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- Although it's an often overlooked mechanic of the game, if you take some time to do some berry farming, you will easily never have to spend money on status healing items ever again, as Chuggaaconroy demonstrates. The best part is, since their introduction, berry farming has gotten more and more easier to maintain and more generous with berry returns with each passing generation. It easily reached it's peak in Gen VI, where not only are all berry planting locations gathered in one convenient spot, berry trees in that game can give an absolutely insane amount in return for what you put in. It's very possible to turn five or so Leppa berries or Lum berries into forty or so in one go.
- The Psychic-types were notoriously broken in this generation. They only had a weakness to types of attacks that did below-average damage even super-effective, and those moves were available to very few viable Pokémon. Due to a bug, one of those types actually didn't affect Psychic-types at all, rather than do double damage. Making things worse, the most common type was the Psychic-weak Poison-type. The Psychic-type advantage was augmented by the Special stat governing both Special Attack and Special Defense. This meant that Pokémon with high Special, such as Psychics, were much more useful than Pokémon with low Special, such as Fighting. This issue was fixed in Pokémon Gold and Silver in later generations by separating the stats and introducing two new advantageous types.
- Wrap, Bind, Clamp, and Fire Spin. In the first generation, they prevented the affected Pokémon from attacking, while dealing Scratch Damage every turn. However, the most broken part was that getting free from them still cost a turn, so if the Pokémon was faster than the target, the Pokémon get the chance to re-use Wrap, Bind, Clamp, or Fire Spin before the target get the chance to respond. While the Pokémon can switch out while being trapped, the AI rarely switches their Pokémon out. It also goes without saying, but X-Items and stat-boosting moves increase the potency of these moves. Needless to say, trapping moves were changed from Generation II onwards.
- X Accuracy in the first games gave moves Swift like accuracy. This includes the OHKO moves. The real dangers of this are because beating the eighth Gym Leader, Giovanni, got you the TM for Fissure, which could be used on a lot of final form Pokémon, like Dugtrio, who could outspeed most Pokémon easily, and because OHKO moves could be used to defeat higher-level opponents, it made defeating the Elite Four (barring Lance, who could be defeated using a good Ice Beam user, which most Water Pokémon are) a piece of cake. The combination of X Accuracy and OHKO moves was so powerful that the mechanics for OHKO moves had to be changed in future generations so that they could never connect against an opponent whose level was higher than the user's level or increase in accuracy.
- In the Pokémon Black and White main game, the Lucky Egg item. In previous games, this was an extraordinarily rare steal from Chansey, but in this game, it is simply given to you free of charge about halfway through. It greatly increases the experience of the mon holding it, allowing you to gain levels at ridiculous rates provided you kept going through the tedium of redistributing it every time you switched your active Pokémon — of course, it's totally worth it to outlevel the Elite Four without any extra Level Grinding on Victory Road unlike the previous gens, and turn the game between getting the Lucky Egg and the Elite Four into one giant Curb-Stomp Battle.
- A big one was the option for players to download both Mewtwo level 70 AND Arceus level 100 into Black and White from the Pokémon website. If you have both on your team, most of the in-game opponents won't stand a chance. Admittedly, the battles against Shauntal and Grimsley of the Elite Four and the battle with Alder (their 'mons are all in the 60s and 70s that go around) still require some potions on hand, but still, it's way easier than it'd normally be. And you were able to get Reshiram or Zekrom as well, depending on your version.
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, You can buy a bundle of 12 Castelia Cones daily in any season other than winter for 1200 and sell them to the maid in the caravan west of Nimbasa city for 2000 a pop for a total profit of 22800 Pokébucks a day. Still need more? You can get unlimited Moomoo Milks from Driftveil City and sell them to the same maid for a 400 profit per each. That's one of the legit infinite money methods built into the games.
