Hands-on with the Pokémon TCG: Detective Pikachu Set

You’ll definitely want to catch ’em all.

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 04/24/2019 08:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

I was 13-years-old when the Pokémon Trading Card Game first hit North America. I can still remember picking up the original Starter Set from All-Pro Sports Cards and Comics alongside the third issue of Pokémon: The Electric Tale of Pikachu. I had never played a trading card game before, but I was about to leave for my eighth grade field trip to Washington DC, and it seemed like a nice way to kill some time in the hotel room with my friends. Of course, what started as an impulse purchase quickly became an obsession, with my binder and decks accompanying me just about everywhere over the following two years.

Hard as it is to believe, that was 20 years ago. While my love for the Pokémon video games has continued unabated, it was hard to keep up with the TCG as I got older and more responsibilities were added to my plate. Thanks to the upcoming theatrical release of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, however, I was lucky enough to receive some sets from the accompanying TCG tie-in from our friends at Triple Point PR. And, well, it made me feel like a 13-year-old again.

The Pokémon TCG: Detective Pikachu set is a rather small one, compared to the usual Pokémon fare. There are 18 cards in total, with a number of additional Promo cards, as well. Some of these are promotional giveaways, but there are also four Promo cards which are only available in themed sets. For example, the Mewtwo-GX promo card is only available in the Detective Pikachu Mewtwo-GX Case File set. It was a nice move on The Pokémon Company’s part making the GX cards separate from the main set. Essentially, it means that casual fans looking to complete the full set don’t necessarily have to drop $75-100 to catch ‘em all. Instead, fans can opt to pick up sealed packs of four cards from participating 7-11 stores. That said, while we received four Case File sets with 15 Detective Pikachu packs in total, I did miss out on the set’s actual Detective Pikachu card, so fans very well could spend quite a bit trying to get every card.

Fans are definitely going to want these cards, too; they really are gorgeous. Every card in the line has art from or inspired by the designs from the movie, and The Pokémon Company has done a nice job selecting a diverse set of Pokémon. What’s more, some of the moves include subtle hints at their roles in the film itself, such as Ludicolo’s Table Service ability, or Machamp’s Crossing Guard move. It would have been cool to see some of the new Tag Team cards incorporated into the line, but showing which Pokémon work together in the film might have pushed the card line into spoiler territory, so perhaps the exclusion is for the best.

The Case File sets also include some nice extras beyond the cards themselves. The Detective Pikachu Case File set (which retails for $9.99) includes a plastic coin, for all of your flipping needs. The sets for Charizard, Mewtwo and Greninja, meanwhile, include an oversized card. Each one is a larger representation of the exclusive GX Promo card contained within. Of course, these cards can’t be used in competitive play, but they do give buyers a nice display piece. Given that the Case File sets focus on some of the franchise’s most popular Pokémon, it’s a nice added bonus. The Greninja-GX Case File is priced a little higher than the sets for Charizard and Mewtwo ($19.99 versus $24.99), but it also includes a nifty pin of the Water/Dark type. Out of all the inclusions, this one does feel the least necessary, however, as it looks more like the creature’s appearance in the anime, as opposed to the new film. Finally, all four Case File sets also include additional card packs from the various Sun and Moon sets. I appreciated seeing just how much I’ve missed out on over the years, but fans that have kept up with the cards might be less enthused about their inclusion.

While my days of playing the Pokémon TCG will likely remain in the past, it was nice to revisit the line and see just how much things have progressed since. The Pokémon TCG: Detective Pikachu card set is a great addition to the proud history of the trading card game. Whether you’ve been collecting all along or you’re a lapsed fan like myself, there’s a lot to love from The Pokémon Company’s latest.

Nintendojo was provided this item for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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