Sun and Moon Celestial Storm Collector's Dossier

thecardpletionist
August 16, 2018
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Celestial Storm, the latest Pokemon TCG expansion, officially hit store shelves last Friday and oh man, it’s a monster of a set. So let’s make like Dr. Frankenstein and start dissecting the innards of this monster from a collector’s perspective. What follows is a brief dossier of the information collectors will find important for tracking down and completing this set. Information related to the previously released Sun and Moon era sets is also provided below by way of comparison. You can read my Collector’s Dossier to those sets here, here, here, here, and here. You can find Celestial Storm singles here

First, the facts:

Dossier:


Celestial Storm

Forbidden Light

Ultra Prism

Crimson Invasion

Burning Shadows

Guardians Rising

Total cards in standard set:

183

146

173

124

169

169

Total reverse holo cards:

137

105

125

92

116

118

Total cards in master set

(excluding theme deck variants):

320

251

298

216

285

287

Theme deck exclusive variants:

4 (two in each theme deck)*

4 (three in the Twilight Rogue theme deck)

3 (two in the Mach Strike theme deck)

5 (three in the Clanging Thunder theme deck)

5 (three in the Rock Steady theme deck)

4 (two in each theme deck)

Total Secret Rares (including Hyper Rares):

15

15

17

13

22

24 (approximately 1:56 packs)

Total Ultra Rares:

17

13

18

11

19

15 (approximately 1:18 packs)

Total standard GX Rares:

11

8

7

8

12

12 (approximately 1:9 packs)

Total Prism Rares:

3

5

6

-

-

-


* Note that one of these cards, the non-foil version of Oranguru (found in the Leaf Charge theme deck) has been included in theme decks for other sets but is included in the count for the purposes of the table.

Observations:

The numbers don’t lie, this is a big set. How big? It’s the largest set so far in the Sun and Moon era, an era already notorious for beefy set sizes. But even more impressive/frightening, Celestial Storm is the second largest standard set in the history of the English TCG, behind only Aquapolis. Which leads one to wonder, why is it so big? The size is likely a result of the Pokemon Company International trying to jam two separate Japanese releases into a single English expansion. Celestial Storm includes cards from Sky-Splitting Charisma (112 standard cards and the closest analog to Celestial Storm in Japan), and Champion Road (86 standard cards and a nostalgia inspired release containing reprints of cards from the game’s early history). In Japan, these sets are fairly different both in terms of tone and content, and their mashup in Celestial Storm has resulted in something of a Frankenstein mixture of themes and cards, on a grand scale.  Even though this set is absurdly large, some cards, most notably Champion Road’s Salamence GX, were left out of the English release, but impact of this omission is minimized in light of the strong roster of ultra rare and secret rare cards that were included in the expansion, including the TCG debut of Stakataka, an ultra beast from the Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon video games, and the inclusion of fan favorite pokemon like Articuno GX, Rayquaza GX, and Blaziken GX.

Long time collectors of the TCG will immediately notice that a large portion of the artwork from Celestial Storm was previously featured on earlier cards from the game’s history. This is a byproduct of including so many cards from Japan’s Champion Road set, a set intentionally marketed as a nostalgic return to the game’s earlier eras, much like the Evolutions expansion from a few years ago. Still, it is a bit jarring to open a booster pack and see so much reused artwork. Honestly, I’m somewhat torn on this. On the one hand, it’s nice to see the return of classic artwork from the Neo era and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a wave of nostalgia crashing over me when I pulled the updated version of Tyranitar, originally released in the Neo Discovery expansion, from a Celestial Storm booster pack. On the other hand, the reused artwork feels strange and somehow out of place when the other half of the set features new artwork and Pokemon. I think an English release of Champion Road as a stand-alone product, possibly even distributed using Shining Legends as a template, would have been a better way of reintroducing these themes to the TCG, but even so, it is nice to once again see cards inspired by the latter half of the Wizards of the Coast’s stewardship of the game.

    

Tyranitar from Celestial Storm (left) next to the original release from Neo Discovery

What are your thoughts on Celestial Storm? Let me know in the comments below.

Thecardpletionist has been collecting Pokemon TCG cards since the game’s English release in 1999. You can read more from the author at http://thecardpletionist.blogspot.com/ and follow him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/thecardpletionist/

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