Benjamin Pham - Card Strategies - Pokémon TCG Format Rotation for 2017

Benjamin Pham – Card Strategies – Pokémon TCG Format Rotation for 2017

Hello Pokémon friends. Last weekend an important announcement was made: The Format Rotation for next season!


If you are not playing at the World Championships, the next tournament you will play will probably be with the new rotation. In this article I want to explain to you what this rotation means, which important cards we are losing and what the impact on decks will be for next season.
In the interest of maintaining a healthy tournament environment, Pokémon Organized Play begins each new tournament season by removing older expansions from Standard format competition. This means some decks will get stronger, some decks get weaker and some decks will even disappear.


Format Change


The Expanded Format will remain unchanged for next season, which means that all sets are legal from Black & White on. I do not like the fact that they did not change the Expanded Format. I consider the Expanded Format quite broken and in my opinion they should have definitely changed it. But that is a subject for next time..


However,  the Standard Format will change and it will change to Primal Clash-on! This means we are losing a couple of sets:
–          Kalos Starter Set
–          XY
–          Flashfire
–          Furious Fists
–          Phantom Forces

image 1

Important Cards Lost


We are losing a lot of cards for next season. I have made a list of the most important cards that will be gone which you can see below:

image 2note: Charizard-EX (FLF) got reprinted and therefore will remain part of the available card-pool


As you can see, the is quite a long list and it will drastically change the metagame for next season.

Decks that will disappear


With cards rotating out some decks will disappear completely. Below I made a list of the most important decks that you will not be seeing next season in the Standard Format anymore.


Night March. This deck has always been considered as the most consistent and best deck in the format and It has the placings and tournament performances to backup it’s claims as the top deck. It won multiple Nationals all over the worlds, including the biggest Nationals ever. But it is time we move forward without our little friends into next format.


Seismitoad-EX-variants. Straight Seismitoad, Seismitoad/Crobat Seismitoad/Giratina and the popular Seismitoad-EX/Manaphy-EX decks will lose their main attacker (Seismitoad-EX). Seismitoad-EX has always been a big contender at tournaments since its release because of its disruptiveness. An 180HP-basic-attacker that was able to deny your opponent from using Item Cards for just two colorless energy. In my opinion this card should never been made, and I think most people are happy that It will be rotated out.


Trevenant(XY). One of the strongest and most disruptive decks in the current format will disappear. The deck will lose their main attacker (Trevenant XY) and their Stadium (Dimension Valley). The other Trevenant (BKP) can be very annoying, but it will not be as disruptive as the other Trevenant is.


Mega Manectric-EX. Mega Manectric saw a lot of play at Nationals and I am sad I cannot play it anymore in the next season. The high HP, energy acceleration, free retreat and flexibility made Mega Manectric an all around strong deck.


Decks that will take a hit


Other popular decks will not disappear completely but some of them will take a hit.


Fighting-decks will not have important cards as Hawlucha (FFI), Korrina, Focus Sash and Fighting Stadium anymore. Even though the Zygarde-EX decks will lose consistency, sustain and damage output, I do think there are still enough possibilities to play the new Zygarde-EX.


Psychic-decks will lose their Stadium with Dimension Valley. Decks based on Mew (FCO) or Mega Alakazam-EX (FCO) will need a higher energy count now to compensate the lack of Dimension Valley.


Fairy-decks. Without Aromatisse(XY) Fairy decks will not be able to move energy between their Pokémon. This means you cannot heal your Pokémon without losing your energy with Max Potion anymore and swap between attackers as easily.


Vespiquen-variants will be a lot slower in next format. Battle Compressor was the maincard in every Vespiquen deck, because it added a lot of consistency and speed. Vespiquen might still see play, but without Battle Compressor it will be harder to get a lot Pokémon in the discard pile quickly.


Fire-decks. Fire decks will need to continue without Blacksmith. Entei and Flareon-EX saw a bit of play in the past, but without Blacksmith these decks lose a lot of their speed and strength. Those decks will definitely not be as strong anymore without Blacksmith. Team Magma’s Camerupt could be used as a replacement, but it will not come near to what Blacksmith offers.


