TCG Fakes Base Set Rebalanced (feat. Jungle and Fossil)

Patch 1.6

First of all, the Tabletop Simulator mod has reached 200 over downloads! That's truly incredible!
Please note that it might take a while for these changes to appear in the gallery or in the RAR picture download. This change is currently applied to TTS.

Energy Cleanup

Rectified multiple mistakes and inconsistencies, where the terms "Energy", "basic Energy" and "Energy card" were misused. In particular, some cards were interacting with Double Colorless Energy where they shouldn't have been - this has now been rectified.
Card affected:
Chansey
Charizard
Charmeleon
Fearow
Gastly
Gengar
Lapras
Oddish
Omanyte
Omastar
Poliwag
Poliwhirl
Recycle
Slowbro
Slowpoke
Spearow
Starmie

Wartortle

Wartortle is currently the only Pokemon with an Ability that lets you accelerate Energy beyond the regular one-a-turn attachment. Charmeleon was already nerfed indirectly by removing all discard effects from Trainers, switching it into a re-accelerator instead. This leaves Wartortle as the only Ability accelerator in the format.
It is quite obvious that any format will center around cards that let you accelerate Energy - it's the clearest way of gaining a tempo advantage over your opponent. Now, Wartortle for me wasn't as strong as acceleration in today's game, because decks seem to be less consistent. However, it still stands as a Pokemon with a truly unique and overpowered ability, compared to everything else available.
Because of that, its Ability gained a clause that it only works if you're not ahead in energy - therefore, just like Charmeleon, it has now mainly became a re-accelerator. The only two ways of gaining an Energy advantage now are Cooltrainer and Dratini's attack - which are two absolutely valid ways of achieving this effect, due to their slowness.

Omanyte

The Ability of Omanyte was meant to target DCE users, but it also unfairly targeted the few cards that actually had off-color attacks, such as Golduck. This made the card's effect too narrow, but also misplaced - it might have even seen like it had negative synergy with Kabutops. In reality it did not - Kabutops cares about having a Water Energy card, not being provided actual water energy - still, this confusing combination was popping out frequently, as these cards were clearly meant to be played together.
The Ability was, therefore, overhauled. Now, Omanyte blocks healing instead - there are a few very annoying healers in the format which, while numerically balanced, can stall the game quite a bit. Now Omanyte and Kabutops make for a strong mid-range control-combat deck, or you can splash for Omanyte if you believe in the Water's philosophy of "more is better" - even when it comes to damage counters.

Item Finder

I feel like Item Finder is a wholly underrated card. Sure, the cost is high, but it can theoretically give you access to almost any resource - be it Pokemon though Pokeball, Energy through Energy Search, or a Supporter through Computer Search. It can also justify a lot of one-off Items to tackle various threats, like Potion, X Attack or Poke Flute.
I want to position Item Finder as a card similar to Maintenance, it terms of trading cards that aren't currently useful into something more useful. As such, I am removing one card from the effect's cost, making it reshuffle only one card to get any item. Hopefully this allows decks to play even less direct search Items and focus on more interactive cards.
 
I have been slowly reading this thread for last couple of days and I got to say this has been inspirational. I am glad that this has went a more than a bit further than simple number adjustment that mkst that atempt rebalancing do.
 
Hi!

First of all, thank you for the effort you put into this. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through this thread, and my only regret is that I took so long to find it in the first place. Well done!

Like many others, I have also toyed with the idea of rebalancing the base set, though I have never come nearly as far as you have. I do enjoy most of your ideas, and I agree with many of your views, namely of having some sort of "identity" going on for each color.

Instead of each person trying to do its own thing from scratch, I believe a better use of my time would be to contribute to your already developed idea in some way. Let us know your preferred method of playtesting and obtaining feedback.

One piece of feedback that I can give you right away, is that I find the lack of consistency in move names a bit annoying. Seeing different Pokémon (especially if it happens in the same evolutionary line) using attacks with the same name, but with different effects, might be a bit confusing. The game would improve if names were akin to keywords. Regardless of the Pokémon using a move or ability, if you hear its name you know what it means. Only energy costs and damage outputs would be the wildcards.

Another suggestion: switch the Magnemite and Voltorb lines around. Give Self-destruct to the Voltorb line, and the fancy Chain Lightning and Sonic Boom effects to the Magnemite line. Or leverage the "magnet" fantasy by having these Pokémon pull Energy from somewhere (Lightning from deck to hand, probably).

Lastly, even though you did well with Fire being a discard-centered type and Grass being a Status and healing type, I feel like there was a missed opportunity for a "rapid growth" theme on Grass. Charmeleon's power would fit well with Ivysaur, as in turning the discarded Energy into compost, ready to fuel other Pokémon. However, this would require coming up with something else for Charmeleon.

