Fake Edition Analysis - 20 Years of Power Creep (part 1)
By nick15 [January 13, 2019 - 22:54]
[Last Updated: January 14, 2019 - 11:09]  

Fake Edition Packs

Happy New Year Everyone!

As part of the SUPER AWESOME TWENTY YEAR POKÉMON AAAH! ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS happening this year as part of Pokémon Aaah!'s 20th Anniversary celebrations which I'm celebrating this year, I'd thought I'd go back to the very beginning and take a look at my very first fake card set, the aptly name Fake Edition. Now if you don't remember, Fake Edition is quite literally the very first Pokémon TCG fake card set, EVER. I made 200 cards over the course of a year (June 1999 to June 2000), and it ran the gamut between plain ol' cards to tournament-worthy Trainer cards, to cards based on the Pokémon anime/cartoon series. To be honest I sorta made it up as I went along, but frankly that's not much different than what Media Factory did with the sets back in the day.

That said, a lot of these cards were made for the game as it existed in 1999-2000. Nearly 20 years later and not only is the game still going strong, but there has also been a bit of a power creep... probably to render the cards which ruled the roost back in the day useless (lol imagine trying to run a classic Haymaker against some modern deck!). Now I actually still sorta pay attention to the game... kinda... it's on-and-off... but I at least buy new packs now and again and play the Pokémon TCG Online game every now and again. So I'm at least fairly familiar with the current power level of modern cards.

So with that knowledge, I'm gonna go back and take a look at my old cards from Fake Edition, see if they're still viable today, maybe give them a little update to keep them playable for today's formats (albeit on text, I don't have the time to remake them), and maybe even share some of my thoughts and memories about the cards. I'll try to make this a fairly regular update deal, as well as cover the cards in the same chunks I originally post them in, and at least make a page in the sidebar (under Pages & Junk section) in case you missed some older ones. Sound good? Anyways, let's get crackin'!

PS: Wow! I sure am posting a lot this year! At this rate I should end up writing, what, 100 posts this year?


To keep things simply, I'll cover the first 14 cards, which were made between June 23rd and July 11th, 1999. Future posts may cover more or less, depending on what feels reasonable and appropriate.

 Missingno.
Pokémon - June 23, 1999 - #1

Oh boy! This was the very first fake card I EVER made. I mean, literally, THIS particular file, this collection of 0's and 1's right here is the first card I ever made. Well, it's not THAT special given that that particular collection of 0's and 1's have been copied and duplicated thousands of times by now. I've even made multiple version of this card; one of which is linked right above, and the other can be seen on the "Fan-made card" article on Bulbapedia (or here).

Anyways, this card was made for a website called the "PokéCenter at CCGNews.com", a site which no longer existed even back in 2005. They had a "Card Creations" section on the site, and I decided to put the skills I gained making fake Star Wars CCG and Magic: The Gathering fakes to the test. Clearly it was the best thing they've ever seen, and they posted it on their site, making me a instant celebrity! This is what started it all...

That said, I chose to make a Missingno. fake because... well, no one else had done it! It was such a unique and obvious idea for me that I had no reason NOT to. In fact, it was such a great idea, I made it twice! (See the next entry.)

 Missingo
Pokémon - June 23, 1999 - #2

This is the other card, it's "twin" so to speak. I wanted to try to make this card look a bit more authentic, even renaming "MissingNo." to "Missingo", ie. "Missing Flamingo".

As for the card itself, I wanted to do something that would replicate the "Missingno" effect in the TCG, as in, replicating the "duplicating the 6th item in your bag ▓░▚ times", so I allowed the player to search their deck for energy cards. Effectively this gave the player as many Energy cards they would ever need in the game, although they were stuck playing it on their Active Pokémon, so I felt it was a fair trade off. Even with Blastoise's "Rain Dance" power, two energy a turn still isn't THAT much, and I'll bet that player has alternative ways to grab whatever energy they need. That said, I didn't think about what could happen if you had more than one MissingNo., but you were still stuck playing it on your Active, and once your Active is all maxed out, then you either have to switch (which may involve discarding Energy), or just not use it. So, still, I feel that it's chances for abuse was slightly slim. If I REALLY had to balance it further, then I might limit it to just once per turn (so no multiple Powers can be used), and/or having it use up your single Energy attachment per turn.

Its attack was something I threw in only because that was just one of its attacks. While I wouldn't mess with its Pokémon Power so much. Obviously 4 colorless (plus ditching one of them) for 40 and a Tail Whip effect is a bit steep. But then again, given how easy it is to get energy in play with Missingno, that too might be a fair balance. So in order to adjust for power creep, I may make it 60-80 damage instead.

