In May 2022, Pokémon TCG released the second main series set of 2022. The expansion, Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance, came out on May 27th, 2022. It is the tenth set under the Sword & Shield banner and is the first to include the Radiant Pokémon mechanic. Radiant Pokémon are similar to Shining Pokémon of the past as they include a Shiny Pokémon with holofoil and texture on the figure rather than the background. The difference, though, is a special holo pattern on the text area of the card. Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance also continues the Trainer Gallery, a special subset of Character Rares, Character Super Rares, Full Art Trainers, and Black & Gold VMAXes that began in the previous set, Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars. Follow me through a journey through this latest set as we appreciate the artwork, discuss the card's place in the set, and discuss what certain elements of the expansion may imply for the future of the Pokémon TCG. Today, we check out another TCG first: the appearance of Hisuian Qwilfish and Hisuian Overqwil, with both getting two cards apiece. These kick off the Dark-type section of Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance.
Hisuian Qwilfish's cards are illustrated by Kagemaru Himeno (left) and OKACHEKE (top center). Himeno's uses this artist's trademark simple style, which, for this one, works. It lets the design speak for itself with a "yeah, that's good enough" background and strong use of colors. The OKACHEKE is a bit more artful with a style without visible linework, made of purposeful color blotting.
Hisuian Overqwil's cards are illustrated by AKIRA EGAWA (bottom center) and Anesaki Dynamic (right). While both are strong, EGAWA is far and away one of the top TCG artists. This style blends realism and a painterly vibe to create beautiful, unique, dark pieces. Dynamic's is strong as well, and is much like Himeno's in that it focuses more on displaying the design for the first time rather than creating a unique scene. This is stronger than Himeno's Qwilfish, though, due to the hand-drawn, Sugimori-esque linework.
Stay tuned for the continuing journey through Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance. To look back on this series, click the Astral Radiance tag below. Next time, this journey continues with the main set.