My thoughts of custom formats/banlists

Hello~ The talk about a custom format or ban lists is getting me super excited, so I wanted to put my thoughts down. Please don’t take this post as added pressure to implement anything that I’m saying, but I think that having a list in a single thread would be cool.

I also am very aware that some people may feel that more formats would fracture the player base of some formats or that they might overwhelm new players, but this thread is not designed to argue for or against including new formats, in general, even though I think more content/options will only cause more people to enjoy the site more.

Anyway, here are the formats I had in mind…

  • Unrestricted - A chaotic format that would allow decks that consist of anything, including more than 4 copies of any card, maybe even more/less than 60 cards in the deck. This would be difficult to program, but I think it could be really helpful for testing decks or concepts with friends. (Imagine testing an incomplete deck of 20 cards in order to test a specific type of combo with a friend before incorporating it into a finished deck.)
  • Anything Goes - A similar format to Unrestricted, but would still restrict decks to containing 60 cards, having only 4 cards of the same name, etc., but would allow any card possible on the site. It would have similar uses as Unrestricted, except it would be for actual playing matches. The rules used in this format could match the current standard, as they change. (For instance, the player that goes first cannot use a Supporter, but this rule might change, in the future, so this format would just match those rule changes. Same with Unrestricted)
  • SM Series (Single-Prize Only) - This would be a format that is identical to the SM Series format, except it disallows mutli-prize Pokemon (GX Pokemon). Actually, this is just an example format. I think that every generation of cards could have a Singe-Prize Only variation format: XY Series (Single-Prize Only), BW Series (Single-Prize Only), EX Series (Single-Prize Only), etc. This could also restrict all rule boxes, too, which could include Radiant Rule Pokemon, Ace Spec cards, Baby Rule Pokemon, etc., but the name sounds much more obvious than something like “Rule Boxless.”
  • Gameboy TCG Format - A format that includes only cards that were available in the Gameboy TCG game. This could help people practice for the version on the Switch before playing online on the actual hardware. I’ve always wanted to see this format on this site, even though the meta might be seen as too similar to the Base-Fossil… There are 228 classic cards, which is most of the Base-Fossil cards and some promos, but it includes 18 game-exclusive cards. Additionally, one important difference is that in the GB game, you could not draw a new card whenever the opponent does not have any basics in their starting hand. There’s something fun and nostalgic about playing this format with a pal, using decks that you only had access to as a kid. But, I’m even more excited for the next format on this list…
  • Gameboy GR2 TCG Format - A format that includes only cards that were available in the Japanese-only Gameboy TCG sequel. Even though this game was not released in the US, I have sunk more hours into this game than the original GB game and I think this format would be much more different than any format that is currently offered on this website. The game includes 441 cards, which includes all of the cards from the previous game, along with cards from the Team Rocket expansion, most cards from the JP-only vending expansion sheets, the 15 exclusive JP-only Intro Pack cards, 13 more game-exlusive cards, and a few random cards from future sets, like a Neo Genesis card or a Gym Heroes card. I’m really hoping that this becomes playable for the same reason I want a Gameboy TCG Format to be playable, but this one is especially interesting to me because of how much more unique it would be to the existing formats. As things currently stand, there is no way to use the vending cards in any format earlier than Base-Gym… This means that (in my opinion) the vending cards are overshadowed by the gameplay differences in the Gym expansions, so they won’t really be used. Meanwhile, a Gameboy GR2 TCG Format would allow them to shine. :sunglasses:
  • Base-Neo+, which could also be called Base-Neo (Complete) - A variation of Base-Neo, but all cards from all regions would be legal, including Porygon (Fan Club Promo). This format would act as a more complete version of the Base-Neo format, but the idea could be extended to other formats, even though I don’t think there are many region-exclusive cards in newer expansions.
  • Base-Neo-, which could also be called Base-Neo (Babyless) - A subset of Base-Neo that doesn’t have Baby Pokemon. I’d go a step further and suggest that this format should also remove Chaos Gym, Rocket’s Sneak Attack, Lass, and/or even Imposter Oak’s Revenge. This custom format could allow players to the classic Base-Neo format with less un-fun cards, finally allowing us to enjoy all of the good cards in this set. :sweat_smile:
  • Legacy Select - This format is a custom format that I created. You can use this link to my website to see the list legal cards for this format. This is like a celebratory set. Of course, if you implement some kind of custom format that anyone can create and be in control of, I’d build this format out, myself, once all the cards are implemented.
  • Gym Leader Challenge (GLC) - @ahoodedman made another thread about this, and I know you all know what this is, but I feel obligated to document it, here. “The card pool is BW base on, only one type of pokemon can be played in your deck, only a single copy of each card can be played, expect for basic energy; pokemon with a rule box are banned…” More information.
  • Prop 15/3: “Prop 15/3 includes all sets from Base Set to Gym Challenge, as well as Wizards’ first 24 promo cards.” “All cards would remain legal, but players could play no more than 15 Trainers in their deck. Additionally, players could play no more than 3…” More information
  • Palace Format, but also called Hall Format - “A format of the Pokémon Trading Card Game exclusive to Japan. It allows players to use cards from every expansion since Diamond & Pearl and uses a star-based system to restrict the cards that can be played in a deck. Certain cards have been assigned a star-value ranging from 1 to 3 (with 5 additional cards being strictly banned), and each player is allowed to include up to 4 stars in their deck.” More information
  • Theme Deck-Only - PTCGO used to have a theme deck-only format. It would be cool if there was a way to do something similar, here… I believe that this format would allow all theme decks ever made, which could be something like a Theme-Deck Only format, but it’s possible to break that down by series, as well, such as a SM Series (Single-Prize Only), XY Series (Single-Prize Only), BW Series (Single-Prize Only), EX Series (Single-Prize Only), etc.
  • Shuckle TCG’s Johto Theme Deck - A format that uses custom theme decks for each Johto/Kanto Gym Leader, plus the Elite Four. The decks exclusively use Neo-On cards and were designed to be played against each other in a fun and balanced way. This would be similar to the Theme Deck-Only format, except it would only allow specified custom theme decks that could play against each other. You can learn more about this format from this video. He also has a video for each of his custom decks.

