Theory: Worldwide Set Releases Coming to the Pokemon TCG?

I have a theory I’ve been working on since Monday’s Gen 8 news!

Our first Sword & Shield set will release in America next February. Since English sets release on the first Friday of their release month, this means we should get our set on February 7th, 2020.

Our English set will be comprised of the cards from Japan’s first Sword and Shield sets. They will get V decks on November 29th, the first Sword and Shield sets on December 8th, and the first Sword & Shield subset on… February 7th, 2020.

As you can see, our Sword & Shield set will release on the same day as the last Japanese set that will be used to make up our English set (February 7th). Could this mean TPCi and Japan will now be attempting to sync our releases as closely as possible? Or are the dates a simple coincidence?

Stepping back a moment, it’s a fact there are no other Japanese sets or major products releasing between now and February 7th (we know all of them). This means it’s also a fact that our set has to be comprised of the aforementioned Japanese sets. Our English set will have 202 cards: Japan’s Sword and Shield will have 120 cards, V Rising will have 70 cards, and the V decks will probably have a few exclusive cards. As you can see, the numbers roughly add up to our 202 card English set. There will be no other major Japanese releases to account for our English set.

This means this will be the first time in the TCG’s history that one of our sets (Sword & Shield) has the same street date as a Japanese set (V Rising) that is releasing the same new cards. In the past we haven’t even come close to simultaneous releases, let alone shared the same release date.

Japan is also skipping its January subset this year, which breaks from their recent release patterns. Unless Japan is permanently slowing down their release schedule, it could be they are temporarily “stalling” so we can catch up with their schedule. Combine the fact the release dates are the same, and the set contents match, and you begin to see a picture that may be more than coincidence: come February 7th, we should share the same cards!

If my theory holds true, it could mean that in the future Japan will release all their sets that make up our next English set in three month intervals (since that’s the period between our English set releases). So with February’s Sword & Shield we would get all the cards they’ve released up until that point, then they would release a few sets over the next three months, and then we’d be synced up with them again upon the release of our next English set. Japan will get many of the cards before us, but we will get all their cards from the interval period upon the release of our English set (plus a simultaneous release for the last chunk of cards, as with V Rising).

We’ve also seen evidence over the past year that TPCi is attempting to keep our card legality close to Japan’s, such as with the advent of “A” alternate art cards that do not reset the legality of our promo releases. Furthermore, the English versions of Zacian V and Zamazenta V were revealed to have the same regulation marks that Japan will soon use to denote which cards are legal for their tournaments. This all seems to indicate an attempt by Creatures and TPCi to make worldwide card legality a reality.

If this all turns out to be true, it means the rest of the world will have new sets as close as possible to Japan’s release schedule. It also means the entire world will soon play from the same (or near-similar) pool of cards.

But of course this is all a theory. We won’t be able to confirm or deny it until more evidence presents itself over the coming months. As it does, we will be sure to revisit this post to see if we need to throw out the theory, revise it, or validate it.

What do you think of my theory? Discuss your thoughts below!

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  1. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    If it means we'll get more cards/alt artwork that would otherwise remain left behind in Japan, I'm for it.
    Keau, xTITAN, Jake_Silberman and 4 others like this.
  2. TatsuyaOrimuta Aspiring Trainer


    I definitely have been thinking this based on the announcement article, I do believe you're most likely correct, but I guess we'll have too wait and see.
  3. Merovingian Dead Game Enthusiast

    Articles Head Member

    The only thing that would work even better is if we had synced banlists.

    Synced releases are all good—for Standard. But having two desperate banlists is a bit nutty. Then again, Expanded is neglected. Maybe it’ll be a Fox for further down the road. But this could be neat. Then again, how would this affect card spoilers down the road. I’ve grown rather accustomed to monthly spoilers for sets
    Otaku and OVERGRO like this.
  4. OVERGRO Pokemon is lyfe.


    This is a pretty convincing theory. So far there isn't much evidence to dispute it either.

    The movement has been to slowly sync up Japan and the rest of the world on all fronts, and with the continuing success of Play! Pokemon it would make sense to unify the format used for the TCG not only the VGC
  5. Number51x Blasting off at the speed of light!


