A Holographic History Of The Pokémon TCG: Rainbow Rare Trainers

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 at a style of card newly introduced during the current Sword & Shield era: the Rainbow Rare Trainer card.

Darkness Ablaze Rainbow Rare Pokémon Breeder's Nurturing. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Darkness Ablaze Rainbow Rare Pokémon Breeder's Nurturing. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Rainbow Rares were initially introduced in the Sun & Moon base set, which kicked off a whole new era of the Pokémon TCG. These cards used the artwork from the Full Art Pokémon-GX of the set, replacing the colors with a vibrant rainbow color palette. This style of card continued into the Sword & Shield era, this time with Rainbow Rares using the artwork from Pokémon VMAX rather than the set's Full Arts. Starting with the Sword & Shield base set, not only Pokémon could get Rainbow Rares, but so, too, could Trainer Supporters.

This new trend of Rainbow Rare trainers has been interesting to watch. Some of these are major hits, such as the Marnie from Sword & Shield base, but the fanbase does seem to slightly prefer Full Art Trainer Supporters. This is evidenced by watching the market value of modern sets. When a Trainer Supporter becomes a chase card in  a Pokémon TCG set, the Full Art version of the card often outranks the Rainbow Rare Trainer Supporter even though the Rainbow Rare is, as a Secret Rare, more difficult to pull.

Evolving Skies Zinnia's Resolve Rainbow Rare. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Evolving Skies Zinnia's Resolve Rainbow Rare. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Personally, I love this style of card… but. I feel that the Secret Rare sections of modern Pokémon TCG sets are starting to become unwieldy. I think that the TCG should be picky and choosy about who gets a Rainbow Rare. For example, in Evolving Skies, five Trainers get both Full Arts and Secret Rares: Aroma Lady, Copycat, Gordie, Raihan, Zinnia's Resolve. Now… did Gordie need a Rainbow version? No, that's not something many trainers are excited for. However, Zinnia? Makes total sense, as she is a Dragon-type trainer in this Dragon-type set.

Check out the texture of these cards in the pictures above. They have multiple different kinds of holofoil texture which you can see especially on the Darkness Ablaze Pokémon Breeder's Nuturing. That card has a grainy texture visible throughout with a sort of ridged, fingerprint-esque texture which can be seen toward the top. Then, if you look in the top right corner of the card just under the border, the ridged texturing lines up to make a pattern of Xs behind the characters. People might think that these cards are limited in what they can do visually, but take one of these and tilt it in a few different directions under the light and you may become a fan.

These are also referred to as "Hyper Rares" by some, but that is not a term recognized by the Pokémon TCG. I don't personally use it either as it falsely creates the idea that these have a different rarity set than other Secret Rares, and there is little evidence to support that.

Stay tuned for the next episode of A Holographic History of the Pokémon TCG, where I will cover Gold Secret Rares.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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