Looking back historically at the base sets for different generations, one main consensus can be reached. When looking at the last few generations' base sets they can be summed up simply in one word: mediocre. I can fully admit that yes, this is a very subjective take, but most people would agree that, when compared to their trailing sets, many base sets are lack-luster. Scarlet and Violet seems to break this trend however, featuring a gallery of many different beautiful art styles, types of cards, and a great variety in the Pokemon in chooses to promote.
It may come as a surprise to some to see this so early, but we already know the secret rares now for the first set of the new generation. While Scarlet and Violet will release on March 31st, about halfway through January we have already seen all of the secret rares for the set. Of these many beautiful cards, many beautiful things can be said about them.
Perhaps the easiest place to begin would be with would be the return of art cards. While in Sword and Shield, as well as Sun and Moon, they were referred to as trainer gallery cards, these specially illustrated cards will henceforth be known as 'illustrator rares'. While yes, this is a different grouping of cards it seems to remain as practically the same thing as before. Beautiful art, for Pokemon which may be featured less often than most, what isn't to love?
Full art cards will also be making a return with Scarlet and Violet as well! It appears that the full arts of this generation will be continuing where Sword and Shield left off, following a similar artistic approach. Simpler backgrounds with mostly solid colors with a potential small added pattern behind them, a lovely combination.
The newest addition to the roster of cards to pull would be terastalized cards, which follow the newest in-game mechanic within the Paldea region. There are only two Pokemon which feature this unique denotation within the Scarlet and Violet set, Gyrados and Arcanine. Perhaps this may become the norm moving forwards, as we may see two Pokemon featured every set, or maybe this could just be a small sampling of what's to come. Either way, the first two Pokemon to debut with this feature are both fan favorites, so its no doubt that they'll be a hit.
The last unique form of card would be the gold cards, which are continuing their run after several generations. There isn't much to say about these cards outside of how they bolster the roster of already great cards. Gold rares can allow random Pokemon or items to make an appearance in a set which they may not seem to quite fit into. This, along with the difficulty in collecting them, have made them some of the more enjoyable cards to see within sets.
As a final note, with generation 9 and the Paldea region, we say goodbye finally to rainbow rares. These cards will not be continuing their run after both Sword and Shield and Sun and Moon. These cards were never loved by a majority of the fanbase for a plethora of reasons. Whether you viewed them as filler or just garbage in general, they will not be making a return.
Scarlet and Violet's first set off the press seems to already be an extremely solid beginning to what may be known as another high era for the Pokemon TCG. With all of the monetary changes, as well as the amazing arsenal of rare cards to pull, the S/V TCG will certainly go down in history, and we're glad to be along for the ride.