The English Pokémon card rarity guide

In general, yes. You would have either 121 or 242 different variants for the commons for most sets (depending on if they can appear in reverse order or not, they can for some sets but probably not for all) ,with some exceptions such as Gym Challenge, which has repeated sequences of cards on the sheet and thus fewer possible variants. For the uncommons, there are fewer, as repeated sequences of three on a sheet are relatively common and lots of sequences of three also appear on sheets in the reverse order. Note that with “variant” I mean the exact sequence of cards in a pack, not just the same individual cards.
However, it happens relatively often for cards to be out of sequence, so you occasionally get other variants as well.
Print runs with striped collation (so far verified only for Neo Discovery, but there are also Jungle cards printed in Belgium) have more variants as the stripes can include varying rows of the sheet.

Great thread! I’ll dig into it later, but I looked over the first post to understand the phenomenon you were looking to report on, and this is exactly what had been on my mind recently!

I had this phenomenon on my mind recently because I remember coming across some information that some old Magic sets had essentially “rare-level” uncommons because of their low copy numbers on the uncut sheet, and I’m looking to complete a reverse holo Expedition set and saw that the reverse holo Switch card is pretty expensive for what it is, considering that it’s “just” a common trainer card. I thought this must be because of some arbitrarily introduced rarity due to low representation on an uncut sheet or something. It sounds like you have some information about the reverse holo Expedition sheets and packaging, so I’ll be patiently waiting for that post!

Thanks again for your research!

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Neo Revelation

Neo Revelation includes two shining Pokémon as secret rares, so the main question of interest for this set is how rare these cards actually are.

Based on raw data from Youtube videos (10 boxes), it looks like they have the same rarity as the other holos (just like Dark Raichu in Team Rocket), and I would guess they were printed on the same sheet since they have the same holofoil pattern. Creating an extra sheet would have been extra work with no benefit. Since without any arbitrary rarity difference the holo sheet should have 14 H7 and 2 H6 cards, I am assuming the H6 are the two shining Pokémon (which would amount to 1.309 shining Pokémon per box).

(I don’t assign individual card rarities in the tables for cards of the same category unless there is enough data to back it up, but when cards of different categories such as holos and secret rares are assumed to be printed on the same sheet I will include my best guess in the tables.)

I also reconstructed the commons sheet.

The rarity table looks like this:

Aside from the Shining Pokémon, Neo Revelation is characterized by the fact there are relatively few (13 in total) non-holo rares, giving them quite high pull rates of up to 1:18,2.

The raw data for the holos (with the presumed H6 cards indicated) and rares (with the dashed line showing where the transition from R10 to R9 would occur) is as follows:


The legendary beasts look like they might be of R9 rarity.

The commons sheet looks as follows (dagger marks indicate beginning/end is not known):

† Staryu, Skiploom, Geodude, Snubbull, Goldeen, Remoraid, Zubat, Quagsire, Farfetch’d, Swinub, Slugma, Paras, Old Rod, Smoochum, Aipom, Murkrow, Staryu, Chinchou, Shuckle, Qwilfish, Skiploom, Geodude, Unown K, Remoraid, Quagsire, Snubbull, Slugma, Zubat, Goldeen, Aipom, Old Rod, Farfetch’d, Smoochum, Swinub, Paras, Chinchou, Qwilfish, Murkrow, Unown K, Shuckle, Staryu, Skiploom, Geodude, Goldeen, Remoraid, Snubbull, Zubat, Farfetch’d, Swinub, Quagsire, Slugma, Old Rod, Smoochum, Paras, Aipom, Staryu, Chinchou, Murkrow, Shuckle, Skiploom, Geodude, Qwilfish, Unown K, Zubat, Goldeen, Snubbull, Slugma, Remoraid, Quagsire, Swinub, Aipom, Farfetch’d, Paras, Smoochum, Murkrow, Old Rod, Chinchou, Shuckle, Staryu, Unown K, Geodude, Qwilfish, Skiploom, Zubat, Snubbull, Remoraid, Goldeen, Slugma, Quagsire, Swinub, Farfetch’d, Aipom, Paras, Zubat, Smoochum, Old Rod, Shuckle, Murkrow, Chinchou, Staryu, Unown K, Qwilfish, Geodude, Skiploom, Remoraid, Snubbull, Zubat, Quagsire, Slugma, Goldeen, Aipom, Farfetch’d, Swinub, Old Rod, Smoochum, Paras, Chinchou, Murkrow, Shuckle, Qwilfish, Unown K †

The next set, Neo Destiny, will feature the first cards that are rarer than holos.

Neo Destiny

So far, all the sets discussed here featured basically the same rarity as far as categories of cards go; the fact that the pull rate for holos is 1 in 3 packs is so well known that I didn’t even need to point it out. Of the two sets featuring secret rares, one, Team Rocket, had its only secret rare card printed on the holo sheet, and the other, Neo Revelation, most likely had its two secret rares printed on the holo sheet as well. Aside from the fact that some sets had either 1 or 2 Basic Energy Cards included in place of commons, the whole analysis was focused on the rarity of individual cards.