All in all, great job! I do not have the time to implement all these mechanics in a GBC ROM hack, but some of the changes are manageable, and I would love to work on it.
 
@Oatspear
Thank you for your feedback!

When doing this kind of "rebalance", there is a balance to be found between changing things and leaving things as they are. I agree with you that, in principle, attacks with the same name should have the same effect, or at least have a scaling version of the same effect. However, that is not the case in Pokemon TCG - and I would have to change a lot of names to make it happen. Also, there isn't a lot of attacks in actual Pokemon to use as names - sure, there is no rule that Pokemon TCG only uses names from Pokemon games, in fact that wasn't the case in Base Set, nor is it the case in BSR - but it does feel weird to make up names for attacks just so they can have slightly different effects.

Same is the case with Electrode and Magneton from Jungle - their attacks are inspired by the original cards.

As for the Type uniqueness, Lightning does do stuff with resources, but the theme it follows is usually to be "violent" and explosive - such as the classic Electrode self-sacrifice, or even Pikachu hitting itself to draw cards. As for Grass, there is a bunch of cards that basically are required to have healing (like Golbat), and giving Grass both healing and acceleration would be quite unfair to Fire.

I hope you do get a chance to play this format! You can find me on the Custom Card Community Discord!
 
I finally decided to create an account on Pokebeach to start posting, but I've browsed the site for a few years now. I was so excited to download the Remastered Base Set and print physical copies of the cards. It was like being 10 years old all over again! Questions for you @Yaginku:

1) Do you have plans to rebalance anything beyond the base set era?
2) I noticed the MSE watermark on your cards, are you active on the MagicSetEditor forums? It seems like the Pokemon thread over there is pretty dead...

Thanks for all your hard work!
 
@cmoonrun Hey, thank you for the warm message! If you have any feedback for how your games went, let me know!

1) I toyed with the idea of rebalancing Rocket, especially since it's a direct sequel to the GB game. I have a lot of thoughts about the mechanics introduced in that set, but the problem is that I would change A LOT. The entire concept of "Evil Pokemon" as a gameplay mechanic I don't see as very valuable. I would have to spend a lot of time to make sure I am not changing too much.
2) Yup, I'm using MSE. I was never very active on the MSE forums and the pack I'm using is very incomplete - modern blanks aren't supported. I also use GIMP to finish off the cards by increasing their resolution. The blanks made by the Custom Card Community from this forum are probably a superior option, but I've just been using MSE for 15+ years and won't really feel like switching now.
 
I played with a few childhood friends, and we are planning to get together again soon. The middle stage evolution acting as the Power-User was a big hit with all of us! It created an interesting choice, so that decision has our ringing endorsement.

1) I would encourage you to think about a Rocket Remaster you definitely have the chops for it. Change as much as you want! One thing I have thought about is that the Light Pokemon from Neo Destiny never got enough attention which is something I may give a try myself.

2) I have tinkered with the data files in MSE, but I'm not a programmer by any means and got stuck on a few minor things. I'm hoping the folks in the main resource thread will be able to help me get over the hump... Because I have gotten really comfortable with MSE as a program.
 
@cmoonrun I am definitely considering it, although I am still not entirely sure about all the features of Base Set Remastered. For me, the retreat mechanics could still use some tweaks - I have a solution ready to test, but I think it might change the base game a bit too much (even though it doesn't actually change the cards in any way).
I honestly never tweaked anything in MSE, nor made my own blanks or anything of the sort. I just render the card frames with a "greenscreen" in place of the picture, then manually add the picture later in GIMP. I recently realized I can also use this technique to make long attacks/abilities more readable, like on the Fearow.

What I'm thinking of right now is a separate Discord server for this set. Nothing against the server ran by the Custom Card Community, but it is hard to organize there, or even keep track of the players that want to play.
 
Searching for Answers

Today I want to pay special attention to a specific card - Computer Search.
I want this card to be played, because I want to reduce the amount of Supporter cards played in decks, as well as ensure that decks don't fill up with Supporters as the game progresses - which tends to happen frequently, as Supporters are the only resource that leaves your deck at a limited pace - yes, Energies also happen to have that kind of limitation, but Energy acceleration is a thing, while Supporter acceleration - not really.
However, I feel like Computer Search does not currently fulfill that role correctly and I will try to explain why, and what is ultimately the solution to this problem.

