2020 was a rough year for nerds.
Canceled esports events, delayed games, a lack of updates... This included the Pokemon TCG community, who learned that their 2019-2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Many players were only a few points away from qualifying for Worlds in UK when the news came out and borders closed.
While many card game communities continued online, it just wasn't the same as in-person competition. That's why Tampa's Florida State Fairgrounds became quite packed on June 26: The TCG Con became a welcome back to card game players (Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, and Digimon included) who wanted to cut decks, riffle shuffle (the horror), and roll dice face-to-face with other fans.
The card game community is pretty small compared to other fandoms. While YouTube has helped the collecting side explode, the competitive side of the Pokemon TCG has consistently had 700 or fewer competitors at most regionals for years (some way, way under that amount — especially for expanded format).
Here is what I saw at TCG Con after losing to an Urshifu deck in a very casual return to competitive play.
TCG Con: A Return to Competition
TCG Con: Vendors and Trading Returns
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