Team Rocket’s Pokémon TCG Legacy

April 01, 2018

Team Rocket’s Pokémon TCG Legacy

Check out Team Rocket’s storied history of causing trouble in the Pokémon TCG.

This article remains from a website takeover by Team Rocket on April 1, 2018. The views expressed in this article are solely the opinions of Team Rocket and do not reflect the opinions of The Pokémon Company International or any affiliated companies.

Team Rocket has long held a commanding presence in the Pokémon video games and animation, but the nefarious gang has also had its share of memorable moments in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Appearances by named characters are somewhat scarce, but plenty of henchmen and their many associated Pokémon have seen Pokémon TCG action. Two expansions have even been named after the group: the Team Rocket expansion was released in 2000, and the suitably named EX Team Rocket Returns expansion came out in 2004.

People Power

The members of Team Rocket who have appeared in the Pokémon TCG represent all levels of the organization, from low-level Grunts such as Minion of Team Rocket in the Gym Heroes expansion to the Boss of the whole operation, slyly revealed in The Boss’s Way card from the Team Rocket expansion. Even Team Rocket’s middle management hasn’t been forgotten, with the Rocket’s Admin. card from EX Team Rocket Returns sporting a similar effect to today’s popular N Supporter card. And although they’re not explicitly named, the famous Jessie and James even appear on Here Comes Team Rocket!, a card that is so iconic it has shown up in three expansions, most recently in XY—Evolutions.

Into the Dark

Team Rocket is primarily a coalition of humans, but numerous Pokémon have also joined the group’s ranks along the way. Meowth is certainly the most well-known, and indeed, the talkative Pokémon took a memorable turn as a Darkness type in the EX Team Rocket Returns expansion. That set actually featured a large number of Team Rocket’s Pokémon, including numerous Legendary Pokémon. It’s not surprising to see Rocket’s Meowth and Rocket’s Wobbuffet among their numbers, but Team Rocket really stepped up their game by adding the likes of Rocket’s Mewtwo-EX and Rocket’s Entei-EX to their numbers.

Another large group of Pokémon that appear in the Team Rocket and EX Team Rocket Returns expansions are mysterious Dark Pokémonthose that have been corrupted by Team Rocket’s presence in some way, including prominent Pokémon such as Dark Gyarados and Dark Dragonite. It’s pretty obvious that when Team Rocket comes to the Pokémon TCG, they affect every aspect of the game, especially the Pokémon themselves.

Team Rocket Treasures

Team Rocket’s presence goes beyond the people and Pokémon that represent them to include a good number of Trainer and Energy cards. True to their influence on the Pokémon around them, many of these cards provide benefits to cards with “Dark” or “Rocket’s” in their names, including the Rocket’s Hideout Stadium card, which boosts the HP of these Pokémon by 20, and the R Energy Special Energy card, which can only be attached to these Pokémon and adds 10 damage to their attacks. There’s even a special Rocket’s Poké Ball, a Trainer card featuring art that shows off a cool red-and-black Poké Ball branded with the team’s signature R logo.

What’s Next?

Team Rocket has been relatively quiet in the Pokémon TCG over the past few years. Shortly after EX Team Rocket Returns, Rocket’s Raikou-EX and Rocket’s Persian-EX appeared as secret cards. Since then, the devious Team Rocket’s Trickery Supporter card arrived in the HS—Undaunted expansion, letting you draw cards and make your opponent discard a card. Then, the gang showed up again in Team Rocket’s Handiwork, a Supporter card in XY—Fates Collide that lets you discard up to 4 cards from the top of your opponent’s deck.

Given the vacation they’ve had from the Pokémon TCG, we have to wonder what Team Rocket might be plotting. One thing’s for sure: there’s no way they’ll stay gone for long, and when they return—prepare for trouble!

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