Hello everyone! Welcome back to ChannelFireball and another one of my Pokemon collecting articles. I hope you all got a chance to read my last one where I covered the dangers of fake cards and how to spot them.
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- Money Talks — A Financial Set Review of Battle Styles
Battle Styles is upon us and out today!
Reviewing sets has always been one of my favorite things to do, new sets are an exciting time for the competitive player in me. Collectors get new cards to chase after, players get new cards to put in their decks – truly a win for everyone. This will mostly be a review from a financial standpoint as usual, but I do have a small twist for today – more on that soon. Let’s kick things off with an overview of how the rest of the article is going to look.
I quickly want to talk about how I value each card and what I might say about some of them.
For my first time with ChannelFireball I will be keeping playability and competitive value in mind as I review these cards. Truthfully, I always have, but this is the first time I will be putting that into writing! It does affect the value sometimes.
The final determining factor for what category a card goes into will be its projected financial value, which is a factor in a few different things, including competitive value. “What’s hot” are cards I expect to perform well, “what’s not” are cards I expect to perform poorly and the “the maybes” category are as the title suggests.
Even though I consider myself to be very informed and try my best to provide as accurate of information as possible, I encourage you to do your own research before making any financial decisions. It is always best to come to your own conclusion, make your own decisions based on your conclusions and personal situation and finding the right time to do so.
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX Regular Art
Before I review this card, I just wanted to say that this card is so hyped that I think all variations of it have potential. I am going to review the regular art for this section, but just know that the hyper rare has everything below and more going for it, as it is also somewhat of a collector’s item that will have a better long-term outlook.
As I already said, the hyper rare is going to be somewhat pricy regardless of just how playable this card ends up, and regardless of what the price of the regular art looks like. That certainly makes it the more exciting option, but I wanted to cover the regular art because it is going to reach more people’s hands and it will be the one that is being used in tournaments much more often. This makes analyzing it relevant for more people, so that’s what I decided to go with. This card is currently sitting at $50. There is a zero percent chance it stays at 50 for a long time, regardless of any distribution problems or insane playability. A regular art card just does not sit at that price for the most part, even cards that can be played in every deck do not sit at that price most of the time. I do think this card is good, just how good remains to be seen, but I expect this card to be in the $20-$30 range soon. Distribution problems could delay this reality, but I also would not be surprised to see this card drop lower than my prediction either. Don’t get me wrong, the range I gave would still be a great price tag for a regular art card to retain, and there is no shame in that, it just isn’t a $50 card.
Lastly, since this card is so strong, the thing it evolves from has got to have at least some value, right? Yes, that it the case, especially the full art version. Most of the time, the VMAX is going to be worth a large amount more than the V and I see no reason for that to be the case here. However, I do think the full art will be worth something, and the regular version could be worth something too. Something is all relative, so keep in mind other prices and how cards are doing as well.
Tyranitar V Alternate Art
This may surprise you, but this is by far and away my number one pick in this set from a financial aspect. To be honest, it isn’t super close either, at least in the long run. This is because this alternate art Tyranitar V has a very low pull rate and is a fan favorite Pokemon, which gives off the same vibes as some of the cards we have seen perform great recently did. This brings cards such as Mewtwo & Mew-GX hyper rare and Latias & Latios-GX‘s alternate art to mind, which are certainly not chumps.
I am very curious to see how this card’s price moves in the coming weeks. Generally, cards will decline after their official release as they become readily available, but there are two things working against that this time. For starters, it does seem like people are picking up on just how awesome this card is, which does not help its chances of slipping under the radar. Additionally, Pokemon is truly at an incredible point right now, and I imagine getting product for this set is going to be very difficult. Pokemon’s promise to improve the distribution situation will have a huge effect on the price of this set and this card, so that is another thing to monitor. If I wasn’t already clear, this is my favorite card in the set and by far the one I care about the most.
Single Strike Urshifu VMAX Hyper Rare
Unlike its brethren above, I am just covering the hyper rare version of this one, as I think that this is the only variation with true staying power. The difference between this Urshifu and the one above is that this one is not nearly as good in the competitive scene, which really hurts its value in comparison, especially the regular art version.
The hyper rare version, however, will likely do great in the long-term. It is a very recognizable Pokemon that is being released in the set’s opening block, which is a historically beneficial thing to happen to a card. It is also being released in a great time for Pokemon, where demand is truly something else. On top of that, is just a great artwork for the people out there that like hyper rares. It has a lot of different things going for it, it just isn’t a good card competitively, but that’s okay and we’ll have to see how this card ends up doing.
