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. iGeek256 I only use Electric types. Help me


    Plz have international monthly releases. Plzzzzzzz
  2. Otaku The wise fool?


    I think I would love worldwide releases. There are some advantages to the staggered approach, though I'm not sure how many of them are fully utilized (such as fine-tuning card text).

    When it came to the cards themselves, WotC did very little. When it came to Organized Play, or better and worse, they did a lot. I had to catch myself before I posted a short essay. Oh, and I am glad WotC failed to retain the license. Just didn't want anyone lumping me in with the kind of players @Frost mentioned. ;) Hm... this might be worth its own thread.
  3. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    To be fair the sort of people who think "WOTC's cards" were better are mostly driven by nostalgia and haven't actively followed the TCG in close to 20 years.
    Rooie and Otaku like this.
  4. Otaku The wise fool?


    To be fair, the reprint sets @bbb888 mentions were specifically not meant just to buy time or even make use of Japanese re-releases that would otherwise have gone to waste.

    • Base Set 2 released because WotC badly underestimated the demand for the Pokémon TCG. This in turn meant a shortage of cards, which may have been annoying for casuals, was frustrating for collectors, and was damaging for organized play. One of the reasons people think a lot of old non-competitive decks were actually good is because folks just didn't have better cards in the local metagame with which to regularly smack them down (lack of knowledge and communication were the other parts).
    • The Legendary Collection designed with two things in mind. One was the Limited Format in mind, which makes sense given how they made good use of such a Format for MtG. The other was finding a way to "return" various older cards from the Base Set, Jungle, Fossil, and Team Rocket expansions (plus one BWotC lack Star Promo XP) to the Modified Format (what we called Standard at the time).
    They may also have been a means of buying time as well, but not for video game releases considering WotC would eventually skip some smaller expansions after them. It was more WotC was realizing how hard it was to translate Pokémon cards. ;)
    bbb888 likes this.
  5. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    TPCi's never done a reprint set on par with WOTC's, i.e. one where there are no new cards or even artwork at all, so there's not much reason to worry they would. TPCi does them to stall or because Japan did them too.

    And we lost English Vending and VS for BS2 and LC so screw Wizards.
  6. AshCo さくうぴい?!


    Not having VS come out in English stings. The E series is the one era I have such a sense of wonder about, from the quality of art to the scarcity of it all, it's just so much fun to look at and collect what I can. VS is one of those sets that I've looked at extensively and adore the artwork to. It's really a shame we never got such a big part of the e series in English, especially when that series is already a massive pain to collect as it is.
    bbb888 likes this.
  7. Otaku The wise fool?


    I want to make sure that wasn't your take away from my own previous comment. I don't remember exactly why, but I thought WotC skipped them on purpose, thinking they were too confusing or gimmicky or unbalanced.

    I mean, go look at the old set release dates and set composition. There are places, whether on their own or added to another expansion that the Vending and VS cards could have been released.
  8. Mimikeon Aspiring Trainer


    Honestly, my real issue is that you end up stating your theories as fact after you make them, which then causes other people to do the same. I just think you need to control your excitement over things that you want to happen because you have a lot of influence, and once you end up getting something wrong it's gonna backfire.
  9. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    WPM clearly states this is a theory in both the headline and the speculation itself in this case though. He's also acknowledged when he's been wrong in the past, and in general people in a fandom probably should be a little more discerning when choosing what to believe before things are officially revealed/playing out.
  10. Mimikeon Aspiring Trainer


    Lately he's been stating that the letters are legality markers as fact. That's 100% on him. I'm worried he'll do the same for this if more evidence mounts.
  11. Number51x Blasting off at the speed of light!


    Who the hell cares? It's friggin' Pokemon cards; it's not like he works for the Federal Reserve or something.
  12. Mimikeon Aspiring Trainer


    BTW, I do want to point out one small problem with this: unless Full Arts are going to become Secret Rares outside of Japan or we're getting only 12 total Pokemon V and supporters (assuming no new cards in the other products), the numbers don't really add up all that well.
  13. SupStar Aspiring Trainer


    OMG this would be so great. I HATE how late we get packs in US and how the packs are so bloated.

    In Japan, they get a bunch of new dark pokemon and support cards in a dark pack. In US, they cram like 3 or 4 packs into one so if all I wanted was the dark pokemon, even if I get literally 100 packs, I still get shafted and sometimes only get 1 of a specific GX I was looking for.

    I literally got 100 code cards for Unified Minds and didn't get a single Umbreon & Darkrai. I'd be so hype to not get packs that are bloated up with 300 cards anymore and not have to wait either...
  14. MilesEX Aspiring Trainer


    You understand our western sets won't fundamentally change right? They'll still consist of 3 Japanese sets, so they'll be huge.

    The only thing changing is the last of the three Japenese sets will release day and date with our English set which is that set, and the previous two before it in Japan.

    If you read the article in the OP it explains all of that ...
    Otaku likes this.