The Origin forms of Palkia and Dialga join the TCG in Astral Radiance and both are incredibly interesting additions to the roster. For example, Palkia VSTAR is essentially a stronger Suicune V in that its Subspace Swell attack deals 60 damage plus 20 for each benched Pokemon which can deal up to 260 damage – this, paired with Choice Belt or Inteleon (from Chilling Reign), can knock out the most prevalent VSTAR Pokémon you will encounter during your games. Palkia can also be used alongside powerful Water Pokémon such as Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX, as its VSTAR power is the ability [Star Portal] (allowing you to attach up to three Water energy from your discard to your Water Pokémon in any way you like) to ramp up your attached energy count. This means you are less reliant on common Supporter cards like Melony and Raihan, opening up the use of things like Boss’s Orders or the new Roxanne Supporter card that forces your opponent down to two cards if they have three Prizes or less remaining.
Then there is Dialga VSTAR, the lord of time. Dialga VSTAR has the Attack [Metal Blast] that deals 40 damage, plus 40 more for each Metal Energy attached to Dialga VSTAR. This works well with cards currently in format such as Bronzong (from Battle Styles), Metal Saucer, and Zacian V, who has a trainer artwork in this expansion. This allows you to attach extra energy to your board and then move it all onto Dialga to create a powerful attacker. If that wasn’t enough, look no further than Dialga’s VSTAR Power, [Star Chronos]. For five Energy, this attack deals 220 damage, but it lets you take an extra turn. If you can use this attack to KO one of your opponent’s Pokemon, you can then use [Metal Blast] the following turn to leave your opponent’s board with no attackers! It’s a difficult attack to use but it’s crippling to deal with!
Astral Radiance also introduces the next iteration of shiny Pokémon to the Trading Card Game – Radiant Pokémon. There are three Radiant Pokémon in the set – Greninja, Hawlucha, and Heatran, and all three are incredibly powerful! Greninja has the [Concealed Cards] Ability that lets you discard an Energy card from your hand to draw two cards, once per turn; this is brilliant for adding consistency to almost every deck and will be the primary pick for most players. Hawlucha has the [Big Match] Ability that increases the damage of your attacks against VMAX Pokémon by 30 damage whilst it is on the bench. Some decks may decide to use this over Greninja if they are just shy of taking KOs on some of the important VMAX Pokémon in the format, like Mew VMAX. The downside to these cards is that these are Rule Box Pokemon with the stipulation that you can only have one Radiant Pokémon in your deck - this means if you have Radiant Greninja in your deck, you aren’t allowed to include a Radiant Hawlucha in your deck as well. Finally, Heatran will likely only be used in Fire archetypes that make use of the Magma Basin Stadium, as its attack for three Energy does 70 damage times the number of damage counters on it – that’s some big damage!
Astral Radiance was released on 27 May 2022 and has over 180 cards in the main set. Along with this, there are some beautiful secret rares and the continuation of the Trainer Gallery cards that we saw in Brilliant Stars. Make sure to pick up these cards whether you are a trainer, collector, or somewhere in between!