What is "Rotation"?
Rotation is a Pokémon Company procedure which aims at devaluing some previous sets from a block to boost the entry of new cards of future sets in that same block or a different one.
As the next block is about Scarlet/Violet, the Sword/Shield block is over, in the sense that there aren't any more sets for it, as the last one released in the main set was Sword/Shield: Silver Tempest and regarding special sets, we had Sword/Shield: Crown Zenith (01/20/2023).
It's worth stressing that this rotation is valid for the western side of the globe, as the eastern rules (Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, etc) have their own different schedule.
That being said, on April 14th, 2023, the physical tourneys' rotation will happen, but for the digital platforms, such as Pokémon Live, it will happen on March 30th, 2023 (and we don't have the dates for rotation in Pokémon TCG Online).
How to Identify which Sets and Cards will Rotate?
According to Pokémon Company's new TOS, it will be all sets that have cards with a tag in the left inferior border of the letter D.
And How to Identify That?
As the example above, it is quite clear how to identify the location of the letter. With that, we have the following relation of the sets which will be rotated. I'll classify them into two sections: main sets and special sets (the collector ones)
So, the order will be like so:
- Sword / Shield: Base Set - also called Sword/Shield 1.
- Sword / Shield: Rebel Clash - also called Sword/Shield 2.
- Sword / Shield: Darkness Ablaze - also called Sword/Shield 3.
- Sword / Shield: Vivid Voltage - also called Sword/Shield 4.
- Sword / Shield: Champion’s Path -also called Sword/Shield 3.5.
- Sword / Shield: Shining Fates - also called Sword/Shield 4.5.
I explained all about this last year, and you can check out more information on it here.
And what about the Promotional Cards that come in Triple Packs, Quadr Packs, Elite Trainer Boxes, Premium boxes and the like? Will they also rotate?"
If they have the letter D, yes.
In my opinion, for beginners and people who don't follow this TCG ever since it started, when players had to know by heart all sets from all blocks, it might even be "easier" to have these letters defining which cards will rotate. However, when all letters are used, and Z is reached, is it likely they will go to a system with double letters, such as AA? And then afterward an AAA? Or will they use a letter and number system, such as A1? Long-term, this will be a headache.
I still prefer having players study the sets and their names correctly, so they know what stays post-rotation or not, and, let's be honest, with so many research sites, such as Cards Realm itself, with the western catalog, for me, there are no excuses to "not know the expansion names by heart".
"Oh, but with promotional cards, the letter system even helps because their restricted codes are a bit confusing."
In this point, as a single exception, I agree, and then I think the letter system would make more sense only in promotional cards rather than have it in the main sets — but again, this is only my personal opinion.
Checking Sets and Rotation Cards
In this list, I will weigh in the card decision choices and factors will include their importance competitively (be it in a higher Tier than this card saw play in big tournaments, rarity, some Pokémon which was important in the recursive role, a Pokémon that was important for cheaper decks, etc)
About Trainer cards, not all (if not most) are useful and welcome as mentions, so there isn't much mystery about it.
About special energies, do I even need to say it? All special energy cards are welcome, and when one stops existing in the Standard format, it is a great loss.
And about the cards, even if they are in different rarities, as Full Art, Secret Art/Alternative Art, Rainbow Full Art versions (be it Pokémon, Trainer or special energies), if they have the same letter D, they are also considered cards that will be rotated out!
Sword/Shield: Base Set
(Notes about the card Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia) SSH 178: although the card Professor's Research (Professor Oak) CEL 23 from the Sword/Shield: Celebrations set also exists, it is considered as a D letter card, so it won't be available after rotation, leaving just Professor's Research BRS 147, considered an F letter).
For the cards listed in the section below, they will be "reprinted" with an F letter in the special set Sword/Shield: Crown Zenith. So, the ones who have the D letter, can't be used after April 2023, but the ones with an F letter can.
Sword/Shield: Rebel Clash
(Notes about the card Boss's Orders RCL 154: although the card Boss's Orders SHF 58 from the Sword/Shield: Shining Fates also exists, it is considered a D letter card, so it won't be available after rotation, leaving just Boss's Orders BRS 132, considered an F letter card).
For the card Poké Ball RCL 164, it will be "reprinted" with the letter F in the special set Sword/Shield: Crown Zenith. So, the ones who have the D letter, can't be used after April 2023, but the ones with an F letter can.
Sword/Shield: Darkness Ablaze
Sword/Shield: Vivid Voltage
Sword/Shield: Champion’s Path
Sword/Shield: Shining Fates
So? Were your questions answered? Was the article useful regarding the list of cards?
Which cards will you miss? Comment down below, and we'll see each other in the next article!