A look back at the Pokemon TCG expansions of 2018

Posted by Titan Cards 03/01/2019 0 Comment(s)

The Pokemon TCG expansions of 2018!Happy New Year everyone! 2018 seemed to fly by like no year I’ve ever known for a number of reasons, it felt like new TCG expansions were almost back to back and no sooner had I finished sorting stuff for new releases of one expansion another one was right around the corner. A big part of this was due to the excellent lineup of expansions bought to us in 2018 by the Pokemon Company, they kicked off the year in February with the release of the Sun & Moon: Ultra Prism expansion and finished strong with Lost Thunder – the largest Pokemon TCG expansion to date. Let’s take a look back at the Pokemon expansions of 2018 and some of the cards that stood out!

 

Ultra Prism (Sun & Moon series)

Ultra Prism is the fifth expansion for the Sun & Moon series of the Pokemon TCG and saw its English release on February 2nd, 2018. The set was above average size for a Pokemon Card set weighing in at 173 cards incl secret rares.


The set focused on Gen VII Pokemon and the Sinnoh region, it also introduced Prism Star cards for the first time. The sets release was accompanied by the Mach Strike (Garchomp) and Imperial Command (Empoleon) theme decks, with the former being one of the strongest premade theme decks available for quite some time.

 

The first ever Prism Star cards in the Pokemon TCG

These were the first six Prism Star cards to be introduced to the Pokemon TCG, but they wouldn't be the last we'd see in 2018.

 

Some of the highlights of Ultra Prism for me were:

  • Glaceon GX 39/156 is a game changing card and has two great attacks, when combined with the Eevee from Sun & Moon Base this card could set you up to win a game in the first turn.
  • Cynthia 119/156 this trainer card at the time I write this has long since made its way into most competitive decks and can dig you promptly out of a tight spot; allowing you to shuffle your hand into your deck and draw six cards.
  • Pal Pad 132/156 is a pretty useful trainer/item card is used correctly, allowing the big supporter cards like Guzma and of course Cynthia to be played more frequently. "Shuffle 2 Supporter cards from your discard pile into your deck.".
  • Garchomp 99/156 & Lucario 67/156 separately these cards are perhaps not much to talk about however together and when used in the correct way they can be pretty sweet this is of course owed to a number of things, firstly Lucario's precognitive aura ability "Once during your turn (before your attack), if you have Garchomp in play, you may search your deck for a card and put it into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck." - who can argue with that? In addition to this though if the player is running Cynthia, that compulsory Garchomp you had to take with you to use Lucario's ability suddenly becomes pretty viable in itself with it's Royal Blades "If you played Cynthia from your hand during this turn, this attack does 100 more damage."

Browse our Ultra Prism Card Singles

 

The Ultra Prism trailer by The Pokemon Company.

Official set description
An Unknown New Dimension!
Pass through the Ultra Wormhole into a bizarre new Pokémon world, where familar sights become strange and new powers are unlocked! Watch Necrozma's power grow, and marvel as brand-new Prism Star cards reveal their astounding effects on play. Meet Dialga-GX and Palkia-GX, and encounter bizarre Ultra Beasts and wild new forms of Alola's Legendary Pokémon. Explore a new dimension in the Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon—Ultra Prism expansion!

 

Forbidden Light (Sun & Moon series)

Forbidden Light arrived on May 4th, 2018 shifting the series focus from Sinnoh to the Kalos region and the mighty Ultra Necrozma. The set contained a total of 146 cards in it's English release incl Secret rares; a modest sized set by todays standards. The set featured 8 new GX cards, and bought a further 5 prism star cards into the fight.

 

Aside from the obviously powerful cards in the set such as the Diancie Prism Star card w/ Cheerleader ability, Beast Ring, Ultra Necrozma etc the set also presented a number of less anticipated, but equally viable Pokemon and trainer cards, some of my favourite examples are below:-

 

Some of our favourite cards from the Sun & Moon Forbidden Light set

  • Crasher Wake 129/131 allows players to discard two water energies and take ANY two cards from their deck making it a pretty damn good cards for those running water decks.
  • Greninja GX 24/131 although it has its flaws against ability blocks etc the Shuriken Flurry ability is undeniably awesome; allowing the user to put 3 damage counters on their opponents Pokemon when they evolve their Frogadier from this card.
  • Zygarde GX 73/131 is a generally strong fighting type card but it's Verdict GX attack makes all the difference; "Prevent all damage done to this Pokemon by attacks from Pokemon-GX and Pokemon-EX during your opponents next turn" - this in itself is incredible against a fully stacked Zoroark GX, Gardevoir GX etc in the first place - but take into account that it can be situationally used in conjunction with the Bonnie 103/131 or 128/131 trainer card which actually allows the GX attack to be used again if played correctly.
  • Naganadel GX 56/131 has Beast Raid, an attack which costs only one energy and does 20 damage for each Ultra Beast you have in play - not bad at all considering the number of Ultra Beast cards their are viable for play.

