The Snap Dragon Hunt - A Quest to complete a Childhood Dream

~* The Snap Dragon Hunt *~
A Quest to complete a Childhood Dream 20 years in the making

In what will be my most ambitious attempt to obtain a grail that’s already escaped me once, I have decided to start a campaign on my Instagram ( titled “Snap Dragon Hunt”. There, I will be trading up to obtain a Snap Gyarados starting with an Unlimited Base Gyarados all in an effort to finish my collection and sharing it on the #snapdragonhunt hashtag.
**With special permission from the mods (thanks @fourthstartcg !), I’m able to make updates about past trades here on E4 but not CURRENT items up for trade as this is NOT a trade thread - but a special thread where I can share my progress.****As such, updates will always be one trade behind from my official Instagram page, so if you’ve helped me out and don’t see your item and name here, it is because I have not moved past the previous trade where you would have been mentioned.

(Mods, please message me if you need me to tweak anything in order to maintain this thread’s capacity to stay on E4)**If you want me to cut to the chase and skip the fluff, details will be provided below in bold. But if you want to hear the background behind this campaign or are new, please feel free to continue to read.
So why am I doing this?
Over the last 20+ years of collecting Gyarados it has been my childhood dream of collecting every officially released Gyarados card in English and Japanese.

“What is this, a collection for ants?”

And as of this year, I am now 1 card away from completing my goal.

Are those fangs, Hyper Beam, or confused seagulls protruding from the mouth? The world may never know.

Anyone who has known me at length or has read my intro on my Grand Gyarados Collection thread can probably tell you that this collection started with just 5 cards:

The OG 5 (from Left to Right):
Japanese Giovanni’s Gyarados, English Base Gyarados, English Shining Gyarados, English Dark Gyarados, Japanese Misty’s Gyarados

English and Japanese became the languages I wanted to focus on because of my childhood experience opening packs in both languages (thank you old LGS). I had decided to make this my goal roughly when I was 12 after obtaining my first 5 Gyarados cards. I am now 33 and these last few years have been especially incredible in learning how to fine tune my goals and how to get the last bits of my collection. With some incredible help from members here, some hard lessons learned, and pure will and dedication, I have almost accomplished this goal. Unlimited Rage of the Broken Heavens was the last full set I needed to almost-complete my collection, and after the aid of folks here, Instagram, and my own bi-daily searches every-single-damn-day hunting down cards, I was finally able to obtain all 6. I now own over 150 Gyarados cards with every single officially intended holofoil pattern, release, promo, edition, code, and stamp, with all but ONE card out of my reach to completing this childhood dream. I also own every Cameo Gyarados card as well in English and Japanese.
But I am still one card away.

[enter a nice mix of angel choir music and a classic “WAZZAP?!” here]
Over the years, I have personally agonized on how I could obtain this grail. I skipped the chance to purchase this card in 2014 when it was personally offered to me for $2000 by Jimmy (may he rest in peace) back when I was in undergrad as I could not afford it without using student loan money. At the time, I made the decision to not place myself in an immediate financial crisis and figured I’d be able to save up over the years little by little to be able to eventually afford it. Despite having collected for so long, I was still a newbie to the larger world of Pokemon at that time and underestimated it’s growing influence. Unfortunately as such, as most recent sales have shown, I cannot realistically save for this card. Being a social worker in public education doesn’t pay the big bucks and for a time, I had thought of giving up on ever obtaining this card for that reason alone. Though some may laugh at this endeavor, I know the worth of patience and determination these last 20+ years have taught me while collecting this Pokemon and upon seeing how close I am now, what kind of Gyarados collector would I be if I gave up now?
And thus, the Snap Dragon Hunt campaign was born.
In inspiration and guidance by Kakuna_Matata24 on IG, as well as talking to many members here and on instagram, I have been planning and prepping for several months on starting this campaign, writing and RE-writing the rules and standards of which I and others would participate in - only mentioning this idea to a few this past year until I was ready to begin.
I acknowledge that in doing this, much of my reliance is on the community’s generosity. I do not wish to gloss over the importance of this as it leaves me overwhelmingly grateful of people’s willingness to see my childhood dream come true. It’s partially due to that gratitude that I have a list of people who I have to thank for every card given, sold, traded to me that has become a part of my collection over the years. As such, after I have obtained the Snap Gyarados, I will be hosting a giveaway of everything I have left from the Trade List that wasn’t a part of the Snap Gyarados trade. In simple terms, this means that, at the end of the day, after I have completed this goal, I will ONLY have the Snap Gyarados from this campaign. If there are no items left to host a giveaway from the Trade List to do this, then I will offer everything that isn’t part of my collection to the rest of the community in said giveaway instead. This means everything I’ve kept over the years that isn’t part of it will go to the rest of the community - all my bulk, misc. Items, holos, any promos I have left, etc. will go to everyone else. I highly doubt this will seem like much in the grand respect of things, but it is the very least I can do - I am a high believer in paying it forward and as such, it is what I have to offer the rest of you.
So let’s get down to basics!

