Over the years, the Pokémon TCG has featured many different patterns used on their holographic cards. Some patterns lasted for years, while others had short stays, making them markers for their short time in the franchise. In this second installment of A Holographic History of the Pokémon TCG, let's take a look back at the longest-running holographic pattern used in its sets: the galaxy foil.
While the original Base Set of the Pokémon TCG released by Wizards of the Coast had the nostalgic starry pattern, Japanese-language cards began with the holographic pattern that has had the longest run in Pokémon TCG history by far: the galaxy foil pattern.
Galaxy foil, pictured above, is characterized by circular specs that brighten when hit by the light. Moving the card from side to side makes the pattern twinkle, and even… swirl. Swirls are big with these cards, with many collectors valuing a swirl on the holographic material quite a bit. You can see one right above Azumarill's right arm in the photo above. There are other shapes that collectors enjoy on this classic pattern, including the "Poké Ball" shape, which is a bigger circle shape with a line through the center.
This pattern originated in Japan, but the English-language Pokémon TCG didn't begin using it until the Team Rocket set. Considering this is just a few sets in, this makes the pattern very nostalgic.
Galaxy foil is actually still in use in the Pokémon TCG up to this day, but not as the main holo pattern. 2011 saw the TCG's main expansions break from galaxy foil, introducing the idea of branding each era with a new pattern. The Black & White era used a horizontal line pattern, XY used a glossy foil with no pattern, Sun & Moon used a wavey pattern, and the current Sword & Shield sets use a vertical line pattern. However, all through the release of these sets, the Pokémon TCG continues to pay tribute to galaxy foil, their longest-running holo pattern, with promo cards. To this day, holographic promo cards use galaxy foil (with the exception of full art and pre-release cards, the latter of which use the current main pattern). It seems as if this notalgic pattern will remain part of the TCG forever, and that makes sense… it's classic.