CGC Trading Cards Certifies Extremely Rare Pokémon English VS Set Cards from 2001 Tropical Mega Battle

Posted on 7/14/2021

Exclusively made for the competition, there are only five or six English versions of this set.

Seventeen cards from the English VS deck produced for the 2001 Tropical Mega Battle, one of the most elusive sets from the Pokémon franchise, have recently been certified by the experts at CGC® Trading Cards. Overall, the cards received grades from Excellent+ (CGC 5.5) to Near Mint+ (CGC 7.5).

Morty's Hypno, Super Scoop Up, Potion and Switch from the English VS set.
Click image to enlarge.

In both 2001 and 2002, 24 top players from around the world (12 from Japan and 12 from the US and Europe) were invited to a tournament in Hawaii. Each contender was given a custom 30-card half deck, printed by Media Factory in Japan, in the player’s native language. The decks were based off of the Japanese VS set, in which all Pokémon were basic stage — even those that evolved from earlier stages. Wizards of the Coast decided not to release the VS set in English because of this key difference for fear that the cards were too overpowered. This makes the English VS deck the only English release of any cards from VS.

The tournament deck consisted of 13 basic Pokémon, 5 Trainers, and 12 Energy cards (which did not differ from the Japanese print). It is unknown how many English VS sets were officially printed; however, there is speculation that there were only five or six English decks for each of the two years they were used at the tournament. Within the deck graded by CGC Trading Cards, there are a couple of special rarities that stand out.

Tropical Breeze

One of the most interesting cards in the set is the Tropical Breeze, which was created specifically for this tournament. While in the Japanese equivalent VS half deck, the deck included a “Secret Rare” Tyranitar (142/141), this card was replaced by the Tropical Breeze for the tournament. This is the first time the card, which would eventually evolve into the much better-known Tropical Wind, was printed. Tropical Wind has been issued and re-issued numerous times over the years.

Tropical Breeze graded CGC 7.5.
Click images to enlarge.

Clair’s Mantine

Clair’s Mantine is the rarest card from the 2001 English deck because of a printing error: The card displays a resistance to Psychic instead of the correct Fighting, and this discrepancy caused all of the American players to lose the first round. Noticing the error, portions of the first round had to be replayed with the errata noted. The second time playing the first round, all of the Americans won instead. The deck was re-printed in its entirety for the 2002 tournament with one change: Clair’s Mantine was corrected. Since there are two types of this card, it is believed that there are likely only 5 or 6 of each type of Clair’s Mantine.

Clair's Mantine Error Card graded CGC 7.
Click images to enlarge.

“When the CGC Trading Cards grading team found out that this super-rare set was in the building, we couldn’t wait for the opportunity to see these legendary cards,” said Matt Quinn, CGC Trading Cards Senior Grading Finalizer. “The 2001 VS set is truly a piece of Pokémon history.”

CGC Trading Cards has graded many Pokémon card rarities, such as a Pokémon Illustrator card, of which only 39 exist. Other cards graded by CGC Trading Cards have seen success at auction, such as the Commissioned Presentation Blastoise with Galaxy Star Holo graded CGC 8.5 that realized $360,000 at a Heritage Auctions sale in January 2021 and is now tied for the highest price ever paid at auction for any English Pokémon card.

To learn more about CGC Trading Cards, click here.

Below are the remainder of the cards from the English VS deck graded by CGC Trading Cards.

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