Better late than never? You wouldn’t think it would take this long to see a crossover of the Pokemon Trading Card Game and its massively popular mobile counterpart, Pokemon GO. Still, the special summer set is anticipated by many. So what’s it all about? Let’s get into it.
Like last holiday’s Celebrations set, the Pokemon GO expansion is a special promotional one, largely releasing in special box sets with pins and other extras. There’s also an Elite Trainer Box, though, which is the closest you can come to just getting a stack of booster packs.
It’s themed around the mobile game, so that means a few things. There are appearances from that game’s characters and special items! Creature art sometimes uses real-world visuals! It’s understandably focused on the original Kanto creatures and the fever pitch surrounding the game’s initial launch. Still, it’s not exclusively so, mixing in some iconic Pokemon from later generations that have made their presence known in GO.
What makes the set special?
The selection of Trainer cards in the set largely tries to bring the concepts of GO to card form. Lure Module, for example, does what you think: gets both players more Pokemon. PokeStop, on the other hand, is a Stadium card that lets players essentially spin for Items each turn.
Also, in a weird replication of GO mechanics, Ditto is in packs, but hidden. Certain cards have stickers atop them, making them look like other monsters. A Ditto icon in the bottom left corner indicates that you can pull off the sticker and find a Ditto beneath. Would you want to, though? Having one intact with the sticker seems cooler to us. Still, it’s fun to see the team trying things.
Meltan and Melmetal have appeared in the TCG a few times already, but the GO-exclusive evolution line has a large presence in the set. There are normal versions of them, as well as V and VMAX Melmetal forms.
Cards to watch
The set’s on the smaller side compared to a regular expansion, but there are still some cool cards to find. Among the most prized pulls are probably the three new Radiant Pokemon. These shiny versions of Charizard, Venusaur and Blastoise have some handy abilities, though you can only run one Radiant card in a deck.
Candela, Spark, and Blanche could be useful for card draw, dropping one of the now-standard three draws for energy acceleration in their signature color. They could certainly see regular play in decks built around those types. And if you’re running them? You can pair them with their symbolic legendary bird. New versions of those increase attack damage by 10 for your mono-type team.
Alolan Exeggutor V leads a crew of interesting competitive additions. Its Growing Tall ability does require a coin flip, but attaching five extra Grass energy however you want is worth the risk. Speaking of energy acceleration, Dragonite VMAX’s Draconic Star ability gets all the Water and Electric energy in your deck’s top 12 cards. You can only use it once, but it’s probably all you’d need.
If you’ve been into Pokemon GO for years and still not checked out the TCG, it’s possible that this set will get you to dip your toes. But perhaps what you really need is the long-awaited launch of Pokemon TCG Live bringing the game to your phone? We hope to see it soon.
The latest Pokemon Trading Card Game expansion, Pokemon GO, is available now in special packages and an Elite Trainer Box. The company’s also selling V Battle Decks for the set featuring Mewtwo and Melmetal.