Single Strike & Rapid Strike Energy Secret Rares
These cards are in a similar position for every aspect I wanted to discuss here, so I decided to lump them together.
They obviously have different effects, but they are both utility Energy cards that benefit the Pokemon they are meant for. As for Single Strike Energy, it can provide either Darkness or Fighting and it makes the Single Strike Pokemon it is attached to deal 20 more damage. As for Rapid Strike Energy, it provides any combination of two Fighting/Water Energy to any Rapid Strike Pokemon. Basically, the Single Strike Energy provides Single Strike Pokemon with Energy flexibility and extra damage output and Rapid Strike Energy provides Rapid Strike Pokemon with Energy flexibility and acceleration. These are obviously both great effects, and I see no reason why these would not be played in their respective decks. I guess these cards could not see much play if that whole mechanic struggles, but that seems unlikely, especially as time passes and more support is released.
Unlike some of the other cards in this article, these are mainly just going to be valued on their playability. They will be valuable, but that’s only because they are a secret rare version of a good card. The regular versions are unlikely to be worth much of anything even if they are good, but we do see cases where trainers and energy cards can be worth a couple dollars if they see a lot of play.
This card is comparable to a card that still sees play in the Expanded format today: Oranguru. It offers great draw power with no downside, bringing Marnie protection and extra reach to the table. It is different from Oranguru in the fact that it has the potential to draw even more cards than Oranguru did, but that comes at the price of being a two-Prize Pokemon. In Standard there isn’t much of a choice, so a deck will play this card if it needs it. The only thing that competes with it would be Oricorio-GX, but they do operate differently, so it would depend on the deck that was trying to make use of it.
As for Expanded, I do think it will be on a case-by-case basis. A deck featuring mostly single-Prize Pokemon would probably stick to Oranguru to avoid benching a two-Prize Pokemon, but decks already benching other two-Prize Pokemon would probably prefer this Kricketune V. As for the pricing, I have bad news for anyone hoping pulling a Kricketune will change their life. Even though this card is somewhat playable, it will not be worth a notable amount whatsoever. The regular art is already $5, and I expect that to drop even further once the set is in circulation.
Level Ball, EXP. Share & Escape Rope Regular Arts
I lumped these together because they are all quite similar. These are all reprinted cards that saw some play in the past at some point, but likely won’t be useful now. Level Ball is just not the right search card for the current meta, as there are pretty much no frequently used Pokemon that could be searched by it. This could be different in the future though, so keep an eye on this card moving forward. EXP. Share is just a slow card that is easily countered by Tool Scrapper, which is just not good for obvious reasons.
Lastly, Escape Rope is the most likely card to see play out of these three, but it did not see much use when it was last legal in the Standard format. Generally speaking, it is best to just use Switch and move on from there. You can either just attack the Active if that’s what you want to do or use Boss’s Orders to bring up a Benched Pokemon. In either of these options, Escape Rope is just not doing anything, and I feel like it is a situational card that is often worse than Switch. As for monetary value, these are all common cards that a lot of people already have old copies of, leaving it with little demand and very large availability. These cards are going to be pennies.
Tower of Darkness & Waters
These are lumped together because they operate similarly and have the same opportunity to see some play and gain value. Tower of Darkness has the potential to greatly benefit Single Strike-based decks by granting additional draw power that other decks could not make use of. In a similar manner, Tower of Waters could benefit Rapid Strike decks by making them more mobile. These Stadiums remind me of Scorched Earth and Dark City, both of which have seen some amount of play. These cards will likely see some play too, but it is unlikely that they will be worth much of anything. It just takes a very playable Trainer card that can be used in many decks for the price to increase, which is just not what we have here.
All Ultra Rares Not Mentioned
The brutal fact here is that most of the cards in each set end up with little value, both monetarily and playability wise. Some of them have great artwork to appreciate, and I am sure all of them have people out there that value them personally, but that does not change the facts. This is true of a lot of ultra rares even, plenty of them end up following down to the price of bulk or close to it. Going one step further, all the unplayable rares/commons/uncommons in a set have this happen as well on a much harsher scale, which is where the term bulk came from. Though I will say that sometimes uncommons that were initially ignored end up gaining value in the future, such as Metal Goggles, but that is an infrequent occurrence.
Octillery Regular Art & Secret Rare
I specified both rarities because unlike the other cards, where the lesser version operates on a much lower scale and has less importance, the regular old holo has some serious potential here. While the secret rare will obviously always outweigh the regular version, the significance of the holo is not something I wanted to overlook here.
