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Next year is to bring us a whole new set of shiny Pokémon, when the Paldean Fates set hits streets January 26. We already knew it would, of course, contain a shiny Charizard. But now we’ve seen it, and oh god it’s going to cost so much money.

Japan is getting its version of this set, Shiny Treasures ex, a lot sooner, cards going on release December 1. So this means we’re seeing what a lot of the cards will look like a lot earlier on than we have with more recent sets (the current Paradox Rift had cards appear internationally before some of their Japanese equivalents appeared), and today we’ve seen the Special Illustration Rare of the shiny Charizard. It has every sign of being the biggest, most sought-after new Pokémon card in years.

A close-up of the new shiny Charizard card.

Image: The Pokémon Company

What’s the reasoning for this? It’s the combination of three factors. First, and most obviously, it’s Charizard. Anything featuring the not-a-dragon beast gets tagged with a premium, due to its overwhelming popularity among players. Make that Zard shiny, and it’s entire other leagues.

Secondly, it’s the complexity of the card. The more detail present, the more popular cards tend to be, and this terastallized Charizard is a spectacular piece of art.

Artist Akira Egawa has been producing the most astonishing string of incredible cards in the last couple of years, and is responsible for by far the highest priced on the resale market. She was behind all four of Crown Zenith’s blisteringly good gold cards, Fusion Strike’s Mew VMAX alt-art, the Mewtwo V-Union four-parter, and most relevantly here, Obsidian Flames’ Charizard ex. On release the latter was selling raw at over $100, and still sits at over $60 pack fresh.

And thirdly, yes, it’s that this new card matches that Charizard ex, and will inevitably send the price up on both of them. This new shiny version is a wholly original piece of art, but one that matches the style and theme of the former. It shows a Charizard terastallized into a Dark-type, but now in its black-skinned shiny form, the red insides of its wings reflecting a hundred other colors in the cracked-mirror design.

The previous version of the SIR Charizard card.

Image: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

I couldn’t care less about Charizard, and I want this card. (A desire not helped by my son’s mad luck at pulling the Obsidian Flames version from a pack.) My guess would be the Japanese version will start selling for around $300 pack fresh, and the international version next year will easily hit $200, before coming down to about half that. I also think this could be the first new card in a very long while to see PSA 10 prices hitting $750. (For reference, 2021’s infamous Moonbreon peaked at $1,300 in a 10, and is now around $740.)

The scarcity will be increased by Paldean Fates being a s0-called “special set,” meaning booster packs won’t be sold individually (unless your LCS tears down boxes). However, there’s a small glimmer of hope given that this will be the first time there will be six-pack Booster Bundles of a special set, The Pokémon Company’s incredibly welcome way of selling just packs without vast cardboard boxes also containing oversized cards, pins, stickers and goodness knows what else.

Paldean Fates is the third shiny-containing set to hit the Pokémon TCG, following 2019’s Hidden Fates and 2021’s Shining Fates. We’ll bring you a lovely gallery of the all the prettiest cards revealed so far in the near future.

 

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