Now that the Sword and Shield era of the Pokémon TCG is coming to a close, it’s time to reflect on which cards are its best. The Gen 8 series will reach its official end in January 2023 when Crown Zenith releases with over 160 new cards. Even so, Silver Tempest was the last major Sword and Shield expansion, so the most valuable and important cards of this era can be evaluated.
The Gen 8 expansions place a heavy emphasis on VMAXs. Imitating the Gigantamax mechanic from Pokémon Sword and Shield, these cards function as evolutions of V cards and come with strong attacks, abilities, and bulk. Consequently, they are among the strongest cards in the Pokémon TCG and the centerpieces of most players’ decks.
The Best Sword & Shield Cards Are Competitively Viable & Valuable
Though most VMAXs can wreak havoc when active, the best Sword and Shield TCG cards are those that are both viable and valuable. Pokémon TCG investing has become as big – if not larger – than the actual game itself. Consequently, cards like Gardevoir VMAX cannot be considered among the era’s greatest because of their lack of financial value, and Pikachu VMAX similarly cannot rank highly because of its lack of competitive use. Although these cards may be excluded from the top, the following five managed to be useful to both players and investors and thus became the best cards of the Sword and Shield era.
Mew VMAX Is A Game Changer In Pokémon TCG
If any card is a must-have in the Sword and Shield era of the Pokémon TCG, it is Mew VMAX. As part of Fusion Strike, Mew VMAX has an overpowered move that brings the most out of other cards in the set: “Cross Fusion Strike.” This move enables Mew to utilize any other Fusion Strike Pokémon’s attack for the small cost of two colorless energy. Typically, players use Cross Fusion Strike so that Mew VMAX can attack with Genesect V’s “Techno Blast” without the energy costs and delayed turns. This strategy is near unstoppable when paired with Mew VMAX’s impressive bulk.
Mew VMAX can also be a safe card for traders and investors. Though TCGPlayer has the regular Mew VMAX listed at $5.46, its Secret Rare alternative forms can are worth a lot. TCGPlayer lists Mew VMAX (Rainbow Rare) at $46.42, and its Alt-Art is nearly double that at $90.00. And considering the card’s importance to competitive play during the Pokémon TCG‘s Sword and Shield sets era, Mew VMAX will likely continue being this valuable in the future.
Arceus VSTAR Is Godly In Pokémon TCG
Arceus VSTAR from Brilliant Stars follows Mew VMAX in terms of competitive viability. Typically, VSTARs are not as strong as their VMAX counterparts: they have less HP and a one-shot ability rather than a consistent skill set. However, Arceus’s “Starbirth” – which allows players to pick two cards from their deck and then shuffle – is an incredibly strong ability. That it’s coupled with an Arceus with 280 HP and a 200 damage “Trinity Nova” only makes it better.
In terms of monetary value, Arceus VSTAR is fairly consistently priced. Between its base form and its Alt-Art, Arceus VSTAR is priced between $15.00 and $30.00 on TCGPlayer. While this is not as valuable as other Pokémon TCG cards, the base form’s $15.00 price point means that players can consistently yield value from the card regardless of what form it is.
Umbreon VMAX Is The Most Expensive Sword & Shield Card
Umbreon VMAX (Alt-Art) is the most valuable of all the Sword and Shield TCG cards. TCGPlayer lists the Evolving Skies Secret Rare at a whopping $514.95. Considering that the Eeveelutions are fan-favorites, this price point is likely to remain high in the future, making it a safe investment for traders.
Umbreon VMAX comes with competitive advantages, as well. Like in the games, Umbreon is more of a defensive disruptor than it is an attacker. Consequently, the highlights of Umbreon VMAX are its impressive bulk (310 HP) and “Dark Signal” ability. With this, players can force their opponents to switch an active Pokémon with one from their deck upon evolving Umbreon V into VMAX.
Serena Is One Of The Best Training Cards In Pokémon TCG
Serena is an essential trainer card to have in the current meta of Pokémon TCG. As YouTuber In Third Person explains, Serena provides so much utility, a player can discard three cards, pick five cards from their deck, and force their opponents to activate their V cards with just this one card. Few trainer cards do this many things; even fewer serve such important roles.
Serena is also one of the most expensive trainer cards from the Sword and Shield era of the Pokémon TCG. When Silver Tempest first released in Japan with Incandescent Arcana, Serena (Full Art) was one of the most valuable cards of the year overall. Now that Silver Tempest is out, Serena (Full Art) is listed at a more modest $42.98, according to TCGPlayer. Though she’s taken a big knockdown in price, she’s still a more valuable card than most.
Giratina V Is A Terrifying Pokémon In The TCG
Giratina V is one of the best overall Pokémon from the Sword and Shield sets for both competitive play and investing. For players, Giratina V hits very hard and is never affected by the conditions an opponent sets for their team; on top of this, the move “Abyss Seeking” allows players to select two out of four cards from the top of their deck. If this is not enough for players, Giratina V can be evolved into Giratina VSTAR, perhaps the most offensive VSTAR there is.
For investors, Giratina V is stellar. While its base form and Secret Rare are not particularly expensive, its Alt Art is. TCGPlayer lists Giratina V (Alt-Art) at a whopping $299.95 – and at the time of writing, its price is beginning to rise. Giratina V should thus be on the wishlist for anyone trying to make the most out of the Sword and Shield sets of the Pokémon TCG before the next generation starts.
More: What Makes Mew Pokémon TCG’s Most Iconic Promo Card
Sources: TCGPlayer (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), In Third Person/YouTube