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Pokémon TCG Japan: VSTAR Universe Preview: Connecting Pikachu

Everyone loves Pika! This Pikachu Art Rare can only be pulled in packs of Pokémon TCG: VSTAR Universe in the event of a rare God Pack.

After a few revealing leaks, Pokémon TCG Japan's high-class set VSTAR Universe has finally been released. VSTAR Universe, which is available in Japan and locations that sell Japanese products, is the basis for the early 2023 English-language special set closing out the Sword & Shield era, Crown Zenith. Like previous special sets, VMAX Climax and Shiny Star VVSTAR Universe is primarily a reprint set with a large Secret Rare section of chase cards. Among these chase cards are what we initially thought were Alternate Art VSTARs, but which we can now reveal as a new card rarity entirely. Pokémon TCG Japan has revealed new Art Rares and Special Art Rares, which riff on Character Rares and Alternate (or Special) Arts. Art Rares are Full Art cards without texture that paint a beautiful, unique scene using Pokémon. They are essentially Character Rares without Trainers present. Then, Special Art Rares take the same concept and add the V or VSTAR mechanic. This set also includes Special Art Trainer Supporters and, for the first time ever, Gold Alternate Art VSTARs. It is expected that this will be the final set with Pokémon-V and VSTARs, as 2023 will see the launch of the Scarlet & Violet era, which returns to the Pokémon ex mechanic. Today, let's take at another Art Rare from VSTAR Universe.

VSTAR Universe cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
VSTAR Universe cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

This Pikachu is part of a nine-card connecting set that closes out the standard Art Rare section of the set. This connecting set is illustrated by Kouki Saitou, who has been contributing to the hobby since the early days of Aquapolis. Saitou is credited on over 600 cards, and this nine-card set is a celebration of a decades-long career of his Pokémon TCG art.

Oh man, oh man. The chase card we didn't know would be a chase card! This Saitou-illustrated Pikachu, which is appropriately the exact center of the nine-card illustration, centered in both row two and column two, can only be pulled in God Packs of VSTAR Universe. There are multiple kids of VSTAR Universe God Packs, which the one that includes this Pikachu being a pack that includes all nine of the cards in the Saitou illustration. In the secondary market, this Pikachu Art Rare is currently going for over $100 on the secondary market with the full set of nine cards going for almost $300. Everyone loves Pika!

It is very likely this will not be the case for Crown Zenith, as English sets never use God Packs.

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 VSTAR Universe cards as well as updates on everything Pokémon TCG right here at Bleeding Cool.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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