The Pokemon TCG is renowned for giving artists a platform to design their styles of our favourite Pokemon in ways that pull us in as collectors and players alike. With thousands of different card designs throughout the 20 plus year history of Pokemon, we stumble across new cards daily leading to an exciting hunt for our favourite artworks. This article will look at some of the best cases of artwork that span across multiple cards making for awesome pairings and great additions to any collection.
Diglett (EX Crystal Guardians) & Dugtrio (Sword & Shield)
This article idea popped into mind when a post by Reddit user (Brofessional1412) showcasing this Pokemon card pairing made its way to the front of R/PokemonTCG. With 14 years separating 2006’s EX Crystal Guardians and 2020’s Sword & Shield, Kyoko Umemoto took the opportunity to throw in an Easter egg in the background of their Dugtrio design. The tiny Diglett nestled on the side of a cliff by the sea is the centrepiece of the EX Crystal Guardian’s Diglett artwork from a decade beforehand.
Clefairy & Hypno (XY BREAKPoint)
Appearing in the same set, this crossover is way easier to spot. Tomokazu Komiya is one of the most famous Pokemon TCG artists with work spanning decades and hundreds of cards. In 2016’s XY BREAKPoint Komiya designed a Clefairy confused with a dangerous figure stalking in the background. That figure is none other Hypno with its ability “Goodnight, Babies” creeping up and putting Clefairy to sleep.
Exeggcute & Exeggutor (XY Roaring Skies)
Another artwork from Komiya, this time in collaboration with manga and longtime Pokemon artist Shin Nagasawa. Exeggcute is seen tormented by a Spearow in a spring landscape leading to the cracks upon its eggshell. When Exeggcute evolves into Exeggutor the tables turn and the nest of Spearows is now the prey.
Elgyem (Unified Minds) & Abra (Team Rocket)
Another Pokemon card artwork pairing spanning across decades, this time 2019’s Unified Minds and 2000’s Team Rocket. Sumniyoshi Kizuki began illustrating for Pokemon TCG in 1997 when Team Rocket was released in Japan. Her Abra artwork shows the psychic Pokemon on top of a brick roof tower drawn in her famous crayon-style. Fast forward to 2019 and Kizuki threw an Easter egg into the mix of her Generation V Elgyem design. Low and behold, Elgyem is propped on the same tower at the same angle, this tie-in is easy to skip over but once you see it emphasises all things awesome about Pokemon lore.
Ekans (Hidden Fates), Hoothoot (Unified Minds), & Dwebble (Unified Minds)
Three different artists, three generations of Pokemon, and three legendary birds. Ekans, Hoothoot, and Dwebble all look on in disbelief as Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres fly over their heads. Any artwork with aggressive landscapes is instantly appealing and throwing in legendary birds creates an incredible connection between three otherwise overlooked common cards.
Eevee (Shining Fates) & Vaporeon (Black Star Promo)
Eevee from Shining Fates is seen paddling through water with underwater rocks on the right of the picture. The move Signs of Evolution cleverly hints at what’s to come. If you’re lucky enough to find Vivid Voltage blister triple packs in your local supermarket then the Vaporeon holo from artist So-taro should look familiar. Vaporeon is seen in the same pool of water floating beneath the surface with the same rocks on the right. I guess the signs of Evolution were pretty much spot on.
Alto Mare’s Latios & Latias (Theater VS Pack)
Released in conjunction with 2002’s Pokemon Movie – Pokemon Heroes: Latios & Latias these cards were part of a theme deck focused on the movie’s central location: Alto Mare. Mitsuhiro Arita’s illustration of the two Pokemon flying across the sea with a bridge in the background is the pinnacle of paired artwork and a fitting end to this list. Arita would go on to recreate these beautiful cards as Black Star Promos with updated artworks in 2017 with SM87 and SM88 in the Shining Legends Collectors’ Chest.
There are so many more of these types of pairings where the background or The Pokemon span across multiple cards or even sets in our incredible hobby, so many so this list could’ve probably led to a novella. We sometimes forget the complexities of the art in every Pokemon card. By taking a step back and appreciating the art of the cards we pack that are usually tossed into a bulk pile like some of these commons in the list we can be more mindful about what makes Pokemon TCG so special and the artists that have put their heart and soul into imagining and reimagining our favourite Pokemon.
What is your favourite Pokemon card artwork pairing and why?
Images sourced from Pokellector
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief