Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Art of the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Fusion Strike expansion

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When a new Pokémon Trading Card Game expansion is released,
we feel it’s important to take a moment to celebrate the wonderful new artwork
that can be found within. Now that Sword & Shield—Fusion Strike
has arrived, join us for a bit of art appreciation. You just might discover a
new favorite artist or a cool card that you’ll want to add to your collection!

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Want to draw attention to a Pokémon TCG card? A splash of
color can go a long way in making a card stand out. The dark and eerie color
scheme that helps to define Chandelure creates contrast on Chandelure VMAX. Added color also enhances Cinderace VMAX‘s triumphant pose. Orange
tones may dominate the artwork, but it’s the rainbow burst behind the Pokémon that
gives the impression of great energy on the brink of being unleashed. Smeargle, the Painter Pokémon, also looks
right at home in the center of its vibrant rainbow vortex. Conversely, the streaks
and swirls of color flowing in the water and sky around Croconaw add a soothing, ethereal vibe to the scene.

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It’s hard to miss Mina Nakai’s stunning artwork when looking
through your Sword & Shield—Fusion Strike collection. This
artist has a distinct style that immediately draws the eye. Just look at this Helioptile card, for example. The Pokémon’s
face is captured in a whimsical sketched style. That, combined with the
screentone dot-covered background, lends this card a pop-art sensibility that sparks
comparison to the works of Roy Lichtenstein. Judging by the lines of shock
coming from Helioptile’s head (sometimes referred to as “emanata” in the comics
biz), the little Pokémon is just as surprised by the playful design as we are.
Nakai’s Toxel and Pancham cards
aren’t nearly as experimental, but with their thick outlines, bold colors, and
heavy shadows, they can’t help but stand out.

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Pokémon—no surprise—are the star of the show in the
Pokémon TCG. As such, it’s easy to focus all your attention on them when admiring
a Pokémon TCG card. However, if you focus too hard on the cards’ subjects, you might
miss the beautiful background art. The backgrounds are especially striking when
they’re more realistically depicted than the Pokémon in the foreground. Check
out the lavish field of flowers in the Appletun V
card. The intricate detail makes an amusing contrast with the
delightfully silly Pokémon. Ninetales looks
especially regal illuminated by the realistic sunbeam in which it has found
itself. Similarly, Delcatty sits on
a sun-drenched path, its fur dappled with shadows as the light peeks through
the tree cover. Those shadows give the Pokémon a depth that makes Delcatty seem
to come to life.

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Pokémon battles are fun and all, but sometimes it’s good to
take a break and cut loose. And that means only one thing—dance!
Obviously, Meloetta is quick to get in on this dance
party. Thanks to its graceful pose and visualized vocalization, this Pokémon looks
ready to bust a move. Also, Genesect takes its breaking skills to Mythical new
levels on Genesect V. It’s not just Pokémon that
like to groove. As we can see on Dancer‘s
standard and full-art cards, this Pokémon Trainer is poised
to hit the dance floor at a moment’s notice.

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Certain Pokémon have access to attacks that inflict damage
to their opponent but also have the unfortunate side effect of causing damage
to the user as well. The Sword & Shield—Fusion Strike
expansion features several cards that highlight these Pokémon that are willing
to take one for the team in battle. Look closely at the strained expression on Electrode‘s face—it knows that its Explosion
attack isn’t going to feel great. Golem seems
determined as the rocky segments of its body shift to reveal a shining core
within. If we were near that Pokémon, that ominous glow would be a good signal
to run! Cufant may not be about to, y’know, literally
, but that giant rock it has lifted over its head can’t be light.
Don’t feel too bad, Cufant. We all take a little damage when we start lifting
heavy objects.

With over 260 cards in all, there are plenty more amazing finds
waiting in the Pokémon TCG: Sword & ShieldFusion Strike
expansion. Be sure to take note of the gorgeous illustrations that give the
game its personality the next time you open a booster pack.


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