I have been a Pokémon fan since I was a kid. I grew up with Red and Blue and have followed the games all the way into now. Pokémon has always been a cornerstone of my life. So suffice to say I’m pretty friggin’ pumped for Detective Pikachu coming out this week (May 10 for us in Canada and the United States). Though I was on team Danny Devito to voice Pikachu, I am very happy with the decision to cast our beloved Ryan Reynolds as the electric furball.
But funny enough, I’m not here to talk about the movie. Instead I’m here to talk about cards! In conjunction with the movie, the Pokémon Company released a small special set of Detective Pikachu cards for the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), and as an avid fan of the game, I picked up a few packs and want to show you the coolest cards on the block.
Note: Click any of the card images to embiggen and take a closer look!
I first want to say how bloody beautiful all the designs of the CG-animated Pokémon are. When I first heard about the live-action adaptation of Detective Pikachu, I was somewhat skeptical. At worst I feared what happened to poor Sonic. But then the trailers came out, and oh boy did I fall in love with every design. It was like I was seeing my childhood dream being realized in a new and beautiful way, and it had me as giddy as it did when I first discovered Pokémon as a child.
Arcanine is probably the prettiest of the lot, and the card captures the movie magic. He’s just so damned floofy. Like, I could pet this guy for days. Game-wise, he’s a pretty interesting guy. His ability, Security Guard, shaves off 30 damage if Arcanine is the Active Pokémon. Fire-types don’t usually do that in the Pokémon TCG, so it’s pretty neat to have a fire Pokémon act as a defensive support role. Also that 90 damage from Sharp Fang isn’t too shabby. I wouldn’t want to be bit by this doggo, that’s for sure!
Enter the shinobi ninja frog, Greninja!
I elected to choose this Greninja over the GX variation because of its ability: Evasion Jutsu. This ability really captures the skulking in the darkness vibe that Greninja excels at, and is also ridiculously useful. Any time Greninja might take damage from an attack, it can flip a coin and possibly negate it. This guy will be great at stalling the opponent.
Along with its Furious Shurikens, it can hit any Pokemon (regardless of whether it is Active or not), so nothing is safe from the silent strikes of the shinobi ninja frog!
With respects to my personal play style, I always like Pokémon that can throw surprises at the opponent. Especially ones that are as versatile as our “literally can be any Pokemon” Ditto. I love this little guy because he can take any of your opponent’s Pokémon’s moves and use it as its own (even the ones that are sitting on the Bench) and can even copy the uber-powerful GX moves (though you can still only use one per game). The drawback is that you have to charge up Ditto with the right energy, so this is good in Rainbow decks. I do plan on making that very deck centered around everyone’s favourite amoeba in the future.
Aww, look at him. The big bad wrestler is now reduced to being traffic cop. Well, everyone’s got to make a living, so why not Machamp? Look at how imposing he is though. It’s nice to have a traffic cop that could very well literally stop a car if he needed to.
I included Machamp here not because he does anything super cool (though that potential 140 damage for two Fighting energy is nothing to sneeze at), but because it’s so different to see Machamp as a traffic cop. His first move, Directing Traffic, is a very useful utility move that Fighting-types don’t typically have at their disposal (that’s usually Psychic’s domain). So while at first it might not look that this guy’s really all that special, you can actually find a lot of use for him.
I think it would be a horrible mistake to leave the star of the movie out of the list, so here’s Detective Pikachu. I won’t lie, as a Pokémon fan, I’ve always felt like Pikachu was a little overrated, but hey, out of all the Pikachus in the world this one voiced by Ryan Reynolds and addicted to coffee is going to be the one I warm up to.
Game-wise, there’s not too much going on with this fella. Scout is kind of useful, but since when you attack your turn ends in the TCG, there’s not much you can do with the knowledge you’ve gained from looking at your opponent’s hand. Surprise Attack hits pretty decently (if you get heads), and is probably one of the strongest attacks any Pikachu has in the game, but for three colorless energy, it’s probably not going to be worth your time.
Finally, you can’t evolve Detective Pikachu into a Raichu since it’s not a regular Pikachu (which you need in order to evolve it). But on the same token, you can include four copies of this guy along side any regular Pikachus you want, so if you’re a Pikachu mega-fan, there’ll be enough space for this guy in your deck!
Seeing Charizard in the Detective Pikachu trailer is probably one of the few times I’ve ever actually been genuinely terrified by anything Pokémon. Card-wise, this guy is every bit as ferocious is he is in the trailer (and very likely in the movie proper, as well).
Steam Artillery hits for a crispy 200 damage, which is on the good side of high in the TCG. Raging Destruction let’s Charizard GX rampage through your deck and fish out the whopping five energies you need for Steam Artillery. Finally his GX movie, Dreadful Flames, hits for an even better 250 and burns an energy off of the opponent’s entire team. This guy’s going to be decent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up in a number of competitive decks.
I don’t know how much of a spoiler this is, but it appears Mewtwo is going to be in the movie, which is a pretty big deal. The attemped clone of Mew is nothing to sneeze at, either. This Mewtwo GX packs a wallop. Telekinesis is useful in that you can hit any Pokémon (including Pokémon on the Bench) for 50 damage and it only costs one Psychic energy.
Reigning Pulse hits for a decent 120, but also makes the defending Pokémon Confused (which is, in my opinion even more useful). Psychic Nova, though, Mewtwo’s GX move, falls in the “you can’t touch me” category of moves, which is my favorite. Shooting someone down with 180 damage and then being immune to damage from attacks during the opponent’s next turn? It’s hard to turn down that kind of advantage! It’s no surprise that Mewtwo is going to dominate.
And there you have it folks. In a couple of days we’ll all be listening to Ryan Reynold’s sassy voice, and watching what might be the best Pokémon movie to date, and thankfully we’ll have some pretty damn cool cards to remind us of this momentous occasion in Pokémon history.