Let's Discuss the Pkmn TCG with Prof. Kamak: Revival!

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SaintCrazy
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Re: Let's Discuss the Pkmn TCG with Prof. Kamak: Pre-release

Post by SaintCrazy »

Getting some really nice cards in TCGO, untradable of course since they're free, but I can make some good decks around them.

I have a really good Water deck going, mostly centered around this Plasma Beartic that is actually overpowered (especially if i can get it out early, which i usually do), a couple Ludicolo that are hilariously tanky, and my personal favorite that I got recently from a free pack, Plasma Storm Articuno-EX. I only have a couple Plasma Energy to use on it, but if I can get one on there, its pretty much unstoppable. Also, it's pretty.

I also have a good Fire and Fire/Water deck going, and I'm working on a Dark/Water Plasma deck, since I got ahold of 3 Plasma Umbreon and a Frozen City. Once I learned that their abilities stack I understood why they're in such high demand. I just need to collect some more Dark types to round it out a bit.
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↑ Let's kick the beat. ♫ (shuffle for best results) ↑

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Liraxus
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Re: Let's Discuss the Pkmn TCG with Prof. Kamak: Pre-release

Post by Liraxus »

Are your bodies ready for the new Pokemon TCG set "Pokemon Plasma Blast"?!

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Genesect will finally become an EX and will feature over 100 new cards, there are also 11 new EX cards!

Also, if you want an idea as to what the set will be, check this out.

http://www.serebii.net/card/megalocannon/
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Might stick with collecting.

Post by Liraxus »

Bumping this because I tried some actual battling.

Welp, in a nutshell, I failed both times, both being me forfeiting, the first one, the guy got out a Latios EX and a Deoxys EX, first thing I tought was "Oh fuck this, I forfeit."

Next one took a little longer, He got out a Kyogre EX on the first turn and I'm like "Oh hell no, not again.", I was about to forfeit but I just said fuck it since I was able to get Articuno EX out, and it got knocked out...then I was able to get a good strategy on Kyogre EX and knock it out with my Vaporeons gold breaker...Then I realized all of my cards worthwhile were knocked out, so I just gave up and forfeited...Would've killed him to actually talk. <.<

This was with my first actual deck, I probably set it up horribly, and I won't point any fingers to anyone but myself, but wow, that really sucked...I was only playing on Novice and it was like those two were Experts at this crud.

I really don't know what to do any more, I have no knowledge on how to build any decent kind of deck...
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Re: Let's Discuss the Pkmn TCG with Prof. Kamak: 2014 Season

Post by Kamak »

I'm terribly sorry for letting this thread die, though circumstances kept me from updating during most of May, June, July, and August. Seems to be the curse with anyone wanting to run any sort of project, which I was hoping to avoid by NOT doing an LP.

In any case, with the new 2013-2014 season going on, I'll be kickstarting this thread again to try to catch up and help people get in, since the game is more popular than ever right now.

To start, I'll discuss the changes coming to the game right now:

Fairy Type

Just like in the games, the TCG itself will be gaining a new type in fairy. Little is known about the type's strategy, but you can bet it'll likely be good against Dragon Pokemon and finally give Metal a good weakness to exploit. There will also be a basic Fairy Energy, unlike Dragon (though, Dragon may get an energy. We can never guess with this sort of thing).

Battle Roads

If you remember me talking about Battle Roads before, you'll know that they're usually clustered around fall and spring, but this year, they'll be replaced by League Challenges, a sort of "end of badge season" tournament for a change to earn CP for Worlds. In other words, it'll be like winning badges for a chance to compete at a large scale tournament, making the TCG more closely related to the games and anime than previously.

Masters Fees

This next year (dunno if all countries will do this or not), Masters will have to pay an entry fee into premier events. This will go towards better prize support that will reach down further in the rankings (most tournaments only gave prizes to the top 4, which was kinda lame). So if you're in the Master age group, be aware that you might be paying cheddar into the pot.

Worlds 2014

Worlds will be located this season in Washington DC in mid August. For those of you flying international, be sure to get your passports in advance. Some people in the past haven't realized that in many places, it takes a bit of time to process the paperwork. Also know that DC can be a bit of a traffic problem, so plan well in advance.

Rotation

The current format is Black and White: Next Destinies-Onward, meaning Black and White Base Set, Emerging Powers, and Noble Victories are out. Cards in these sets that have been reprinted ARE legal, but only if the reprinting has made it the language of cards your country uses (so Americans would have to wait for English reprints to come out, even if Japan has them).

I will be updating fairly frequently, but look for the majority of my posts on the weekend. As always, feel free to ask questions, and I will try to the best of my ability to help out.

It's good to be back, everyone.

-Professor Kamak
-K-
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Re: Let's Discuss the Pkmn TCG with Prof. Kamak: 2014 Season

Post by Liraxus »

In other news, Legendary Treasures.

Legendary Treasures is basically the Call of Legends for the 5th generation to tide us over until The X and Y series of cards. These cards will be a mixture between Ex Battle Boost from japan along with cards from the Shiny Collection, both of these were japan exclusive until now, what makes this set stand out is the inclusion of new things from both sets, EX Battle boost introduces the first two regular pokemon EX's since the 3rd generation of Pokemon. These two cards are Excadrill and Chandelure, and unlike before, these are deemed basic cards, probably to give them a fair chance against the older EX cards. Another new thing about legendary treasures are its special holographic cards from the shiny collection, they are VERY daisies good to look at, and the set even features new full-arts of existing cards, some of them being just regular Pokemon like Emolga. This set also has Meloetta as an EX, and I don't recall Meloetta being an EX in any of the sets.

So yeah, woo.
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Re: Let's Discuss the Pkmn TCG with Prof. Kamak: Revival!

