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 the Sun & Moon era: the Pokémon-GX Full Art.
Like the Black & White and XY era, Sun & Moon had their signature Ultra Rare that could be pulled in the standard section of the set with the sorted types: the Pokémon-GX. Also like those previous two eras, there is a textured Full Art version of the Ultra Rare which gets its own section after the Trainers: the Full Art Pokémon-GX. Essentially, most sets would have a Pokémon appear as a non-textured GX with a slight border up top and below, as well as a rarer Full Art variant.
There were essentially three versions of these Full Art GXs in standard sets. The normal Pokémon-GX Full Art showed the species (or two for Tag Team cards) in a simple pose with a single color background. The Pokémon itself was drawn with blue, foil lineart. This is a change from the style of XY Full Arts, which showcased the Pokémon with a more detailed background and golden lineart. These are widely considered a step down by collectors, though they remained of interest as the size of sets began to balloon.
The other two versions of the Full Art GX included Ultra Beast Full Arts and Alternate Arts. An Ultra Beast Full Art is simply a Full Art GX of an Ultra Beast Pokémon. The only visual difference is the Ultra Beast logo and the use of red lineart instead of blue.
The bigger variant in GX was the Alternate Art. These began in Sun & Moon: Team Up and were considered, outside of Shiny Pokémon GX which we'll talk about in a dedicated piece, the most collectible cards of the Sun & Moon era. These abandoned the simplistic style of Full Arts and instead illustrated Pokémon in a scenario. The above Vileplume from Cosmic Eclipse cuddles with its trainer, Erika. In the same set, the Alternate Art Arceus, Palkia, and Dialga features the Legendary trio as an ancient, crumbling statue. These Alternate Arts, sometimes called Special Arts, were only included in the final four sets of the Sun & Moon era but have returned with Alternate Art Pokémon-V and VMAX in the current Sword & Shield era.
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