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A Holographic History Of The Pokémon TCG: Pokémon GX

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.

Sun & Moon Espeon GX. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Sun & Moon Espeon GX. Credit: Pokémon TCG

The GX card was designed to replace the EX in the Sun & Moon era both as a collectible card and in gameplay. Now, I won't comment on the functionality of this mechanic, as this series looks at the history of the Pokémon TCG from a purely artistic lens, appreciating the aesthetics of the cards rather than examining their role in the game. On the artistic side, the GX was one of the biggest changes in the history of the hobby. EX cards were entirely foiled and had the Pokémon emerging from the border… but they still had an almost standard-sized border. Not so with the GX.

With the Pokémon GX, the border became a thin bar on top and a thin bar on the bottom, under the text. While these are not Full Art cards, they gave the appearance of Full Arts much in the same way that Ancient Traits did back in the XY era. This was a hugely influential change, as we see it currently continue with the Sword & Shield era's Pokémon-V and VMAX. Like the EX, these cards were considered Ultra Rare and spiced up pack openings, essentially continuing to make a holographic card, formerly the most exciting kind of pull, a bit of a disappointment.

Cosmic Eclipse Solgaleo & Lunala GX. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Cosmic Eclipse Solgaleo & Lunala GX. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Now, on the artwork side of things, it took the Pokémon TCG quite a while to get a handle on GX cards. There was all of that extra room, but the 3D, computer-generated artwork style used on the standard EX cards ended up looking a bit unimpressive on these at first. It wouldn't stay that way, though. Sets like Team Up, Unbroken Bonds, Unified Minds, and Cosmic Eclipse played with the artwork styles and the format of the GXs by featuring more than one Pokémon. The end of the Sun & Moon era ended up making the GX cards hugely memorable.

Now, the Full Art Pokémon-GX… that's a whole different story altogether. We'll get into that next time.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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