The new generation of Pokémon TCG cards, Scarlet & Violet’s base set, has been out for two weeks, giving everyone a chance to get to grips with the new “ex” meta, and allowing time for the resale markets to calm themselves down. With the live game making its official rotation to the new era today (in time for April 14 – 16’s European International Championships in London), now’s a great time to take a look at which cards are proving the most popular…and valuable.
What’s perhaps most striking about this new set, with its freshly redesigned packs, is how only one card has gone big when it comes to price. While cards like 2021’s Evolving Skies Alt Art Umbreon are now fetching over $US600 ($833), and the ongoing Crown Zenith set’s gold cards are fetching around $US100 ($139), it’s just Scarlet & Violet’s Special Illustration Rare Miriam that is causing any sort of fuss, floating somewhere between $US60 ($83) and $US100 ($139), but coming down fast.
In fact, the whole Scarlet & Violet set has seen its prices crash, and crash hard, in its first fortnight on sale. That’s despite a set that contains some absolutely stunning cards that are enormously collectible. It’s just — and unless you were hoping to make a quick buck, there’s little to regret here — they’re possible to collect at far more sensible prices. There are some breathtaking cards, like the Scovillain or Skwovet Illustration Rares, that you can pick up for just a couple of bucks.
That’s something of a relief given the set’s horrible pull-rates for rarer cards, which is especially difficult to swallow when it’s being released at the same time as Crown Zenith’s incredible generosity. Yes, every pack is guaranteed a holo, but since there are only 19 of them to collect they’re common as confetti, making it all the more frustrating to try to find anything more exciting.
But excitement is there to be found! Alongside the chased Miriam, there’s the beautiful Ralts to Gardevoir triptych to find, some fantastic Special Illustration Rares of Miraidon and Koraidon, the terastalized Gyarados ex full-art, and some truly stunning art like the Special Illustration Penny and Great Tusk, along with many more.
Plus of course there are the cards that are forming core parts of new meta decks for the live game, often easier to pull, and making things interesting during this peculiar time when the ex cards can be mixed with Sword & Shield’s V cards. So, given all this, let’s get cracking with the cards you’ll most want to pull from a pack.
With its 310 HP and the ability to let you re-attach Energy cards from your discard pile, this evolution ex is taking the lead in battle decks. Paired with regular Gardevoir cards, using Kirlia and Radiant Greninja to get Energy in your discard pile, and working hard to ensure you can get your Ralts evolved early on, this is a slow start with a big finish.
It’s also a really lovely ex card, showing off how the new silver borders make for far more interesting art options than the clashing yellow would have allowed, and also a lovely callback to Primal Clash’s Gardevoir ex Ultra Rare. There is, of course, the Special Illustration Rare version of this, but it’s important to remember how the cheaper versions are so essential for the game. You can pull this pretty easily, or pick it up for under five bucks.
As of this weekend, there aren’t all that many decks in the meta that are featuring SV cards. The emphasis is still very strongly on the latter SWSH cards, especially those godforsaken Giratina/Comfey Lost Zone decks and Lugia/Archeops decks. However, the two that are breaking in are the Gardevoir above, and Miraidon’s ex card when paired with Regieleki VMAX and Magnezone VSTAR. In fact, the current meta has it accompanied by Raikou V and Drapion V too, leading to an all V/ex deck with no regular Pokémon at all!
Miraidon allows you to get two Lightning Energy Pokémon out of your deck every turn, as well as packing a punch with its 220 attack. Also, look, it’s nice to get one of the new flagship monsters into your deck for sentimental reasons! Unless you bought Scarlet, in which case you’re screwed.
Arcanine ex Ultra Rare
So with the live game out of the way shockingly quickly, let’s get on with where the money’s at…with the wonderful caveat that there’s just not much money to be found! The eighth-highest-priced card of the set is this Arcanine ex, and it’s yours for just $US15 ($21)-$US20 ($28).
That’s not because this set isn’t popular, because it is flying off the shelves. The low aftermarket prices are more likely because people are just not comfortable with the new stuff yet. This is a whole new era that abandons the V cards that have been riding high the last three years, and the whole new approach to rarity is leaving everyone absolutely bemused. We just don’t know yet what is special, nor have a good feel for pull rates.
So let’s stop seeing this as a money-making opportunity, and instead enjoy the lovely art. That’s easy to do with this amazingly clean terastalized Arcanine, a really fresh approach amongst the dominance of ultra-detailed artworks.
Ralts Illustration Rare
As a collector of Ralts, I couldn’t be more delighted by this card. And I’ve had the good fortune to pull it twice, meaning I get to keep a copy out of my son’s clutches for my own collection. It’s the first part of a three-card set (something we’ll be seeing a lot more of in June’s Paldea Evolved cards), where we see a family growing up with Ralts, Kirlia, and Gardevoir as part of their lives.
