Earlier this week, on February 4, The Pokémon Company unleashed a fresh new batch of cards for the Pokémon Trading Card Game, mixing in some interesting new features into the card game that’s not far off from its 20th birthday (the game debuted in 1996).
The new expansion is called XY – Primal Clash and adds 160 new cards to the growing number of cards currently out there.

(Fun fact, if you really wanted to, that original Charizard of yours back in the 90s could still be used in game. Since it’s got the same blue back on the card, it’s still legal!)

Amongst these new cards are twelve new EX cards such as Sharpedo-EX and Camerupt-EX, as well as two Mega Evolution cards. Each one of these will also have a super-awesome Ultra version out hiding in some lucky packs.

Here’s an example of one of the Mega EX cards, with a slight twist:


This ‘Primal Mega Evolution’ of Kyogre can deal some extremely significant damage to your opponent, but its strength does come with a slight drawback. The Primal Reversion Rule is a new addition to the TCG, where if a Pokémon is evolved to this state, then the turn ends immediately. Be aware of this when you put it into practice!

Aside from the addition of more Mega/EX cards, some of the cards out there will also come with something called Ancient Traits. These abilities can trigger when certain conditions are met, giving you an extra boost. For example, Torchic below has an Ancient Trait called ‘Ω Barrage’.

With ‘Ω Barrage’, if Torchic knocks out the opponent’s active Pokémon then it can attack again after the opponent has chosen a new Active Pokémon.

Pretty rad, right? At a preview event in London earlier, I used a Pokémon called Medicham which also had this same Ancient Trait. Coupled with an ability it has to heal itself, there was some extremely significant longevity in the wee blighter. You’ll notice that the Primal Kyogre earlier has an Ancient Trait too, with the ‘Ω Growth’ trait allowing for the attachment of two energy cards.

Beyond Pokémon and their evolutions, there are 31 trainer cards that have been added to the game, alongside more special energy cards to twist things up within the TCG.

The XY-Primal Clash expansion comes out in the form of new booster packs to pick up, as well as two preconstructed theme decks. These packs of sixty cards are a pretty cool way of jumping into the game really quickly if you’re new. You get a playing field, a coin and damage counters too. So if, like me, you haven’t touched Pokémon cards since your youthful years then they serve as a great way to jump back in.

Personally, I love that after all these years the TCG is still coming out with new ways to change up the game and keep it interesting. After my recent Hearthstone addiction on my tablet, it was great to embrace the nostalgia a wee bit and jump back into the card game that pretty much started it all.

When I drew a Mudkip card, I might have giggled excitedly a bit too much!
Incidentally, the season’s kicking off for the competitive scene of both the Trading Card Game and the video game. The Pokémon World Championships are a pretty big deal.

“Shaddap….” I hear you say, but I submit evidence to substantiate this.