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Project Innovation
by Justin Howard/Convinced

August 8, 2005

            Unlimited is a great format. Everyone who has stuck with it for the years knows that. But the problem with the unlimited format is innovation. I've looked at ways to approach this kindly, and sadly put, you cannot approach the subject that way. The same decks are everywhere, and I know the community as a whole has noted this. I am pretty sure POP has, and based on there views they have stopped supporting the format because of this. It's simple, ask yourself if you would waste your money on a format that is completely lifeless and stale? The format needs to be fixed, and hopefully my solutions will help remedy this.  

            I've been playing the game for years, and I am known in my area and to a few people online for my bad decks. I think Mankey and Peek are great with Bill, but that's me. From one view, you could say my proposal is good. On the other hand, since I have never made any large events, you could say they are completely horrible. I would agree with both accounts. But I hope we can establish one ground rule, playing the same decks over again with a non-changing metagame, is boring. If we cannot agree on that then I would say to close this article. It's not for you.  

Possible Solutions:  

While I really wish there was a hard solution, I just can't seem to find one that would equally balance everyone's needs. Back before the Nintendo shift, Wizards made a  proposal dubbed Prop 15. It limited all decks to 15 trainer cards. Well that didn't work, as we all know. So I have decided to try and take the task of reinventing the format.  Not with a trainer limit or anything, but a banned and restricted list. To display my ideas and put them up for debate I decided to write down the cards I feel should be  restricted. Further noting why and the limitations placed on that card. But first I thought I should explain the list, and further note how it changed other games. 

Magic, Pokemon, and Banned Lists: 

If you have ever read one of my post's on Pojo, or other forums for that matter, then you know that I like to reference Magic: The Gathering. It's a good game, and you  should really play it if not just test it. The only reason I bring this up is because M:TG has a format that is exactly like unlimited. It is called type 1, and shares the same  attitude of every card is allowed (With few restrictions to certain things, solely based on outdated mechanics, see Chaos Orb.)  

Magic has a banned and restricted list. It works wonders, for both the players and the format. Unlimited and type 1 both share a crucial detail that defines them, they are  broken. I'm pretty sure that the players have come to terms with it, thats why they play it. Magic's banned and restricted list mainly restricts powerhouse cards, that can  change tempo in a matter of a single card. The list also bans cards that are either A) really outdated, mechanic wise, or B) completely outrageous. Almost every player who  plays type 1 knows the list and they abide by it. The list just speaks for itself when it comes down to it. 

The Banned and Restricted List:  

Take into consideration, these are my opinions, and as such are just mine. I don't have any support from Nintendo on this, just one persons work and ideas at work here.  Restrictions are generally 1 per deck and bans, well are just that.  

Cleffa - Neo Genesis

Restricted

Yes. Bite the bullet. While I think it doesn't need to be banned, it does need a restriction. For one energy, you draw 7 new cards. It's also a baby to boot meaning that it has  to have a coin flipped to even hit it. I think that if the card was restricted, then newer decks could come out to play. Reasoning for this is simple, Lass would no longer read "Your opponent reveals his or her hand and shuffles all trainer cards back into his or her deck". Lass as it was meant to be played in other words. This didn't prove to be a huge hinderance in decks either, just look at the Tropical Mega Battle not too long ago, the decks ran 1 Cleffa and all got by. They even ran 15 trainers! I see no reason why this could not be restricted.  

Professor Oak - Base Set/Base Set 2

Restricted

Another unlimited favorite. I too am a little afraid to type this myself. But it should be done. It's essentially a draw 7. Draw 7 is a term that is used in Magic for a card that  simply draws a new hand for no drawback at all. It is a cornerstone in unlimited and makes an already blazing fast format even faster. I could see this being restricted and  not causing problems. Professor Elm, while still a little broken, has the drawback of no trainers. Not a huge problem in my opinion, so this being restricted could not be  anything tough to overcome with other support like Elm. It will hurt decks, but will also slow the format down. Further eliminating the furst turn goldfish, or you just playing  your deck and winning.  

