Fair Warning: this post is about 3.1 years old, so some of the information might be a bit dated. On the other hand, this post was last modified about 2.9 years ago, so maybe it's up-to-date after all. In any case, please keep all this in mind while reading. Thanks for understanding!
A Quick Diversion:

Hey UK Pokémon fans! Looks like you’re gonna get the McDonald’s Promotion too very soon. On the plus side, it looks like McDonalds and The Pokémon Company has learned their lessons from the North American release and are making sure everyone in the UK will get their fair share. But the real question will be… will the UK get something totally new, or just get our North American hand-me-downs? I will say I’m very curious to see what—if anything—will be lost in the pond during its journey eastward…

By the looks of it, the promotion will last for four weeks, between May 1—er… 19th May to 15th June 2021. (See what I did there? I did that, just for you.  )


The Actual News:

Wowzers, do I have an update for you! Since the last update, GC| Linkinboss 70HP (aka GCLB) and his friend, along with PA! Discord new friend Gamez n’ Gainz (aka SteppoBlazer), put their heads together and discovered a whole bunch of new backgrounds on your favorite TCG cards. Well, I hope they’re you’re favorite cards… it would be kinda embarrassing if they weren’t… Anyways, I won’t spend too much time jibber-jabbering before I get to the good stuff, but there IS one little observations I’d like to share with you.

I’m beginning to suspect that maybe Media Factory—the original makers of the Japanese version of the game—might have used photos from OTHER stock art collections aside from Datacraft Sozaijiten. I don’t know what that other catalogue might be, and I can’t say for a fact if they even did use something other than DS… especially since the DS catalogue totals some 200+ collections of some 200ish photos each and I simply haven’t gone through all of them to know for sure. But I and others (like cvramen on the PA! Discord Server) have spotted a few cards which clearly have a photo for a background, and yet they don’t seem to appear in any of the DS collections we’ve seen so far. A few good examples include Nidorina (Jungle), Dark Electrode (Team Rocket) and Lt. Surge’s Electrode (Gym Challenge):

See what I’m getting at? They’re all clearly stock photos, and in fact they look a lot like existing stock photos from actual DS collections. HOWEVER those particular pictures simply don’t exist. Now if you happen to spot these backgrounds, please let us know on the Discord Server. We’ve been scratching our heads on this one and could use all the extra eyes we can on this.

Sorry, one last thing! One super awesome thing that has come from all this background discovery is that it’s actually helping out greatly in the card translation front. In particular, the Game Boy cards from the Pokémon TCG Game Boy Color game technically never existed in physical form, not even in Japanese! Well, I mean, there was a pseudo-physical release of the GB cards in Japan, as versions of them appeared in a Japanese card Price Guide (of which I don’t know the name of)… but that’s it. And even then, the quality of the printing wasn’t all that good… so in the end the world got rather poor quality versions of the GB-only cards, and that’s a damn shame.

But once again the Fake Card community has come up with a solution! With easy-to-find high quality Ken Sugimori artwork AND our newly re-discovered card backgrounds, we can finally turn all of the GB cards into authentic-looking English cards, and in higher quality than the original Japanese version scans. In fact, that’s what both GCLB and Gamez n’ Gainz did over at the PA! Discord. Take a quick look below:

Scan currently available on Bulbapedia (as in, representing the most commonly available scan) Highest possible quality scan from the Japanese price guide magazine (as in, it was a low quality print to begin with) GCLB‘s reproduction English fake card, using high quality Ken Sugimori card art and DS background Gamez n’ Gainz own reproduction of Dark Marowak, as originally seen in the Japanese-only Pokémon TCG 2 game.

Pretty neat stuff, huh?? And best of all, these are effectively the BEST QUALITY of these cards available… period. I seriously mean it: there does not exist a higher quality version of these cards anywhere… not in English, not in Japanese, nowhere. And it won’t be the only time this happens: I’m still working out the details, but I might—MIGHT—have a new section dedicated to bringing these GB-only cards to life as English-language fakes. This was something I had planned to do back in the day… and I thought I made an example GB Electrode fake, but I can’t seem to find it. Anyways, no better time than now to bring an old idea to life!

Anyways, enough jibber-jabber: time for the backgrounds! Once again, most of the card arts were pulled from scans at PkmnCards.com or Bulbapedia, while any holofoil and/or Japanese-only card art generated by myself.