In game design, it is very helpful to think in terms of an "ideal game scenario", usually called a "player story". What is the ideal sequence of events for the player to experience? And, once we have that, how can we achieve it?
Well, the ideal situation would be for the player to play a draw Supporter every turn. This way they can have a fresh selection of cards and hopefully draw into the next Supporter they can use in the next turn. Now it is worth noting that, if this is really the case - and it does appear to be this way in actual Pokemon TCG, where sequencing your supporters is key - then perhaps this random "Supporter flow" should be replaced with just drawing more cards each turn. It seems to me that for Pokemon TCG to function, players need to have more than 1 card of "free draw" each turn - and in competitive Pokemon TCG that number rises to 6 or 7 new cards per turn. It is worth noting that Genshin Impact TCG, an arguable clone of Pokemon TCG, lets players draw 2 cards at the end of their turn, from a deck of 30.
However, changing the base amount of cards drawn at the beginning of the turn is too harsh of a change. If we are to truly "remix" and not "remake", we must keep this mechanic of "Supporter flow".
So, let's go back to the example of "player story". The average draw power in the format is 3 - as seen on Bill. Let's be generous and count 1 extra card from the beginning of your turn. If players want to be sure they can consistently see a new draw Supporter each turn, they have to play at least 15 draw Supporter cards. Obviously, most other Supporters let you see more cards specifically in order to increase your chances of seeing the next Supporter. But, on the other hand, players have to overcompensate, as being caught without a Supporter puts you in a massive disadvantage, dropping you to a single card per turn.

Computer Search was designed with a clear goal in mind - if the Supporter's goal is to get the player to the next Supporter, then Computer Search can do the same while being an item. In practice, Computer Search replaces a Supporter in your deck - the upside is the "catrip" effect, a slang term from Magic for a card that gets you another card, "slimming down" your deck and making it more consistent. The downside is, of course, you don't know what you're going to get. And this downside plays a major role in how a deck with Computer Search would choose its Supporters. Replacing four copies of a draw Supporter with Computer Search is not ideal, since you could easily end up with a Rival, Cooltrainer, or some other type of "effect" Supporter.

So, let's go back to our "player story", but let's look at it from a deckbuilding perspective. We want players to run a limited number of draw Supporters. We also want them to run "effect" Supporters without fear.

The tricky part here is - you cannot design a card that "gets the player out" of the situation where they have no Supporter, because if this card existed, players would simply play another Supporter and draw that instead. Therefore, that card must either work retroactively, or proactively - affect the past or the future, not the current situation. One extremely obvious example is a Pokemon card - if your Pokemon draws you cards, your reliance on Supporters is much lesser. However, using Pokemon for this task has very obvious drawbacks, like taking up bench space and/or wasting attacks to draw cards instead of winning the game.

So, what are the solutions? Well, on one hand, players should consider playing more Pokemon that help with the early game. Cards like Kangaskhan and Basics with Call for Family are great at getting out these important cards quicker. However, I don’t think Computer Search in its current form is a great card for all the reasons I’ve outlined above. As such, here is the changed Computer Search.

Computer_Search.png

The solution here might seem trivial, but it fulfills exactly the plan I’ve mentioned earlier - this card has to affect the future, not just the present. By giving the player two Supporter cards instead of one, we are easing off the pressure from this turn’s Supporter to draw into another. We are also avoiding the negative interaction with “effect” Supporters - they are still possible, but very unlikely.
Ultimately, I don't think a single card can fix a structural design problem. Computer Search is just one of the solutions player may employ when they don't feel like the Supporters in their deck flow correctly.
 
Finally caught up entirely on this thread. Great job with everything, it's really clear a lot of thought went into it and that you have a disciplined approach to designing the cards.

I see the more recent posts cover v1.1, the retreat changes, and then 1.6; were there other balance changes made along the way that got skipped due to being minor/individual card based rather than system level?
 
Patch 1.8 - I know I had to do it to them.

I have recently forgone updating this format for pretty obvious reasons - for one, each update takes quite a bit of work, since there are 4 different places where each card has to be updated (card gallery, card download, TTS, Lackey). Also, for anyone that has printed the cards and plays with them IRL (like myself), having to print additional cards and running the risk of mixing them up is just annoying. I did not want to push another update without a large list of changes that needed to be addressed.

All that said, there were still issues with the format. Many cards had spelling mistakes and some cards I was still not happy with. As our Discord grows and people surprise me by letting me know they play the cards regularly (thank you!), the chip on my shoulder to fix all the bugs grows larger and larger. And since the list of these tiny changes has already grown to quite a large size, I guess it's time for a 1.8 Update.

As always, you can see all the changes here: https://base-set-remastered.tumblr.com/set-display
Here is the list of cards that were updated:

Base Set
Beedrill
Bug Catcher
Charmeleon
Dewgong
Electrode
Gastly
Ivysaur
Kadabra
Machamp
Magmar
Magnemite
Magneton
Mewtwo
Poke Doll
Wartortle
X Attack
Zapdos

Jungle
Eevee
Electrode
Jigglypuff
Mankey
Mr. Mime
Oddish
Parasect
Primeape
Rhydon
Rhyhorn
Tauros
Venomoth
Vileplume
Wigglytuff

Fossil
Articuno
Dragonite
Ekans
Hitmonlee
Kabuto
Moltres
Mysterious Fossil
Omanyte
Raichu
Seadra
Weezing

What's new?
The only substantial changes are to Jigglypuff and Ekans. The rest are spelling/wording mistakes.