- Another good money fountain in Black 2 and White 2, provided you were playing with it long enough, is Pokéstar Studios. Specifically, increasing your star ranking results in more fans. The notable people for this would be the Backpacker, Ace Trainer, Old Lady, and the Tennis Player. On every strange ending that isn't the final movie, you get 5 Lava Cookies from the Backpacker and 5 Old Gateaux from the others. This is where the Cash comes in: They all sell for 4000 each, which is about 20,000 for the cookies and 60,000 for the Gateaux. Furthermore, there is no daily wait and some strange endings on available movies are 1-2 scenes at the shortest. Then there are the free Hyper Potions and Moomoo Milks, which are great healing items.
- If you thought the Lucky Egg in Gen V was a Game Breaker, just wait until you see the Exp. Share in X and Y. Remember that crappy Exp. All from Gen I? Picture that, except it's actually good. Long story short, it's a key item that while you have it on, the rest of your party gains EXP equal to half of what you had out gained. This item ensures that you won't know the meaning of the term "underleveled" before the second Gym. In fact, you won't even know the meaning of "grinding" for the rest of the game for that matter as long as the Exp.Share is always turned on. Game Freak toned it down in Pokémon Sun and Moon by bringing back the experience system from the fifth generation, where high level Pokémon gain less experience if a lower level Pokémon is beaten. This makes the player less likely to be over-leveled compared to the 6th gen games.
- Pokémon-Amie can turn into another serious Game Breaker if you use it enough. You bond with your Pokémon by petting it, playing minigames with it, feeding it food and such. While that might seem like little more than what's needed to get Sylveon, if you get your Pokémon's affection high enough, you'll receive epic side effects in battle, such as gaining 20% more EXP in battle, surviving attack with 1 HP, avoiding attacks, and shrugging off status conditions. You'll be shocked and flattered when those effects happen in battle.
- Mega Evolution as a whole can shatter the games in half. Most Mega Evolved Pokémon have stats that match or even surpass most legendary Pokémon and often with much better abilities than their normal counterparts. You often get the ability to Mega Evolve your Pokémon long before you can get any legendaries and rarely do you face opponents with Mega Pokémon of their own to even the odds. The ones available to you in story are often the stronger ones like the Kanto starters, the Hoenn starters and Lucario (who along with Blaziken are banned from competitive play for how powerful they are).
- The DexNav. It allows you to actively search for any Pokémon you have caught on a route, meaning there is no longer a need to spent a lengthy amount of time searching for rare Pokémon. It also shows you the level, the first move, the potential (maximum Individual Value represented by a star), ability and held item of the Pokémon, meaning you can actively search for a Pokémon with great potential and unique moves and abilities (some of the moves can be Egg Moves and abilities can be Hidden Abilities). But the game breaker comes in the rare items they can hold - items they normally would not be found holding in the wild - specifically the ones held by Linoone and Pelipper. Linoone can hold Max Revive, which recovers fainted Pokémon back to full health. Meanwhile, Pelipper holds Lucky Egg, which multiplies Exp by 1.5 times, and could previously only be found on the ludicrously rare Chansey line. With Dex Nav, you know which Pelipper will have Lucky Egg. Farm Pelipper for six Lucky Eggs, slap them onto each of your team members, activate Exp Share, and break the game in its entirety. On the other hand, it is also the perfect way to train up multiple teams simultaneously without worrying about over-leveling your Pokémon.
- Cosplay Pikachu in Contests. The thing comes with nearly maxed contest stats and you need only to pump a few Pokéblocks into it to max them fully, then get the scarves for each type of contest. Then change Pikachu's costume to the right contest type, and winning is extremely easy. At least until maybe Master Rank.
- Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are extremely generous with legendary Pokémon as Last Disc Magic for the main story. Let's go down the list, shall we? You get a Latias or Latios for free, and you can get the other one if you get a hold of an Eon Ticket through Streetpassing. You're able to get a Groudon or Kyogre that holds an item which allows it to change its form as soon as its sent out. You're also able to catch all four legendary golems, all three lake guardians, all three legendary beasts, and the Swords of Justice members. You can also catch either Lugia or Ho-oh (depending on the version), Heatran, Dialga or Palkia (version dependent), Giratina, Cresselia, Tornadus or Thundurus (version dependent), Landorus, Reshiram and Zekrom (version dependent), as well as Kyurem. Remember this is all Last Disc Magic for a reason. Most of these Pokémon can only be unlocked as soon as you deal with Groudon or Kyogre in the Cave of Origin near the end of the game.
