Sword & Shield – Battle Styles is the latest expansion from Pokémon TCG. It focuses on the new Legendary Pokémon Urshifu and introduces a new mechanic for those who play the game: Rapid Strike and Single Strike style attacks. This new mechanic begins in Battle Styles and will continue at least through the next two Pokémon TCG sets, including June's Chilling Reign and August's as-of-yet untitled expansion. Battle Styles isn't just a player's set but is also a collector's dream, as this expansion reintroduces Special Art Cards (or, Alternate Arts) which were popular during the tail end of the Sun & Moon era with fan-favorite sets such as Unified Minds, Cosmic Eclipse, and so on. With this series, we will spotlight all of the exciting pulls from Battle Styles, which you can see as they release by following the set's Bleeding Cool tag. This time, we continue with a closer look at the set's Full Art Pokémon cards.
- Kricketune V Full Art: The first Full Art in the set is Kricketune, and I think it's worth saying here how much these have improved since Sword & Sheild Base introduced the new style of Full Arts. Full Art GX cards, the predecessor of these Vs, showed the Pokémon over a basically plain background. The Full Art Vs introduced background patterns making them more similar to the Full Art EXs of the Black & White and XY era, but they were a bit… psychedelic at the start. Now, the patterns vary in much more interesting ways from card to card, with Kricketune's musical notes represented in the background here. Also, for those looking to distinguish a Full Art V from a standard Pokémon V, the Full Arts like this one have texture on the surface of the card and a greater number in the set. The Kricketune V is sorted with the Grass-types, while the Full Arts are all sorted together in a set after the Trainer cards.
- Flapple V Full Art: Flapple V's is closest to the psychedelic style I mentioned earlier, but it works quite well here due to the Pokémon's color pattern. This is one I personally haven't pulled but would love to. The worm/wyrm pun of this apple-dragon is just the best.
- Victini V Full Art: Finally, one of the best Full Arts in the set with this proud Victini. Mythical Pokémon can be uniquely cute, and it's been awesome to see them get spotlights with V and VMAX cards in these sets. The earlier Sword & Shield sets had just standard Vs for Victini, Celebi, and Mew but now we've seen the Mythicals revisited with new Vs and debuting VMAXes and Full Arts for the first time. This has been done with Victini in Battle Styles and now Celebi in the Japanese sets that will be adapted into Chilling Reign. Could we possible see a new Mew V and Mew's first-ever VMAX soon? Along with our first Sword & Shield era Mew Full Art?
Stay tuned for more Pokémon TCG: Battle Styles as we continue with our spotlight on the Full Arts.