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Pokémon TCG player enters US tournament with super-sized deck of jumbo cards

No oversized energy or trainer cards meant Matthew Verive couldn't attack using novelty creation.

Jumbo Pikachu V and Snorlax V Pokémon cards on top of facedown Pokémon cards
Image credit: The Pokémon Company (cards), Corbalan (background)

A Pokémon TCG player entered last weekend’s North American International Championships with a super-sized deck made up of jumbo Pokémon cards.

Matthew Verive’s deck consisted of 60 Pokémon jumbo cards, oversized Pokémon cards included with particular box sets or occasionally released as promo cards. While the enlarged cards aren’t designed to be actually played with, all of the jumbo cards are official releases - making them technically legal to play in an official Pokémon tournament.

The super-sized deck apparently raised some eyebrows among judges when presented at the championships, but was ultimately allowed to be used in the tournament.

“After what was probably the longest deck check I've ever witnessed, the deck was returned with ‘We're still not sure if this is playable, but finish up the round and talk to us afterwards,’” Verive tweeted.

Check out 10 of the rarest Pokémon cards of all time - that will actually fit in your pocketWatch on YouTube

Being technically legal to play doesn’t mean that the cards are of much use, of course. As pointed out by IGN's Joshua Yehl, no energy or trainer cards have been printed in the jumbo size, making it impossible for Verive’s massive Pokémon cards to use any of their attacks or do much except be played to the field. (“Main path towards winning is decking out the opponent,” Verive said, referring to the strategy of forcing an opponent’s deck to run out.) In other words, it was purely for the novelty factor.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Verive lost his first game, with his opponent conceding a second match to allow a third battle “for funsies”. After the third game, Verive’s deck was once again checked by judges and he voluntarily dropped out of the tournament - something he apparently planned to do regardless.

“If I didn't drop, I might have received a DQ [disqualification] - for marked cards!” Verive said afterwards, referring to the strict checking of cards for marks that can help players identify individual cards in their deck - a form of cheating. He considered sleeving his cards to ensure tournament-legal uniformity, but understandably baulked at the $100 cost of custom sleeves. “The oversized cards aren't cut to as high a standard as regular cards, so some cards could understandably be identified.”

Verive shared his deck makeup on Twitter, revealing a card list that included four Pikachu V, three Meowth VMAX and jumbo-sized cards for Pokémon Sword and Shield starters Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble and their evolutions. Several Pokémon - including Snorlax and Eternatus - appear in both V and VMAX forms, tiptoeing around the restriction to a maximum of four copies of any one card. However, he warned would-be trainers looking to similarly super-size their deck that “I expect the rules will be modified soon to clarify the size of usable cards”.

While Verive didn’t walk away victorious at the North American International Championships - unlike Juniors winner Nathan O., Senior division victor Rune Heiremans and Master trainer Azul Garcia Griego - he arguably won the internet over the weekend, with even the official Pokémon account appearing to reference his viral deck.

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