The 8th Generation of new Pokémon has arrived in the Pokémon TCG. After its record-breaking sales on the Nintendo Switch, Sword & Shield is bringing many changes and exciting new Pokémon to its trading card game counterpart. Released originally in Japan last early December 2019 as Dual Sets, Sword (s1W) and Shield (s1H), the set's international release hits stores on 7 February 2020.
As a fresh cycle of sets do their best to keep up with the latest Pokémon from new regions, designers at the Pokémon Company had to come up with new specialty variants for increased power level. The translation of the Dynamax and Gigantamax mechanics from the anime and video game thus birthed Pokémon V and Pokémon VMAX. Pokémon V no longer possess a once-per-game finisher, but can still bring higher HP and meaningful attacks at the cost of two Prize cards per K.O. They also come in a special bold black-bordered design. -Furthermore, these Pokémon can reach new levels of value once they transform into their artwork-bordered VMAX form - with over 300 HP and board-wrecking attacks! Take Lapras V as an example, who has one ability, a V-level attack, and 210 HP. Lapras VMAX, however, has an absurd 320 HP and a scalable Energy attack for the late game. With four Pokémon VMAX in Sword & Shield, some of the 15 new Pokémon V might see MAX-ed versions released in later sets!
The new Legendary Pokémon Zamazenta V and Zacian V add two powerful Metal-types to the game - one is a brave shield with protection from Pokémon VMAX and the other is an aggressive sword bundling its energy to strike every second turn! Other useful Pokémon V include the Grass-type Celebi V, who can search out two Pokémon from the deck and Stonjourner V, a Fighting-type with flexible attacks and even a VMAX form.
Sword & Shield is bringing more than new cards to the Pokémon trading card game as rule changes are also being introduced. The first-turn player, in addition to not attacking, is now also no longer allowed to play Supporter cards. This is meant to reduce the coin flip impact of on games. The term "Pokémon Checkup" now replaces "between turns" to check for effects and conditions regarding this phase. Lastly, "recover" is now used for healing Pokémon from conditions.
Aside from these important changes and some issued cards errata, the Fairy-type has been dropped from the card game. Future Fairies to be released will be Psychic-types from now on. This will lead to new weakness matchups in Common types. Finally, new Pokémon with -30 Resistance have been added for the first time. Time to adjust trainers!