“Now you’re just showboating…”, my defeated opponent remarked. I’d agree. It hadn’t been a particularly kind end to the match. But, as with any card game, the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) is as much about exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses as it is relying on lady luck to deal a favourable hand.
Recalling Linoone to the bench paved the way for Rhyperior to sturdily meander forward. It was a decisive move purely for glory, Rock Shower’s three Energy cost deafeningly rumbling the battleground to not only take out his active Kyogre, but also unsettle the Pokémon sat patiently on his bench – knocking our two Barboach and a Vulpix, while weakening a Spheal to a meagre 10 HP.
But it hadn’t been a match that I’d been entirely confident throughout. As always Pokémon TCG: XY – Primal Clash’s two opposing Theme Decks, Earth’s Pulse and Ocean’s Core, are meaningfully balanced, but it was playing with the Fire and Water-type orientated hand that I had found more tactical strength. More notably seen with the Stadium card Rough Seas, that supports your team by allowing you to heal 30 damage every turn from each of your Water-type or Electric-type Pokémon. The opposing Scorched Earth card doesn’t quite match it, instead sacrificing Fire-type or Fighting-type Energy from the player’s hand to draw two cards.
With each player requiring a 60-card deck to play, these remain the best way to begin your collection and present you with everything that you could possibly need to get started. Whether that be the metallic coin that must be flipped when determining the success of certain moves, or the play mat that not only helps you lay out your cards but is plastered in rules for you to refer to throughout as needed. Shiny Kyogre and Groudon cards are included, even if their powerful moves put your own Benched Pokémon at threat.
This latest expansion arrives closely behind August’s Furious Fists, working in elements introduced in Nintendo 3DS exclusives Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. That’s namely seen in Primal Reversion (which will require players to separately collect Primal Kyogre-EX and Primal Groudon-EX cards), Spirit Link cards that prevent your turn from immediately ending when doing so, and Ancient Traits that act similarly to Abilities and can expect to be found on 10 – 20 percent of Pokémon cards in the expansion, and Spirit Link.
By this point aficionados will know to expect new Pokémon-EX and Trainer cards, with Primal Clash containing more than 150 new cards to collect (164 in total according to the ever diligent Serebii) making it one of the largest expansions that Pokémon TCG has received over the years.
Collecting them all is another matter. I previously likened Booster Packs as being Pokémon TCG’s equivalent of wading through tall grass, unpredictable packs of 10 additional game cards that will either successfully extend or end up duplicating your current assortment. Every Booster Pack purchase is a gamble, resulting in overwhelmingly gleeful or distressingly distraught tears depending on their contents.
Pokémon Trading Card Game Online integration remains thanks to in-pack code cards, even if I am still at a loss as to why Pokémon TCG’s digital counterpart is yet to appear on Wii U. The crossover in unlocking the Theme Decks, or a random Booster Pack, is welcome for desktop or iOS players however, allowing aspiring strategists to take on the world online.
Pokémon TCG: XY – Primal Clash results in another resoundingly positive expansion to the ever bulging competitive card game arena, even if Primal Reversion is restricted to only two Pokémon. Earth’s Pulse and Ocean’s Core Theme Decks are well-considered, even if not as easily balanced as those which have come before. But with a force as destructive as Rhyperior’s Rock Shower, who am I to complain?
Pokémon TCG: XY – Primal Clash launched on 4th February 2015, and is now available to purchase from retailers.