Pokémon Trading Card Game: Ranking the New Amazing Rares

The Pokémon Trading Card Game has introduced six cards with the brand new “Amazing Rare” designation. Here is everything you need to know about their collectability and quality.

Photo: The Pokemon Company

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The latest set in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Vivid Voltage, is introducing a brand new tier of rarity: the Amazing Rare. Distinguished by gorgeous watercolor rainbow art and a distinctive ‘A’ symbol, six Pokémon are part of the initial wave of these highly sought-after cards.

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Though the six do vary in terms of strategic offerings, all Amazing Rares are subject to the following: they are Legendary or Mythical Pokémon, Basic, and require three different types of Energy to use all of their attacks. Aside from being nice to look at, they do each require a bit of know-how to use them properly, with some pros and cons any time you want to put one in a deck.

More than just potentially great additions to your decks, these are awesome collector’s items. They’re hitting North American stores this month, but have been on the market in Japan for sometime now, meaning we’ve a sense of how much they’re worth, in addition to their competitive value. You can find the new TCG Vivid Voltage expansion on eBay now.

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Here we’re ranking all six from worst to best, so you know exactly which to look for right away.

6. Rayquaza

At one end of scale, we have the new Rayquaza. From the jump, this one has slightly lower health than the promo Rayquaza from Sword & Shield, with 120 HP as opposed to 130 HP, remaining Colorless. Resistance to Fighting and weakness to Lightning are the same too, and current rotations have made those desirable in standard play.

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Where the Amazing Rare Rayquaza really falls short is in its one attack. Using a minimum of one Grass, one Lightning, and one Fighting Energy, Rayquaza can deal 80 damage multiplied by the amount of basic Energy on the monster, discarding the Energy afterwards. So, the base level is 240, moving up from there. The key terminology here is ‘basic Energy’, you need to get three different types of basic Energy on the card before you can even attack, locking out shortcuts like Aurora Energy. Gathering those three Energies that quickly is tough, and once you do it, you’re one Boss’s Orders away from Rayquaza hitting the bench. Too risky for now. The Japanese version of the card is available at the lower end of the price range at $27.

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5. Zacian

Another Amazing Rare that’s taking a health cut, this is the lowest HP Zacian in Sword & Shield so far, with 110 HP, lower than the 120 HP Metal-type from Rebel Clash, and the 220 HP Zacian V. This one is Psychic with a weakness to Metal, no resistance, and a retreat cost of two Colorless, so you can Air Balloon it out of the Active spot if needed.

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Zacian’s attacks are all worthwhile, if simple. The first is for one colorless, delivers 30 damage and can put a basic Energy card from your discard pile onto this Pokémon. Then, for one Grass, one Psychic, and one Metal, Zacian does 150 damage, 300 if your opponent has a VMAX in play. This won’t take out many VMAX Pokémon, who usually have over 300 HP, but it will likely deal with any other heavy-hitters in your opponent’s roster, including many Tag-Teams such as Celebi and Venusaur, or even Moltres and Zapdos and Articuno. This Zacian is currently fetching around $44 on its own, if you’re so inclined.

4. Zamazenta

Zamazenaa’s Amazing Rare incarnation is very similar to Zacian, for whom it now has a weakness, but it’s the after effects of its main attack that give Zamazenta the edge. Now a Fighting type, in contrast to usually being a Metal type, this Zamazenta may not have huge HP, at 110, but it can be tricky for an opponent running a certain kind of Pokémon.

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The first attack is the same as Zacian’s, using one Colorless to deal 30 damage and retrieve a basic Energy from the discard. The second, using one Lightning, one Fighting and one Metal, is the kicker. Amazing Shield does 150 damage flat, so it’s making a dent, and then Zamazenta is immune from damage from VMAX Pokémon for the entire next turn. All damage from meta-friendly Pokémon like Lapras VMAX, Eternetus VMAX, and Centiskorch VMAX is prevented. This is situational, certainly, but it’s a headache against the right decks. For around $20, this legendary shield dog is a steal for its potential uses.

The first attack is the same as Zacian’s, using one Colorless to deal 30 damage and retrieve a basic Energy from the discard. The second, using one Lightning, one Fighting and one Metal, is the kicker. Amazing Shield does 150 damage flat, so it’s making a dent, and then Zamazenta is immune from damage from VMAX Pokémon for the entire next turn. All damage from meta-friendly Pokémon like Lapras VMAX, Eternetus VMAX, and Centiskorch VMAX is prevented. This is situational, certainly, but it’s a headache against the right decks. For around $20, this legendary shield dog is a steal for its potential uses.

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3. Raikou

The next best Amazing Rare is Raikou, whose health is actually nearly static compared to his brethren. 110 HP is lower than Raikou GX, but higher than the Skyridge Raikou‘s, hitting a sweet spot. As a Lightning-type, this tiger-like monster has weakness to Fighting, and another retreat cost of two Colorless.

Raikou has one move, Amazing Shot, for one Grass, one Lightning, and one Metal, and it’s a doozy. This does 120 damage, and 120 additional damage to one of your opponent’s benched Pokémon, so it’s a two-for-one. This presents all sorts of possibilities. You might not KO what’s right in front of you, but if your opponent has anything tricky on the bench that they’re keeping safe for the time-being, you can knock it out. Something to keep an eye on in competitive play for sure. The $40-and-up price-tag reflects the strength.

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2. Celebi

A low-cost, low-risk team-amplifier here, the Amazing Rare Celebi is something that’ll need protection, but offers some great strategic value. At 60 HP, this Grass version of the mythical Pocket Monster has weakness to Fire, but an especially cheap retreat cost of one Colorless.

For this one, the three colors are spread between its two abilities. The first is a straight attack for one Grass, that does 30 damage for every basic Energy attached to your opponent’s active Pokémon. If your adversary has been loading up, for something like a Pikachu & Zekrom GX that uses six Energy, you could take a swing that makes them regret it. The second move’s the real interesting one – Amazing Bloom, for one Lightning and one Psychic, you can evolve all your benched Pokémon, if you’ve got the evolutions in your deck, allowing you to side-step other requirements to buff up your bench and go on the assault very quickly. At $19, the Celebi Amazing Rare is under-valued at the moment – pick it up.

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1. Jirachi 

The best Amazing Rare, and resident Metal-type of the six, is Jirachi. 70 HP, resistance to Grass and weakness to Fire, this Jirachi carries over and, in some ways, improves its uses from previous versions.

The previous standard Jirachi (TEU) used Stellar Wish to look at the top five cards of your deck, letting you put a Trainer card from those five into your hand.you’d then shuffle your deck and Jiarchi went to sleep. Amazing Rare Jirachi’s Dreamy Revelation reduces this to two cards, but you can take either of them into your hand, you don’t need to reveal them, and Jirachi doesn’t go to sleep after. What’s even better is, the next ability, Amazing Star, uses one Psychic, one Fighting and one Metal to take seven basic Energy cards from your deck and attach them to your Pokémon anyway you like.

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Jirachi here is effectively an engine for drawing exactly what you need and loading up on Energy. Its price reflects this, already at $50, but if you don’t add it to your collection, you’ll definitely be facing one, and that’s not a position you want to be in.