Browse our Forbidden Light Card Singles.

 

 

Forbidden Light teaser trailer by The Pokemon Company.

 

Official set description

Necrozma's Power Knows No Limits!

Taking the Pokémon world by surprise, Necrozma has absorbed a Legendary Pokémon and taken on a new form as Ultra Necrozma-GX! Other Pokémon gather to welcome this new light...or to resist it. Lucario-GX, Greninja-GX, Zygarde-GX, Yveltal-GX, Naganadel-GX, even Volcanion ♢ and the majestic Arceus ♢ must choose a side. Discover awesome Pokémon and mysterious treasures in the Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light expansion!

 

Celestial Storm (Sun & Moon series)

Arguably the most popular Pokemon TCG release of 2018, the seventh set in the Sun & Moon series; Celestial Storm crashed its way into the Pokemon TCG on August 3rd, 2018 boasting a formidable 183 cards including secret rares.

The set centres around Gen VII Pokemon and has a focus on the Hoenn region as well as the Legendary Pokemon Rayquaza. The set contains 11 new GX cards and featured Latias, Latios and Jirachi as Prism Star cards. Alongside the release of the main set we also saw the release of the theme decks; Leaf Charge (Sceptile) and Hydro Fury (Swampert).

Some highlights from Celestial Storm include:

Some of our favourite cards from Celestial Storm

  • Rayquaza GX 160/168 - Although this card is an excellent centrepiece for a Dragon deck, the main reason I like it is simply because Rayquaza is awesome!
  • Banette GX 157/168 - this is a pretty unique card with an interesting ability "Once during your turn (before your attack), if this Pokémon is your Active Pokémon, you may move 1 damage counter from 1 Pokémon to another Pokémon." and two good attacks: Shadow Chant 30+ which using only one energy deals a base of 30 damage and does an extra 10 damage for each supporter card in your discard pile - used toward the end of a game this could be pretty powerful. Tomb Hunt GX is also a pretty versatile move which allows 3 cards to be removed from your discard pile and be placed into your hand.
  • Magcargo 24/168 - a simple old rare card, with an excellent ability "Once during your turn (before your attack), you may search your deck for a card, shuffle your deck, then put that card on top of it."
  • Latias 107/168 Prism Star - In itself, nothing fantastic - but situationally and when played as part of a Rayquaza deck to power up more powerful cards using its Dreamy Mist move it can be great. Dreamy Misty does 30 damage, only takes one energy and does this "Attach a basic Energy card from your discard pile to each of your Basic Benched Dragon Pokémon."

Browse our Celestial Storm Card Singles.

 

 

Celestial Storm trailer by The Pokemon Company.

 

Official set description

Nature's Wrath in Full Fury!

Watch out for the vortex! It's a season of furious emerald storms and a sky alive with portents, as Pokémon and creatures from Ultra Space clash. Some ride the storm, and others defy it, with a lineup including Articuno-GX, Blaziken-GX, Scizor-GX, Stakataka-GX, and the amazing Rayquaza-GX, plus new ♢ cards featuring Latios, Latias, and Jirachi. Face the winds of change head-on in the Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon—Celestial Storm expansion!

 

 

Dragon Majesty (special mini expansion)

Dragon Majesty soared into the Pokemon TCG world on September 7th, 2018 and is a special mini expansion - like Shining Legends before it this means that boosters could not be bought seperately, or in booster boxes and had to be obtained via the purchase of collection boxes, pin collections and so on.

The English release of the set features only 78 cards including its secret rares and focuses, as you probably guessed around the Dragon type. The set introduces six new Pokemon in GX form and brings in another couple of Prism star cards; Victini 7/70 and Lance 61/70.

I really like this set, particularly some of the oldskool artwork giving subtle nods to the anime such as Charmander 1/70 which shows Charmander trying to protect the flame on its tail from rain using a leaf, just like it did in the anime when Ash found it. Anime based rants aside heres some of my favourite cards from the set and why:

