EX Sandstorm contained several cards that were at the time not yet available in any other language, making it the first expansion since Team Rocket to feature English-exclusive cards. Most of these cards were subsequently released in Japan in Magma vs Aqua: Two Ambitions, with the rest released as part of the Gift Box.
EX Sandstorm introduced dual Weaknesses and Resistances to the TCG, to correlate with multiple strengths and vulnerabilities of Pokémon in the games.
This was the first expansion to feature evolved Pokémon-ex. Some of these Pokémon broke the "120 HP limit" (the highest HP any Pokémon card had featured previously). Wailord ex once held the record for the highest HP on a tournament legal card (200 HP).
Wailord ex, the first card to feature five to Retreat, debuted in this set.
This was the first Pokémon USA expansion to have an affiliated Prerelease promo card. The last Prerelease card was released in conjunction with Gym Heroes in 2000. Under the supervision of a revamped Play! Pokémon, sanctioned Prerelease events became an integral part of the TCG calendar, and have been held before the release of every expansion since. The Prerelease card for this expansion is Armaldo. In the United States, Prereleases were held on the weekends of 6th/7th and 13th/14th September 2003.