Custom Sets: Pokémon Gold and Silver, part 3

Hello! Today’s post will discuss the balancing of my second Pokémon set.

Balancing a set while trying to remain true to flavor is hard work. My previous set was severely imbalanced, with the highest color having almost twice as many cards as the lowest (45 blue to 24 black, if you’re interested, not counting multicolored), and the rarity ratio was all over the place (110 commons, 65 uncommons, 38 rares, and 11 mythics, if you’re interested). Well, it’s been a few years since that set, and i’ve read a LOT of Mark Rosewater’s articles. While by no means perfect, i managed to bring it down to a balance i’m more comfortable with, though that did require some flavor bending.

Let’s start with the colors. Spoiler warning: blue had a lot taken from it. If you need a refresher on pokémon types, here’s a handy chart.


White (24 cards)

White’s main domains are normal and fighting-type, and it filled up quite nicely this gen.


On the non-creature side white doesn’t usually have issues, either. Here the overflowing color tends to be red with fire and electricity; i’ve decided, as a rule of thumb, to leave fire with red but adapt electricity to other colors if needed (it’s usually needed.)

Blue (25 cards)

As previously mentioned, Blue always gets way too many cards. Being the domain of the air, water, and mind, every flying, water, and psychic pokémon is a possible candidate, and there is never a shortage of these.


As you may have guessed, blue also has no problems with non-creature spells.

Black (20 cards)

Black, on the other hand, always gets too few cards. On gen 1 it only had poison and ghost, and gen 2’s addition of dark wasn’t nearly enough to tip the scales. Black had to scavenge (pun intended) quite a bit from other colors as a result, mostly from blue, but also green and white. I tried to give them all a flavorful reason: psychic can be seen as black instead of blue, insects can be seen as black instead of green, and some water pokémon like the Wooper line swim in swamps anyway.



The non-creature side of black doesn’t tend to be as unfavorable as the creature side, and i didn’t have to shift anything here.

Red (22 cards)

Red also has a large slice of the type pie, with fire, electricity, ground, and rock, but even it had to take Smeargle away from blue (copying is both blue’s and red’s domain).


As mentioned above, red tends to have the most non-creature spells. Here the real challenge is finding a way to not make them all straight direct damage spells.


Green (24 cards)

Green’s share of creatures is also decent, with grass, bug, and the wilder side of normal. Here it only had to hunt (pun intended) for a bit of red’s share, with the Phanpy line.



On the non-creature spell side, however, green is by far the weakest in this gen. In fact, most of its spells were hijacked from red.


Next week will conclude this series, and i’ll continue to talk about balancing, with multicolor and artifact cards. Until then!