During the Sword & Shield era, the Pokémon TCG has released at least one special expansion every year. A special expansion is a set of cards that does not include the current era's title in its name and is often directly themed to a certain topic. Another feature of special expansions is that they come only in set-specific products rather than booster boxes and individual packs. For example, a main series set would be Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance and Sword & Shield – Lost Origin, while a special set would be Shining Fates, Celebrations, and the topic of this new spotlight series, the Pokémon GO expansion. Released on July 1st, 2022, this special set was made in partnership with Niantic Labs, the mobile developer behind the iconic game Pokémon GO. The set adapts and pays homage to certain elements from the game while also continuing current elements of the TCG including VSTARs, Radiant Pokémon, Alternate Arts, and more. Follow me through a journey through this set as we appreciate the artwork, discuss the card's place in the set, and talk about what certain elements of the expansion may imply for the future of the Pokémon TCG. Today, we continue with Eevee and my personal favorite Eeveelution, Sylveon.
The inclusion of Eevee and Sylveon in this set is a nod to the Buddy mechanic in Pokémon GO. Sylveon's mythology is that it evolves when it creates a special bond with its Trainer, and that is replicated by Niantic with the Buddy system. You can see Sylveon presenting us with a Buddy Gift, as seen in the game on this card. These Buddy Gifts sometimes contain random collectible souvenirs with no relevance in the game other than warming your heart. Other times, they contain in-game items like Berries. Atsushi Furusawa beautifully illustrates Sylveon's love and trust for its Trainer, while N-DESIGN Inc.'s Eevee card is another terrific merger of 3D art and photography that evokes the game's GO Snapshot feature.
Stay tuned for the continuing journey through Pokémon TCG: Pokémon GO. Next time, the spotlight continues with more cards from the main section of this themed expansion.