With the end of the Sword & Shield block, let's interact a little bit about the most beautiful cards that appeared in the block, and my criterion here is plural, addressing both the Secret Arts and the Trainers Gallery. It's also a matter of opinion, so if you disagree or want to suggest other cards, I'm available in the comments!
I disregarded the Full Art cards because I think that in Sword & Shield they didn't have the same coherence as the ones we had in Black & White and X / Y (which were prettier and with more elaborate scenarios).
Top 10 most beautiful Sword & Shield cards
10 - Galarian Moltres V (Secret Art)
This illustration plays a lot with symmetry, and the majesty that the bird wants to convey in the image, as if it were a representation of an entity from an ancient local legend, similar to those medieval fictional tales in the aspect of “the legendary creature of black flames ”.
Here, artist Shibuzo has probably done one of the best works of his life.
9 - Noivern V (Secret Art)
Here, the master Mitsuhiro Arita did not disappoint and always surprises with his illustrations, using textures in colors to cause a three-dimensional impression both in the Pokémon and in the scenarios, not using the delimiting trace around the Pokémon. He brings realism to the arts, but not completely escaping from fantasy.
And yet with this bat-like dragon Pokémon, reminiscent of the Wyvern in European culture, the impression that the card gives is that it would be a Pokémon for “Batman in a Gotham City.”
8 - Hisuian Zoroark VStar (Trainer Gallery)
Here the art refers to the concepts of Ukiyo-e, with spills of ink in the form of clouds around the Pokémon, referring to this ancient art from the Edo Era in Japan, where this type of graphic representation was very present, but of course, in a more modern and more refined way the technique of three dimensions and proportion than the old references.
And curiously, it's the only illustration of Sie Nanahara in the company, and having made an excellent art - I don't doubt that it will be called for future works.
7 - Zacian V (Trainer Gallery)
Here it also comes in as a narrative and interpretive tale. Taking the English references about Galar, we know that it is moved by the Arthurian legends, that is, with the Rusted Sword that Zacian wields as the representation of the famous sword Excalibur.
This art symbolizes Hop having contact with this Pokémon, as if he were a “chosen one” to be in the presence of Zacian, and with this rustic atmosphere as if it were a forgotten temple. This sublime reading still weighs heavily on me, which made me choose this art in this position.
6 - Rayquaza V (Secret Art)
Rayquaza brings magnificence, majesty, supremacy, power. And in eastern culture, the dragon is a symbol of divinity and power. In addition, Rayquaza has already been chosen as one of Japan's favorite Pokémon - and it seems that in the west, it also has that share of fans.
And with a glimpse of what it represents, showing this two-point perspective game with Rayquaza in the background, representing how big this Pokémon is compared to the tiny size of Zinnia, we have a construction of brilliant techniques from illustrator Ryuta Fuse, which has been working since Sun / Moon: Cosmic Eclipse.
5 - Lugia V (Secret Art)
With the lord of the seas, one of the members who make up the “duo” of Johto, Lugia deserved his highlight in Sword & Shield: Silver Tempest, showing in this art the two descriptions in the Pokédex, where he emerges from the deep waters from ocean to sky, it can stir up storms with the flapping of its wings.
This art, with the local fisherman seeing the poignancy of the Pokémon, is indescribable, and the use of colors overlaps the shape, not leaving it so delineated with fixed lines in the drawing, but allowing the colors themselves to create volume (similar to the technique that Mitsuhiro Arita and Akira Egawa present in their works), making the card even more beautiful.
It still gains more respect for the art of kawayoo, who, in addition to working for Pokémon since the Diamond & Pearl: Rising Rivals era, and also in the Sword & Shield block, made a great illustration of Arceus V BRS 166.
4 - Charizard VStar (Promo Art) and Mewtwo VStar (Trainer Gallery)
Even though Charizard VStar is a card normally released in Japanese boosters from the VStar Universe (which is what gave the basis for Crown Zenith in the west), this card came precisely in the UPC (Ultimate Premium Collection) of Pokémon, where three Charizard promotional cards come from.
The card's position on the podium is deserved for having this joke of using different perspectives, in the observer's view of Charizard looking down against Mewtwo, flying over the place through the waterfall, and Mewtwo, from the low perspective, preparing its "Shadow Ball".
Two artists did this cooperative work: Gossan with Mewtwo, and Kiyotaka Oshiyama with Charizard, both working with three vanishing point perspective, which is one of the very difficult techniques for many designers.
3 - Eternatus VMax (Trainer Gallery)
Here we are in third position, and probably many will not agree with me. I've included in the top 3 places cards that are closer to the realism and maturity of traits, moving away from the normal trait and a little more childish that Pokémon brings with it.
But for different reasons and because it has different types of public and consumers, I consider it valid and fair to include artists who apply more seriousness to techniques or who bring reality closer to Pokémon, as we saw in Detective Pikachu, with "Assistant Inspector Yoshida":
With President Rose with this realistic design, it gave the character a more imposing air and the allusion to his plans in the game to use Eternatus for his purpose in the plot.
2 - Charizard VMax (Promo Art)
Here it shows a little of what I mentioned above, in relation to Eternatus VMax with President Rose, where there is this search for the realism of Pokémon. Here we have this Charizard releasing extensive fireworks into the skies.
We need to credit the artist who put his soul into this art, Shiburingaru, who put great effort into this Charizard.
1 - The Gods of Sinnoh (Trainer Gallery)
And we arrived in the very first place, and of course, this fantastic quartet couldn't be left out!
With the art of Akira Egawa that refers to the Baroque style, it shows this majesty of the formation of the gods and their positions in hierarchies, representing Arceus, Dialga and Palkia as a beneficent divine trinity, while Giratina, as a malevolent force, banished to the Reverse World, precisely with the allusion to religiosity that the Baroque artistic movement conveys and highlights.
I explained more about these topics in the article about most valuable cards of Crown Zenith, in third position, where Arceus was and in first position with Giratina.
What did you think of the list? Do you disagree with the placements? Comment your opinion below!
See you next time.