Professor Elm - Best of Promo/Neo Genesis

Restricted

Another draw 7 that I feel could be restricted. The no trainer drawback is huge, but not that big of a deal when you just drew 7 cards! With this restricted the format is even further slowed down, to a game of play skill and not the first powered up Sneasel. 

Vileplume EX - R/S

Banned

Banned. Restriction can be done, but I think it would still do what it does now, with just 1 copy to search for now. I try to rationalize with the card, think of strong counters.  But nothing seems to cut it. This card shuts down 35 or so cards in every deck. With that in mind you can also peice togethor that in can drop 50 damage and status effects on turn 2. Don't forget that it's also blocking trainers turn 1. This card is simply a powerhouse, and with minimal answers it seems stupid to not ban this thing. Trainer denial is the strongest form of control in the game, and it should not define the metagame as much as it does. 

Slowking - Neo Genesis

Banned.

Read above. This is the most frustrating card in the game as of late. It cause people to quit back when it came out, and probably makes people wan't to do the same now. 

The Rocket's Trap - Team Rocket

Restricted

I think this card still warrants the old restriction. A 50% shot at taking three cards away from your opponent's hand at first seems bad. But when combined with maxxed out  Computer Search, Item Finder, and Professor Oak, it becomes more of a game deciding card. I think with a restriction it would become more of a tech card against certain  decks, than a deck itself. This card and it's deck makes newer players drop the game for modified, because no one want's to play a game with no hand and 2 Pokemon in play. 

Sneasel - Neo Genesis

Restricted

No retreat, no weakness, and no resistance. The last lesser in importance than the first. With a restriction placed on Sneasel, decks would no longer have to run Super  Energy Removal and Energy Removal just to survive the first few turns of the game. Sneasel was banned in the old formats, with good reason. It doesn't really define the  format, but does cause less innovation in a sense that, if you wanna win the event just put Sneasels and Slowkings togethor.  

Gust of Wind - Base Set/Base Set 2

Restricted

Another statement that just seems to tough to swallow. Gust of Wind should be restricted. No real reasoning here other than it's powerful. Gusting up guys in modified now  requires a flip. Back in the Neo days it required either retreating or having only one guy on the bench. But now, it's simply a card that kills small guys. Double Gust is  perfectly balanced, and could make a perfect replacement to Gust of Wind. With the new one retreat a turn rule it would actually require some thinking to play.  

PlusPower - Base Set/Base Set 2

Restricted

Another classic, another restriction. Adding 10 damage to anything makes smaller threats become larger. I'll deck out and play all 4 PlusPowers just to KO your only  Pokemon. How fun. Let's eliminate the FTKO, and really remove the threat of losing first turn. This would really turn POP onto the format again, and possibly give us some  support and tournaments. Which in the end is really what it's about, tournaments. No one want's to play a format that doesn't even have tournaments.

 

Blastoise - Baset Set/Base Set 2

Restricted

This card breaks the essential rule of one energy play per turn. While it can be dealt with, with newer cards the deck just get's more and more powerful. The newer balanced Blastoise EX can replace the original in my opinion. Even Energy Removal can't deal with this guy! So the general solution, is to make the deck work for it's win with 1 Blastoise. This shouldn't hinder the deck at all. Just slow it down so other decks can help deal with it and the other guys that get loaded with water energy. Another card that was restricted to 1 per deck at the Tropical Mega Battle. 

While there are many more I would like to discuss I cannot. Below is the B/R List that I would like to use. Again, my opinion only. 

Restricted:

Professor Oak
Professor Elm
PlusPower
Gust of Wind
The Rocket's Trap
Sneasel
Cleffa
Blastoise

Banned:

Vileplume EX
Slowking

            Of course this a rough draft. Everything I wrote is up for debate, but if you disagree with the list then you should really think deeply about it. Then think of what could be played if the list was further enforced. Things that were played before all this madness could once again be brought up again. Even modified decks could be ported to the format. This list could truely give life to this dead format. Think about it.. 

 

Thanks
Convinced/Justin Howard
ConvincedtheConvincing@Yahoo.com
Convinced on Pojo Message Boards
Benthicdjinn06 on AIM


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