Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield – Fusion Strike Complete Review

The Pokémon TCG has outdone itself with its latest release, Sword & Shield – Fusion Strike. Fusion Strike, which was released in November 2021, is the largest expansion that the Pokémon TCG has ever released with a whopping 264 cards before Secret Rares. The set is partly based on the Japanese expansion Fusion Arts but also adapts several key Japanese promo cards as well as cards from sets like Eevee Heroes that were left out of that set's English equivalent, Sword & Shield – Evolving Skies. Sword & Shield – Fusion Strike is notable for its focus on the Mythical Pokémon Mew and Gengar VMAX, as well as its introduction of a new Battle Style to the competitive TCG with Fusion Pokémon now joining Rapid Strike and Single Strike. Now that we have spotlighted all of the best cards and counted down my top ten picks, let's give the expansion a final look for a complete set review.

Sword & Shield – Fusion Strike Mew Sun & Moon – Ultra Prism cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Sword & Shield – Fusion Strike Mew Sun & Moon – Ultra Prism cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

The Cards

Mew! Mew is the main focus on Sword & Shield – Fusion Strike, with six cards dedicated to the first (and best) Mythical Pokémon. And all six cards? To me, all-time great Mew cards, and just look through Mew's history. There is a lot of competition.

The cards include terrific artwork overall even outside of Mew, with standouts being the Chandelure VMAX and a host of terrific Alternate Arts including Mew V, Mew VMAX, Genesect V, Gengar VMAX, Inteleon V, Celebi V, and Espeon VMAX. The Espeon VMAX Alternate Art was the missing Eeveelution Alt from Evolving Skies and is an easy shoo-in for the best card in the set as well as one of the best of the year overall.

The weakest aspect of Fusion Strike is its selection of Trainer Supporters, with only Elesa's Sparkle and Chili & Cilian & Cress being truly interesting cards. Unfortunately, all of these also get Rainbow Rares.

Pokémon TCG melting pot

This set is made up of cards from the Japanese set that were cut from the English equivalent set, promos that had yet to make it to international audiences, and the Japanese set Fusion Arts. Thematically, it isn't nearly as unified as previous sets this year, and it instead plays as sort of a retrospect of 2021 which I like quite a bit. There are some truly terrific carts in the main section of the set, with two Ninetails cards that are, to me, as memorable as the Secret Rares.

Overall

The simple fact of the matter is that this year tilted the scales. In any other year, Sword & Shield – Fusion Strike would have been the set of the year. However, the dawn of Alternate Arts enriched 2021's releases so much that it raised the bar for what a modern Pokémon TCG set can offer. It isn't as perfect an offering as Evolving Skies, as dynamic as Chilling Reign, and it didn't change the game as Battle Styles did by reintroducing Alts, but it is a strong set with a strong focus and beautiful art.

FINAL RATING: 7.5/10

That's it for the spotlight on Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield – Fusion Strike. You can read the full spotlight series by clicking our Fusion Strike tag.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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