The New Card Types In Pokémon TCG: Brilliant Stars

Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars signifies a major shift for the Pokémon TCG. While it continues with the Sword & Shield block title, it is very much a soft reboot as this year's releases will be themed to Sinnoh and the ancient Hisui Region in honor of Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Along with this new focus, Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars also brings new card types to the Pokémon TCG. Let's take a look at what can now be pulled in packs of this new set and how this will impact the hobby moving forward.

The new card Types in Brilliant Stars. Credit: Pokémon TCG
The new card Types in Brilliant Stars. Credit: Pokémon TCG
  • Pokémon-VSTAR: VMAXes are on the way out. This new style replaces the VMAX rarity, which is thought to be above a normal V but below a Full Art V… though, admittedly, these have been difficult to pull in packs. These are textured like VMAXes but unlike VMAXes, they don't depict Pokémon in their Dynamax or Gigantamax forms. Instead, they picture the Pokémon in its standard form with a competitive upgrade. These can also be found as Rainbow Rares and Gold Secret Rares.
  • Character Super Rare: Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars introduces the Trainer Gallery subset which will run through the next few expansions. This subset is made up primarily of Character Rares (or Character Cards) which were previously featured in Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse. Now, in addition to the return of Character Rares, we get a brand new card type in the Pokémon TCG with Character Super Rares. CSR for short. This style of card takes the Character Rare concept (a Pokémon pictured with its trainer) and marries it to a card mechanic like V or VMAX. VMAXes currently live on in this card type. There have been no reports of Character Super Rares taking on the VSTAR mechanic at this time.

Other changes that aren't exactly new card types include:

  • Energies: There has been a design change to Energy Cards, but there is no functional difference.
  • VSTAR Markers: Some packs will contain a VSTAR marker in place of an energy. These are for use in competitive play.
  • Black & Gold Secret Rares: Black & Gold Secret Rares were previously featured as SwSh Black Star Promos and in Shining Fates. They return here with a slight difference as Trainer Gallery features. Now, there is another color used in the linework in addition to the black and gold, with the color choice themed to the Pokémon.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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