Mew
Pokémon - July 7, 1999 - #3

Back when I started to make fake cards, I wanted to make cards which were new and unique, something that stood out, something that I knew would never exist in real life and so I would need to make it myself. Of course, 20 years later basically every kind of Pokémon TCG cards exists. But 20 years ago, many cards didn't. At this point in the TCG, the Jungle set had ONLY just been released, and Fossil was still months away. And thus, there was no such thing as a "Mew" card. So I made one!Its power was based on the idea that Mew was the evolutionary ancestor of all Pokémon, and so I figured Mew could be a decent utility for decks: it can be a catch-all Basic Pokémon, thus allowing you to add in whatever Evolution card in your deck for the card itself without worrying about having to include its Basic card.

Meanwhile its attack is just a generic "Psychic" attack. But given Mew's intended utility, I would change the attack to use Colorless energy only, and then have it do extra damage based on the variety of basic Energy card types attached to it. So, say it would use [CCC], do 50+ damage, and 10 more for each different type of Energy type on it (so if all three Energy cards are the same, it does 10+, if there are two different types it does 20+, and so on).

Finally, it's HP and retreat cost seem a bit off... I might just make it 40 HP and [C] retreat.

Mewtwo (in Armor)
Pokémon - July 8, 1999 - #4

Ahhhh yes, one of the most famous and classic cards from the early years of Fake Edition: Mewtwo (in Armor). Everyone loved this card so much, and I remember using it as an advertisement for PA! back in the day, when I used to hand out paper flyers at local Pokémon Mall events. Good times...

Its Power, Armor Guard, was "Metal Energy" before it existed. And it reduced damage by 20, not just 10. I definitely would keep its power, although I may keep it at 20 damage just to keep thing a bit more balanced, as 20 damage back then was a bit too much! I mean, consider the 10 damage reduction Metal Energy provided, and some of the pain that caused in shutting down some well laid plans. However, I would remove the boilerplate "This power can't be used..." text and make it "always on".

Its attack was another generic "Psyshock" attack.... so if I were to remake this card today, I may have it do damage based on the Stage of the Defending Pokémon. So maybe 30 damage to Basic, 60 to Stage 1, and 90 to Stage 2 Pokémon, and then maybe +30 to EX/ex types or other specialty types, etc. The idea is that Mewtwo's power was so grand that it could toss around big Pokémon... and the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

M. (Block)
Pokémon - July 8, 1999 - #5

This is the last "Missingno."-type fake I could do, only this time basing it on the fact that Missingno. tend to have two of the same attacks. Now since Pokémon cards back in the day either had 1 attack and/or Pokémon Power, or 2 attacks (at least until Gym Challenge's Rocket's Mewtwo), basically I opted to just give this Missingno two attacks, and the only two attacks it had two of: Water Gun.

Now because the Water Gun attack back then had a limit of 20 extra damage that could be done, I designed it so that it would be staggered, allowing you to do anywhere between 10 and 50 damage if you had 1 to 5 energy on it. And one benefit I added was that it was Energy agnostic, allowing you to toss on any random Energy you had in hand, giving it some extra utility.

But since modern Pokémon TCG versions of Water Gun (Hydro Blast, etc) has no limits like the old style... I might as well just have two copies of the same attack. Because if I designed it like:

  • [C] — Water Gun — (20+) — This attack does 20 more damage times the amount of Energy attached to this Pokémon.
  • [CCC] — Water Gun — (60+) — This attack does 20 more damage times the amount of Energy attached to this Pokémon.

This it would look like I wasn't paying attention. At least having both attacks be literally the same (most likely the first [C](20+) version), then it would seem more deliberate as if I was referencing that Missingno had two of the literally exact same attack.

Marril
Pokémon - July 9, 1999 - #6

Like the Mew (#3) and Mewtwo (in Armor) (#4) cards above, this Marill Marril card existed only because a reall one did not at the time. There is otherwise nothing special about this card, other than the fact that it was made before a real Marril Marill card. Oh, and I gave it a resistance to Fire, which was a pretty novel idea for Water-type Pokémon.

Remaking this one today... I dunno, I'd maybe just give it more utility. Like, I'm impressed with this recent Lotad card, which allows you to shuffle a card back into your opponent's deck. Now THAT is the kind of stuff I wanted to see back then during the thick of my fake card designing... namely, cards which did something unique, versus just the boring "1 energy = 10 damage" junk.

But unfortunately for this card specifically, since I never made an Azumarill card to go with it, I had no plan for he pair, so there was nothing I could do with this Basic Pokémon to make it unique and related to its evolution. So... that's really it.

TM35 - Metronome
Trainer - July 11, 1999 - #7

Another unique card, made before they ever made actual "Technical Machine" cards. But unlike the actual TM cards, mine were more permanent.