Post by Kamak »

Reading back through this thread recently has left me feeling a bit nostalgic and guilty about not finishing it. In truth, I am no longer an official Pokemon Professor, if only because I haven't had time to renew my Professorship and I wouldn't have time to do anything with it in an official capacity anyways. Hey if Professor Oak has an Imposter who has been running around since the beginning of the TCG, I might as well operate without a license too! That being said, I'm still for all intents and purposes the AZ Poke Prof and I'm back to teach more about the Pokemon TCG. I've still kept my ear out for the TCG, though I haven't been playing as much recently (because TPCi are idiots who ruined events in Texas), and I still have plenty to talk about in the History of Pokemon series.



So yeah, we're back!

So without further delay, let's continue where we left off at Neo Destiny and Legendary Collection. Ooh boy.

History of Pokemon: Endings but also Beginnings



By the time that Legendary Collection launched in the international market in May of 2002, Japan not only had the Vs. Series cards out, but also had the first 3 sets of what would be referred to as the e-Series cards. And by the time that WotC released the first e-Series set in September 2002, Japan was preparing to release the 5th and final set of cards in the series and were preparing to not only launch Ruby and Sapphire on the GBA, but also release the cards associated with Gen 3 at the beginning of 2003. With the games coming out much quicker than they had been before, and the cards having been released generally to coincide with the games in the west (at least with Gen 2), the pressure was on to figure out the best way to release so many cards into the market without flooding it.

And there were a FUCKLOAD of cards.

But first, let's talk about what was different about this series of cards. In Gen 1 most people roughly seperate it into two "eras" of the original Base Series (Base, Jungle, Fossil, and sometimes Base Set 2) and the Dark and Gym Series (Team Rocket, Gym Heroes, and Gym Challenge). But Gen 2 had owned Pokemon in Vs. and Neo Destiny, yet all the Neo sets, Legendary Collection, and Vs. Series tend to be lumped together. What made the Neo series different than the e-Series?

The launch of the Gameboy Advance and the e-Reader



The Gameboy Advance was the successor to the original Gameboy that the Gameboy Color started as a middle step towards (many would argue they are completely seperate, but I think the best comparison is with the DS and DSi: same console, different specs, and unique software for the latter). The Gameboy Advance was unveiled in August 2000 for a Summer 2001 launch, right within the same window as the international release Pokemon Crystal, making it the swan song game much in the same way that Pokemon Black and White's international release came right when the 3DS was being launched. The gameboy advance was a 32-bit system, making it a stronger system than the SNES, but only half the power of the N64. Nintendo stressed that they would rather confortably command the handheld market with 2D "done well" than move into 3D graphics on the go with limitations. That being said, Nintendo wanted to make the GBA stand out from the already stellar Gameboy and Gameboy Color, whose combined sales at that point had exceeded 100 million units. To do this, they looked back at the ideas they had in the past, some successes and some failures to see if they could capitalize on new features for the handheld. For awhile, they planned to have the console have online features, a full 5 years before the DS would launch online Wi-fi support. The idea was to buy into an internet service, similar to the previous Satellaview SNES system in Japan and the proposed N64 DD Randnet service they had launched in 1999. The possibilities ranged from being able to download demos or full games through an online connection to overwrite a blank GBA cart, much like the Famicom disk system in Japan, to being able to trade Pokemon and game records with other players through the online service, and possibly receive rewards. Pokemon Crystal had already dabbled in this idea with the partnership with a Japanese cell phone company that would allow access to online services.

The problem was that this had never really been feasible outside of Japan to implement, and were always niche add-ons to the consoles, not entire selling points. The idea of paying for online service was also a turn off to many people who either didn't have internet at the time, or didn't want to pay for a separate internet service for a handheld. The failure of the N64DD in Japan further cemented their resolve to shelve online as a distribution service, but could it be possible to do the same thing without the internet?

Enter the Nintendo e-Reader. After acquiring the rights to use Dot Code as coded media from Olympus Corporation, Nintendo had the idea that instead of downloading data directly from the internet, the data could instead be encoded on playing cards and swiped through a code reader apparatus for quick access. Additionally, through linking a GBA system with the apparatus to another GBA with a game or even to a Gamecube, the data could be transferred into the game to change the coding, possibly adding new content to games or fixing bugs (which actually happened with the infamous Berry Glitch of Gen 3!). Since the data wasn't stored in the e-reader itself to just be "unlocked" by codes, Nintendo could produce as many cards as they wanted to and never have to have the player buy a new e-reader apparatus. Cards were lighter and easier to put on store shelves, and the possibilities were endless. In fact, Nintendo created e-Series cards to port NES games to the system (before starting the NES Classics series of games), they made a Mario Party board game spin-off where the cards scanned would unlock minigames for the players to play, and for the Pokemon games, there were series of cards to unlock unique berries and trainer battles.

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There was even an e-reader card distributed through Nintendo Power to give players the ability to catch a legendary Pokemon.

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The Eon Ticket allowed you to travel to Southern Island in Ruby, Sapphire, and later Emerald to catch either Latios or Latias, whichever had not been caught before. You could also get the special item Soul Dew, which was held by the legendary you caught there.

The e-Reader, however, ultimately was not a success. It came out in September 2002 in the US, over a year after the GBA released at a time when the Gameboy had not even begun to sell anywhere near as well as its predecessor. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire were still 6 months away, and the need to have two systems to bring data over to your save files wasn't really well received when people were already mad at the prospect of the Nintendo GBA-Gamecube cable requiring players to have individual handhelds AND a console to play certain games. The minigames that could be coded on the cards were often shallow and not worth it for the general public, the Animal Crossing cards were scarce and expensive to hunt down. The most novel feature for most people, the ability to play classic NES, arcade, and Game & Watch games, was hindered by the fact that the e-reader could only save one game to its internal memory, meaning high scores would be reset each time (as the cards were not read-write capable like later NFC Amiibos), and the relative small amounts of data each dot code could contain meant that to play something like Ice Climbers or Balloon Fight, you needed to scan 10 codes to get the game to work, which was confusing for people to sort through all of the codes.



