If you can believe it, an entirely new set of Pokémon cards was released this month. Battle Styles further expands the meta-game by introducing multiple fighting styles for certain Pokémon. The cover character, Urshifu, shows off these differences across the released artwork, videos, and advertisements.
Basically, some Pokémon now come in “Single Strike” or “Rapid Strike” variants. “Single Strike” is more aggressive, featuring moves that can defeat opponents in one-hit. “Rapid Strike” is designed to be more technical and methodical, usually giving new ways to swap Pokémon out of the fray or reach out to your opponent’s bench.
As always, this list will breakdown the five best cards found in this newest release, based on current valuations and pull rates. Pokémon Trading Card Game: Battle Styles released in English worldwide on March 19, 2021, at your local retailer (if you’re lucky!).
5. PHOEBE (SECRET RAINBOW VARIANT)
There are a few reasons why Phoebe is a valuable card. First, she’s a cute anime girl, and those are always popular (looking at you, Skyla!). There’s also the fact that this is a secret, rare rainbow variant. That’s right, she’s not on the official card list, making it that much special if you pull her from a booster pack.
But beyond that, this is actually a really solid card to have on hand in a battle. Considering the sheer amount of VMAX Pokémon now available, they’re slowly becoming less one-hit wonders and more strategic maneuvers. Phoebe here will prevent your VMAX attacks from being affected by your opponent’s Active Pokémon, which could help in a pinch.
4. HOUNDOOM (SECRET GOLD VARIANT)
Houndoom was one of the coolest dogs ever when introduced in Pokémon Gold & Silver. They are still good boys even now, especially in their secret gold variant. The moveset and stats are identical to the standard Houndoom, but the gold boy features full art and holographic imagery.
A “Single Strike”-only card, Houndoom’s ability lets you search your deck for a Single Strike Energy and apply it to a Pokémon, at the steep cost of two damage counters. This will be most effective if you decide to go all-in on the new mechanics. If not, it’s a fancy-looking card!
3. SINGLE STRIKE URSHIFU VMAX (ALTERNATE SECRET VARIANT)
The expansion’s cover Pokémon finally makes the list with this special variant of the Urshifu’s Single Strike VMAX form. With the immense power this Urshifu provides, it comes at a cost as well, so you’ll need to be smart if you plan on including it in your deck. G-Max One Blow will be devastating, but it discards all your energy.
This particular variant is a bit cleaner than the standard, as advertised version. The art is drawn, rather than based on a 3D model, and Urshifu is all-around more muscular and legendary-looking.
2. RAPID STRIKE URSHIFU VMAX (ALTERNATE SECRET VARIANT)
What is it about Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX that looks so great? Is it the symmetrical pose? The crossed legs, calling forth a reference to Hindu God Shiva, The Destroyer? Maybe the more passive art envokes the mechanical moveset of the”Rapid Strike” cards.
Whatever it is, the value of this particular variant is head and shoulders above the “Single Strike” version. At the time of this writing, the going rate on TCGplayer.com is nearly double. It’s probably due to the fantastic art and its limited availability, but there’s a chance it could be due to the slightly more versatile moveset. Gale Thrust can be annihilating in the right context, and G-Max Rapid Flow is a nice way to weaken your opponent’s team as a whole, rather than just their Active Pokémon.
1. TYRANITAR V (ALTERNATE FULL ART)
Oh, Tyranitar V. What makes a Basic Pokémon so valuable? Surely, it is the way their carefree comfort and drool stream reflects the part of us we wish to return to as time and age slowly envelope us all. Look at all those empty dishes and food vessels! This is truly a way to live, with a caring Pignite to watch over us as we rest.
Because great things come in pairs, this Tyranitar is the whole package. Cragalanche is a fun word to say, and does a decent amount of damage while impacting your opponent’s deck. Single Strike Crush can overwhelm your opponent early on without the use of a VMAX card or an evolutionary build-up. Plus, this card isn’t a secret! It’s included in the official card list and listed on the Pokémon TCG website, and the company has every right to be proud of it.