EX Ruby & Sapphire (Japanese: 拡張パックExpansion Pack) is the name given to the first expansion of cards of the EX Series era of the Trading Card Game, introducing new game mechanics and a new card design, which would remain in use for nearly four years.
This is the first expansion to be produced by Nintendo after transferring the Pokémon TCG license from Wizards of the Coast.
This was the first expansion to introduce Generation III Pokémon to the TCG from the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire games. This is also where the expansion and theme deck names originated.
The English prefix "EX" refers to "extra", as in the extra power the newly introduced Pokémon-ex bring to the game. This is the first expansion to feature Pokémon ex.
With the release of this expansion, the Japanese TCG would no longer support the e-Reader peripheral, whereas English expansions would continue to feature e-Reader compatible cards until EX Hidden Legends. The only additional content this provided were the respective cards' Pokédex entries however, with the exception of Trainers, Energy, and Pokémon-ex.
The card layout was once again changed with the release of this expansion: -
Card border dimensions returned to those used on cards before the additions made in the e-Card expansions. The border on English cards remained thicker on the bottom to retain the necessary space for Dot-Code strips. Borders on Japanese cards changed to a silver color while those on English cards remained yellow.
The cards were presented with a new circle pattern, which features on the left side of the card.
The character window and evolution graphics changed from gold to silver and the Illustrator name moved from the bottom left corner to the bottom of the character window.
In the English release, the Energy symbols for attacks are smaller and are presented linearly (as the Japanese cards have always featured), as opposed to stacking them in columns.
In Japan, this was the first expansion to have pre-constructed half decks released alongside it, a trend introduced to promote quick and competitive play. Unlike English Theme Decks, these half decks have their own symbol, numbering system and cards that could not be found in the main expansion. For the English release, cards exclusive to these half decks were combined with the cards in the main expansion.
The expansion was translated into Spanish in late 2006, making it the first expansion since Neo Genesis to be released in Spain.