JigglyROUGH had a clearly overpowered attack in the form of Lullaby. Getting a guaranteed Asleep is extremely strong, so I gave it a flip, just like for every other basic Pokemon.
Ekans's first attack was confusing (not in the game way) and rarely had a chance to trigger. I think everyone reading this attack thought "It should just let you move Poison counters around" - so now it does.
 

Patch 1.9​

After publishing the 1.8 patch I thought I could put my mind at ease and do some big chilling (not to be confused with bing chilling). After all, I tackled all of the inconsistencies and wording issues in the set, and there was absolutely no chance there were any other issues to fix or improve. Right?
What happened instead was that the interest in the set grew (thank you!) and some uncomfortable questions started piling up. At first, I thought I can just deal with it by issuing a disclaimer for the few problematic cards - but ultimately this approach felt half-assed to me. Another issue was balance - I did not want to tackle balance at this point yet, but some changes felt so natural and obvious, that I felt like there was no more reason to wait.
So, Patch 1.9. I want to reiterate that I don't want to do this often - for people playing on TTS it means they have to check their decks and update accordingly - and for people playing IRL it means they have to print cards again. However, on the other side of that coin, the longer I wait with updating the game, the more players will be affected by it - and since I want to start another Tournament as well, I prefer the format to be at its most updated point. Now, lets get into the cards.

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The purpose of Base Set Remastered was always to bring modern design conventions to the old cards. One thing that didn't make the transition was using the word "heal" instead of "removing damage counters". There wasn't really any reason for it, so I brought that word into the game now, shortening some effects and making them more readable.

Cards affected:
Potion (Base Set)
Super Potion (Base Set)
Pokemon Center (Base Set)
Bulbasaur (Base Set)
Ivysaur (Base Set)
Clefairy (Base Set)
Chansey (Base Set)
Dragonite (Base Set)
Starmie (Base Set)
Weepinbell (Jungle)
Exeggcute (Jungle)
Exeggutor (Jungle)
Butterfree (Jungle)
Venonat (Jungle)
Zubat (Fossil)
Golbat (Fossil)

1686755226130.png1686755234632.png

Taking this opportunity, Potion and Super Potion got some stealth nerfs. I think these cards were undervalued before, but what bugged me the most was that their healing numbers did not align with the video game, when they actually did in Base Set. That was enough for me to revert them back to 20 and 40.

1686755256932.png

Persian's Pay Day attack was regularly reported as confusing, as it would seem that the attack lets you draw a multitude of cards in a single attack. In reality, this wording is taken from official cards and has been used since Fossil Golbat, all the way up to Paldea Evolved Mabosstiff. The catch, however, is that all of these official effects refer to damage counters - they can still be mistakenly read as "remove 20 damage counters, because 20 damage was done", but because they deal with damage counters, everyone assumes the correct usage.
What do we do in this case? There are no examples of this effect on official cards, so it basically has to be made up. I've changed the wording to something that's just objectively correct, and I think that's about it.

1686755299660.png

Tangela got a small but noticeable buff in the form of dropping the attack cost of Poisonpowder from GGC to GG. I felt like Tangela's position as an early-game Pokemon wasn't very impressive with its costly attacks and low damage. Guaranteed Poison is really strong, but not when you have to dedicate three energy to a 60 HP Pokemon. With a lower cost, I think Tangela has a chance to appear in more Poison decks as a great starter.

1686755329991.png

The original goal of Arcanine was to make it an easily-splashable fire-type Pokemon. For this purpose it received a Swift attack, able to pass through any Pokemon with defensive Powers. What ended up happening though was that Arcanine was severely underpowered, with low damage for a final evolution.
The first buff affects the Swift attack - bumping it up to 30 still doesn't allow it to knock-out Mr. Mime, but any damage-increasing effect can make it happen, making it an effective counter. Take Down also got a damage increase, as well as an alternative downside to show Arcanine's Fire nature.

1686755353225.png

Onix was always a hopeless case. It's official version had a ridiculously high retreat cost and barely any utility. The Remastered version was better, but still not good enough. Doing 20 damage for 2 energy with a whopping 2 Retreat Cost was just straight up Not Good. Lowering that Retreat Cost is not an option - it's really part of Onix's design in every card they ever had. It's Harden isn't really that bad - it can prevent a good deal of damage which, coupled with 90 HP, can stall the game for quite some time. Instead I bumped up the damage of Rock Throw to 30, to give that attack some more utility when whatever Onix is facing isn't planning to attack either.

1686755377799.png

Snorlax has a similar issue to Onix - high retreat cost and low damage. The CCC cost of Body Slam was already a buff from the official card, but this time I bumped the damage to 40. It's pretty aggressive considering you just need a DCE and Energy to start Body Slamming for big damage.

1686755398757.png

Rapidash had a pretty original effect for its Agility attack - so original, that I wasn't exactly sure how the rulings for this attack would work. This wasn't really a problem, because Rapidash was not a good card to begin with. Taking this opportunity, I changed the Agility attack to something a bit more "normal", while giving it some strong utility against decks that heavily invest into expensive attackers.

Moltres.png

Lets save the best for last - it's Moltres. Moltres has proven to be an absolute beast for a few reasons that are quite obvious in hindsight. For starters, it does 80 damage - that is the most "flat" damage any Pokemon does in the format, period. Second, the cost - while not low - can easily be circumvented because of it's Colorless nature. And third, the "downside" of returning Moltres to your hand is actually not a downside at all. In fact, in many ways it can be used as an upside, by moving damage counters to Moltres before returning it to your hand. I want to approach this topic carefully and not overnerf the card. My first change is turning Sky Attack's cost from CCCC to RRCC. This makes it impossible to play with just two DCEs. Also, both Articuno and Zapdos's attacks from Fossil cost XXCC, which made Moltres's attack a - as kids call it nowadays - "flavor fail". My second change is an additional line of effect that prevents Zapdos from removing damage counters from itself, so any damage you do to Moltres really "sticks" now.

Articuno.png

And at the actual end - a few Pokemon had their wording clarified, with no actual changes to the gameplay.
Cards affected:
Nidorino (Base Set)
Nidoking (Base Set)
Electrode (Base Set)
Flareon (Jungle)
Jolteon (Jungle)
Vaporeon (Jungle)
Articuno (Fossil)
 
Just One More Thing...

When I started making this format, the goal of it was always to include every card from the first Gameboy TCG game - well, most of them, at least. See, one special batch of cards that was included in the GB game were the Promos - and while some Promos where cards that existed before, some Promos were made specifically for the game. These Promos features "impossible" attacks, usually having something to do with randomizing targets or effects. These, obviously, are not possible to recreate in a game that is meant to be playable both online, and in person - also, I do not believe "random effects" are a great design to begin with.
The biggest issue with the Promos was always choosing which Promos to include. The nature of these things is that they are not a part of any set, and their legality can vary depending on what you play. Because the early years of Pokemon TCG in the West were handled by Wizards of the Coast, different Promos were available at different times in Japan and outside of it. What I'm trying to get at, is that choosing which Promos to feature in the format will always be subjective - and that is what I will do, I will subjectively choose which cards to include.

While this release was postponed, I knew it had to come to the format sooner or later. Mew was one Pokemon that was featured only on Promos, meaning that so far it has not made an appearance in Base Set Remastered. With all of that out of the way, lets get to three things - the card selection, the release plan and the first previews of the week.

The set will feature 15 cards. Now, originally, I wanted to give you the exact list of the 15 cards that will be included. That, however, would be boring. Why not have a bit of excitement and learn which cards will be featured as they are released?
Now, for the release plan. I will release two cards every day, leading to 2024. I will release the last three cards on New Year's Eve. Marking the completion - the Official completion - of the card list for the Base Set Remastered format. Patches might still appear, but no new cards will be added after this point. At least to these thRee sets...

Mewtwo is a card of note for a very specific reason, and it has nothing to do with the words printed on the card. Instead, the extremely unusual part of this card is the amazing art, drawn by the late Christopher Rush. To this day, this is the only card from an artist that has also worked on Magic: the Gathering, and not only one of the few cards illustrated by a Westerner, but one of the only pieces of official Pokemon art that was allowed to be drawn by non-Japanese person. Christopher Rush is most known for illustrating the most infamous and most expensive Trading Card of all time - the Black Lotus.
Straight away I knew I wanted to pay homage to all of these facts by creating a Mewtwo card inspired by Black Lotus. However, getting inspired by a card that's legendarily broken is a challenge in itself. It would not be hard to make an equally broken Pokemon card, but that would be a purely artistic endeavour - I wanted to make a card that's playable.

Mewtwo-3.png

Mewtwo's "Energy Lotus" directly references the infamous Black Lotus by giving you instant access to three Energy. However, it also includes a number of nerfs, with the obvious one a turn end, as well as only attaching Energy from your hand. In many ways, it is what could be referred to as "Magical Christmas Land" card, which sounds incredible on paper, but might have issues with consistency. Unlike a "real" developer, I have the ability to nerf this card at any moment, but I decided I wanted to start with a stronger variant first and give it some space to shine.
The unique Metronome attack gives this card utility even when its ability isn't needed anymore. Normally this kind of attack would be extremely strong, but there is a reason I decided to not let any card reach the discard pile unless it has been through the play zone first. Opening the design space in this way allows attacks like Metronome to exist, because they can only access attacks of Pokemon you've already played before.

