Pokémon TCG has released the first set of 2022. The expansion, Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars, came out on February 25th, 2022. It is the ninth set under the Sword & Shield banner and is the first to include the Pokémon-VSTAR mechanic. VSTARs are a replacement for the VMAX mechanic, which is being phased out of the main portion of the set after this release. Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars also debuts the Trainer Gallery, a special subset of Character Rares, Character Super Rares, Full Art Trainers, and Black & Gold VMAXes that can be pulled in the reverse holo slot. 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'll venture into the set's Trainer Gallery subset.
Brilliant Stars is the first set to have a Trainer Gallery subset. This subset is made up of Character Rares (returning for the first time since Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse), Character Super Rares (an entirely new card type blending a card mechanic, either V or VMAX, with the Character Rare theme), Full Art Trainers, and Black & Gold VMAXes. Character Rares are cards that illustrate the bond between a Pokémon and their Trainer and (the standard non-Character Super Rare version are non-textured, creating a unique foil style.
Brilliant Stars features the three Kanto Eeveelutions in its Trainer Gallery Subset, all of whom are pictured with Blue, who was the inspiration for the anime rival Gary Oak. Artist DOM draws an electrifying Jolteon leaping into battle at Blue's command. Jiro Sasumo is behind my favorite of this trip, with a detailed, painterly Vaporeon showing Blue keeping an eye out while the adorable Water-type Eeveelution goes for a dip in a pond. Illustrator You Iribi gets cute with Blue giving a pep talk to his stalwart Flareon.
Stay tuned for the continuing journey through Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars. To look back on this series, click the Brilliant Stars tag below. Next time, this journey continues with the Trainer Gallery subset section of the set.