Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet expansion review – A colorful debut

Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet expansion reviewThe Pokemon Company

The Scarlet & Violet expansion is a brilliant new chapter for the Pokemon TCG. Alternate Art cards, new holofoil balances, and stunning Paldea illustrations make an artistic and exciting set.

Pokemon TCG fans are just a few short weeks away from stepping into Gen 9’s Paldea region. The early card reveals, and information for the first Scarlet & Violet expansion has left fans excited, with promises of new mechanics, Alternate Art cards, and silver border designs.

The first expansion for Gen 9 is similar to the first Sword & Shield expansion, boasting the game names and a card list of the most iconic species and characters of the new region. The first set will include over 190 cards in total, ten ex cards, Tera Pokemon ex cards, and dozens of special art cards for players to collect.

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Currently, fans will be able to get Scarlet & Violet Pokemon TCG cards via two stunning Elite Trainer boxes featuring Koraidon and Miraidon, Booster Display boxes, Booster Bundle boxes, and single-sleeved booster packs starting March 31, 2023. The booster packs will also likely become available in future collection sets alongside other upcoming and past expansions.

The Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet ETB changes up contents

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet TCG Elite Trainer Box KoraidonThe Pokemon Company
The Scarlet & Violet ETBs feature Koraidon and Miraidon

The Pokemon Elite Trainer Boxes have gotten an update alongside their new prices. They now include nine booster packs instead of eight and a guaranteed etched foil holo in each box. The ETBs for Scarlet & Violet also offer a 65 set of either Miraidon or Koraidon card sleeves, 45 Energy cards, six damage counting dice, one coin, two condition markers, dividers, and the beautiful ETB box.

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The sleeves for the Koraidon box are stunning, with a lovely matte finish. They feel durable and aren’t slippery like some of the Sword & Shield expansion sleeves struggled with. A real highlight of the box is the condition markers. The new markers throw aside the classic skull for poison and bandaid for burns, replacing them with a red flame marker and a purple muck marker. The colors are vibrant and holographic, adding a level of flair to a player’s Pokemon TCG kit.

The Koraidon etched promo foil card included in the set is a stunning first look at the new silver borders that will now adorn every English set in the TCG moving forward. While I wasn’t entirely sure about the change following over 25 years of collecting the gold/yellow border cards, even I have to admit how smart and sleek they look – especially on the etched foil.

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New holo balances change pack opening for the better

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet TCG Booster PacksThe Pokemon Company
New booster pack art for Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet expansion

While the new line-up of Paldea species in the Scarlet & Violet Pokemon TCG expansion is one of the most notable changes players will first notice when flipping through their booster packs, the actual pack makeup will be a close second. In previous packs, players would find reverse holos in every booster, with a chance at a standard Holo, Alternate Art, V, VMAX, or other rare cards.

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In the new packs for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, as explained by the official website, players can expect three holo cards, with at least one being rare or higher. When opening the packs provided for this review, I wasn’t so excited about the multiple reverse holos I kept pulling, but the ability to find beautiful rare holo art of so many new cards made every pack feel like a treat.

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It was especially exciting on the packs where one of the two reverse holo slots was changed out with an Alternate Art rare alongside the standard rare. Overall, it is an excellent change to distribution, especially for younger players, as every pack they receive will really feel special.

Alternate Art cards continue – and they are more beautiful than ever

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet TCG card pullDexerto
Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet pulls are beautiful

While I wasn’t lucky enough to pull one of the new Tera ex cards of Arcanine or Gyarados, I did come across a few particularly stunning cards while opening packs. Players who are lucky enough to find some of the rare Alternate Art cards will be in for a treat, as many tell short narratives through their illustrations – like the Ralts, Kirlia, and Gardevoir ex line.

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Like the Crown Zenith expansion that wrapped Sword & Shield, the cards are all sturdy and vibrant with good weight. They don’t feel like they will bend when being shuffled or easily become damaged when moved in and out of collection binders.

Verdict 5/5

The Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet expansion is a brilliant debut for Gen 9 gameplay. Players will find plenty of surprises when opening packs, and the fresh look at the ex mechanics feels more stable and playable than the overpowered V, VMAX, and VSTAR cards from Sword & Shield.

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With plenty of Paldea species still waiting for debut in coming expansions, players will likely find themselves filled with excitement as they sleeve up their new decks and get ready to embark on a fresh TCG adventure.

Dexerto was given a Booster Box, Koriadon ETB, and Build & Battle box for the purpose of this review.

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