Over the years, the Pokémon TCG has featured many different patterns and styles used on their holographic cards. Some styles lasted for years, while others had short stays, making them markers for their short time in the franchise. In this next installment of A Holographic History of the Pokémon TCG, let’s take a look at a card that debuted at the same time as last week’s subject matter of the connecting Pokémon LEGEND cards. This week, we take a look at Pokémon Prime.
Like LEGENDs, Prime cards also debuted during the HeartGold SoulSilver era as replacements for Lv.X cards. These were quite similar stylistically to lowercase ex and LV.X cards with a few notable differences. Like the styles of Ultra Rares that the Pokéon Prime replaced, it featured a silver holographic border. This was, for quite a while, the defining look of Ultra Rares that carried through multiple eras and various card styles. Primes feature a slightly yellowed look to the silver, though, which matches the white and yellow ombre of card borders of that time.
Pokémon Prime differed from previous Ultra Rares in the border around the artwork and the focus of the artwork itself. The border around the artwork, which you can see in the above images, looked as if it had been blown out from a burst of power, or peeled back. Most notable, though, the difference is in the way the Pokémon is depicted. Prime cards feature a hyper-close shot on the species’ face, almost to the point where it looks like a fisheye lens. All in all, there are many beautiful Primes, but the reliance on this one type of illustration with a limited angle led to a lack of variety.
Prime cards first appeared in the Pokémon TCG in HeartGold & SoulSilver and continued through HGSS – Unleashed, HGSS – Undaunted, and HGSS – Triumphant. This style of card was briefly replaced with Shiny Legendary Pokémon which functioned as the Secret Rares of the next set, Call of Legends, and then the main replacement for Primes arrived in the Black & White era with uppercase Pokémon-EX.