How Sword and Shield Kicks Off a New Era of the Pokemon TCG

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Whereas the Pokemon Sword and Protect video video games got here out final 12 months, playing cards that includes new Pokemon from the Galar area are simply now hitting the Pokemon TCG. The brand new Sword and Protect enlargement is on sale now and the playing cards change into match authorized on February 21, and coming with this are quite a lot of essential modifications for the sport.Each time a brand new Era hits the TCG it might as properly sign the beginning of a brand new period for the sport, as that’s historically when new mechanics and card-types are introduced, and Sword and Protect is not any totally different. We’re going to interrupt down the entire new stuff coming to the sport, from a brand new type of Pokemon card to large modifications made to the foundations, and we talked to the Creatures sport designers with the intention to study why they made these modifications and the way they hope to rebalance the sport for the higher.

Pokemon V and VMAX

The Sword and Protect period introduces a brand new type of Pokemon card known as Pokemon V. Like Pokemon EX and Pokemon GX earlier than them, Pokemon V are additional highly effective playing cards that quit two Prizes once they’re knocked out (and bear in mind, you solely have to take six Prizes to win).

Pokemon V can evolve into Pokemon VMAX, which emulates the brand new Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokemon from the video video games and severely raises the stats and HP of the Pokemon. When Pokemon VMAX are knocked out, they offer up three Prizes (identical to Tag Workforce Pokemon GX), so the rise in energy is offset by a rise in danger. Knocking out simply two Pokemon VMAX will finish the sport.

Try the gallery under for a have a look at all the brand new Pokemon V and VMAX.

Pokemon V and VMAX from Sword and Protect

On condition that different TCGs like Magic: The Gathering and Transformers TCG make the most of outsized playing cards to symbolize massive and highly effective characters, we initially speculated that the Pokemon TCG may go an identical path to introduce the brand new type of gargantuan Pokemon from Sword and Protect. It seems that Creatures did contemplate incorporating outsized playing cards at one level, however finally determined towards them to maintain issues easy.

“With the Pokemon Buying and selling Card Sport, we all the time deal with making it simple to play, and straightforward to acquire the playing cards essential to play, with the intention to enchantment to a large viewers of each informal gamers and superior gamers,” the Creatures rep stated. “When creating Pokemon VMAX, we experimented with oversize playing cards however rapidly realized that going that route would restrict the methods through which we might get the playing cards in gamers’ fingers whereas additionally stopping gamers from utilizing their current card sleeves and circumstances, making it more durable for sure gamers to take pleasure in enjoying the sport.”

First Flip Rule Change

Now we’re transferring on to the large rule change: the participant who goes first could now not use a Supporter card on their first flip. This will likely sound like no large deal, however it essentially modifications how the sport is performed.

Supporters function numerous characters from the world of Pokemon and have extra-strong results — so sturdy that you just’re restricted to enjoying just one Supporter per flip. These results embody attaching additional vitality, looking for a number of Pokemon directly, or drawing additional playing cards out of your deck. Earlier than, whoever gained the opening coin flip all the time selected to go first, besides on uncommon events, however now they could resolve to go second in order that they don’t miss out on attending to play a Supporter.

“The change was made to enhance equity to each gamers and make it extra enjoyable to play no matter whether or not or not you go first,” a Creatures spokesperson instructed IGN.

Try some new Supporters from Sword and Protect within the slideshow gallery under.

Supporters from Sword and Protect

Attending to go first already comes with quite a few benefits — you get to arrange your board first, connect the primary vitality, and evolve first — so eradicating the power to additionally play an impactful Supporter card makes going second much less of a drawback. In reality, the oldsters at Creatures need gamers to think about going second to take pleasure in the advantages it now offers.

“The second participant can play a Supporter card on their first flip, which supplies them extra alternatives to play extra Pokemon and fasten Power to them, letting them arrange for a extra secure place within the sport. Additionally they have the chance to assault first, which can provide them a singular tactical benefit,” they stated.

Enhance to Resistance

One other noticeable change is the rise of all Resistances from -20 harm to -30 harm. With Pokemon V and VMAX having extra well being and allotting extra harm than ever, it solely is sensible that Resistance would even be elevated to compensate for the ability creep.

Fairy-Sort No Extra

The Pokemon TCG neighborhood obtained a little bit of a shock when it was introduced that the sport would now not be supporting the Fairy-type. Pokemon which might be Fairy-type within the video video games will nonetheless exist within the TCG, however they are going to now be represented as Psychic-type as a substitute.

Consolidating Pokemon varieties is nothing new to the TCG, it’s one thing they’ve achieved because the very starting to make issues simpler — for instance, Preventing-, Rock-, and Floor-type Pokemon are all lumped beneath Preventing within the TCG — however we’ve by no means seen a complete typing faraway from the sport earlier than.

The Creatures rep stated the rationale behind the change was to create a greater sense of steadiness, simplify the sport, and make the remaining varieties extra versatile.

“Beforehand, the Psychic-type playing cards had been sometimes weak to different Psychic-type playing cards, which was considerably complicated and unintuitive to gamers. By unifying the weak point of Pokemon which might be Psychic and Ghost-type within the video video games to Darkish-type Pokemon within the Pokemon Buying and selling Card Sport, we consider we have now been in a position to simplify issues a bit,” they defined. “As well as, Pokemon which might be Fairy-type within the online game now have weak point to Steel-type Pokemon within the Pokémon Buying and selling Card Sport. By doing this, we had been in a position to preserve issues easy whereas additionally growing gameplay depth and add the power for gamers to decide on which Pokemon they could use primarily based on weaknesses.”

Rebalancing Pokemon Weak spot

Eradicating the Fairy-type was only one half of a bigger effort to rebalance the weak point mechanic of the sport. Many different weaknesses have been modified, too. Weak spot is a vital factor of the sport as a result of Pokemon take double harm towards no matter sort they’re weak towards. This ensures that no Pokemon sort can get too sturdy as a result of there’ll all the time be a technique to counter it through weak point. Whereas the sport nonetheless has 10 varieties, the sport designers determined to rebalance the sport by placing an emphasis on 5 varieties specifically.

“The kind benefit side of the Pokemon Buying and selling Card Sport has historically been characterised by its rock-paper-scissors nature, however because of that, the metagame would shift quickly, so we determined to create the Sword & Protect Collection with 5 varieties on the middle of the sort matchup gameplay: Grass, Fireplace, Water, Lightning, and Preventing,” they stated.

A fantastic instance of that is how they modified the Darkish-type. The sport designers additionally moved all Poison-types (which had been beforehand represented as Psychic-type) beneath the Darkish-type. This primarily provides the Darkish-type two subtypes, that means they now have two major weaknesses as a substitute of 1.

“The Darkish-type was strengthened by splitting its weak point between Grass- and Preventing-types, successfully decentralizing the kinds towards which it’s weak,” the Creatures spokesperson stated. “By connecting the Darkish-type to 2 of [the five core types], we consider we managed to extend the vary of methods accessible to gamers.”

Joshua is Senior Options Editor at IGN. If Pokemon, Inexperienced Lantern, or Sport of Thrones are often used phrases in your vocabulary, you’ll need to observe him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.

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