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Shining Fates Set Review

Shiny Pokémon have long been the holy grail for collectors. Whether it’s spending hundreds of hours resetting one of the video games or cracking open dozens of packs, shinies – Pokémon with alternate colours to the norm – are the crème de la crème. With that in mind, it’s no wonder why people are so excited for the first new set for 2021, Shining Fates.

What is Shining Fates?

A follow-up to 2019’s massively popular Hidden Fates, Shining Fates features some of Pokémon Sword & Shield’s most popular Pokémon, Trainers and Supports across 195 cards. The best thing about the set is it’s great both for those who like to play and those who like to collect, as, unlike Hidden Fates, everything is Standard legal and approved for both casual and organised play!
In each booster pack, most of your cards will come from a selection of 73 different cards. Some of them are brand new, like Crobat VMAX, Ditto VMAX, Cramorant VMAX, and a full-art hidden rainbow rare Alcremie VMAX. There’s also a few reprints, with Supports like Skyla, Cara Liss and Rose getting brand new full-art treatments. One particularly tasty pull is a new Amazing Rare (a new rarity introduced in Vivid Voltage) in the form of Yvetal — not only is its art fantastic, its attack will one-hit KO any Pokemon, regardless of its HP!

The rest of the set is part of something called the “Shiny Vault”. At least one card in each booster pack will be from the Shiny Vault, making them the rarest and most-sought-after cards. The ‘basic’ (as basic as a foil, shiny Pokémon can be!) cards in the Vault are dozens of some of the game’s most popular Pokémon, all in their Shiny forms. Creatures like Wooloo, Suicune, Clobbopuss and Ducklett all get that special foil treatments that really show off their colours, so there’s a great chance of you finding your favourite Pokemon somewhere in the set!
The biggest pulls by far, though, are the shiny V and VMAX cards. These are all gorgeous, full-art shiny Pokémon, with fan favourites like Rillaboom, Toxtricity and Ditto getting both V and VMAX cards, alongside two incredibly slick looking black and gold V and VMAX Eternatus cards.

Return of the King

Leading the way as the most sought-after card of the entire set by far is Shiny Charizard VMAX. Charizard is always one of the most desired Pokemon cards, and Shining Fates definitely does everyone’s favourite dragon justice. The art for it is incredible, and its most powerful attack can do a whopping 300 damage, making him well worth keeping on hand!
As a special set to whet our appetite before this March’s Battle Style, Shining Fates will be launched in a whole series of really fancy products. The main one is Elite Trainer Box, which includes 10 booster packs, a promo shiny Eevee VMAX, and a number of accessories like a coin and playmat. There’s also a whole series of really nice mini tins, each coming with an exclusive art card, two Shining Fates booster packs and a metallic coin. My personal favourite of these is the Kyogre and Shiny Snom tin, simply because I’m a big Hoenn fan, Kyogre is my favourite Legendary Pokémon, and Snom is absolutely adorable to boot.

There’s two VMAX Premium Collections, Crobat VMAX and Dragapult VMAX, which each include seven booster packs, a promo V and VMAX card of their respective Pokémon, a commemorative oversized card, a coin with your chosen Pokémon on it, and even a code to redeem in Pokémon TCG Online. If Pikachu is more your style, there is a cheaper Pikachu V Collection Box, which comes with four packs and both a normal and jumbo-sized Pikachu V card.

Happy Birthday to Chu!

But wait! Shining Fates isn’t the only bit of Pokémon excitement we get this month, as February 27 is officially Pokémon Day, and this year marks the series’ 25th Anniversary. To celebrate, the TCG is getting a super limited edition run of extra-large classic starter Pokémon cards called the First Partner Packs. Every starter in the series’ history will get an oversized reprint, with frames each representative of the era of the card game they first appeared in.

These are a nostalgic blast from the past, as not only do we get the return of the eternally-popular base set style, we even get comebacks like the EX Ruby & Sapphire and Diamond & Pearl frames, which I haven’t seen in years! While enthusiasm for the base set is at an all-time high, it is really nice to see Pokémon give some love to other sets as well.
The Partner Pack will be released each month in reverse order, starting with the Galar starters (Scorbunny, Sobble and Grookey) in March, and working its way back to the original Kanto starters in October. To keep your collection safe, a special binder with a limited oversized Pikachu (sorry, not that oversize Pikachu from Vivid Voltage!) will be launched soon!

With Shining Fates and the 25th Anniversary, February is an excellent month for Pokémon collectors. Whether you’re cracking open Shining Fates or celebrating Pokémon Day in another way, here’s hoping your pulls rise to the occasion!

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