Pokémon TCG: Sword and Shield

With 247 cards in total, Pokémon TCG: Sword and Shield – Lost Origin is one of the biggest expansions Pokemon trading card game has never seen. This massive size should be Lost originis the set’s greatest strength, but in the end, it ends up being the most frustrating weakness of the whole thing.

Lost origin is full of ideas. As the title might suggest, the most important return mechanic here is the Lost Zone, a kind of secondary discard pile that Pokemon have a bit more trouble getting out of. The Lost Zone, which first appeared in the Platinum expansion in 2009, adds an interesting strategic wrinkle to deckbuilding, and unlike some Pokémon TCG gimmicks, it’s fortunately not too much of a puzzle to follow. Ultimately, it’s good to have it back in the standard rotation, and it’ll be interesting to see which decks pop up to use it both offensively and as a resource.

RELATED: Pokémon TCG Thief Hid $70,000 in Cards From Its Mother

Unfortunately, it’s hard to see the Lost Zone take over the meta entirely. That’s because while there are plenty of phenomenal Lost Zone cards (Banette, in particular, seems destined to become a mainstay in discard-focused decks, and Giratina VSTAR is ridiculously overpowered), there are also plenty too many other things going on in the . Lost origin is the fifteenth Sword and Shield together, and just about every gadget from the entire series is here. There are new VSTAR cards, new Hisuian, Forms, and new Radiant Pokemon. Every card and every mechanic is interesting, but having so much in one set distracts from what should be the focus.

Lost origin is a very frustrating set to open. In the Elite Trainer box provided to CBR for review, the eight boosters provided a grand total of three maps that utilized the Lost Zone. It’s just not enough for the gadget meant to carry the whole thing. While it’s nice to get some new Pokemon Hisuian as a little reminder that this series also acts as Arceus Legends‘ TCG representation, there’s really no reason to include, as an example, three new Radiant cards when Astral Shard is still on store shelves. It ends up feeling like mechanical diversity for its own good rather than a nice addition to an already bloated package.

RELATED: Streamer Blows Up His Room With Pikachu-Themed Fireworks

Bloat really is the name of the game with Lost origin. There’s tons of filler here, not just in terms of mechanics, but also in terms of actual maps. It’s practically the tradition for the new Pokémon TCG expansions to load with worthless cards, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating to open a pack to find a Skwovet who will never see a playmat. There’s room to leave out some of the less exciting cards in the whole breathe mechanically – the meta has already been turned upside down by seemingly disappointing Pokémon – but Lost origin simply has too many Pokemon whose only abilities are to deal tiny damage at once and trainers that put a few cards in your hand.

At the end, Pokémon TCG: Sword and Shield – Lost Origin is a story of missed potential. There are a lot of fun cards overall and ones that might even have a lasting impact on the game’s meta, but every fun new card and idea gets stifled by filler and having to fit into a streak that is on its last legs. It’s not a bad set, but it’s a clear indicator that it’s high time for the Pokémon TCG go past the Sword and Shield era and on new expansions that have room to focus on one or two good ideas. It’s just a shame that the long-awaited return of Lost Zone is overshadowed.

The Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield – Lost Origin expansion set arrives September 9.