It's no secret that there is a lot of value to be found in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. While the thrill of finding one of the elusive, high-end alternate arts is driving collectors to open box after box of the latest set, odds are, there are plenty of gems hiding in your bulk box that could help fund your next Pokémon purchase.

In this series, I'll be going over what cards you should be watching for price drops and price spikes, and pointing out a few high-end specs that will be profitable in the long-term. Whether you're a collector trying to fund your hobby with the cards you open or your TCGplayer account is helping you keep the lights on, knowing the best way to keep cards moving can make all the difference. 

Underpriced Cards To Buy Right Now

While the huge boom in popularity for the Pokémon TCG has made it hard to find sealed product at MSRP, this also means that a lot more people are cracking packs in search of high-end cards. During the release window, so many packs are shredded that card prices on all but the highest rarity cards tend to fall as everyone frantically tries to sell their cards and make back their money. 

This is the time you can pick up quite a few cards that have hit their price floors, and sit on them while they go back up in price. Like clockwork, once these sets are no longer available on shelves in big box stores, prices start to climb back up as collectors look to complete their sets.

Classic Collection Celebration Cards

Umbreon Star (cel25c-17_A)

Pokémon Celebrations was one of THE most hyped-up sets in the last few years. Even a month after the set was released, you'd be lucky to find a Celebration box in-store. This popularity, along with the set's limited card pool, has led to the market being flooded with cards, driving down the prices of any cards not named Charizard. Right now, if you're opening packs of Celebrations, it is incredibly hard to make your money back unless you hit the Charizard or Umbreon Star.

While it might be hard to make money selling these cards, that means it might be the best time to pick them up and hold on to them for a little while. As we see with almost every set, card prices dip down once the set becomes widely available, and then start to climb again after the set's print run finishes. The Classic Collection cards represent some of the most popular Pokémon cards throughout history, and getting ahold of cards like the Base Set Trio is a milestone for almost every collector. Currently, both Blastoise and Venusaur are under $10 per copy, making it easy to snap up copies to sit on until they double in price.

Amazing Rares

The Amazing Rare Pokémon were printed in Vivid Voltage and Shining Fates. These new cards representing Legendary and Mythical Pokémon were originally intended as chase cards in the set, but were driven down in price and popularity due to the number of copies on the market. As Shining Fates was massively popular due to the appeal of the Shiny Vault, the Amazing Rares took a big hit in their desirability and worth. While some of these cards may not even make it into a penny sleeve in your collection, what does make them worthwhile is the prospect of '10-Hunting'.

Amazing Rare cards feature a beautiful multi-color texture behind their respective Pokémon. Since these Pokémon are all major characters in their respective games, collectors are looking for the perfect versions to add to their own collection. A PSA 10 version of any one of these cards can take a $5 card into the $150 range — part of the reason why hobbyists will buy a lot of copies of these cards at once, if they can find them. Having plenty of these cards on hand and setting aside any that look good enough to be graded is an easy way to keep cards moving, instead of sitting on a few $85 cards that you hope will go up to $100. 

Cards You Can Buy and Sell For More Money Right Now

If your Pokémon TCG selling strategy is focused on opening the highest rarity cards in a set and selling them immediately, you're leaving money on the table. While the alternate art secret rare VMAXes are holding incredible prices, even the best prices are only barely covering the price of boxes on the secondary market. It's far more likely that you're opening a Booster Box, probably hitting one high value card that covers around 50% of what you paid for the box, and then scrambling to mitigate losses from the rest of the box. 

With the recent news of the Pokémon TCG organized play coming back early next year, these investments are centered around cards every player will be looking for before they return to local events and how you can be ready when they do.


This Inteleon might be the best card in the entire standard format. The combination of snipe and spread damage has always been powerful, but putting it on a card as an ability that can be activated from the bench has pushed this card to new heights. Despite being a Holo Rare, Inteleon currently holds a price tag of around $5.70, and even that feels too low for how often this card is showing up in the standard environment. Unless players start utilizing the 'anti-Rapid Strike' cards in Fusion Strike to stop this card, you can expect to see this card hit the $8 to $10 range early next year. 

Shadow Rider Calyrex

As mentioned above, Fusion Strike has introduced cards designed to counter the power of Single Strike and Rapid Strike. This means that decks focused around either of those abilities have seen a drop in popularity. Shadow Rider Calyrex V is currently found in a few decks that have seen an increase in popularity lately, and could be one of the more popular decks for in-person play due to its resiliency in an unknown meta. 

