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.

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  1. ronangorski Aspiring Trainer


    We had the probably set list since December.
    Jake_Silberman likes this.
  2. Skeleton Liar サーナ~
    Skeleton Liar


    Bummer, dude. I know you were pretty confident in this theory. I wasn't holding my breath, but I did like the possibility of it happening, and I found the speculation interesting.
    Otaku likes this.
  3. Would have been interesting if it had happened but I was pretty sure it wasn't.
  4. Silveraith Aspiring Trainer


    God, even now we're still getting over 200 cards in a set. Glad I'm not collecting anything past Gen VII.
  5. OVERGRO Pokemon is lyfe.


    RIP theory, it was really nice of you to make this post admitting the theory you had long posited was proven wrong instead of leaving people wondering about it.

    On the flipside, this means I'm more likely to keep on collecting both Japanese and English cards on and off haha.
    Otaku likes this.


    Why can't they just directly port the Japanese sets to North America? Smaller sets are easier to collect.

    I am sick of these giant megasets that lose any coherent theme and are just overloaded with SRs. The last straw for me was when SM6b was split across 2 (maybe even 3?) different sets and what could've been XY Evolutions 2.0 was completely missed.

    Incidentally, CP6 was the last set I bought a booster box of, and I've bought maybe 4 packs as impulse buys through the entire SM block (surprise! I got no SRs from any of the packs – hell, not even a Holo. Probably weighed beforehand by someone else, and since the pull rates are so lousy, it's too easy to get screwed over.)

    Most of my posts on this site are just complaining about the cynical turn the TCG has taken, but failing to go for the opportunity for a world-wide synced release schedule shows the needless cashgrab will never end. The gross profit made by selling 10 papercards for $5+ USD is already a huge markup for them, all the more considering how many packs the average consumer buys.. there is no need for the direction they've gone with the set sizes. It genuinely sucks, and their attempts at occasional placation with smaller sets like Generations and Dragon Majesty gets immediately undone by their availability being limited to those speciality packs with pins that end up sitting around collecting dust.

    Again, a synchronized release schedule had me quite hopeful that we might eventually see things give way to smaller set sizes. A massive, massive thumbs down from me.
  7. Frost Amethyst AMAB-NB


    Different business models between countries I think. American retailers having to add product of a new miniset every single month like Japan does would probably bomb even harder than what we have now. Most big retailers like Walmart and Target only dedicate a set amount of space for Pokemon cards and following Japan's model would flood those sections even faster. Plus an even bigger deluge of product means if a set doesn't sell it clogs things up and dissuades sellers from buying new stuff.
  8. MilesEX Aspiring Trainer


    I'm sad it's not going to happen, they had a prime opportunity and it even seemed like it was happening due to nothing much releasing in the last Q in Japan.

    The way they release cards is so so messy.
  9. MeatBrick64 Aspiring Trainer


    "with maybe Eiscue V"

    Nah, that just has Eiscue V Collection Box written all over it
  10. snoopy369 Aspiring Trainer

    Advanced Member Member

    Yes, this exactly. It also would make prerelease tournaments sort of silly - you'd either have a million prereleases (one a month?) which nobody would want to do, or you'd have none, which would be too bad because those are fun. Admittedly I'd love to see those change in some ways as I think they're getting less fun with the larger sets, but I don't want 10 of them per year either. I'm not running that many tournaments alongside our challenges and cups, it'd wear me out.

    The current schedule roughly matches Magic's release schedule, which I'm guessing is also beneficial. (Magic has slightly more, but it matches their schedule for "regular" sets.)
  11. signofzeta Aspiring Trainer


    Pokemon could do two sub sets instead of one per year, and instead of having them exclusive to box sets, they could release them like regular sets, but have each pack have 6 cards that are all holo, or something like that. These booster sets aren't treated like regular sets, and thus have no pre-releases, and theme decks.

    Both Magic and Yugioh have these side booster sets.

    Yugioh has 9 booster sets, 4 of which are the usual regular 9 card booster sets. The other ones are either the 5 card all foil packs that costs the same as a regular booster, or those 5 card non-foil sets that are cheaper than regular boosters.

    Magic had the masters series, and still sometimes release a booster set that contains older reprints. The packs costs more than the regular booster sets. They also release booster sets that are not legal for standard, such as Conspiracy and Battlebond.

    All I'm saying is, both Magic and Yugioh have side booster sets, and Pokemon only has 1, which is only exclusive in box sets, and not released as a booster box. It is time for Pokemon Company to make smaller main sets, and put those extra cards into a second side set, and release both side sets as a booster packs in a booster box, not in a box set.