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Pokemon Brilliant Stars TCG Set Breakdown & Hands-On Impressions

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February 11, 2022

It’s been a very, very good 12 months for collectors of the Pokemon TCG.

In the last year, we’ve had one of the most exciting holiday sets of all time, Celebrations, as well as some really solid standard sets like Chilling Reign, Evolving Skies and Fusion Strike.

Now, we move into 2022 and the first main set in the English TCG, Brilliant Stars, which I was lucky enough to get a hands-on preview of. So if you’re thinking of checking out the set, read on for my impressions.

Presentation

The Pokemon Company has been pretty on point with their presentation recently. Fusion Strike’s vivid purple colour and Mew-centric art was very cool, but I can’t help but feel that Brilliant Stars trumps it.

The white and gold colours really pop on the Elite Trainer Box and the sleek theme continues across the Booster Box and Booster Packs. Whimsicott is a strange choice, but there’s always one.

Check out the gallery below to see the four different pack arts, the ETB and the Booster Box.

Card List & Set Size

While the full card list has yet to be revealed and will trickle out over the next few days during the pre-release period, it’s safe to say there are plenty of chase cards in the set.

There’s a great range of Charizard cards in the set for the Charizard simps, two nice, and slightly more unusual alternate arts, with Honchkrow and Finneon and, of course, some of the character rares from the Japanese VMAX Climax set.

These character rares make up a 30 card subset within Brilliant Stars and include some of the best looking cards in arguably the history of the TCG.

We’ve added a gallery of some of the cards from VMAX Climax below. Note, these cards may not all be included in Brilliant Stars but are a good indication of just how good the art is.

One of the complaints collectors have had about some of the more recent sets, especially Fusion Strike, is that they’re very bloated and there are just too many cards. Thankfully, Brilliant Stars brings things back on track.

There are 172 cards in the main set, as opposed to 264 in Fusion Strike, with a further 14 secret rares. This is a lot better than the 20 in FS and 34 in Evolving Skies.

Obviously, you do have the extra subset cards, but they can appear in the reverse holo spot.

Pulls and Pull Rate

I was lucky enough to open one Brilliant Stars Booster Box and one Elite Trainer Box, so it’s a very small sample size, however, I’m happy with the pulls I got and hopefully is a good indication of the pull rates in the set.

There are a couple of things to note. As with the VMAX Climax sets, it looks like there will be four guaranteed subset cards per Booster Box, as stated, sitting in the reverse holo slot.

There are also VSTAR Tokens that take the place of some energy cards in the box, however, these tokens do not indicate that you’re going to pull a VSTAR card.

Now onto my pulls. I was extremely lucky and pulled a Rainbow Charizard VSTAR card in my second pack.

Once you pull one of the biggest chase cards in the set so early though, you know it’s likely to be all downhill. Thankfully, I was still blessed with some really good pulls.

Aside from the Charizard, I pulled a standard Charizard V, a full art Shaymin V and a Magma Basin gold secret rare, plus a further four standard V cards and, of course, Kindler full art.

In terms of my four Subset cards, I received a Rapid Strike Mustard full art, plus Flareon, Dusknoir and one of my favourites, Octillery.

In terms of the Elite Trainer Box, I didn’t do too badly either, with a total of three solid pulls. I sadly duped the Dusknoir character rare but also pulled a nice rainbow rare Roseanne’s Backup and a Shaymin VSTAR. Overally, positive signs.

Overall Impressions

There’s definitely some debate over just how good Brilliant Stars is as a set but there shouldn’t be.

I’d comfortably place it in the top two of the Sword and Shield era, alongside Evolving Skies.

The subset already makes it stand out, but solid art throughout the set (in both the ultra rares and standard cards) makes it a must for any collector. I’ll certainly be trying to complete it.

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Sam Woods
@CaptainWoodsy

Sam (He/Him) is the Managing Editor at DualShockers. He's been playing video games for as long as he can remember and you can regularly find him on his Nintendo Switch. When he's not playing games, he'll no doubt be suffering watching his beloved Ipswich Town.

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