Pokémon TCG: Crimson Invasion Expansion: Complete Review

Bleeding Cool's journey through the Sun & Moon era of the Pokémon TCG continues. After our spotlight series breaking down the first three sets of this block (Sun & Moon base, Guardians Rising, Burning Shadows) ended up skipping ahead to the fifth Sun & Moon-era set, Ultra Prism, I'm setting things right by making a trip back to the fourth set from this era. Sun & Moon – Crimson Invasion was released on November 3rd, 2017 and introduced Ultra Beast GXs to the hobby. This was an alternate kind of GX and Full Art that used red coloring to spotlight the Ultra Beasts introduced along with the region of Alola. Crismon Invasion is largely thought to be the least popular set of Sun & Moon era, so let's determine for ourselves if the set is underrated or if it deserves the lack of love from Pokémon TCG fans. Now that we have spotlighted all of the major cards in the set and counted down my Top 10, let's take one final look at Sun & Moon – Crimson Invasion for a complete expansion review.

Cards of Sun & Moon – Crimson Invasion. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Cards of Sun & Moon – Crimson Invasion. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Ultra Beasts enter the Pokémon TCG

Sun & Moon – Crimson Invasion is the first set in which Ultra Beasts appear in the Pokémon TCG. This appears as a variation on GX and Full Art GX cards, replacing the blue foil line art with red foil line art. This adds much-needed variation to this card style which was static during the Sun & Moon era due to limited, type-themed backgrounds. While this was a good addition, Crismon Invasion suffers from too many Ultra Beasts and too few other, more interesting species.

The Cards

Thankfully, Ultra Beasts aren't the only focus of Sun & Moon – Crimson Invasion. Another main focus is Alolan variants such as Alolan Raichu, Alolan Marowak, and Alolan Exeggutor. It also includes ferocious species like Silvally and Gyarados, the latter of which is the chase card of the set. This makes for a set with strong themes but a lack of variety. That's not to say there aren't cute cards, like the Pikachu which stands out as a great illustration, but there just isn't much that's exciting about Crimson Invasion. Unfortunately, even the Full Art Trainer section is weaker than any other Sun & Moon era set.

Standouts are the Gyarados cards, the Nihilego GX Full Art, the Guzzlord GX Full Art, and the Lusamine Full Art Trainer.

Final Rating

4.5/10: Crimson Invasion adds to the Sun & Moon era but its focus on Ultra Beasts at the expense of variety ends up being more of a burden than a strength. While there is fun to be had opening packs, this may be the weakest set since the Forces of Nature-themed Black & White – Emerging Powers from 2011.

That's it for the spotlight on Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon – Crimson Invasion. To look back on this series, click the Crimson Invasion tag below. Next time, this journey continues with the first special set of the Sun & Moon era: Shining Legends.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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