Please feel free to give some suggestions or feedback about this list, as well as add to it! :slight_smile:

I would like to add that only a handful of Block Formats have been added to TCGONE. A block format is a format that uses all the cards from a specified series of Pokémon, such as e-card block, EX block, and Sun and Moon block (and Base-Gym, but players pay far more attention to the individual set releases (Base-Jungle, Base-Fossil, Base-Rocket) in first generation than in subsequent eras, so the novelty or character of a block format is largely mitigated). These formats have all been implemented on TCGONE, but we have not seen Neo block, Diamond and Pearl/Platinum block, Heartgold Soulsilver Block, Black and White block, XY block, or… err… SSH-EVS. Now, Neo block can be played in Base-Neo, Rocket-Onward, or Neo-Skyridge by agreement, and the sets from Diamond and Pearl/Platinum and Heartgold Soulsilver aren’t fully implemented yet (HGSS Series is listed as a format on TCGONE, but only contains the first two sets). But Black and White block and XY block are both comprised of implemented cards and unplayable within any existing format. XY block is… well, pretty much 2016 with Brock and Dragonite EX for M Gardevoir EX STS (and Pidgeot EX as a fringe meme deck), but Black and White block format adds Genesect EX/Virizion EX, a major player from 2014, to the 2013 format, not to mention it adds Jirachi EX to several decks (and throws in Meloette EX/Seismitoad into the mix as an option for beginning players who don’t want to subscribe to the Garbodor mindset).
Jason Klaczynski will be a very happy man if you add Black and White block format.

I tried to be conscientious about card availability and progress being made by that, but you bring up a good point. A Neo Series set would be cool, too. That would only allow the Gen 2 Neo sets, right? And then, the BW Series, DP Series, etc, when all those cards become available.

Just to clarify, 2013 and 2014 both exist already, so all the cards for Black and White exist unless any promos are missing. 2011 and 2012 are only absent because Undaunted, Triumphant, and Call of Legends have not been implemented yet.

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Those format suggestions sound good, a player would be able to define and publish them when custom formats feature is released. I’ll make sure those can be realized in the design.