    Sounds like a return to sanity on the set sizes isn't coming any time soon.
    Ev1l, RisingRaichuu and Coolpilot like this.
  6. Mimikeon Aspiring Trainer


    You jump to conclusions so quickly out of nowhere it's ridiculous. And you're probably going to start stating this as fact in articles just like you do with "legality markers." You need to calm down, man. We don't even know if that subset will be part of Sword & Shield.
  7. Water Pokémon Master I like Pokemon more than you. :D
    Water Pokémon Master

    Webmaster News Head Activities Head Elite Member Advanced Member Member

    You need to break down my arguments if you're going to state something like this. Quote my sentences, disprove my logic with facts and precedence, and then go from there. Your post right now adds no meaningful value to this discussion. So please explain your reasoning.
    FacepalmMaster and Number51x like this.
  8. Ntanel TPCi Sanctioned League & Tournament Organizer


    Typically, the television show, trading card game and video games all release in Japan near simultaneously. Originally, that was not the case. The video game released first in February 1996 (JP), then the trading card game (October 1996) and television series (April 1997). It was not until recently that the video games began releasing world wide... I think it began with X & Y.

    For those of you unaware, Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro), who owns Magic: The Gathering and the Transformers trading card games also originally published the Pokemon Trading Card Game. They were not really sticking to any series overarching story or video game tie-in, but they did introduce the new characters as they could. When Pokemon took over the trading card game in 2003, they started lining sets up with the television series and video game, beginning with Ruby & Sapphire (TCG: EX Ruby & Sapphire), although typically with a three or so month lag time.

    Pokemon has been slowly lining everything up, so WPM's theory may be right on the nose. Magic: The Gathering releases in all languages worldwide simultaneously. Actually, I cannot think of another trading card game that does not release in all languages at the same time, short of Yu-Gi-Oh. The Pokemon Company International may simply be moving away from the Japanese model of distribution so that they can retain some uniformity. Something that is especially useful when it comes to championships where the American players are handicapped because the Japanese players have a set or two released ahead of them.
    Blob55, Gwen and The-Kaiser like this.
  9. CynderDarkov Aspiring Trainer


    Naw not even Yugioh does this. It releases their sets in Japan/OCG territory months ahead of TCG territory (more/less the rest of the world). And there's a lot of cards that stay in Japan, and a lot of cards that are in the TCG only but not in Japan. Both territories even have their own completely different banlist. It's pretty crazy actually.

    Worldwide release would be pretty cool tho. If that, the small banlist Pokemon has, and rotation are all practically the same, that would be pretty damn sweet. I kind of find it hard to imagine it being that way though...but I'm all for it.
  10. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    That's because they really didn't do anything beyond translate and distribute the cards and had to fight with Nintendo just to get one secret rare made. PCL/Creatures has been calling the shots in the TCG since day one. Which is why I always hard roll my eyes when older players bemoan Wizards losing the Pokemon TCG license because "their" cards were "better"/"more balanced"/whatever.
    Rooie, Otaku and Xochitlwaki like this.
  11. AshCo "An Excellent Profile Picture"


    I don't think the large set sizes are really a huge issue (some of my favorites in the TCG are some of the bigger ones, like Boundaries Crossed and all of the e series, so I could be biased). it's more that there's WAY too many added rarities to cards that's lost its sanity. Regular and Full art is all we need with a max of like, 4 secret rares per set. I'm not confident they'll fix this issue, judging that SwSh's TCG is looking to probably be quite similar to Sun and Moon's, but if they do I'll give gen 8 all the praise in the world.
    Blob55 likes this.
  12. dom Aspiring Trainer


    I'm not a full time collector. it's an occasional hobby for me. so excuse my ignorance here.

    Wouldn't a worldwide release cause issues with how the sets are divided up when they hit western markets. I like the idea of worldwide releases, but wouldn't it be a logistical nightmare.

    I haven't bothered completing a set since xy days. I've noticed with the most recent sets that the western releases have included significantly more cards than the japanese equivalent. e.g. unified minds had 258 cards the japenese set it was based on only had 115. to make such a large set they've been drawing heavily from japenese sub sets.

    them needing 50-100 extra cards for a set is a relatively new thing right ?

    200+ cards seems to be what they want for western sets now. With this being the first new gen of cards that's required such a large number, we'll certainly see something different. You said that Japan is skipping their usual jan subset, so what if to avoid delaying the western release, they bolster the numbers of the first sword & shield set numbers, by taking cards from a japanese subset from sun and moon that never came west.

    they don't change the western card format (as in the card design) every gen. e.g. black and white set cards had the same design as X&Y. So it's likely the base card design in sword and shield is identical to that of sun and moon. So theoretically they could pass off a previous gen card as a new gen card. & bolster the set that way.
    The-Kaiser likes this.
  13. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    No, the reason why our recent English sets are so large is because they're one main Japanese expansion plus two Japanese subsets, as Japan has been releasing one set or another almost monthly for the last two years and the English version has to roll everything together into 250 card monstrosities or risk falling behind super quickly.

