Original TCG Series merchandise

 

TCG Series
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The Original TCG Series maintained the steady flow of TCG merchandise from the start of the Pokémon Trading Card Game until the beginning of Generation II with the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver. Throughout this time, a steady flow of products such as Theme Decks were released in order to promote the card game, and ultimately, the video games and the franchise as a whole. Below is a chronological list of all merchandise items released during the Original TCG Series.

Promotional pre-Base Set merchandise

There are several early Pokémon TCG products that served as an introduction to the Pokémon Trading Card Game for the US market. It is believed that these items were released as early as 1998, before even Base Set was released.

The first of these items is the Pokémon TCG Demo Game booster pack. This booster pack was designed for two players and contained 24 shadowless Base Set cards and an instruction booklet. It is believed that these booster were distributed to retailers so that customers could sample the game. They were not intended for public sale.

The second of these items are the Trainer Decks - Trainer Deck A (Brock's Deck) and Trainer Deck B (Misty's Deck). These decks were released to early Pokémon Leagues to help promote the TCG. Like the Demo Game booster pack, these decks were not sold publicly.

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Demo Game booster pack
Trainer Deck A (Brock's)
Trainer Deck B (Misty's)
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Base Set Theme Decks

The very first expansion, Base Set, was released by Wizards of the Coast on January 9, 1999 and had five separate Theme Decks associated with it. The first four, named Blackout, Brushfire, Overgrowth, and Zap!, were each released with 60 cards, each focusing on a different combination of the six types released within Base Set. Blackout, while primarily focusing on the Fighting-type, also included Water-type Pokémon cards. Brushfire focused on the Fire-type and Grass-type, while Zap! featured Lightning-type and Psychic-type Pokémon. The fourth Theme Deck, Overgrowth, doubled up on the Water-type and the Grass-type. Each deck had one Holofoil card included within, in addition to damage counters, a Chansey coin, and a rule book detailing how to play the card game against another person.

The fifth Theme Deck for the Base Set expansion was the 2-Player Starter Set. More akin to the later released Trainer Kits, the 2-Player Starter Set contained instructions on how to divide the cards included in the deck into two separate Half Decks in order to teach players how to play the card game in a more detailed, step-by-step process. This deck also contained damage counters, but not a coin, as none of the included cards need a coin for their attacks. It does, however, include a 61st card, Machamp in order to bolster the deck when both half decks are played as one.

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Blackout
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Overgrowth
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Base Set Theme Decks

At some point after the release of Base Set, 4 Deck Boxes were released with theming of the fully evolved starter Pokémon Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise, along with a separate release of another featuring Pikachu.

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Venusaur Deck Box
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Jungle Theme Decks

The second expansion, Jungle, continued the trend for Theme Decks left by Base Set. For this expansion, only two Theme Decks were made available, starting June 16, 1999 when the main expansion was released to stores. The first Theme Deck, named Power Reserve, featured the Parent Pokémon Kangaskhan, as well as the Grass-type and Psychic-type. The second Theme Deck, Water Blast, featured the Bubble Jet Pokémon, Vaporeon and the Water-type and Fighting-type. Both Theme Decks contained a rulebook, damage counters, a custom Vileplume coin, and card list for the expansion.

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Power Reserve
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Pokémon Trading Card Game Player's Guide

Main article: Pokémon Trading Card Game Player's Guide

In July 1999, Sandwich Islands Publishing released a strategy guide for the TCG, covering the Base Set and Jungle expansions. This strategy guide details the rules of the TCG, deck building strategies and game play strategies.

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Pokémon Trading Card Game Player's Guide
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Starter Gift Box

The Starter Gift Box is a separate release made available sometime in between the releases of Jungle and Fossil. This Gift Box came packaged with a copy of Base Set's 2-Player Starter Set, as well as one of the two Jungle Theme Decks, Power Reserve or Water Blast, a Jungle booster pack, a play mat with deck building tips, and an exclusive Eevee coin.

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Starter Gift Box
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Fossil Theme Decks

Fossil, the third expansion, was released on October 10, 1999 and came with two Theme Decks: BodyGuard and LockDown. The Grass-type and Fighting-type themed BodyGuard Theme Deck featured the Holofoil card Muk. The Fire-type and Water-type LockDown Theme Deck featured Holofoil Lapras. Much like other Theme Decks, these two came with a rulebook, damage counters, an exclusive Aerodactyl coin, and card list.

