utilized in different ways. So type of LA GX is a really great example of that. Every deck wanting to play tap lately, But ever every, that kind of used it in slightly different ways, right? Like evolution decks would often use it to get a Bridget Buzzroc Lycanroc deck would still play a taboo lately, but it was kind of just like to help accelerate through the deck. There was some decks that used it as a consistency card, but also as a main attacker. And it was, you know, in all of these decks as a potential attacker. So I think if you look at a lot of these formats, there's, there are cards like that. A lot of the nine tails GX is a good example in the sunroom and the lost thunder. So we, we want cards like that. We want interesting flexible cards

Brent:

I, I hate I, I, it's funny how I feel like there's, there's a couple of cards like that that never quite took off. What was the, the Giovanni's scheme or something where it was. draw five or like do 10 extra damage or something.

Brit:

It wasn't shuffled draw and that's why it was terrible. It was just, it was just drawn to you had Five. in your hand. Yeah. Or 20 or 10 more. Yeah. it was in that format. It was in the format where we didn't have an, or like any good supporters. And like you, you could play that or you could play Birch. And that was about it. And Birch was Birch was shuffled and flip a coin, which is really bad.

Brent:

Okay.

Brit:

Okay.

Brent:

For virtual is definitely the card to play at that time, but you know, it's, it's like, I like the idea of that because the idea of giving you choices implies like creating opportunities for skillful play. But, but somehow, like they always made the choices, like not particularly good at it because they wanted to balance the card. Like it was never like discard your hand and draw seven or do this other thing because they're like, well, that'd be too good. So, so I think as it's turned out for deck builders, it's always better to choose like the more powerful linear route than to choose like things with optionality,

Mike:

right. I mean, and just like a simple example is, you know, a state broke versus switch. Like I think those should be staples of pretty much every format, but it seems like we always end up in a situation where one or the other is not legal. And I'm just like, just give us the option for both of those all the time,

Brit:

I think for me, I think this is like, almost like just a moot point. Like I've, I've lost this battle, but I like what I struggled with or what I struggled. So consistently being like an older player and, you know, there's all this talk, you know, formats aren't as good as they used to, or, you know, all the cars at the same now. And I just think there's something to that, especially cause it's really not until like the black and white set when it really seems were kind of set in stone with all the kind of evergreen cards that we have now and, you know, and research just in every format stuff like that. And the game didn't always used to be that way, like right. Obviously like professor Oaks comes out in the base set and things like that. And, but. So the like 2004 to I guess 2011 or so when black and white first comes out like that just draws is not the supporters are different and because of that, the games are always different. And I find that, I find what's so difficult, I think, or what's challenging for Pokemon or just enjoying these formats as a community. Is that one of the things I really am consistently seeing is that, you know, what makes a good format will end something like that. And that, I think that's true, or at least when we look at the formats, without them, they're bad. And you know, the ones that have in are typically good or better, but I just find that almost just, we're just stuck then kind of in that state, like our game is just not going to be good without an or, you know, so, and I, I just, I, it's frustrating to see that the game just kind of only is getting more evergreen, if that makes sense. Like it's the same stuff again and again, whereas like, I don't know, you know, again, this is all sounds very. Rose tinted glasses, like, Okay. Boom, or kind of rants, but just like the time-space between rockets admin. And Anne was like, I forget when rockets admin would have rotated out, but like the 2005, 2006 formats or so, and then end gets reprinted again. I guess that would have been late 2011 for NVI. Yeah. but then, and then we just like, keep getting it and like at least, you know, something like Marnie in, you know, whether or not it's a more problematic less fair of a card it's at least different. And like, I that's, that's my frustration as a player. And just in the general like design space of the cars, I'm just kind of you know, it's. Cards are just the same again. And I know like, I'm sure a lot of this is still true, you know, whether, you know, I might be saying this 10 years ago as a base set based video player complaining about the X Erez and like, you know, there are some that some of this just speaks to you know, human, the human experience, human condition, I think you know, we're always going to be complaining about the current stuff. It's never going to be as good for us and that's, you know, psychological more than anything else. But Yeah. that's, that's. Some of them were I find the difficulties to be, it's just like we can have a good format, but it's just going to be real, similar to a format we've done before. I would love, I guess, not really where this podcast needed to go, but I just, I would love a revamp, like sister reboot of the serious, like get us back to a a hundred HP or something again, like I just don't know. I don't, I don't know where we can go from here. Like, are we just going to have bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger Pokemon something, something different has to happen. And I guess the answer to that is yes, because just look at the union Pokemon, they've never been bigger.

