Pokémon TCG set Astral Radiance released on May 27, 2022 and it brought fans plenty of new cards and it could change how you handle Pokémon TCG battles! In the Astral Radiance set, fans are brought back in time to the Hisui region that we first saw in the video game Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
The Astral Radiance set introduces all of the new Pokémon found in the Hisui region. There are new Hisuian forms, Pokémon VSTAR and an all-new mechanic, Radiant Pokémon, included in this set. You will also find the Trainer Gallery sub-set from the Brilliant Stars collection, as there is an all-new collection of cards featuring art of Pokémon with their favorite trainers.
The headliners in the Astral Radiance set seem to be Dialga and Palkia. Most of the time these two are more of the hype crew for their creator, Pokémon Arceus. Yes, they both played important roles in the Pokémon game that released in January 2022, but they were always in Arceus’ shadow. Rightfully so, as the game was called “Pokémon Legends: Arceus.”
Now Dialga and Palkia are taking center stage in this set and collectors are wanting those cards. You will also find a number of secret rare cards with special rainbow or golden coloring. This means there are a lot of cards to chase in Astral Radiance.
In total, there are 246 new cards for collectors in Astral Radiance and today, we are looking the 10 best cards in Pokémon’s Astral Radiance set.
Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (Rainbow Secret Rare)
Palkia is kind of a big deal. She is a member of the “creation trio” and one of the face Pokémon of Astral Radiance. She also happens to be the being who controls the entire concept of space in the Pokémon world. Again, she’s kind of a big deal.
She doesn’t have the popularity as some Pokémon characters, but she is normally playing second fiddle to Arceus. Not in Astral Radiance though, as she is given her moment to shine and she takes it. This card, in the Rainbow Secret Rare version, has seen a lot of play in the Japanese card game, which is why it has to be on the best cards list.
Irida (Alternate Art)
While the Astral Radiance set includes a lot of great new Supporter cards, it looks like Irida is making a case to be one of the best. Irida is the leader of Pearl Clan and happens to be one of the most prominent female characters in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
Irida is one of the best Supporter cards, as she gives players the chance to pull a water Pokémon and item card straight from their deck. Palkia VSTAR is very popular in Astral Radiance, which could explain why Irida is doing so well. Her ability to search for a water Pokémon and an item means you could easily pull out Palkia VSTAR and the buff item needed to get it online incredibly early.
Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (Gold Secret Rare)
Yes, we already explained the importance of Palkia VSTAR in the Astral Radiance set. She is back for another spot on the list though, as we all know that people love to bling out their decks. Not only do collectors want to take down their opponent with a top-tier deck, but if they can do it while also flexing with a fancy, secret rare version of a card, even better.
This golden version of the Palkia VSTAR is a golden secret and quite rare. Because of that, it adds even more value to its acquisition.
Machamp V (Alternate Art)
Some cards make the list because of the impact they have on the game. Others make the list because of vibes and looks. Machamp V is definitely the latter. This illustration by Shinya Komatsu is amazing, as it shows multiple Pokémon and humans living in harmony in an idyllic setting.
Machamp is a solid Gen I Pokémon, but the art is selling it on this one. Where is Machamp headed? What’s up with all the umbrellas? Is Trapinch helping out? Who is Machamp shopping for? It’s definitely doing errands in the Stow-on-Side market, but I don’t think we’ll ever get an answer to any of those questions.
Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR (Alternate Art)
All the talk has been on Palkia, but Dialga hits the list with the stunningly colorful alternate art version of the card. The art is what makes this card stand out, as we see the Pokémon flying over the skies with playful colors in the clouds that pass by.
There is so much attention to detail in this card, as you see the swirl of the stars, the planets spinning in space and the phases of the moon slowly progressing across the sky. This could be considered one of the most valuable cards in the Astral Radiance set because of how good it looks.
Hisuian Samurott VSTAR (Gold Secret Rare)
Hisuian Samurott is a starter Pokémon that didn’t receive a lot of hype in the run-up to the launch of Legends: Arceus. There may have been little hype, but people are really wanting the rare gold version of Samurott from the Astral Radiance set.
For this card, the gold style makes the card even better, as the outline helps the dark blues and red pop even more. The Samurott is great for sweeping large Pokémon out of the way through its Merciless Blade attack, as you deal 220 damage to an already-damaged Pokémon and it should be enough to knock it out.
Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (Alternate Art)
As we stated above, Palkia is a headliner in this set and she is back on the list again. This time for the Alternate Art version of the card, but can you blame us?
For this card, the Origin Forme Palkia is placed in a weird, M.C. Escher-esque landscape, as we see twisting geometry and floating pillars. This is definitely some of the best Pokémon art we have seen in a while and even better to see it on such an essential deck.
Hisuian Sneasler V (Alternate Art)
The Astral Radiance set is based on Legends: Arceus, which means we saw the debut of a number of new Hisuian Pokémon. The Hisuian Sneasler is a new evolution of Sneasel that helps traverse the many rocket cliff faces dotted throughout the region in Legends.
For Hisuian Sneasler, the alternate art version is a beautiful card, as it shows a vista of Hisui as Sneasler claws its way up to a nest of playing Hisuian Sneasels. Collectors will like the actual card too, as it encourages you to stack your opponent up with status effects, like the poison it gives with Poison Claws, before dropping a Dire Claw to deal big damage.
Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR (Gold Secret Rare)
Dialga is back on the list again, as the golden rare printing makes the list. Dialga is the embodiment of time itself, but you won’t be seeing this card much in Standard, but it will be more prevalent in the Expanded format.
Besides the gold appeal of this card, taking two turns in a row is undoubtedly incredibly powerful. This is especially true in a format where two- and three-prize Pokémon make up the bulk of attackers. Can you imagine taking down a VMAX Pokémon with Star Chronos, claiming your three prize cards, then getting another turn?
Starmie V (Trainer Gallery)
One of the most sought-after Trainer Gallery cards in the Astral Radiance set definitely goes to Starmie V, a Generation I Pokémon who is associated with one of the most well-known characters in the franchise.
To be honest, Starmie V is a Misty card in all but name. Misty is one of the best-known female characters in the franchise, yet she only appears on one full-art card in the Pokémon TCG. People want more Misty, so this Starmie card seems to be making up for lost time for them.
For those collectors out there that played Pokémon Legends: Arceus, then Astral Radiance has some exciting cards that commemorate the events and Pokémon from the game. This set gives us some many new characters that are receiving full-art versions and it is great to see Palkia and Dalgia take on the headliner role.
There are a lot of great cards to invest in from the Astral Radiance set, especially new characters and new looks. You are definitely going to want to keep this list handy!