It’s interesting that you mention the possibility of the semi-transparent backdrop texture effecting your perception of the artwork. That being said, I usually didn’t understand why 5BAN Graphics got a hard time. I never particularly minded the art myself. Indeed, some of the GXs looked absolutely phenomenal, and many of the GX’s from Sun and Moon’s Base Set stick in my mind to this day, including Decidueye GX, Espeon GX, Umbreon GX and Tauros GX, each of which had excellent texture, shading, light effects and/or surroundings. But perhaps that comes down to first impressions. The Evolving Skies Eeveelutions were also a wonderful change of pace, offering an unusual spin on the 5BAN formula. Sure, it weren’t as exciting as it would have been if Akira Egawa had illustrated all eight of them, but it was better than expected, and I’m particularly fond of the Leafeon V, which is set against a pleasant autumnal backdrop.
That being said, I probably spend under $200 a year on Pokémon, making my choices of singles far more selective than the average collector, so I’m probably in the minority on this server. Also, I can still remember when the capitalized EX’s were my childhood, and I probably wouldn’t have stood for any criticism of their illustrators at that tender age. i still think cards like Seismitoad EX look cool. Seriously, ignore those first two lines for a minute and look at those beautiful water effects. I’m glad they returned to the old formula, but I also really loved the half arts of the GX and V eras, so it was very exciting to realize Pokémon had created a new aesthetic style that embodied the charms of both artistic styles.
(P.S. I do like it when Ultra Rares receive a non-3D art style, though. I’m still looking forward to buying that Magnezone ex, and the only reason I didn’t buy the Japanese version off of eBay or TCGREPUBLIC months ago was because I thought it’s attack names looked cool, encouraging me to hold out and buy the English copy. Toxicroak ex also looks cool, somewhat straddling the line between 2D and 3D. I do wish the tera ex’s looked a little more like video game screenshots, but perhaps I’ll just buy the Paldean starters/tera Gyarados portfolio or print out some promotional images. I thought the tera Pokémon looked perfect in the games, but unfortunately I decided I had enough Pokémon games already, and I haven’t bought Scarlet or Violet as a result.)