During the Sword & Shield era, the Pokémon TCG has released at least one special expansion every year. A special expansion is a set of cards that does not include the current era’s title in its name and is often directly themed to a certain topic. Another feature of special expansions is that they come only in set-specific products rather than booster boxes and individual packs. For example, a main series set would be Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance and Sword & Shield – Lost Origin, while a special set would be Shining Fates, Celebrations, and the topic of this new spotlight series, the Pokémon GO expansion. Released on July 1st, 2022, this special set was made in partnership with Niantic Labs, the mobile developer behind the iconic game Pokémon GO. The set adapts and pays homage to certain elements from the game while also continuing current elements of the TCG including VSTARs, Radiant Pokémon, Alternate Arts, and more. Follow me through a journey through this set as we appreciate the artwork, discuss the card’s place in the set, and talk about what certain elements of the expansion may imply for the future of the Pokémon TCG. Today, we continue with the second Radiant Pokémon of the set.
I truly believe that we are in a renaissance of Pokémon TCG art, with the current Sword & Shield era likely to go down as one of the best times ever to be in the hobby. There have been very few misses with major card releases, with Alternate Arts, Character Rares, and more amazing card types bringing some truly incredible depictions of Pokémon. With that said, Radiant Charizard stands out to be as the biggest disappointment of this era. The fact that Pokémon GO was set to have the three Starter evolutions in their Shiny forms on Radiant cards was so exciting… and then, this card leaked. I thought it had to be fake due to the simplistic drawing and shoddy coloring. It’s not, though. This Radiant card stands as an example of what this card type shouldn’t be, while the Radiant Eevee that was a SWSH Black Star Promo for Pokémon GO products, with its completely illustrated background and sharp art, set the standard.
Stay tuned for the continuing journey through Pokémon TCG: Pokémon GO. Next time, the spotlight continues with more cards from the main section of this themed expansion.