Hands-on: Pokémon’s Astral Radiance TCG expansion excites with all-new Hisuian artworks


After first being revealed back in March, today we’re going hands-on with the new Pokémon Astral Radiance. Slated to release later this month, the latest expansion to the Pokémon TCG is the first to bring new forms and artwork from Legends: Arceus into card game with 180 refreshed or entirely new releases. So ahead of launch, we’re diving into some first impressions for the new cards to see how everything Astral Radiance stacks up.

Hands-on with Pokemon’s new Astral Radiance expansion

If there’s one thing you need to know about my love for Pokémon, it’s that Generation 4 and the broader journeys across Sinnoh are my favorite. So when the new Astral Radiance set was announced to be focusing on Legends: Arceus, and by extension all of the Pokémon and lore from ancient Sinnoh, now called Hisui, I was pretty thrilled.

You’ll still have to wait another few weeks here to actually get your hands on the assortment of new cards. But in the meantime, The Pokémon Company was kind enough to send over one of the new Astral Radiance Booster Boxes and an Elite Trainer Box to offer some first impressions ahead of time.

As a quick recap, The Pokémon Company first revealed the new packs back in March. Showing off the new booster packs and Trainer boxes, the Astral Radiance set includes 180 all-new cards that depict everything from refreshed artworks of commons to completely unique full art Trainer cards and more. Launching on May 27, 2022, pricing is right along what we’ve come to expect from past TCG expansions and pre-orders are currently live ahead of time.

While you can go pick them up direct from the Pokémon Center, Amazon also currently has listings live for the next set of cards. The always-popular Booster Box is the best way to dive into things this time around for returning fans and sells for $150. Then there’s also the Elite Trainer Box at $52, which provides a great starting point to Pokémon fans looking to get in on Astral Radiance and the TCG at large for the first time.

As for the actual cards, there is a lot to be excited about this time around. Included in the new 180-card set list are all-new artworks based around the latest Pokémon video game. It’s what’s to be expected from a new expansion and delivers some nice alterations to mainstays in the franchise. But then there are all of the firsts for the Pokémon TCG. Hisui and the pursuing Hisuian versions of different characters are finally making their debuts into the card game. Just about every Pokémon who has been refreshed for Legends: Arceus is also getting the same treatment from Astral Radiance.

Living up to that naming scheme, the expansion also introduces the new mechanic of Radiant Pokémon. Featuring shiny versions of the Pokémon each card is focused on, this is one of the first times that the alternate color palette designs have made their way into the TCG. So shiny hunters now have a little something extra to enjoy from the card game side of the Pokémon world.

So far I’ve only opened half of the booster packs and have to say that I am pretty happy with the pull rates. Not that I’ve had absolutely amazing luck, but the fact that in half of a booster pack I was able to pull two of the five more signature cards from the collection is pretty exciting. I’m loving all of the new artwork for even the commons, but getting Origin Forme Palkia and the Hisuian Typhlosion were certainly highlights.

9to5Toys’ Take

There’s always going to be something exciting about the first set of cards based around a new Pokémon property, and Astral Radiance certainly does not disappoint. It’s one of the more centralized lineups as of late and really sticks to the Legends: Arceus focus. Which I particularly love!

On top of so many all-new cards and artworks for existing pocket monsters, there’s also quite a few firsts for the TCG based around period for the Hisuian versions that I am sure many collectors and fans alike will be interested in getting their hands on. Though I will say that this expansion might not be as beloved by the entire Pokémon fandom. There is a lot of catering to the new open-world game and Sinnoh at large, so if you aren’t the biggest fan of those regions there won’t be quite as much to enjoy. But if you’re like me and will take any Generation 4 TCG love that The Pokémon Company offers, Astral Radiance is for you.

Pokemon Astral Radiance drops on May 27 and you can now pre-order both the Booster Box and Elite Trainer Box now.

Hands-on with other new Pokémon TCG expansions:

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