Pokemon Card Game Players Say They Can Tell Rare Cards Before Opening The Latest Packs

Pokemon card players are warning each other against buying loose English Pokemon Sun & Moon packs from retailers. An alleged exploit in Pokemon Sun & Moon's booster boxes could lead to retailers scamming customers out of rare cards.

From N.Domixis

Over the last few days, Pokemon card players have reported that Sun & Moon's booster boxes are "mapped". It's an age-old tradition describing how publishers package cards in a specific order, which is discernible and exploitable by players. Instead of being randomised, the Pokemon Sun & Moon booster box's 36 single packs are allegedly arranged in a predictable pattern separating common-only packs from ones containing rares.

Players say that there is either an ultra-rare card or a rare card in every third pack. The rest of the packs, apparently, are garbage.

Since the cards' early February release, YouTube videos and anecdotes across Reddit and NeoGaf have alleged this pattern. NeoGaffer N.Domixis tested it out for himself, pulling a rare, holo rare, secret rare or powerful "GX" card out of every third pack in his booster's box's left and right rows. Over email, he added that there's a "sub-pattern of alternative holo-rare/ultra-rare".

An obvious implication of mapped booster boxes is that fans can determine which packs contain the best cards. That's great for players who actually sink $160 into whole boxes. But most people don't. Most buy single packs from retailers who, if they know about Sun & Moon's alleged "mapping", could remove packs with rare cards. Then, they could sell the cards separately, behind some glass and at a higher prices. That way, customers come back more, unsatisfied by their apparent bad luck.

Pokemon card players warn that, if you don't trust your retailer, don't buy single packs from them. If you're looking for a rare card, you could be throwing your money into a ditch. On the other hand, NeoGaf user and Pokemon card retailer SalvaPot said that "no one buys the individual card unless it's stupid, stupid good". At his store, his colleagues shuffle the booster box before customers can pick out packs, something I've seen other retailers echo across the web.

The Pokemon Company did not comment on allegations of box "mapping".

This isn't the first time players thought they'd found techniques for maximising their Pokemon pack purchases. In 2015, players allegedly found out how to weigh packs for holographic cards. For a 20-year-old card game, probably, card "mapping" should not be an issue. And yet, here we are in 2017, a year of surprising and unfortunate call-backs to less enlightened times.


    I remember this being an issue with one of the Magic sets last year.

      It's kind of inescapable for Magic because of the way the cards are printed and the fact that they try and fix the probabilities in each box, so that each pack always has a fixed number of rares, uncommons and commons, on average a mix of colors, and on average a certain number of Mythic Rares. This is absolutely critical because of the fact that so much of the tournament and organized play scene is built around Sealed and Draft formats rather than pre-constructed. But it does mean that you can open a brand new booster box, open a couple of packs, then with the right model can conclude which packs will contain mythics etc.

      (Personally this is why I always buy boxes rather than loose packs)

      I used to do this with Marvel cards when I was a kid. It was brilliant but in retrospect I think there were common cards that were exclusive to the common packs, and that's why I never finished the set.

    This can happen in Yugioh too, but to a lesser extent because it's based on that particular case for the layout, so every booster box in a case will have the same pattern, but any other case will have boxes that have different pattern to another case.

    A slightly better way to do things, not perfect though.

    Used to collect marvel cards about 17 years ago and I remember that every single packet that had Jean grey on the outside had your specials and rares, everything else had just normal.

    I have a quick question. I am buying Pokemon booster packs for 3 of my nephews for Easter. I bought a 3 pack on Amazon and 2 of them came with the same character on the package(I hope that makes sense) Does that means that the pack will have the exact same cards inside?

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