Niantic and The Pokemon Company this week announced a collaboration of sorts. The first part of this collaboration will celebrate Pokemon GO’s fifth anniversary on mobile devices, which begins “in late May 2021”. Professor Willow will appear as “a Pokemon TCG Card in Summer 2021” and will be “available” in stores around the world. It is unclear how these first cards (in a series) will be available to players.
In late May of 2021, Professor Willow’s Art and Content Card will be announced. Meanwhile, details of “how to obtain the card in each region” will be announced. At this time, the only confirmed part of this collaboration appears to be one card: Professor Willow.
It’s as if Niantic and The Pokemon Company haven’t fully solidified their plan with this card and / or the rest of the series yet, given the language they introduced. They suggested that they “will make announcements with further cooperation identified.” They also said this is “Part 1 of Collaboration”.
Given the strength and potency of previous iterations of professor cards in card game over the past two decades, Professor Willow is likely to emerge as a coach card. It wouldn’t be a shock to find Professor Willow working similar to the original Professor Oak, a simple card that allows the user to completely ignore his hand and draw 7 new cards. It is also possible that Professor Willow could play a role in the next generation of card game, and complement the new game mechanics.
Update: It also looks like this card will be featuring the 25th Anniversary Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green release. With the original TCG (Pokemon Trading Card Game) releasing at the same time effectively, this marks the 25th anniversary of the card game as well.
Update 2: Team Pokemon GO used the phrase “The collaboration between Pokémon GO and the Pokémon Trading Card Game is complete!” So we’ll see how this will happen in the coming weeks – we’ll see!