The English Pokémon card rarity guide

Ex Power Keepers

This set concludes the Ex Series as far as main sets go. The set contains Pokémon-ex, Gold Stars and holofoil Energy Cards, the latter coming in the reverse slot. It seems they were printed 5 times each on the same sheet as the 91 reverses, making up a 121 card sheet, with the holofoil Energy Cards appearing approximately 1 in every 4 packs. The table below compares the observed data with this hypothesis; I can’t come up with any other one which would even remotely fit the data:


Since the holos/Gold Stars seem to have already been printed on a 121 card sheet for the last set, my working hypothesis from now on will be that all sheets, rather holofoil or not, will feature 121 cards, at least until we arrive at ultra-rare cards where parts of the illustration reach all the way to the card border. For these, 100 card (10x10) sheets seem to be used in some cases (see the video New Footage of Pokemon Cards Being Designed, Printed, Packaged & Shipped - YouTube at around 10 minutes showing Pokémon GX from Forbidden Light).

Both my own data as well as that provided on the Pokegym forums (PK EX/Stars Per Box | The PokeGym) points to the Pokémon-ex being 3 per box in this set. As to the Gold Stars, things are a bit more difficult to say. I observed 6 Gold Stars pulled from 15 boxes (I came across one more video on Youtube since my introductory post on the Gold Stars), but 4 of them came from one single box, meaning 12 of of 15 boxes contained none. The reported pulls on the Pokegym forums were about 1 Gold Star in 2 boxes. Based on this, I think the best guess is that the Gold Stars are printed on the same sheet as the holos, with each one (Flareon, Jolteon and Vaporeon) appearing twice on the sheet, yielding 2 x 3 / 121 * 9 = 0.446 Gold Stars per box. Unless they were printed in such a way that multiple can routinely appear in the same box, the large share of boxes with no Gold Star I observed would be coincidence. The rarity table looks as follows:

The raw data for the holos, rares and Pokémon-ex looks as follows (dashed lines indicating where the transition from H9 to H8, etc., would occur):


I have not yet looked at the commons or uncommons.

POP Series 5

Thanks to the presence of two Gold Stars, Espeon and Umbreon, in the set, POP Series 5 is a lot more popular than the other POP Series, and there are more videos of pack openings on Youtube than for the other ones. The 5 uncommons and 6 commons appear to be printed on a single sheet just like in the earlier set; a model with each uncommon appearing 4 times on the sheet (leaving the other 101 positions for the commons) still fits the observed data very well.

A rare in every 10 packs still looks like a good estimate for the moment, although it may be a bit on the low side; I may end up revising it slightly (to 1 in 8) after looking at all 9 POP Series - unlike the main sets, I am looking at these only as I get to them. The big question is whether the Gold Stars are rarer than the other rares. Based on the data from 364 packs, they may be - or they may not be. Here are the rare pulls I observed:


For the moment I will go for a model where all rares have the same rarity (except for one printed 21 times on the sheet). Thus, the rarity table is identical to that for POP Series 4:

Diamond & Pearl

This is the first set of the Diamond & Pearl Series. Instead of Pokémon-ex and Gold Stars, we now have Pokémon LV.X. For this first set, the pull rate is 1 per box. The number of cards per pack is increased to 10, the packs now featuring 3 instead of 2 uncommons. This is the first set since Ex Ruby & Sapphire to include “normal” (non-holofoil) Basic Energy Cards, which now include Darkness and Metal types. Unlike in previous sets, they are printed on the same sheet as the commons, which I was able to reconstruct. The rarity table looks as follows:

The raw data for the holos, rares and Pokémon LV.X is as follows (dashed lines indicating the transition from H8 to H7, etc.):


The commons/Basic Energy sheet looks as follows:

† Stunky, Clefairy, Potion, Marill, Seedot, Skorupi, Cleffa, Meditite, Glameow, Shinx, M Energy, Turtwig, Chimchar, Chatot, Duskull, Onix, Piplup, Hoothoot, Electabuzz, Wurmple, Magnemite, Gastly, Switch, Rhyhorn, Starly, Sneasel, G Energy, Azurill, Buizel, Cherubi, Mime Jr., Bidoof, Ponyta, Bonsly, Stunky, Combee, Buneary, Goldeen, Misdreavus, Machop, Clefairy, R Energy, Roselia, Energy Search, Chimchar, Glameow, Skorupi, Meditite, Marill, Seedot, Hoothoot, Magnemite, Electabuzz, Gastly, Turtwig, Starly, W Energy, Onix, Sneasel, Piplup, Cleffa, Wurmple, Duskull, Potion, Rhyhorn, Chatot, Shinx, Buizel, Cherubi, Buneary, Misdreavus, L Energy, Bonsly, Stunky, Combee, Bidoof, Chimchar, Mime Jr., Goldeen, Machop, Marill, Roselia, Ponyta, Switch, Azurill, Gastly, P Energy, Seedot, Meditite, Magnemite, Clefairy, Piplup, Sneasel, Skorupi, Turtwig, Cleffa, Onix, Glameow, Shinx, Wurmple, Chatot, F Energy, Duskull, Energy Search, Rhyhorn, Hoothoot, Cherubi, Electabuzz, Buizel, Bidoof, Mime Jr., Bonsly, Combee, Starly, Ponyta, Goldeen, D Energy, Buneary, Misdreavus, Roselia, Machop †

