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SWSH recap - highlights and lowlights of the Pokemon Sword & Shield era

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The Scarlet & Violet Base Set is about to be released. So we thought now would be a great time to look back on the Sword & Shield era in the TCG! Over the past three years, SWSH has brought us some great enhancements! Let's check out a quick recap of each SWSH Era Set below!

Sword & Shield base set

February 2020

The Sword & Shield Base Set was the set that started the entire era! This was our introduction to the V and VMAX cards that replaced the Sun & Moon era GX cards! A notable addition was Zacian V which allowed the Arceus , Dialga and Palkia Tag Team or ADP to dominate the early part of the Sword & Shield era.

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rebel clash

May 2020

After the base set came Rebel Clash ! This expansion has a bad reputation, but we don't think it really deserves it. She introduced some great cards, including Scoop Up Net and Boss's Orders, that play heavily in many decks!

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Darkness Ablaze

Aug 2020

Darkness Ablaze was the third expansion and centered around the super-popular Charizard ! Although the set didn't have much to offer for competitive players, the appeal of pulling this Charizard VMAX enticed a lot of collectors.

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Champion's Path

Sept 2020

Champion's Path was Sword & Shield's first special set! Special sets are characterized by the fact that they do not contain booster boxes and boosters can only be found in collection boxes and other products. Champion's Path was a smaller set than previous SWSH sets, and collectors often found themselves amassing multiple copies of some cards while searching for the coveted cards. Of course, the most famous of these Chase cards were the absolutely stunning Charizard V and Charizard VMAX!

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November 2020

The last set of 2020, Vivid Voltage introduced some epic cards including the highly sought after Rainbow Rare Pikachu VMAX! The set introduced the Amazing Rare rarities that got some collectors excited!

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Shining Fates

February 2021

2021 began with another special set in Shining Fates ! The set featured a ton of cool shiny Pokemon and products. Of particular note were the premium collections with Shiny Dragapult VMAX and Shiny Crobat VMAX! The set is often compared to Hidden Fates and like this set, has a great reputation among collectors.

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Battle Styles

March 2021

Battle Styles was the first regular set of 2021 and introduced a whole new mechanic with Battle Styles: Single Strike and Rapid Strike. The set also saw the return of Alternate Arts, which was a huge bonus for collectors! The main star of the set, Urshifu, got 4 massive alternate art versions!

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Chilling Reign

June 2021

Chilling Reign focused on the Snowlands of Kings DLC released last year. As a result, both forms of Calyrex played a major role and we were again treated to 2 versions of the Elite Trainer Box : Ice Rider and Shadow Rider. The set also saw the debut of 2 popular cards on the tournament scene with Melony and Path to the Peak!

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Evolving Skies

Aug 2021

Next came the release of Evolving Skies ! The set was notable as it featured a ton of Eeveelutions as well as the return of Rayquaza with the reintroduction of dragon-types to the game! As you'd expect, the expansion proved very popular with collectors, as it combined three Japanese sets into one and showcased all that epic alternate artwork!

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October 2021

In February 2021, Pokemon celebrated its 25th anniversary and the aptly named Celebrations Set was released later in the year. Celebrations featured a great selection of reissues of some of the game's most iconic cards in the Classic Collection, including Shining Magikarp, Base Set versions of Charizard , Blastoise & Venusaur , and Birthday Pikachu ! In addition to the Classic Collection, the special set also introduced Flying Pikachu VMAX, which was widely played!

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Fusion Strike

November 2021

Mew was the main focus of Fusion Strike , which expanded Battle Styles by introducing Fusion Strike Pokémon. There were 6 variants of Mew in the set, with 3 Pokemon V and 3 VMAX, which was great news for fans of the first Pokemon. The biggest downside to the set is that it was released after Evolving Skies , so this otherwise great set pales in comparison.

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Brilliant Stars

February 2022

Brilliant Stars was the first set to contain VSTAR Pokemon, a replacement for VMAX Pokemon that were scheduled to be phased out after this set! The set was also notable for its Black & Gold VMAX cards, which look stunning. Another popular inclusion was the Trainer Gallery sub-set, which featured some of the iconic trainers in their art.

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Astral Radiance

May 2022

Astral Radiance introduced another popular mechanic - Radiant Pokemon. Although you were only allowed to include one Radiant Pokemon in the deck, these were super powerful and saw plenty of competitive playtime. The set also spawned some Pokemon Legends - Arceus themes with Hisuian forms, as well as Origin forms for Dialga and Palkia ! It also continued the tradition of the Trainer Gallery introduced in Brilliant Stars !

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Pokemon Go

July 2022

The next special set in the era was Pokemon GO , based on the mobile game. The set featured a range of products based on the in-game teams and used artwork reminiscent of the GO Snapshot mechanism, fusing real-world environments with digital Pokemon.

Lost Origin

Sep 2022

Lost Origin was notable for bringing the Lost Zone back into play! The pack design and marketing relied heavily on the impressive Giratina ! The Trainer Gallery also returned and featured some stunning Pikachu VMAX artwork featuring the iconic character Red from the video game series.

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Silver Tempest

November 2022

Silver Tempest was the last regular expansion released for Sword & Shield. The main focus of this set was the immense Lugia V, which has dominated the competitive scene since its introduction!

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Crown Zenith

January 2023

Crown Zenith closed this fantastic era and according to some of our followers this set has turned out to be one of the best expansions of the era! Rounding out the rest of the Japanese promos that were excluded in previous sets, this set is proving popular.

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While this post is a celebration of the Sword & Shield era, we're also very excited for the upcoming release of the Scarlet & Violet Base Set! Check out the related products section below to complete your collection! Alternatively, you can browse our full range of Pokemon products by clicking the button below!

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