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!