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 finish up the standard Character Rare section of the set's Trainer Gallery subset.
- Houndoom Character Rare: Tim Burton has a Houndoom? The Trainer pictured here is actually Grimsley and he commands this ferocious Houndoom is the card I've probably pulled the most times from this Trainer Gallery. Artist NC Empire's card does well with the colors here, but I would've loved to see this card work against expectations a bit the same way that the Tyranitar Alt Art did. What about when Houndoom is cute, you know?
- Eevee Character Rare: Speaking of cute, one of the best cards in the subset pictures Eevee going full cat, as it makes Bill's workstation its own. (As I write this, my own cat has been mushing his face into my computer screen, so I feel you, Bill.) Illustrated with vibrant colors and soft, confident linework by Souichirou Gunjima, this is one of the ones everyone wanted to pull.
- Oranguru Character Rare: And finally, we finish off the standard Character Ares with this Akira Komayama Oranguru card which bursts at the seams with every color of the rainbow. Oranguru is seen lounging here with Sina on a beautifully serene summer day.
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.