If you both played the Pokémon Scarlet or Violet game, and follow the Pokémon Trading Card Game, you’ll have noticed that the first four sets have entirely omitted the denizens of the the Great Crater of Paldea. These either ancient or futuristic Pokémon (dependent upon whether you played Scarlet or Violet) are finally showing up in November’s TCG set, Paradox Rift, and we’ve picked out some of our favorite cards from the forthcoming release.
Things are very busy just now in the TCG. Having released three main sets in the new Scarlet & Violet era, we’re now in the midst of the large fuss surrounding the celebratory special Gen I set, Pokémon 151, and only moments away from the extra-special (entirely sold out) set, Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic. And yet, with all this going on, next month sees yet another mainline set, Paradox Rift. It’s this that will finally see the game’s biggest twist, those time-shifted monsters, entering the card game.
As is fairly common, this set is a combination of cards translated from two other Japanese collections, this time September’s Raging Surf, and October’s dual-release, Ancient Roar and Future Flash. The latter twin set is still in the process of being revealed, but we’ve already seen a significant number of stunning full-art cards that’ll be arriving on our shores in less than a month.
So, we’ve picked out our favorites from everything we know so far, using art from both English and Japanese cards, to whet your appetite. Let us know which cards you think are going to be your chases.
Let’s start with a banger. It’s hard to imagine the Ancient form of Amoonguss being anyone’s favorite new pokémon in the current era, but it’s not hard to imagine this becoming a favorite card. Long-time TCG illustrator Tomokazu Komiya is on a whole other level in 2023. This year has seen his incredible trio of Ghastly/Haunter/Gengar in 151, and that full-art Baxcailbur in Paldea Evolved. And then this.
It’s also our first look at how the “Ancient” cards will be marked, with the bizarrely clumsy logo top-right. Presumably we’ll also be seeing a bunch of Trainer cards that are specific to having Ancient or Future cards in play. It’s also notable that Brute Bonnet packs a mighty-for-a-Basic-card 120 punch every other turn.
Then in the other temporal direction, we have Iron Moth. And it’s another astonishingly beautiful card. Iron Moth is the Future form of Volcarona, and is an intrinsically cool design.
But this art from Takeshi Nakamura takes an already neat monster to a whole other place, that spectacular galactic backdrop recreating the conflation of science fiction and volcanic geography so perfectly. This is only Takeshi’s third card for the TCG, following on a couple of basics in Obsidian Flames and 151, but this is no noob—he’s an anime director and artist, working since 1977. He was animation director on 1988’s Akira and 1981’s TV series Golden Warrior Gold Lightan. What a joy to have this 68-year-old contributing Pokémon art now.
OK, no, I agree, this is a horrible card. Because it’s a horrible pokémon. It’s a cheese string with a bank balance. But it’s also a completely bizarre thing and worth noting has made it into the TCG. Gholdengo’s one of the more confusing pocket monsters, given it’s so incredibly hard to evolve from the miniscule Gimmighoul, requiring the gathering of 999 Gimmighoul Coins.
It’s literally a stack of 1,000 coins, and it looks so stupid. It should be billowing outside a used car lot. I hate it. Still though, check out that 260 HP, the card drawing ability, and it’s ridiculously powerful 50x attack based on how many Energy cards you discard from your hand.
Another Future card that’s going to get a bunch of focus is Iron Valiant ex. Not because it’s receiving special art, because so far we just don’t know—this card is part of the unreleased Japanese Future Flash set, meaning we’re in the very unusual situation of seeing the English-language version at the same time. That’s because there’s to be an Iron Valiant ex collection box later in November, which will come with an alternative version created by the same artist, and an oversized card of the same.
I highlight it here because a) I’m a huge Gardevoir fan, and b) it’s interesting to see what’s usually a Stage 2 monster (well, Gardevoir is, but this Future form has no evolutionary chain as yet) getting a Basic ex card, and such a powerful one. You can do 20 damage just by putting it into play, and then 200 more every other turn.
Certainly one of the stand-out cards from Raging Surf, this Yveltal is surprisingly not changing hands for big money. You can pick one up for under $US10 right now. Which proves it’s utterly impossible to guess which cards will gain meme status, given this one has all the ingredients that should have it causing a financial fuss.
Which is great! Brilliant cards at affordable prices.
Everyone has a favorite pokémon. For many it’s Pikachu or Charizard, for some it’s Snorlax or Squirtle. For me, it’s Mantine. Yes, it’s not exactly an inspired design, being functionally identical to a manta ray, but yet I adore it. I have the one Mantine plush it’s possible to buy, I have a copy of every Mantine card ever printed (which is admittedly only 14), I even have a crocheted Mantine cuddly that my wife got commissioned for me.
And yet, despite having been around since 2000, Mantine has never received a full-art card. Never. So it was something of a shock to discover that the current Japanese set, Raging Surf, sees Mantine’s latterly created baby form, Mantyke, beating it to the accolade!
I mean, I own the Mantyke cards too, and I’ve got the Piplup riding a Mantyke plush. I’m not crazy. But it’s just a little too cutesy for me. Still, this card is gorgeous, and I will swap my son for it in a PSA 10.
I really hate this thing where female characters in Pokémon get named “Lady.” There’s no “Man” card. And now we’ve got Parasol Lady, because apparently the most interesting thing about her is that she’s holding a brolly.
You’ll never guess, but these are super-expensive cards already. The first is going for about $US50, the second close to $US200.
However, they’re both great! The Ultra Rare version has a lot more detail than a typical full-art Trainer card, with those lovely floral backgrounds. And the SIR is just a stunning piece of portrait art, on a textured card.
Pokémon cards didn’t use to look this good. And yet, this incredible standard is rapidly becoming normal with each set—we really are in a golden era for the art in this game.
I just can’t stop looking at this Toedscruel art, just revealed for Ancient Roar/Future Flash. It’s full on War of the Worlds stuff.
This is a splendidly gloomy rendition of the Gen VII pokémon. Don’t forget those peculiar colorful lines are a thing Pokémon Japan add to the images when it previews cards, to show they’re holos, so it won’t actually be all stripey like a broken TV set.
There’s also a special art for the Wimpod, for those who really want to show off while playing.
Look at these two! The plus ‘n minus Pikachu rip-offs have never had such a good pair of cards, made even better by how they fit together to tell a little story about two sports fans, one delighted, one defeated.
Once again Okacheke shows off their range, having recently brought us the breathtaking Penny in Scarlet & Violet’s base set.
As more exciting cards are revealed for Paradox Rift, we’ll add them to this article, so do check back.
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