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Exhaustive. It’s hard to describe a series with twenty one movie adaptations (arguably more if you count TV specials and other lesser-known releases), in any other way. Now, Pokémon is set to release its twenty second, and first live-action film in theatres this May. Change is here. For one thing, every movie came with a promotional card or set of cards, but as the years went by, these exhausted themselves along with the movies. It may be cool to own an Ancient Mew card from the first movie, but nobody’s really talking about the promotional Keldeo card from Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice. In fact, with some promotional cards like the above-named Keldeo card, not only are they not talked about, but they’re not really worth anything, are basically useless in competitive play, and are not valued among collectors. It’s a harsh reality. But, Detective Pikachu has promised us something different, and delivered. This new Detective Pikachu TCG expansion is fresh, exciting and even a little risky. But, is it worth the hype?

Fancily Framed Cards vs. Evidence of Their Playability
Overall, it depends on what you want from the set. If you are purely a collector, then this will likely tickle your fancy, but if you are a competitive player, you might hesitate a little more.

On the collecting side of things, this set is not just a few cards that you’ll get as a promotional product for seeing the movie, buying the DVD, attending an in-store event, and so forth. Rather, you’ll be able to buy complete collections, each with their own unique cards and other collector’s items. These collections take the form of case files, and other detective-themed box sets that are very stylized and art-centric. Each card features artwork in the live-action style that’s directly featured in the movie, which is extremely unique, and another aspect that greatly sets this set apart from others. But, whether you’ll take a liking to this set’s art or not, is very subjective, and more so than usual. Despite looking unique, fans accustomed to more than twenty years of cartoon-based imagery (with the occasion card in a different style), might find these hyper-realistic CGI cards strange, and even a little disturbing. Others may take the change as a fresh start, and find all the excitement in the new renditions of classic characters. Still, for the most part, the fan reaction seems mixed, but positive.

The bottom line is, if you like the movie’s art style, then you’ll like collecting the cards, and there sure are a lot of them for you to collect and enjoy.

But, what if you are looking for something to spruce up the dwindling flames of your competitive TCG deck? Well, it’s a mixed bag. This set is definitely geared more towards collectors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something to flare up your dusty binders and unlucky first-turn draws.

Some surefire stand out contenders for your deck build are the holo rare Greninja, and its GX variant. With the standard holo rare sporting the ability “Evasion Jitsu”, you can avoid incoming attack damage with a coin toss, and its “Furious Shurikens” move allows you to snipe two benched Pokémon for 50 damage. Similarly, its GX counterpart is also focused on an evasive style of play, and can put one of your opponents benched Pokémon back into their hand for a very low cost of one water energy, or use its “Elusive Master” ability when you’re in strife to instantly play it on the bench if it’s the last card in your hand. Likewise, Charizard GX is a must have, especially when considering its astounding attack power of 250 with “Dreadful Flames”. But, with every great card comes a dud, and unfortunately the star of the series, Detective Pikachu, is one of them. Likewise, some of the basic Pokémon such as Bulbasaur seem more for the collectors than the competitive players.

Casework on the Specifics
The set list has 18 cards, as follows:
  • 1/18:
Bulbasaur
Grass type
Common Holo
  • 2/18:
Ludicolo
Grass type
Rare Holo
  • 3/18:
Morelull
Grass type
Common Holo
  • 4/18:
Charmander
Fire type
Common Holo
  • 5/18:
Charizard
Fire type
Rare Holo
  • 6/18:
Arcanine
Fire type
Rare Holo
  • 7/18:
Psyduck
Water type
Common Holo
  • 8/18:
Magikarp
Water type
Common Holo
  • 9/18:
Greninja
Water type
Rare Holo
  • 10/18:
Detective Pikachu
Lightning type
Rare Holo
  • 11/18:
Mr. Mime
Psychic type
Rare Holo
  • 12/18:
Mewtwo
Psychic type
Rare Holo
  • 13/18:
Machamp
Fighting type
Rare Holo
  • 14/18:
Jigglypuff
Fairy type
Common Holo
  • 15/18:
Snubbull
Fairy type
Common Holo
  • 16/18:
Lickitung
Colorless type
Common Holo
  • 17/18: Ditto
Colorless type
Rare Holo
  • 18/18: Slaking
Colorless type
Rare Holo

You’ll notice that all the cards are holographic, which sets them apart from regular TCG sets with their rarity and shine.

However, not listed in the above 18 cards, are the rarer finds, which act as the set’s promo cards (confusing, isn’t it? A promo set with promo cards that you can only get in promo packs. Who would have thought?). These include:

  • Charizard GX
  • Greninja GX
  • Detective Pikachu (promo variant)
  • Mewtwo GX

Also, a few other promo cards are being given away in selected stores, but not all have been confirmed yet, so be sure to look out for those. The selected stores change depending on what region you’re in, so it’s best to look around online to see if any of your local retailers might hold them.To obtain the Detective Pikachu expansion set cards, you’ll have to purchase a special box set, rather than a regular booster pack, as they won’t be sold separately. Additionally, the booster packs containing the Detective Pikachu cards won’t have any more than four cards in them instead of the standard ten. Here is a list of all the special box sets that you can buy, and what they contain:

  • Detective Pikachu special Case File:
1x Detective Pikachu promo card, 1x Detective Pikachu-themed metallic coin, 2x Detective Pikachu booster packs, 1x Sun and Moon booster pack, 1x Detective Pikachu four-pocket binder, 1x code card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

  • Detective Pikachu Charizard EX Case File:
1x oversized Charizard GX promo card, 1x Charizard GX promo card, 4x Detective Pikachu booster packs, 2x Sun and Moon booster packs, 1x code card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

  • Detective Pikachu Greninja EX Case File:
1x oversized Greninja GX promo card, 1x Greninja EX promo card, 5x Detective Pikachu booster packs, 2x Sun and Moon booster packs, 1x decorative Greninja pin, 1x code card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

  • Detective Pikachu Collector Chest:
7x Detective Pikachu booster packs, 2x Sun and Moon booster packs, 1x decorative Detective Pikachu pin, 1x Pokémon notepad, 1x Pokémon sticker sheet.

Final Deductions 
All in all, this set is unique. Primarily, it’s for the collectors, but it’s more than that:

This set relies on the movie it’s adapted from, so there’s a chance that we’ll never see cards like this again. Pokémon could flop in the live action format, and all this consumer hype could die down very quickly. Alternatively, it could be very successful, and we could see more live action movies with their own related sets. But, this is the first of its kind, and the gimmick makes for an interesting set with some fantastic designs. This set is so different to what we’ve seen that we can only wonder where Pokémon will lead us next.

 

 

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