Finally, it's time for the famous and mythical legendary to make its first entrance into the format - Mew. Mew's thing really seems to be hating on Evolution cards. This seems a bit unfair, given that Evolution cards usually need help, rather than hate. However, the promo this card is based on wasn't that strong to begin with.

Mew.png

The only major change here is adding a damage number to the Devolution Beam attack. This is something we are starting to see in modern cards - devolution is not a completely useless mechanic, since it can abuse the previous evolution's smaller HP. Devolution Beam can knock out a Charizard with 50 HP, which is far from useless.
 

Energy Convolution​

It is actually quite baffling how ridiculously broken the original Eevee is, but it's definitely a card a lot of people remember - although that's possibly because they were a fan of Eevee in the first place. The original Eevee has an ability that lets it evolve from the deck AND it has a pretty strong 1-for-20 attack AND it has a free retreat cost. Someone had to stop this menace.
The most important thing an unevolved Pokemon can do is evolve. While I did everything I could to lessen the impact of this effect, it is a core part of how the game is designed. As such, any Eevee that lets you instantly evolve it is automatically better than any other Eevee - because you're not planning to swing for the fences with a measly Eevee. Eevee's ability to instantly evolve from the deck is part of the Pokemon's legacy even to this day - new cards are printed that still reference this effect, although they generally are balanced better.
Eevee-1.png
For Eevee, I did not want to remove its iconic ability but, at the same time, I couldn't ignore just how powerful this version of it was. One option was to just bring back actual Energy Evolution from future sets as a "rebalanced" version of the same effect. However, even that version felt too strong for me and just objectively better than anything else you could put on an Eevee - as explained above.
The final solution to this problem was tweaking the ability so that it requires not just attaching the energy to the Eevee, but discarding it as well. This cannot be considered an "objectively better" way of evolving an Eevee anymore. Don't get me wrong - it is still extremely strong, but I don't feel like it gives Eevee-evolving cards an unfair advantage by having access to a better Basic.

A Familiar Face​

One thing's for certain when you're dealing with Pokemon promos from any era - there will be a lot of Yellow Rat. This is not the last time you'll see the series' mascot, I can spoil that, but for now lets focus on the card at hand. The good news is, it didn't need much more than a fresh coat of paint.
Pikachu.png
Some standard additions are here - the wording was modernized, the second attack de-colorized and the retreat cost removed. If there's anything interesting about this promo, it's the fact that the "Growl" attack - extremely common as it may seem - is only seen on 32 unique cards. What gives?
 
Secret Legendary

Arcanine is a pretty straightforward promo, that will get a pretty straightforward remake. Ever since I rebalanced the original Arcanine from Base Set, something felt amiss to me. Sure, the format needed this kind of "off-color" attacker as I outlined it at the time, but Arcanine is a very iconic Pokemon - a "secret fourth legendary" in some aspects, that is meant to command respect. Delegating it to a role of a support Pokemon always left a weird taste in my mouth and I am happy that, with this promo, Arcanine fans that want to put them as their main attacker can finally eat.

Arcanine.png

The card is very similar to the original, but with a few buffs. The major one appears in the second attack - the discard is now optional, meaning Arcanine actually has three attacks: Quick Attack, 2-for-40 and a scaling rage-type attack. This attack is extremely powerful, having the capability to hit for 80, one of the highest amounts in the format. I think that definitely commands respect.

Back to the Roots

Venusaur Promo is a card that feels relatively random. There is a couple of things to consider with cards like that. First of all, I generally have a hard time justifying changing these promos in a very drastic way. That is mostly because they exist in a sort of "vacuum" without the context of any set. This Venusaur is a great example of this, as it doesn't even have a matching Bulbasaur or Ivysaur. It just kind of exists, as an odd promo added to a few books. At the same time, I am not comfortable with giving Grass access to such strong anti-Special Condition effect - in fact, it's not a good design decision to give a Type that already is based around a Special Conditions another pillar, than being "removing Special Conditions". If your friend builds a Grass deck built around Poison and you want to tweak your deck in order to counter them, how does it feel to splash into the exact Type they're using to punish you? For some it might be acceptable, but in general it doesn't feel okay.
Another part is Venusaur's passive Pokemon Power - one of the first things I've changed in this format was removing passive Powers from Stage 2 Pokemon. In some cases having a Power on your massive Stage 2 might feel fine, but not when it's this passive. All of this gave me an idea of reworking this "passive Power" into something that would fit on a Stage 2.

Venusaur.png

For that, I had to go back to the philosophies of each Type as I have written them. The philosophy of Grass is “Grow tall, win by attrition”. From that, I knew I wanted to make a Venusaur that rewarded the player for "sticking it" in the Active Spot and refusing to move from it. The options to do this in a concise way are limited, so I have chosen something simple and rewarding - a heal. In reality, it doesn't actually change the way the old version was played - it still swings and heals, but in a more controlled and unique manner.
 
