Close look at the art of Nickit, Dracozolt, Pansage and more new cards as part of Pokémon TCG Sword & Shield—Darkness Ablaze

The Pokémon Company recently released the latest installment of the Pokémon Trading Card Game as part of the latest Sword & Shield line. It’s officially known as Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Darkness Ablaze, which is now available worldwide, with even more Galar Pokémon additions. Read on below to learn more:

Art of the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Darkness Ablaze Expansion

Explore distinctive art styles, welcome Pokémon making their Pokémon TCG debut, and celebrate a simian takeover with the latest expansion.

While there’s no denying that every Pokémon Trading Card Game card serves a functional purpose within an epic battle between Trainers, it’s also satisfying to consider their artistic and narrative merit. What insights can we glean about the habits and personalities of the various Pokémon featured in each card?

The recent Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Darkness Ablaze expansion includes more than 180 cards and countless opportunities to learn something new or simply enjoy the art.

Misa Tsutsui

This longtime Pokémon illustrator based in Chiba, Japan, has a vibrant artistic style that plays well across a broad range of Pokémon types. Tsutsui contributed five cards to the Sword & Shield—Darkness Ablaze expansion, capturing Galarian DarmanitanGalarian Mr. MimeDracozoltShiinotic, and Nickit. Tsutsui’s Nickit card is particularly notable for its depiction of these Pokémon doing what they do best—nicking some noms. The vivid colors and stunning background will make you want to stop and smell the flowers. The artist’s Shiinotic card features the Flickering Light attack, an aptly titled attack for artwork that captures the Pokémon’s otherworldly allure.

Rookie Pokémon


It’s always exciting to welcome new Pokémon to the ranks of Pokémon TCG glory. This expansion features four new Pokémon that share the unusual distinction of evolving from a Rare Fossil. Dracovish and Arctovish are thrilled to be making a splash in the Pokémon TCG universe, while Dracozolt and Arctozolt are amped for combat as part of your future battle deck. And while we don’t want to play favorites with the rookie Pokémon, it’s impossible not to call out Dracozolt’s gleeful expression as it stomps through the nearest puddle (in another illustration by Misa Tsutsui). This Pokémon may be fierce in combat, but that doesn’t undermine its appreciation for the simple things in life.

Simian Takeover

One of the most exciting aspects of the release of a new Pokémon TCG expansion is the opportunity to see a diverse range of Pokémon through the eyes of a wide variety of artists. In this particular expansion, primate-like Pokémon seem to have taken over, filling the cards with playful, mischievous, and adorable activity. The six variations of primate-inspired Pokémon—Pansage and SimisagePansear and Simisear, and Panpour and Simipour—generally appear friendly, although it’s probably best to keep a safe distance from their fruit. Pansage gives a friendly wave, and Panpour exudes joy with a vivid rainbow in the background. Others are obviously hungry. Simisear sits contentedly on a bench, consuming its stash of delicious snacks.

Stadium Setting

There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of the stadium during a Pokémon battle. The crowd’s excitement is palpable, fueled by the confidence and courage of the featured Trainers and Pokémon. Several artists tapped into that rich emotion by incorporating stadiums as the background for their featured Pokémon. Escavalier battles furiously against the backdrop of a packed stadium, imbuing the card with a sense of urgency and motion. Meanwhile, Trainer Kabu adopts a displeased stance despite the surplus of fans in the background cheering him on. Of course, Rose stands proudly in the stadium, as if preparing to announce a thrilling Trainer matchup. These familiar and beloved backgrounds help tell a story that Pokémon fans are sure to love.

Exquisite Landscapes

When it comes to just about any Pokémon TCG card, there’s no denying that the Pokémon are the stars of the show. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re adorable, fierce, majestic, terrifying, and sometimes downright hilarious. But in the hands of talented Pokémon TCG artists, you might just find yourself looking beyond the Pokémon in the foreground and marveling at the richness and beauty of the background landscape. Fortunately, this expansion has no shortage of such moments. It’s the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to these unique spaces. Artist Mizue has situated Karrablast in a misty field of flowers with a glorious sunrise on the horizon. If an atmospheric field of flowers isn’t your cup of tea, illustrator Akira Komayama situated Toxel against a lovely pond of water lilies. The richness of this background encompasses the shading of the nearby foliage and shapes of passing clouds. We conclude our visual journey with illustrator sowsow’s depiction of Purrloin as it sashays down a cobblestone path lit like a pastel sunset dream. Purrloin may be contemplating mischief, but viewers are more likely to remember the charm of its surroundings.

Whether you’re looking to appreciate artistic beauty, laugh at the antics of your favorite Pokémon, or discover something unexpected, the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Darkness Ablaze expansion has so much more to offer. Take the time to give each new card a thorough perusal.


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