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Pokémon TCG Early Opening: Crown Zenith Elite Trainer Box

Pokémon TCG Early Opening! Let's crack open a Crown Zenith Elite Trainer Box to examine the pull rates and see what we can get.

Today, we have a very special Pokémon TCG series of openings here at Bleeding Cool. The Pokémon International has provided an early look at products from the new special set Crown Zenith releasing tomorrow, January 20th. The art-themed Crown Zenith closes out the Sword & Shield era with a bang, as the Scarlet & Violet series block will launch in March 2023. Crown Zenith introduces two new card types: Illustrator Rares and Special Illustrator Rares, called Art Rares and Special Art Rares in Japan. Illustrator Rares are much like Illustrator Rares, but they do not show Pokémon with Trainers, rather showing them in their environments or sometimes even interacting with other species in interesting ways. Special Illustrator Rares are like Alternate Arts, combining the idea of Illustrator Rares with mechanics like V, VMAX, and VSTAR. These cards make Crown Zenith one of the most beautiful art-driven sets of all time… so I couldn't be more excited to start opening and showing you all the cards. This opening will focus on the Crown Zenith Elite Trainer Box.

Crown Zenith Elite Trainer Box. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Crown Zenith Elite Trainer Box. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Here's what you get in the Crown Zenith Elite Trainer Box:

  • Ten packs of Crown Zenith
  • SWSH Black Star Promo card: Lucario VSTAR Special Illustrator Rare, which I spotlighted here
  • 65 gold card sleeves featuring Lucario
  • The normal player-focused items such as the Energy cards, damage counter dice, VSTAR marker, and more
  • Collector's Box
  • Lucario dividers
  • Code card
  • Crown Zenith booklet with checklist

If you've got a Pokémon TCG Elite Trainer Box before, you know what to expect. Things are a bit different than a normal Sword & Shield-era set, though, as this is a special set, like Pokémon GO, Shining Fates, and Champion's Path. A "special" set has no booster box release, making this the best product for those who want to open as many packs as possible. These also include a SWSH Black Star Promo card, giving us a guaranteed Lucario Special Illustrator Rare, unlike normal set ETBs. (Note, though, that the Scarlet & Violet era will begin including promo cards in normal set ETBs.) Overall, this is a terrific buy. My only gripe is that the sleeve remains matte, which clouds the artwork. In a set like this, you want the artwork and the texture on the cards to show beautifully in your binder or top loaders, so those really need to go.

Now, let's talk about what most Pokémon TCG collectors will be wondering about.

The pull rate.

My pulls included…

Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith pulls. Credit: Theo Dwyer
Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith pulls. Credit: Theo Dwyer
  • Standard set: 5 hits, including
    • One holo-rare: Entei
    • Two Pokémon-V: Kyogre & Greedent
    • One Radiant Pokémon: Eternatus
    • One Full Art Energy: Darkness
  • Galarian Gallery subset: 4 hits, including:
    • Two Illustrator Rares: Miltank & Duskull (of the connecting Kouki Saitou image)
    • One Special Illustrator Rare: Lumineon V
    • One Gold Special Illustrator Rare: Arceus VSTAR

These, to me, are terrific rates. Unlike some special sets, Crown Zenith does not include a holo in every pack. However, the Reverse Holo section can include either a Galarian Gallery pull or a Radiant Pokémon. That means that of the ten Crown Zenith packs, I had five hits in that Reverse slot.

VERY strong.

Let's take a closer look at these cards.

Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith pulls. Credit: Theo Dwyer
Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith pulls. Credit: Theo Dwyer

I was lucky enough to pull the Arceus VSTAR, which I called potentially the godliest card ever released in a recent piece.

I pulled it in my second pack of this set.

Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith pulls. Credit: Theo Dwyer
Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith pulls. Credit: Theo Dwyer

The Special Illustrator Rares are a step up over the Character Super Rares of the past four Sword & Shield sets. While Character Super Rares are cool, these Special Illustrator Rares have finer, deeper, more specialized textures. Look at how the texture lines up with the artwork around the Lumineon, tracing out in circles around the Pokémon. Truly incredible attention to detail.

Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith pulls. Credit: Theo Dwyer
Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith pulls. Credit: Theo Dwyer

Finally, here is a look at the Full Art Energies. These are Secret Rares in Japan but are part of the main set here. Interestingly, I would discover in a later opening that there are also reverse holo Energies in this set. So you can pull either those or the above. The difference is that the Full Art Energies are textured and have the Energy type grooved into the texture when light hits the card.

It seems like the Pokémon TCG has closed out the Sword & Shield era with the strongest special set of the era and the strongest overall set since Sword & Shield – Evolving Skies. You're going to have a ton of fun opening these.

Stay tuned for more Pokémon TCG openings and news.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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