Worldwide Set Releases Theory: Likely Dead!

Back in August, I proposed a theory that America and Japan’s sets would be synced up every three months.

Japan would release a big set in month A, a mini-set in month B, and another mini-set in month C. Upon the release of their third set in month C, we would get our English set with all cards from those three sets. This meant we would “catch up” with Japan’s releases every three months, thus having the same pool of cards at the end of each quarter (and then we’d go out of sync again until the end of the next quarter).

Evidence for the theory included these facts:

  • America’s first Sword & Shield set is releasing on February 7th, the exact same day as Japan’s VMAX Rising mini-set. America and Japan have never released a set on the exact same day.
  • Japan skipped their monthly set releases in both November and January, the first time they’ve done so in a few years. This appeared to indicate they were “stalling” for us so that we could catch up with them.
  • After the initial theory was posted, it was announced we’d get a Toxtricity V Box a week before Japan, which is the first time in the TCG’s history that promos have been released this close together (let alone in America before Japan). This alone was huge news, even now. (However, this is likely due to a tie-in promotion with the games to release Gigantamax Toxtricity.)
  • After the initial theory was posted, we learned our second Sword & Shield set will be named Rebel Clash, the exact same name as the Japanese set it’s based on.

All of this seemed to indicate the theory was holding water.

However, the theory could have technically been debunked a month ago when we learned some numbers for our first Sword & Shield set. Unfortunately, I did not notice the revelation until some astute readers messaged me about it yesterday!

Why does the theory no longer hold water?

Well, as we learned back in December, our first Sword & Shield set will contain 202 cards (before secret rares). As expected, it will be comprised of cards from Japan’s Sword & Shield sets and their V Decks.

Japan’s Sword & Shield sets have 120 unique cards and Japan’s V Decks have 65 unique cards. That’s 185 of our 202 cards accounted for. I thought the remaining 17 cards would come from VMAX Rising. This is because for the past few generations, the very first mini-set of each generation mostly contained reprinted cards from the first set (meaning VMAX Rising would mainly be reprints from Japan’s Sword & Shield).

But what I forgot was that Japan treats their full art cards as secret rares; in English, they’re treated as part of the main set. There are 12 full art Pokemon V and four full art Supporters in their Sword & Shield sets (accounting now for 201 of the 202 cards). With maybe Eiscue V, this would mean all 202 cards in our English set are accounted for.

The English set description also supports the above, stating that the set will include “12 full-art Pokemon V” and “17 Pokemon-V.” If you map out the set list based on the English cards revealed, everything lines up with the cards from the V Decks and the Japanese Sword & Shield sets. Even if VMAX Rising turns out to only have a few unique cards, such as Galarian Cursola, they would not fit into our English set based on the known card numbers. We also know VMAX Rising will feature VMAX cards of Rilaboom, Cinderace, and Inteleon, which simply won’t fit into our set.

So the theory has been debunked. At least for now.

The only hope the theory could come true is if VMAX Rising does only contain a few unique cards. If they wanted to, TPCi could sync us up with Japan the following quarter with the cards from Rebel Clash, Japan’s next two mini-sets, and the handful of unique cards from VMAX Rising. But right now there’s no evidence of this plan other than the “raised eyebrows” of those bullet points above. We’ll be able to put the final nail into my theory’s coffin once we have more information about our Rebel Clash set. But for now, I would consider the theory dead.