Why Pokémon TCGs Birthday Pikachu Card Was Banned In Tournaments

Why Pokémon TCG’s Birthday Pikachu Card Was Banned In Tournaments

One of the first cards to ever be banned in the Pokémon TCG had an effect that made it stronger if it was its player’s real-life birthday.



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Why Pokémon TCGs Birthday Pikachu Card Was Banned In Tournaments

One of the earliest cards to be banned in the Pokémon TCG had an effect that was directly related to the player’s birthday. Like most trading games, the Pokémon TCG has a ban list, which is used in official tournaments to stop overpowered cards from being used.

There are some trading cards that become infamous due to their unusual effect. There was a Yu-Gi-Oh card called Yu-Jo Friendship, where the player had to offer their opponent a handshake and they gained life points if the handshake was accepted. Magic: The Gathering had a card called Chaos Orb, with an effect that required it to be dropped from a height of at least one foot. If Chaos Orb landed on another card, then it was instantly destroyed. These gimmick cards were generally banned in tournaments, due to the potential loopholes for player abuse.

The 2002 ban list for the Pokémon TCG on the official Wizards of the Coast website lists three cards. One of them was Ancient Mew, which was banned due to its text being written in code, while Sneasal was another, due to it being overpowered. The third card on the list is called ____’s Pikachu and it was banned due to its unusual mechanic.

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Pikachu’s Birthday Surprise: Bringing A Passport To A Card Game

The reason ____’s Pikachu has such an unusual name is that the player is meant to write their name in the underlined space. There is also a space on the bottom of the card for the player to write their birthday. The card is classed as a Pokémon and it has an attack called Birthday Surprise. It’s unclear exactly what Birthday Surprise is meant to be and it doesn’t fit with the well-known arsenal of Pikachu’s moves. If Birthday Surprise is used on the player’s birthday, then they flip a coin and it deals an extra 50 damage if it lands on heads.

____’s Pikachu isn’t a powerful card, especially compared to the Sneasal that is also on the ban list. The reason why it was banned in Pokémon tournaments was likely to avoid situations where players would have to prove it was their birthday. This could have led to situations where players wrote down whatever day the tournament took place and tried to pass it off as their real birthday. This extra level of verification would have slowed games down and led to situations where judges would have to make calls regarding the authenticity of identification. It had the potential to be a massive headache and would have been bait for trolls, so it’s no surprise that it was banned in official Pokémon TCG matches.

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