Picture above (custom edited via Microsoft Paint): Uxie (DP Legends Awakened 43/146) being assigned a rating of three stars, meaning you can only include one copy of Uxie in your deck and one other card whose rating is only one star.
Hello readers! After lurking around PokeBeach’s recent posts, I stumbled into another format that was implemented in Japan. It’s called the Palace 101 format. You can read the details here written by Charlie Lockyer, but I might as well mention what this format is about as well as some restrictions similar to Yu-Gi-Oh’s Limited/Semi-limited lists.
So, this format allows the use of cards from the Diamond & Pearl series up to the present, giving you a whooping 13+ years worth of the Pokémon TCG’s card pool for you to use! With such a vast card pool, one would love to include super powerful cards to either make their decks consistent or to invite power plays. Not so fast, however! Palace 101 format has a “star list”, somewhat limiting how many cards you would use in a deck. Exceptionally strong cards might sound a bit vague, but if you read the top 10 cards of the year (which Pojo.com did since 2007), that might paint an accurate picture showing why those cards are worth the yearly countdown. Anyways, a deck can only have up to FOUR stars total in a deck. Some cards that are extremely powerful are assigned star ratings, like how some cards are worth a star, two stars, three stars, or even all four stars. This is to maintain balance so that you don’t frequently encounter strategies that could be considered unenjoyable such as turn 1 locks and even turn 1 donks!
Here’s a “star list” of cards affected by this restriction:
-Lysandre’s Trump Card: the ability to get everything back from the discard pile is nothing to scoff at, hence the ban from both Standard and Expanded around mid-2015.
-Kecleon from Rising Rivals: It’s Poke-Body, Colorful Body, enables Kecleon to become not only be a Colorless type, but also Grass, Fire, Water, Lightning, Psychic, Fighting, Dark, and Metal. A Pokémon becoming NINE different types in ONE card can open up to many power plays regarding various type specific support and fits nicely in almost any deck.
-Unown DAMAGE from Sun & Moon Lost Thunder: This ability is insane!!! If your Benched Pokémon has a total of 66 damage counters, you win the game!
Cards that are worth One Star:
-Claydol from DP Great Encounters: It’s Poke-Power, Cosmic Power, is perhaps the best repeatable effect you could enjoy. By sending up to 2 cards from your hand into the bottom of your deck, you get to draw cards until you have six cards in your hand. Extremely useful; you can put unneeded cards from your hand and draw different cards!
-Shaymin-EX from XY Roaring Skies: Just like Claydol except that you don’t put 2 cards from your hand into the bottom of your deck, and it’s only a one time deal the moment you put it onto your Bench. Still a powerful ability despite giving up 2 prizes and is a Basic Pokémon while Claydol is a Stage 1.
-Seeker from HS Triumphant: Putting a Benched Pokémon into your hand means you can benefit coming-into-play abilities again by putting them back into play. Also denies a KO due to removing all of the damage away.
-Unown R from DP Legends Awakened: This is similar to Unown XY Ancient Origins’s Farewell Letter ability such that it discards the Pokémon itself and you draw 1 card. Also fueling up Vengeance style attacks.
-Azelf from DP Legends Awakened: It’s Poke-Power, Time Walk, lets you look at your prize cards and grab 1 Pokémon you find there and put it onto your hand, while you put something from your hand back into your prizes. Pretty useful if you absolutely needed another one of the same Pokémon for maximum impact, or to grab a loose staple that was stuck there.
-Stark Mountain from DP Legends Awakened: A stadium that lets you move either a Fire or Fighting energy attached to 1 of your Pokémon to another of your Pokémon. Good for specific decks, though in my opinion, I don’t think it warrants being restricted.
-Poke Drawer+ from DP Stormfront: Ah, one of my favorite cards. Play one of them and you draw a card. Play two of them at the same time from your hand, and you get to fetch any TWO cards from your deck into your hand. Better than Computer Search some of the time, hence I guess why it had to be restricted. You could run a full four, but then you won’t be able to use any other cards that were labeled with a star rating.
-Crobat G from Platinum: Small rant from me. If Crobat G is gonna be restricted, they should restrict Galarian Zizzagoon as well since the ability does the same exact thing: putting 1 damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon when you play it from your hand onto your Bench.
-Weavile from HS Undaunted: It’s Poke-Power, Claw Snag, works when you evolve it from a Sneasel. You get to look at your opponent’s hand and discard 1 card from your opponent’s hand, giving you full control of what to get rid of. Being restricted with a star rating is understandable.
-Hypnotoxic Laser from BW Plasma Storm: Automatic Poison and 50% chance to put it to sleep? In an item card?! That’s why it was the best card of the set AND the best card of 2013. This is pretty combo heavy revolving around Poison special condition and sometimes give you the final push to KO something.
-Delinquent from XY Breakpoint: This might be tricky in terms on timing, but you could potentially get rid of 4 cards from your opponent’s side: their Stadium and three cards from their hand! This card is still banned in Expanded!
-Lusamine from SM Crimson Invasion: Getting 2 Supporters and/or Stadiums from the discard pile means you get to play those again on your next turn (or on the same turn if you could play more than one Supporter on the same turn).
