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Shiftry Banned from Expanded Format
September 1, 2015

Where you afraid of having to face off againts a Shiftry deck at the upcoming Regionals Tournaments? Well, rejoice! No longer will the Dark Type Pokémon be of concern. Starting immediately, Shiftry (Black & White—Next Destinies, 72/99) is being removed from the Pokémon TCG Expanded format.

 

Here's what the Offical Pokémon website had to say about the matter:

 

As of September 1, 2015, Shiftry will be banned from all sanctioned Play! Pokémon tournaments that use the Expanded format. This card has created an undesirable play environment because it:

  • Creates a strategy that frequently wins on the first turn of the game
  • Creates a non-interactive play environment where the opponent has little impact on the outcome of the match

 

Shiftry's previous Evolutions, Seedot (XY—Flashfire, 5/106) and Nuzleaf (XY—Flashfire, 6/106), are Grass-type Pokémon, so it's possible to evolve to Shiftry in one turn using the Forest of Giant Plants (XY—Ancient Origins, 74/98) Stadium card. With the help of Devolution Spray (Black & White—Dragons Exalted,113/124), Super Scoop Up (XY—Furious Fists, 100/111), and Recycle (Black & White—Emerging Powers, 96/98), players can use the Giant Fan Ability repeatedly to get rid of all of the opponent's Pokémon—and win the game in one turn.

 

The Giant Fan strategy works consistently enough to cause concern. Frequent first-turn wins are a sign of an unhealthy play environment, and the Shiftry deck is capable of doing that a high percentage of the time. Since Shiftry has a clearly negative effect on the Expanded format, we feel that the best option is to ban it from that environment.

 

Shiftry's success does rely on a series of coin flips, so it always has some chance to fail, but cards such as Shaymin-EX (XY—Roaring Skies, 77/108) and Bicycle (Black & White—Plasma Storm, 117/135) usually provide enough drawing power to overcome a bad series of coin flips. Wobbuffet (XY—Phantom Forces, 36/119) and Baltoy (XY—Ancient Origins, 32/98) can stop the deck's strategy, but only if the opponent starts the game with one of them. Even then, the Shiftry deck can get around those Pokémon by using Lysandre(XY—Ancient Origins, 78/98) or other creative tactics.

 

Currently the Expanded format contains over 15 Pokémon TCG expansions. As new expansions are released, powerful card combinations with older cards may arise. Therefore, we will aggressively monitor tournament results and new expansions for any unhealthy card combinations. If any cards have a negative or centralizing effect on the metagame, we will ban them to maintain a fun and healthy play environment.