Wailord. Wailord will lose AZ, Cassius, Hard Charm, Head Ringer, Trick Shovel, Aegislash EX and Durant (FLF). I already do not consider it as a top tier deck anymore, but without these cards I doubt it will do well next season.


Genesect-EX. Metal will lose their energy accelerator: Bronzong (PHF) and Aegislash-EX. I think Bronzong was the only reason why Genesect EX was a contender at Nationals. I do not think it will be viable anymore without Bronzong, until a new energy accelerator is released.


Greninja only takes a small hit and will still be a strong contender for next season. The current Greninja deck will only lose their Greninja XY and Sacred Ash. But those can easily be replaced with Greninja (BKP) and Super Rod or Karen.


US Nationals


Last weekend the 2016 US National Championships have been concluded and a lot of players have been crowned. Below we can see the top8 of the Masters Division of the Pokemon TCG. I want to say congrats to the winner and all other players that were able to make it this far in the biggest Nationals ever!


1. Nick R. (Night March/Vespiquen)
2. Marcos G. (Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX)
3. Paul J. (Seismitoad Ex/Manaphy EX)
4. Liam W. (Darkrai EX/Giratina EX)
5. Chris S. (Night March)
6. Michael B. (Trevenant)
7. James D. (Trevenant)
8. Fred X. H. (Vespiquen/Vileplume)


If we take a look at the decks that were played we can see that seven of those decks will not be playable anymore next season. With six decks losing their main attackers as in the Night March Pokémon (Joltik, Pumpkaboo, Lampent), Seismitoad EX and Trevenant. The Vespiquen/Vileplume will not lose any of their main attackers, but it will lose Battle Compressor, which is an important card in the engine of the deck. So we can be certain that the top8 of the next US Nationals will be completely different deck-wise.


Decks that will shine


While some decks are taking a hit or even disappearing, other decks will see (more) play and have the possibility to shine (again) next season!


Vileplume (AOR) – variants. With Seismitoad-EX and Trevenant (XY) gone, Vileplume is the strongest Item-locking Pokémon left. Through all the years, Item-lock has proven itself to be a very strong strategy in the Pokémon TCG and this will not be different next season. I doubt people will keep playing it with Vespiquen (AOR), but people will definitely find a way to make it work.


Decks with Garbodor (BKP). With Xerosic and Startling Megaphone rotating out, we will not be able to remove tool cards with Trainer cards anymore. Garbodor’s ability Garbotoxin shuts off each players abilities in the game. This is a really strong and disruptive ability, and without an easy answer to remove this effect, a lot of decks will struggle against it. A deck with Garbodor and a hard hitting Pokémon without an ability (like Darkrai-EX, Yveltal-EX or Zygarde EX) might be very strong.


Mega Mewtwo-EX. Without Night March in the format, Mega Mewtwo will lose their worst matchup in the format. The Mega Mewtwo-deck will not lose any keycards. Because the deck can do a lot of damage very fast and with its high HP, I expect Mega Mewtwo to see more play next season.


Mega Rayquaza-EX. What was true for Mega Mewtwo, also applies to the Mega Rayquaza Deck. The deck will lose their worst matchup and will not lose any keycards. The deck won at Canadian Nationals this season and it will see some more big scores in the new format for sure.

image 3


We have lost a lot of strong decks (Night March, Trevenant, Seismitoad-EX) and important cards (AZ, Xerosic, Startling Megaphone, Battle Compressor) in the format. This gives other (new) decks like Mega Rayquaza the opportunity to shine, because they will not be really affected by the format change. The Standard Format will see a big change with new and different kind of decks and I cannot wait to test out different decks for the new format.


Lastly, I want to take a moment and wish everybody good luck that is playing at the World Championships next month. I am looking forward to meet a lot of (new) people in San Francisco!


Benjamin Pham






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