Hello everybody. I'm Rodrigo, and I come with plenty of useful information to add to your search for rare cards to collect and/or for those who seek the competitive scene and are looking for alternative art versions.
Most Valuable Cards in Astral Radiance
Base expansion cards:
10th) Path to the Peak (Gold Full Art) (Astral Radiance - 213/189)
The card is widely played in competitive Standard, the effect of which is to nullify any abilities of Pokémon in play that have rule boxes — that is, those that use card draw features like Crobat-V, the trio of Johto beasts (Entei, Raikou and Suicune), Arceus-VMax's V-Star ability, Eternatus-VMax, among others, lose their effectiveness.
9th) Darkrai-VStar (Astral Radiance - 99/189)
Still with certain bets for future games (even with the current expansion emphasizing support cards for plant Pokémon like Gardenia's Vigor to speed up the power up of these Pokémon, and Hisui Liligant-Star as another accelerator, supporting other plant attackers to be a counter-attack for dark type in general), Darkrai-VStar has his Dark Pulse attack, base damage for 30 + 30 for each energy attached to your Pokémon (at the cost of two colorless energies).
And with cards that support your main attack like Galarian Moltres Baby (from Evolving Skies) with the Malevolent Charge ability, which makes the effect of being put into play from your hand, you can attach two dark energies from your hand to that Pokémon -- increasing the amount of Energy in play. There's also Galarian Moltres-V (from Chilling Reign) with the Direflame Wings ability, which recycles dark energy per turn from the discard that can be attached to it, boosting Darkrai's power; and finishing the techs complement for Darkrai, we have the reprint of the iconic card of the Black/White era: Dark Explorers – the Dark Patch, whose card rescues a dark energy from the discard and attachs it to one of your Benched Dark-type Pokémon in addition to its VStar ability, Star Abyss, which retrieves two items from the discard and puts them into your hand.
Darkrai-VStar is a powerful long-term competitive card, so keep an eye out (extras: Darkrai-VStar pretty much reminds us of its old version, Darkrai-EX in X/Y: Breakpoint).
8th) Origin Forme Palkia-VStar (Astral Radiance - 40/189)
Reminiscent of the Legends of Arceus games, the space lord in his original form has a presence in the TCG with his water type. Within the format with power-up accelerators such as Melony (Chilling Reign), which binds a water energy to your Pokémon-V and then with a 3-card draw addition (similar effect to the old Welder card for the fire Pokémon in the Sun/Moon block), Palkia is gaining attention from players for its ability to deal high and fast damage in a versatile way.
For just two energies, its Subspace Swell attack, with base damage of 60 + 20 for each Pokémon in the bench (both yours and your opponent's — almost similar to the effect of Suicune-V from Evolving Skies), in addition to the VStar ability, Star Portal, which makes you search for 3 water energies from the discard pile and attach to your Pokémon in any way you want.
Even with cards that complement water decks, such as Irida with the effect to fetch a water Pokémon and an item (the same effects as the old Korrina card, from X/Y: Furious Fist), Palkia will definitely be one of the public favorites, of the same importance that Arceus-VStar has.
7th) Hisuian Samurott-VStar (Gold Full Art) (Astral Radiance - 209/189)
One of the initials of the Hisui region that the public had the most sympathy. The golden version of the card is not far behind Darkrai-VStar for assembling possible Dark Box possibilities.
Exclusively, this card features a generous attack by two dark energies, Merciless Blade, with base damage of 110 + 110 if the opponent's Active Pokémon has any damage counters, in addition to its VStar Ability, Moon Cleave Star, that this Pokémon can put 4 damage counters on one of the opponent's Pokémon.
Even before the September rotation, there are cards that can make combos for the Dark Box, such as the Galarian Zigzagoon (from Sword/Shield: Base Set) that with the Collection Net, can drip damage counters on the opponent to create the combo, plus Sableye-V itself (from Sword/Shield: Base Set) as an attack complement to his second attack which is similar to Hisuian Samurott, which hits a specific amount of damage if the opponent has damage counters.
6th) Origin Forme Palkia-VStar (Rainbow Full Art) (Astral Radiance - 192/189)
Replicating the same benefits of its regular version, cited in the eighth position, only changes its rarity, adding value for its category for being a “Rainbow” art.
