Before Champion's Path set the Pokémon TCG community on a wild chase for the Shiny Charizard V that would clean shelves of all related products in stores nationwide… before Vivid Voltage made a gleaming, rainbow, gigantic Pikachu into the most desired new card in the game… the third expansion of Pokémon TCG's Sword & Shield era sets, Darkness Ablaze, brought major heat to collectors. Does this set have the same problems as Champion's Path, though, where it seems that the only major hunt is a Charizard card? Let's find out.
Before Vivid Voltage took the crown, the cards of Darkness Ablaze made it the best Sword & Shield Pokémon TCG expansion at the time. While the Charizard VMAX gets deserved hype for being a beautiful and stunning card, there are dozens of cards in this set of over 185 that would be thrilling to pull. Standouts include the Butterfree VMAX, the Full Art Crobat V, the regular rare Ampharos, the equally badass and derpy Slowbro V, the Rainbow Rare Salamence, and, my personal favorite, the Mew V.
A worthy Pokémon TCG Expansion or simply a Charizard hunt?
Here's the thing. Yes, the Charizard VMAX is the most highly coveted card of the set. However, with a current worth as of this writing under $100 USD for that card, there is little to no comparison between Darkness Ablaze and the smaller Champion's Path set in this regard. The sheer amount of cards, including the regular rares, holo rares, ultra rares (Vs and VMAXs), hyper rares (the Rainbow and Full Art variants), and secret rares, Darkness Ablaze is a much more nuanced set that can offer a different experience to collectors with every pack opened.
8/10: While it is edged out by Vivid Voltage due to that expansion trying new things, such as the Pikachu Rainbow Rare and the entire idea of Amazing Rares, Darkness Ablaze was a huge jump in quality over the previous set, Rebel Clash, due to a great collection of cards, terrific art, and a theme that permeated the cards.