The reverses look like they were all printed on a single 121 card sheet, with 2 cards appearing on it twice.

Mysterious Treasures

The only thing really mysterious about this set is how rare the secret rare (Time-Space Distortion) is. I saw one pulled from 10 boxes on Youtube. Just like Here Comes Team Rocket! in Ex Team Rocket Returns, it is impossible to say anything even semi-certain about this card’s rarity. There are two threads about it on the PokeGym forums, which I list for the sake of completeness, but no really conclusive information I was able to find:

I am going to assume it’s a H2 card (printed twice on the holo sheet), the same assumption I made for Here Comes Team Rocket! and for some of the Gold Stars printed on holo sheets, but this is really not much more than a wild guess. If anyone has further information on the topic, I will gladly include it.

Pokémon LV.X still seem to be 1 per box (though a bit less consistently than in Diamond & Pearl). For the reverses, I just looked at one box, all 120 were probably printed on one sheet, with 1 card appearing twice. The rarity table looks as follows:

The raw data for the holos, rares and Pokémon LV.X looks as follows (dashed lines indicating where the transition from H7 to H6, etc., would occur):


POP Series 6

The Pokémon Company - or the printing company - screwed up when producing these packs. Instead of inserting a rare every 10 packs (or whatever the distribution was supposed to be) they inserted one in every pack. The result is that the “rares” are actually the most common cards in the set.

As mentioned earlier, the commons/uncommons sheet is known. With that, the rarity table looks as follows:

Secret Wonders

The two questions of interest for this set are the rarity of the Pokémon LV.X - since there are only two in the set, their pull rate is less than one per box - and the sheet layout for the reverses; since there are 130 of them, they will have required at least two sheets to print them.

My Youtube sample of 8 boxes yielded 4 Pokémon LV.X. I would guess they are either 1 in 2 boxes or 2 in 3 boxes. I will go with 1 in 2 for my model, since it best fits the observed data, even if 2 in 3 would meen the pull rate for the individual cards would be the same as for the Pokémon LV.X in the previous two sets.

The question of the reverses is a bit more complicated. The only sets so far to have used more than one sheet to print the reverses were the three e-series sets. As mentioned in the respective posts on this thread, it looks like Expedition and Aquapolis used three sheets and Skyridge used four. By printing 2-3 copies of each reverse, the pull rates of the individual cards were more balanced than if 1-2 copies had been printed on two sheets.

From a Youtube sub-sample of four boxes, it is apparent that those reverses which appear fewer times on the sheet are reverse commons. It is however not possible to tell from the sample data if two or three sheets were used to print them, as printing most the reverses twice and 18 reverse commons once on two sheets, or printing most of the reverses three times and 27 reverse commons twice on three sheets would yield the exact same share of reverse rare holos, rares, uncommons and commons (see table below):

In order to determine which option - two sheets or three sheets - was most likely used, the best way is to look at the reverses in Legends Awakened, the next “large” set to require more than one sheet to print them. For Legends Awakened, it is also apparently some or all reverse commons which are printed fewer times on the sheets. If two sheets were used, 36 of the 48 reverse commons would only be printed once, the other reverses twice. If three sheets were used, all 48 commons and 4 other cards - I am hypothetically assuming they are reverse uncommons - would be printed twice, the other reverses three times. The table below shows that the first option - 2 sheets - fits somewhat better:

As a final piece of evidence, while developing this method of analyzing the reverses I have already looked at two later “large” sets: Boundaries Crossed, and BREAKThrough, which both also seem to have used two and not three sheets.

Thus, assuming 1 Pokémon LV.X in 2 boxes and the reverses printed on two sheets, the rarity table looks as follows:

The raw data for the holos, rares and Pokémon LV.X is as follows (dashed lines indicating where transition from H6 to H5, etc., would occur):