My Journey to Retro Formats: Base Set Formats and More

First things first, most of my experience comes form the Career Mode but I’ve read Jason Klaczynski’s blog and played the Game Boy game. I’ll share what I like of the Base Set formats and the Rocket-on format.

If you never played this format and only go with what the people say, you may think that this format is just Haymaker mirrors. In reality this format has more depth thanks to the Jungle and Fossil expansions. I will not go in depth because you can just read Jason’s blog to inform yourself in the meta, and I just never played that many games outside of Career Mode, but I’ve played the GB game and finished it :slightly_smiling_face:. In my opinion this is the best of all Base formats, because things get downhill from here…

This format is “What if we made Base-Fossil better but worse at the same time?”. And the awnser is make more broken Trainer cards and Dark Pokémon (Not dark type, that’s later). This format is really good unless you have a terrible case of bad luck.

If you are into suffering, this is the format for you! You better have a ton of Basic Pokémon or really good luck because Trainer cards can become your worst enemy thanks to The Combo™ (If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.) But if you survive, then, you will find the greatest treasure of all PTCG… FUN! (But maybe not for you…)

Remember this: “Cleffa is our hero. Cleffa is our savior. Always run 4 Cleffa. If you are not, then get more Cleffa.” Thanks to Cleffa the game got healthier, no more Combo™. But not everything got better, The Baby Rule adds more coin flips to a already coin flippy game and the format’s best attacker is also a coin flipper. And who is the best attacker in the format? Sneasel! A dark Pokémon (Not Dark, there is a difference.) who can deal a lot of damage thanks to Darkness Energy. There is also metal Pokémon and Energy (Not Steel, this is not the videogames.) While I think this format is better than the ones before, the flavor of Base set is kinda lost now. If you don’t like that flavor and don’t mind the coin flips, this is the format for you! (If you are playing slowking with the errata. If not, then… Why?)

“What’s this? This is not a Base format!” That’s the “and More” part of the title. If you still don’t like any Base formats then you can try this one (It’s my favorite btw.) No more Energy Removals or Lass… (btw. Who is she?) It’s a less problematic format with a heavier focus in evolutions (And it has Ampharos.) It tastes like minerals! This is the peak of this era of the TCG because in the next set, the game changed forever… (Are you playing Slowking?! You are hopeless…)

About other formats like Prop 15/3… I’ve never played them and I have no opinions. Next up is e-Cards, the format that everyone forgot because it is in the shadow of it’s big brother the EX Series. In the meantime, why don’t you write down your favorite Base format and why?

P.S. I took me a lot of time to write this, It’s midnight now lol. Hope the next one dosen’t take me that long…


All right, I’ll share my thoughts on some formats:
Base-Fossil: This format requires high skill and good resource managment. It lacks in variety tho, because almost all evolutions are either not that good compared to the top basics, or because the format is filled with removals. A lot of games can end with some player decking or almost decking itself, while at the same time trying to take its last prize, which makes it quite exciting at times.
Even though I mentioned a lack of choice of good pokemon in this format, I still think there are unexplored combination of them. Like, I haven’t seen anyone pair Electrode with pokemons other than Arcanine or Chansey. Also, some interesting cards haven’t seen enough play imo: Pokemon Flute, Oak’s Revenge, Tauros, Seaking, Snorlax, etc.

Finally, I wanna comment on where the high skill comes from in this format. First, its simplicity: Unlike posterior formats, this format isn’t as crazy as them. You won’t find pokepowers or attacks that discard cards from your opponent’s hand. You won’t find pokemon that prevent your opponent from playing trainers, won’t find some secret pp that makes you draw 2 prizes, etc. From that simplicity stems confidence: Each player has a high certainty of what his opponent is able or not to do. Example: If I have a full health Scyther in the active, and my opp doesn’t have any energy attached to its pokemon, then I know he can’t kill it(leaving weakness aside) .There just isn’t a combination of the few cards in the format or a crazy pokepower that can enable to knock out my scyther. From that confidence, each player knows what the best play is according to the circumstances, and from that high skill play is born.

Base-Rocket I’d like to play it when it’s available on Quickplay, and Base-Gym I hope to play after that.

Base-Neo : As you said, Base-Neo is a format filled with coin flips that make the whole game a lot more random and gives you a feeling of unjustice. The main cause are the baby pokemon, but also cards like Focus Band. Since this format inherits the removals and superremovals of base set, it’s hard for evolution pokémon to shine here as well. With regards to sneasel, it’s an absolutely busted card that has NO COUNTER…no weakness, no retreat cost, nothing that resists it, attacks with 1 energy as well, etc. All that makes a lot of people to include sneasel in their decks, diminishing overall variety.
Many possible strategies involving Brock’s Ninetales(evolutions last chance!!) are just completely shut off with 1 single Muk fossil. Overall I think this is my least favorite format.

Will comment on rocket on later.

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Great write-ups and I’m glad you appreciated my blog! Base–Fossil is my favorite Base-on format too and I agree it’s intensely skillful. I’ve been playing some more Base–Rocket lately and though I want to believe it’s not that bad, RSA and Dark Vileplume really do spoil the party!