Rotation is a natural part of life for reading card games. Just about every major card game older than a few years has a point after which cards are no longer legal in their standard tournament formats. For Pokémon, that time is now. The release of the Scarlet and Violet video games signaled the official end of the Sword and Shield era for the franchise. It was only a matter of time before the Sword and Shield TCG sets were retired from the game’s standard format.
In Pokémon, rotation usually happens right after the World Championship. That’s typically in August. So why rotate now? In short, COVID. Two World Championship cancellations in back to back years meant players had precious little time to play with the Sun and Moon sets. That rippled out over time, and now here we are. Pokémon rotation is happening on April 14, 2023.
What’s rotating out?
The easiest way to know if a card is on the chopping block for rotation is to look at the legality symbol in the bottom left corner of the card. If it comes before E in the alphabet, or there isn’t one, it won’t be tournament legal in the Standard format after rotation. You will still be able to play them in the Expanded format, and in casual kitchen table games.
Older versions of cards printed with E later legality marks will remain legal. Professor’s Research is Professor’s Research and Ultra Ball is Ultra Ball. The set doesn’t matter so long as the cards are identical.
Some of the most notable cards rotating out are Marnie, Quick Ball, and Scoop Up Net. Some decks rely on Scoop Up Net to consistently put forward their Pokémon of choice, and while losing it won’t completely kill the decks it WILL severely disrupt them. The most deck-breaking losses are Drizzile and Inteleon, the much-used engine that powers Ice Rider and similar decks.
Be sure to look over your favorite decks and make sure you have a plan in place for the post-rotation meta. As we get closer, be sure to check in on Nick at Pokémon Rundown for tips and news.
Hello silver border!
With rotation comes another major change to the TCG we all love. The classic yellow border seen on American cards is going away, to be replaced with the silver border features on Japanese cards. The intention is to create a more universal look for the game – which makes sense. That said, I am not a fan of the silver – funny, given my nom de plume. On top of that, there are some minor layout changes coming that will move card types from the right to the left of the card. Minor, but disorienting for sure!
Post Rotation: New card type!
This was announced a while ago, and isn’t strictly related to rotation. Starting with Scarlet and Violet, Pokémon tools are no longer items. They are a separate card type, and existing tools will be errata’d to fit the new rule. Changing card types changes tools in a big way. Cards that fetch, search or target items will no longer work on tools. Likewise, cards that prohibit targeting items but allow other types will now work on tools.
Sweeping changes like creating a whole new card type don’t get made lightly. You can be sure that in coming sets there will be significant tool and item interactions where this distinction will matter. For now, try to be patient with your fellow trainers as you get used to the changes.
I’m sure there’s more to look forward to when Scarlet and Violet cards release on March 31, 2023. Did I miss anything good? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter if you think I need a reminder. And don’t forget to keep an eye on GTN’s Pokémon Rundown for more info on rotation, cards, new deck options and more!