Sword & Shield – Battle Styles is the latest expansion from Pokémon TCG. It focuses on the new Legendary Pokémon Urshifu and introduces a new mechanic for those who play the game: Rapid Strike and Single Strike style attacks. This new mechanic begins in Battle Styles and will continue at least through the next two Pokémon TCG sets, including June's Chilling Reign and August's as-of-yet untitled expansion. Battle Styles isn't just a player's set but is also a collector's dream, as this expansion reintroduces Special Art Cards (or, Alternate Arts) which were popular during the tail end of the Sun & Moon era with fan-favorite sets such as Unified Minds, Cosmic Eclipse, and so on. With this series, we will spotlight all of the exciting pulls from Battle Styles, which you can see as they release by following the set's Bleeding Cool tag. This time, we continue with a closer look at the set's Secret Rare cards. The coverage of Rainbow Rare cards will focus more on the current value of these cards, as the artwork aspect was covered in the other installments where the standard versions of these cards appear.
- Single Strike Style Mustard Rainbow Rare: I covered the Rapid Strike Style version of this card in the previous installment, and the same is true for this one. The Mustard cards in Battle Styles, which amount to two Full Arts and two Rainbow Rares are the perfect examples of why people are a bit frustrated with Rainbow Rares. The artwork on these is very basic, it's not a beloved character, and the differences between the cards are minimal. I hope Rainbow Rares remain in production through the entire Sword & Shield era, but it's quite exciting to see Chilling Reign pull back on the number of them and focus more on Alternate Arts.
- Shiny Octillery Gold Secret Rare: The Sword & Shield base set started the pattern of two Gold Secret Rare Pokémon in each set, which the following expansion, Rebel Clash, introducing the pattern of the Gold Cards being Shiny. We've now seen two Shiny Pokémon on Gold Cards in every mainline expansion since, and the choices have been quite interesting. Here, Octillery gets some much-deserved love, getting its chance to shine in an era where Clobbopus seems to have otherwise stolen its spotlight. Spoctlight?
- Shiny Houndoom Gold Secret Rare: Now, the blue boy gets his day! Shiny Houndoom is great to see here, because it is a very popular, classic Generation Two Pokémon that doesn't have a shiny in either Shining Fates or Hidden Fates. It has a current market value of $50.63 as of this writing, which makes it the fourth-most valuable card in the set and the most valuable Gold Shiny Pokémon card of the modern era by almost double, with Rebel Clash's Frosmoth and Darkness Ablaze's Rillaboom hitting the early $30s.
Stay tuned for more Pokémon TCG: Battle Styles as we continue our spotlight on the set's Secret Rares