-Shaymin from HS Unleashed: Celebration Wind Poke-Power works only when you put it into play, and it can move any Energy (basic or special) from your Pokémon to your other Pokémon.
-Dedenne-GX from SM Unbroken Bonds: Similar to Shaymin-EX but BETTER, faking a Professor related card that discards your entire hand and draws a lot of cards.
-Floette and Florges from SM Cosmic Eclipse: Both possess the Flower Picking ability, which put one, or two, random cards from your opponent’s hand onto their deck. Flabebe from SM Forbidden Light has been crippled by this format be being a three star card, keeping you from running a 1-1-1 line, so you can only do 1-1-0 or 1-0-1 and give up other cards with star ratings.
-Reset Stamp from SM Unified Minds: A pretty disruptive card that is a one-sided N on your opponent’s side. Was partially responsible for getting banned due to a combination of cards.
-Mew Prime from HS Triumphant: It’s Lost Link Poke-Body lets you copy attacks of Pokémon in the Lost Zone. Cards in the Lost Zone cannot be recovered, so in the off-chance your opponent tries to use something that puts some cards from your discard pile onto either your deck, hand, or Bench (like Captivating Poke Puff), you’re still safe.
-Puzzle of Time from XY BreakPoint: Most players will try to abuse the second effect because if they play two of them at the same time, they get to recover any two cards from the discard pile onto their hand, repeating the use of a certain card. This card is still BANNED in Expanded.
-Spiritomb from Platinum Arceus: It’s Keystone Seal Poke-Body locks players from using Trainer cards. HOWEVER, because DP and HS era cards uses the term Trainer-Trainer, Supporter-Supporter, Stadium-Stadium, the Black & White era makes those Trainer-Item, Trainer-Supporter, Trainer-Stadium. Therefore, Spiritomb only locks both player from playing Item cards. I was deeply upset by a Judge a couple years ago that ruled that it blocked ALL BW-era Trainer cards while the paper said otherwise.
Cards that are worth Two Stars:
-Forest of Giant Plants from XY Ancient Origins: The ability to evolve your Grass pokemon in your first turn is incredibly powerful for certain decks, such as instantly evolving into Decidueye-GX for free damage placement, Vileplume AOR for locking down item cards, or even Meganium from Lost Thunder for instantly skipping any Basic into their respective Stane 2s. Limiting it to TWO copies means that it’ll be somewhat hard for you to search for unless one uses Stadium Nav. There is an even stronger counterpart which I’ll get to later.
-Cyrus’s Initiative from Platinum Supreme Victors: This is similar to Flower Picking, but it works only when you flip heads. Having an effect on a Supporter is almost just as effective as running a Stage 1. Can’t say I have used this card before, let alone pull one.
-Junk Arm from HS Triumphant: Since Junk Arm isn’t an ACE SPEC card unlike Dowsing Machine, getting an item card from your discard pile means you can play it right away. Exeggcute’s Propagation ability makes the discard cost an non-issue.
-Archie’s Ace in the Hole & Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick from XY Primal Clash: Maxie may be banned from Expanded due to fetching Omastar from SM Team Up locking items, but Archie is still legal there. These Hoenn villains can fetch you a Water or Fighting Pokémon from your discard pile onto your bench regardless of Stage (with the exception of Break Evolution and Legend Cards since they are missing crucial information on a card) as well as drawing 5 cards, IF AND ONLY IF THEY’RE THE ONLY CARD ON YOUR HAND! Tricky requirement but manageable.
-Ghetsis from BW Plasma Freeze: This can potentially lower your opponent’s hand size if they got any item cards in their hand because they are put into your deck. Thank goodness first turn rules NOW prevents players going first to play a Supporter. This card is still banned in Expanded!
-Hex Maniac from XY Ancient Origins: Both players getting their abilities turned off is supposed to be double sided, but you could benefit from your abilities before playing this card, making the effect somewhat one-sided. This card is still banned in Expanded.
-Lt. Surge Strategy from SM Unbroken Bonds: I guess he had it coming. If the effects allow you to break certain rules, then he definitely get to be restricted! You thought Magnezone PLS was bad enough letting them play 2 Supporters, but he’s on another level above that Pokémon by letting you play THREE Supporters!!!
-Jessie & James from Hidden Fates: Prepare for trouble and make it double because they will get rid of 2 cards from both player’s hands!
-Chip Chip Ice Axe from SM Unbroken Bonds: Was also partially responsible for being banned from Expanded due to several combos reducing your opponent’s hand size to nothing and manipulate your opponent’s next draw phase.
-Hiker from SM Celestial Storm: No comment
-Wally from XY Roaring Skies: Another card that lets you instantly evolve one of your Pokémon the same turn it was played or on your first turn. Banned in Expanded due to a bias of evolving into a Trevenant from XY that locks down items as long as it’s your Active Pokémon.
-Gengar & Mimikyu-GX: No comment
-Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX: Also no comment
-Milotic from XY FlashFire: It’s ability self-destructs itself while accelerating energies to any Pokémon that’s not a EX Pokémon. Which means Pokémon-GX and Pokémon-V is going to love this effect!