The e-Reader was phased out of international markets pretty fast, but continued in Japan through the release of Fire Red and Leaf Green. Cards for Pokemon Colosseum, Pokemon Channel, Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire, Pikmin 2, and Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 were released, many of which would either be stripped out of coding in international releases or intentionally not work on international e-Readers, possibly to ease localization.

But what the heck does all of this have to do with the Pokemon TCG? In order to promote the e-Reader and advance the game in preparation for the release of Ruby and Sapphire, Nintendo partnered with the TCG to promote the e-Reader. Pokemon already helped shift a lot of hardware units for the Gameboy and N64, including accessories like the transfer pak, link cables, and Pokemon Pikachu accessories. And being popular cards already made of the same material the e-reader cards would be made of made it a no brainer for them to make plans to launch the products together.



The e-Series TCG sets were a bit odd. A lot of card art varied from 3D models to more anime and fantastical ideas, making for little cohesion, at least until later sets had a more concrete story. Additionally, the codes on the cards would allow you to read Pokedex entries or unlock minigames or jukebox apps to play around with music. Oftentimes you needed multiple cards to do so, like perhaps a full line of Pokemon (Machop, Machoke, and Machamp even came packaged with the e-Reader to demonstrate). They even had the idea to have "special moves" on the codes on certain cards, making it so you would scan the card, and use the attack that would do any necessary coin flips within the system itself. These attacks though were NEVER tournament legal due to having to take the time to scan and initiate the card attacks, the need for an electronic device at the table, and the fact that the game was suffering with language barriers as it was in international tournaments without adding video games into the mix. The codes also had to be altered for each region to be read correctly and in the right language by the e-Reader, which likely meant that WotC and Nintendo would have to get in touch to make sure the cards were updated correctly.

Now what did an e-series card look like then?

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Like this, usually. God they're ugly. The bottom "short" code was the Pokedex information, and, if a card had one, the side "long code" was used for minigames and special moves. Not every card had a code on this side, and no holofoil or reverse holofoil cards had codes, as it made the card harder to read.

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I know Venusaur. Your pain will be over soon.

A few other oddities with the cards was that some had the set number XXa and XXb. This meant that there were two identical cards in the set with DIFFERENT dot codes, so to have a full collection you had to collect both of them. And speaking of full collection, did I mention that reverse holofoils were back? This set started the permanent inclusion of reverse holofoils, both the bane of collectors, and a slight delight to people who just enjoyed opening packs, as the reverse holo could be any card at random, rare or common. This effectively doubled the work for avid collectors, but also meant you could get up to 2 rares in your pack. This became important, because with the licensing costs of the dot code technology, in order to not increase prices of cards drastically, each pack would only contain 9 cards instead of the standard 11. Japan remained unchanged as their packs always had 5 to begin with, and still do to this day. The shift down caused there to be a loss in 1 uncommon card and 2 commons to make up for the addition of the reverse holofoil. Because of this, uncommons were actually harder to get, and most of the e-Series actually had a pathetic amount of uncommon cards, as we'll soon see.

What made the e-Series most notable was its scarcity and its high amount of cards per set. With only 3 sets, 533 numbered cards were released, with at least one card for each Pokemon released so far (251). Before these sets, the largest set of cards was Base Set 2 at 130. The cards were produced for a very short amount of time, and abruptly ended with the release of EX Ruby and Sapphire, the first set distributed by Nintendo and the newly formed Pokemon USA Inc. (which would later become TPCi at the end of Gen 4). We'll get to the why of that later, but let's move onto the actual sets.

Dear god all of this writing for the WORST sets in the franchise.

Expedition Base Set Image

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For all the shit I give these sets, Expedition was probably the most solid. If just because it was on the market for nearly a year giving it decent exposure and allowing people to actually collect the cards. Most people don't even know there were additional e-Series sets after this because of how short lived and low production they were. If you collected e-Reader cards these are the ones you most likely ended up with, and they're still relatively cheap because of it.

Expedition launched internationally to coincide with the release of the e-Reader on September 2002. The set contains 165 numbered cards including reprints of all of the basic and the two special energy for darkness and metal. This set also marked the introduction of Supporter cards (in the west at least), which was a subset of card where only one could be played each turn. Many followed the archetypes of previous trainer cards, but to keep a situation like Sneasel from happening again, the limit was placed. Additionally, some reprinted cards were starting to be printed with new information, to tweak the cards and make it less likely to have a judge be called due to word choice. Cards like Potion used to say "remove 2 damage counters" but now specified that if there was only 1 damage counter, you could remove just 1. You however, could NOT play Potion if there were no damage counters. Because of the change in wording, all older Potion cards were now bound by the rules of the new print. This became a practice that still happens today. The current Potion even heals 3 damage counters, so all older cards would follow THAT Potion's terminology over the old way. Poke-powers were split into Poke Powers and Poke Bodies, where the former were abilities that had to be activated by the player and the latter were abilities that were passive and always active while on the field.

Additionally, the set went back to the way of Jungle and Fossil where the holofoils and rares were the same artwork, but the rares had the dot codes and the holofoils were holofoil. Issues arose however when it was revealed that to make the holofoil cards reverse holofoil, the usual holofoil treatment could not be used, which meant effectively, Reverse Holofoil Holofoil Alakazam would look exactly like Reverse Holofoil Rare Alakazam. Try saying that 5 times fast. The only difference would be set number. This was fixed in later sets.

