Pokémon Card Rarities

Pokemon card rarities vary from language to language, primarily we will be looking at English rarities

There are simple indicators on the bottom of the card to let you know how rare the card is common, uncommon & rare

Common cards appear 4/5 times in a single booster pack, and are indicated by a circle symbol, uncommon cards appear 3 times in a single pack, and are indicated by a diamond, rare cards only appear once per booster pack and are indicated by a star – they also have the chance to be holographic

In Japanese sets, there are no symbols but are indicated by letters – C=common, U=uncommon, R=Rare etc

In modern sets of Pokémon, all of these rarities are available in a ‘Reverse Holographic’ in which the entire card excluding the pokemon art, is holographic

Reverse & Non Holo

Cards with the ‘Rare’ category, have a few more sub categories to go into, Secret Rare & Ultra Rare

Secret Rare is a rarity given to a card that has its set number exceed the size of the set (101/100)

They are often reprints of cards within the same set, but with a different holo pattern (gold or rainbow) but can be totally unique cards like the first secret rare – Dark Raichu from Team Rocket

Secret rares often take the place of the reverse holo card in modern Pokémon booster packs (this includes ‘trainer gallery cards & ‘baby shinies’ as in the Japanese sets, these are marked as secret rare too

Ultra Rare cards are much harder to acquire in a booster pack, and are typically associated with the unique mechanic of the set (VMAX, VSTAR, V, GX etc) and have a unique finish to the card, such as glossy half art cards & full art textured cards.

They also include the ‘alternate art’ variants of already existing cards

These three Giratina V cards are all ‘Ultra Rare’ from the Lost Origin Set, they all have the same information, attack & health points, the left is a half-art, glossy card, the middle is a full art textured card, and the right is an alternate art card

Japanese Pokémon cards are categorized into different rarities to denote their relative scarcity and collectable value. These rarities determine how frequently a card appears in booster packs and how desirable it is among collectors. Here are the common rarities found in Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) sets:

  1. Common (C): Common cards are the most abundant and can be found in nearly every booster pack. They usually feature Pokémon with basic abilities and are often used to build the foundation of a deck.
  2. Uncommon (U): Uncommon cards are a step above common cards in terms of rarity. They are less common than commons and often include Pokémon with slightly more powerful moves or abilities.
  3. Rare (R): Rare cards are less common than uncommon cards, and you can expect to find one in every few booster packs. These cards often showcase more powerful and popular Pokémon, making them more sought after by players and collectors alike.
  4. Holo Rare (Holo): Holo Rares, also known as holographic rares or foil cards, feature a holographic or foil pattern that shimmers when viewed from different angles. They come in both Rare Holo (RH) and Holo Rare (H) varieties. These cards are rarer than regular rares and are highly prized by collectors due to their aesthetic appeal.
  5. Ultra Rare (UR): Ultra Rares represent an even higher level of rarity in Pokémon TCG. They include several subcategories:a. Full Art (FA) cards: These cards have a unique, full-art illustration that extends beyond the borders of the card, making them visually distinct and highly desirable.b. Secret Rare (SR): Secret Rare cards often feature special artwork and a different card number than the rest of the set. They can include special Trainer cards, Pokémon-GX, Pokémon V, or Pokémon VMAX cards.c. Rainbow Rare (RR): Rainbow Rare cards, also known as Hyper Rare (HR), feature a stunning rainbow foil effect on the artwork. They are among the rarest and most coveted cards in any set.d. Gold Secret Rare (GSR): These rare cards have a gold foil treatment and are typically found in special sets or premium collections.
  6. Pokémon-GX, Pokémon V, and Pokémon VMAX: These are special card types that offer powerful attacks and abilities. Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V are usually rarer than regular rares, and Pokémon VMAX cards are rarer than Pokémon-GX or Pokémon V cards. Each of these card types has a unique visual design, often with a textured or embossed background.

It’s worth noting that Pokémon TCG releases new sets regularly, each with its own unique selection of cards and rarities. The rarity of specific cards can vary between sets, and the Pokémon TCG continues to evolve with new mechanics and collectable elements over time.

We hope this simple explanation on Pokemon card rarities has been useful! we have only scratched the surface, as it can get complicated across languages and sets – if you use the code POKERARITIES you can get 10% off grading as a small thank you for reading our post!

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