- Z-Moves. Equip a Z-Crystal to a Pokémon with a move matching the crystal's type, and you can turn it into a Limit Break. The power of the Z-Move is dependent on the base power of the initial attack, but this still means even the weakest of attacks can hit as hard as late game moves like Fire Blast and Hydro Pump. You can only use a Z-Move once per battle, but it's often enough to turn the tide against any challenging trainer or Totem Pokémon.
- Poké Pelago actually made berry farming even more of a game breaker. Isle Aplenty, the location where berries are farmed, is easily accessible from the X menu and has completely removed the need to water berries every few hours. And all the Guide Dang It that used to come with maxing out berry returns is now gone, as you will always harvest the maximum amount per berry tree. Instead the Pokémon in the PC do all that for you and a time scale of when the berries can be harvested is given to you. It is also much easier to find berries in the overworld now.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon
- Starting as a Charmander or Cyndaquil is potentially a game breaker due to it learning Smoke Screen early on, a move that makes the target's attacks always miss. It sounds simple, but when used against bosses or making a hallway fight for monster houses, you can just attack without any worry of being hit back.
- Due to a programming oversight (no Pokémon in the first games was given a gender except for the main character), moves that caused the Infatuation status (Attract and the ability Cute Charm, at that time) were absurdly powerful, basically being a nigh-effortless way to ensure that enemies almost never got a chance to attack you. Imprison worked similarly without even being an oversight.
- In Gates to Infinity, the status can affect everyone once more... but it's somewhat Nerfed because it properly has the 50% chance of preventing attacking.
- Due to the special properties of the Pokémon Castform and its signature move Weather Ball, a single Castform could do enough damage to KO any non-boss Pokémon in a single hit at low-to-middle levels, and at high levels, could even do the same to any boss Pokémon that didn't resist Fire or Water. This was only minorly nerfed in the Explorers games; Castform now has a 'size' of 4, meaning only one can be on a party and at the expense of another Pokémon, but most normal dungeons don't need more than the single Castform at one time anyway.
- In Red/Blue, upon maxing their IQ (the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon equivalent of 'Happiness', boosted by eating Gummi items), Pokémon acquired the ability "Super Mobile", which allowed them to travel over water, lava, clouds, and even allowed them to bash through walls to make their own path with absolutely no penalty. In a roguelike game, this naturally causes most of the difficulty to soar right out the window. In the Explorers games, this ability was severely restricted to a single legendary Pokémon, Palkia, whom you can only obtain after the game's storyline, making it more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
- X-Eye Seeds snap boss battles right in two. The AI will never attack while under this effect, unlike during Confusion, and Crosseyed status probably lasts the longest of any adverse status effect short of stat drops. Eating an X-Eye Seed reveals that they cause the victim to hallucinate that everything looks like a Substitute.
- Also, several IQ skills on the right IQ groups to boost HP, PP, and other stats could be further combined with Three-Star "Exclusive Items" that buffed a particular Pokémon each (generally giving them Absorption against a type they're usually weak against, or putting them in permanent Light Screen/Reflect status). Not only that, but the effects of those items are shared among all Pokémon belonging to the same evolutionary branch! So for instance, Pokémon like Gallade, Hitmonchan, Vileplume, or Politoed could not only gain the buffs of their former evolutions, but also those of their counterpart(s), for a total of 4 buffs. And the Eevee family... it's actually averted with the Eevee family, since each item explicitly only grants its effects to Eevee and the intended user.
- Also, while in the Time/Darkness titles you had to combine specific items to net one, usually not even resulting in what you exactly wanted, in Explorers of Sky, you can look up the item you're looking for in the shop, and swap any exclusive items you want to get rid of for the one you want, basically turning any Pokémon with a broad enough "family", through IQ grinding and item gathering, into an Infinity+1 Sword!
