Pokémon Scarlet and Violet‘s new trailer gave an indication of new 4-player co-op gameplay, opening the door to bring back the previous installment’s League Cards. Introduced in Pokémon Sword and Shield, League Cards served as a replacement to the preexisting Trainer Cards and offered players a new level of customization by allowing them to edit the design of the card as well as their trainer’s pose on the card. These cards can then be exchanged with other players online as well as earned by trainers in the game.
League Cards belonging to trainers in game are usually given to them by the trainers themselves as a symbol of camaraderie and respect, often after either defeating the trainer or performing a task. Beyond exploring some of Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s backstory elements on the League Cards themselves, however, they serve no further in-game purpose. As a piece of lore, these cards function well in adding life to the characters that inhabit the Galar region, but by remaining as such, the potential of their use in-game is missed.
Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced the Wild Area along with Raid Dens as a featured fixture of the new, large-scale map locations. Raid Dens allowed players to team up and battle larger, more powerful Pokémon than can be found in the wild normally, with NPCs standing in for humans should the player not fill out their group of four. Even with the introduction of the large-form Dynamax Adventures in the Crown Tundra DLC, however, the opportunity to use League Cards to fill out the raid team with a chosen NPC was left unfulfilled.
How Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Can Use League Cards
Using League Cards to call trainers and Gym Leaders to your group for Raids and Dynamax Adventures would’ve potentially made the items matter as more than just an instrument of lore-building by rewarding players for their investment and advancements in the game itself. While the Dynamax Phenomenon can’t happen beyond the Galar region, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet‘s confirmation of co-op play can bring League Cards back into the fold and allow players to use them to their full potential.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet‘s co-op gameplay appears to play out in the open world, allowing four players to join together in a single group to explore the vast region. This system would be a perfect way to reintroduce League Cards and allow players to call upon previous Gym Leaders or trainers that they met to assist in their journey. This would give players an opportunity to travel alongside characters to whom they’ve grown attached through the course of the game and further the interaction with the world at large beyond a simple note of lore.
The use of League Cards in Pokémon Sword and Shield may have been underwhelming compared to its potential as they served as miniature lore dumps rather than the trainer’s calling card. With 4-player co-op arriving in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, this gives the developers a chance to make the League Cards matter to the player beyond their use as a way to deliver lore. Bringing back League Cards and expanding their use within the game has the potential to let Pokémon Scarlet and Violet players explore the world with the characters they’ve grown to love through the course of their adventure.
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