Plus, while there were 32 holofoils, there were 40 rares, as each starter got a second card and the two special energy cards were included. This meant that nearly half the set was a rare card that would appear 1 or maybe 2 times per pack. This was insane. Additionally there were 39 Uncommons and 55 Commons, meaning that with 2 Uncommons and 5 commons a pack the odds were very badly skewed against getting a good amount of uncommons, a large amount of commons, and a paltry amount of the set that was rare. it was Jungle and Fossil all over again, but almost 3 times the size.

FINALLY, there were 4 Box topper cards. These cards were giant versions of cards in the set, something that legendary collection started, that you would find one of if you bought a booster box of cards. The cards were numbered X/12, indicating that the next two sets would each have box toppers as well.

Overall the theme of Expedition was all over the place, but it was to set the scene as a "base" set. It featured popular Pokemon from the whole history of the franchise, including the starter Pokemon and even legendaries like Mewtwo and Mew! The message the set seemed to present was a culmination of all of the Pokemon fans loved getting together for a tournament to duke it out. And what could be more Pokemon than that?

Well, unfortunately, there were still two sets that were going to be forced out in quick succession.

Aquapolis Image

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How can I stay mad at a set with art like this? Because everything else sucks.

Before we get to the set itself, an aside about the art. The Pokemon TCG has featured the art of over 100 artists, including international artists. During this set in particular, even mainstay artists like Ken Sugimori came up with new ways to make the art. He took up painting, digital art, oil pastels and watercolors (the same he used to color the gen 1 and 2 art) to come up with new ways to diversify his artstyle. A Pokemon TCG artbook came out last year bundled with a large and very expensive piece of 20th anniversary merch. You may be able to find it separate on sites like ebay, or find a digital version online. In any case it's worth a look through if you get a chance.

Aquapolis was launched in January 2003, soon before the launch of Ruby and Sapphire in the US. At 147 numbered cards, it seems like a slightly smaller set than Expedition, and that would be a good thing, right?

Oh no.

Oh no...

To combat the fact that the Holofoils and Rares from Expedition looked the same under Reverse Holofoil treatment, the Holofoils were given their own subset of H1-H32. This meant no holofoil card could be a reverse holofoil (to the rejoicing of collectors). It also made the set confusing as fuck to people (annoying collectors). Additionally, Shining Pokemon were back, in a new way. Crystal Pokemon. Crystal Pokemon were cards that made the Pokemon different types based on the energies attached, and needed many types of energies to use their attacks. Only 3 Crystal Pokemon were in the set, and they were secret cards put in at the end. You could get 1 in about 3 booster boxes, and given how limited the run was... you see the problem? The box toppers, likewise, were pretty rare.

In total, Aquapolis had 186 cards, a number that has still, TO THIS DAY, not been topped. Why was the set so big? Because it was actually TWO sets.

At this point, Wizards of the Coast had been informed that as of summertime, their contract to lisence the Pokemon TCG would expire, and Game Freak, represented by The Pokemon Company, was not going to renew it. Talks between the companies broke down, in addition to wanting to consolidate the Pokemon brand under umbrella companies and overseas branches, TPC was annoyed at the way the TCG had been treated internationally. Card layouts were changed, entire cards were scrapped or released years later, and the reprint sets meant that not only did it take longer for the international market to catch up, but it also forced the metagame to change in other markets like Japan where the cards weren't rereleased. With international tournaments becoming more prevalent, the need for a unified metagame was important, and it was not sustainable to have a company that was not in line with TPC's wishes. Because of the deadline, Wizards wanted to release as much product onto the market as it could while it was still making cheddar off of the license. This meant the sets they released were superpacked with cards to cut down on costs of making promotional materials and needing stores to dedicate more shelf space for more releases. So 2 90 card sets (e-Series 2 and 3) were smashed together to make a massive set. Again there were 78 Rares, Holofoils, and Crystal Pokemon to sort through. it was a complete mess.

The story of Aquapolis was the ruins of an underwater society, much like Atlantis. The Japanese sets themselves had an adventure theme, with the set names being "The Town on no map" and "Wind from the Sea". Many Pokemon were Pokemon you would expect to see out on the sea or on a forest trail. If the sets had been released properly, they would have likely been popular among collectors, which just makes it sting that these cards go for such high amounts online, especially for any of the holofoils.

But we still have another set to get through...

Skyridge Image

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Fuck. This. Set.

(Sorry pretty cards, not even you can save this mess)

Skyridge released in May 2003. EX Ruby and Sapphire, the first set under Pokemon USA, would release just one month later in June 2003. The fact that this set even released is probably both a miracle and the most damned annoying thing ever. With a month of release, and with the next set looming the next month, most stores either bought very little or shunned the set entirely. There was not enough time between sets to make a presence, and most people knew that the Pokemon TCG needed a fresh shot with the new games already out, not the same old cards that were not selling. Keep in mind, a lot of people were put off by Legendary Collection, and the e-Reader was not doing too well to help push cards. Additionally, Yugioh had broken onto the scene the year before and was taking over, Pokemon leagues were sharing space with Yugioh leagues, and many players were jumping to the new game, or driven out of the leagues entirely by a competing presence and dwindling membership. There was also the Harry Potter TCG, but as if that competed with anything. :C

In any case, Skyridge had a very short production run and is one of the hardest to get sets out there. I managed to get a full Rare-Common set off eBay about 10 years ago for about $50, which considering everything, was downright cheap. All I was missing was 38 Holofoil cards. How much could those set me back?

... Oh, over $1000...