This changes for Neo Destiny: the set featured 8 Shining Pokémon which had a different holofoil pattern than the regular holos, so they can’t have been printed on the same sheet. So before investigating individual card rarities, we need to do what is going to be standard for most of the sets discussed here in the future, and look at the pull rates of the different categories of cards. This analysis will be based on the statistics from Youtube videos.

For Neo Destiny, things are a bit special though as this is also the first set to include an “error” print run for which the cards were inserted into packs differently (for the moment, I am ignoring extremely rare errors such as the famous Neo Discovery box that contained only “heavy” packs with holos). In this specific case, some boxes contained packs which included both a holo and a Shining Pokémon, the latter taking the place of a common. Of 14 complete box openings I looked at on Youtube, 4 boxes had this error, and all were Unlimited. (I did not observe any packs including both a rare and a Shining Pokémon, or two Shining Pokémon.) This makes it prevalent enough to merit separate discussion.

Here is the observed raw data for average pulls per box:


For the “non-error” boxes, there appear to be 3 Shining Pokémon per box, and by default I am assuming 9 holos per box. I would generally not interpret too much into the observed pull rate for holos being a bit lower (4 of 10 boxes had 11 “light” packs) as the sample size is quite small.

For the “error” boxes, it isn’t really possible to say for sure, particularly as the numbers varied between boxes. I will use an estimate with the ratio for the rare slot still being 24:9:3 and an average of 1.5 additional Shining Pokémon being inserted in the common slot per box, or one in 24 packs, which increases the pull rate for Shining Pokémon by 50%, making the average pull rate per card the same as for the holos, but that is really just a guess.

The rarity tables look as follows:

As can be seen, for the “non-error” print runs, the Shining Pokémon set a new record for “rarest card so far”.

The raw data for the holos, rares and secret rares (Shining Pokémon) is shown below, with the dashed lines showing where the transitions from H7 to H6, R7 to R6 and SR14 to SR13 would occur.


I don’t think the low observed pull rate for Shining Charizard is statistically significant. Given how random the selection of U4 and C4 cards appears to be, I wouldn’t be surprised if the selection of the H7, R7 and SR14 were random as well.

The commons sheet is noteworthy because it appears to be a 10x11 sheet and not an 11x11 sheet. I don’t think I made a mistake in reconstructing it, and the 11 C4 cards were exactly the commons which appeared the most in the sample I used to reconstruct the sheet. It looks like this:

† Gastly, Swinub, Mareep, Porygon, Unown S, Hitmonchan, Psyduck, Dark Octillery, Unown V, Phanpy, Girafarig, Vulpix, Heal Powder, Dratini, Venonat, Seel, Exeggcute, Gligar, Sunkern, Totodile, Mantine, Pineco, Unown T, Remoraid, Growlithe, Unown L, Larvitar, Cyndaquil, Mail from Bill, Slugma, Ledyba, Light Sunflora, Swinub, Gastly, Machop, Unown S, Porygon, Seel, Venonat, Totodile, Sunkern, Gligar, Unown T, Pineco, Mantine, Unown L, Growlithe, Remoraid, Mareep, Dark Octillery, Psyduck, Hitmonchan, Girafarig, Phanpy, Unown V, Dratini, Heal Powder, Vulpix, Exeggcute, Seel, Venonat, Totodile, Sunkern, Gligar, Unown T, Pineco, Mantine, Unown L, Growlithe, Remoraid, Ledyba, Slugma, Cyndaquil, Larvitar, Mail from Bill, Machop, Swinub, Light Sunflora, Gastly, Dark Octillery, Porygon, Unown S, Mareep, Phanpy, Hitmonchan, Psyduck, Girafarig, Vulpix, Dratini, Unown V, Heal Powder, Totodile, Seel, Exeggcute, Venonat, Pineco, Gligar, Sunkern, Unown T, Remoraid, Unown L, Mantine, Growlithe, Mail from Bill, Cyndaquil, Larvitar, Light Sunflora, Ledyba, Slugma, Machop †

The uncommons sheet seems to be a 11x11 sheet.

So much for the facts. But what is the explanation behind these observations? Here are my thoughts:
• The “error” packs and boxes feature an “error” which isn’t exactly random. First of all, Shining Pokémon need to be inserted in place of commons. Second of all, these same packs need to receive 6 commons instead of 7. Since I didn’t observe the error in any 1st Edition boxes, this points to it occurring in a late print run, possibly from the time WotC was having the e-series sets printed. These do in fact feature holo cards appearing in one the commons slots, so some sort of mix-up is conceivable. But it may also have occurred intentionally, either to make the Shining Pokémon more easily obtainable, or because too many sheets of these had been ordered printed by mistake.
• The only explanation I can think of for the 110 card commons sheet is that the next set, Legendary Collection, used a 110 cards sheet for the commons and uncommons, and that either some misunderstanding occurred when designing the sheet or it was a test - though why something like that would need to be tested I would not know.