Sun and Moon Crimson Invasion Collector’s Dossier

November 07, 2017

Crimson Invasion, the latest booster expansion for the Pokemon TCG, officially hit mass market and LGS store shelves last Friday. What follows is a brief dossier of the information collectors will find important for tracking down and completing this set. Information related to Burning Shadows and Guardians Rising is also provided below by way of comparison. You can read my Collector’s Dossier to those sets here  and here. You can also find Crimson Invasion singles here

Let’s take a look at the set’s contents




Crimson Invasion

Burning Shadows

Guardians Rising

Total cards in standard set:




Total reverse holo cards:




Total cards in master set (excluding theme deck variants):




Theme deck exclusive variants:

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:



24 (approximately 1:56 packs)

Total Ultra Rares:



15 (approximately 1:18 packs)

Total standard GX Rares:



12 (approximately 1:9 packs)



            Crimson Invasion marks the welcome return of reasonable set sizes to the Pokemon TCG. Unlike the massive and nearly unprecedented set sizes of Guardians Rising and Burning Shadows, Crimson Invasion is a return to form for the Pokemon TCG, weighing in at a much more manageable 124 cards in the standard set. There is also a noticeable, and in my opinion, welcome, reduction in the total number of Secret Rare and Ultra Rare cards in the expansion, although historically speaking, the number of Secret Rare cards is still high relative to the total number of cards in the expansion (compare the 13 Secret Rare cards in Crimson Invasion against the following sets: Steam Siege (total cards 116, Secret Rares 2), Fates Collide (total cards 125, Secret Rares 1), BREAKpoint (total cards 123, Secret Rares 1), but this is still a step in the right direction to reduce Secret Rare inflation and burnout among collectors.

* In an unusual move, the “Destruction Fang” theme deck for this expansion features a non-holo version of Oranguru from the Sun and Moon expansion. Oranguru is a holographic card in the standard Sun and Moon expansion, but a non-holo, theme deck exclusive version of this card was already released in Sun and Moon’s “Roaring Heat” theme deck, meaning this is the second time that this alternate printing of Oranguru has been featured as a theme deck exclusive card. Ignoring Oranguru, there are a total of five theme deck exclusive cards in the Destruction Fang and Clanging Thunder theme decks and since the non-holo Oranguru is not technically exclusive to Crimson Invasion, I’ve included the asterisk in the table above. 

Regional Differences

            The English Crimson Invasion expansion is almost a direct reproduction of two recently released Japanese expansions: Awakened Heroes and Ultradimensional Beasts (both released on September 15, 2017 in Japan). In fact, when added together, all but one card featured in the Japanese expansions is represented in Crimson Invasion, the one omission being the Ultra Rare (the Japanese equivalent of our “Secret Rare” rarity) Metal Energy from Awakened Heroes. My guess is that this card was omitted from Crimson Invasion because the Sun and Moon expansion already featured a Secret Rare version of Metal Energy. Filling Metal Energy’s spot in Crimson Invasion is the English debut of the Ultra Rare full art Olivia supporter card. This card was originally released as a promotional card in Japan, so it’s nice to finally see it making its debut in the West.

Possible Star Wars Tie In?

Crimson Invasion introduces Ultra Beasts to the TCG. In the video games, Ultra Beasts are extra-dimensional, extremely powerful pseudo-Pokemon that the player is tasked with defeating or capturing after defeating the Elite Four. In the TCG, Nintendo has differentiated the Ultra Beasts from typical Pokemon by shifting the color of “GX” from blue to red.

Kartana GX, an Ultra Beast from Crimson Invasion compared with Raichu GX from Shining Legends. Note the red versus blue outline on the letters “GX”

In a similar move, Star Wars fans have noted that for the first time in the franchise’s history, the title card for The Last Jedi features the titular “Star Wars” in red font instead of yellow.


Coincidence? I THINK NOT! This is obviously very strong evidence that the dimension that the Ultra Beasts hale from is actually a galaxy far, far away. Perhaps they are not only powerful Pokemon, but also power Sith Lords?! Based on the foregoing, I have no choice but to conclude that lightsaber wielding Ultra Beasts are all but confirmed for future expansions. 

Artist’s depiction of me typing that last paragraph

On a more serious note, I’m pleased with the more traditional size and scope of the Crimson Invasion expansion. Unlike Burning Shadows or Guardians Rising, this set is an easier entry point for completists and from a collector’s perspective, that makes it worthy of your attention. Reasonable minds can differ of course, so let me know your thoughts on Crimson Invasion 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 and follow him on Instagram at