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.
- Single Strike Urshifu V Alternate Art: The second Alternate Art card of the set showcases Urshifu in Single Strike mode as it lifts a huge rock. The card is an improvement over the pretty bare-bones Full Art version, but the art style does look a bit as if it's been painted onto a motorcycle.
- Rapid Strike Urshifu V Full Art: The way the smoke (or energy?) comes off of Urshifu in this card indeed makes it more visually interesting than the Rapid Strike Full Art, but it does indeed end up taking the Alternate Art to make this Pokémon worthy of the Battle Styles mascot job.
- Rapid Strike Urshifu V Alternate Art: All right, the Rapid Strike Urshifu Alternate Art clearly wants to one-up the Single Strike version, but it did not have to go this hard. This was actually the first Alternate Art card I pulled from the set myself, and it's even more stunning in person than it is here digitally. Urshifu may be in a fighting pose, but look at the background. Where is it even set, the Garden of Eden? Look at this thing! This is a great example of why collectors are so excited that Alternate Arts are coming back into prominence after being absent from sets starting in Sword & Sheild base and continuing through Shining Fates,
Stay tuned for more Pokémon TCG: Battle Styles as we continue with our spotlight on the Full Arts.