Pokemon TCG’s Evolving Skies Expansion Is More Than Just Eeveelutions

pokemon tcg sword shield evolving skies

The new Pokemon TCG expansion, Sword & Shield — Evolving Skies, isn’t all about Eevee. Don’t get us wrong! It’s a lot about Eevee! But it’s also about other things. It’s about dragons! It’s about the weirder parts of the Galar Pokedex! And it’s about some truly situational counters.

Dragons comprise a large portion of Evolving Skies‘s card count. People love dragons! And hey, they’re fun. In the Pokemon Trading Card Game, they’re sort of hard to play, as they need two separate energy types for attacks. There have been a few helpers to make that easier, but generally speaking, you need to build around a dragon to play it. This set has Salamence, Hydreigon and Altaria. It has Flapple and Appletun. It even has good ol’ Drampa!

But the two biggest additions are V versions of Rayquaza and Duraludon. Rayquaza has Rapid Strike affiliation and Duraludon is a Single Strike creature. Generally speaking, the additions to these factions in Evolving Skies are finally starting to make those card pools more viable! That said, most of the fun here is that this dragon is a building.

pokemon tcg sword shield evolving skies

If the Pokemon Trading Card Game had Magic: the Gathering’s tournament focus and “sideboard” concept, Evolving Skies would really contribute to your options. There are item cards like Digging Gloves, which let you do more damage to specific foes. It’s not worth it, likely, just as a contingency. There are items only for the individual Eevee evolutions, solving very specific problems for them. And there are some utilities with some truly esoteric HP thresholds.

It’s honestly an unenviable position to be in for a game like this: all the basic, practical cards exist already. Not just sometime in the past! Within the Sword & Shield era, in the sets usable in the current competitive scene. So what’s left to do? Situational. Weird.

Also weird: the corners of Galar featured in the set. How about those two-part fossils? Yep, Arctovish and Dracozolt are here. Normal, non-V versions of the new Galarian variants of the original legendary birds? Also here! Each of the three sports an ability that lets you load them with two extra energy when you play them. Any energy acceleration is nice in this game! So it does feel suitably special. Also here are the two DLC legendaries, Regieleki and Regidrago. Which… honestly we’d forgive you if you didn’t know they existed! They’re big hulking energy hogs, like the rest of the Regi family have traditionally been.

pokemon tcg sword shield evolving skies

Still, it’s likely that if you’re interested in this set, the Eevee family is a big reason. There are lots of versions of each, filling out the V and VMAX line for all the different types. The game’s recent decision to stop supporting the Fairy type and fold it into Psychic does make building a deck with more Eeveelutions more doable! After all, a Water/Psychic deck can include Vaporeon, Glaceon, Espeon and Sylveon. In the past, we’ve seen a lot of these cards have some all-colorless attacks to try to help that, but this time? They lean hard into their elemental affinities, which honestly suits them well.

With a lot of them in the set and alternate-art versions of each, you have a good chance of getting one in a booster! But it’s not guaranteed, since they’re all rare. It makes their presence in the set a lot more in the marketing than in any given pack you open.

One interesting note: though the “evolving” part of Evolving Skies is a reference to Eevee, you can’t actually evolve Eevee with the cards in this set. There’s an Eevee, and there are V versions of the evolutions that can be played as a Basic Pokemon. That’s it! Hence why this Eevee has its main move: Vee-Search. It’s likely supposed to be used to grab Sylveon or Leafeon or whatever, but it lets you get any three Pokemon V from your deck and put them in your hand. It could end up being quite useful for finding all the pieces of a combo quickly.

The Pokemon TCG Sword & Shield — Evolving Skies expansion launches on August 27, 2021.

Graham Russell
Graham Russell 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.