Just four days after I wondered whatever happened to the Pokémon GO and Pokémon TCG collaboration that was announced for May 2021 this year, we finally have received an update. Niantic and The Pokémon Company revealed the artwork for the card, a Professor's Research Trainer Supporter featuring Niantic's character, Professor Willow. The card features Meltan clinging to the professor's back, likely in homage to the fact that Meltan is the only species to have debuted in Pokémon GO before the main series. The card is SWSH178, which makes it part of the ongoing era's Black Star Promo collection. This numbering is pretty far out from what we're currently getting from other TCG products, so binder collectors may find their Professor Willow card sitting lonely on that page for some time, as we're just now getting into the 110s and 120s with the Chilling Reign and Evolving Skies promos that have been announced. In addition to the artwork and set information, the Pokémon Company announced how this card can currently be obtained. Let's get into it.
The Pokémon Company announced a line of GO Fest 2021 merchandise now available at the Pokémon Center. With each item purchased, customers will receive one Professor Willow card. They wrote:
The only thing better than a bonus Pokémon TCG card is a card that includes access to Special Research in Pokémon GO! Trainers who purchase Pokémon GO products at the Pokémon Center—including the Pokémon GO Fest 2021 T-shirt—will receive a special Professor's Research card with each product purchased. This card features the esteemed Professor Willow and includes a code that can be used at Niantic's Offer Redemption website to access Special Research beginning in July. The card is available through the Pokémon Center only while supplies last, so don't let other Trainers beat you to the punch!
There will also be other ways to obtain the card in the future. They went on to announce:
The Pokémon Center won't be the only place to add this special card to your Pokémon TCG collection. Starting soon, Trainers who complete research in Pokémon GO and tasks at Pokémon League events will also receive Professor Willow's card while supplies last. Keep an eye out for future announcements about Professor Willow's card giveaway. Pokémon League events are still paused, so check back for more information about when they will resume.
When attempting to add this to your cart, my advice is to be patient. Carts are erroring out a lot right now, and if you refresh too frequently, the Pokémon Center may interpret you as a bot and temporarily block you from making purchases. I was able to, after a few errored cards, check out with two cards and only one (intensely scary) "Are you a bot?" Best of luck, fellow collectors and Pokémon GO players.