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The Cards Of Pokémon TCG: Team Up Part 30: Alt Arts Arrive

It was Sun & Moon - Team Up that kicked off the most exciting era of the Pokémon TCG as it introduced the popular "Alternate Art" card type.

Four years ago, Pokémon TCG released the ninth main series set of the Sun & Moon era. The expansion, Sun & Moon – Team Up, came out on September 9th, 2022. Sun & Moon – Team Up added quite a lot to the hobby, including a special card type that would later become the most sought-after style of chase card in the Sword & Shield era. I'm talking, of course, about Alternate Arts. Sun & Moon – Team Up also introduced TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX, which featured two Pokémon on a single card. These species shared at least one of their typings. TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX were available as standard TEAM TEAM GX cards, Full Arts, Alternate Arts, and Rainbow Rares. Sun & Moon – Team Up was also the last set to include Prism Stars. This English-language expansion was based on the Japanese set Tag Bolt and took inspiration from the Kanto-themed games Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! Let's look back on this influential set and appreciate the artwork that would lay the groundwork for the current Alternate Art-themed era of Sword & Shield and beyond. Today, we look back at the first-ever Alternate Art that arrived in Sun & Moon – Team Up.

Team Up cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Team Up cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

It cannot be understated how much Alternate Art cards impacted the Pokémon TCG. There was interest in these cards during the last year of the Sun & Moon era when they first debuted in this very set. It wouldn't be until the second year of the Sword & Shield era when they returned after a year's absence in Sword & Shield – Battle Styles, that they would become the definitive chase cards of the hobby from that point on. Even now, other card types like Character Rares, Character Super Rares, Illustration Rares, and Special Illustration Rares continue on the hype of this card type, allowing artists to break out from the confines of standardized Full Arts and show actual scenes. This first one, the Magikarp & Wailord GX Alternate Art by OOYAMA shows a cartoony scene that, in the past, would've only been able to be featured in a small frame on a standard card. Alt Arts open up the ideas of Full Arts to their true potential.

(Note that the Mewtwo GX from Shining Legends was actually the first Alternate Art of the Sun & Moon era, but it was such an outlier in both appearances and set numbering that it stood alone for some time.)

Stay tuned for the journey through this teamwork-themed set as we continue to spotlight the cards and artwork of Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon – Team Up. Next time, the spotlight continues with the main section of this set.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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