5th) Machamp-V (Alternative Full Art) (Astral Radiance - 172/189)
As usual in current releases, there are some cards with these “secret” arts that captivate a new modality of collectors, and among them, there is this Machamp holding purchases in the middle of the city.
The first attack being almost a "signature" of the Pokémon, the Revenge Buster does per base 50 + 50 if any Pokémon on your bench has any damage counters, and the Seismic Toss (for two fighter energies and one colorless) deals 140 damage.
It is not a strong card within the current competitive as expected from the fighter type (as was expected from Lucario-VStar), just having, again, only commercial value for collectors thanks to its art.
4th) Origin Forme Palkia-VStar (Gold Full Art) (Astral Radiance - 208/189)
As already mentioned in the eighth position for its possibilities, and highlighted by its other rarity version “Rainbow” in the sixth position, Palkia again gains its air of majesty in this golden secret version, adding even more value to its acquisition.
3rd) Irida (Full Art) (Astral Radiance - 186/189)
One of the most coveted cards even in regular form due to its search effect for a water Pokémon and an item card, it will be quite a format staple for water Pokémon.
Its effect is almost a "reprint" of Korrina's effect, from the X/Y: Furious Fist expansion, which was aimed at fighting Pokémon.
The high value of the card, in addition to its usefulness, is also due to the Eastern culture of overpricing female characters, and this habit has appealed to the West as well, making it even more expensive.
2nd) Origin Forme Palkia-V (Alternative Full Art) (Astral Radiance - 167/189)
Again, the lord of space literally taking up more spaces in our rankings!
Now in this position, it enters its category for the rarity of the alternative secret art, where there is a psychedelic effect of the distortion of the surrounding environment, with the “Tesseract” effect, the “distortion of the fourth dimension”, showing precisely the main power of Pokémon: space.
Its attacks are nice: the first attack, Rule the Region (for a water energy), has the effect of taking a stadium card from your deck and putting it in your hand and then shuffling your deck; and the second attack, Hydro Break (for two water energies and one colorless), does base 200 damage, but cannot be used again the next turn.
1st) Origin Forme Dialga-V (Alternative Full Art) (Astral Radiance - 177/189)
We are here with our champion. With this resplendent art, where you can see the Pokémon flying over the skies with playful colors in the clouds that pass by, this one undoubtedly had its well-deserved place.
The card's attacks are: Metal Coating (for a colorless energy), it searches for two metallic energies from the discard and binds them to the Pokémon; and his second attack, Temporal Rupture (for 3 metallic energies and one colorless) does base 180 damage. It's a heavy Pokemon for the format, though there's Arceus-VStar to speed up the energies.
Honorable Mentions: Trainers Gallery
Of course, we can't forget about the special cards of iconic characters from the VGC media and anime with their signature Pokémon. And this expansion had some, as usual.
There are two cards in particular that won for the nostalgia factor, which certainly added to their commercial value:
Garchomp-V (Astral Radiance – TG#23)
The woman who haunted and frightened many, causing many to break out in a cold sweat when facing her at the Diamond and Pearl games: Sinnoh's champion, Cynthia. And obviously with her signature Pokémon, Garchomp, she couldn't be left out of the list.
Beloved by the community because its cards have a certain greater prominence in Full Arts in the Sun/Moon block, she returns in the “Trainers Gallery”.
Garchomp-V has 220 HP, Dragon-type, no weakness, no resistance, no retreat cost, and has two attacks:
Dragon Claw (for one water energy, one physical energy, and one colorless energy) based on 120 damage.
Sonic Strike (for two water energies, a fighter energy and a colorless) has the effect of having to discard 3 energies to deal 220 damage to one of the opponent's Pokémon.
Starmie-V (Astral Radiance – TG#13)
And revisiting Kanto nostalgia, the first Pokémon region, we have our first travel friend Ash Ketchum in the anime, and in the games, the first character as a water-type gym leader: Misty.
Dispensing with her history of introductions, she is within the set making a presence with her faithful Pokémon, Starmie.
Starmie-V has 190 HP, Water-type, Electric Weakness, no retreat cost, and has two attacks:
Swift (for two colorless energies) with 50 base damage, and ignoring any effects of the opponent's Pokémon, including weakness or resistance.
Energy Spiral (for two water energies) based on 50x damage per number of energies attached to your opponent's Pokémon.
I hope this was a useful reading so that you can take from these analyses, draw your conclusions and keep an eye on the releases.
See you soon!