WHAT?

Holofoil cards were stupid rare and pricy, about as much as Base Set and Neo Genesis cards were in their heyday. Additionally, we had 6 annoying little friends tagging along. Crystal Pokemon were back, and in greater numbers. With Pokemon like Celebi, Ho-oh, and Charizard, these cards crested upwards, reaching $50-$200 apiece, absolutely insane for the time. These cards didn't even really see play in leagues. Generally the newer cards never did. I have no idea how competitive tournaments turned out back in the day, but as the internet was catching on, and since tournaments at the time would allow you to use other language cards in your decks so long as you had an official printout OR reference card in your own language, I would imagine most competitive players probably resorted to importing from Japan. There may have been people who suffered through finding these cards or paying exorbitant prices to attain them. I don't like to think of those people.

To this day, these are the first sets chronologically that I myself have not completed. As bad as some of the cards previously got (Looking at you, Shining Charizard), the e-Series cards were too expensive to collect the truly rare cards, even just buying the one offs when good deals presented themselves. Maybe one day I'll amass the cheddar to complete these sets and the ones after. But until then I'd rather spend cheddar building decks I can actually use and enjoy.

And I sure as hell ain't going to collect the reverse holofoils.

Skyridge wasn't necessarily a bad set though. The theme of the set was soaring through a desert sky over ruins. Like Aquapolis, it was 2 sets combined, being "Split Earth" and "Mysterious Mountains". There was a lot of potential there for interesting tie ins. Additionally, the pre-constructed theme decks for Skyridge included a deck named "Eeveelutions". This was the first time that Eeveelutions was used in official Pokemon products rather than being a fan term. And this was 2003, when Pokemon was still being coy about using Shiny!

Also like Aquapolis it was massive. 182 cards, 32 Holofoil Subset, etc.

None of these cards are bad on their own, but it's easy to have a sour taste in your mouth over how they were handled and especially if you are someone coming into collecting later on. I was 12 when this set launched and I didn't even know it existed until 3 years later when I found packs in a gamestop bargain bin and thought they were fake. If Wizards was trying to prove they could handle the TCG how The Pokemon Company wanted, I can safely say they failed. If they, like a lot of people think, were trying to sink the card game franchise while getting their cheddar out of it... well, I'm glad they're no longer handling the game.

Where do we go from here? Let's look at what could have been.

Crosstrainer

Crosstrainer was a set that WIzards conceptualized back when Neo Discovery was coming out about a set with 1 card of each of the original 151 Pokemon along with a few notable trainers and energy cards to make a 170 card set. It was ambitious and they cited that a set where you could get any of the Pokemon would likely sell well among the international audience. But in Japan, with 5 card booster packs, such a large set would be upsetting, and The Pokemon Company wasn't too keen on extraneous cards being released that would mess up the international format. There has been speculation on what cards they may have included, including rumors that it would have been about 30 new cards, just about coinciding with the amount of unreleased vending machine cards floating around. Maybe we would have gotten these? Who knows. Additional names for this set though included Pokemon X (for the 10th set released), Tournament Set, and Base Set 3. Given all of this it's likely that this set was scrapped and adapted into Legendary Collection, a set that was popular at tournaments, followed Base Set 2 in ideology, and was banking on the older Pokemon cards with a few unreleased ones added in.

Legendary Collection 2

No I'm not joking. Wizards planned to release Skyridge in early Spring, though logisitical reasons pushed that back almost to the deadline for the expiration of their license. Instead, when Skyridge actually released, they wanted to make a second version of Legendary Collection, using cards from the Gym and Neo series. Pokemon USA and Nintendo of America shot down the idea repeatedly, and the time it took to release Skyridge made the idea impossible. Not much information was known besides the fact that they were planning to release it quickly after Skyridge. With it being a rerelease set, it likely wouldn't have taken as much time to produce, and they put it on the backburner while finishing up the e-Series.

But even more surprisingly, there is one more set that Wizards had been planning.

Jamboree

Jamboree was a dream that Wizards had for a long time. Initial information stated that the cards included would be those that had not made it internationally, but ALSO include brand new cards. Wizards had wanted to make their own cards for awhile, but had always been turned down due to being distributors, not creators. They had originally negotiated to make such a set way earlier in Gen 2, and at the time the deal seemed favorable, with even Nintendo of America stepping in on their behalf to pitch the idea. Many artists from Wizards' other card games like Magic The Gathering and even some fan artists from notable Pokemon fan pages were contacted to potentially contribute art.

Jamboree, as Wizards stated, was a set about having fun and celebrating Pokemon. At some point the idea got shelved as tensions rose between Wizards and The Pokemon Company, and the initial set was skipped over for Legendary Collection 2 and scheduled for release in late 2003. With the deadline looming, and without any art having been released for the set, it was likely that with the backlog of cards to get through, planning for Jamboree to the point of public discussion never happened. Pokemon USA had especially put pressure on Wizards not to do anything after their license expired, and the idea of making a set for the fans was something not worth going into a lawsuit with a now powerful company over.

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So, perhaps sadly, perhaps for the best, Jamboree never happened. The party was over, and there was about to be a big shift in how the TCG was handled. Some people were fans of the new approach, some... not so much. Gen 2 officially came to a close, and Gen 3 was raring to go.

So while these sets that were and sets that could have been may not have been the highest point in the series, they still have their place in the History of Pokemon, and we'd be remiss to forget the lessons they taught. Before we move onto Gen 3 though, we still have one more group of cards to discuss, and we should revisit what happened at leagues at the time. Because this post is already long enough without adding more stuff, because HOLY SHIT THIS POST IS LONG.