Some of our favourite cards from Dragon Majesty

  • Salamence GX 44/70 although it's attacks aren't the best in the world, sitting this guy on your bench and using his ability while your other Dragon types battle is awesome, check it out: "Your Pokémon in play have no Retreat Cost, except Pokémon-GX and Pokémon-EX." - No retreat cost? yeah, please.
  • Lance 61/70 Prism Star - on the back foot? not got many Pokemon left? Lance is your man, heres what he does: "You can play this card only if 1 of your Pokémon was Knocked Out during your opponent's last turn. Search your deck for up to 2 Dragon Pokémon and put them onto your Bench. Then, shuffle your deck." You notice what it says? 2 Dragon Pokemon, NOT two BASIC Pokemon!! You can throw two Dragonite GX onto your deck by use of this card!
  • Dragonite GX 37/70 - one lightning energy to use a Dragon Claw 70 damage attack is great, stick a choice band on him and an Altaria w/ ability on the bench and you're rocking.
  • Last but not least Wishiwashi 31/70 although just a common card certainly deserves a mention - in it's own right not so much, but played in a deck alongside a Wishiwashi GX it can change the game entirely - this is owed to it's ability; "Your Wishiwashi-GX in play get +20 HP, and their attacks do 20 more damage to your opponent's Active Pokémon (before applying Weakness and Resistance)." If you can protect your basic Wishiwashi's from being sniped off your bench, these could be great!

Browse our Dragon Majesty Card Singles.

 

 

Dragon Majesty trailer by The Pokemon Company.

 

Noble Pokémon of wing and claw, flying high above the changing world! The Pokémon TCG: Dragon Majesty expansion brings a mighty horde of draconic Pokémon: Reshiram-GX, Salamence-GX, Dragonite-GX, and over a dozen more, including Charizard! Their command of fire, battle, and sky puts Dragon types at the top of many Trainters' list get to know these amazing and challengeing Pokémon in the Dragon Majesty expansion!

 

Lost Thunder (Sun & Moon series)

Boasting the title of the largest ever Pokemon TCG expansion to date; Lost Thunder comprises a huge 236 sets including secret rares in it's English release. The sets focus is on the Johto region and the newest Mythical Pokemon; Zeraora GX.

 

Lost Thunder is the eighth main expansion in the Sun & Moon series and is also loosely themed around the Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon videogames. Aside from the introduction of Zeraora other Pokemon (and Ultra Beasts) prominent to the set include Lugia and Blacephalon respectively.

 

As mentioned this expansion is now the largest English release in the Pokemon TCG by quite a distance (186 cards vs. 236 cards), finally dethroning Aquapolis from the e-Card series which came out a whole decade and a half ago in 2003. Amongst these 236 cards are 13 new GX cards and 7 new Prism Star cards - most of which are comprised of Pokemon from Johto and Alola.

 

Some of our favourite cards from the set include:

Some of our favourite cards from Lost Thunder

  • Alolan Ninetales is back, and this time in fairy form as Alolan Ninetales GX 132/214 and its awesome new ability "When you play this Pokémon from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokémon during your turn, you may search your deck for up to 2 Item cards, reveal them, and put them into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck." Like it's ice/water type form before it this card also has an excellent move for sniping your opponents benched Pokemon; Snowy Wind only takes 2 energy and deals 70 damage to one of your opponents benched Pokemon. So thats pretty good in itself but check out this GX move: Sublimination GX "If your opponent's Active Pokémon is an Ultra Beast, it is Knocked Out. (You can't use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)" - Given the absolute OP viability of Naganadel and Blacephalon that makes this card the key to countering any bigboy Beast decks. How crazy is that?
  • Blacephalon GX 52/214 when combined with Naganadel 108/214. These two cards were clearly meant to be played in the same deck at top level with the idea being to get lots of energy into play quickly using Naganadel's ability "Once during your turn (before your attack), you may attach a basic Energy card from your discard pile to this Pokémon." alongside the Beast Ring, then use Blacephalon to OHKO everything.
  • The Ditto prism star card 154/214 is an interesting one, it's ability "Almighty Evolution" has earned this card a place in all manner of different decks, check it out: "Once during your turn (before your attack), you may put any Stage 1 card from your hand onto this Pokémon to evolve it. You can't use this Ability during your first turn or the turn this Pokémon was put into play."

 

Lost Thunder official trailer by The Pokemon Company.

 

Official set description

Ancient Power Echoing from the Mountaintops!

Travel to the forested hills, where the fragrance of incense from ancient shrines and the sparks of high-voltage Pokémon fill the air! The Sun & Moon—Lost Thunder expansion fuses the new with the traditional, featuring Celebi ♢ and Ditto ♢, plus Blacephalon-GX, Lugia-GX, Tyranitar-GX, and the newest Mythical Pokémon, Zeraora-GX! Call down the big thunder and charge up your deck with the high-powered Pokémon in the Sun & Moon—Lost Thunder expansion!

 

All in all 2018 has been an excellent year for Pokemon fans; be they just for fun or competitive TCG players or even collectors. We've seen all sorts of clever new in-game tactics arising as the depth of the Sun & Moon series expands and a huge amount of amazing full arts and secret cards - lets hope 2019 brings us more epic Pokemon Card goodness :-) Have a good one and happy new year.