SET Name Card Art Original DS Image DS Source Notes
CD Promo (Japan-only) (n/a) Charizard Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #161

Y’know, I realized just now that my previous numbering for Vol 006 was wrong; I will be using the CORRECT numbering here. Every other Volume’s numbering is fine, however.
Base Set 28/102 Growlithe Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #033

Base Set 23/102 Arcanine Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #029

Gym Challenge 39/132 Erika’s Bulbasaur Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #029

“We’ve run out of backgrounds to use… so just use a posterize filter on a background we’ve already used; no one will notice!” … And y’know what? For nearly 20 years, they were right: no one did notice.
Base Set 68/102 Vulpix Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #009

Also seen on Neo Genesis Pichu (see below)
Base Set 56/102 Onix Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #167

Jungle 11/64 & 27/64 Snorlax Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #085

Jungle 6/64 & 22/64 Mr. Mime Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #087

Jungle 7/64 & 23/64 Nidoqueen Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #101

Base Set 22/102 Pidgeotto Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #031

Base Set 3/102 Chansey Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #077

I realize that this might look like a bit of a stretch, but after playing around with a bunch of filters in Photoshop, as well as comparing other pictures in Vol 9, I’m 90% certain that this is the background used.
Base Set 45/102 Caterpie Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #109

Base Set 57/102 Pidgey Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #006

Aside from the use of Photoshop filters, a bright spot was added in the upper-left corner.
Base Set 62/102 Sandshrew Vol 008 – Walls & Soils

Pic #176

Base Set 73/102 Impostor Professor Oak Vol 008 – Walls & Soils

Pic #070

Gym Heroes 11/132 Rocket’s Hitmonchan Vol 004 – Flames Sparks & Waters

Pic #081

For some reason the English version turned the black bits into brown, but otherwise it’s the same picture.
Base Set 88/102 Professor Oak Vol 008 – Walls & Soils

Pic #151

Anyone else extremely satisfied knowing that they chose picture number 151 for Professor Oak? No, just me then? OK….
XY Evolutions 84/108 Professor Oak’s Hint Vol 008 – Walls & Soils

Pic #063

This is interesting; for the “update” to Base Set in the form of “XY Evolutions“, they created a new card to replace the original Professor Oak card called “Professor Oak’s Hint”… but they went with a totally new background instead of reusing Picture #151. That said, they still chose one from the same DS collection: picture #63.
Team Rocket 1/82 & 18/82 Dark Alakazam Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #031

Jungle 41/64 Parasect Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #092

Fossil (Tropical Mega Battle Phone Card) 12/62 Moltres Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #197

Fossil (Tropical Mega Battle Phone Card) 2/62 Articuno Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #104

Gym Challenge 118/132 Misty’s Tears (Japan-only version)
Vol 004 – Flames Sparks & Waters

Pic #145

This one only applies to the original Japanese version, as it was changed for the International (eg. non-Japanese) release. It used a slightly naughty picture of Misty, which I’ve hidden behind a spoiler box in case that’s not your thing.

Anyways, this was previously seen on Base Set Seel.

Gym Challenge 91/132 Misty’s Seel Vol 004 – Flames Sparks & Waters

Pic #155

Gym Heroes 55/132 Misty’s Seaking Vol 004 – Flames Sparks & Waters

Pic #156

Gym Heroes 31/132 Misty’s Poliwrath Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #111

Black Star Promo 2 Electabuzz (First Movie Promo) Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #010

The card was given a red filter for the background, but otherwise it stayed the same.
Neo Genesis 12/111 Pichu Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #165

Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #009

Gym Heroes 24/132 Brock’s Zubat Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #171

Gym Heroes 78/132 Erika’s Oddish Vol 026 – Forests and Grove

Pic #110

Gym Heroes 79/132 Erika’s Tangela Vol 026 – Forests and Grove

Pic #101



Gym Heroes 73/132 Brock’s Vulpix Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #172

Gym Heroes 40/132 Brock’s Graveler Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #170

Gym Heroes 45/132 Erika’s Gloom Vol 003 – Metal and Rust Textures

Pic #118

Gym Heroes 46/132 Erika’s Gloom Vol 008 – Walls & Soils

Pic #063

Gym Heroes 42/132 Erika’s Dratini Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #011

The original stock picture was rotated 180 degrees for use on Erika’s Dratini; the example image was similarly rotated for comparison purposes.
Gym Challenge 67/132 Brock’s Diglett Vol 006 – Seasons and Nature

Pic #044

Gym Challenge 93/132 Sabrina’s Abra Vol 009 – Paints and Pastels

Pic #185

Neo Genesis 13/111 Skarmory Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #021

I suspect that there might have been an overlay image used on top of Vol 7 Pic 21, but I’m not sure what it could be.
Gym Heroes 60/132 Sabrina’s Slowbro Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #126

Vol 007 – Lights & Crystals

Pic #078

What an update! I think that just about DOUBLED what we had already worked out. But it looks like there’s still more to go, so keep your eye’s peeled. Thanks once again to GCLB and his friend as well as Gainz  for helping out spot these. We couldn’t have done it without your help!