Title: The Pokemon TCG: XY – Ancient Origins Expansion
Platforms: PC, iOS, physical (Reviewed)
Developer: The Pokemon Company
Release Date: Out now
Price: Trading card packs vary
Family Friendly: Click here to read more
Verdict: Fun for all ages, be it a young collector or a professional player – as always, Pokemon is on top as the number one trading card game.

It’s been a fair few years since I last looked at Pokemon cards, more still since i’ve played the Trading Card Game (TCG). Yet something about the latest expansion piqued my interest.

XY – Ancient Origins transforms ancient secrets into modern battling techniques, with new Special Energy cards, Ancient Traits, and a plethora of new Pokemon-EX and shiny Pokemon. To coincide with the release of the expansion, two new themed decks were released: the Stone Heart and Iron Tide, which have introduced more than 90 new cards to collect and play.

Ancient Traits, which were first introduced in the Primal Clash expansion, have also been expanded upon. Providing powerful new effects that can change the course of the game, the new Stop, Max, and Double effects will prove vital in overthrowing your opponents. These new traits for me, were vital. Some of the battles I orchestrated were to get a feel how they are used on a more professional level.

Pokemon Hoopa

Probably the biggest new addition to this expansion is the inclusion of the Mythical Pokemon, Hoopa. Unfortunately I didn’t get lucky in my packs and get it, though the way he works sounds as if it’s like playing a completely different game. Its Scoundrel Ring ability allows you to search your deck for three other Pokemon-EX when Hoopa comes into play and put them into your hand. This is vital for players who are using a more modern style deck, and proves just how useful Hoopa is for decks loaded with Pokemon-EX.

As I haven’t played Pokemon in so many years, I was shocked when I received an in-pack code that unlocks virtual cards for the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. The codes didn’t give me the same cards as I received in my physical booster packs, so when I didn’t receive my shiny Lugia, I was pretty upset. Though I did like the fact that Pokemon is no longer confined to just being a physical card game; you can now play on iOS with the iPad app available now via the Apple Store, and on PC through the official Pokemon website. The rules are the same for both paper and online versions, so the Pokemon action never stops, and it’s a great way to continue the fun when your friends aren’t around.

The issue that i’ve had while playing the Ancient Origins expansion is with the playability of Pokemon as a whole. Yes, it still reigns as the top card game, but that could be the accessibility . The gripe comes from when I was playing games; I found that I was waiting for the same Pokemon and power-up cards to drop and then to destroy my opponents each time. Now I know this isn’t how every player will approach each game, but the fact that it was so easy to so made it that much more monotonous to get through a set of games.

Pokemon Ancient Origins

Overall, I enjoyed my time playing Pokemon TCG again. I can’t say that I’m an expert, but the new abilities are good for more professional players. Collectors now have even more incentive to pick these up, with the new Mega Evolution cards. The new Half Art cards are really interesting, with the art extending into and behind the text boxes. There’s plenty that can be done to modernise the game, with the addition of being able to play online and receive virtual booster packs from buying the physical ones. If you are already a Pokemon fan or are looking to get back into the game, Ancient Origins is the best place to be: it has the most expanded arsenal of tactics, and a chance to receive the elusive Hoopa: you can’t really go wrong!

The Good

  • New art cards
  • Interesting battle tactics

The Bad

  • Still feels like the same game I played thirteen years ago
  • Not enough variety with movesets
  • Too much emphasis on Pokemon-EX

Family Focus

Pokemon has always been for the family, and it’s no different this time. Anyone of any age can jump in and enjoy the card game.