With Cosmic Eclipse being our final Sun & Moon series set, I thought it would be a great time to take a look back at some of the best (and worst!) sets from Gen 7, before we get our first Sword & Shield set next February!
Since Sun & Moon base set was released in early 2017, we've had a whopping 11 more Sun & Moon series main sets, as well as many more subsets and mini sets.
This list is mainly focused on coolness, theme and value of the set for collectors, but will also have brief mentions of sets containing powerful cards for tournament players and other relevant pieces of information. This list only will contain main series sets otherwise Shining Legends and Hidden Fates would definitely feature highly on this Top 5!
#5 – Lost Thunder
There is a lot to love about the last set before we begun the current Tag Team block. The name “Lost Thunder” is simple and effective and matches up with many of the Pokemon featured, such as lightning-type Zeraora who received his first card in the set (Zeraora-GX), as well as more popular Pokemon such as fan-favorite Lugia-GX.
From the competitive side of the TCG, Lost Thunder had many incredible GX's including the beautiful Alolan Ninetales-GX, Ultra Beast Blacephalon-GX, and the previously mentioned Zeraora-GX. A whole ton of useful trainers in addition, made Lost Thunder one of my strong favourites.
#4 - Cosmic Eclipse
The most recent (and biggest of all time) set, Cosmic Eclipse, definitely deserves a place on this list. There is so much to love, but the full art Character Rare (CHL in Japan) cards are a good start. Featuring a huge range of Pokemon alongside some of their famous trainers, these “secret rares” can be found in the reverse holo space in the booster packs, and will be popular amongst players and collectors alike.
The final Sun & Moon series set also contains a ton of strong and beautiful looking GX cards including Reshiram & Zekrom-GX, Charizard & Braixen-GX (rainbow rare already selling for $150+), and Silvally-GX. Cosmic Eclipse will definitely be a big seller when it gets its official release on November 2nd 2019.
#3 – Unbroken Bonds
The third set on our list also contains another Charizard card in the form of Reshiram & Charizard-GX, but there is so much to love about Unbroken Bonds outside of the aforementioned fire-type.
The set contained the extremely popular pairing of Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX, as well many other favourites such as Greninja & Zoroark-GX and Lucario & Melmetal-GX.
Alongside the Tag Teams, Unbroken Bonds is also defined by some powerful (and occasionally beautiful) tournament cards. Dedenne-GX sees play in a ton of decks, and the full art versions of Welder and Green's Exploration are absolutely stunning and are popular amongst collectors and players alike.
#2 – Guardians Rising
Our second set on the list is also the second Sun & Moon series set released, Guardians Rising. Thematically the set is probably one of the strongest, featuring two of the Alolan island guardians (Tapu Koko-GX and Tapu Lele-GX) making their debuts, and introducing us to a bunch more Sun & Moon Pokemon for the first time on beautiful cards such as Alolan Ninetales-GX, Lycanroc-GX. Eevee fans and players alike also LOVED Sylveon-GX, with the full art print ranking amongst my favourites.
Speaking of the players, Guardians Rising possibly had the best line-up of trainer cards amongst the early Sun & Moon sets. Choice Band, Aqua Patch, Brooklet Hill, Field Blower, Max Potion and Rescue Stretcher all were staples in many of the decks for the next two years. Tapu Lele-GX as well being a popular Island guardian Pokemon, also had an incredibly powerful ability that searched your deck for a Supporter card, making it quickly the chase card for the set.
#1 – Burning Shadows
Speaking of chase cards, my number one set needs very little introduction on that side of things. Burning Shadows was an incredible follow-up to Guardians Rising, and ignoring the hype surrounding the rainbow Charizard-GX, there is a LOT more going on with this set.
Thematically once again this set was strong, featuring many “Burning” Pokemon old and new including Charizard-GX, Ho-Oh-GX and Salazzle-GX, as well as Alolan Muk-GX and the always popular and present Darkrai-GX providing the shadows. Additionally this set has some of the best full art trainer cards from the early SM sets, including Kiawe, Acerola and Guzma.
Speaking of Guzma, Burning Shadows introduced him as a powerful Supporter card that dominated tournaments for the next two years, as well as Gardevoir-GX and Golisopod-GX which saw immediate success at the 2017 World Championships shortly after the set was released. Burning Shadows was an easy choice for my number one Sun & Moon series set!
BONUS – Top 3 “Worst” Sun & Moon Sets
There is always something to love in a Pokemon set, but some are obviously a lot more exciting for many reasons! Here's a quick look at my personal bottom three from the past 12 sets.
#3 – Ultra Prism
Despite having the beautiful gold Solgaleo-GX and Lunala-GX cards, as well as the full art Cynthia card, the set as a whole suffered from a bit of an identity crisis and I didn't enjoy it as much as other sets in that block.
#2 – Crimson Invasion
Players despise Crimson Invasion due to the lack of playable tournament cards and small set size, but its a nice easy set for collectors to finish and has an incredibly strong branding, featuring the debut of the Ultra Beasts and Silvally.
#1 – Celestial Storm
I really didn't enjoy Celestial Storm. Despite the set being the last to contain less than 170 cards (excluding secret rares), there really wasn't much for collectors to love outside of the Rayquaza-GX and that's even been reprinted in the recent Battle Arena boxes. Shrine of Punishment and Steven's Resolve aside, there hasn't been many cards that see regular tournament play also. Definitely not a set I'll be rushing to purchase in the future!
Stephen Kent – Ludkins Editor