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Pokémon Trading Card Game Fossil Expansion Player's Guide

Main article: Pokémon Trading Card Game Fossil Expansion Player's Guide

In November 1999, Sandwich Islands Publishing released a strategy guide for the TCG covering the Fossil expansion. This strategy guide details the rules of the TCG, deck building strategies and game play strategies.

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Pokémon Trading Card Game Fossil Expansion Player's Guide
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Pokémon Trading Card Game: Prima's Official Strategy Guide

Main article: Pokémon Trading Card Game: Prima's Official Strategy Guide

In December 1999, Prima Games released an officially licensed strategy guide for the TCG. This strategy guide details the rules of the TCG, deck building strategies and game play strategies.

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Pokémon Trading Card Game: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
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Original Collector's Albums

Sometime in 1999, two official Collector's Albums for card storage were released. Although having the same name, the two albums are different in size, look and usability.

The larger of the two albums is a 2" 3-ring album for use with 9-pocket pages, and features Snorlax, Meowth and Sandshrew on the front, and Mewtwo, Raichu and Gyarados on the back. It also included a checklist for the first three expansions; Base Set, Jungle and Fossil, and 5 Ultra Pro 9-pocket pages.

The smaller of the two albums is a 4-pocket portfolio with pages already fixed in, and features Pikachu, Charizard and Blastoise on the front, and Venusaur on the back.

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2" Collector's Album
4-Pocket Portfolio Collector's Album
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Cloth play mat

Sometime in 1999, an official cloth play mat for the TCG was released by Wizards of the Coast. The play mat has spaces dedicated for both players' decks, discard piles, Prizes, Active Pokémon ("Arena") and Bench.

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Official cloth play mat
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Base Set 2 Theme Decks

As Base Set 2 was mostly treated as a release of the original Base Set, this expansion's Theme Decks mirror what was released for the first expansion in January 1999. Base Set 2, released on February 24, 2000 also featured four separate Theme Decks, as well as the 2-Player CD-ROM Starter Set, this time featuring the Fighting-type and Water-type, instead of the original Fighting and Fire-types. The four other Theme Decks, named Grass Chopper (Fighting and Grass), Hot Water (Fire and Water), Lightning Bug (Lightning and Grass), and Psych Out (Psychic and Water), each came with 1 Holofoil card, a Pikachu coin, a rulebook, damage counters, and a cardlist.

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Grass Chopper
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Lightning Bug
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2-Player CD-ROM Starter Set
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Pokémon Made Simple!

Main article: Pokémon Made Simple!

In March 2000, Wizards of the Coast released an official handbook for the TCG titled "Pokémon Made Simple!". The book is intended as an introduction to the TCG for parents and their children — it reviews the rules of the TCG, deck building strategies, a guide to the rarity system to ensure children trade rare cards fairly, and an overview of the premise of the Pokémon video games and TCG to help parents better understand their children's enjoyment of the franchise.

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Pokémon Made Simple!
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Pokémon Trading Card Game: Prima's Official Strategy Guide (video game version)

Main article: Pokémon Trading Card Game: Prima's Official Strategy Guide (video game version)

On April 5, 2000, Prima Games released an officially licensed strategy guide for the Pokémon Trading Card Game video game.

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Pokémon Trading Card Game: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
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Official Pokémon Trading Card Game Perfect Guide

Main article: Official Pokémon Trading Card Game Perfect Guide

On April 12, 2000, Versus Books released an officially licensed strategy guide for the Pokémon Trading Card Game video game.

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Official Pokémon Trading Card Game Perfect Guide
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Team Rocket Theme Decks

The Theme Decks for the Team Rocket expansion are named Devastation and Trouble and were released on April 24, 2000. The two names are based on Jessie, James, and Meowth's motto from the anime, and are loosely based on the trio. Trouble featured Dark Arbok with the Grass-type and Psychic-type, while Devastation featured Dark Weezing and the Grass and Water-types. Each Theme Deck came packaged with the standard deck contents, this time including an exclusive Meowth coin.

