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The Cards Of Pokémon TCG: Crown Zenith Part 71: Gardenia Illustration

Today's Pokémon TCG art spotlight continues with Crown Zenith's Galarian Gallery, focusing on the Gardenia Special Illustration Rare.

The Sword & Shield era of the Pokémon TCG has come to an end. Three years of expansions dedicated to the region of Galar, with some love for Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl's revitalization of Sinnoh and Pokémon Legends: Arceus's introduction of the ancient region of Hisui, have led to this moment. Crown Zenith, a special set celebrating the Sword & Shield era, was released on January 20th, 2023. It was primarily an adaptation of Japan's VSTAR Universe set and also featured a collection of cards that were cut from other English-language sets and more. Like other special sets, including Champion's Path, Shining Fates, Celebrations, and Pokémon GOCrown Zenith packs were found in specially branded products like Premium Collections and Elite Trainer Boxes rather than booster boxes. This set featured the Galarian Gallery subset, which introduced Illustration Rares and Special Illustration Rares, originally called "Art Rares," to the hobby, which set the standard for the following Sword & Shield era, which used these card types as their primary Secret Rares. In today's installment of this Crown Zenith spotlight, let's take a look at more cards from the Galarian Gallery subset.

Crown Zenith cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Crown Zenith cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

The Trainer Supporter Special Illustration Rares elevates Crown Zenith above the Alternate Art sets of the Sword & Shield era. Alternate Arts as we know them began to release regularly during the last year of the Sun & Moon era, took a year off for the debut of the Sword & Shield era, and then ran through Sword & Shield – Battle Styles for two years through Sword & Shield – Silver Tempest before they were replaced by Special Illustration Rares which also encompass Trainers. I did not see this card type coming, and the beautiful variety of styles is dramatically enriching what a Trainer card can offer. This gorgeous Gardenia pairs this Grass-type Trainer with a Bellossom, showing a bonding moment between the two as she waters her Pokémon. There is also a Cherubi and Cherrim hiding out in the flowers of Gardenia's garden as well. Artist Yoriyuki Ikegami depicts this scene with stunning detail. Ikegami, whose Instagram has quite a few followers, is contributing to the TCG for the first time here. Since this card, Ikegami contributed a Bellossom and a Combee to Scarlet & Violet-era sets.

Stay tuned for the journey through this special set as we continue to spotlight the cards and artwork of Pokémon TCG: Crown Zenith. Next time, the spotlight continues with the Galarian Gallery subset. You can read more about this iconic trading card game right here at Bleeding Cool.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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