The Pokémon Card Game’s Newest Mechanic Is About the Power of Unions

The Pokémon Card Game’s Newest Mechanic Is About the Power of Unions
Some of the various Pikachus featured in the upcoming Celebrations set. (Image: The Pokémon Company)

After the last year, in which Pokémon Cards became scarce and severely overpriced amid the pandemic-era renewed interest in collectibles, the Pokémon Company’s responded to and bounced back from the shortage with a production increase that’s made it much easier to find new sets in stores.

Though the card shortage made it difficult for people to get their hands on regular sets of new cards like Battle Styles, Chilling Reign, and the upcoming Evolving Skies, one of the big concerns among collectors was how it might impact the special releases tied to the Pokémon franchise’s 25th anniversary celebration. The Pokémon Company hasn’t specified just how many new sets it’s planning, but newly released promotional art for the upcoming Celebrations Special Collection suggests there will be a major, Pikachu-forward drop this fall.

Initially reported by Pokébeach, the 25th anniversary celebration set will feature a variety of Pikachu-focused boxes, including a special collection built around a set of four V-Union cards depicting multiple Pikachus illustrated by different artists who’ve worked on the trading card game.

Image: The Pokémon Company Image: The Pokémon Company

The obvious draw to a lot of the new cards in the Celebrations set boils down to them featuring stunning new interpretations of classic cards like Surfing Pikachu and Flying Pikachu, which have both gained Gigantamax forms. But what’s interesting about the Pikachu V-Union set, and the handful of other V-Union sets due out this fall, is how the V-Union mechanic might change how people actually play the card game.

Like Yu-Gi-Oh’s Exodia, V-Union Pokémon are markedly more powerful monsters who can only be brought into battle if a player manages to draw all of the constituent cards and successfully get them all onto their bench without being knocked out. As strong as each piece of a V-Union card is on its own, when combined they give their user an outsized advantage over their opponents in terms of raw attack power.

But V-Union cards come with the drawback of costing players three prize cards whenever individual pieces of a V-Union card are knocked out during battle. When a player loses six prize cards, they lose the battle, meaning bringing V-Union Pokémon card battles come with a certain degree of risk players need to be mindful of, and it’s going to be interesting to see if and how people go about building decks with that in mind.

Image: The Pokémon Company Image: The Pokémon Company

The Pikachu V-Union’s one of the first promo sets that will introduce V-Union cards to the larger game, and because of the cards’ focus on splashy art, it’s likely that V-Union cards will become chase cards in the next few sets.

Even though interconnecting cards aren’t a new mechanic within the Pokémon franchise, it’s great to see the Pokémon Company playing around with ideas about how to keep its analogue game fresh. Hopefully, the first wave of these things will be reasonably pain-free to locate when the Celebrations set is released later this year following its October 22 release in Japan.