roller-skates

If you are involved with Competitive Pokemon TCG play by any degree, chances are you heard about this today. This is a big deal. Mainly because [Lysandre’s Trump Card] (LTC) is the [First card to be banned since Slowking 12 years ago] ;; [Slowking N1 14] ;; and it’s also the first card to be banned since The Pokemon Company International took over the organization of the Pokemon TCG from Wizards of the Coast. According to the link above, this brings the total number of banned Pokemon cards in history to 5 cards, but in reality you could argue that it’s 3 cards, since Birthday Pikachu and Ancient Mew never had any impact on the game prior to being banned. This decision was made after UK Nationals and some North America Regionals has taken place, the first weekend that Roaring Skies has been legal for tournament play.

A lot of people have some strong feelings about this decision, myself included; but before I get into that let’s go over why this decision has been made. [To see the announcement on Pokemon.com Click here] So the reasons they gave were the following (I’m paraphrasing them for my own purpose):

A) It eliminates a win condition (by one player decking-out)
B) It allows repeated (practically infinite) use of powerful Trainer cards
C) It allows quickly drawing lots and lots of cards with few repercussions
D) It lengthens the time it takes to finish a game

Now let’s go through what each of these mean:
A) It eliminates a win condition (by one player decking-out)
Decking-out has been a mechanic since the inception of the game. It’s a very simple concept (with very specific wording). If at the beginning of your turn you are unable to draw a card from your deck (because there are no more cards) you lose the game. You might be seeing the same issue with this “reason” as I do, but I’ll save my commentary about all these reasons towards the end of this post.
B) It allows repeated (practically infinite) use of powerful Trainer cards
The cards in particular this refers to is most likely [Crushing Hammer] and [Hypnotoxic Laser] Which are two cards that are most popular in decks like [Seismitoad-EX FFI 20] and [Trevenant XY 55]. Lock-decks (like Seismitoad’s item-locking) have always been a part of the Pokemon TCG, but along-side these powerful Trainers, what we basically have is a “shut-down” deck—a deck that can deny your opponent from literally doing anything. With Lasers and Hammers, Seismitoad decks will end up item-locking, denying energy, and afflicting defending Pokemon with sleep. This has been the main offender to result in the ban of LTC. A less practical offender (and probably not the target of this ban) is repeated use of the tool card [Life Dew] which, being an ACE SPEC, is *usually* only supposed to get one useage.
C) It allows quickly drawing lots and lots of cards with few repercussions
This is the main reason for the ban, and it has to do with the release of Roaring Skies. [Shaymin-EX ROS 77] is the main offender here. If you’re confused I’ll break it down for you. You can play 4 Shaymin-EX in a deck, as well as 4 [Ultra Ball] and 4 [Professor Sycamore]. If you can play down your hand so that the only card left is Shaymin-EX you get to draw 6 fresh cards. It’s possible to do that 4 times in one turn, meaning you’ve drawn 24 cards, then you can play a Sycamore to get 7 more cards, totaling 31 cards plus however many cards you got from search cards like Ultra Ball and [Professor’s Letter] that you’ve drawn in 1 turn, this number gets higher if you play cards like [Bicycle], [Acro Bike], [Trainers’ Mail] and [Roller Skates]. People have claimed it’s possible to draw your entire deck in one turn. This would be suicide if you couldn’t use LTC to put it all back into your deck. This is how Seismitoad players can hit so many Crushing Hammers in rapid succession to completely shut down other players’ decks.
D) It lengthens the time it takes to finish a game
At a Regional Championships, rounds are best-of-3 games (first person to win 2 games) and are 50 minutes long plus 3 turns (this means, when time is called and players are still in a game, an additional 3 turns play out to see if the game resolves). If by game 3 of a round, each player has won 1 game, and game 3 is unresolved, it results in a tie for the round. Since LTC can basically make a game that would otherwise have ended go on for a lengthy period of time, the amount of ties that can occur in a tournament is rampant. (Additionally, if time is called during game 2, and the game goes unresolved, the winner of game 1 takes the win for the round. That means that if you win game 1, you can try to exploit LTC—which can be used over and over with [VS Seeker]—and potentially stall the game so that game 2 never finishes)

~Click Keep Reading to read my personal commentary on this topic~

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