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 V, VSTAR 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 a break from looking at all the Secret Rares and focus on one of the few new additions to the main numbered set.
Regigigas gets a Pokémon-V and VSTAR in this set, showcasing this Master of the Legendary Titans on its first Ultra Rare cards since Black & White – Next Destinies back in 2012. That's a decade of nothing but Rares, Holos, and Black Star Promos for this powerful Pokémon. The artwork on both the V and the VSTAR comes from PLANETA Mochizuki, who has been known for Ultra Rare artwork since Sword & Shield – Darkness Ablaze. Some of Mochizuki's most notable cards are the oft-reprinted Mew V from Sword & Shield – Darkness Ablaze, Shiny Houndoom Gold and Shiny Octillery Gold from Sword & Shield – Battle Styles, Rayquaza V and VMAX from Sword & Shield – Evolving Skies, and many more.
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.