What Does WotC Mean in Pokémon?

What Does WotC Mean in Pokémon?

If you’re new to the world of Pokémon card collecting or the TCG, you’ve probably seen the acronym ‘WotC’ thrown around. Wizards of the Coast was in charge of publishing the Pokémon TCG to the North American market beginning in January 1999. But what happened to them and why don’t they still have their logo on Pokémon card booster packs?

The acronym WotC (often pronounced “whot-sea”) stands for Wizards of the Coast, the North American publisher of the Pokémon Trading Card Game from 1999 to 2003.

What is WotC?

Wizards of the Coast is a game publisher, one of the world’s biggest, in fact.

The Wizards logo from 2000

They started out with role-playing games but eventually began publishing Pokémon cards in 1999 after being granted the patent for the trading card game method of play in 1998. In addition to publishing the card game, Wizards was also responsible for translating the cards from English and distributing the cards.

If the name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because WotC is responsible for the invention and success of Magic: The Gathering, another incredibly popular card game.

What sets did WotC make? 

Wizards was in charge of publishing Pokémon cards from 1999 to 2003. The first set that had the Wizards logo on it was Base set, and the last set was Skyridge.

Expansion sets released by Wizards of the Coast:

  • Base Set
  • Jungle
  • Fossil
  • Base Set 2
  • Team Rocket
  • Gym Heroes
  • Gym Challenge
  • Neo Genesis
  • Neo Discovery
  • Neo Revelation
  • Nero Destiny
  • Southern Islands (Promotional)
  • Legendary Collection
  • Expedition
  • Aquapolis
  • Skyridge
  • Best of Game Cards (Promotional)
  • Black Star Promos (Promotional)

Who bought Pokémon from WotC?

Wizards of the Coast never actually owned the Pokémon TCG, just the rights to publishing and distribution. However, their contract came to an end in October 2003. 

 The company to pick up the contract was The Pokémon Company by Nintendo, which is still in charge of the Pokémon TCG to this day. 

How to tell if a Pokémon card is WotC?

If you have some vintage cards, there’s a good chance that some are from the Wizards era. The fastest way to check is to look at the copyright at the bottom of the card and see if it says “Wizards.”. However, the Wizards copyright isn’t on any WotC set after Gym Heroes.

Next, you can try to identify the set that the card came from, and look up the set. If the set is Skyridge or older, it’s a WotC card. 

The WotC era never printed cards featuring Pokémon from Generation 3. If you have an old card with a Gen 3 Pokémon on it, it is not a WotC card.

Not all WotC cards are 1st edition, however, all first 1st edition cards are from the WotC era. So if you have the stamp, it’s WotC!

Are WotC cards worth more? 

Since WotC was in charge of the Pokémon TCG for the first three years of its life outside Japan, WotC cards are generally more valuable. However, the high value of the cards comes from the desire to own the original expansion sets, not the Wizard’s name. 

There are plenty of sought-after cards that were printed after the Pokémon TCG rights were acquired by The Pokémon Company that are far more valuable than plenty of WotC cards. The high price of a card comes from rarity and demand, not the copyright at the bottom.

Final thoughts on WotC

Wizard of the Coast made one of the smartest moves in trading card history when they began distributing the Pokémon TCG in 1999. It’s really too bad for them that the contract had to end so soon. However, TPC did and is doing a fantastic job at keeping the TCG fresh and exciting. The WotC era of Pokémon cards has now, after 20 years, grown to become one of the most sought-after categories of collectibles in history. The cards are nostalgic and beautiful in their own way. If you don’t own a WotC collection, I highly recommend that you start one.