Lugia-GX and Blacephalon-GX will be featured! Blacephalon is the last of the new Ultra Beasts to get a card in the TCG.
The set will feature 95 cards, excluding secret rares.
Since the past several sets have featured a region based on its featured Pokemon, it seems this will be our Johto set. So far we’ve seen:
- SM5 Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, released in December 2017, featured Sinnoh (and Ultra Necrozma to advertise USUM’s release).
- SM6 Forbidden Light, released in March 2018, featured Kalos and Zygarde.
- SM7 Charisma of the Wrecked Sky, released in June 2018, featured Hoenn and Rayquaza.
- SM8 Explosive Impact, releasing in September 2018, will feature Johto and Lugia.
- This just leaves Unova and Kanto.
However, based on past trends, the release of a Johto set is problematic if a Unova set is still releasing and a Switch game is coming out during the holidays (as rumor has lead the fandom to believe up until now).
Before a new video game is released, the previous generation’s last set releases at least two to three months beforehand. Then, the TCG set based on the video games releases one to three months after. For example:
- Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon for the 3DS were released on November 17th, 2017.
- Two months before: Japan’s version of Crimson Invasion, the last set of the SM block, was released on September 15th, 2017.
- One month later: Japan’s version of Ultra Prism, the first USUM set, was released on December 8th.
- Sun and Moon were released for the 3DS on November 8th, 2016.
- Two months before: Japan’s version of Evolutions, the last X/Y set, was released on September 16th, 2016.
- One month later: The first SM TCG set, Sun & Moon, was released on December 9th, 2016.
- Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire were released on November 21st, 2014.
- Two months before: XY Phantom Forces was released on September 13th, 2014.
- One month later: XY Primal Clash (featuring ORAS) was released on December 13th, 2014.
- X and Y for the 3DS were released on October 12th, 2013.
- Three months before: Legendary Treasures, a B/W set, was released on July 13th, 2013.
- Two months later: The first XY set was released on December 13th, 2013.
- Black 2 and White 2 for the DS were released on June 23rd, 2012.
- Three months before: Japan’s version of Dragons Exalted released on March 16th, 2012.
- One month later: Japan’s version of Boundaries Crossed (featuring BW2) released on July 13, 2012.
- Black and White for the DS were released on September 18th, 2010.
- Two months before: HS – Triumphant, the last HGSS set, released on July 8th, 2010.
- Three months later: The first Black & White TCG set released on December 17th, 2010.
So if the rumored Kanto Switch games are coming out in, say, November, there wouldn’t be enough time to release an SM9 Unova set because the SM8 Johto set just came out in September. This could mean one of a few possibilities:
- The TCG is going to skip doing an SM9 Unova set. The special mini-sets SM6a Dragon Storm had Reshiram-GX, White Kyurem-GX, and Victini Prism Star. The upcoming mini-set SM7a Thunderclap Spark will have Virizon and Genesect (and Zeraora from this gen). A special Zekrom-GX promo is going to be released. So they may release the “stars” of Unova as promos and in these mini-sets as a way of fitting them into this TCG block. However, they’d still forego releasing most Unova Pokemon, which wouldn’t seem fair or “complete” when the other regions were featured in full sets (especially when Unova has the largest number of Pokemon).
- The Switch game isn’t actually coming out during the holidays as rumors would have us believe. In that case, a Unova set would release in December, then the Switch game and associated Kanto TCG set would release in early 2019.
- The Switch games are so fundamentally different than previous Pokemon video game releases that the TCG marketing is going to do its own thing, at least for now. This doesn’t seem likely since Pokemon is a transmedia marketing machine.
What do you think is going to happen?
Also releasing on September 7th are new card sleeves and deck boxes featuring Lugia, as well as a binder featuring Ultra Necrozma. Thanks goes to Bangiras for the translations!