- Want to top even this? Then bring along also the two-star equivalent of the Exclusive Item to get an even bigger stat boost, make your 'mon binge on stat-rising items like Life Seed and Iron, and keep in mind that some of the rarest Exclusive Items affect all the 'mons of the same Type. Pair it with a double-type, and...you know the drill.
- Most exclusive items are quite useful without being game-breaking. But a handful of them are absurdly powerful. Snover and the Hoenn weather trio can use their three-star items to perform double attacks all the time, for free. A Tyranitar can bring a Rock Gem to permanently move at double speed, and can extend this ability to all Rock-type teammates, plus Cacnea and Gligar with their three-star items. And Celebi's three-star item essentially guarantees that it will never run out of PP, ever. Snover/Abomasnow deserve even more special mention because they can use Blizzard as a perfectly accurate, extremely powerful room-clearing move that hits twice.
- Multi-Hit attacks (Bullet Seed, Fury Swipes/Attack, Pin Missile). Due to the damage calculation in the Mystery Dungeon games being much different than the mainstream titles, these move actually hit as hard as most other attacks per hit. The brokenness comes from the fact that the STAB bonus from the mainstream titles is also implemented in the Mystery Dungeon games, meaning with the right Pokémon (A Treecko with Bullet Seed and the Concentrator skill for instance), this can be quite lethal.
- Speaking of Bullet Seed: because of how damage mechanics work, it can perform up to five ranged attacks, each of which deal a great deal of damage by themselves. And if you happen to KO the 'mon in front of you? It keeps attacking the ones behind it until you either run out of moves or targets.
- If you think that's bad, try linking Screech with a multi-hitting move, like Meowth or Persian with Fury Swipes, and watch how fast you take your opponents down.
- The only downside to multi-hit moves was the decreased accuracy of each individual attack (and even then, you could usually land one or two for good damage). Combine it with Meowth's Technician ability (increases the base power of "low-damage" moves) and a partner's Sweet Scent (which lowers the evasion of every enemy in the room), and suddenly you're doing ridiculous amounts of damage with every turn. Unfortunately, Meowth was downgraded to a partner in Explorers of Sky, but accuracy buffs/evasion debuffs still synergize well with multi-hit attacks. Sadly, Fury Swipes actually doesn't work with Technician, which only activates on moves with 3 stars of power or lower.
- In the main Pokémon series, Protect makes you invincible to damage for one turn, and Sonicboom only does 20 points of damage regardless of the Pokémon's stats. In the Mystery Dungeon games however, Protect stays in play for multiple turns, allowing for multiple attacks while the opponent is helpless, and Sonicboom is a ranged attack that hits for 55 points no matter what. Also, unlike the original games, where most Pokémon could easily have 200+ health points at the end of the game, most Pokémon naturally won't even reach triple digits (100+ health points) at the later points of the game, so just imagine how devastating and frustrating 55 direct points of damage from a distance (especifically off-screen) would be.
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, unlike the main series, Pokémon possess both of their two abilities at the same time. This makes Bronzong a top-class gamebreaker, because one of its abilities (Levitate) negates one of its only 2 weaknesses while the other (Heatproof) negates the other. Its awesomeness is greater when you consider that Bronzong already has high defenses to go against the other attacking types which Bronzong is not weak to, along with the fact that his moveset is very good with Psychic and Gyro Ball being only some of the great moves it can learn. Add to this mix the fact that his low speed from the main game series isn't a factor in these games, and you'll have no trouble getting through most places in the game.
- There was also Shedinja from the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, who unlike in the regular games where they were limited to 1 health point no matter what, were able to eat Sitrus Berries in order to increase its health maximum. Couple that with the Wonder Guard ability, and the Super Mobile ability in the first game which is obtained by eating enough Gummies to reach maximum intelligence, to see how destructive one Pokémon could truly be. It gets even better in Explorers when Shedinja gets an accuracy-boosting IQ class and Silver Wind as an egg move.
- Attacks that hit the entire room trivialize Monster Houses. While Earthquake will hit allies, the rest don't while still retaining decently high power. Silver Wind and Ominous Wind in particular have a secondary effect that gives them a small chance to boost all of the user's stats by one stages, and each hit on an enemy has a chance to activate it. Since Monster Houses tend to have 7+ Pokémon in them, it's highly likely that using either will grant the boosts at least once and make fighting any survivors much easier.
- Zapdos can be considered one since it learns Agility, Charge, and Discharge. Try linking all three of those moves in that order and see what happens to a monster house... Unless there's an enemy with the Lightningrod ability in said monster house...
- If you're talking about room affecting moves, specific mention has to go to Agility which raises all Pokémon on the same team's speed greatly, and moves like Silver Wind which hit the entire room, and can power up all of the stats of the one who uses it.
- Charizard in the dungeons that de-level the player to Level 1. A Level 1 Charizard starts off with Heat Wave, a decently powerful STAB attack that also hits entire rooms, heavily alleviating much of the challenge of those dungeons.
- Scizor in the Explorers games. To start off, it has the attack stats of a god, and although it's natural defense stats leaves some room to be desired, it still has the fantastic Bug/Steel type, giving it only one major weakness and plenty of resistances, and even its mediocre defenses can be covered by increasing it with sufficient drinks and gummies. Secondly, its movepool is also huge, allowing it to take on almost any type or dungeon reliably, and also carries Agility, which can turn almost any boss into a joke thanks to the multiple turns it grants to your whole team. Additionally, it can also learn Silver Wind, a move that hits an entire room at once, thus tearing the dreaded monster houses to shreds. All of the above alone is enough to make Scizor an extremely versatile Pokémon that would be valuable on almost any team, but what truly pushes it to game breaking levels is its ability, Technician, which gives a massive boost to any move with a base damage under a certain threshold. Technician-boosted weak attacks are significantly STRONGER than unboosted "strong" ones, so with the right moveset Technician essentially gives Scizor a free attack boost, including the mentioned Silver Wind and Bullet Punch. Add in Agility and almost every non-Fire type enemy or boss(es) won't even be able to touch it.
- The abilities Chlorophyll and Swift Swim, which in the main games boosted speed under Sunlight and Rain (respectively). However, since speed doesn't work in the same way in these games as it does in the other games, they had to figure out some other way to have the ability manifest itself. Of course, this comes in the form of having your Pokémon attack twice in the same turn for the PP cost of ONE attack. Now combine this with either Groudon or Kyogre, an already broken move like Heat Wave, and the fact that Fire/Water moves get a boost in that weather...
- Then there's Mirror Move. In the mainstream games, it's simply a move that allows you to replicate your foe's move; rather gimmicky and not very useful. In Mystery Dungeon, however, it acts as a Protect—while simultaneously reflecting every move that hits you back at the foe (including status-inducing moves). Not only does this last for several turns, but the reflected moves also factor in types. If you started with a Torchic, simply use Mirror Move on Palkia and watch it OHKO itself with a reflected Spacial Rend. Fantastically useful in monster houses and any multi-boss fights. It's a shame that enemies don't grant EXP if they KO themselves.
- Drifblim is a terror to behold. Thanks to Unburden, it gets its power instantly doubled as long as it's not holding an item. Two repeated Ominous Winds will destroy most Monster Houses. A double helping of Defog + Ominous Wind will sterilize them. Beware, though, because enemy Drifblim and Drifloon won't hesitate to use this trick against you.
- In a game where all base stats might as well be equal, who's bound to be the main beneficiary? Smeargle. Besides running grossly overpowering moves like Mirror Move, Spacial Rend, and Mind Reader + Rollout, it can, along with Cresselia, bring two copies of Lunar Dance (the only PP restoration move) into an exploration, granting infinite PP to the entire team. Sketching a teammate's moves isn't even difficult, only requiring a Blinker Seed and some tweaking of the Nontraitor IQ skill. And just when you thought Smeargle couldn't possibly be any more broken, recall that it has the Technician ability.
- In Gates to Infinity, picking Axew as your hero or partner may as well be an easy mode enabler, as its first two level-up moves are Dragon Rage and Double Chop. The former is a fixed damage move capable of one or two hit K Oing most early game Pokémon, while the latter is an extremely powerful multi-hitting move that's literally the only melee range attack it'll ever need. Add in the fact that it's a Dragon type, and thus resists numerous common types and is resisted by almost nothing, and there's very little that can stand up to it.