Brent:

Okay. You know, I, I, I think we talked to him the other day. I can, I can see it. If the point of having a thousand hip point Pokemon was to create more nuance in like the appropriate power level that each Pokemon should have. I'd be like, that's great. But if we're just like increasing it, because like last week it was 400. So this week has got to be 420, like that's lame. I mean, because power creep is power creep, but I'm sure somebody thinks about that in terms of car design, but like, like power crew for the sake of power keeps it's super light.

Brit:

Yeah.

Brent:

If we want to like, try to create these like fine grain lines between this Pokemon is slightly better than that Pokemon. I'm all for it. Like let's let's do that.

Brit:

I think one of the, one of the main things I wrote down, I don't think we'll end up getting to all of them, but I think this might be the clearest and easiest one and it kind of plays off some of what Mikey had just in the agenda. And his thought is just like, so it's like a good format, of course is the better formats are going to be correlated to the amount of skill required. Like I think that makes the most sense, but then we're at, we're at this question, whereas just like, are we playing a solved game? Am I just playing a worst version of chess? Like what's going on here? And so I think for me the best way to address that question is just where, where exactly is the skill located, if that. makes sense. So I, you know, I think to compare it to like Hearthstone or at least trying to explain, like what makes a good Hearthstone player compared to what makes a good Pokemon player. And for me, there's a lot of, a lot of what makes a good Hearthstone player is not exactly in the game itself. There's a lot of just like meta statistical stuff that you got to know and that, that will make or break you out like the Uber Uber high level. And for me like that, at least in, in the terms of this question, that sort of scale is not located within the game itself. You know, it's, it's in kind of a different sphere or related sphere to the game. And so like, you know, and for that reason, that's why I've, I don't, I mean, I, I say that if I were, if I were better at it, I probably would enjoy it less, but I've never been as into competitive Hearthstone kind of, for those reasons it gets kind of grindy. But yeah, so then for a Pokemon format, like we just have to sort of listen, like, think about them and examine, like, are the board, are there sort of like important decisions to be made every turn or are, is the skill in getting your, restate, your reset stamp at the right time and stuff like that? Is it just like, it's the format good. Or are you just a good player? Who can, you know, is consistent about ending your opponent to one and things like that. And like, of course, that isn't to say that like sequencing and, You know, ending your opponent to one aren't skillful, but if that's just all your games. Yes. You know, as we say, talk about on the podcast, a great number of times, if all you're doing is playing against playing solitaire against yourself. Even if there's skill, even if Azula is going to win you know, 90% of the time or something like that, compared to someone with a, a lower skill set, like if it's not located in the game itself, I think that's kind of a good litmus test or what have you for a format. So like, compared to, yeah, like we can talk about like ADP and it turned into a sex like that. I don't think there was a whole lot of skill in these formats, because again, it's just sequencing everything that's going on is sequencing. But when you have like lots of search, multiple Pokegear, multiple evolution lines in your deck and things like that, when that those are involved, like, I think, you know, you're lending yourself, you're getting closer and closer. The good format, if that makes sense. So like that's an easy way for me, or an easy way to just like, is this Pokemon format a good or not? Let's, let's figure out what made the best players, the best players during this time

Brent:

Stephane writes about is how like he was able to look at certain sets and see like what percentage of the rares have abilities and, and use that as like a leading indicator, because abilities mean like choices and decisions and thinking about it.

Mike:

Yeah. That's why, like I tried. When we've talked about new sets over the last year, I'll try it. We've tried to highlight some interesting cards, even though we kind of know that they're not going to be impactful competitively. Like the, there was the, I forget what the Pokemon was, but there was one where you like benched it and you got to take two ball cards from your discard and put them into your hand or something like that. And I thought that was like a really cool card. And

Brit:

Okay.

Mike:

if, you know, if 80% of cards were like that, then those cards would find like little uses here and there. But if you know, those are only 20% of the cards instead of 80% is just so much less likely that you're going to find something cool to, to work with. And I think, I think it's like a numbers game at, at, at some point, if that makes sense.

