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Astral Radiance Set Review

Astral Radiance Set Review

Posted by Joe Parlock on 26th May 2022

As we approach the end of the Sword & Shield era of the Pokemon TCG, it's time to look back on how far we've come. Maybe a bit further back than you'd have expected. Way, way back. As in, hundreds of years back to the birth of the Sinnoh region, back when it was called Hisui. We're travelling back in time and playing with new 'Radiant' Pokemon in the latest expansion, Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance.

As we approach the end of the Sword & Shield era of the Pokemon TCG, it's time to look back on how far we've come. Maybe a bit further back than you'd have expected. Way, way back. As in, hundreds of years back to the birth of the Sinnoh region, back when it was called Hisui. We're travelling back in time and playing with new 'Radiant' Pokemon in the latest expansion, Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance.

What can I expect from Astral Radiance?

Based on the video game Legends: Arceus, Astral Radiance introduces many of the new Pokemon and Hisuian forms we met as we snuck across the region. Making their debuts for the first time are pokemon like Basculegion, Wyrdeer, Kleavor, Overqwil, and Hisuian Braviary, Decidueye, Samurott, and Typhlosion all make an appearance. A number of trainers from long ago also make an appearance, with fan-favourites Kamado, Cyllene, and Adaman getting their own cards.

Getting to explore Hisui in the TCG is exciting, but the really new thing for this expansion is the introduction of Radiant Pokemon. Introduced with cards like Radiant Hawlucha and Radiant Greninja, this is a new take on shiny Pokemon which makes them much more powerful. Not only are their attacks and abilities stronger than their non-radiant forms, they're also all basic Pokemon – for example, you don't need to evolve a Radiant Greninja, you can play it straight away.

The catch, however, is that you can only have one Radiant Pokemon in your deck. They're considered different from a non-Radiant Pokemon, though – you could have four Greninjas and one Radiant Greninja to keep those ninja frogs coming, but you couldn't then also include a Radiant Hawlucha.

Returning from the previous expansion, Brilliant Stars, are the new VSTAR Pokemon. Like last time, VSTAR is an alternative way to evolve your Pokemon Vs and gives them powerful VSTAR Powers that can only be used once per game. For instance, the new Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR's power is Star Portal, which lets you put up to three water energy onto your water-type Pokemon in any way you like. That can immediately set you up for some devastating damage! Alongside Origin Forme Palkia, Astral Radiance introduces a whole load of new VSTAR Pokemon to the game that you'll want to pull in a pack, like Darkrai, Origin Forme Dialga, Hiusian Lilligant, Hiusian Typhlosion, Hisuian Decidueye, and Hisuian Samurott.

Which cards should I look out for?

New mechanics to play with are always exciting, but Astral Radiance has a lot to offer for collectors too. Those Radiant Pokemon aren't just powerful in a deck, they look gorgeous too thanks to the fancy etched foiling, something we law saw in last years' special Celebrations expansion.

One of the coolest things about recent expansions has been the Trainer Gallery, a subset of cards that showcase Pokemon alongside their most famous trainers. It's back for Astral Radiance and is taking a brief step away from Hisui and heading back to Galar's Crown Tundra region. There are some gorgeous cards on offer here, like Ice Rider Calyrex V and VMAX, Shadow Rider Calyrex V and VMAC, Galarian Zapdos V, and even the Galar legendary duo Zacian and Zamazenta V alongside our ol' Galarian rival, Hop.

No Pokemon expansion would be complete without secret rares, and Astral Radiance has a ton. The rainbow rares focus on well-known Pokemon and faces from Hisui, like Zisu, Choy, Kleavor, Hisuian Liligant, Decidueye, and Typhlosion. Fans of Hisuian Samurott shouldn't worry, though, as it appears as one of the rare golden rares instead! It, Origin Forme Palkia, and Origin Forme Dialga are joined by various scenes from across the Hisuian Region, such as the Galaxy Team HQ and the Temple of Sinnoh.

How can I get my hands on Astral Radiance?

If heading to Hisui sounds interesting to you, there are a lot of ways you can buy Astral Radiance. Alongside the usual booster box and booster packs (including a more environmentally friendly cardboard booster pack!), there is also the Darkrai Elite Trainer Box that includes eight booster packs, a set of dice, and a code to redeem it all on TCG Online.

There is also a whole load of new checklane blisters, which include booster packs, coins, and a few loose cards to kickstart your collection. Oricorio, Toxel, Feraligatr, and Swampert all come with one booster pack and a coin, while Sylveon and Eevee come with three boosters instead.

Finally, there's the Build & Battle kits. These are brilliant for making a deck to take to a prerelease and play sealed, or just give you a heft chunk of cards for your collection. The Build & Battle Box comes with four booster packs, a special stamped prerelease card, and a number of energies, trainers, and other cards to help support the deck you choose to build. Meanwhile, the Build & Battle Stadium is effectively a prerelease event in a box, giving you two Build & Battle Boxes, four extra booster packs, dice, coins, and spare energies.

You won't have to fall through a time portal to get your hands on Sword & Shield: Astral Radiance, as it launches on May 27, 2022. Don't forget to preorder your cards and boosters through Magic Madhouse today!

 

Written by Joe Parlock