With more than twenty years of development and no signs of slowing down in the short term, the pokemon trading card game has had plenty of time to experiment. Whether in the early years with cards like the fire-type Horsea δ or today with format-defining Pokémon like Radiant Greninja or Charizard, creative design abounds in the game.
While each set looks to bring something new since that’s the point of adding them, some have offered more unique options than others. These Pokemon The cards aren’t always especially powerful, some are even intentionally weak or parodic, but they excel by offering something others don’t, from alternative victory conditions to changes to the normal game rules, and everything in between.
10/10 Trophy cards may be too powerful for their rarity
Like most TCGs, Pokemon it has a competitive side, and with competition comes trophies. Tropical Beach is just one of many trophy cards, but it stands out as the first to receive a full ban, as drawing seven cards each turn was deemed too powerful, especially given the card’s extreme rarity.
The Victory Medal and Victory Cup are other slightly more benign examples, the former drawing a card or searching the deck, the latter functioning exactly like a generic Pokéball. While there’s always the possibility of more people joining Beach on the ban list in the future, the company seems to be keeping a closer eye on promo cards these days.
9/10 Looker reverses the normal order of card draws
Card draw is generally more powerful in Pokemon than in other TCGs, and while “draw 3 cards” effects aren’t bad per se, most decks will look for better options. Most of these cards are based on rival trainers from the various generations of games, but Looker stands out as being different.
Based on an Interpol agent introduced in Platinum, Looker has had numerous appearances in games and anime in the years since. Likewise, his card effect is a bit different than his competition, drawing from the bottom of the deck, rather than the top, and potentially having some unusual synergies that the others might lack.
8/10 Lysandre’s trump card resets the deck
For a brief period, Lysandre’s trump card was one of the most played cards in tournaments, but a quick ban ended her dominance. While the ability to recycle a discard pile into the deck doesn’t advance game state by itself, it does allow for the reuse of cards that do.
In the pokemon TCG, the risk of losing simply by running out of cards is much higher than in most other games, and the ability to retrieve cards from the discard pile is much rarer. As such, an effect like this proved to be misleadingly meta-defining, though similar cards have appeared in recent years.
7/10 Togedemaru can deny prize cards
Introduced in the silver tempest expansion was the “pikapals” archetype, featuring a quartet of electric rodents that, while weak on their own, have access to devastating attacks when tagged. That is, except for Togedemaru, who is limited to the 10-damage “Toge Dash” attack.
However, what it lacks in damage it makes up for by being able to deny the opponent a prize card. While massive Pokémon V awards two prize cards when KO’d, a deck using Togedemaru will only award a single prize at most and will often escape battles unscathed thanks to its effect.
6/10 Unknown wins when taking damage
Normally, dealing damage to an opposing Pokémon is the main way a player wins a game in the game. Pokemon card game. With this in mind, it might seem implausible that a deck would be developed that could not only win by taking damage, but win as early as the first turn or two of the game.
But it did exist, using an Unknown version of the lost thunder expansion with the ability ‘DAMAGE’. This ability made its owner win the game if he ever had 66 damage markers on his Pokémon, a surprisingly easy task through a variety of strategies, before being banned for being too strong.
5/10 Holon’s Castform can be used as energy
Holon is a unique city and region in the JCC, consisting of rugged terrain, where the abilities and traits of native Pokémon were distorted by powerful electromagnetic waves created in an attempt to track down the legendary Pokémon Mew. The results are the enigmatic Delta Species and Pokémon Star.
But not all of the Pokémon in Holon arose by chance. A small selection of “artificial” Pokémon were also created, forming the region’s Magnemite and Voltorb lines, as well as a unique type of Castform. Unlike normal Pokémon, each “Holon” card can be equipped as an energy of all colors, instead of being played normally.
4/10 Gardevoir Ex δ uses unique markers to stop Pokemon’s abilities
The Pokémon “δ” or “Delta Species” were one of the JCCThe first experiments to alter the types of Pokémon. On a broader scale, some types had been converted to others for simplicity (Poison counting as Psychic, for example), but these cards went further, from Metal-type Eevees to Lightning-type Golduck.
Gardevoir ex δ was one of those cards, taking a normally Psychic-type line and turning it into Fire. The uniqueness didn’t stop there, however, as the most notable facet of the card was its “Imprison” Poké-Power, placing an “Imprisonment marker” on an opponent’s Pokémon once per turn and disabling any other Poké. -Power a Poké-. Bodies the target might have.
3/10 Dialga lv X skip spins with coin tosses
The shift structure in the pokemon TCG it is generally stiffer than in many other card games. You’ll never see someone activate a trap card or counter a spell, for example. But Dialga lv X disrupts this dynamic, capable of skipping turns with a lucky coin toss, fitting for an incarnation of time.
But there’s a catch, as with everything that sounds too good to be true. Dialga can only skip an opponent’s turn if the flip results in two crosses. Meanwhile, a doubleheader will immediately end its own trainer’s turn, creating a significant high-risk versus high-reward bet.
2/10 Birthday Pikachu cares about the date it is played
Often referred to as “Happy Birthday Pikachu” thanks to the unusual format of its name, this card wishes its recipient a happy birthday and many more. Originally a promotion launched in 2000, it now commands a remarkably high value, ranging from $50 for a damaged copy to prices of $100 or more for a nearly new card.
For such a valuable card, its attack is suitably unique, though not especially worth the money by modern standards. Birthday Surprise starts off dealing just 30 damage, but if it’s currently your trainer’s birthday, you can flip a coin for a chance at 50 more, making it comparable to the 70-damage beaters that ruled the early metagame.
1/10 Imakuni? Cards always break the mold
The Pokémon Trading Card Game may be full of unique cards, but few compare to the unique rarity of Imakuni’s Doduo?. This card asks players to throw it as far as they can when it recoils, and provides some simple instructions on how to get maximum range: “horizontally with a snap!”
This Doduo is one of several cards inspired by the eccentric musician and longtime Pokémon fan Tomoaki Imakuni, often known by his stage name “Imakuni?”. These cards are not meant to be competitive and feature goofy art and intentionally weird rules. The namesake “Imakuni?” intentionally weakens the player’s Pokémon, for example, while Imakuni’s Nasty Plot? tells the player to cheat.
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