Brent:

Yeah, well, it's been interesting to me. As they transitioned from, like the GX is to vis-a-vis maxes, like as somebody who came to the game, like more recently, there were definitely moments where I was surprised that Pokemon would introduce things like, like I think they would start exploring the space and then they would say, no, that's fine. We're good now. And like cut it off. Probably the best example I can think of and a great example of like, I don't understand why they didn't do more. Is that the team the team flare GRA flirt cards,

Mike:

but the tools that you attached had ringer and

Brent:

Head ringers, hectoring her and something that jamming that. I mean, those were actually like, so for a brief shining moment, like two years, there was a time when you could play cards on the other guy's Pokemon. That seems good. I like when people say formats within our good informants without inner good, like, I think what that's code for is some ability to come back and like right now in Pokemon, the ability to come back is, is like basically defined as take all your opponent's cards out of their hand. But there's probably lots and lots of ways to explore that space more. Like what if you had a card that was like, you know, if your opponent out a Pokemon last turn, you can remove you know, you can non flip, you remove two energies from their board. Like there's probably all kinds of things you could do.

Mike:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Brent:

Maybe that'd be a too good a card, but like we've already printed two credit cards. I mean, we print Oranguru we printed cards all the time. I, I thought, I thought it's dependent had a number of like super fantastic ideas in his last, right. He was like, why don't we have dual tech Pokemon all the time? That's a good question. Like once again, and it was like, it was like a thing where I was like, we had it and I was like, oh, this is really good. But then we didn't and I was like, well, that's bad. And he had an idea for lockability where he was like, instead of you can't play items, what if you can only play one item per turn? I mean, that seems super skillful playing, right. I mean, I know I'd be scared to play that because I feel like the person I played against would no, just the one item they want to play, but but like, yeah, you can make those like softer locks more prevalent because it would make 40, slightly different. Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah. And I feel like that's. Micro example of the larger issue that we talked about a little bit is that there's been such a push to make cards simpler, that something like that would add complexity to the cards and from a competitive standpoint, that's awesome. Maybe from like a readability standpoint, it becomes difficult. Another example that I thought about recently is supporters that have the different effects may be at different points in the game. So for example, Let's say you had a Bridget type of card, support her in the format that said, if you are the player going first, you can play the supporter going first surgery deck for two base Pokemon and put them in your hand. If you are playing this, you know, outside of the first bar going first, you can get three Pokemon or something like that, where it allows like a supporter to be able to play it on your first tune, but it's stronger than throughout the rest of the game. Like there could be effects like that, that, you know, give us these, give us these more interesting mechanics, but they just add a lot of texts to the guard.

Brent:

Right. Well, and, and I mean, I love the idea, like that's the, that's the, you know, when you have choices, you have to like be a better player, right? Like a player can say, do I want to get, do I want to do this week thing now? Or a better thing later? Like there's trade-offs. I mean, those are the, now is doing something now. It's great.

Mike:

Like I love the. Luxury ball is one of my favorite cards ever. And for those of you that don't know luxury ball is an item that said, search your deck for any Pokemon except Pokemon level X, I believe at the time. But if there was a card named luxury ball in your discard pile already, you couldn't play it. So like almost every deck should be playing one luxury ball, but there was lots of decks that played to luxury balls because they would use, they want to use their first one pretty quickly. And then the second one would just get discarded off something. And like that's such a, that that's like such a cool car, right?

Brent:

I dig it. So I guess another example of things that I think are interesting about formats is and one of the things I think I like about this format is search versus random. Yeah.

Mike:

So that's why you like the Inteleon engine.

Brent:

Yeah. Yeah. Like, like I just think, I think it's interesting. It, it, I think it plays to more skillful players. If you get to pick a card versus draw five cards and see if you look into it, right? Like when people, when people are like, I need boss for game. I mean, I don't know if you could say that they like deserve boss, but you know, if they've set themselves up in a situation where like, you know, they have an 80% chance to get the boss, you know, I mean, maybe you need that element of orangy to make card games, super fun, but you know, skillful players should be rewarded.