How about you guys? Did you collect cards during this time? Do you even remember these cards? Were you one of the people who went to Yugioh at this time? Did you even know all of that stuff about the e-Reader? Let's discuss the Pokemon TCG!

Collect those Crystal Pokemon~

-Professor Kamak
-K-
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Re: Let's Discuss the Pkmn TCG with Prof. Kamak: Revival!

Post by [Citation Needed] »

I have a holo original tcg Dragonite card with the rainbow background
how many cheddar is it worth
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Kamak
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Re: Let's Discuss the Pkmn TCG with Prof. Kamak: Revival!

Post by Kamak »

Another update so soon? Let's finish off Gen 2 with style.

History of Pokemon: Reach for the Stars



Wait, that's not right.



Much better.

The Pokemon world, an endless expanse of wonder where children can quest to their hearts content capturing monsters and eating vaguely milky nondescript stew. No parents, no real threats considering the Pokemon themselves are apparently eating the same stew as you, just in brown pellet form, and the worst you have to deal with is some people in weird outfits running around with Zubats and Rattata. Or MAYBE a Koffing or Drowzee if we're getting dangerous. The Pokemon world was a captivating place to fans back in the day, and it's no wonder that even now, 21 years later, there are still diehard lifelong fans all over the globe, of all ages.

Therefore, it would be reasonable to say that if there was a way to feel closer to the Pokemon World, most fans would jump at the opportunity, right? No fronting, we all know you downloaded Pokemon Go, would totally go to a Pokemon version of Disneyland, and wouldn't skip a beat to wishing on a monkey paw for the ability to make it all real.

Pokemon Leagues, especially in 2001 and 2002, were flourishing and attracting more players to them. It was easy to find a place somewhere, whether it was public libraries, toy stores, Walmarts, or even bookstores like Barnes and Noble (may you rest in peace) and some Disney Stores even got in on it! They would hold weekly events, usually on weekends, but sometimes on evenings depending on demand from the players. Burger Kings had even encouraged players to come to their restaurants for Pokemon nights during the times when Pokemon related toys were being sold to promote the first and second movies, to allow trading of cards, toys, and make it more likely for families to eat out. Too bad Burger King also had that Pokeball recall which kinda tarnished Burger King's upper climb at the time. Generally, if you had a place where it was possible to play Pokemon, you either had a league, or had the ability to start one there.

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WotC was more than pop flyin' to send materials out to furnish leagues, giving each player who signed up a badgebook to guide them on their Pokemon journey, and a "Victory road" journal to write the names of their opponents and the results of the match in, as a memento of their time at the league and memory of their friends. The basic idea was that the more you participated, the more points or stamps you got in your badgebook, and the closer you got to winning prizes such as little badge pins and getting TM stickers in your badgebook as "achievements". Early on, the points you got were for basic things like attendance, winning games, making a successful trade, bringing a friend, teaching someone how to play, and helping clean up the league after you were done. A lot of these core tenets continue to this day in the modern leagues, and it worked out amazingly well back then as many kids were familiar with points systems in schools for things like reading books or doing classwork or even just for attendance. It was entirely up to the discretion of the League Leader (sometimes called the Gym Leader) at the time in how to organize the league and how to assign points. Some held themed tournaments in which wins were rewarded with many points, and would incorporate special rules to make the games more fun and perhaps even fair. Kanto badges and packs were sent out to leagues in the first year of play, with leagues getting new badges and supplies every 6-7 weeks, making it impossible to just blow through your whole badgebook to get all 8 badges quickly. You had to regularly attend to get them all, at least a few weeks each season.

When it became time to shift the game over to Gold and Silver, WotC took in feedback from the previous year of organized leagues and realized that exclusive cards released for the leagues would help retain players who might grow bored if there wasn't anything to work towards (it was common for leagues to go through packs very quickly). Pokemania was also dying down a bit, so trading card tie ins with products such as food and magazines were going down as well, which made it the perfect time to dedicate promotional cards to the leagues. Previously, any promo cards a league had were sent to them due to surplus or were gotten from places like movie theatres that were inundated with them after they finished showing the movies. The most dedicated Pokemon fanatics would likely have already collected these cards, and there often wasn't enough to satisfy demand anyways.

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So what exactly happened in the next year? The guidebook expanded to include a section for stickers to be placed for stamping for Pokemon cards. You didn't know what Pokemon was coming to your league until the League Leader put the new stickers in your book. Now in addition to earning points towards badges, you also earned them towards these Pokemon, earning the chance to not only get a copy of the card, but possibly even two through dedication. There was a lot more for you to work towards, but that meant getting way more stamps. Luckily, there were new ways added to the game to get stamps, including Gym Rules where you could impose a rule on yourself that many times handicapped you, and if you won despite the odds, you got even more points and a point tallied on the "challenge area". If you won a particular leader's challenge 15 times, you would be given a sticker for the back of your badgebook and a prize. Here are the challenges presented:

Falkner's Challenge: You cannot use Colorless Pokemon or Non-Basic Energy cards
Bugsy's Challenge: Your opponent needs to collect 2 fewer prizes to win
Whitney's Challenge: Damage from your Pokemon's attacks is cut in half, rounded down
Morty's Challenge: You cannot retreat your Pokemon or play Trainers or use effects that allow you to change your Active Pokemon
Jasmine's Challenge: Your Opponent must be able to see your hand at all times
Chuck's Challenge: Your Opponent may go through their deck at the beginning of the game to pull out a basic Pokemon, shuffling their deck afterwards
Pryce's Challenge: Your Basic Pokemon cannot attack, only your Evolved Pokemon
Clair's Challenge: Whenever you draw a prize, you must immediately discard 1 card from your hand

All generally workable rules, though Pryce and Falkner do prevent you from using an all colorless or all basic deck, which helped in keeping decks like Haymaker away since they depended on quick hitting basics hitting hard. Falkner's rule also killed Sneasel decks before it was banned, due to dependence on Darkness energy, which was Special at this time. Additionally, leagues were encouraged to come up with new rules to help even playing fields. Experienced players loved to live up to these challenges, which gave the weaker players a chance to play without being completely overrun.

