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We’re getting new Sun & Moon Promos, so give me my missing Pikachu!

Recently, an update to the promo legality page on Pokemon.com informed us that we would be getting a couple of new promo cards that were somewhat unexpected. These are SM245 Mismagius and SM246 Sabrina & Brycen. No, that’s not a typo in the numbering, we are getting new Black Star promos which are part of the Sun & Moon promo block.

Looking at this from a collector standpoint as I originally did, it makes very little sense. Surely the Sun & Moon era of the TCG ended almost 18 months with the release of Sword & Shield, what possible reason is there in releasing these cards as part of the Sun & Moon era when they could simply be released with Sword & Shield numbering? To understand the logic behind it we need to abandon the collector mentality for a moment and look at things from a playing perspective.

The Pokemon TCG has two main supported formats for playing in events, Standard and Expanded. Standard is a format that rotates almost every year, and currently supports the sets Team Up onwards, and as of September 2021 will only support sets from Sword & Shield onwards (using the new legality indicators). Expanded is a non-rotating format that includes all cards from Black & White onwards. Printing these two cards as Sun & Moon promos is a very clean and simple way of adding them into the Expanded format without affecting the Standard format. (Yes, technically they will be legal in Standard for a couple of weeks at the end of August/beginning of September). Now that TPCi has shown themselves willing to do this, I expect it to be an option used again in the future, printing cards as part of a previous promo set to add them to Expanded.

Now, why am I talking about formats in articles I use to talk about collecting? Well, if TPCi is willing to print Sun & Moon promos so long after the era ended, I feel like there are a couple more cards they should be willing to print. I am talking of course, of BW77 and BW78.

Back in 2013, a product was planned called the Landorus Box, a box set that contained a theme deck, a couple of booster packs, and BW79 Landorus. Due to a lack of interest in the product, the English release was cancelled and the box set didn’t show up. The Landorus did show up in the three-pack blisters for the Plasma Freeze set, alongside a Druddigon that was already announced for a later release Deoxys box, albeit with a different foil. The fact that one of the Plasma Freeze blisters contained BW76 Electrode, and the numbers BW77 and BW78 sat empty lead to a lot of speculation that BW77 and BW78 would have been the originally planned promos for the Plasma Freeze blisters, but were given the axe in favour of Landorus.

In July of 2014 Pokemon.com updated their database of cards, adding images of all BW Black Star promos, including the previously unreleased and unseen BW77 and BW78. The cards were revealed to be a Pikachu and Raichu, which had previously been released in Japan as participation promos for the Pokemon Card Game Classroom event. The fact that they were such a closely linked pair of promos explains why both were axed, and Druddigon was pulled in and given a second foil treatment. If the two cards had been entirely unrelated, it is more likely that only one would have been axed in favour of Landorus. By the end of the night, Pokemon.com had removed all traces of the two cards from their database, but they were up long enough that the images were seen, and the information was now public. (To note, the cards do now appear with full images within the Pokemon TCG Online program).

Now, as a collector one of the nicest things to see is a full binder page. Currently, my Black & White promo binder (and everyone else’s Black & White promo binder) has a horrid two-card gap in the middle of some cards. (My Diamond & Pearl promo binder has this too but I’m picking my battles). Until recently it felt like there was zero hope in that gap every being filled. But now, TPCi has shown that they are okay printing cards that would only impact the expanded format. They have shown that they are okay with products being on shelves that aren’t Standard legal (in addition to these new Black Star promos, we recently had a reprint of Sun & Moon base ETBs, as well as products giving new foil treatments to some Sun & Moon base cards).

So please TPCi, we know the cards are already translated, we know you have the files ready to go. Please just print up these two cards with their original Black & White promo numbering, put them in a blister, or a box set, or whatever else it takes to get them onto shelves and into our collections. I promise I won’t even complain about the Steam Siege and Crimson Invasion packs that they’ll inevitably come with.

Dan Norton – DJGigabyte

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