After a few revealing leaks, Pokémon TCG Japan's high-class set VSTAR Universe has finally been revealed. VSTAR Universe will drop in Japan this December and is thought to be 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 V, VSTAR Universe is thought to be 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. 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 a break from the Art Rares and Special Art Rares for a glimpse at a standard holo from the set featuring Ditto.
The Ditto holo of the Sword & Shield era arrived in Pokémon GO. In that set, the Pokémon TCG recreated Niantic's "Oh?" Ditto transformation mechanic by hiding the Ditto holo behind reverse holos of other Pokémon that had to be peeled. It seems as if this version of the card with a new and super happy illustration of Ditto by KIYOTAKA OSHIYAMA will not be hiding, so no peeling required. OSHIYAMA made his TCG debut in Sword & Shield – Battle Styles where he drew the intensely detailed Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX Alternate Art, one of the top cards of the set. Other memorable contributions include Medicham V Alt Art from Sword & Shield – Evolving Skies and the Charizard VSTAR Special Art Rare that appeared in the English-language Charizard Ultra Premium Collection that Japanese collectors will also get in VSTAR Universe.
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.