Pokémon TCG set Celebrations has arrived, marking 25 years of the trading card game with remakes of some of its most popular cards from the last quarter-century - as well as some brand new cards.
Celebrations actually arrives a few days before the exact 25th anniversary of the Pokémon Trading Card Game’s original October 20th 1996 release date in Japan. (Magic: The Gathering maker Wizards of the Coast would release the English localisation of the first Base Set in January 1999.)
A number of cards from the Pokémon TCG’s earliest Base Set make a reappearance in Celebrations as part of a Classic Collection. The collection includes remakes of 25 cards that stick closely to their appearance from years past. Several of the cards now rank as some of the most valuable Pokémon cards of all time in their original editions, making these reprints a way of picking up cards you might recognise from your childhood without dropping thousands of dollars.
Among the more notable cards are Base Set Charizard - plus fellow starter Pokémon Venusaur and Blastoise - as well as legendaries like Rocket’s Zapdos from the Gym Challenge expansion, Mew ex from the EX Legend Maker set and Mewtwo EX from Next Destinies.
Unsurprisingly, series mascot Pikachu also sees a return, with remakes of the electric mouse’s iconic “chubby Pikachu” Base Set card, as well as popular promo cards Surfing Pikachu and Flying Pikachu. The three Pikachu remakes feature new artwork inspired by the original cards, with Base Set Pikachu expanded to a full-art card.
A fourth Pikachu reprint, early Black Star promo card Birthday Pikachu, will appear in the Celebrations promo booster, available to those who buy four 25th Anniversary Collection packs from Pokémon Center stores in Japan.
The reprints, along with all the cards in Celebrations, will be marked with the Pokémon 25th Anniversary logo - resembling Pikachu's face, with '2' and '5' forming its red cheeks.
In addition to the remakes, a new Pikachu V-UNION card marks the game’s anniversary by featuring 25 different Pikachu from over two dozen Pokémon TCG artists, including original designer Atsuko Nishida and chubby Pikachu illustrator Mitsuhiro Arita. Other brand new Pikachu cards include Pikachu V, which will be available in a variant form alongside three other reprinted cards in the set’s Golden Box.
As well as the 25 reprints, Celebrations includes 25 brand new cards (are you sensing a theme here?), some of which combine gameplay mechanics from older sets with more recent additions to the Pokédex. The cards include a number of legendary Pokémon from every generation and region of the video game series, as well as the new Pikachu cards and fan-favourite character Professor Oak, who makes an appearance in two variants of Professor’s Research, including a full-body art card. Which is, well, wonderful.
Among the familiar legendaries are Pokemon Silver and Gold cover stars Lugia and Ho-Oh, Dialga and Palkia from Diamond and Pearl, and Groudon and Kyogre from Ruby and Sapphire, among others.
One of the series’ most famous legendaries - and source of many playground rumours - is Pokémon #151, Mew. In Celebrations, Mew appears as a standard Pokémon card, as well as a shiny gold full-body art card.
The first wave of Pokémon TCG Celebrations releases are out today, including various box sets, decks and boosters, with the pricier Collector Chest, Ultra-Premium Collection and Pikachu VMAX Premium Figure Collection due to arrive from October 22nd.