- Excadrill are just as overpowering here as they are in the regular game. They learn both Swords Dance and STAB Earthquake at a relatively low level, and their pre-evolved forms aren't that difficult to find (they can be found in the first dungeon). Combine this with its already ridiculous Attack, and you've got something that deals serious damage, even to Flying-types. They're so stupidly powerful that, unless you know what you're doing, your team's Excadrill will one-shot everyone, including your teammates. And if that wasn't enough, Sand Rush allows the user to move twice in one turn if sandstorms are brewing. Dungeons that force you with only one party member? No worries, just send in the mole. It can make short work of just about everything. The only things it can't handle are the Path of No Return and Slumbering Cave dungeons, since they force all Pokémon to level 5, and their movepools are reduced to level-up only.
- Companion Mode is quite powerful here, if you're patient enough. When in Companion Mode, the story stops completely, and you get to play as a party of the Pokémon you've recruited. Here, you can build up Pokémon Paradise and accumulate massive amounts of resources and items, at the start of the game! The only limits to this are your patience and the fact that better dungeons/missions will be unlocked as the main story is progressed. What really makes this powerful is the fact that there is a shared experience system in effect. All EXP that is earned is shared by all Pokémon, even the ones in Paradise and the story characters. With enough time, your story Pokémon will be vastly overleveled.
- In Super Mystery Dungeon, while you don't get access to it until mid-game, Cofagrigus' gold bar exchange allows people to trade in their gold bars for vitamins. Doesn't seem too bad, but unlike the main series, vitamins do not have a max cap on how many times you can boost the Pokémon's stats. Combine this with the fact that each time your expedition rank goes up, you get an increasing amount of gold bars as your reward, and Super also has a pseudo-Companion Mode which, while nerfed to not be as powerful as Gates, still allows you to grind items, including gold bars and treasure chest with gold bars in them, if you take the time to do some item farming, the stat growth of the main characters can get a tad bit insane.
- On a similar note, the Water Looplet, one of the few treasures you can get before beating the game. It makes it so that items thrown by its holder fly infinitely. What does that have to do with the above? If you line your party up and throw a stat booster their way, it affects all of them, making stat grinding two Pokémon at once much easier.
- Memento is much more viable in the Mystery Dungeon games than the main series. It drastically lowers the Attack and Special Attack of every Pokémon in the room, but unlike the main series, instead of making the user faint, their HP goes to 1 and they warp to somewhere else on the floor. That last effect makes it a bit harder to use in dungeons, but it allows you to completely break boss fights. After just three to four uses of it, bosses will only be able to deal 1 damage to you unless it's a critical hit.
- Pokémon Rumble U, if you actually pre-ordered it, comes with Black/White Kyurem. These two, once you get their passwords in the game, are unstoppable killing machines that destroy anything bar bosses in a single shot. That is, until the further levels, but it's still amazingly easy.
- Pokémon Rumble Blast (the 3DS version) also has a password system, accessible after the second town. Taking a few minutes to look for codes on the internet and entering them gives you steadily increasingly powerful Mons depending on the area. They are all at a set level and usually know moves you couldn't learn until Axle Town through the random move machine. All you have to do after entering the code is to find them in the overworld and defeat them, and for their level and obtain point in the game, they are absurdly powerful(read: Victini/V-Create, Tornadus/Hurricane, Zoroark/Foul Play). And once you beat the game, you can access more codes for Olympus Mons like Groudon, Dialga, and Lugia. For free.
- And if you were patient enough to continuously beat levels to access that 5% chance, one of many Olympus Mons is yours, depending on the level. Most are faithful to their main series counterparts (Darkrai having high Attack, low Defense, or Lugia having low Attack but high Defense), and some even have both maxed out. And most come loaded with their Signature Move from the start (or a high power attack if they lack one), just to make the rest of the game, barring the EX Battle Royales, a complete joke. And even then, if you do beat the EX Royales and keep searching through specific levels... say hello to Arceus and Mewtwo.