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Trouble
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Team Rocket Strategy Guide

Main article: Team Rocket Strategy Guide (TCG)

In May 2000, an official companion book to the Team Rocket expansion was published by Wizards of the Coast. The book contains strategies for the new cards introduced in the expansion, both as standalone cards and when paired with earlier cards; as well as custom deck configurations focused on the new cards introduced in the expansion.

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Team Rocket Strategy Guide
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Team Rocket Collector's Binder

Sometime in 2000, another official Collector's Binder for card storage was released. The album is similar to the Collector's Album released in 1999, and is a 2" 3-ring album for use with 9-pocket pages. It features designs of Jessie and James on the front, with Gyarados on the back. It also included 5 Ultra Pro 9-pocket pages.

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2" Collector's Binder
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Let's Play Pokémon

Main article: Let's Play Pokémon (TCG)

In May 2000, Wizards of the Coast released an official handbook for the TCG titled "Let's Play Pokémon". This book is similar in nature to the previous book, Pokémon Made Simple!, though it covers game play strategies more in-depth and is updated to include the new Team Rocket expansion.

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Let's Play Pokémon
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Gym Heroes Theme Decks

The first Pokémon Gym themed expansion of the Original Series, Gym Heroes, came with four Theme Decks when it was released to the public on August 14, 2000. Based on the first four Gym Leaders of the Kanto region, the four Theme Decks were named Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge and Erika, and each featured the signature type of their namesake: Fighting-type, Water-type, Lightning-type, and Grass-type respectively. These four Theme Decks each came with a rulebook, damage counters, an exclusive Starmie coin, and card list for the expansion.

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Brock
Misty
Lt. Surge
Erika
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Gym Heroes Strategy Guide

Main article: Gym Heroes Strategy Guide (TCG)

In August 2000, an official companion book to the Gym Heroes expansion was published by Wizards of the Coast. The book contains strategies for the new cards introduced in the expansion, both as standalone cards and when paired with earlier cards; as well as custom deck configurations focused on the new cards introduced in the expansion.

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Gym Heroes Strategy Guide
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Thunderstorm Gift Box

The Thunderstorm Gift Box, known as the Tempest Gift Box outside the United States, was released in the time between Gym Heroes and Gym Challenge. It includes a unique Thunderstorm preconstructed Theme Deck featuring cards from Base Set, Jungle, Fossil, Team Rocket, and Gym Heroes expansions. It also includes three booster packs, one each from Fossil, Team Rocket, Gym Heroes, and the Pokémon Play It! Version 2 CD-ROM. Also included were a play mat, deck building tip sheet, Pikachu coin, and a felt deck bag. The Zapdos included within the product is exclusive to the deck, as it utilizes the Cosmos Holofoil introduced for the Base Set 2, and not the Starlight Holofoil originally used for the Fossil release.

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Thunderstorm Gift Box
Tempest Gift Box
Tempest Theme Deck
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Gym Challenge Theme Decks

The Gym Challenge expansion released the latter half of the Gym Leader themed Theme Decks on October 16, 2000. Featuring Sabrina, Koga, Blaine, and Giovanni, the four decks named after these Gym Leaders featured the Psychic-type, Grass-type, and Fire-type for the first three, and the Grass and Fighting-types for Giovanni. Each deck featured the standard rulebook, damage counters, and card list, while this time featuring an exclusive Alakazam coin.

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Sabrina
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Giovanni
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Gym Challenge Strategy Guide

Main article: Gym Challenge Strategy Guide (TCG)

In late 2000, an official companion book to the Gym Challenge expansion was published by Wizards of the Coast. The book contains strategies for the new cards introduced in the expansion, both as standalone cards and when paired with earlier cards; as well as custom deck configurations focused on the new cards introduced in the expansion.

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Gym Challenge Strategy Guide
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Pokémon Trading Card Game merchandise
English TCG merchandise
Original Series
Neo Series
Legendary Collection Series
e-Card Series
EX Series
Diamond & Pearl Series
Platinum Series
HeartGold & SoulSilver Series
Call of Legends Series
Black & White Series
XY Series
XY BREAK Series
Sun & Moon Series
Sword & Shield Series


  This article is part of both Project TCG and Project Merchandise, Bulbapedia projects that, together, aim to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon Trading Card Game merchandise.