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My Top 10 Favorite Modern English Pokémon Cards

Pokemon Card Lot

In this blog I want to give a list of My Top 10 Favorite Modern English Pokémon Cards. Pretty specific isn’t it? Since I was a kid, the art on Pokémon cards have always been exceptional. Over time the cards have evolved (no pun intended) and continued with fresh idea and new styles of cards. Some examples are the different holo patterns, shinies, EX, GX, V, Vmax, textured, gold, rainbow and so on. From Base Set cards to today, every new card strives to be beautiful, unique and even sometimes a little strange. Once Pokémon had introduced full art cards in Black and White with Reshiram and Zekrom, it forever changed the trading card game for collectors.

What is considered a modern Pokémon Card?

If you ask 10 people you will get 10 different answers. For this blog I am going to use only cards released from Sun and Moon Base Set through Sword and Shield Fusion Strike. Sun and Moon Base Set was released on February 3, 2017. This means “modern” is considered anything released in the last 5 years from the publishing of this blog (February 16, 2022). So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started with My Top 10 Favorite Modern English Pokémon Cards!

10. Ditto V – Shining Fates

Wait, Ditto V from Shining Fates? Really? But isn’t it… bland? Nope! I love this card! There is so much great art that sometimes it is nice to just take a step back and appreciate the simplicity of Pokémon cards. Ditto is just centered and smiling. It’s very aesthetically pleasing when a Pokémon is centered on the card. I like how that puts the full focus on the Pokémon and not the surroundings. On top of that it is Ditto’s shiny form. He is blue instead of the standard purple. I love how minimalistic and simple this card is. When you add the texture of the shiny background and shiny stars, it just fits together so well. Sometimes less is more.

9. Togepi & Cleffa & Igglybuff GX – Promo

This card is just fun. It doesn’t take things too seriously and just has three cute Pokémon enjoying life. Tons of different berries and pokeballs scattered on the card. The colors are wild and all over the place but it works. There is not a single spot on this card that does not have art on it. This is the definition of a “full art” card. This card seems chaotic but if you look closely is not. Pokémon cards don’t always have to be about the biggest and strongest Pokémon.

8. Latias & Latios GX – Team Up

When you look at this card initially you see a pretty standard looking card. Latias and Latios just looking at each other. You only see their heads and bodies, not in any special pose really. Almost like a mirror. It just seems kind of uninspired. Then it hits you, their necks are making the shape of a heart in the center of the card. The Sun is coming through from the background. The peaceful calming color of the sunset. Once you realize that it elevates this card to another level. This is easily one of the most beautiful cards for modern Pokémon.

7. Pikachu – Cosmic Eclipse

Everyone remembers their first time being introduced to Pikachu. Whether it was from the 90’s TV show, in the video game, or even pulling a Pikachu card. This character is iconic. For me, I remember watching the TV show and Ash gets to Professor Oak’s late and missed all the starter Pokémon. He then is given the option to pick Pikachu as it is the only Pokémon Professor Oak has left. This card embodies that moment to me. Although in the TV show Pikachu doesn’t care for Ash initially, this card shows the bond they make throughout the show. The joy on both their faces, ready to start a brand-new adventure. I am so happy Pokemon decided to capture this moment on a card.

6. Moltres & Zapdos & Articuno GX – Promo

This card will probably win the award for most unique on this list. I cannot think of a card that has done anything similar to this before. It has not one, but all three legendary birds on it. What makes it special is that it looks like a stained-glass window. Each section of the card has its own textured group and is separated by a thin black border. The amount of detail in this card is phenomenal. When I first saw this, I was stunned. I feel like I am looking at a card from the past, similar to Ancient Mew. There is a mystique around this card that leaves me imagining the story this could tell. I hope that they revisit this style because photos do not do it justice.

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5. Viridian Forest – Unified Minds

As a kid in the late 90’s, Pokémon Red and Blue were immensely popular. In the game, after you selected your first Pokémon, you traveled north to the Viridian Forest. This is where you encountered your first Caterpie, Weedle and even Pikachu! This card brought me right back to that time and that specific area of the game. Walking through the tall grass, wondering what Pokémon you will encounter. The large trees guiding you where to go. Even the wooden signs giving you directions. I can hear the ominous Viridian Forest music from the tinny Gameboy Color speakers. Now, just add the sleek gold outlines to this and you have a beautiful, nostalgia filled card. Speaking of nostalgia filled cards…

4. Pikachu – Celebrations

This Pikachu card is full-fledged nostalgia. I remember as a kid keeping my base set Pikachu in the same rubber band stack as my holographic cards. It just felt like it belonged there. It was Pikachu after all. My jaw was on the floor when I saw they were reimagining it with the full art treatment. The addition of filling out Pikachu’s Body and adding hidden Pokémon really pushed this card to the next level. The cute Caterpie peeking out in the corner. The Parsect hiding behind the tree. Even the Oddish on the bottom. Going as far as keeping the same moves and HP was a nice touch. I really hope to see more vintage cards get the full art treatment, because as you can see this mix of old meets new is just unreal.

3. Shining Mew – Shining Legends

Shining Mew is an amazing throwback to the Neo Destiny shining cards with a modern twist. This is the only card on my list that is not a full art. It has the normal yellow border, which is fine as it works for this card. Similar to the Ditto V, this card is very simple. The galaxy background really centers your focus on the Shining Mew. The Mew itself is textured, and that is the only texture on the card. When you move the card side to side, the light reflects off the texture making it a literal Shining Mew. So simple yet so charming. I can’t stop looking at this card.

2. Umbreon VMAX – Evolving Skies

Umbreon VMAX is a spectacular card and the only VMAX card to make this list. When it came out it seemed a bit familiar, like I had seen it somewhere before. Then it dawned on me. This reminds me so much of the Neo Discovery Umbreon. The colors are unmatched. When you look at the card it all just comes right at you. It glistens. The green, blue and teal colors in the sky reflecting off the water meshes perfectly. The reflection of the moon rippling in the water. Umbreon outlined in purple makes it stand out against the background. Curling its tail around the tower ever so slightly holding on, reaching for the moon. This card is absolutely remarkable.

1. Mewtwo GX – Shining Legends

Mewtwo GX from Shining Legends is going to top the list of My Top 10 Favorite Modern English Pokémon Cards. Also referred to as Mewtube, this card is completely insane. This card brings back memories of watching Pokémon: The First Movie. Similar to the Shining Mew, only the Mewtwo and the tube are textured. The sections of Mewtwo’s body are textured differently showing the little lighting there is in that room. The detail of the bubbles in the tube. The purple, aqua and black fit so well together setting the mood of the card. The You are waiting for Mewtwo to break out at any second. The choice to show only the back of Mewtwo was a risky one that definitely paid off. It is complimented by  Mewtwo’s anatomy on the board behind him. Every time I look at this card it feels special. This card will one day be a storied piece of Pokémon History.

Final Thoughts

That is my list of My Top 10 Favorite Modern English Pokémon Cards. There were so many wonderful cards to pick that from I initially started with over 20 cards. Every set that comes out seems to be getting more creative and more unique. The alternative art cards are some of the bests in the hobby and I cannot wait to see what Pokémon comes up next.  Let me know if you agree or disagree with anything on the list!

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