Mike:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, for sure. I would say like the only like big thought that I had that is maybe absent from Stefan's article. That I guess he, he talks about a little bit in the sense that he wants a lot of things, different types of decks to be in the format. But I want to take that kind of a little bit step further, and I want games to feel different constantly. Like, I think it's really new, nice to have a plan for a matchup and know how to play a matchup. But when different scenarios pop up all the time, that is like the best randomness I think that can happen. And it's, so it's not like randomness of like outcomes, like you were just describing Brent, but it's like randomness. Of the situations. And then like in the moment, like being in a session, you've never quite been in maybe something similar, but this one's a little bit different because of X or Y. And you have to figure out in the moment how to navigate it. That's what has always drawn me to these strategy games. It's what has made Hearthstone battleground. So, so addicting for me is that that game has so many branching paths that literally every single game is completely different. Which is a little overwhelming. I think that might be a little too extreme for a game like Pokemon, but I really enjoy when there's, I felt like with Pikarom like, you know, there was a couple of different paths that could happen, but I mean, know, it was still a lot of the same thing over and over again. And, and peek around was one of the most diverse decks of the format. I feel like when I play other decks, it's like pretty much the same, the same formula in and out. And that's part of what makes the format feel stale very quickly is if the individual games feel very similar. So I it's, it's a subtle difference, but I think it's, I think it's an important one.

Brent:

I think it's really important because I feel like what you're getting at is not just like a, we don't want every deck to be Victini VMX and disguise, but, but also like I mean, those, you know, those techs can't like, you should have a spectrum of like linear to non-linear deck choices. Right? I mean, I think what, what I always said that you loved about it is like good players should play nonlinear decks because nonlinear decks gives you choices. Like it's good for a format to have a nonlinear deck. But like, like when I, when I play ice rider mean with, we were talking about this a, a budge, like you're gonna, you're gonna hit him with the path of king. And then you're gonna like hit him for two 50, every turn until the end of the game. Like, it doesn't even matter what they're doing. We're just gonna hit him for two 50 and see how it goes.

Mike:

Yeah.

Brent:

Right. And like, like, you know what I mean? What makes it a good deck in the format? It's like not many decks can survive getting hit for two 50, every turn until the end of the game. But like if you've got a plan. Yeah. I started as a lot of truffle only got one plan. And then for two 50,

Mike:

feel like a deck like a, the seismic toad decks, like especially toad bats that Britain I loved, they were like, that was a deck that I felt like it was a really good balance. Like it, it, it was linear in some senses, right? Like you're, you're goal is just to quaking

Brent:

end of the game.

Mike:

Yeah. But.

Brent:

attack.

Mike:

But there was lots of like little things that you would have to consider and change almost every game, like where you're, where you're placing your counters. Do I want to attack with gallbladder Crobat cause that was like a big thing at different times, like independent on the matchup, I had to prioritize killing different things or breaking the lock at different times. And so that was a deck that like it, all of its match-ups were very different. You had a lot of different options throughout the game. If you had a super scoop up heads, do I heal my guy or do I reuse a bat like that? Those decks are super interesting because not only do they play differently from other decks in the format, but every single game feels a little bit differently because your, your opponent is like drawing differently because you're putting them in this item lock and their resources are limited. And therefore you have to make different decisions based on what resources they actually have and Pokemon. So often as a game. Opponents have access to any card in their neck at any point. And so by playing cards like seismic tote, or Garbodor that limit them, you see actually different scenarios come up more off, like your, your experiences against other decks are more varied because their options are more limited. And so they don't have as much access. So I feel like those, like those types of decks facilitate this diversity of a game experience as well.

Brent:

I think the Zuora garb is a very similar kind of deck and that like, like you have, you have the option to turn off their abilities. They also have to, like, they have to play. You're not just constraining them, but they have to play smart because they can't play into a Trashalanche like, There's a lot going on in a game where like, one of those planes are on guard because you get either so much like stuff you gotta be kind of playing around,

Mike:

Yeah. I agree. That's

Brent:

you know, you have one or two blowers and like, you don't want to, you know, you've got to pick the right time to use it. So guys are there, one of the specific questions he asked was fun, even skillful match-ups in the TCG history. Are there decks or are there like match-ups that you guys think of when you think of this kind of thing?

