Complete Pokémon Tropical Mega Battle VS Deck Certified by CGC Trading Cards Offered in Upcoming Heritage Sale
Posted on 10/27/2021
The companies that have issued Pokémon cards over the years are known for creating exclusive cards that are highly prized by collectors. Among those that consistently make the list of most valuable Pokémon cards are “Trophy Cards,” which are given to the winners of the game’s top tournaments. Of these, none are more elusive than the Tropical Mega Battle VS Deck.
CGC® Trading Cards was honored to grade a complete Tropical Mega Battle VS Deck, consisting of 30 cards printed in English and awarded to the top English-speaking Pokémon players. This deck is now being offered by Heritage Auctions, in a sale ending November 6. Online bidding is currently underway for this set and other CGC-graded rarities from Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering. (To learn more, click here.)
Starting in 1999, the Pokémon Tropical Mega Battle was held annually in Honolulu, Hawaii, to bring together a small group of the top Pokémon trading card game players from around the world. Its purpose was to celebrate the global nature of the game and allow top-ranking players from a wide range of countries to connect.
In 2001 and 2002, when cards for the VS deck were produced, the invitees to the Tropical Mega Battle included players who had won major Pokémon tournaments in Japan, the US, and Europe. Each player who attended the event was given an exclusive “half-deck” of 30 Pokémon cards from the VS series that were printed in their native language.
Each of the Pokémon cards issued in the Tropical Mega Battle deck feature the work of a different artist. The design on Pryce’s Cloyster is the work of Mitsuhiro Arita, one of Pokémon’s most prolific artists and the man responsible for the look of many iconic Pokémon cards. The Falkner’s Fearow is notable for featuring the art of Atsuko Nishida, the artist who served as the character designer for Pikachu, the mascot of the Pokémon franchise.
Stand out cards in the set include Clair’s Mantine, which was updated from the 2001 version of the card to correct a printing error. The 2002 card correctly identifies the Pokémon’s weakness as “Fighting.” The 2001 version of the card was misprinted with “Psychic” as the weakness. The error was caught following the first round of play at the 2001 event.
Also notable is the Tropical Breeze Trainer card. Made specifically for the Tropical Mega Battle decks, the card features Psyduck, a favorite among Pokémon characters, in a tropical setting and sharing a hammock with other Pokémon. After being renamed Tropical Wind, the card became a standard among Pokémon trophy cards, being issued to participants in official tournaments for many years.
While individual cards or small sets from the Tropical Mega Battle series have circulated over the years in a variety of languages, a complete set of the cards in English is extremely rare. CGC Trading Cards previously graded a set of 17 English cards from the series, which included all of the Pokémon and Trainer cards. The complete set of 30 cards also includes the 13 Energy cards included with the set. However, because the Energy cards from this deck are indistinguishable from the VS series Japanese set Energies, CGC Trading Cards cannot attribute them as Tropical Mega Battle cards, although the provenance of these cards is certainly sensational.
There are other factors that make the cards unique and sought after, including the unusual design on the back. Traditionally, Japanese-language Pokémon cards have a back design that is different from English-language cards. The Tropical Mega Battle decks were printed by Media Factory, which normally printed cards for the Japanese market. Media Factory printed the Japanese backs on the English-language Tropical Mega Battle deck.
The cards also have the distinction of being the only cards issued in English from the VS series of Pokémon cards. VS cards, which brought a number of innovations to the trading card game, were released in Japan in July 2001. Due to concerns about how the cards would affect game play in the US, the cards were never released to the public in an English-language version.
Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free CGC eNewsletter today!