The NEW Pokémon TCG set has arrived in Japan. Dark Phantasma was released on May 13th, 2022 and continues the focus on the Hisui region that debuted earlier this year in Nintendo Switch game Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Like the previous three sets (Battle Region, Time Gazer, and Space Juggler), Dark Phantasma features cards with certain Hisuian species for the very first time. This Zoroark-themed set also continues the VSTAR mechanic introduced this year and sees more Radiant Pokémon cards (formerly thought to be called "Sparkling" cards) that depict species in their Shiny form with a unique reverse holo pattern. This sets, along with the upcoming Japanese sets Lost Abyss and Incandescent Arcana, will likely be the basis of the next English-language set, Sword & Shield – Lost Origin, coming in Summer 2022. Today, let's take a look another Character Rare included in the Secret Rare section of the set.
It's Pikachu! Pikachu appears here sleeping adorably with its trainer, Akari. Atsushi Furusawa illustrates this Character Rare which is among my favorites since this card type came back into play with December 2021's VMAX Climax coming out of Japan. This is actually Pikachu's third Character Card in the Sword & Shield era, with VMAX Climax including both a Character Rare and Character Super Rare VMAX depicting Pikachu with its trainer, Red. Now, we have yet to see any of the three new Pikachu Character Rares in English, with neither Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars nor the forthcoming Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance including them in their Trainer Gallery. My theory is that the Trainer Galleries are modeling themselves after the order of the original sets that came out last year. For example, the first main set of 2021 was Sword & Shield – Battle Styles and its mascots were the Urshifus. The first main set of 2022 was Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars and its Trainer Gallery included Urshifu CSRs and Black & Gold cards. Then, the second set of 2021 was Sword & Shield – Chilling Reign and it focused on Calyrex. The second set of 2022 is Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance and its Trainer Gallery subset included Calyrex CSRs and Black & Gold cards.
So, my prediction is that the next set, Sword & Shield – Lost Origin will have a Trainer Gallery inspired by 2021's third set, Sword & Shield – Evolving Skies, with a focus on Rayquaza and Duraludon CSRs and Black & Gold cards. That leaves the Pikachu CSRs and Mew Black & Gold for the fourth Sword & Shield era set. My theory is that the fourth one will have the first two Pikachu CR and CSRs while Sword & Shield – Lost Origin will have this new one.
Japanese sets often give us early ideas of what the English-language sets may include, so be sure to keep an eye on our coverage. You can stay tuned for previews of Dark Phantasma cards as well as updates on everything Pokémon TCG right here at Bleeding Cool.