Attending the Pokémon TCG “Twilight Masquerade” Prerelease Event at ShoeBox

Pokemon TCG Twilight Masquerade Build and Battle Deck
Pokemon TCG – Scarlet and Violet – Twilight Masquerade Build and Battle Deck

With the Pokémon TCG community gearing up for the official release of the upcoming ‘Twilight Masquerade’ TCG Expansion in the current Scarlet and Violet line, I decided to attend a prerelease event on May 15, 2024.

The event that I attended was at the ShoeBox Games & Cafe in Calgary, Canada. You had to pre-register for the event via email with a $40 CAD payment to be made in person when the event began at 5 PM. The payment got you a ‘Twilight Masquerade’ Build and Battle Deck, three more expansion packs as well as a Prize Pack after the event, and the fun of testing out the new deck against other players.

This was my first time attending such a prerelease event and visiting ShoeBox. The establishment was big enough to house 30 contestants, complete with playing tables and chairs. The store featured Pokémon, Magic: the Gathering, and numerous other card and tabletop games.

Upon arrival, the staff officially registered me for the event and handed me a Pokémon Player ID. The contestants were given 30 minutes to open their Build and Battle Deck. We got to select our deck by picking at random from a box containing a bunch of decks. No trading was allowed, though.

The ‘Twilight Masquerade’ Build and Battle Deck contained a 40-card ready-to-play deck, including 1 of 4 unique foil promo cards. I got the Infernape promo, with the deck itself focused on Fire and Psychic-type Pokémon. The box also included 4 booster packs from the latest release. Depending on what was pulled, you were allowed to switch the cards from the deck with the ones from the booster packs. Of course, the total number of cards in the deck had to remain 40.

Having gone over the deck and how I wanted to use it, I decided to exclude the entire Flabébé evolution line. That allowed me to add in 6 cards from the booster packs. So, I added Snorlax, Glimmet, Glimmora, Scream Tail EX (my MVP), and Swirlix. And I think my sixth card was an Energy card.

An interesting mechanism was how the Luminous Energy card worked with Fezandipiti, Okidogi, and Munkidori. It gave them the Dark-type energy required for activating their Ability while also adding one energy toward their attack costs.

With everyone having their decks sorted, it was time for the battles. Each contestant played a total of 3 matches, with opponents being selected at random every turn.

My first battle was with artisan and content creator Taylor Dawn (She/They). Make sure to check out Taylor’s shop. As someone who is more used to playing Pokémon TCG online, Taylor was very helpful in getting me ready for our battle. I didn’t even bring a playing mat. I’m a mess. I know. I did bring damage counters and the Burn and Poison Tokens. So, not a complete mess? Hmmm.

The battle format had us play for 4 Prize Cards instead of the regular 6. And each battle was supposed to be under 30 minutes.

I won against Taylor due to my Scream Tail EX, a card with a good 190 HP and a powerful 120 AP ‘Cruch’ attack at a 3-energy cost. The attack also allowed me to discard an Energy card from my opponent’s Active Pokémon.

My second match was against someone who told me they were used to playing in official tournaments. So, I prepared myself for a possible loss.

But nopes, as luck would have it, I won against my second opponent due to Okidogi’s Ability being triggered by the Luminous Energy card. The Ability gave my Okidogi a boost of an extra 100 HP as well as a 100 AP boost to the ‘Good Punch’ attack. The ‘Good Punch’ attack required 2 Fighting-type Energy cards and did a base damage of 70.

My opponent also had an Okidogi in play. However, they were confused about how the Luminous Energy worked. I mean, to be fair, I did bring up the issue when they decided to attach an Energy card to their Okidogi when they didn’t need to. Later, we called over a ShoeBox staff member to explain the Luminous Energy rules. And it turned out I was right. Hey! I guess it just wasn’t their day.

My third battle was the toughest. I was against someone using the Water-Type deck featuring Frolass. They also had a Scream Tail EX.

Frolass allowed you to put 1 damage counter on each Pokémon with an Ability (both yours and your opponent’s) except any Frolass during Pokémon Checkup. And yeah, the damage stacked up depending on how many Frolass were in play.

My opponent had two Frolass in play and that meant my Ability-having Pokémon got continuously hit. My Active Pokémon also got poisoned. Ufff.

I’m just glad the Pokémon I had as Active and the ones on my Bench had enough HP for my team to deal with the continuous damage while I went on the offensive to finally take out the Frolass and the rest of my opponent’s team.

As I said, I was very close to losing.

With the three matches done (3-win streak. Yay, me!), all of the contestants were given 3 more ‘Twilight Masquerade’ Booster Packs along with a single Prize Pack.

I really wanted some kind of awesome prize for winning all three matches. An extra Booster Pack or the ability to buy another Build and Battle Deck at a discount would have been nice. But hey, I’m not the one making the rules here.

All in all, I had a fun experience at my first-ever Pokémon prerelease event. Also, a shoutout to the ShoeBox staff. They were very friendly and remained engaged during the matches to answer game-related questions and to see if the rules were being followed.

I messed up during the beginning of my third match and shuffled my hand into the deck when I wasn’t supposed to. So, a staff member helped figure that out. Such mistakes aren’t possible to make during the online version. But I have to admit playing in-person against others brings a completely different vibe. It’s more intense, in a way.

The actual Pokémon TCG ‘Twilight Masquerade’ release is May 24, 2024. So, go ahead and subscribe to The Geekiary YouTube channel and The Geekiary TikTok as I plan to do a bunch of unboxing videos. Apparently, the set has a total of 226 cards. I just might try to collect it all.

Are you excited about ‘Twilight Masquerade’?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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