Pokemon TCG Simplified Chinese Sword & Shield - Still Catching Up, but Less Frantically (September 2023 Update)
Can't believe it's been almost half a year since we've updated the blog - between getting the latest releases of Chinese Pokemon out to all of you over the past few months, and just returning from the Pokemon World Championships 2023 in Yokohama, we've been quite busy! Let's do a quick recap of the past few months and what's coming up in the world of Pokemon TCG Simplified Chinese for the Mainland China market.
Still Catching Up, but Less Frantically
We mentioned in our last post that the majority of the Sun & Moon era in Simplified Chinese was covered in a mere six months (!). As the meta for the TCG is now plentiful and official regionals well underway (Guangzhou & Beijing regionals already in the bag, Shenzhen in September), we've finally reached critical mass to slow down just a little. Just how much ground have we exactly covered since April? The most recent Simplified Chinese release puts us at around the Shiny Star V era, which concluded the first year of Sword & Shield era. Remember the year of 2020, just when many of us came back into the hobby? Good times!
The Third Main Set - Dynamax Clash
Released on May 19th, Dynamax Clash (CS1C) is the third main set of the Pokemon TCG Simplified Chinese release, continuing the dual regular and jumbo formats as with Sun & Moon releases. We personally loved the yellow on yellow Pikachu VMAX box art - great match! This set was a bit of a mash up, touching on sets from Sword & Shield Base (S1) through to Shiny Star V (S4a), with some notable gaps in between. Fan favorites include cards such as Full Art Marnie from Shield (S1h) and Pikachu VMAX HR, aka "Rainbow Chonk" from Amazing Volt Tackle (S4). Also loved that they continued the trend of "sub-hits" - this time featuring baby shinies from Shiny Star V. Bulbapedia set list here.
Marnie's Determination Gift Box
Released on June 18th (yet another e-Commerce "holiday" in China), Marnie's Determination Gift Box (CS0A), simply put, was amazing. Promo-wise, of course there was the Milk Carton / Shiny Star V Marnie Full Art which we all love. However, what we personally liked even more were the full set of Marnie-themed accessories in black and pink, especially the binder! As with previous gift boxes, it's a pity that the size is too prohibitive for economical shipping.
The Third Expansion - Dynamax Tactics
Released on June 28th, Dynamax Tactics (CS1.5C) is the third expansion of the Pokemon TCG Simplified Chinese release. As with prior expansion sets, Pokemon have decided to continue the uninspiring mascot and box arts for their expansion sets - this time with Eldegoss on a solid green background. I guess that's one way for us to tell apart main sets from expansion sets at a glance? Same as CS1C, this set continued to fill in gaps from Sword & Shield Base (S1) through to Shiny Star V (S4a). Bulbapedia set list here.
The Fourth Main Set - Vivid Portrayals
Released on August 18th, Vivid Portrayals (CS2C) is the fourth main set of the Pokemon TCG Simplified Chinese release. This set also featured Charizard and Eternatus as set mascots, exactly the same as the Traditional Chinese catch-up set Infinite Power (SC2)! Content-wise, this set continued to fill in gaps from Sword & Shield Base (S1) through to Shiny Star V (S4a), most notably Charizard V & Charizard VMAX shinies. Also a hint that we're about to turn a new leaf into year 2 of the Sword & Shield era is the Gold Snorlax UR - a bit random but we're loving it! Bulbapedia set list here.
Charizard VMAX Gift Boxes
Also released on August 18th were Charizard VMAX Battle Set Gift Box (CS0B) and Charizard VMAX Collection Set Gift Box (CS0C). Charizard fans rejoice! Promo-wise, the Charizard VMAX Battle Set Gift Box features the fan-favorite Rainbow Charizard VMAX HR from Champion's Path, which happened to be a super-exclusive promo in Japanese as well as Traditional Chinese prints. From the Charizard VMAX Collection Set Gift box, we already have the Charizard VMAX alternate art that was featured in the Charizard UPC in English. This card was also released as a super-exclusive promo in Traditional Chinese, and strangely enough, was never released at all in Japanese. Great to have these as guaranteed cards straight from Japan's printers! Again, these boxes are unfortunately bulky, making it difficult to ship.
Sun & Moon Encore - Golden Energy Gift Boxes!
Slated for September 9th release are the Golden Energy Gift Boxes. Boy are we EXCITED! A spread of packs from ALL Pokemon TCG Simplified Chinese Sun & Moon sets (yes, you read that correctly). Guaranteed gold energy. A chance to pull Rainbow Charizard GX HR, top chase from Burning Shadows in English. More details to follow.
Instead of covering three years in six months as with the Sun & Moon era (i.e. fast-forwarded by 6x), the most recent Sword & Shield releases have slowed down to a pace of covering one year in four months (i.e. fast-forwarded by 3x, or half of the speed vs. before). Sword & Shield has shown us that Pokemon continues to juice the Simplified Chinese release of the TCG, gracing us with bangers like Marnie & Charizard gift boxes, as well as the upcoming Golden Energy Gift boxes. Also, Sword & Shield only gets better from here on out with much more in store as we enter the holiday season - alt arts galore, Eevee Heroes, Celebrations, etc. We can't wait!