Mike:

I mean, it depends, I guess like there's so many it's, it's, it's hard. Cause there's so many formats with so many decks and like, if you only want tier one match-ups then that's a very, that's a much easier question to answer right then like you know, going down through like tier three, tier four in different formats, like people always say, I don't know. Did you guys see, there is a Twitter thread? I forget who asked what are the most skillful mirror matches?

Brent:

That's exactly what I was thinking of, what I asked the question.

Mike:

Yeah. So what were some of the answers to that? Like Lux, tromp mirror Gardevoir mirror from 2008.

Brent:

Mallomar a mirror.

Mike:

Okay. Yeah. From like the it's like the 2019 season.

Brent:

Yeah. Yeah. They guaranteed them. Alomar I commented on the thread. I saw grant Manley, play Michael K Tron in like a 59 card, like guarantee and a Mallomar mirror. And I thought it was like the most skillful thing I'd ever seen in my life. Because they have both like spread damage attackers and like when they attack, they have to put 40 damage on their own guys. So there was so much more like consideration because you're trying to kind of manage how you want the other guy to knock out your Pokemon, in addition to how you're going to knock out their Pokemon, which you know, was a new dimension of fondness that I had never imagined.

Brit:

Yeah. I think maybe just to play off, like, obviously I do think that the Lux chump mirror is one of the best and most iconic mirror matches, but I would even go as far as to say that they're just like SP against SP just in general is always going to be good. But I actually, I actually find like, at least if we're not, we're not talking near matches now, what, like, if we want to just talk about what are some like good matches Dow the chomp versus luck, just shrimp is awesome. That is probably might be my favorite matchup, but Yeah. that's a, that's a grind Fest for like some, some games, like, I guess for people that don't know the chomp, like flux. One worlds, of course. And it was by far the most popular, but I guess down that would probably be the second most, but SP was so versatile. You could really just like your Lux Trump, that could really be like one of like eight different iterations, just depending on like your tech choices. There were so many options, but anyways, the down the versions typically just only played Diogo and Garth chomp and texts here and there, but didn't, weren't playing like blazer can, or, you know, sometimes Lux jump, even play Dow themselves just depending on what they wanted to do. But anyways, kind of the real. The dynamo of the, of the matchup itself is just that like, that'll get us 10 damage 10 damage defin, no trainers or stadiums. But then Lux, Ray has resistance to metal and that's kind of this big back and forth of just like you're deafening for 10, a lot of the time. Cause you have, you have extra belts and you're able to push through the resistance, but it's still not very much. And just like knowing, knowing when to break the lock, knowing when you need to heal. There's a lot of, I was a Diogo player, of course, too. As, as it might sound talking a little. Favorably about one of the decks, but yeah, there's just a lot of, a lot of difficulties there. And a lot of it's like slow, slow decisions. But like kind of similar, what, what at least comes to mind when as similar to SP matches, it's just, Zoroark mirrors, they're similar kind of in very, in similar and a lot of the same waves they're consistent there's you could really do about just whatever you wanted in terms of your tech options and you know, similar, similar, like terrible things could happen. Like you could easily get, you could get blown out of the water and the Lux trout mirror, they weren't always close. And so of course there's arc mirrors. That could be true as well. But yeah, I'm not, I'm trying to think of any, any interesting matchups. I did see someone post I dunno, I, some, some people don't, don't quite like, like the 2012, like world's format, but I actually think that format was like, Okay. like even, even though there is clearly a best deck, I do find that the games in that format are actually really skill-based. I think you have to be really good to, to win. To be dark ride as an electric player. That was hard. Like that was one of those, match-ups where I think if you were bad, you would have no idea how you ever won as any electric player, but if you were good, it would kind of be the opposite. And so I just like, I like those sorts of match-ups where both players are totally convinced that their favor and it's, it's hard to really know who's going to come out on top. But that's another matchup at least off the top of my head, but I like other decks in that format too. Like CMT and stuff like that, or interesting. And I don't know if like fully explored in the way they really could interact with kind of the later, the later way that format shaped up. But I can't really think of too much else. Peer match-ups are usually miserable.

Mike:

Yeah, generally, I, I'm not a proponent of mirrors.

Brent:

So, so have you played I know one of the comments in that, in that thread of like great near matches. This is like, I guess it's Simon Rhodes evolution of new world order.

