Board Games & Tabletop

Ranking All Sword & Shield Pokemon TCG Sets From Best to Worst

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We’re now just a matter of weeks away from the next major Pokemon Sword and Shield TCG expansion, Brilliant Stars.

The expansion is set to feature a ton of new cards, including a stunning Charizard alternate art, as well as plenty of the Character Rares that were seen in the recent Japanese release, VMAX Climax.

To celebrate the upcoming launch, we thought we’d take a look at all of the Sword and Shield era TCG sets and rank them from worst to best. Let’s take a look.

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12. Rebel Clash

It’s safe to say that Rebel Clash is a disappointing set. It has a fairly uninspired line of standard cards and an even less exciting range of Ultra Rares. Unless you’re a fan of some of the newer Pokemon that have been spotlighted in Rebel Clash, there are no real chase cards.

It says it all that the most expensive cards in the set are Sonia and Boss’s orders.

11. Sword and Shield Base

It’s very rare that a new era of the Pokemon TCG kicks off with a banger set and Sword and Shield Base Set is no different.

Although there are some interesting choices in the expansion, once again a Trainer card is the chase, this time, the waifu hunters’ favourite, Marnie.

10. Darkness Ablaze

Darkness Ablaze is what I’d class as the last weak card in the Sword and Shield TCG era. It definitely features some more popular Pokemon including Salamence, Scizor and Crobat but it’s the Charizard VMAX that makes the set better than the other two.

Although not to everybody’s taste, Charizard is easily one of the most popular Pokemon in the series’ history so any set that includes it is going to generate at least a little hype.

9. Battle Styles

Battle Styles was kind of marred by its awful pull rates. There’s a decent set in there somewhere, with the likes of the Tyranitar and Empoleon alternate arts some of the coolest cards in recent memory. It’s just a shame that they, like so many of the other cards in the set, are a nightmare to pull.

8. Fusion Strike

Fusion Strike is fine. The set is huge and some of the cards are pretty average, but it’s definitely propped up by many of the alternate arts including Celebi V, Mew V, Gengar VMAX and Inteleon VMAX.

7. Astral Radiance

Like Fusion Strike, Astral Radiance isn’t a bad set. It’s a lot smaller than its Mew-focused counterpart and that’s why it’s just ahead of it. Overall, Fusion probably has slightly better chase cards, but it takes a lot of effort to complete.

That being said, Astral has some fun cards like the Machamp and Beedril Alternate Arts, plus we get our first look at some of the new Hisuian Pokemon.

6. Vivid Voltage

Vivid Voltage introduced the Amazing Rare to the English TCG and for that, and that alone, it deserves its position in this list.

Alongside that though, there are some more great cards in the set, including the Gold Obstagoon and the Rainbow Pikachu. Put it all together and you have yourself the makings of a solid expansion.

5. Chilling Reign

Like Battle Styles, Chilling Reign had some rough pull rates, earning it the nickname “Chilling Pain”. Putting the pull rates aside though, Chilling Reign has some of the best alternate arts in the series’ history.

The three Galarian Birds are all great, with Moltres being the highlight, plus there are the awesome Blaziken, Calyrex and Tornadus cards too.

4. Silver Tempest

Silver Tempest is a decent set, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of those above it. The Lugia alternate art is cool, as are the Regidrago and Unown ones, but they’re not in the upper echelons like some of the others.

What helps keep Silver Tempest so high, alongside the alts, is the fact it has another solid Trainer Gallery!

3. Lost Origin

Lost Origin is the latest set and fits in nicely between Brilliant Stars and Chilling Reign.

It will be remembered for the amazing Giratina alternate art, but has solid alts from the likes of Aerodactyl and Rotom.

It’s also the third set to contain a Trainer Gallery, with Lost Origin’s arguably the best. It includes three different Pikachu cards, a Charizard, a Mew, a Gengar, Snorlax and more.

2. Brilliant Stars

Brilliant Stars will be remembered for the Charizards in the set. The VStar and the alternate arts are both great cards, containing what is arguably the most popular Pokemon.

Aside from that though, the set introduced the Trainer Gallery subset, which replaces the reverse holos and contained some really nice cards, plus a chance for double hitter packs.

The rest of the set was also great, with the Arceus and Honchkrow alternate arts and more. It’s deserving of its second place on this list.

1. Evolving Skies

Undoubtedly, Evolving Skies is the cream of the crop in the TCG so far this generation.

While it’s another bloated set, there are just too many fantastic alternate art cards to knock it. The dragons (Rayquaza and Dragonite) are without doubt two of the best in the set but on top of that you have the Eeveelutions which are all great. Even the average Pokemon have great alternate arts like Golurk, Noivern, Duraludon and Medicham.

Images: Pokemon Official Trading Card Database

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Sam Woods
@grvadmin

Sam's been playing video games for as long as he can remember and you can regularly find him on his Nintendo Switch. When he's not playing games, he'll no doubt be suffering watching his beloved Ipswich Town.

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