Leagues were a huge hit, and you could often see signs in the doors announcing the opening or hours of a league in a store. When you joined, you'd often be given a custom Gold and Silver flyer that had the meeting times written on it, and even a refrigerator magnet to put it on your fridge so you wouldn't forget. In some leagues, your badgebook came with a folder to hold it in to keep it from getting damaged, and many stores that had leagues bought up paraphernalia like playmats, card sleeves, penny savers, card boxes, binders, and the like to have on hand in case players wanted to upgrade their gear or maybe ended up with a few more cards than they anticipated after a day of playing and trading. It wasn't uncommon for new players with a pre-constructed deck to leave with an extra hundred common cards donated by players inundated with Bulbasaurs and some adjustments made to their deck. It of course depended on the location and who was running the leagues, but the behavior existed if just because everyone was excited to be a part of the system. Holidays usually mean that the league would be put on break, and during particularly holiday heavy seasons, it was common to see bigger events like tournaments and double point days happening to help players get their badges.

At the end of the season, it was up to the League Leader and the store whether to renew for the next season, and none of the extra product was required to be sent back. Often the last meeting would be a party of sorts, and at least at my league, anyone who stuck around and helped out the last week got a pile of promo cards handed to them. In this way, I ended up with more than 20 of each promo at my league each season, some of which were pretty pricey back in the day.

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The 2002 season started a bit differently. This season focused on Pokemon card types instead of badges, likely to not have a return to Kanto so soon. Instead of a badgebook, you got a single piece of paper that would be put into a plastic holder on your lanyard. On one side, you would get stamps for the season towards two promo Pokemon cards, one of which was known, and the other was a "mystery". On the other side, you earned points to get a holofoil version of the energy card of the season. Despite not giving out badges, the energy cards were very popular, with people wanting to replace their boring energy cards with them. Each season you would get a new card to stick in your lanyard, and continue gathering points. There were no challenges or season rules, and you generally had to earn less points to get things. The promo cards were officially only to be given out if you managed to get 10 wins, but most people were used to the old rules, and just gave a stamp for each game anyways, not wanting to encourage winning over having fun. The 8 seasons encompassed the 6 main energy types, along with rainbow and colorless (represented by Recycle Energy). Unlike the promotional cards though, these energy cards did not have a unique set to call their own, and were just holographic reprints of previously released cards.

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The 2002 season was the last year for WotC, as things became hectic in 2003 with the loss of the rights to the Pokemon franchise, and even though Pokemon USA was picking up the reins and continuing the leagues, there were a few problems.

First, many people were unaware of the shift, and Pokemon USA took to waiting for stores to contact them rather than going to the stores and streamlining the process. Many leagues ended just because there was confusion as to whether they were gone for good or not.

Pokemon USA was a lot more strict with who could be what they called a League Owner. You had to file an application, go through a background check, and keep meticulous records of your attendance to ensure that you were not lying just to get product. Players in your leagues had to get registered and obtain a trainer ID number, and leagues were often deliberately given exactly as much product as was projected to be needed, meaning that if your league had a sudden influx of attendees, they would have to wait upwards of a month for the next shipment to get the badges, cards, and supplies. Additionally they were very strict with the count of promo cards, meaning that even if a few were given out as tournament prizes, it could mean someone might go without. All the stricter regulations were a far cry from WotC's kind of "set it and forget it" method of doling out prizes on anyone who asked.

In Pokemon USA's viewpoint, the leagues were too numerous as it was and were likely run by people who didn't have the knowledge of how to run a league properly, basically being babysitters working for the stores they were involved with rather than volunteers. Pokemon didn't discourage stores from applying to create leagues, but did stipulate that the only thing a league owner should be doing during the league's operating hours was working on behalf of the league. This in turn put a lot of places off of working with Pokemon on continuing leagues, as you would effectively be paying an employee to work on behalf of another company, or you would have to deal with a non-employee volunteer not on the paygrade behaving themselves and being responsible for children in your store.

Additionally, leagues were really starting to disrupt business in non-ideal locations. Having 20 kids sprawled on the floor between aisles of books and toys meant that those places were not easily accessible by customers, and it wasn't as simple as moving the games over to let people by as they came through. Some customers complained about the leagues operating in stores, especially during weekend hours, and in libraries with extra rooms choked up by excited kids, some visitors were annoyed that they did not have precedence over the use of the rooms for meetings.

Behavior was increasingly getting bad in leagues aswell, especially those that had kids all over the place and only one adult to watch them. Unscrupulous players would trick others into making bad trades, or play games where players would bet rare cards on the result, and the owners were not trained in how to defuse the situation or deal with angry parents. Some players even resorted to stealing or damaging property within the leagues, especially if it meant getting more Pokemon cards for free. This behavior especially hit a peak when Pokemon leagues were expected to share space with Yugioh players, the new Pokemon craze stores were hoping to capitalize on. Yugioh players tended to be older and in many cases the two groups did not coexist without problems. Age differences, different opinions on Pokemon and Yugioh, older players preying on the immaturity and innocence of younger players who looked up to them in order to get cheddar and rare cards... and hey, we've all dealt with console wars online. Now imagine them in a store, and between screaming kids.

I mean, I guess just saying seeing them IRL is enough to get the point across.

