“We take the protection of our IP and associated products very seriously. This matter remains under investigation and we cannot comment on details at this time. However, we can confirm that Sword & Shield booster packs and products were shipped to retail as intended and we have no indication that the integrity of the products were impacted by any confirmed or unconfirmed theft. Furthermore, we continue to significantly invest in both the production and security of our TCG business. We value the faith our fans put in us and our products, and these investments are intended to help us continue to maintain their trust.”
The company does not confirm or deny that any theft took place, likely because there is ongoing litigation.
As explained in our first news story, it would be difficult for booster packs to be compromised at the factory due to various checks and balances in place. This includes pack weighing and the way machines load different boxes of rarities into the booster packs.
The cards seem to have been stolen during the production phase when they’re stored in boxes (the secret rares are printed separately from other cards because of their texture). The secret rares are printed on large sheets, cut into individual cards, and stored in long white boxes. At least five of those white boxes are packed into a cardboard box that’s sent off to machines that sort the cards into booster packs. The machine loads different boxes of cards into each booster pack depending on their rarity. We imagine the sorting machines alert the workers when they’re running low on certain rarities, meaning packs shouldn’t have escaped the factory without the proper rate of secret rares. Otherwise it would be common for packs to be missing cards.
The factories also weigh every single booster pack. This not only ensures the packs have the proper amount of cards in them, but it’s also so they know what code card to insert into the packs. Secret rares are heavier than a normal card, so lighter code cards are put into the packs to cancel out the weight difference. (This prevents pack weighing on the aftermarket.) So it’s unlikely packs with improper weights would have left the factory floor, let alone on a scale large enough to impact the entire print run. There’s multiple checks and balances in place.
And yes, Fusion Strike just had bad pull rates — as the following data from our friends at TCGplayer shows. Luckily we’re seeing better pull rates in Scarlet & Violet: