What’s up ChannelFireball readers! TrainerChip here with another collecting article and today I’m going to be looking at Pokemon’s upcoming set, Fusion Strike. Now there is a lot to unpack when it comes to this behemoth of a set, so hopefully by the end of this you will have a little bit better of an idea of what to expect.
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This set is the largest in the history of the Pokemon TCG. Including secret rare cards, is has 284 unique cards. This beats out the previous largest set, Cosmic Eclipse, with a total of 271 cards. This is sure to cause a true headache for master set collectors out there. I personally have already opened over 40 packs and there are still uncommons and commons that I haven’t even pulled! If you’re someone who wants to open all the ultra rares in any given set, this one is sure to set your wallet back quite a bit.
So why exactly is this set so large? Fusion Strike is an assemblage of multiple different sets and promos that have been released in Japan over the last few months. The largest portion of this set comes from Japan’s Fusion Arts set, which features cards like Mew VMAX, Genesect V and many other cards related to the new “Fusion Strike” Battle Style. This set also features cards from Eevee Heroes, Sky Stream and Towering Perfection, the Japanese sets which made up most of Evolving Skies. That set was already going to be quite large, so it seems that The Pokemon Company decided to push quite a few cards that would have been in Evolving Skies, back to Fusion Strike. This includes the lovable “Let’s All Rollout” archetype, which is reminiscent of the “Round” deck from the Black & White-era. This also includes some of the more sought-after cards that were originally missing from Evolving Skies, like full art Shauna and the alternate art Espeon VMAX.
Some of the less exciting cards in the set come from the Family Pokemon Card Game in Japan. These cards include Appletun V, Cinderace V and Greninja V. Like I said, there’s really nothing exciting here, these cards all have very mediocre attacks leaving them with little competitive value. Since there are no full art or Secret Rare versions of these cards, I don’t expect them to be highly collectible either. There are several promos which come from a myriad of different Japanese events and releases. These include Dodrio V and alternate arts of Sandaconda V and Celebi V. But the cards I’m very excited to finally be getting in Fusion Strike are Gengar VMAX and Inteleon VMAX. These cards originally released in early summer of 2021 in the Japanese High-Class Decks. I’ve been wondering for months where we would finally get these cards outside of Japan and the answer is now in Fusion Strike! The reason I’ve been looking forward to these cards so much is that they both have incredible potential in competitive play. Gengar VMAX decks have already seen much success in Japanese tournaments and Inteleon VMAX seems to show real promise based on the games I have seen played so far. And if you’re not a competitive player, don’t worry because these cards also come to this set with a pair of beautiful Secret Rare alternate arts, which are sure to be some of the most sought after and most expensive cards in the set upon release.
If you’re a collector, there is a lot to love about Fusion Strike. It features a plethora of gold cards, alternate arts, full arts, Secret Rares and more. But, I would be cautiously excited.
To start with, there are only five gold cards in this set. That may seem like a lot, but you must remember that this set has 284 cards. For comparison, Evolving Skies (which has 237 cards) features 12 different golds. It is tied with Darkness Ablaze for the least amount of gold cards in a Sword & Shield-era set. Now this means if you pull a gold card, there is a higher chance it will be the one you want since there are only five of them, but this could mean it will be a little more difficult than normal to strike gold in a booster pack.
There are nine different alternate arts to try and collect in this set. Four of these nine are secret rare VMAXs. This hunt is sure to be incredibly difficult, but I do have to admit, alternate arts have become one of my favorite things about modern sets. They truly feel like owning tiny little works of art and every time I have pulled one, it has been very exciting to add to my collection. Besides alternates, there are 15 other regular full art cards in this set. So, if you love the feeling of opening a full art card, there are a ton of opportunities to hit here.
From a competitive standpoint, I have to say that Fusion Strike does leave a bit to be desired. This set introduces the new “Fusion Strike” Battle Style, which does show a little promise. The trainer cards coming out around this battle style, like Cross Switcher, Power Tablet and Elesa’s Sparkle, are sure to be incredibly strong in decks featuring Mew VMAX and Genesect V. I already mentioned above the potential that I believe Gengar VMAX and Inteleon VMAX have in competitive play. But after those few cards, the competitive value drops off drastically, which is disappointing when you remember that this is the largest set of all time.
I do think the Fusion Strike deck will be solid, but it does have two big glaring problems in the current meta. The first is the overwhelming popularity of Path to the Peak. Fusion Strike Decks are sure to rely heavily on Genesect V’s Fusion Strike System Ability. And that ability gets totally halted by Path. You’ll want to make sure your Fusion Strike Battle Style deck is packing tons of Stadiums in preparation. The other issue which could hinder this deck’s success, is that Mew VMAX is weak to Darkness-type Pokemon. Umbreon VMAX is already very strong in this current meta game and despite what Tord Reklev keeps saying every week in his power rankings videos, I believe it to be one of the best decks in the format right now. Also, the brand new Gengar VMAX is going to make its way into Single Strike decks. If you’re playing in a meta where Gengar VMAX and Umbreon VMAX are popular, it will be difficult for your Mew VMAX to find much success.
Other than the cards mentioned, there isn’t too much to be excited about from a competitive standpoint in Fusion Strike. I think that Chandelure VMAX, Boltund VMAX and Greedent VMAX are all interesting, but I’m not very confident that they will have much of an impact on the competitive scene. There are a couple of interesting Trainers in this set, including Adventurer’s Discovery and the reprinted Judge. In this current metagame though, I can’t help but feel like I would always rather be playing a card like Professor’s Research or Marnie as my one supporter per turn.
I think investing in Pokemon products is in a little bit of a weird spot right now. Pokemon has made public statements twice in the past few months about being committed to printing cards as much as possible. I think this is a good thing for the overall fan base, but leaves investing in a tricky spot. I will say that nowadays when I walk through my local Walmart and Target, it isn’t very uncommon for me to see a good amount of Pokemon product on the shelves. The same could not have been said two months ago, where the shelves were barren shortly after every restock. I do still believe that in the long term, sealed Pokemon product will hold its value. It’s one of the most popular franchises in the world and there isn’t anything that I think would be able to change that anytime soon. If there is a huge cultural interest in the brand, there will be collectors and fans looking to get their hands on Pokemon products. With a great number of product being printed right now, it may just take a bit longer for you to see reasonable returns on those investments.
There are a few singles in this set that I have my eye on as potential investment candidates. The big one is Cross Switcher. This card is one of the best in the set as far as competitive play goes and the fact that it is an uncommon card, means it is likely to be cheap right on set release. I would recommend picking a few of these up for yourself if you are a player, but also if you’re looking to buy into cards that have a big upside with their future competitive and monetary value. This is looking far ahead, but when the next rotation happens in September of 2022, Boss’s Orders will leave the format. Boss’s Orders is a staple card in pretty much every Pokemon Deck, so after rotation players will be looking for a replacement. Cross Switcher will still be legal since it carries the “E” regulation mark. If this were to happen, I think that Cross Switcher will shoot up a good bit in price.
Almost this exact situation happened just a couple years ago when rotation came in September of 2019. Guzma was a long-standing staple and after rotation players were scrambling to find a replacement with a similar effect. And a few sets prior, Custom Catcher had come out. Now Custom Catcher was not a very widely played card and so copies slipped into bulk boxes and were forgotten about. But suddenly, this card that was worth less than a quarter, shot up to over $7 in value in a very short period. That’s an over 2700% increase! Now this is an extreme example, but a very real one! I will personally be picking up a few copies of Cross Switcher myself, provided I can get in at a good price and hold out for a big potential spike next rotation.
Another card I’m really interested in is the full art Mew V from the set. It’s no secret, Mew is a super popular Pokemon. Mew cards are always very desirable and usually command a premium to other cards in the same set. Now the Mew cards in this set are a little tricky, because they have solid competitive and collectible value. But the reality is, there are so many mews in this set! There’s six different Mew total. The regular art versions of Mew V and VMAX, the full art and alternate art versions of Mew V and the Hyper Rare and Secret Rare alternate art versions of Mew VMAX. That’s a lot of Mew! Now this is one of the more hyped cards coming out of the set, so prices are sure to be high upon release. But once the market cools down a little bit and depending how Mew VMAX does at a competitive level, I believe the full art Mew V could hit a good investment point for the future. I think Full art cards from the last few sets in general are a little undervalued currently, since more of the attention gets put on the alternate arts. But this generation of full art cards still look sweet! So personally, in the next few months, I’m going to be watching the price of Mew V full art and if it drops to a decent price, I’m going to try and pick a few up as a potential future investment.
Well, I hope this article helped you know what to expect when it comes to this massive set! I’m excited to try and play some games with the new cards and I also can’t wait to try and find myself a good deal on some of the sweet alternate arts and gold cards to add to my binder! Be sure to check out the ChannelPokemon YouTube channel, where you can find myself and tons of other creators posting videos about Fusion Strike and if you want to support me directly, be sure to check out ChannelFireball.com and pick up a few new cards or sealed products. When you check out, be sure to enter my code to support me! Thanks so much for reading, and until next time, keep playing, keep collecting and take care!