pokemon tcg coolest brilliant stars cards

Pokemon TCG: The Best Brilliant Stars Cards

The Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars expansion of the Pokemon Trading Card Game brings together a lot of experiments and ideas into one set. So what Brilliant Stars cards are most enticing? Here are our picks for the coolest, cutest, and most interesting of the bunch! (As well as a few that might see serious play.)

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The coolest Brilliant Stars cards

It’s hard not to bring up the new VSTAR cards, as they’re flashy and powerful! Like previous efforts in the card game to bring evolution back to powerful two-prize creatures, VSTAR pals really ramp up the damage. The special thing: a one-time-use attack or ability.

Their most recent counterpart, VMAX, show up here too. Cards like Kingler VMAX really do look… I mean impressive, though sometimes in a way that’s hard to decipher what’s going on. Still! When they’re played, they get a “whooooa” before the “wait, huh?”

As for the premium stuff? Yeah, gold Arceus VSTAR is cool, but the ultra-rare Single Strike Urshifu VMAX and Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX are our favorites. The yellow-and-black color scheme and cool outlines really make them stand out.

The most interesting Brilliant Stars cards

While the Pokemon Trading Card Game remains plagued with balance issues that make most cards forever unplayable, it’s nice to see efforts to mitigate that when they happen. The latest? Double Turbo Energy. Double Colorless has been a staple of the game for years, largely because it was so good! Too good, some might say? So this new version adds a cost: reduced damage. It mirrors the “agile style” in Pokemon Legends Arceus, so it works from a flavor perspective! And it still might be situationally useful, when you can catch an opponent off-guard by attacking one turn earlier.

The new Empoleon is a fun way to play a Stage 2 card without, you know, the usual hassle. If it’s in the discard pile and your hand’s empty, you can put it on the bench and draw three cards. It could be fun for decks designed to sift through cards quickly.

pokemon tcg cutest brilliant stars cards

The cutest Brilliant Stars cards

There are a ton of Trainer Gallery cards with really impressive art. Our favorites? Eevee romping around Bill’s place is fun, and each of its evolutions are fairly charming too.

But cards don’t have to be rare to be cute! Like Piplup building a little snow-pal, or Minccino doing some dusting. Shinx playing with its tail is also quite charming. And since the Bidoof’s Big Stand short, we’re especially susceptible to the cuteness of the new Bidoof card.

The most meta-relevant Brilliant Stars cards

Entei V might see some competitive play! The fire legendary lets you draw an extra card every turn while it’s in the lead spot, and a decent low-energy attack makes it a solid early-game option. And if you’re not running Fire? Raikou V does the same thing in Electric. (Looking for the Suicune to complete the set? It appeared in Evolving Skies.)

As always, creatures that can use a bench slot to replace a trainer for the turn are nice! So Lumineon V letting you search for the Supporter you need could see some use. Similarly, you do have to evolve it, but Bibarel lets you draw up to five cards every turn and could be worth the effort to protect it. Tornadus rounds out the set with an ability that forces the opponent to swap their Active Pokemon.

The latest Pokemon Trading Card Game expansion, Sword & Shield: Brilliant Stars, launches February 25, 2022.

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Graham Russell
Graham Russell, editor-at-large, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020, and served as its Managing Editor until July 2022. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.