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Pokémon TCG Japan's Dark Phantasma Preview: Hisuian Arcanine

The next Pokémon TCG set arriving in Japan has been revealed. Dark Phantasma will be released on May 13th, 2022. This set will continue the focus on the Hisui region that debuted earlier this year in Nintendo Switch game Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Like the previous three sets (Battle Region, Time Gazer and Space Juggler), Dark Phantasma will feature cards with certain Hisuian species for the very first time. This Zoroark-themed set will also continue the VSTAR mechanic introduced this year and will also see more Radiant Pokémon cards (formerly thought to be called "Sparkling" cards) that depict species in their Shiny form with a unique reverse holo patter. These sets, along with the upcoming Japanese sets Lost Abyss and Incandescent Arcana, will likely be the basis of the next English-language set, Sword & Shield – Lost Origin, coming in Summer 2022. Today, let's take a look at two of the Hisui species we're getting in this set.

Dark Phantasma cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Dark Phantasma cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

After already featuring in the direct previous set, we're getting more Hisuian Growlithe and Hisuian Arcanine cards. This is clearly one of the most popular new lines coming out of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and I do admit that the Growlithe regional re-design is quite cute. This time around, artist Kouki Saitou contributes the illustration which captures the eager, puppy-like energy bounding off of Hisuian Growlithe as it waits to play in a moss-covered forest. Unfortunately less effective is Oswaldo KATO's Hisuian Arcanine. It gives off Pride Rock vibes, which is cool, but the 3D rendering here is so blocky and strange that it ends up looking like an out-of-date video game. The holofoil effect behind it makes the figure feel even more isolated here. This is very strange to me considering KATO is one of the standout new illustrators in the TCG and is behind amazing cards such as the Golurk V Alt Art from Evolving Skies as well as some incredible Character Super Rares from Japan's VMAX Climax. I think this may be a case of KATO using two different methods, with the more illustrative method ending in much better results.

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 Dark Phantasma 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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