Pokemon TCG Twilight Masquerade review
Photo by Siliconera

In Pokemon TCG’s Twilight Masquerade, Ogerpon Is an Essential Worker

As we head into the warmer months of the year, many places around the world are preparing for lots of festivals, celebrating community and culture with food, games and entertainment. It’s perhaps fitting, then, that the new Pokemon Trading Card Game set uses this setting as its focus. Scarlet & Violet: Twilight Masquerade is about masks, feasts and teamwork. Like bright colors? Or maybe just a fan of downloadable content as a concept? This set might have something for you.

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The heart of this set — which you may have predicted — is Ogerpon, the masked Pokemon that serves as the center of the story in The Teal Mask. All four mask variants are here, as are basic and ex forms. The big version can even swap masks into its other forms, though we’ll have to see if that ends up being worth it as a cornerstone of a deck build.

Its foes, on the other hand? Yeah, we can see them making an impact. Okidogi, Munkidori and Fezandipiti are all high-HP, one-prize basics with abilities that power them up if you attach darkness energy. If the energy types line up with a strong strategy, they’ll make an appearance as utility or sidekick fighters, for sure. In particular, a lineup of Munkidori on the bench, each moving three damage counters to the other side of the board every turn? Yikes. You better be ready to one-hit KO.

Pokemon TCG Twilight Masquerade review
Photo by Siliconera

The Future and Ancient subtypes, introduced in Paradox Rift, get a few reinforcements too. Iron Leaves can help Future decks retrieve fallen fighters from the discard pile. Iron Bundle lets you hit-and-run, swapping the opponent’s active when you do. But the real catch here is Iron Thorns ex, with an ability that shuts down the abilities of non-Future heavy hitters.

On the Ancient side, Walking Wake’s double-edged attack won’t make many waves in competitive play, and Scream Tail ex’s opponent-delaying niche is extremely narrow. Brute Bonnet may be the most viable, with guaranteed poison and an attack that adds more injury to injury.

In terms of gameplay, Twilight Masquerade is more of a supplemental release than one that introduces new ideas. There are more ACE SPEC options now! New and reprinted Trainers fill in the gaps in recent sets’ possibility spaces! We’re seeing a much higher quantity of sidekicks to add to an existing deck than we are centerpieces worth building around. We’re sure one of these cards will break out in a way we’re not anticipating, of course. But nothing about this expansion is meant to stand alone, and that makes sense, because it doesn’t.

Pokemon TCG Twilight Masquerade review
Photo by Siliconera

While this is nothing new, this set in particular had us thinking about the timing of The Pokemon Company’s TCG pipeline. It’s honestly impressive how quickly the turnaround is from cards’ release in Japan to their international one — it varies, but this one’s about a month — and that’s nice for some consistency between regions’ metagames.

But what about aligning with the video games? This set’s built around The Teal Mask, an add-on that launched last September, and we do have to wonder whether this regional focus would have landed a bit more effectively while eager players were still working through this mini-adventure. This may have resonated particularly strongly with us this time, given the setting itself is built around a festival.

Still, there’s a lot to like about the set’s aesthetics, regardless of timing. The look of all the packaging is built around Ogerpon’s signature teal, which is striking. New Pokemon like Sinistcha and Dipplin reinforce the food and fun theme. And hey, Thwackey’s here to keep the beat! It’s a fundamentally fun and pleasant set, a good fit for these warmer months of the year.

The latest Pokemon Trading Card Game expansion, Scarlet & Violet: Twilight Masquerade, launches May 24, 2024. For more information on the TCG, check out our Pokemon TCG archive.

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Graham Russell
Graham Russell, editor-at-large, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020, and served as its Managing Editor until July 2022. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.