Trading Card Game
- The Game Boy Color version of the Pokémon Trading Card Game, faithful to the original game has Imakuni? was a Game Breaker. He was weaker than all the AI characters, but if you defeated him (which was quite often), he gives you an unheard-of four booster packs. This makes racking up cards rather easy.
- There's also Pokémon like Hitmonlee◊ who could attack your lead Pokémon with a powerful move, or your benched Pokémon for 20 points of direct damage, easily defeating first form Pokémon with really low health in one or two turns, while it had enough health to last for a while if you didn't have a powerful psychic Pokémon to counter it. It's also an A.I. Breaker in the video game, as the AI will be unlikely to give energy to their active Pokémon if Hitmonlee will defeat it in one hit (which his 50 damage High Jump Kick may well do).
- Similar to the above example the "Haymaker" cards which are basic Pokémon cards with HP comparable to most evolution cards and low energy costs; Scyther, Hitmonchan, and Electabuzz can give you a massive advantage at the beginning of a match, and then there's what happens if you have four in a deck...
- The Pokémon Trading Card Game underwent Sequel Escalation for each generation that was released, plus another for HeartGold and SoulSilver. It's reached the point where the old Haymaker deck is easily overpoweed. This is due to an increased emphasis on evolution in that evolved Pokémon get lower Energy costs for greater effects, more Pokémon capable of hitting the Bench, vastly improved Trainer cards (since then split into Trainers, Supporters, and Stadiums) that can easily search for cards of your choice from the deck or discard pile, and a trend away from Energy being the requirement for attacks, instead leaning towards other effects on the field. Together, this has resulted in a frenzy pace, most tournament decks refined to be fully set up in 1 turn, or 2 at most. For instance, Gyarados has an attack that does 30 damage for each Magikarp in the discard pile. A popular deck is designed to use Broken Time Space to evolve a Magikarp on the first turn (bypassing a rule prohibiting this), find the 3 remaining Magikarps and discard them, attach an Expert Belt (which boosts attack power by 20), and use this move for 110 damage. Also, this attack requires no Energy at all. Compared to decks like these, the Haymaker is but a light jab.
- The Team Rocket booster packs, full stop. These had such Pokémon as Rocket Blastoise who could use its "Rocket Tackle" attack for 40 damage, and flip a coin which if it was called right, negated any damage from the opponent in the next turn including status effects, all for reducing its health by 10 HP, Rocket Charizard who had an attack called "Continuous Fireball", which for one fire energy it could flip a coin until it got tails, and the attack did 50 points of damage to the opponent for each heads it got, and the best part is that most of these very powerful cards were common cards. The rare cards were even worse like Rocket Dragonite who had a power that allowed you to put two Pokémon on your bench at once while it was in battle, and a Trainer Card called "Here Comes Team Rocket" which made both players play the game with their prizes face up, and eliminating the random possibility of picking a weak prize after a victory while thinking of a proper way to use your prizes in any order you want, while keeping an eye on your opponent's possible prizes at the same time.
- The Pokémon SP were pretty broken in general thanks to their speed and the sheer number of options they had. There were trainers that reduced their energy costs, negated opponent Poké-Powers on their turn and even returned a Pokémon SP to your hand without any drawbacks. There was even a card to search your deck for these trainers. The worst Pokémon of all was almost definitely Garchomp C LV.X. It leveled up from a basic Garchomp C, and when it went into play it could completely heal all of your SP Pokémon, has no retreat cost, and with the right combination of cards it could hit any opposing Pokémon for 80 damage for one energy card. You could have a Garchomp C on your bench with nothing attached and get to taking out a vital support Pokémon on their side in a single turn.
- Lysandre's Trump Card, a supporter card which returned the entire discard pile back to the deck. This single card allowed players to run through their entire deck with minimal problems, and extended gameplay by effectively eliminating the deck out win condition. As a result, it was the first card to be banned from competitive play in over 15 years, and only the third to be banned in the history of the franchise.
