One thing that shocked me about getting back into the Pokemon TCG during the release of Black & White was how much more powerful the cards were relative to what they were back when I left around EX FireRed/LeafGreen. Another thing that has shocked me further is how much MORE powerful Pokemon are as of the most recent sets than even back during B/W… though not by much. Either way, this is a common concept in many games, and is dubbed POWER CREEP.
Personally though I’m almost certain this was done by design. I remember back when the game came out and it wasn’t designed well… too many broken cards, so much imbalance… and yet those same cards today are highly under-powered. In fact, the recent XY Evolutions set, which recreated Base Set but gave it a modern spin, showed how much these cards have changed over the years. If there was ever an obvious example of power creep in the game, it was that set.
So when I got back into the game in B/W, the HeartGold/SoulSilver block had just finished, but it greatly impressed me with how it didn’t have ANYTHING that was needlessly gimmicky or overpowered. Compare this to the release of Mewtwo-EX in BW Next Destinies, which turned into the “Jace, the Mind-Scupltor” of Pokemon. Personally I thought this was proof enough of how needless those kinds of cards were, and in fact that was one of many reasons why I got into making fake cards in the first place: to show that a balanced set with balanced cards could be made, as well as show that exciting and powerful cards can be made without them being broken or requiring additional features (like Pokemon-ex or Pokemon-EX).
But as much as I loathed the return of gimmicky Pokemon like Mewtwo-EX, I later learned something important: apparently the HGSS TCG sets were some of the WORST selling sets of all time, while B/W sold like hotcakes. I guess those gimmicky cards pay the bills.
Anyways, the whole point of this is to show how much the game has changed since Base Set’s release in 1999. But these are just my words. What if I could put these observations into a more visual form? Well, that’s what this page is for: I aim to visualize the power creep in the game… compressing 20 years of the card game in just a couple of graphs. Neat, huh?
Alas, it’s still a work in progress. Come back soon, OK?