So really... what is EX: Team Magma vs. Team Aqua? Here are the facts:
Set Size: 132 in Japan, 95/97 in the US
The Japanese set had 80 cards in the main set, plus 33 cards in the Team Magma deck and 33 in the Team Aqua deck. Minus repeats, there were 132 unique cards in ADV EX1. ... The English version of the set had 95 cards, with 2 secret cards added, an Absol and Jirachi card that appeared in the Japanese 7-11 Promo Set.
Set Order: 22nd set in Japan, 19th set in the US
Release Date: October 24th, 2003 in Japan, March 31st, 2004 in the US.
Some lucky Western players will see some of the new cards as early as March 6th, 2004.
This set is the first set to introduce Team Magma and Team Aqua Pokémon and characters into the game. Innnnnteresting.
Although technically the fourth set in the ADV series, this set is officially known as "EX1" in Japan (as opposed to ADV4). More proof that the Japanese want to be Americans when they grow up; the use of EX in the title is nothing short of what Nintendo of America did with the ADV series when they released it in English.
This set also introduces another first to the game, dual types. As in Pokémon are of two types in the game (as opposed to one). This set however deals with Darkness-and-something-else type Pokémon. But it's not like dual types is anything THAT new....
Some of 132 cards from the Japanese EX1 set previously appeared in the English release of Sandstorm. This means we got cards before Japan did. Awesome. In the English release of EX Team Magma vs. Team Aqua though, we were left with only 85 unique cards, so various Japanese McDonalds and other promo cards were added to beef up the set size to 95 cards. ... And for some reason a Team Magma's Claydol is missing from the main set and it seen in the Precon Deck (Fighting-type Claydol).
This is the first set that e-Reader codes do NOT appear on a majority of cards (only the non-Team Magma/Aqua type cards have them, and that's only nine of them). There's no official reason why, but I suspect that it had to do with the new card backgrounds for this set. If you haven't noticed already, there are new backgrounds for the new Dual-types and Team Magma/Aqua types featured in this set. And these backgrounds are exactly the same as the non-e-Reader formatted Japanese card backgrounds. ... I'm guessing that for whatever reason, Nintendo of America wasn't able to make a set of Dual-type and Team Magma/Aqua type backgrounds that was reformatted to contain an e-Reader bar, so all they did was just take the Japanese backgrounds, slap a gold border around them, and they got their English card backgrounds.
An interesting thing to note is that all the art for the Team Aqua/Magma type cards in this set are 3D-CGIs. Impressive!
TAvTM Advertisement (Front)
TAvTM Advertisement (Back)
Aqua Theme Deck
Magma Theme Deck
TAvTM Booster Box
Team Aqua's Kyogre
Team Aqua's Manectric
Team Aqua's Walrien
Team Magma's Aggron
Team Magma's Groudon
Team Magma's Torkoal
The symbol for ADV EX1 is a sort of 4-sided star burst.