-Marshadow from Shining Legends: Another rant similar to Crobat G. Uh, I recall Giratina from Platinum has Let Loose as well, why not limit that as well?! Oh never mind, Giratina is getting restricted too, I got too ahead of myself.
-Giratina from Platinum: There’s a lot of Giratina cards in that specific set, so the only hint is to look for the one with the Let Loose Poke-Power.
-Red Card from XY: Just as bad as Reset Stamp. Your cards in your hand won’t remain intact.
Cards that are worth Three Stars:
-Archeops from BW Noble Victories: Preventing the ability to evolve your Pokémon cripples decks that need Stage 1s or Stage 2s to function. However, players can still evolve their Pokémon from their deck, playing around from this ability. Even then, this is a serious lock taken consideration.
-Shiftry from BW Next Destines: A card that was temporary banned from Expanded the moment Forest of Giant Plants was released. It’s Giant Fan ability is coin flip reliant, but it can blow away one of your opponent’s Pokémon away from play, and if they have nothing to replace with, they could lose before they got a chance to play. Fortunately in the Palace format, you CANNOT have Shiftry AND Forest of Giant Plants in the same deck since that would go beyond the four star limit that was imposed.
-Forretress from Legends Awakened: So attaching an energy to Forretress means everybody takes 20 damage excluding any Forretress. If you have a Pokémon with unlimited energy acceleration such as Deluge Blastoise, you could rack up damage extremely fast even though it also hurts your Pokémon as well! Max Potion seems to alleviate the issue somewhat.
-Forretress from XY FlashFire: You might wonder why that card is worth three stars. Imagining Forretress backed with Broken Time Space or Forest of Giant Plants, you could continue placing damage counters if you have scooping cards like Scoop Up Cyclone, Super Scoop Up, or even Scoop Up Net. Good thing star ratings keeps you from doing a near-infinite loop.
-Porygon2 from Great Encounters: Another situation where you get to use more than one Supporter card. It’s Poke-Power DOESN’T use up your Supporter for the turn because the effect of the Supporter card is the effect of the Pokémon Power.
-Uxie from Legends Awakened: See picture above. Better than Shaymin-EX in every single way. Worth a single prize and searchable with Level Ball.
-Broken Time Space from Platinum: The ultimate game breaking effect of instant evolution is here and is definitely worth being three stars. Can’t have too many of those in one deck.
-Shuckle from HGSS promos: Similar to Forretress from Legends Awakened, but instead of dealing damage, it’s Poke-Body Fermenting Liquid, lets you draw a card every time you attach an energy from your hand. Again, with a Pokémon with unlimited energy acceleration and scooping related cards, you could draw a LOT of cards.
-Lost World from Call of Legends: If your opponent has 6 or more Pokémon in the Lost Zone, you play this card and win the game, which is ridiculous! Your opponent couldn’t respond to such an effect, and it makes Lost March decks cry due to this Stadium.
-Oranguru from Ultra Prism: I guess that’s because of Resource Management recovering three cards from your discard pile onto the bottom of your deck, which could be drawn by Looker.
-Flabebe from Forbidden Light: The entire evolutionary line is being labeled with a star rating, so sadly you cannot combine all of them at once.
-Mismagius from Unbroken Bonds: KO itself to draw cards. That’s worth giving up a prize, and it makes Reset Stamp powerful as the game progresses.
-Unown HAND from Lost Thunder: I’ve seen a few decks trying to get 35 cards in their hand for automatic victory, only to be foiled by many cards that force you to shuffle your hand into their deck and draw certain amount of cards. Not saying that it’s impossible, but very unlikely.
-Kabutops and Omastar from Team Up: Those two together could form a formidable lock. Kabutops locks down Supporters if it’s in the Active, while Omastar can sit on the Bench locking down items if you have fewer Pokémon in play than your opponent.
-Island Challenge Amulet from Cosmic Eclipse: Despite having a negative effect, it can lead to power plays that got it partially responsible of being banned from Expanded. Attach it to Jirachi-EX to KO itself. While your opponent is down to either one or two prizes, Reset Stamp drastically lowers your opponent’s hand size.
Cards Explicity Allowed
Miracle Diamond – Trainer
Look at all of your face-down Prize cards. You may choose 1 Trainer, Supporter or Stadium card you find there, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand. If you do, put this card as a Prize card face up instead of discarding it
Mysterious Pearl – Trainer
Look at all of your face-down Prize cards. You may choose 1 Pokemon you find there, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand. If you do, put this card as a Prize card face up instead of discarding it.
Wonder Platinum – Trainer
Look at all of your face-down Prize cards. You may choose 1 Energy card you find there, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand. If you do, put this card as a Prize card face up instead of discarding it
Now, those lists might be comprehensive, but as the game grows, more cards will be added to or removed from the Star List. Even though this list is unofficial since Japan hasn’t been providing updates, this unofficial list has been tested in various Palace tournaments and individual testing. Currently, from DP to Sword & Shield, this list is sufficient enough to provide a healthy metagame of different strategies.
Have fun with this exclusive Format from Japan!