Nothing special about this card other than the novelty of an actual TM card... I just lifted the attack text from Jungle Clefable; the attack is probably just as useful today as it was back then.

Showdown
Trainer - July 11, 1999 - #8

I think this card was designed by my best friend Jimmy (aka MegaX back then). Of course this card is clearly super powered, even by today's standards, as "all Energy" could mean zero or one, and "your Benched Pokémon" could be just one Pokémon (cuz none on your bench + active KO's = loss). But the idea was to simply toss up a really lame cannon fodder as your Active (like a Pikachu), play this card, and you basically eliminate whatever jerky Pokémon your opponent was playing (like a Mewtwo). I guess your opponent could use it too, and since you only have four in your deck, that balances it right there.

If we could remake this card today, I'd maybe change it such that it has higher risk. Like having it be a Supporter, or even an Ace Spec, making sure your Bench is full, and/or then adding as much damage to your Benched Pokémon to knock them out, but then minus 10 damage. Or something along those lines. I'm sure there are ways to keep the essence of this card while keeping it balanced.

HM04 - Strength
Trainer - July 11, 1999 - #9

Another TM card, except this one grants a Pokémon Power instead of an attack. I guess the idea was to have this card strengthen whatever Pokémon it was attached it, like a permanent PlusPower. Frankly that seemed a bit unbalanced back then, but it might just work in today's formats.

That said, tossing four permanent PlusPower into your deck might be a bit overpowered itself, so maybe this could be an Ace Spec as well... although in that case I might up the power to 30 or 40 extra damage instead.

Togepi
Pokémon - July 11, 1999 - #10

Just like Marill, Togepi exists only because a real version did not. Boy this is bringing back some vague memories. And like the Marill card, its sole purpose was to be something new, nothing more.

Curiously its weakness and resistance would have nothing to do with what Togepi's line would end up being... as a Flying-type, it would be weak to Lightning-type Pokémon. And I don't know where the Psychic weakness came from; maybe it had something to do with the anime? Hm.

Thunder Stone
Trainer - July 11, 1999 - #11

Finally we come to the last four cards of this post: the Elemental Stones. I had the idea of turning them into cards, just like any other element from Pokémon. But curiously enough, at least these four stones have NEVER been made into cards, and their only appearance has been on a certain Pokémon's card art (namely the art for any Pokémon that evolves from that particular stone).

These cards are still arguably viable today, albeit they would need to be updated to cover any new Pokémon that would evolve from it in later Gens, such as evolving Pansear to one of its three Evos. Alternatively, it probably would only need to search for a card to add to your hand instead of evolving it right away, which seems to be the standard now.

Water Stone
Trainer - July 11, 1999 - #12

Another change would be to make sure it covers any Pokémon with that Pokémon's name in its name, to ensure that it covers more than just the vanilla versions. Therefore, if, say, Poliwrath-EX, or Mega-Poliwrath was in your deck, Water Stone (etc) could still be used to grab them from your deck.

Fire Stone
Trainer - July 11, 1999 - #13

All that said, I doubt they'll see much use, outside of trying to grab a specific Pokémon from your deck which just HAPPENS to be a useful card in the current metagame. But isn't that what these cards are for to begin with?

One thing I did consider when it came to redesigning these cards for today would be to simply combine them all into a single stone card... but then I realized that that card would have sooooo many different conditional uses... so in that case I might as well just say "search your deck for an Evolution card and put it in your hand". An alternative change could be to keep the stones separate, but then also allow players to select their Basic forms as well. That way an Eevee-heavy deck could ensure they could pull whatever they need with these cards. ... lol, but how often are "Eevee-heavy decks" in the metagame? (I mean, really, tell me, cuz I don't know.)

Leaf Stone
Trainer - July 11, 1999 - #14

The artwork was based on my own imagination, as a lot of the artwork for them really didn't exist. I mean, sure, they appeared in the anime, but that wasn't official video game art. And this is considering that actual pixel art for the items wouldn't appear until FireRed-LeafGreen, which won't show up for another 5-ish years or so. So I simply just took a guess based on what did exist. I think I did a fairly decent job making them look a bit transparent and gem-like. Especially given my art skills back in the day.

PHEW! What a story about these cards. Of course, there's plenty more where that came from! I hope to cover more about the set over the upcoming year. I hope you'll be there to enjoy them all as I share them.

Speaking of being somewhere, this is a friendly reminder that April 2019 will be PA!'s 20th Anniversary Extravaganza! I'll set up a YouTube video chat thingy for us to chat and share memories, etc, about the good ol' days of the website. Like when we had an actual community. Anyways, I hope you can join me for it! I'll be sure to include a few guest stars as well, like classic PA! staff members like RyoShinX and MegaX (but probably not PokémonMasterX)! X-pect to have some fun!!


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