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Thank you so much!! :heart: :blue_heart: :purple_heart:

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Hope to not bother you too much with this, could you give us some hints on how the formats/banlists would be shared or used, publicly? If I make a format/banlist, would it need a unique name? What will be done about duplcate formats that share the same name, but have slight variations because rhe user forgot to add one card or change one thing? Will formats have some reputation ranking, similar to how the shared deck recipes have a counter for how many times they were cloned? I am concerned people might create two competing, yet identical, lists, too, and was curious if you had come up with any potential details about how that would work. No pressure if you are still designing it.

One reason why requiring unique names for a format concerns me is that someone with a personal grudge against the developer of a format could create a custom format with that format’s name first, then set frustrating perimeters like “37 card decks with at least 37 Pokémon EX” to turn people away from exploring someone else’s well thought-out format. There’s not really any way to moderate this type of behavior, and even if a format upload limit prevented people from booking all the simple variations (such as “Gymleaderchallenge11” or “gYm13ad3r cha113ng3”), it would still be frustrating for players who are already fans of a format.

Of course, this may be unavoidable. If there weren’t any distinguishing factors apart from the name visible in “create a game,” it would be impossible to tell the difference between two formats both called “Prop 15/3.”

Warning: this design is not final yet.

A custom format consists of a parent format, rule overrides, card pool definition (sharable across formats) and validation rules (can be reused). CustomFormats can only be played in custom “rooms” created by players for given format (custom or not). Each room gets a separate game list, member list, room chat and scoreboard. Publishing a format consists of changing its status from draft to public. All players can see public formats. Format names are unique across the site. Once a custom format is published, it gets a version number. When a format gets updated after publication, they need to get a new version number upon publication. Version number includes last author name to distinguish between different authors. One may clone any public format and publish a new version. Decks created for a custom format will display whether it is legal in which published versions. Format names and formats are subject to moderation.

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I am also concerned for the same reason, but I am probably more concerned about someone making a second “Base-Neo+” set and adding in EX’s for the lulz. I think it would be hard for users to know which one is the real format and which one is just a troll. So, either way, that issue would persist…

What might even be worse is that there might be like 10 duplicate formats that are identical, with the same name. That might confuse people who are wanting to play the site for the first time.

@admin , I’d hate to say something like this, because I think a lot of people would hate the idea, but what do you think about gating format creation behind Patreon donation? I think that would limit the spam or troll formats. Once created, anyone could use them, even people who are not Patreon supporters, making it more of a way for the community to drive more people to play the site in a healthier way. I wouldn’t expect non-Patrons to pay for the community formats, though, otherwise, Patrons would have almost no one to play with in the formats (considering that the formats might already be niche). I know I would be willing to pay for the ability to make some new formats, like the ones I mentioned. I know I would also put several tournament rewards (real money) up for some of those niche tournaments to get more players involved, too, which would naturally exclude non-Patrons if it’s a Patron-only feature.

I haven’t fully decided on the limits yet but Custom Formats overall will definitely be a sub-only feature :slight_smile:

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Oh, darn, that would be a huge disappointment if non-subs could not at least play in custom formats. (Maybe only subs could start a game with a custom format, but anyone could join?) I know I would never be able to persuade my friends to give the site a shot if they had to pay, and I know tournaments would be much smaller.

Does that mean that Prop 15/3 will be added as an official format at some point? Jason would be livid if he had to keep on opening Base-Gym games forever. Being able to play official formats like Hall of Fame (at least the original) and Prop 15/3 without the complexity of Quickplay games with descriptions was the main reason I was excited about this feature. If nobody without Patreon can play the custom formats even after they’re created, you may still want to use the new code to program those two formats into TCGONE as official Quickplay formats.

Incidentally, I still think you should post an affiliate link to TCGPLAYER somewhere on the website. As I mentioned before, I can’t pay for Patreon, but if I could buy $100 a year in singles from TCGPLAYER through an affiliate link on your blog, you might get $5 or $10 of it to keep the site running.

The new “rooms” feature I mentioned earlier will make custom formats accessible to non-subscribers.


Quickly added Shuckle TCG’s Johto Theme Deck to the list.

It also has infinite retreat, meaning that you can do multiple retreats in the same turn.

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