With 2021 coming to an end we thought we’d take a look back at the Pokemon TCG world throughout the last 12 months recapping the highs and the lows as we’ve all adjusted to the pandemic climate we now live in. Take this content with a grain of salt, the Pokemon community is a fantastic place and 2022 is set to be another fantastic year for Pokemon TCG!
It’s a brand new year and nothing could be worse than 2020, right? After the huge boom of Pokemon TCG towards the tail-end of 2020 things were looking hugely optimistic for the world of Pokemon especially with a 25th anniversary celebration on the horizon in February. Pokemon announced a partnership with Katy Perry which got everyone talking and Pokemon Snap was given an exciting release date for later on in the year. Oh, and how could I forget? Ludkins Media launched beginning our quest to become your number one outlet for high-quality TCG content.
Covid continued. Pokemon turned 25 and we all stared in the mirror asking “where did the time go?” February was the month of nostalgia with everyone purchasing cards and reminiscing about their best Pokemon memories. Steve Aoki bought a raw Pokemon Illustrator for $420,000 and Logan Paul decided to go again by hosting a 1st Edition Base Set Booster box break which ultimately became an advert for NFTs and Crypto apps with packs selling for a collective $1.4 million at auction. With the hype for Base Set at a fever pitch, we hit a new record of $450,000 via a private sale on Instagram.
The World Championships in London for 2021 were cancelled leading to panicked fans purchasing hundreds of McDonald’s Happy Meals in the quest to feed their famished children. If McDonald’s wasn’t enough, Shining Fates and Charizard VMAX became a scalpers paradise as we all tried in any way we could to purchase a set that looking back couldn’t have been more underwhelming.
As for The Pokemon Company, they revealed Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl and Legends: Arceus alongside a very brief ten minute Post Malone concert – Everyone was buzzing, the world was good and Pokemon was two and a half decades old.
Covid continued. We all tried to get excited for Battle Styles as those that entered the hobby with the sole purpose of making some quick cash decided to fray. Urshifu VMAX began the onslaught of Alternate Art chase cards that ended up defining the year as a whole. We reminisced about February as things began to feel quite empty – When would prices dwindle so we could all start completing our collection goals again?
Covid continued. PSA closed their doors to new standard submissions – April Fools ye? We tried to see the light by convincing ourselves that they would reopen in only a few weeks after getting their backlog sorted. Turns out we’re still waiting…
Some sports card collectors bought a case of 1st Edition Base Set booster boxes and had it verified without ever opening the cardboard box, it made for a great YouTube series – We still don’t know if there’s 1st Edition Zards or kilos of Nabisco’s finest Oreos in there.
PSA bought Genamint Inc to help bring more technology into grading as other grading companies like CGC began to grab attention with a mint Pikachu Illustrator. People got annoyed at the prospect of AI grading but it was going to be worth it because it would allow for PSA to open Bulk in the next few weeks…
Covid continued. PSA remained closed to lower-end submissions.
Scalpers turned their attention to Japan as Eevee Heroes brought in all the hype. Target decided to stop selling Pokemon cards altogether due to violence against their staff and the 25th anniversary promotion launched at McDonald’s launched in the UK – Everything was great though because we knew not to act like our neighbours across the pond. We knew not to act like our neighbours across the pond though right?
The harsh reality of Pokemon TCG investing hit a climax when a PSA 10 Topsun Charizard purchased for close to $500,000 in February sold at auction for $192,000. People gasped, the owner probably didn’t care too much as they cried into a pool of cryptopunk PNGs.
Covid continued. BGS suspended their services as grading companies struggled to breathe for air. Logan Paul fought Floyd Mayweather wearing a diamond-encrusted Charizard BGS 10 around his neck. Theories surfaced online relating to the origins of the card, we all lost sleep in disbelief.
Chilling Reign was released and the first information about October’s 25th Anniversary sets leaked online. Official images of Evolving Skies popped up and everyone forgot Chilling Reign existed faster than its ice could melt.
Covid continued. Summer was in full flow and Evolving Skies hype was well and truly underway. Arguments over scalping and gatekeeping continued, toxicity filled the air.
A summer of Olympics and football led to some fun nights in the sun as our Pokemon cards were left with some separation anxiety as we all tried to push for some normality again. Sports events resumed with crowds and everyone felt a little bit brighter. Prices began to drop and collecting was fun again, oh how I miss July.
Covid continued. Evolving Skies soared in popularity as Pokemon TCG Celebrations was officially revealed. Stolen cards made their way online leaving everyone questioning the big massive Pikachu stamp plastered on the cards.
PWCC fell out with eBay and went their own way after some shill bidding drama. The summer was fun and winter was coming. Winter 2021 was going to be filled with all the amazing memories we’d missed last year due to this ongoing mess of a pandemic.
Covid continued. Pokemon announced an illustration contest for 2022 and somehow decided to exclude half of the world from entering. Pokemon Trading Card Game Live! was announced with a release for later in 2021, the clock is ticking…
A huge Celebrations shadow loomed on the horizon, “investment groups’ planned their strategies on how to horde Pikachu Figures to fund their children’s college career. Information about the Ultra Premium Collection started popping up – a gold metal Charizard? Yes, please.
News of Espeon VMAX coming to Fusion Strike to finish the year made our pockets cry that little bit more. Toys ‘R’ Us announced their return to the UK as we all jumped for joy at the prospect of more empty Pokemon TCG shelves.
Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl was released confirming that Pokemon games used to be better when we were younger (I’ll take this opinion to my grave).
PSA started grading the metal Ultra Premium Collection cards then stopped because the slabs damaged the fragile paint. The person who paid over $10,000 for one of the first wept some more into their small NFT fortune.
VMAX Climax destroyed our wallets with way too many incredible cards and the Pokemon Center launched in the UK with a few packs and some cute plushies.
Covid, remember that? Well, it’s evolved. We all learned a new letter from the Greek alphabet and stores began to shut down their organised play events.
With Christmas on the horizon and 2022 bringing a sigh of relief we all cuddled up in bed with our ever-growing Pokemon card collection. Oh, what a year. Oh, what a bloody year.
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief
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