Pokémon TCG History: The Missing Character Card of Cosmic Eclipse
Let's take a look back through the history of the Pokémon TCG. Since Wizards of the Coast (the company that originally published the game before The Pokémon Company took over in 2003) launched the first English-language set with 1999's Base Set, the hobby has featured many card types, promos, and exclusive releases. Some of these cards have little-known backstories that may be interesting to collectors. Let's take a look at a card from the Sun & Moon era that was never printed in English: Clefairy, the missing Character Card from Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse.
Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse introduced Character Cards to the English-language Pokémon TCG. I covered Character Cards in my latest installment of the ongoing A Holographic History of the Pokémon TCG series, describing them as such:
These cards took elements of standard Pokémon cards and combined them with elements of Full Art/Alternate Art cards to deliver something unique. Character Cards retain the yellow border of standard Pokémon cards but deliver a full image on the card with no border for the text. Unlike standard Full Arts, these cards have no texture and no pattern. They are rendered over a flat, light foil that accentuates the color palette of the card with a light shine and rainbow glow, but no wavey lines as with the main holo style of the Sun & Moon era. The defining feature of Character Cards is that they depict the bond between Pokémon and their trainers. Sometimes, these cards feature iconic pairings like Red and his Pikachu. Other times, they illustrate touching moments such as the Mimikyu card which shows Acerola stitching up Mimikyu's Pikachu costume or the Magnemite card, which shows an overjoyed Magnemite being polished by the normally gruff Lt. Surge who is depicted in a rare tender moment.
Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse printed every Character Card originally featured in the Japanese-language set, Dream League. However, there was a card that was not in Dream League done in the Character Card style which featured Clefairy with the highly popular trainer Lillie. You can see this card above in Indonesian. It was released in Japan and other countries which follow the format of Japan's sets as a promo card given to those who bought boxes of Dream League. For whatever reason, this card did not make it into the English-language Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse and was never printed as a promo. As of now, the only way to get this card with the English-language name of "Clefairy" is to hunt down the Indonesian version, which sells on the secondary market for over $100.
Character Cards will return to the English-language Pokémon TCG with February 2022's Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars. That expansion will include a Trainer Class subset of 30 cards. Could this Clefairy card finally make its way to us?