**~*THE SNAP DRAGON HUNT*~**The Basics

**What is the Snap Dragon Hunt?**A campaign to fulfill my childhood wish of getting every English and Japanese Gyarados card by trading up from Base Gyarados to Snap Gyarados. The eventual goal is to obtain Snap Gyarados via trading up in value as it is the last card I need to complete my 20+ year collection.

Where can I find this campaign?
You can follow my progress by visiting the hashtag #snapdragonhunt on my Instagram where I have posted more details. It is also included in my stories under that hashtag as well where you can find the rules and standards.

Is this a trade thread?
As a reminder, this is NOT a trade thread, but a thread to share my progress with this campaign with all of you. I am happy to talk about difficulties faced, little blurbs about each successful exchange, and answer any questions.
**Why start out with Unlimited Base Gyarados?**Unlimited Base Gyarados holds a special place in my heart as it was the first Gyarados card I obtained which started my collection - it is also my favorite card. As such, it felt only appropriate that my favorite and first card represented the first item up for trade.
**How will you find someone to trade for Snap Gyarados?****Part of the hope of this campaign is to create as much noise about it as possible until those who own Snap Gyarados take notice. Some of them are already aware of this campaign. The other hope is that I can provide them with an offer they cannot refuse. This means that there is a high chance that I will end up trading something that is monetarily worth MORE than Snap Gyarados - after all, this campaign is for ANY CONDITION SNAP GYARADOS RAW OR GRADED. I don’t care if it’s sunbleached, torn, crimped, bent, etc. As long as it’s mostly intact, I will take it. It’s also not about the money for me, so I do not care about how much more I end up trading for it. My goal is to finish my long years of collecting Gyarados.

**How long is this campaign?**As of right now, the number in my head to complete this is at least 5 years. Depending on how far I get, I will likely increase that time as I am determined to make this goal a reality.
**Why can’t you just save and buy it?**I put this question up here because I’ve had a few people message me this already from the start. I also want to be transparent. I am a social worker that works in public education (not necessarily a “cushy” job by any means) who is still maintaining student loan payments. Simply put, I do not have the financial means to realistically purchase this card - especially in concerns to the boom. As such, this is the closest thing to a realistic goal I could come up with. There is a reason why my collection has taken me 20 odd years to nearly complete it.
**What will you do at the end of the campaign? What happens if there are items left after the final trade?**As I am well aware that I’m highly depending on the generosity of the rest of the community, at the end of the campaign, once I have the Snap Gyarados in my possession, I will host a giveaway of all the items left over from my Trade List that weren’t part of the final trade - meaning I will ONLY keep the Snap Gyarados and the rest will go to the rest of the community. In the case that there aren’t any items left over from the campaign (meaning they all went into the final trade), I will offer everything I have to offer that isn’t part of my personal collection including my bulk, promos, exclusives, holos, toys, stickers, etc. in the giveaway instead - in which I will be left with only my collection. In the grander scheme of things, the latter won’t be worth much but I want to make sure I have something to offer. Getting closer to the end goal, I will consider more options when they come to me as I’d like to offer more than this.

**Will you quit collecting after you obtain Snap Gyarados?**I’ve had a couple of people ask me this already - simply put, no. I highly doubt TPCI will stop printing Gyarados cards and will continue to collect English and Japanese versions of them upon their release. In the last few years as my TCG collection has slowed down nearing completion, I have greatly expanded my non-TCG collection in an effort to obtain unique Gyarados items that stick out to me. I may also passively collect other languages but considering the prices of the heavy hitters, and after some much needed thought, I do not foresee this as a new goal as 20 years has already done enough to side-track my mind (and wallet) collecting my favorite Pokemon. At the very least, my collecting habits will die down and I might focus on just opening a Japanese box here or there or start up on side collections again as I stopped maintaining them during the boom. At the very most, I might take a needed break but will resume regardless at some point.
**What will you do with the Snap Gyarados?**For a brief moment, it will go into my binder and fill the hole that I’ve saved for years. Afterwards, I aim to have it slabbed up with my original 5 so that they become the OG 6. I will then commission a custom case to display them all as those six cards will highlight my journey with this collection.

You can’t possibly think you can do this, do you?

Ending Thoughts:

I’m excited to share this on E4 as it was due to this forum and community that I’ve met so many incredible people along the way. Being able to obtain this card through mutual efforts with the community will only highlight the intrinsic personal value I have felt with my collection and being able to share it with you all. I owe so much to E4 in respects to how I have grown and learned about collecting and I know that, without all of you, this collection wouldn’t be where it is today. In the few times I have thought of quitting or actively tried to leave, it has always been due to members here that I have been able to maintain my collection this long. Thank you all for everything.

I appreciate you all so much for reading. I look forward to finalizing my collection and sharing it with all of you. You have no idea how much being able to do all of this means to me. I am so, so, SO very close.

Much heart and fire,


** As of 5/13/2021 I have had 1 current owner of Snap Gyarados state they are open to trading with me. This is dependent on what I have to offer, of course, and is subject to change on whim, but nevertheless VERY exciting!


