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VSTAR Pokémon Trading Cards from Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars

Chill Clinton is a trading card enthusiast and investor who operates an online trading card store.

Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars is the upcoming set in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, scheduled for release in Late February of 2022.

Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars is the upcoming set in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, scheduled for release in Late February of 2022.

The Pokémon Trading Card game continues its meteoric momentum with the upcoming release of the ninth set within the Sword & Shield era: Brilliant Stars.

This set's 216 card list combines designs featured across the previously released Japanese sets VMAX Climax, Start Deck 100, and Star Birth, with a particular focus on the newly designed VSTAR game mechanic from the latter set.

VSTAR Pokémon must be evolved from Pokémon V, and these Pokémon offer both increased attack power and hit points, as well as a VSTAR Power attack or ability. This attack or ability functions similar to a GX attack in the sense that only one of these attacks can be used by each player per game.

Like VMAX cards, VSTAR cards must be played on top of Pokémon V. However, the VSTAR cards feature markedly lower hit points and attack strengths. Though, unlike VMAX Pokémon, which award opposing players three Prize Cards for Knock Outs, VSTAR Pokémon will only award the opposing player two Prize Cards in an instance in which it is Knocked Out, similar to a regular V Pokémon.

Let's take a look at the four Pokémon that will be printed with this brand new distinction in the upcoming set!

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Charizard VSTAR

One of the most highly anticipated VSTAR Pokémon is the iconic fire breathing dragon: Charizard.

Charizard VSTAR is the evolved form of Charizard V, and features the Star Blaze VSTAR Power which could comfortably Knock Out most V and VMAX Pokémon in the current standard meta.

Additionally, the fact that a player must only discard two energy cards from Charizard in order to use the VSTAR Power allows its player to quickly rebound and use the Explosive Fire attack on the following turn.

While I'm not sure this card currently has a home in the standard meta, it is certainly powerful and will be fun to use in casual settings.

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Arceus VSTAR

The legendary Pokémon, Arceus, debuting in Generation IV with the release of Diamond & Pearl, is among the first Pokémon to receive a VSTAR printing with the upcoming distribution of the Brilliant Stars set.

Though I'm not sure that this card quite packs the punch needed to see wide standard play, the Starbirth VSTAR Power, which can be utilized from the Bench position, does offer a unique opportunity to search for two cards of any type with no drawbacks or need to use energy.

Perhaps in a deck that doesn't utilize any other VSTAR cards, the Starbirth VSTAR Power could be helpful, but is this ability worth taking up multiple slots in a deck?

I'm not optomisic.

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Shaymin VSTAR

Unfortunately, we don't yet have an image of Shaymin VSTAR's English printing, but the Japanese pictured above translates to:

Shaymin VSTAR

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VSTAR – Evolves from Shaymin V

[G][C] Revenge Burst: 120+ damage. This attack does 40 more damage for each Prize card your opponent has already taken.

Ability (VSTAR Power): Star Bloom
You may use this Ability during your turn. Heal 120 damage from each of your Benched [G] Pokemon. (You can’t use more than 1 VSTAR Power in a game.)

When your Pokemon VSTAR is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

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Like Arceus VSTAR, I'm not confident that Shaymin VSTAR will see significant play in competitive settings. Though its Revenge Burst attack is relatively inexpensive, it can only do a maximum of 320, with the proliferation of V and VMAX card (which require only two to three Knock Outs before a game is over) making it more likely that the attack will only hit for 240-280 even in later game situations when you might expect to see Shaymin move into the active position.

The Star Bloom VSTAR Power is pretty good, but is it better than simply using Cheryl? I don't believe so. That being said, healing 120 is quite appealing, but how useful is it beyond the mid-game when Shaymin's Revenge Burst finally gains some teeth?

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Whimsicott VSTAR

Like with Shaymin VSTAR, the Pokémon Company has not yet released an image of the English printing of Whimsicott VSTAR. However, the Japanese pictured above translates to:

Whimsicott VSTAR

VSTAR – Evolves from Whimsicott V

[P][C][C] Tricky Wind: 160 damage. Your opponent can’t play Pokemon Tools or Special Energy from their hand during their next turn.

[P] Cotton Ball Star (VSTAR Power): This attack does 60 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon for each Energy attached to this Pokemon. (You can’t use more than 1 VSTAR Power in a game.)

When your Pokemon VSTAR is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Metal (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

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I think Whimsicott VSTAR is somewhat interesting. In a build utilizing Eldegoss from Evolving Skies and Celebi V from Chilling Reign to fish energies out and attach them quickly to Whimsicott, a player could establish early game dominance by surprise ramping and attacking an opponent's V or VMAX Pokémon using Cotton Ball Star. However, outside of doing this, I'm not sure where Whimisicott VSTAR will fit in with the present meta.

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Excited for the Upcoming Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars Set?

Despite not being especially excited about the game play aspects of any of the Pokémon included in the new VSTAR designation, I still love the design of this particular set, including the 30 "Trainer Gallery" cards featured in the iconic Japanese VMAX Climax set. Because of this, while I probably won't be using any of the VSTAR Pokémon to battle, I look forward to collecting all of the beautiful cards released in this set.

Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars is slated for release on February 25th, 2022, and will include booster packs, booster boxes, blister packs, Elite Trainer Boxes, Battle Boxes, and more!

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