In my personal experience, any thoughts of renewing the league with Pokemon died after it was discovered that some Yugioh players jammed a screwdriver into an icee machine, causing it to burst and spray gallons of sugar water all over the bookstore we were in. The kids were charged, and the store wanted nothing to do with large groups of kids ever again.

Everything was changing, going towards something new and different. Pokemania was officially dead by now, and with the GBA selling poorly so far, it was uncertain if the new games would even recapture the same spark. There was no drive or social energy to keep leagues going as populated and as plentiful as they had been before, and the card game had been selling less and less for the past couple of years ever since Neo Genesis released. The era was over in more ways than one, and it would take about a decade for the game to approach the levels it held previously.

But the game did survive, leagues moved to places that were used to hosting card games like Magic and Yugioh, and card shops especially embraced them, if it meant an outside volunteer was willing to handle it instead of their staff. Plus, a card shop was the best place for a league, having tables and all of the products a Pokemon fan could want. The playerbase largely got older too, mostly the same kids that played previously and were growing up. Things were not as ideal as they had been, but Pokemon was still a growing franchise, and these growing pains were important for it to break out as its own thing and achieve the vision for the future they saw for themselves.

But we're here to discuss cards too, so what ARE promo cards?

Black Star Promo Series Image

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Unlike Japan which had both unnumbered card sets AND unnumbered promotional cards released in just about any product you can imagine (including airline tickets!), thankfully WotC decided to number their promo cards in a side set. Unlike other sets there was no upper limit to the cards, but websites at the time helped you keep track of everything and determine where to find them. Cards came with theatre tickets, CD's, strategy guides, movies, games, poptarts, and all kinds of products. It was hard to keep track of where to find them, and luckily they did end up at leagues to help others get them without resorting to buying online. Later promos in the series were reserved for leagues as product tie-ins became less common. Promos ranged from the early cards, to Neo series, to even e-Series. Celebi and Suicune even had a special dot codes that allowed you to watch a special berry eating sprite animation for Celebi and an interactive jukebox for Suicune with an 8-bit rendition of Born to be a Winner.



In total, there were 53 Promo cards released in this set, many of which were in limited runs. At the time, everyone wanted Mew and Birthday Pikachu, two holofoils that could fetch high prices. Even so, many cards that were thought to be rare and valuable back then, including the movie cards, are still pretty plentiful nowadays, so look around online and maybe you'll be able to find a few deals.

But there were a few other weird promo cards floating around. Including...

Best of Game Series

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9 cards were released in this set for distribution at tournaments. Most people ended up getting ahold of them when Wizards wholesale sold off their remaining stock of cards to companies that would repackage the cards with booster pack combos. There were variants of these cards with a gold foil stamped "winner" on them for people who won competitions. Funnily enough, you can get winner cards in the same method as the other sold off cards, as Wizards produced way too many of these cards.

Prerelease Stamp

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Starting with Jungle, and ending with Gym Heroes, each set had 1 card that was stamped with a Prerelease foil stamp for distribution at events to hype up the product. When making the first batch of these cards for Jungle, a few sheets of Raichu cards from Base Set got stamped, and the erroneous cards were distributed to staff. These were kind of the holy grail for collectors, and even though their existence was common knowledge, Wizards was embarrassed by their accidental creation and denied they existed.

W Stamp

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From Jungle to Gym Challenge, each set had one card that received a gold foil stylized "W" below the card art. These were given away in magazines as promotional for future sets.

Jumbo Cards

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All of the Best of Game series, the original Base Set Pikachu, and the card above were printed as oversized book size cards. While not legal for card games, they were highly collectible, and were similar to the box toppers. Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos was the first Jumbo card to be only printed as a jumbo card. It was released in Japan originally as a promo in Corocoro at this size, and thus, there is no regular size card for it, ergo, there is no legal variant. There are many other jumbo cards from this era floating around, for Pokemon like Charizard and Blastoise, but keep in mind, they're not official product and were usually printed for advertising by card shops. If you have them, they're neat to hang onto, but don't expect much interest.

Now there are other cards that exist, ones in Japan, ones that have errors, gold trim reprints in Fruit by the Foot, and there's too much of them for me to cover, but I will talk about perhaps the rarest Pokemon card in existence.

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Pokemon Illustrator.

39 copies of this card were distributed, at least 10 of which have been graded and are accounted for within the community. As these were given away as prizes for 3 different card creator contests in Japan, and many of the recipients were children, it's likely that some were lost or destroyed with the value of the card not being known back then. There's also the chance these cards are still out there, in a box somewhere, forgotten for all of these years, but waiting to be rediscovered. Last November, at auction, one PSA 9 graded Pokemon Illustrator card broke records when the auction ended at $54,970.

That's a lot of packs of Pokemon cards.

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Whether your cards are rare or common, collecting cards on its own is special. My very first Venusaur card is perhaps my most treasured card, even if it's one of the easier to replace in rarity and value. It's the memories you make with the cards that matter more than anything else.

And just because Leagues changed over between companies, doesn't mean they aren't as fun as they were before. On the player side of things, they operate largely the same, with badges, promos, and stamps. They're just less plentiful than they used to be. I recommend looking for ones nearby if you want to play. They recently incorporated the video games into the league, and most players bring their games anyways, but just know that most people attending are more interested in card games. And if you're a Pokemon Master, like me, you'll likely be seeing more Juniors and Seniors hanging around with parents who may or may not be players.



Gen 2 may be over now, but we'll always have the memories. And we still have 5 generations and probably like a billion sets to get through at this point.

Have you attended a league before? Got any memories? How about promo cards? Got any rare ones that you might now need a safe for? Let me know your thoughts and Let's Discuss the Pokemon TCG!

May all your pulls be good~

-Professor Kamak
-K-
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