Last week Pokémon Sword (s1H) and Pokémon Shield (s1W) released in Japan, and is the start of a new series (or block) of cards featuring Gen 8 Pokémon for the first time.
Recently we took a closer look at some of the first English scans of the set but now we've got the full Japanese set list, so let's take a closer look at our top five secret rare cards from this brand new set!
5 - Marnie Full Art
Full art Supporters are among the most popular type of cards that Pokémon collectors like to obtain, as they often feature fan-favourite trainers and other characters from the video games with some stunning artwork. My favourite in these base sets being Marnie who has striking pose with a Pokeball and a powerful effect similar to the Judge Supporter card, but instead you get to draw five cards and your opponent only draws four!
Collectors will be happy to hear that full art Supporter cards make a return in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. What has really split some of the community is the inclusion of Hyper Rare (rainbow) Supporter cards for the first time. These feature the same art but with a similar graphical effect to the Hyper Rares from the Sun & Moon era.
These rainbows (along with the other secret rare gold Pokémon and Hyper Rares listed below), at least feature a new extra sparkly type of texture which really pop on the cards. I wasn't excited about Hyper Rares returning, but I'll reserve judgement until I see them in person when our English set launches on February 7th 2020!
4 - Quick Ball Secret Rare
I was secretly hoping for a return of the half-art secret rare gold Item cards we saw in the BW & XY sets (Ultra Ball and Energy Switch were personal favourites), but the new glitter pattern on the new secret rare item cards look stunning.
As with the much hyped secret rare Ultra Ball in Sun & Moon (arguably the chase card in that base set), many collectors and players alike will be hunting for this outlandish secret rare Quick Ball card.
As well as making its first appearance in the Pokémon TCG since 2007's Mysterious Treasures, this is a far superior version that allows you search your deck for ANY Basic Pokémon for the small requirement of discarding a card. Don't expect to find these for less than $40 (USD) anytime during or after the English set launch!
3 - Snorlax VMAX Hyper Rare
As touched upon earlier, the Hyper Rare Pokémon cards make a return in Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield. However it looks like they are being used a lot more sparingly as a whole this time round, with only the VMAX (stage 1 evolutions of V Pokémon) cards currently being the only ones alongside the full art Supporter cards to have the new rainbow pattern/texture.
I've not been a huge fan of many of them I've seen so far but they will become a bit more special/unique with less of them to obtain in each set at least. My firm favourite so far definitely has to be the Snorlax VMAX Hyper Rare card where Snorlax has become so huge that he has a small island growing on his belly! Classic Snorlax!
2 - Sableye V Full Art (Secret Rare)
As we won't be having Hyper Rare versions of every V (previously GX) Pokémon card in this set, it's an absolute delight that they've made (in most cases) just one beautiful Secret Rare/Full Art version of each Pokémon V in the set.
What makes me even happier is that Creatures (Pokémon Japan) have decided to scrap the samey, blank background on the full art Pokémon GX cards, and seemingly replaced them with unique, more stylized backgrounds that are more fitting to the style and typing of each Pokémon.
My favourite so far has to be the Sableye V card. The contract of dark and light colours swirling around in the background, with Sableye V striking and well-defined in the front and centre, makes for a very pretty card indeed. I'll definitely be picking up at least one copy of this card at launch as it also has a powerful second attack that does 10 plus 60 more damage for EACH damage counter on the defending Pokémon which seems crazy strong!
1 - Zacian V & Zamazenta V Secret Rares (Gold Versions)
Zacian and Zamazenta haven't been as universally loved by fans compared to other box-art legendaries in recent generations, but I must say these two new gold Secret Rare cards from the base sets are just stunning.
Ever since we received the Secret Rare Zekrom and Reshiram cards in 2013's Legendary Treasures, the gold cards that have followed have been quite similar style wise, only having minimal outlines and colouring of the Pokémon that are featured on the cards.
These two cards set a new precedence for beauty, style, and use of colours. They really stand out from the other gold cards we've seen over the past six years and like with the other gold and rainbow cards we've talked about before, use the new extra sparkly texturing.
It wouldn't surprise me to see these at $80+ or more straight out the gate when the set launches in English, partly because they are the mascot cards from the set, partly because they are the "chase cards" and many will want to get them PSA graded, but also they are maximum rarity "flex" versions of powerful cards that players will want for their tournament decks. These might be the last cards you aquire to complete your Sword & Shield binder set next year!
We will be getting our English Pokémon Sword & Shield base set on February 7th 2020 next year, with prerelease (sneak peek) events starting from January 25th 2020.
Stephen Kent ~ Ludkins Editor
(Big thanks to Pokeguardian for the scans and images seen on this page. For ALL the secret rares from Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield base sets, click here.)