– Forbidden Light
October 24, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
On October 17th, it was announced that on November 15th, the following cards would be added to our Expanded Format Banned List:
None of these should be a total surprise, at least if you’re the type to seriously consider what should and should not be banned. Whether you agree or not, we’ve seen a consistent push keep strategies that can either win or effectively win the game on Turn 1 (Player 1’s first turn).
What does that have to do with Flabébé? It is a 30 HP [Y] Type with [M] Weakness, [D] Resistance, and Retreat Cost [C]. Obviously its “Tackle” attack, priced at [Y] and doing 10 damage, isn’t the issue either. Its Ability, “Evolutionary Advantage”, is roughly half the problem, but it may not be obvious why. Evolutionary Advantage states that if you go second, this Flabébé can evolve during your first turn. To answer the rest of the question, we need to look at a soon-to-release card which Evolves from Flabébé.
I haven’t seen Floette (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 151/236) in English, yet. If translations hold, its Ability triggers when you Evolve one of your Pokémon into it from your hand, at which point you select a card from your opponent’s hand, your opponent reveals it, and then your opponent shuffles it into their deck. Unlike most of the hand control cards on the Banned List, you cannot wreck your opponent’s hand T1 with this trick; Flabébé isn’t an option until T2. I’d love to tell you that is because the powers-that-be realize obliterating your opponent’s hand T2 is still too potent…
…but I’m pretty sure this is due to the pending change in the T1 rules. Right now, you cannot attack T1. It was announced in Japan that around the time Sword & Shield drops, the player going first won’t be allowed a first-turn Supporter, either. So no attack and no Supporter makes Turn 1 more like Turn One-Half. Which means wrecking your opponent’s hand T2 is about as unbalanced as wrecking your opponent’s hand T1.
Why not ban that Floette? It is a brand-new card and the powers-that-be don’t seem to like that. Plus… Flabébé is the one breaking Floette. Without Flabébé, Floette can’t do anything to the opponent until they’ve had at least one full, proper turn… even under the new T1 rules. I’ve said it before with Evolution acceleration; once it exists, every future, compatible Evolution has to be designed with it in mind. Pokémon-specific acceleration has a better chance of being balanced, but between a shifting cardpool, metagame, and changing rules, Flabébé provides us an example of why it is still probably a bad idea.
Expanded: 3/5 (soon to be N/A)
As a reminder, a card does not need to be a 5/5 to be ban-worthy. Yeah, it is a strange thing, especially in this case where it is “preventative medicine”. We won’t have the Floette in question until November 15th and I don’t think the new T1 rules have been officially announced outside of Japan (though we’re certain to get them as well). Until then, this is the best Flabébé even though it isn’t super-strong; Evolutionary Advantage offsets the huge disadvantage a Florges deck experiences going second, plus helps mitigate Flabébé being so fragile.
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