Lets Go To The Movies

Not much to say about Pikachu - the first attack stuck me as somewhat strong, albeit risky.
Pikachu-2.png
I leaned into this "risk factor" by lowering the HP quite drastically, but making Pikachu's attacks more accessible. You definitely don't want to try to Recharge in the late game, but as your first attack it might be able to sneak in a free energy, or perhaps even get a cheeky KO with a Thunderbolt.

I get what this attack combination was trying to do on the old Electabuzz. "Light Screen" is a type of attack that is meant to tank early-game damage, while letting you set up in peace. That's all good, but I do have to ask - Light Screen is a Psychic-type attack, let its the only Lightning-type attack on this card?
Electabuzz-1.png
This version of Electabuzz makes it actually very similar to Jungle Scyther. Both have an damage-less attack that bumps the power of the second attack. Electabuzz can do more damage and has a stronger second attack, but is completely reliant on your opponent to trigger it, which is basically more of a deterrent, than guaranteed damage.

These promos are a curious case. Some are actually quite playable and perhaps even above the curve. Some, like original Dragonite, are extremely sub-par. In general, there is a trend to make promo cards "bad on purpose" - you don't want some exclusive, hard-to-get card rocking your format. These are meant to be mainly collectible pieces, rather than actual elements of in-game strategy. However, we here are not bound by these rules, as none of these cards are "actually" released, and availability makes so difference. As such, lets get to reworking. Dragonite's Power here is very weak. At Stage 2, you would at least expect some form of draw, not just a simple stash. Not to mention, it's another example of a passive Power on a Stage 2 Pokemon. That said, he do be carryin that bag tho. It would feel amiss to completely ignore the art and do something that doesn't relate to delivering some goods.
Dragonite-1.png
This Power is taken straight from TEU Jirachi. However, instead of being placed on a pivot Pokemon, it's instead on a massive beatstick that rather difficult to retreat. The original attack of Dragonite was massively unreliable - it still is, but to a much lesser extent. Dragonite here is a tech attacker, allowing you to fish for useful Trainer cards while dishing out some good damage.

The movie is coming to a close and there's a single promo left. It's also one that'll experience the least amount of changes, because it's not that good or bad. In fact, it's somewhat of a victim of the changes this format has made a long time ago.
Mewtwo-4.png
Because there is no way to put Energy cards in your discard pile from anywhere but the play zone, Mewtwo cannot accelerate until at least some time has passed in the game. At that point, using this ability is asking to take damage, although the reward isn't bad either. I have only docked one energy from the retreat cost, per the general rule of reducing them to more reasonable numbers.
 
Base Set 25th Anniversary and Patch 1.10!


Today marks the 25th birthday of Base Set - at least if you count the western releases. To celebrate the occasion, it's time for a massive update to Base Set Remastered!
First: Black Star Promos join the fray! 14 new cards are now available and, as always, you can check them out in the Set Display.
Second: We now have playdates! Join our Discord and read up on when's the next occasion to sling some Base Set on Tabletop Simulator!
Third: Patch 1.10 has just been released! If you've played before, check out the changes, as they are quite massive! What follows is the Patch 1.10 patchnotes.
Thank you for your support! This project celebrated its third anniversary last month. It's an amazing ride and it is only now picking up heat!

Patch 1.10 Details
I feel like some parts of the format are trapped in a limbo between being almost as consistent as modern Pokemon and being chaotic and unpredictable. From my perspective I would much rather have chaos, but of course players will try to fight it with every tool I give them. That is not to say players hate chaos and randomness - the fact that every game is different is one of the main draws of a Trading Game, and there are popular singleton formats in both Pokemon and Magic that exist specifically to make games random and chaotic. Consistency is just something that cannot be passed by idly when available. And one of the main facilitators of that consistency is Poke Ball.
I like Poke Ball in its current form. I actually consider it one of the biggest successes, especially when it comes to evocative cards that nail how a "starter ball" should feel. However, Poke Ball is actually extremely strong. That's not just a matter of context, as it is probably stronger than any Ball ever printed in the official game - bar maybe Ace Spec Master Ball, but that's not really a fair comparison. Poke Ball can find ANY basic Pokemon and has a 50% chance of finding Evolution Pokemon. At the time, that wasn't really a concern to me, but lately I have taken a look at another card I made - Pokemon Trader. That card is extremely bad compared to Poke Ball, wasting your Supporter play for the turn and a Pokemon card from your hand just to grant a marginally better effect than Poke Ball. That got me thinking: what if Pokemon Trader was actually the baseline, not the outlier? Maybe having Item cards that can consistently pull any card from the deck is a mistake? Maybe getting what you want should be, at least, on the level of a Supporter, not an Item card? These ideas preoccupied me. Sure, it would make the game very inconsistent. But, then again, isn't that pretty great? Playing with the cards you drew, not the entire deck?

