Marked for Good: The Implication of the Blue Pentagon

By Flame Emblem. Art by Bummer.
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What is the Blue Pentagon

For those of you who are still unaware, the Blue Pentagon on a Pokémon's profile is purely an indication that the Pokémon was caught or bred in the Kalos region. Despite the rumor that Pokémon with this pentagon had passed an in-game hack check and were legal for play over the Battle Spot, which developed over some hastily-reached conclusions about it late in 2013, it's easy to see now that, now that PokeBank is out, this rumor is false; Pokémon transferred to X and Y from previous games all simply lack the Pentagon.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game and the Modified Format

Allow me to branch away for a moment to talk about the Pokémon Trading Card Game and one of the largest aspects of its ruleset: the Modified Format. Every year, usually after the World Championship in August, older sets of cards rotate out of legal play. This allows the newer sets to receive more attention and to wash away a large group of metagame-defining cards that have had their reign in the format for maybe two years or so. For example, at the World Championship in 2013, there were nine legal sets, from the Spring 2011 set Black and White to the Summer 2013 set Plasma Freeze. After the World Championship, the three oldest legal sets—Black and White from Spring 2011, Emerging Powers from Fall 2011, and Noble Victories from Winter 2011—were banned . This paved the way for newer sets, such as Plasma Blast (a set released soon afterwards), to have their time to shine without being eclipsed by older cards.

To make sure people know what set a card is from with minimum confusion, every single card has a small symbol printed in the bottom right hand-corner to indicate what set the card was from. This makes consulting any large list of what is contained in a set unneeded. One glance at a simple, easy-to-memorize symbol and you know exactly what set that card is from and, provided you know what sets are in rotation, whether or not it's legal for modified play.

Creating a Modified Format for the Pokémon Video Games

For the first time in history, we've been given a very clear card game-esque marker of what game a Pokémon is from. Of course, we've previously had location information that told us if a Pokémon was from an older set of games, but never an indicator this simple and powerful. You can tell at a glance whether the Pokémon was bred in Kalos or not just by looking at its summary in your party. Admittedly, you could do this anyways just by pressing "right" on your D-Pad and reading, as well, but pictures are simpler. You can also view this mark just by holding your cursor over it in your PC, making the act of deciding which Pokémon to place in your Battle Box before a Nintendo-hosted event such as the April Friendly slightly less time-consuming.

With the Blue Pentagon designating a Pokémon being Kalos-born, it seems we may soon see a change in the way that the VGC formats are designed. Only certain Pokémon with certain marks, akin to what happens with the TCG, would be allowed in that format. This locks out many competitively relevant TM and tutor attacks and places less of a strain on newer players to get into the format. For example, Sucker Punch Hitmontop would be a massive burden for newer players to obtain. A more extreme example would be Helping Hand Dusclops, which is only obtainable through Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness and requires specific equipment to actually trade the Pokémon to a cartridge (a Gamecube or Wii with Gamecube Controller ports, a Gamecube Save Card, Gameboy Advanced Link Cable, Gameboy Advanced SP, Micro, or otherwise, a Nintendo DS or DS Lite, and cartridges for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th generation games!), making it no mean (or cheap) feat.

Such a thing has already begun to take place in the form of the April Friendly; it only allowed Kalos-born Pokémon (a.k.a. those with the subject of this article, the Blue Pentagon) to compete, and it seems that all future online competitions will follow such a trend, as it's stated on in the description of the All Star ☆ Battle (tentative title) that "Plus, for this competition only, you will also be able to use Pokémon that you have brought from past games in the series using the Poké Transporter!", which would greatly imply that all other competitions that aren't specifically noted like so will not allow Blue Pentagon-less Pokémon.

With the announcement of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, this begs the question: Will the Blue Pentagon designate region? Or may it perhaps designate generation? Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, and Heart Gold and Soul Silver are widely considered to be part of the same Pokémon generation, for example. Will the Pokémon caught in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire be marked with a Blue Pentagon, or will Pokémon caught in this game, perhaps, end up with another colored shape? My money's on a green diamond.

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