While a number of factors have kept the price of the Shadow Rider Calyrex cards down, that is precisely what makes them such a strong investment in the current market. Current Shadow Rider Calyrex V prices range from $2 to $30, depending on the rarity, while Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX ranges from $10 to $70. For a V/VMAX line of cards, this seems to be on the low side, considering how much range the cards offer in the standard environment. As a number of deck archetypes are currently playing these cards, any tournament showing could increase the price of these cards. Now that we've passed the Fusion Strike release, expect players to look to sell their Urshifus and replace them with Shadow Rider Calyrex.

Expensive Cards That Are Going to Spike

The most appealing part of collecting Pokémon cards is when high value cards release at a hefty price tag and keep going up. While these cards are hard to continually flip and keep making a profit, the investment is also a lot safer. These cards are unlikely to fall in price once they've settled, and typically go up in price as time passes. You may not sell these cards as often as others on the list, but that's okay — these are the cards you want to buy now and sit on for a while, so they can shoot up in price.

Cosmic Eclipse Full Art Trainers

Mallow & Lana (sm12-231)

Cynthia & Caitlin (sm12-228)

Red & Blue (sm12-234)

Cosmic Eclipse was the final set in the Sun & Moon Era of the Pokémon Trading Card Game, and at the beginning of the Pokémon Boom, it was one of the few Sun & Moon sets you could still buy at your big box store. Now, after a second printing of Cosmic Eclipse has come and gone, finding packs of this set is near impossible. (Well, unless you're okay with paying 2x or 3x MSRP!)

Now that the Standard format for Pokémon has passed to Sword & Shield moving forward, some of the powerful Pokémon in this set no longer have the highest prices. That said, the high rarity Trainer cards are able to maintain strong prices due to their desirability from collectors. Since these cards reference characters from various games in Pokémon's history, they are highly valued by the communities around each game, and are also printed less often when their game is not the current generation. For fans of the Black 2 and White 2 games, the only way to obtain a card for Rosa is the version in Cosmic Eclipse, and any time a popular character has a singular printing, you can bet it will be worth money. 

While this reasoning stands true for most Full Art Trainers, the ones in Cosmic Eclipse stand out because the set targeted characters across the timeline of Pokémon, and printed unique versions of these characters that we are unlikely to see reprinted in the near future. Cynthia & Caitlin and Red & Blue are both Trainer cards that feature the 'Tag Team' mechanic, making them hard to reprint in any future set. For almost anyone interested in Pokémon, the characters Red and Blue are the most iconic, while hardcore fans of the series will want a version of Cynthia to retell stories of their experience against one of the coolest Champions in Pokémon history. These cards are already reaching prices of $50 and up, but if you can pick up a copy now, they could easily be worth twice that price in another year.

Galarian Birds (Alternate Full Art)

When looking at cards to invest in, I would normally suggest staying away from any card available from current packs due to the volatility of their prices — but the Alternate Art versions of the Galarian Legendary Birds are special for a few reasons. As the Sword and Shield regional variants of the original Legendary Trio, these Pokémon are incredibly popular among fans, both players new to the game series and hardcore veterans from the beginning. Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos are easily identifiable by most of the community, so having them return to the series in their new forms and receive high rarity cards helped Chilling Reign to fly off the shelves at release time.

 As these cards appeal to long-time and new fans alike, they are more likely to hold their prices than the meta-relevant cards in Chilling Reign. Galarian Moltres V Alternate Art currently sits at just under $100, and this is when Chilling Reign is still available for purchase. Since the Calyrex V cards are likely to be reprinted in the future, either as a new product or a rerelease of their promo boxes, the Galarian Birds are the cards least likely to see additional reprints. They'll likely continue into the $100 to $150 area as it becomes harder to open Chilling Reign packs for MSRP.

Each of the above cards is currently not only undervalued in the market, but also shows how the player-base is willing to pay more per card if they can get a playset of highly sought-after cards from one store. Chasing the high end cards is definitely more entertaining when opening packs, but these sets can carry a lot of value outside of those top cards. When you're opening a lot of booster packs, that value can add up! 

Pokémon TCG sets can carry a lot of hype, but that hype can shift away from the set with disastrous results, as we saw between pre-order and release of Pokémon Celebrations. For these popular cards with upwards of $100 price tags, they typically see high pre-order prices that fall over time as people open more and more of the set. While you wait to sell that Classic Collection Charizard for $135 to recoup your cost, why not sell 100 copies of Quick Ball too?

Next time, I'll be back with more investments you can make in the Pokémon TCG, and reviewing how well my current choices are doing! Until then, you can follow me on Twitter @thezachkattack for more of my TCG choices and my thoughts on where the market is going.