The Pokémon Trading Card Game is on the precipice of a new series, retiring the Sword and Shield block and moving forward into the Paldea region soon after the impending Scarlet and Violet video games. The final set of the year, Radiant Silver, drops on November 11th, but the publisher provided an early peek at five of the included cards.
The Pokémon Company released this early batch of spoilers on October 12th, letting each of the five Pokémon represent the card types players might pull from booster packs. The full set will contain over 190 cards, including 30 with special Trainer Gallery alternate art, but the stars of the show are those in the powerful and expensive V series.
The Grass-type starter Pokémon Serperior makes her first appearance on a card since 2016’s XY - Fates Collide. This time, the serpentine royal gets a VSTAR card that allows its trainer to scatter Energy cards among their Pokémon and set up Serperior’s Star Winder attack. VSTAR Pokémon evolve from V cards, granting them a ton of power and HP at the cost of time investment.
V Pokémon can also evolve into beefy VMAX monsters, such as the spoiled Regieleki VMAX. Boasting a staggering 310 HP and a Transistor ability that raises the juice on a trainer’s other electric attacks, this Sword & Shield special legendary Pokémon will likely close a game if it’s allowed to hit the field.
So, what do these V Pokémon look like? The teased Mawile V is a good use case. Its two abilities are powerful and punishing, disrupting an opponent’s plan by destroying resources, without feeling overpowered. Plus, the full art of it taking a stroll with video game anti-hero Bede and gym leader Pearl gives it more character and place in the world than most cards allow.
Speaking of most cards, the only teased Pokémon without any fancy tricks is the still-threatening Archeops. This prehistoric bird uses an Unidentified Fossil as its Base Stage, meaning it takes a little bit longer to start aggressing the field. The trade-off is a powerful combo of moves that allows a trainer to amass and spend energy for some serious damage.
Perhaps the real star of the show, at least for collectors, is Radiant Jirachi. Radiant Pokémon cards have quite a few peculiarities: they are always Basic Pokémon and can thus be played straight to the field, their artwork portrays their shiny colour variations, and the cards are treated with a unique foil treatment. Radiant Jirachi can immediately knock out an opponent’s active Pokémon if it lands heads on two consecutive coin flips, and it bags some resources once knocked out via damage - a win/win scenario.
Radiant Jirachi is one of three radiant monsters that will appear in the set bearing its name, though the other two have yet to be revealed. With a little less than a month before the set hits shelves, there’s still plenty of time for the publisher to sneak out more spoilers.
If you’re excited - or confused - by all this Pokémon TCG talk, Dicebreaker has plenty more coverage of the popular game. Beginners should start with our discussion of how to play, while more experienced trainers might enjoy our breakdown of the winning strategies at this year’s World Championship in London. And if all else fails, everyone loves to ogle at ridiculously rare and pricey cardboard, right?