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The Best Cards In Pokémon TCG Crown Zenith

Crown Zenith is introducing some of the best Sword and Shield cards before the Galar era of the Pokémon Trading Card Game closes. Set to release on January 20, 2023, Pokémon TCG‘s Crown Zenith pack will mark the end of Generation 8 as the TCG begins its transition into its first Scarlet and Violet sets. Though Crown Zenith has not been released yet, VSTAR Universe‘s release in Japan last December has revealed Crown Zenith features a wide array of cards that will appeal to collectors, investors, and players alike.

Crown Zenith was not originally the intended end of the Pokémon TCG‘s Sword and Shield era. Sliver Tempest and Incandescent Arcana were supposed to mark the close of Gen 8 in November 2022 before an early 2023 launch of the first Gen 9 set, Scarlet and Violet. However, after the Japan-exclusive Paradigm Trigger and VSTAR Universe Pokémon TCG sets came out in October and December, it became clear that The Pokémon Company was not yet finished with Sword and Shield. And with Crown Zenith, international Pokémon TCG players can finally catch up with Japan.

Related: Pokémon TCG: All Crown Zenith Secret Rare Cards Revealed So Far

Because it’s bringing an end to the Sword and Shield sets, Crown Zenith has a plethora of desirable cards to celebrate Gen 8. With over 70 Secret Rares, players can expect Rare Arts from acclaimed card designers, new VSTARs to rival the dominance of Lugia and Arceus, and Radiant Pokémon to upset the meta. Following are the very best cards that Crown Zenith has to offer Pokémon TCG fans.

Crown Zenith is squeezing in two new VSTARs before the return of Ex Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet, and both belong with the best of the set. The first, Rotom VSTAR, has been in play in Japan for a few months but is making its global debut with Crown Zenith. Rotom VSTAR’s best tool is “Scrap Pulse,” a move that does 80 base damage plus 40 for every tool card in the Lost Zone. This enables Rotom VSTAR to regularly deal 160 damage for only two Electric energies. YouTuber ZapdosTCG explains how Rotom VSTAR uses this advantage to help players cycle through cards and repeat the Scrap Pulse attack.

The second new VSTAR card is original to Crown Zenith and VSTAR Universe: Regigigas VSTAR. This card is one of the best VSTARs in the Pokémon TCG. Regigigas has the bulk and power of a VMAX with the Prize Card penalty of a VSTAR. On top of that, it also has one of the most threatening VSTAR abilities to date, “Star Guardian.” This ability enables players to remove a card an opponent’s bench, alongside all the cards attached to it. Star Guardian thus makes Regigigas VSTAR a devastating late-game Pokémon and potentially meta-changing.

Crown Zenith‘s most sought-after cards will be the series of four new VMAX Alt Arts for the Generation 4 legendaries: Arceus, Giratina, Origin Forme Dialga, and Origin Forme Palkia. Though these cards first appeared in Astral Radiance, Brilliant Stars, and Lost Origin, the new art by Akira Egawa is original to Crown Zenith and its Japanese predecessor VSTAR Universe. Nicknamed by fans as “Gold Cards,” Egawa’s painterly Secret Rares capture the awe-inspiring nature of the gods of the Pokémon world.

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The Gold Cards are also some of the strongest VSTARs the Pokémon TCG has to offer. Arceus VSTAR’s “Starbirth” has been a game changer in the Sword and Shield meta and is second only to Lugia VSTAR’s “Summoning Star.” Giratina and Origin Forme Palkia follow Arceus in terms of viability, as Giratina’s striking potential and Palkia’s ability to support Kyurem VMAX make them dangerous cards. Dialga VMAX falls a bit behind the others in terms of potential, but its “Star Chronos” VSTAR ability still makes it a serious threat if it’s developed correctly.

Some of the most anticipated cards of Crown Zenith belong to what many have speculated to be a Pokémon TCG “God Pack.” This rumored God Pack is actually a series of nine Crown Zenith Art Rares designed by the long-time Pokémon TCG artist Kouki Saitou. The nine Pokémon featured in this set are Pikachu, Turtwig, Bidoof, Riolu, Swablu, Duskull, Poochyena, Paras, and Mareep. When all nine cards a placed together, they form a picture of Pokémon playing with each other in the forest. Though Leonhart’s unboxing video has disproved these cards are only accessible through God Packs, they are still among the best designed in Crown Zenith.

The two best Pokémon that are part of the Saitou set are Pikachu and Bidoof. Anytime a Pikachu receives a Secret Rare card, it tends to become highly sought-after and thus reliable for Pokémon TCG investors. In contrast, the meme Pokémon Bidoof offers very little financial benefits, but it does play an important role in battles. Due to the plethora of Pokémon that can target benched cards (Radiant Greninja being the most popular example), Bidoof has become a top pick due to its “Unconcen” ability giving it damage immunity on the bench.

Crown Zenith is also introducing two of the best Radiant Pokémon since Radiant Greninja was revealed in Astral Radiance. The first of the two is Radiant Charjabug. Despite its low HP, this Pokémon poses a major threat to decks centered around the likes of Lugia VSTAR/Stoutland V or Drapion V. The reason for this is because of its ability “Static Block,” which places two damage counters for every energy card connected to an enemy V Pokémon. This greatly hinders Stoutland V and Drapion V’s ability to attack VMAX Pokémon and punishes opponents for developing V Pokémon into VMAXs.

Related: Pokémon TCG: Everything Included In The Crown Zenith Set

The second new Radiant Pokémon – Radiant Eternatus – is now one of the best engines in the Pokémon TCG. Radiant Eternatus has the unique ability “Climax Gate,” which allows players to search their deck for any two VMAX cards. This essentially grants players immediate access to VMAX cards at the beginning of the game. Having this advantage in the early-game will likely make Radiant Eternatus a must-have card for Sword and Shield decks moving forward.

The Seal Stones are the Sword and Shield era’s strongest tool cards, but Crown Zenith‘s Sky Seal Stone may be the best of them all. Utilizing V Pokémon as counters to VMAXs and VSTARs has become an increasingly popular strategy in the Pokémon TCG. The Sky Seal Stone’s “Star Order” ability makes this strategy even stronger, as it grants players an additional prize card for every VSTAR or VMAX Pokémon TCG card defeated with a V Pokémon.

The plethora of stellar V Pokémon in Crown Zenith makes the Sky Seal Stone an even stronger card. Drapion V, Stoutland V, Genesect V, and Raikou V are all available in the set, and each of them are some of the best VMAX and VSTAR attackers in the Pokémon TCG. Now with the Sky Seal Stone, these V Pokémon can be even more disruptive for enemy teams.

Crown Zenith looks to be a promising end to the Sword and Shield era of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. With an estimated 90 Secret Rare cards, new Radiant and VSTAR Pokémon, and a several unique Art Rare sets, Crown Zenith has plenty of great Pokémon cards to offer. Hopefully this strong bookend to Gen 8 generates momentum for the Gen 9 sets to come.

More: Pokémon TCG: When New Standard & Extended Format Rotations Start In 2023

Sources: ZapdosTCG / YouTube, Leonhart / YouTube

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