For this article, I was asked to give my thoughts on the leaks that have happened regarding the 25th Anniversary set, Pokemon Celebrations. The leaks appear to be from cards and packs that were stolen from the printing facility, or in some other method obtained by people who were not supposed to have them. As a result, we now know most of the cards which will feature in the set long before the set is released. Upon hearing the news, I immediately thought back to the leak of the Ixalan rares from Magic: the Gathering, how much it changed the spoiler and release season of that set and messed things up for a lot of people. I sat down ready to write about how outraged I was by the early leaks of Celebrations, and how it would ruin things for a lot of people, but I struggled to put it into words. Then I realised. I couldn’t put it into words because I’m not outraged by the leaks. I honestly do not care.
Let’s take a look back at the Ixalan leaks for MtG. That leak occurred after some uncut foil sheets were stolen from the printing facility, and pictures were put online in an attempt to sell the stolen sheets. The pictures, of course, showed off all of the rares that would be in the set, including both new cards, and reprints of certain lands. You can read the full response from Wizards of the Coast here.
I would encourage you to read it all, but the most relevant part is “What Does This Mean For Ixalan Preview Season”. If you are not familiar with MtG, Preview Season refers to the way sets are previewed and certain cards are spoiled. Different cards are given to different creators, articles are written to show off groups of cards together and discuss how they work and interact with each other. The leaks forced a huge rewrite of articles and a change to how the set was spoiled and shown.
From the standpoint of a fan, it took away the experience of learning about these cards in the way the creators intended. There will always be people who say “Oh, if you don’t like the leaks, just don’t look at them”, which is a ridiculous statement. Unless you basically take yourself off the grid and remove yourself from the community, once a leak has happened you will see it, regardless of whether you want to.
But while the Ixalan leak robbed me of that preview season experience, Celebrations cards leaking online robbed me of… seeing them online only a few months later?
While MtG has a full build up around their sets, and full announcements of all of their products, Pokemon instead just puts stuff in stores. I honestly can not remember ever finding out about a Pokemon card from an official source. I find out about new cards when things are reported on one of the many Pokemon news sites or Facebook groups. I sit refreshing Twitter on the nights that we know the new Japanese sets will be shown off by people opening boxes. We find out about new English box sets from stores after they get distributor lists to pre-order the products. Every now and again someone will stumble across some new promo in a tin that was exclusive to Hobby Lobby, or a blister only found in the darkest depths of the “Beyond” section at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Promos and products not even acknowledged by Pokemon, let alone announced.
To note, Pokemon did once attempt something that could be considered a preview of a card by having Leonhart tweet out that Rainbow Charizard was in Champions Path. It was a car crash of an attempt as they scheduled it so close to the actual release that by the time he tweeted it, some stores had already broken the street date and people had purchased ETBs and knew it was part of the set. The doubling down of insisting that Leonhart’s Tweet was official, and actual cards bought in an actual store were not, just made the whole situation even more of a farce).
I would honestly love it if Pokemon started to do official preview seasons for sets. Articles discussing which cards from Japan are in new sets, and which ones didn’t make the cut. Telling us the how and why behind promo cards, and the choices on which product to put them in. But until they do that, I’m finding it hard to care about leaks.
Just for the record, I am fully against the theft and selling of these leaked products. That is something that someone should be going to jail for.
Dan Norton – DJGigabyte
Read more from Dan here.
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