~* Progress Updates *~
Reminder, to see my most updated progress, you will have to visit #snapdragonhunt on my Instagram.
March 30th, 2021:

Unlimited Base Gyarados - The First Item that was Traded

It all started here.

This card has a special place in my heart as my first and forever favorite. I still remember walking down the block to visit my friend and see his binder full of Pokemon for the first time. It was the first time I saw Gyarados at a time where Alakazam was my declared favorite. I would eventually trade that Alakazam to obtain my first ever Gyarados card.

Having amassed over 40 copies of this artwork, I chose the best copy I had to provide for the trade.

April 20th, 2021:

What a doozy of a card to have be the final card you need :grin: I wish you the best of luck in this hunt!

Also for luck here’s some actual snapdragons


Best of luck!

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What a read! Best of luck man! I look forward to seeing the quest unfold.

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Love these kinds of stories. Wishing you the best! Good luck!

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Thank you @nish , @andrewvt36 , @brendantheclayboy , @trainerjack , and @stagecoach ! It has been a long time planning for both IG and E4 to share this. I’m excited to see what cards come through and perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to share rarely ever seen and unique items through this campaign! :slight_smile:

To make navigation easier, I’ve updated the two posts above to include the link for the #snapdragonhunt hashtag. That way people don’t have to rifle through my entire page trying to find updates.

And @nish, it’s funny you posted the flowers. When I was coming up with names and titles on what to call this, as soon as I came up with “Snap Dragon” I remembered those cool little flowers and the name embedded itself into my brain. XD


Loved reading this, will be following closely.

Good luck!

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This was such a cool read. Just followed you on Instagram so I can tag along for the ride. I love trading, and don’t much care about the monetary value as long as I get something neat… In fact, I frequently post threads on Virbank openly stating that I will rip myself off to trade for certain cards, and still get barely any bites because people are too lazy to trade these days. :slightly_frowning_face: Anyway, ​I’m sure I’ll be able to help you out at some point!

I remember back in the good ole days, there’d always be kids at Regionals and Nationals doing trade ups. Sometimes it was vaguely annoying if they pushed the envelope too much on value increases, but I always thought it was really neat conceptually. I’ve seen kids start with a common and manage to trade up to gold stars and shit over the course of a day.

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Thanks @explorer!

@politoed666, I appreciate the follow! And I’m of a similar mind. I remember I used to do that a lot back when I was into Yugioh and it payed off a lot. Virbank is it’s own thing all together. XD And yeah, I’m not looking to push people in this - I want people to do this with as little stress as possible and feel good about each exchange.

Case and point, prior to my first trade, I had someone offering me a PSA 9 Charizard Vmax but they were looking for a gem mint card - the Gyarados you see pictured above has a small fleck or two of whitening on the back so he said he wasn’t sure. I told him no worries if he decided to decline and he eventually did but wished me the best. No hurt feelings and no regrets. I’m actually happy in the end because this card went to a member here who, once I trade what he gave me, I’ll be able to share. It almost always means more to me when I can trade/exchange/sell to members here than when I do it anywhere else with few exceptions.


Good luck azulryu, hope you can get your Snap Gyarados. Either way, this should make for an exciting adventure for you!

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Good luck! I’m excited to see where your journey takes you!

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Thank you @seafoamarticuno and @ascendedbidoof! I think the challenge will be getting the first few exchanges but I foresee it speeding up after I get more heavy hitters. So fingers crossed! This project’s already taken a lot of patience and time commitment. :blush:

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@azulryu,GL my dear DeLvin

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Damn, this is awesome man! Your determination reminded me of Ryohei Arisu from the Alice in Borderland manga.

I may or may not have altered the text!

Best of luck on your hunt and may the odds be ever in your favor.


Great read. Wishing you luck on the journey. Does anyone on e4 have this card by chance?

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Thanks @mads :heart_eyes:, @melchior (love that image and might just steal it for an IG meme if you don’t mind. XD), and @icollectr !

@icollectr - there are a few here who have it, yes. @shizzlemetimbers in particular has the version that was once offered to me and was able to complete his collection a few years back in graded form which is an incredible feat! :blush:

That being said, I have some small yet exciting news. At least two one person have come up to me after posting this and have stated that, depending on what I have to show for it, they’d be open to offering their copy to me.

Whether or not that will stand once I get something substantial remains to be seen, but I honestly wasn’t expecting anyone to say anything until later in the game so I’m absolutely THRILLED by the possibility.

Edit as of July - the 2nd person was a misunderstanding on my part. Only one person has said they would be open to trade, which is still incredibly exciting!


(Earth shaking noises conveying my freaking out)

Really stoked to hear that man! Half the battle is even having that potential, even if you had the cash. Let’s hope they are continually open to a trade.


Feel free to do so. I respected the Japanese right-to-left reading of the Alice in Borderlands manga but if you want you can make it left-to-right by copy/pasting the text over. But by any means, go right ahead and use it. Just watch out for potential copyright issues with the actual manga.

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