    WPM is saying here it could be intentional that our first English SS set would be released on the same day that the comparable third Japanese component subset would be released (supported by Japan conveniently skipping a January release for the first time in years), so that both sets of players would have all of the same cards available at that point in time. i.e.:

    Nov - V Decks
    Dec - Swish set 1
    Feb - Swish subset 1 (if it follows the SM naming scheme, "SS01a")

    Feb - 202 card set that includes all of the cards from the V Decks, Swish set 1 and Swish 01a.

    They're not going to bolster our SS base set with SM cards because we've pretty much gotten everything that Japan had to bring over in our recent English expansions, barring a few redundant alt artwork promos or the same kind of Japanese-exclusive promotional cards we've never gotten translated since day one.
    Coolpilot likes this.
  14. The-Kaiser Starfleet Captain and Pokemon Trainer


    I still wish they could release the old WebVS aka Johto Gym sets this or some other way and maybe some more of the old Vending Machine series cards. I dont think theres any other set that got totally skipped out on English release.
    bbb888 likes this.
  15. Number51x Blasting off at the speed of light!


    Yeah, this is pretty much what I mean. Collection wise the sets are seriously top heavy. The RRs can go bye-bye as far as I'm concerned and the full arts should be more like this new style we've been getting with the TT-GXs. If they still do RRs, I may not even bother collecting them until the end of Gen 8 if at all. This strategy served me well with X and Y as I filled out the full arts for that set pretty cheaply; I'd assume the RRs would also be quite discounted by then.
    Coolpilot likes this.
  16. bbb888 One Life. One Dream.


    I hope they do sync the sets!! The video games are now synced, why can't the TCG? However...

    1) This is assuming TPCi does NOT make their own reprint sets like Base Set 2 or Legendary Collection.

    2) Syncing the sets would NOT give TPCi enough time to change banned artwork (like Misty's Tears from Gym series and Magmortar from Dragons Exalted).
  17. AshCo "An Excellent Profile Picture"


    I gave up collecting rainbows a while ago. I mean yeah, it goes against me being a 100% completionist of all english TCG sets, but I can't justify buying all of the same color palette a million times. Same with the gold items-They just don't appeal to me. Maybe I'll turn around and get them at some point but I'm perfectly content with just the RA and FA cards like the good old BW/XY days. I'd much rather spend the money on something more worthwhile to me, like completing WOTC era sets or the EX era.

    I've always said Rainbows would have been fine if it only had something like Solgaleo, Lunala, and the Necrozmas. Just a couple of important pokemon. They'd then be a cool little niche ultra rare that would go well with eachother. But as it stands, there's just TOO many.
    MegaSnorlax and Number51x like this.
  18. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    For point the first, the reprint sets were typically a product of the TCG and VG releases not being synced in the first place. Power Keepers and Call of Legends in particular were necessary to stall until DP and BW came out a couple months later. Presumably they wouldn't have happened if the English versions of those games came out at the same time as the Japanese ones. Legendary Treasures and Evolutions kind of threw things off for XY/SM but it's pretty clear that Evolutions was considered a main expansion in both languages. Now with the strategy they seem to be adopting for Swish there's no need for a filler set on either side.

    For #2, I would think one head would be talking to the other in cases where a card would need to be altered, which is rare occurrence in the first place because the franchise is so sanitized these days. TPCi must have some insight to Japanese release plans because we often get cards/alt artwork releases before Japan does, and we've even had English expansions (EX Emerald, the Delta Species/Legend Maker mix-up, the aforementioned Power Keepers, Emerging Powers) that had significant portions of the set released simultaneously or before the Japanese equivalent.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
    bbb888 likes this.
  19. Yaginku Aspiring Trainer


    It recently became apparent that Japan's gaming world is slowly reconsidering its position as another planet that hovers above us, western mortals. More and more games get simultaneous releases, and this trend might extend to Pokemon TCG.
    But will they change the way Japan sets are released to match ours? I highly doubt it. If anything, they'd prefer to change our sets to match theirs, except western players aren't as keen on blatant nickel-and-diming.
    CaptainJuuice likes this.
  20. ShinyJordeon Aspiring Trainer


    I think your theory is correct. They will probably synchronize it so we can all celebrate Pokemons 25th anniversary together.
    bbb888 and Luplayz like this.