The best cards in Pokémon TCG: Shining Fates

These cards are going to shine.

Image via the Pokémon Company

The release of the highly-anticipated upcoming set of the Pokémon TCG, Shining Fates, is almost upon us. The sixth set of the Sword and Shield era brings new cards and mechanics to the table and, as the name suggests, the introduction of numerous Shiny Pokémon.

Unlike previous sets in the TCG, Shining Fates is a special collection of cards that will not be sold in individual booster packs. Rather, they’ll appear in special collections throughout the year, with the first being released on Feb. 19.

Shining Fates is one of the biggest sets of the Sword and Shield era, boasting over 190 cards that includes over 30 Pokémon V and VMax, as well as over 100 Shiny Pokémon to collect. These special Pokémon appear in colorful cards full of stars highlighting their color differences, and are going to make this set very valuable. But many of these Shiny Pokémon are simply reprints of older cards that have appeared in older sets with a new coat of paint.

The return of these Pokémon in their Shiny forms allows players to get their hands on all of them in one set, rather than having to look through multiple to find the card they’re seeking. Competitive players won’t want to miss this set, but its limited availability may make it hard to track down.

Here’s a look at some of the most important cards to keep an eye on when Shining Fates releases on Feb. 19.

Eternatus V and VMax

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Once again, the energy-encompassing dragon that plagued the Galar Region has returned to the Pokémon TCG to make an impact. This time, it’s doing so with artwork that bears striking similarities to the original release of the Pokémon Black and White set in the TCG, before the reintroduction of Pokémon EX.

These Eternatus cards are reprinted from Darkness Ablaze, but they have also appeared as promo cards during the Sword and Shield era. They’ve been major topics of debate within the TCG community due to their power and ease with handling opposing V and VMax Pokémon, and now they’ll be available once more for players to collect.

Being able to allow for more Darkness-type Pokémon to be added to your bench with Eternatus VMax’s Eternal Zone Ability pairs very well with its other attack, Dread End, which does 30 more damage for each Darkness-type Pokémon in play. Therefore, with the eight Pokémon allowed on your bench at once with Eternal Zone, you can dish up to 240 damage per turn, while ensuring that Eternatus withstands an attack with its massive 340 HP.

Ditto VMax

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Ditto is returning to the Pokémon TCG to do what it does best: copy opposing strategies. 

While Ditto V’s V Transformation Ability is rather niche, especially for a Pokémon that does not have a tremendous amount of HP, Ditto VMax makes up for it all. It’s sole move, Max Transform, brings back memories of old Mew and Zoroark cards from years past. With this, it’s able to copy an attack from the opposing Active Pokémon and use it as its own, including Max and GMax moves. 

Using this move at the opportune moment can catch opponents off guard, and might just give them nightmares about the menacing power of the gigantic Shiny blue slime.

Charizard VMax

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The Pokémon that rivals Pikachu as one of the mascots of the franchise returns to the TCG once more, this time in its Shiny Gigantamax glory.

Like with Eternatus, Charizard VMax returns from Darkness Ablaze to once again wreak havoc on the TCG. An already powerful card, this Gigantamaxed Charizard dones a new shine to headline a set full of old favorites from the Sword and Shield era.

The two options at its disposal—Claw Slash and G-Max Wildfire—are powerful enough to allow Charizard VMax to continue to tear through teams on its own. But when accompanied by some support, including the set’s Rose supporter card allowing Charizard to gain some lost Energy back, this card can become an unstoppable force.

Dragapult

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The newest pseudo-Legendary in the Pokémon franchise sparked a lot of discussion with its iteration introduced in the TCG’s Rebel Clash set. But now it’s back and looking to shine more than ever.

Dragapult’s Ability, Infiltrator, gives it the opportunity to avoid all sources of incoming damage every turn with the flip of a coin, which is a nice added bonus for a Pokémon that already has 150 base HP. But where this Pokémon shines is with its move Phantom Force—a two Psychic-type Energy cost move that deals 120 damage, and allows players to put three damage counters on any of the opposing Pokémon in any way they’d like.

Having such a low Energy cost for such a powerful move is almost unheard of in the TCG, especially when Dragapult is already accompanied by tools that can ensure its survivability.

This Shiny Dragon isn’t bringing anything new to the table, rather reinstituting why it’s been so powerful, and giving players another opportunity to get their hands on it.

Professor’s Research

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A familiar face returns to the Pokémon TCG, this time with a Unovan breeze.

Cards featuring the various Professors in the Pokémon universe have been common throughout the TCG since the early days. Unova’s Professor Juniper graces the card in this set, following Galar’s Professor Magnolia appearing in the base Sword and Shield set.

As of late, these cards have had the same effect—discard your hand and draw seven cards—which is a big trade for a chance at drawing a much-needed card. Though since many current TCG strategies have focused on building decks centered around a small number of Pokémon with a larger number of supporting cards, finding that one card to completely shake up the game can be crucial.