- Next Destinies Shiftry was the next card to be banned. Its Ability Giant Fan could force the opponent to return the targeted Pokémon back to the deck, along with all other cards attached with it, whenever one of the player's Pokémon evolved. ND Shiftry could be combined with a variety of other cards, especially Forest of Giant Plants (instantly evolves Grass-Energy Pokémon in play), to be able to use Giant Fan multiple times in a single turn. This often resulted in the player using ND Shiftry to win on the first turn before their opponent could do anything.
- The first two cards to be banned were Sneasel and Slowking from Neo Genesis. Sneasel had the Beat Up attack which, for only two Darkness energy, flipped a coin for every Pokémon you had in play and did 20 damage for each heads. Given that this equates to 6 flips most of the time and that Darkness energy had the additional effect of adding 10 damage to your attacks per energy, this meant an average of 80 damage for 2 energy, at a time when 30 for 2 was considered good. On top of that, it also had no weakness and free retreat, and was a Basic Pokémon. Slowking ended up broken due to a "Blind Idiot" Translation: its ability Mind Games caused your opponent to flip a coin every time they tried to play a Trainer card. If tails, not only did the card fail, but it was placed on the top of their deck, effectively shutting down their draw next turn. Why was this so bad? Because the English translation of the card forgot to include the phrase "this ability only works when Slowking is your Active Pokémon". As a result, you were able to fill your bench with 4 Slowkings and give your opponent only a 1/16 chance of playing Trainer cards.
- As a general rule of thumb, most Pokémon EX are very powerful due to them almost always being Basic Pokémon as opposed to fully evolved (Stage 2) Pokémon. The EX 'Mons have high HP, strong attacks and low to medium energy requirements, and some can switch Pokémon or heal damage making them tough to get rid of. The Gamebreakers however are the Mega EX Pokémon, who can be placed on top of EX Pokémon or regular Pokémon, and have massive HP reserves and insane attack power. And consider you can have more than one EX in your deck. Some decks just revolve around getting 4-5 EX on the bench, loading them up with energy, then sweeping the opponent.
- The aforementioned Mega Gengar. Its ability is what takes the cake: all Mega Gengar icons vanish from the field. While not happening instantly is somewhat less than ideal in the timed stages, it still has a temporary Complexity -1 effect, which is something that costs a massive 9000 coins otherwise. The removal of all Gengar icons also almost certainly causes a large chain to happen, which in turn results in fewer Mega Gengars showing up until the end of the chain. Also added the fact that it takes one Mega Speedup to Mega Evolve sooner, Mega Gengar became an absolute favorite in Competitive stages for the time. Although the following example is a Power Creep, Gengar is still used since it's easier to Mega Evolve it after it's fully candied if you were to go itemless as well as performing huge combos easier had you played on a stage that allows three Pokémon (or if you use a Complexity -1 on a stage that doesn't use non-supports).
- Mega Rayquaza is considered to be the only Pokémon better than Mega Gengar, removing up to ten non-Dragon icons from the field whenever it's matched. While it's an extreme case of Awesome, but Impractical normally, giving it the maximum amount of Mega Startups turns it into this on stages that don't have single digit move counts.
- Mega Beedrill. While not the strongest Mega, it's ability is to stop time so the player can tap a single icon on screen, and all of the icons around it in a 3 by 3 square disappear. While Mega Tyranitar has a similar ability and does more damage, Mega Beedrill has one major thing above it. When fully candied, it can Mega Evolve in a single match. A strategy to clear Survival Mode without items is what made Mega Beedrill so popular.
- The currently unobtainable Ditto used to be this which puts all the other Game Breakers in the game to shame. Unlike other Pokémon in Shuffle, Ditto has a secondary ability where it is able to match with every other Pokémon on the board. This means that combos are always guaranteed and it can even go on for quite some time, racking up points like nothing else. It was so good that unscrupulous players that hacked their save data used this to cheat their way up the leader boards in Competitive stages, along with the ability to use either use normal types with Arceus Double Normal, unobtainable Pokémon with game-breaking abilties for the time or even simply use two Pokémon as apposed to four note . With the advent of Version 3, this ability has been removed as well as a checker for any legitimate obtained Pokémon used in Competitive stages.