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Expert Shopper Toys & Games

Best Pokémon cards

Which Pokémon cards are best?

If you’re a Pokémon fan, or you’re shopping for someone who is, chances are pretty good you’ve considered buying Pokémon cards. Still, between the eight generations of Pokémon and numerous sets of cards from each generation, choosing the right cards can be overwhelming.

If you’re thinking of buying Pokémon cards, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most popular collections of cards and what makes them unique.

What to know before you buy Pokémon cards

Types of Pokémon cards

Pokémon trading cards all belong to one of three categories: Pokémon, trainers and energy.

Pokémon cards are the ones that actually feature a Pokémon on them and are typically the ones most sought after by collectors. These cards have different attacks and “hit points” that represent their health.

Trainer cards often produce specific effects that give you an advantage or your opponent a disadvantage. For example, the wildly popular Professor Sycamore & Professor Juniper cards allow you to discard your hand and draw a new hand of seven new cards.

Energy cards give your Pokémon the power they need to perform their moves. Energy cards are an essential piece of the Pokémon trading card game, but they’re widespread and not typically sought by collectors. 

Value outside the game

The Pokémon trading card game has a robust set of rules and a dedicated fan base. Still, many collectors don’t play the trading card game at all. Pokémon cards are highly collectible and sometimes valuable. Many collectors consider their purchases more of an investment than a means of playing a game, and others just like the art and want to grow their collection.

Singles vs. sealed packs

If you’re looking to build a competitive Pokémon deck, you’ll likely want to stick to buying single cards. Buying singles can be pricey, but it allows you to make the exact deck you want without having to open countless packs and hoping for the best.

On the other hand, there’s something extraordinary about opening a sealed pack of cards and picking through the surprises inside. For many collectors hoping to get unique or valuable cards, buying boxes of sealed packs is ideal, as it gives you plenty of opportunities to pull rare cards.

What to look for in quality Pokémon cards

Chances for rare cards

If you’re buying sealed packs intending to find expensive cards, one of the most important things to consider is how many valuable cards are in the set. Of course, older sets often contain the most valuable cards, but relatively new ones like the Deoxys EX set may have highly sought-after cards as well, such as the Rayquaza Gold Star card, valued at roughly $4,000.

Although the newest sets won’t likely contain cards worth thousands of dollars, you can still opt for sets that have popular Pokémon like Charizard or unique variants such as “shiny” or “gold star” Pokémon if you’re on the hunt for valuable cards.


You have to be careful when buying Pokémon cards. Many online sellers are known to weigh packs or use other methods to determine which ones likely have foil cards to replace them with other packs.

Not every report of box tampering is accurate. Many people may receive packages with slight tears or rips in the plastic and assume it was tampering when it was likely ripped during shipping. Still, it’s worth examining the recent reviews and avoiding products that have overwhelming reports of potential tampering.

Included accessories

If you intend to play the Pokémon trading card game, certain accessories such as playmats and damage counters will make for a more enjoyable experience. Many starter decks and sealed boxes include these accessories, so you’re ready to play right off the bat. Damage counters and playmats don’t often hold their value the same way as the cards do, but many can still be sold online if you decide you don’t need them.

How much you can expect to spend on Pokémon cards

You can get a single pack of Pokémon cards for around $8, depending on the set you choose. If you want to buy a box of sealed packs, you may spend anywhere from $40-$120.

Pokémon card FAQ

How can I tell if a card is rare?

A. Pokémon cards feature symbols in the bottom right-hand corner of the card that indicates their rarity. For example, circles are common, diamonds are uncommon, stars are rare and three stars mean it's extremely rare.

Which cards are the most powerful?

A. This can vary, but you can’t go wrong with gigantimax, mega or “GX” Pokémon, as they often feature special abilities and enhanced stats.

What are the best Pokémon cards to buy?

Top Pokémon cards

Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield Battle Styles Booster Box

What you need to know: This box contains 36 sealed packs of cards from the newest generation of Pokémon.

What you’ll love: Includes a total of 360 cards. You’ll have a blast opening pack after pack out of this enormous box. Most buyers did not feel that their box had been tampered with, and many reported pulling rare cards like Rapid Strike Urshifu VMax and Necrozma V.

What you should consider: Many collectors felt that they wouldn’t make their money back on their purchases.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Pokémon cards for the money

Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon Trainer Kit Lycanroc & Alolan Raichu Card Game

What you need to know: This is an affordable set of two pre-constructed decks for those who want to get started playing right away.

What you’ll love: Includes an illustrated deck box. It has everything you need to get started playing, including a unique Pokémon game coin. You know exactly which cards you’re going to get, so you can easily buy singles along with these starter decks and make them more powerful.

What you should consider: The included decks are only half the size of a typical deck. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Pokémon TCG: Scizor EX Box

What you need to know: This box comes with four sealed packs of cards along with a special oversized Scizor foil.

What you’ll love: Fans of Scizor will adore the included regular-sized and oversized foil cards. Although it doesn’t have many packs, virtually no reports stated buyers felt like theirs were resealed.

What you should consider: Incredibly rare reports of box tampering.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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