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Past Meets Present in the Pokemon TCG Celebrations Set

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pokemon tcg celebrations review

If Celebrations, the new Pokemon Trading Card Game set, sounds familiar, that makes sense. Evolutions and Generations, previous sets celebrating anniversaries, follow a similar naming convention. But each has been different! Celebrations is smaller. It’s weirder. And it’s honestly a lot of fun.

What is Pokemon Celebrations?

The Pokemon TCG Celebrations set is a limited one, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Pokemon in three ways. The first: new cards representing iconic creatures from the games’ history. They’re mostly legendary ones, but hey, yeah, there’s a Pikachu and a Professor Oak in here too. The second: reprints of famous cards across the generations. Sure, that’s Base Set Charizard, but it’s also meta-defining cards like Mewtwo EX and Cosmic Power Claydol. Third? Promos, which get really weird and at times anachronistic.

As a special set, it’s a bit more difficult to acquire. It’s only sold in collection boxes, often bundled with promos, normal boosters and extras. And each pack only contains four cards. That said, every card in the set is a foil rare! So it balances out somewhat.

Though it’s only available in special packs, it does its best to live up to the “special” part. Special icons on the plastic, cool patterns with all the starters on the boxes, nice little extras? It helps feel like more than just another expansion. The Pokemon Company honestly probably could have phoned in some of it, given how well cards are still selling these days. But there’s attention to detail.

pokemon tcg celebrations pikachu

How cool are the cards?

Very. The Pokemon TCG Celebrations set is all about cool things, no matter your definition. Like full-art homages to old cards? Like strong Zacian V? How about shiny gold Mew? And if that’s not enough, there’s something special about pulling all those cards you wanted and didn’t get all those years ago. (Even if they’re specially marked and not as ludicrously valuable.) They may be four-card packs, but each one probably has more cards that you’d like than a normal ten-card booster.

It’s going to be especially appealing to fans of Pikachu. The mascot also occupies Pokedex entry #25, so the company took the opportunity to give it a spotlight. Flying Pikachu is back! So is Surfing Pikachu! And even Birthday Pikachu got a reprint? After the most recent set, the Eevee-centric Evolving Skies, it appears it’s the yellow mouse’s turn again. And mostly in its old-school wider form, which holds a lot of nostalgic value for first-generation players.

How useful are the cards?

This is harder to say! There are some powerful creatures in here, but a lot of the set isn’t actually allowed in sanctioned play. That includes the reprints and some of the promos, which use old mechanics. But the base set of cards is almost entirely basic legendaries with beefy HP and strong attacks, so a few are likely to find a spot in a competitive deck. It’s nice to have some cool new Professor’s Research editions to swap in, too.

pokemon tcg celebrations old mechanics

What are these old mechanics about?

While you can’t use these cards in sanctioned play, it’s still nice to know how they work. Zacian Lv. X uses the pre-BREAK way to essentially add moves to a Pokemon. You can still use all the abilities of a Zacian below it. Delta Species cards like the new Mimikyu are types you don’t normally see. (Like Mimikyu is now Water?) But they count as their normal name for deck-building and evolution.

Hydreigon C is from a wave of old designations that meant a Pokemon belonged to a specific faction. It’s a Basic even if it shouldn’t be, and C means it belongs to a Champion. Pokemon Star like the new Greninja are limited to one per deck, so they’re designed to be very powerful. They’re supposed to be like Shiny Pokemon in the video games: rare and sporting alternate colors. In boosters, they were almost as hard to find, so… we’re glad this one’s just a guaranteed promo.

Dark Sylveon V is a Dark Pokemon, which, well, means nothing! Thematically, Dark creatures are mistreated, which leads them to have lower HP and “meaner” moves, but there’s no mechanical difference to them. Similarly, Dragapult Prime, Light Toxtricity, and Lance’s Charizard V bring no rules differences either. They just look cool.

Thankfully, if you missed a particular era (or just need a refresher), you can find a one-page explanation of a particular old game idea in the package with the corresponding promo card.

What’s the deal with those extra boosters?

So yeah, given that Celebrations has small boosters, all of its bundles also include older, normal-sized ones. This is sort of a tradition in Pokemon TCG boxed sets, but it’s interesting to see in Elite Trainer Boxes. It’s an effective way to get some boosters that are starting to rotate out of availability, if you’re wanting such things! They vary, and forthcoming production runs might have different stuff, but ours ranged from Darkness Ablaze to Chilling Reign.


The new, commemorative Celebrations set of the Pokemon Trading Card Game started hitting store shelves on October 8, 2021. Various special boxes containing the Pokemon TCG Celebrations set continue to roll out periodically. For more, check out Siliconera’s Pokemon TCG coverage.

Graham Russell
Graham Russell, Siliconera's Managing Editor, 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. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.