Pokemon TCG Obsidian Flames Scarlet & Violet
Image via The Pokemon Company

Pokemon TCG Obsidian Flames Review – Light Battles Up

Pokemon TCG's Obsidian Flames expansion will leave fans smoking with a heated list of new, Paldea-focused cards.

The Pokemon TCG Paldea expansions have been off to a strong start with both the base Scarlet & Violet set and Paldea Evolved – but Obsidian Flames may be the best set yet. Bringing new Tera ex cards, as well as a powerful lineup featuring standard cards for Entei and Darkrai, the new expansion is playable and powerful – especially when looking at Tera Charizard ex.

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While Tera Charizard ex is not the pull card I am chasing, for many, the stunning addition is going to be a driving reason to pick up a pack for this new set. Obsidian Flames features four Charizard cards, with the breathtaking full art rare, a prize for any hardcore collector. Because of this, Pokemon TCG’s Obsidian Flames could challenge Sword & Shield Champion’s Path in popularity.

Key Details

  • Release Date: August 11, 2023
  • Number of Cards: 230
  • Product Types: Booster Box, ETB, Build-&-Battle Box, Blister Backs
  • Limited Collection: No

Pokemon TCG Obsidian Flames ETB Spotlights Charmander

Pokemon TCG Review Obsidian Flames ETB Boc
Image via The Pokemon Company

This time around, Charmander is the spotlight for the Pokemon TCG Obsidian Flames expansion. The cute little Kanto starter is shown on the ETB box, on the sleeve set inside, and as a promo full art card where it can be seen grumpily pressing its face against a window. This ETB follows the same format as other Scarlet & Violet sets, and players will find the following in every box.

  • x9 Pokemon TCG Obsidian Flames Booster Packs
  • Charmander Full Art Promo Holo
  • 65 Charmander Sleeves
  • 45 Basic Energy Cards
  • 6 Damage counters
  • 1 Competition-legal coin
  • 2 Condition markers
  • ETB collectors box
  • Obsidian Flames Pokemon TCG Booklet

The dice in the Pokemon TCG Obsidian Flames ETB are particularly striking. Instead of going with red and oranges, players will find a set of ashy, silver counters to use to keep track of damage. Additionally, the card sleeves in this set are nice and matte, which prevents slipping while shuffling, and also seems to be more durable than the slick ones found in certain Sword & Shield ETBs and Special Collections.

Obsidian Flames Booster Boxes Have Less Full Art Rares

Pokemon TCG Obsidian Flames Charizard Pull
Photo via Gamepur

When it comes to Booster Boxes, we are all here for a few specific reasons – pulling rare cards and getting deck-building components. These hefty investments will offer 36 booster packs to open and a better chance at pulling something particularly rare.

Unlike Paldea Evolved’s extended 279-card list, Obsidian Flames comes in at a more modest 230. Because of this, there are substantially fewer full art rares. However, I found this was my favorite Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet expansion to open so far. An excellent gallery of playable, standard cards balances the lower rate of special cards in Obsidian Flames. Additionally, the pull rates of rarer cards seem to be better balanced than Paldea Evolved by a good margin. I was even lucky enough to pull the Tera Charizard ex full art card.

As I was opening every pack, I could see multiple possibilities for a deck, which left me giddy for a match against a fellow trainer. Darkrai’s Night Cyclone attack is perfect for building up energy on the bench, while Polteageist’s Antique Collecting move makes amassing tools and items a breeze. Mix in powerful hitters like Tera Charizard ex, Tera Tyranitar ex, and Tera Dragonite ex, and players will have a solid deck to bring up against opponents.

Obsidian Flames Build & Battle Boxes Are a Bit Squishy

Pokemon TCG Build & Battle boxes are great to bring out when players want to start fresh and challenge their skills. Obsidian Flames will provide just the thing, as the lineup of featured promos and type themes this time around are a difficult mix.

Players cracking open the Obsidian Flames Build & Battle boxes will find themselves with a Palafin, Cleffa, Togekiss, or Mawile base set. With two Psychic-types and a Steel type in this line-up, they are definitely on the harder side for setup and playability. I obtained Cleffa, a squishy baby Pokemon who will let you draw until you have seven cards in your hand via Grasping Draw.

If I had a choice from this line-up, I’d want Palafin. Mixing it with a tool to retreat at low cost, it can do 210 damage for just two Water-type energy cards. Togekiss is a close second, but the Stage-Two evolution line can make setup a bit more of a challenge when trying to move quickly.


The Pokemon TCG Obsidian Flames expansion set is easily the best yet of the Scarlet & Violet era. With a solid cast of loveable Pokemon to pick for a deck and stunning rare cards that have more weight thanks to a smaller card list, it is an adrenaline high cracking a pack open. Players will find the perfect mix of playability and excitement as they dive in.

If every set after this offers similar options, Paldea-enthused Pokemon TCG collectors will have no shortage of exciting releases to look forward to.

Final Score:

10/ 10

+Perfect balance of rare and playable cards
+Solid mixture of new and returning Pokemon species
+Tera Charizard ex is just a stunning in person as in pictures
+Pull rates felt well balanced
Fewer Pokemon Full Art card

Gamepur team received review samples for the purpose of this review.

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Laura Gray
Laura Gray is an avid Pokemon, Dungeons & Dragons, and farming sim enthusiast. They spend their time chasing their toddler, playing casual Pokemon TCG matches, and destroying the kitchen with cooking projects. Laura's previous work can be seen at Screen Rant and Dexerto,