In May 2022, Pokémon TCG released the second main series set of 2022. The expansion, Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance, came out on May 27th, 2022. It is the tenth set under the Sword & Shield banner and is the first to include the Radiant Pokémon mechanic. Radiant Pokémon are similar to Shining Pokémon of the past as they include a Shiny Pokémon with holofoil and texture on the figure rather than the background. The difference, though, is a special holo pattern on the text area of the card. Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance also continues the Trainer Gallery, a special subset of Character Rares, Character Super Rares, Full Art Trainers, and Black & Gold VMAXes that began in the previous set, Sword & Shield – Brilliant Stars. Follow me through a journey through this latest set as we appreciate the artwork, discuss the card’s place in the set, and discuss what certain elements of the expansion may imply for the future of the Pokémon TCG. Today, we check out Heatran who appears on the set’s first Radiant card which gleams with that Radiant Pokémon-exclusive holo pattern.
Heatran gets a bunch of cards in this set, with the first three being a standard Pokémon-V, a standard VMAX, and a feature on the new card type, Radiant Pokémon.
Heatran V is drawn by iconic TCG artist Mitsuhiro Arita who has been with the hobby since the very beginning when he drew the iconic Base Set Charizard. Arita’s hand-drawn style is an oddity amongst Pokémon-V which is a shame, because look at how sick this is! Far more impactful than the over-used 3D style, this kind of illustration on an Ultra Rare is what I hope we see more of as we move closer to the Scarlet & Violet era.
Heatran gets a towering VMAX courtesy of N-DESIGN Inc. which is solid, but the real news here is Radiant Heatran. Shiny Heatran’s eyes are red as the devil’s…eyes and while the illustration by Shigenori Negishi is simple, its holofoil texture elevates it.
Stay tuned for the continuing journey through Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield – Astral Radiance. To look back on this series, click the Astral Radiance tag below. Next time, this journey continues with the main set.