Mike:

Oh, yeah. Well, so Simon worked for a long time on like the, he called it the perfect mirror. And yeah, I've, I've played it. It's just like, kind of like the GLC format. There's like a really big learning curve. There's so many cards that you've never seen before. Like if, and like there's cards that I like, I've seen all of the cards, but most of them, I was not familiar with going into playing it. And so you have to like read every card and the idea of a perfect mirror is cool because it, like, in theory, it's supposed to mitigate to the largest extent, randomness and luck. Like that's the whole goal. And. Which is cool for what it is, but it's not how I would want a format, like a real format to be. I need a format to have a little bit more, a little bit more orangy to it than in that.

Brit:

The one that I drew from hermeneutics that says we're the best way to find something is to be explicit about what they reject. And so I wanted to say like, examine, examine what makes a game good through the lens of other card games? Like, so that was the other thing I had. I have perfect, but

Brent:

I'll get it, give it, give it to us. Give it to him.

Mike:

give

Brit:

oh, no. I mean, I was just thinking, you know, like what, like what do we as Pokemon players, or like, what's like offensive about our stone to just like other, other like non card game players. And it's the randomness, it's, it's the sort of cure zany level of RNG that Hearthstone has and like, oh, well, what does Pokemon have that makes people mad? It's the draw, you know, a magic, a magic player walks by and is like, what? Draw seven. That's ridiculous. You know, that would be 20 minutes. You know, something like that, I'm sure we've all experienced something like that at our local game store. And then like, and then I, I don't know Yu-Gi-Oh well enough, but I think it's kind of it's somewhere in the middle or it's just so fast, at least that's my impression of it, but yeah, it's just something like that. And like, I think if are any of those things like negatives, and I think if anything, they ended up playing directly into the kind of skill that factors into our, into the games. And that was, it sort of played into my point, the earlier point that I don't know, like how useful, like trying to compare like control to Pokemon if we're using it and kind of the general TCG term. Yeah. I thought that was just another interesting way to think about it. Like you know, what, what, what about our games are sort of like different and are those differences sort of like a negative or a positive or how do they contribute to the skill? And I think of the answer for Pokemon is that it just, it's an obvious factor. It's just one of the biggest things and sequencing and like. And, you know, this is my biggest point. And I think I've said, said before, when we're talking about like, oh, the, this format's bad or things like that as to, or like so much of that, I think is the complaints are just so far out of our control and we can, we can choose to play the game or we can not. And I think a lot of our enjoyment is just kind of it is subjective. I think we can have fun with some not fun formats and things like that. But it's just able to, it's just this ability to, to think about it or just again, you know, maybe it's a cliche, it's just a game. Something like that tends to help me, like, just shout at him, come back or play it when you think it's fun. Again, like you don't, you know, you're not forced to suffer, known as known as ever sort of holding you against your will. I find like a lot of times people just seem so miserable when they're there. They're talking about the game in general, go outside. I don't know.

Mike:

Yeah.

Brent:

Okay.

Mike:

The other, the other thing, like, while we're talking about like, Complain about a format, a lot, most of the people, and I don't want this to sound mean or anything to these people, but most of the people that are complaining about a format are not really playing it at a high level. And there's still so much more for them to learn that. I feel like their efforts are better focused on that if they want to get better at the game. Like if you're not having fun, like don't play, but don't complain about it because like it, like, you're, you're, you're still not playing it at, at, at a level where it's like, you can complain about it. I don't know. That sounds a little elitist, but like you watch, you watch a Zul and someone like Alex Szymanski play the game in these players cups and they are playing it at a super high level. If they want to make complaints about the game. Then I feel like they can, because they understand the game at a deep enough level that they know what the flaws are. But it's just not worth it for people that are not at that high level to do anything, except try and get better at the game if that's what you want to do. So

Brent:

Right, right. What, for, for 90% of the player base, the format is good enough for you,

Mike:

right, right. There's there's there's stuff you can do to improve still. You're not getting screwed over constantly by luck and orangy and a format that may or may not have that. Like you can just improve as a player period.

Brent:

Yeah. I mean, I, I think this might not be true for expanded, but I feel like casually, there's never been a format where I haven't been able to sit down and just play a fun game of poker.