The terminology associated with the Pokémon Trading Card Game can be daunting for newcomers to the game. This article seeks to explain what is meant by Half Art or Full Art cards and describe the main differences between the two types of art card.
What are Half Art Cards?
A half art card is a rare card with artwork that does not cover the entire card. On these cards most of the text is on a plain coloured background that matches the character’s energy type.
These cards are also referred to as: half body, regular art, rare art or ancient traits. In 2023 they were re-named Double Rare Holo cards.
Half body refers to the fact that only a part of the body of the character is depicted. Regular art is used because these cards are more common than full art cards and also because cards have traditionally only had partial art.
Rare art refers to the fact that art cards are rarer than standard rare cards. In the XY Primal Clash expansion set, some characters were given special effects known as ancient traits. These cards were given special art work covering half the card.
Half art card characters can have the powers GX, EX, V or ex. The Gardevoir ex card pictured is from the Scarlet and Violet Base set.
What are Full Art Cards?
A full art card is one where the artwork covers the entire card. The artwork may or may not cover the borders of the card. The Beauty Trainer card is an Ultra Rare card from the Vivid Voltage expansion set.
Full art cards first appeared in 2011 with the release of the Black and White expansion set. They are quite rare – in general there are likely to be just 3 or 4 full art cards in a booster box of 36 booster packs.
There are different types of full art cards: VMAX, Ultra Rare, Secret Rainbow Rare, Gold secret rare, Trainer Gallery cards, Illustration Rare, Special Illustration Rare and Gold Hyper Rare.
VMAX Cards (2020 – 2023)
VMAX power was introduced in 2020 with the launch of the Sword and Shield expansion series and continued throughout the series. Characters with VMAX power are always full art cards.
Ultra Rare Cards (2011 – 2023)
Ultra Rare cards were first introduced in 2011 as full art cards that are numbered towards the end of the regular set. Some were Alternate Art versions of cards that appeared earlier in the set.
In 2023, with the launch of the Scarlet and Violet Series, Ultra Rare cards were moved from being part of the main set to being numbered higher than the set number. The Iscan Trainer card shown is from the Lost Origin expansion set and numbered 192/196, while the Miriam Trainer card 238/198 is from the Scarlet and Violet Base Set.
Trainer Gallery Cards 2022
Trainer Gallery cards were first introduced in 2022 with the launch of the Sword and Shield Brilliant Stars expansion. They were a subset of 30 full art cards that were numbered TG??/TG30. The Astral Radiance, Lost Origin and Silver Tempest sets all included Trainer Gallery cards. The Crown Zenith set of January 2023 contained a Galarian Gallery subset of 70 cards. The Rayquaza VMAX card TG20/TG30 is from the Silver Tempest set.
Secret Rare Cards
Secret Rare Cards are are extra cards and are numbered higher than the number of cards in that set. Like Ultra Rare cards these may also be alternative art versions of cards that appear earlier in the deck.
In 2023, with the launch of the Scarlet and Violet series, the rarities of cards were re-categorised and Secret Rare cards were comprised of Illustration Rare, Special Illustration Rare, Ultra Rare and Hyper Rare cards.
Secret Rainbow Rare cards, those that have a distinctive holographic rainbow colouring across the artwork were retired in 2023, while Gold Secret Rare cards were re-named Hyper Rare cards. The cards below depict a regular pre-2023 secret rare card, a Secret Rainbow Rare and a Gold Secret Rare card.
Illustration Rare and Special Illustration Rare Cards
Pokémon Illustration Rare cards were first introduced in 2023 with the launch of the Scarlet and Violet series. There are two different types – Illustration Rare and Special Illustration Rare cards, both of which are full art holographic cards. Illustration Rare cards are indicated with a single gold star ★, while Special Illustration Rare cards have two gold stars ★★.
Illustration Rare cards are alternate art versions of Common or Uncommon cards, while Special Illustration Rare cards are alternat art versions of Rare or Double Rare Holo cards.