Pokémon TCG Shining Fates Product Review: Elite Trainer Box
Shining Fates is setting the Pokémon TCG fandom on fire. This highly anticipated set is the sequel to the smash hit Hidden Fates, and features a standard set of 72 cards and a subset of over 100 Shiny Pokémon. The product line features an Elite Trainer Box, tins, boxes — pretty much the same treatment that Hidden Fates got. Shining Fates products will begin to release tomorrow, February 19th, but the Pokémon Company International was nice enough to send me some of this set's products in exchange for fair reviews. Let's dive in and see if this set is worth the hype. First, we're tackling the product that offers the most bang for your buck: the Elite Trainer Box.
The Pokémon TCG Promo
One of the major perks of "special sets" (or, "holiday sets" as some call them) like these in contrast to regular expansions is that the special Elite Trainer Boxes come with a promo card in addition to the normal content. These have historically been some of the most beloved promo cards in the game, with Hidden Fates offering the incredible stained glass window Tag Team card featuring the Legendary Birds of Kanto and Champion's Path featuring Charizard V.
The Shining Fates Elite Trainer Box has my favorite promo yet. I know there are Charizard lovers who may have an issue with this, but hey — I'm all in when it comes to cute Pokémon, and the promo card is Eevee VMAX, which features Eevee in its hilariously large Gigantamax form. To me, it doesn't get much better than this card.
The Pokémon TCG Packs
Here we go. The meat and potatoes. Shining Fates Elite Trainer Boxes come with ten packs in addition to items that help those who play the TCG, including damage markers, dice, and more. There are perks for collectors, too, as the box comes with sleeves and dividers, but we'll get into that below. We're here to talk about the actual packs here.
Shining Fates, in my experience so far, is an improvement over Champion's Path and is on par with Hidden Fates. It's very much a "Hidden Fates for the now," in that its predecessor focused mostly on Shiny Pokémon from early generations while Shining Fates focuses largely on newer Pokémon. This makes for a fun pack opening experience in multiple ways, because the design of some of the later-introduced Shinies is still new to me and also because pulling a classic Pokémon such as Ditto, Lapras, or Charizard in their Shiny form is a bit rarer due to how few of the O.G.s are in the set.
Of course, everyone's mileage may vary, but I had terrific pulls from my Elite Trainer Box and other products. I'll cover the specifics of the Bolton V Tin, Pikachu V Box, and Mad Party Box in dedicated reviews, but here is a run-down of my major pulls from these packs.
What makes these pulls especially exciting is the placement of the Shiny Vault subset cards. They are placed in the spot where the reverse holo is normally placed, another trait Shining Fates and Hidden Fates share, which means that a pack can contain both an incredible Shiny Vault card and a rare pull. There were multiple packs where I was able to pull two Full Art cards back-to-back in one pack, which makes these openings rather special.
One feature of Shining Fates, though, that is unlike Hidden Fates is the presence of Amazing Rare cards. These rainbow, paint-splashed cards were introduced in Vivid Voltage and continue to have a presence in this set. Like the Shiny Vault cards, these too can replace the reverse holo. I didn't personally pull any Rainbow Rares as of yet, but I'll be going back for more in no time. The set includes Amazing Rares of Kyogre, Reshiram, and Yveltal, and man, I hope this isn't the last we've seen of these incredible cards.
Overall, Shining Fates seems primed to be as beloved a set as Hidden Fates. The one critique I have of this specific Elite Trainer Box is that the sleeves feature a matte finish rather than the standard gloss that we've always seen with ETB sleeves. This is preferred for TCG players, but collectors prefer the gloss due to the way that the matte finish mutes the shine of holo and full art cards.
Outside of that, the Shining Fates Elite Trainer Box is worth every bit of the immense hype that it's getting in the Pokémon TCG fanbase and I can't wait until I get a chance to pick up my pre-orders and crack into another one.
For my fellow collectors looking for these and hoping to pull amazing Shinies from these packs, I wish you the best of luck!