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 next installment of A Holographic History of the Pokémon TCG, let's take a look back at a style of card that wasn't an era-specific holofoil pattern, but instead a style of Ultra Rare card that spanned both the Black & White and XY era: the Pokémon-EX Full Art.
From the immaculate texture to the gold foil lineart… these may be my favorite cards I've covered so far. Let's get into a bit about their influence first.
The current pattern of Full Art cards in the Pokémon TCG began with the EX, continued with the GX, and now is currently active with Pokémon V. The simplest way to describe it is that a TCG set is ordered like this:
- Pokémon by type, starting with Grass-types and ending with Normal-types. In this section, the main section of a set, one can find the standard cards, the holographic rares, and the standard EX if it's the Black & White or XY era, the GX if its the Sun & Moon era, and the V if it's the Sword & Shield era.
- The standard Trainers.
- After the main part of the set but still part of the set's numbering, the Full Arts appear here. They are a textured version of the EX, GX, and Vs with different art that follows a pattern depending on the era. We'll get to that.
- Then, finally, the Secret Rares. Japanese Pokémon TCG sets also classify the above Full Arts as Secret Rares, but the English-language TCG does not.
This structure, all if it, began with the Full Art Pokémon-EX.
Much like every modern era has its own holo pattern, all types of Full Arts have their own style of Full Art. The Full Art Pokémon-EX may be the most beautiful. As seen in the images, a Full Art EX showcases the Pokémon taking up the full card with no border where the text is. Instead, there is a simple but evocative visual effect on the background of the card that sometimes ties into something about the species or its typing.
What is most notable about the Full Art EX is its use of golden linework for the Pokémon. This was present through the full run of Full Art EXs, starting in the Black & White era and running through the XY era. This looks especially nice on the textured foil of these cards, which are also the thickest Pokémon cards that I've held.
To me, these are some of the most gorgeous Pokémon cards ever printed. The only rival may be the Neo era holographic cards or the modern Alternate Arts, which we'll cover in a later installment… but these Full Arts were some of the most influential cards in this history of the TCG and make these two eras criminally underrated.
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