Welcome trainers! Recently I got back into collecting Pokemon cards after taking a few years off. Not much of a surprise to me but, there are now dozens of Pokemon card designs for the same character! It felt a little overwhelming trying to understand which card belonged to which set.
Back in my day, I would open a fresh pack of cards and, to all my friends amazement, I had a holographic Mewtwo! That was it, it was one Mewtwo design. Everyone knew what it looked like and your hunt for it was over! Today we have Pokemon cards EX, GX, and Tag GX to collect.
This is for all my fellow fans and collectors out there who might feel as lost as I did. I’m making this post to help break down the difference between all these new terms and what they mean in the trading card game.
Black Star Holo
First up is my comfort zone and what I hold with upmost nostalgia, the good old fashioned black star holographic card. As most people know, Pokemon cards have a small symbol in the bottom right corner that lets you know how rare the card is. Common cards have a circle, uncommon cards have a diamond, and rare cards have a star.
In general, when you have a black star Pokemon card you’ve come across one of the better cards in the set you’re collecting. They typically are final evolutions, strong solo Pokemon, or legendaries. These Pokemon cards tend to have higher HP (original limit was 120HP) and stronger damaging moves than common/uncommon cards.
Introducing “EX” Pokemon cards. The “EX” stands for extra. These cards are essentially beefed up versions of the traditional Pokemon cards. Their moves tend to have extra effects besides damage, and their HP is also higher than usual (EX HP limit was set to 200).
If extra strength wasn’t enough, most EX Pokemon cards are treated as Basic Pokemon! That means even if you have a Charizard EX, instead of having to evolve through the whole Charmander evolution line in order to be able to play it, your Charizard can go straight into play.
To compensate for these cards being much stronger than average, when you K.O one of these EX Pokemon. you pick up two prize cards instead of the typical one!
If you thought EX Pokemon cards were broken, wait until you hear about GX! While the actual meaning of GX isn’t clear, I’ve taken it upon myself to say it stands for “GOD EXTRA”! These cards enjoy the same additional buffs as EX Pokemon cards. They have higher than usual HP, they are mostly considered BASIC Pokemon, and have much stronger attacks.
The main difference between EX and GX cards is that the latter has access to GX moves. Very similar to how the mechanics in Pokemon Sun & Moon work with Z-moves, you can only use one GX move per match. These cards however have the same drawbacks as the EX. Their moves require a lot more energy cards, and upon being K. O’d, your opponent collects two prize cards instead of the typical one.
A cool side note is the aesthetics to the GX cards. The Pokemon takes up most of the card, they tend to seem as if they are breaking out of the card. The 3D effect on the GX cards are truly eye-catching and are a far cry from the original card designs!
So you thought GX cards were broken?????? Well if you’ve never gotten jumped in real life, you now have a chance at the experience in the Pokemon TCG! TagTeam GX cards are basically two or three Pokemon who share a common type, teaming up against you in battle.
The artwork is a split between the Pokemon who form the tag team and as in regular GX, the Pokemon fill in most of the card in a 3D effect. TagTeam GX cards boast even more strength than regular GX cards. The tag team has an even larger boost in HP, (typically far above the 200 HP limit of GX).
TagTeam GX moves can also only be used once per game. Each Duo GX move has a “+” symbol next to it. A player can complete specific actions in order to activate additional effects of the move.
Having so much power does have its draw backs though. Same as the other powerful cards, using such strong moves takes a good amount of energy cards. If your TagTeam GX card goes down, your opponent picks up three prize cards instead of one!
The Hunt Continues…
I see after over 20 years the Pokemon company is still trying to innovate and keep things fresh for its players! With all the new additions to the TCG, my final thoughts are that there are more Pokemon to love! The artworks have become so interesting with the additions of EX, GX and TagTeam GX cards. My favorite so far have been the TagTeam cards. I’m curious to see which are your favorites? Drop a comment below and as always, happy hunting!