One thing to consider is an effect like Quick Ball - picking the first Pokemon you find from the top of your deck. However, this encourages players to run as little Pokemon as possible, to maximize the chance of good hits with this effect. That is definitely not something that should be encouraged.
The other option is just taking the Great Ball's effect - picking a Pokemon from the top 7 cards of your deck. This actually encourages players to include a lot of Pokemon, to guarantee a hit and maybe even have a choice included. It is also a type of effect that isn't universally good - decks that run low Pokemon counts won't be interested. It does pose two puzzling questions, though. One of them is, of course, how could this effect scale if Great Ball was to turn up and require a new effect. This is kind of a moot point, since Great Ball won't appear in any Gen 1 set, but it's not completely pointless, since Master Ball does. Second, more pressing one, is Pokedex - it has an extremely similar effect, although with an upside of getting to sort your top cards.

Lets shelf this discussion then and switch to looking at Pokedex. Pokedex isn't a very strong card for the very simple reason that Poke Ball exists. Also, it's not really evocative - sure it has ties to Pokemon cards and "knowledge" by letting you sort your top cards, but it's nothing to write home about. Also, sorting your top cards is usually extremely undervalued by players - yes, it lets you choose exactly what you'll draw in the future, but players below a certain level usually get bummed out when they have to sort a bunch of cards they don't want to draw anyway. So, is there a solution?
I believe there is. By removing the Pokemon part completely and giving Pokedex even stronger sorting abilities, it becomes a very strong consistency card. Sure, it doesn't draw you anything, but gives you extreme control over the cards you'll get in the future.
Lets look at the changes, then.

Pokedex.png
Poke_Ball.png

One card is missing from this whole puzzle here - Rare Candy. It's yet another card that lets you find any Pokemon from your deck without fault, but this time only working on Evolutions. For now, I want to take it slow - evolution decks deserve a strong tool to compete with basic decks and Rare Candy itself has enough conditionality that it fits the definition of what an Item Card should do.
This is a massive change for the format, because it fundamentally changes some of the best cards of the format, down to the very rules of what certain cards can and cannot do. I am excited to see what it brings.

A Char-Reminder

If there's any lesson I have taken from designing this format that's more important than any other, it's that bringing Energies back from the discard is much stronger than bringing them out of your hand. This is somewhat counter-intuitive - first of all, Energies in your hand feel much more accessible than those in your discard, since you need to put these Energies in the discard first before accessing them. Second, I already made sure there is no way to put Energies in the discard pile from your deck or hand, so you cannot sneakily accelerate using these cards. And yet, that still doesn't change the fact re-acceleration is stronger than acceleration.
The reason for that is simple, and you can see it in today's modern Pokemon TCG with decks like Gardevoir ex. Energy in your deck is a limited resource that ends, when they all find their way into your play or discard. Meanwhile, energies in your discard are unlimited - even when brought back to play, they'll find their way back through various mechanics, such as retreats and KOs. It means a recurring re-acceleration effect can bring back much more energy than a from-hand acceleration effect, even if the latter can technically put you ahead for a while. Also, since getting KO'd also means losing your energy, re-acceleration is much more important than acceleration, especially in formats that aren't ridiculously fast.
All of that is to say - Charmeleon is broken. It's a re-acceleration card with no downside. The solution, as worked out on our Discord, is to punish the use of its Power by adding one damage counter along with the energy, truly living up to its name of "Energy Burn". It still doesn't mean the card is perfectly balanced, but it'll give it some kind of downside.

Charmeleon-1.png

Smaller Fish to Fry

I felt like Seaking was too focused on this one "blowout" attack, so I decided to pair it with a technical attack to give the card more utility, before or after the massive Waterfall.

Seaking.png

Cle-ptomaniacs

The Powers of Clefairy and Clefable have been nerfed to only works on a single Tails flip per turn. Also, Clefable's Metronome had its price increased.

Clefairy.png
Clefable.png

Articu-NO

This is the worst pun I came up with so far and that's your reward for getting all the way here in this massive update.
Articuno was extremely strong because of its second attack. 50 damage is nothing to scoff about, even with the restrictive cost. The added effect of stalling your opponent's entire bench was oppressive and, on top of that, it had 70 HP and no weakness. All of these needed to be torpedoed immediately. Articuno now does less damage, the amount of Paralyzed Pokemon was dropped to 2 and its health was dropped to 60.

Articuno.png

Mewtwo

Finally, the last Pokemon that was "allowed" to discard cards. I let this Power stay specifically for Mewtwo, but I should have learned my lesson. Yes, it was abusable, because the mechanic of discarding whatever you want is abusable. The change is extremely simple and makes Mewtwo a Pokemon like any other.

Mewtwo.png
 
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