Pokémon TCG Offers Peek At New Battle Styles Expansion Artwork

2021 is going to be a huge year for Pokémon fans. It's the franchise's 25th anniversary and the celebration is going to be historic. The Pokémon TCG is planning many major releases, including an anniversary set slated for the fall. They will kick off this very special year with the special Shining Fates set in February, followed by the next official Sword & Shield-branded expansion in March, titled Battle Styles. In Japan, their equivalent of Battle Styles is two sets titled Single Strike Master and Rapid Strike Master, and these sets will release on January 22nd. Because these are coming out so soon, the artwork featured on these cards is now available to view online. The Single Strike Master and Rapid Strike Master artwork are the same that we can expect to be featured in Battle Styles, so let's take a look at the cards set to be featured in the next major expansion.

Battle Styles cards in Japanese. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Battle Styles cards in Japanese. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Above, I've highlighted what are sure to be some of the most popular cards in the set. The Empoleon V and Tyranitar V are the Full Art versions of these cards, which are set to be far more rare than the standard V. These cards will have texture and they continue a narrative seen on other cards. For example, the Tyranitar card shows a Pignite leaning on a tree in the background. The Pignite card from the same set gives another POV of this scene. The same is true of the Empoleon card, where a Mienfoo is seen in a stance, balancing on a log. Mienfoo's card shows the Pokémon stretching on the same log.

This set has been predicted by some Pokémon TCG fans to be less collectible due to the focus on battle mechanics more than collectibility, but looking at this art makes me doubt that. There is a focus on highly popular species such as Victini which gets an incredible VMAX and Mimikyu, and the Tyranitar V Full Art, which shows the normally fearsome Pokémon in a hilarious slumber, has the potential to be a major chase card.

The Rainbow Rares and other Hyper Rares of the set have yet to be revealed, but with the current boom in Pokémon TCG interest, it'd be smart to expect this set to create the same interest as Vivid Voltage. For now, the current slate of cards can be seen in their entirety here and here.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.