Anyways, as for the cards themselves, the deal is that Octillery is an incredible support Pokemon for Rapid Strike Pokemon. holos that end up seeing serious play end up being the ones that sell for around $10, and in some cases more, which is very good for a regular holo card. Additionally, this would greatly benefit the secret rare version because it would mean that it is a playable card and the secret rare version of a $10 holo. This would make Octillery quite valuable, and it would be a $40 card in this scenario most likely.
However, all of that is the ideal scenario. There is also a world where the Octillery is not able to make its way into decks, whether that be because Rapid Strike Pokemon never lineup well with the meta or the Octillery is just deemed not worth the space. In my opinion, the only way the Octillery does not see play is if it just deemed to be too slow of a card, meaning the ability does not generate enough value to warrant the space in the deck. This could happen due to how fast games end nowadays, so that is something to monitor.
As for the regular holo, there really is not much of a middle ground. The card either gets played a bunch and has some serious value for a holo, or it just flops and is worth nearly nothing. As for the secret rare version, I think it has a floor of about $10, and will likely sit between $15 and $20 if the card is not playable. This is certainly a card to keep an eye on!
Houndoom Regular Art & Secret Rare
Literally everything I said about the Octillery above could be stated about this card, as it has an ability that greatly benefits Single Strike Pokemon but could be deemed too slow. Keep the above thoughts in mind when thinking about this card.
I did want to talk about the secret rare version of this card a little bit though, as I believe it has more potential than the secret rare Octillery, even if it does not reach playability level. Obviously being a played card is going to help this card’s value in the short and long term, but it will be just fine even without that support. Houndoom is a much more popular Pokemon, it has great artwork on this card, and I think it has a much higher floor and ceiling than the Octillery.
Tyranitar V Full Art
This is a full art copy of a historic fan favorite and the next best thing to the alternate art version that was released in this set, and you already know my thoughts on that card. I don’t think that this card has much potential soon, but I do think it does in the long-term. It really is just that simple, and I don’t have much else to say about this one. We’ll just have to wait and see.
All Full Art Supporters
I am about to say the same thing about these full art Supporters as I did for the ones that came out of Shining Fates. This is because I think most of the full art Supporters being released in this period are in a similar position, besides the ones that feature an iconic artwork or fan favorite Pokemon/character. I said that my number one pick Supporter-wise for Shining Fates was Skyla – it was by far and away the best Supporter to some out of Shining Fates financially. This is true, and Skyla is sitting at $50 right now. I also said that a majority of the other full art Supporters would remain reasonably priced for a while, but as the set ages, they have potential to increase in price.
I expect the full art Supporters to act similarly to the average ones that have been released in recent sets. Not only do buyouts help to increase the price of older full art supporters, but they just naturally increase in price as availability and access decreases. We have seen this repeatedly with full art supporters of the past, and I would not be surprised to see it continue. I put these in the maybe category because they are not guaranteed to increase, and even if they do, it will likely take a long time for that to come to fruition.
All Hyper Rares
Obviously, I already mentioned both variations of the Urshifu VMAX in their hyper rare forms, so this section is not including those. These are honestly in a similar position to the full art Supporters, but these will be somewhat sought after right off the bat. They have a high floor in which the average hyper rare does not drop below $10, at least that has been the case for a lot of the recent sets, so they do have that going for them right off the bat. Outside of particularly playable or popular Pokemon, hyper rares tend not to see a ton of movement until the set ages, which is when these have the potential to increase in price substantially. A great example of this is Lost Thunder, which is now a set filled with expensive hyper rares. I am sure there are other examples as well, but the point here is that these are a low-risk option with decent long term prospective.
Empoleon V Alternate Art & Single Strike Urshifu V Alternate Art
I placed these two together because they are nice looking alternate arts for recognizable Pokemon, which is all that really matters here. I have learned that the alternate art cards should never be underestimated, as they have turned out to be pretty sought after and valuable cards for the most part. These two are no exception to that, and I recommend keeping an eye on them from the start. It would happen sooner than you think, but it could also take time. Pull rates and set availability make a difference here, so we will see what the coming months have to offer for this set and Pokemon as a whole.
I hope you enjoyed my Battle Styles review! If you have any further comments or questions about the new set, feel free to drop a comment down below and I will get back to you. Additionally, I am always looking to write about what you want to read about – you can also leave a comment if you have something in mind. Otherwise, I will be back next week with another article and I will see you all then.