For whatever peculiar reason, the Kirlia stage isn’t in the top 10 most valuable cards, but the Ralts and the Gardevoir are. People are odd. You can pick up the Kirlia for about $US13 ($18), but this Ralts will set you back closer to $US20 ($28).
Gyarados ex Ultra Rare
It’s very interesting that this and the Arcanine have proven quite so popular, given they’re designated simply “Ultra Rare,” which in the bonkers world of PTCG is, er, the least-rare form of rare card. Yeah. However, the striking art from 5ban Graphics is clearly making a connection with collectors, alongside Gyarados being such a loved Pokémon.
Its price has taken an interesting trajectory, starting around 30 bucks, then plummeting to around $US19 ($26), before then bouncing back in the last week to $US25 ($35). That’s a lot for a full art, but it’s perhaps boosted by there being no Illustration Rare version of the card in the set.
Miriam Ultra Rare
When you hear people talking about “the Miriam,” this isn’t the card they mean. Which is surprising, given that this is a far more traditional “waifu” style representation of a female Pokémon character — an icky issue Kotaku recently reported on.
To pick this version up will cost you between $US25 ($35) and $US30 ($42), which is a striking difference compared to the Japanese version, which is currently fetching $US200 ($278) raw, and up to $US460 ($639) for a PSA 10. Japan.
It’s a card worth getting, of course, because her ability to get up to five Pokémon out of your discard pile and back into your deck, and then also draw three cards, is pretty epic.
Koraidon ex Special Illustration Rare
For those Koraidon fans disappointed that the creature hasn’t found its way into the TCG meta, you can add to that disappointment by its coming a distant second to its future rival when it comes to value, too. This adorable card, with its Dedenne seemingly stealing the focus, is currently fetching around $US36 ($50) pack fresh. However, it’s one you might want to consider the cost of grading, given a PSA 10 can sell for over $US200 ($278).
Gardevoir ex Special Illustration Rare
As promised, here’s that Special Illustration Rare version of the Gardevoir ex, both the alternative version of the very playable card that’s seeing play in tournaments, and the final part of the Ralts trio.
Jiro Sasumo is rapidly becoming the most interesting new artist to watch in Pokémon TCG, and this card in particular is a feast. There’s just so much going on, so many tiny details, that you can just revel in it.
It’s the third-priciest card in the set just now, gathering $US45 ($62) raw, and as much as $US276 ($383) at grade 10. But how awesome would it be to have this in your hand and reveal it when you evolve that Kirlia for the win?
Miraidon ex Special Illustration Rare
Take that, you old-fashioned Koraidon! (I’m not enjoying any of this. Koraidon is my boy.) Here’s the second-place card, and it’s the stunning Miraidon ex Special Illustration Rare.
It’ll get two basic Pokémon onto your Bench every turn, plus dish out 220 damage every other turn. But on top of that, just check out that art. Look at the background detail alone! Then you’ve got the Miraidon creepily staring in through the window at the Dachsbun in its fancy apartment, like some sort of alien invasion.
Pack fresh, you can buy one of these for $US50 ($69), but graded 10 it’s hitting over $US280 ($389).
Miriam Special Illustration Rare
This is the Miriam everyone’s talking about…and they should be! It’s one of the most stunning, beautifully designed cards the TCG has ever seen, a masterful piece of art by Akira Komayama.
Komayama has been designing cards since 2011’s Call of Legends, and recently gave us the striking Toadscool that’s currently in Crown Zenith. He’s a reliable regular, often designing all-important starter Pokémon cards, but art like this on the Miriam is a whole new diversion, and such a welcome one.
I love that it almost looks Cubist, despite bearing more in common with ‘50s pop art, the whole piece encapsulating the college experience. It’s also such a pleasure to see it out-performing the waifu version, with Miriam depicted here without some dumb, clichéd pose.
It’s worth noting that the price of this card has crashed hard in the first two weeks of sale, beginning at an absolutely ludicrous $US240 ($333), and now fetching a much more sensible (although still enormous) $US85 ($118). The bizarre original price is likely due to an expectation that it would prove as popular as the Japanese version of the same art, which is still right now selling for $US800 ($1,111) raw, and $US1,250 ($1,735) at PSA 10. Which is insane!
A PSA 10 on the English-language version still enters crazy territory, currently selling for $US690 ($958), making this by far the most expensive and sought-after card in the Scarlet & Violet base set. So if you happen to pull it, and you think it’s in perfect condition, getting this graded could fund your Pokémon purchases for months.