Pokémon Rare Cards – What are the different types?

What are Pokémon Rare Cards?

Vivillon Regular Pokémon Rare Card Battle StylesPokémon rare cards are identified by a small star ★ at the bottom, next to the unique card number. Regular rare cards are non-holo and make up a small percentage of the total cards for each expansion set.

The Vivillon card pictured is an example of a regular non-holo rare card from the Battle Styles expansion set. It looks identical to uncommon and common cards but is distinguished by the ★ marking next to its number.

All full art and half art cards are marked with a ★ and are considered rare. However, some of these cards may be Ultra Rare or Secret Rare as described further down the page. 

What are Amazing Rare Cards?

Raikou Pokemon Amazing Rare CardAmazing rare cards were introduced with the Sword and Shield Vivid Voltage expansion set  in November 2020. 

There were six of these cards in the set – Celebi, Jirachi, Raikou, Rayquaza, Zacian and Zamazenta. They could be found in any booster pack, not just those with a white code card.

The characters are all legendary or mythical and are at basic level. However they do have ‘Amazing’ abilities e.g. Raikou has ‘Amazing Shot’ which inflicts 120 damage.

Amazing rare cards have the same format as regular non-holo cards but have glittery artwork that extends beyond the artwork frame. Card features are also glittery. In place of the ★ marking they have an A Amazing Rare symbol printed on a multi-coloured glitter background. 

Three more amazing rare Pokémon were introduced with the Shining Fates expansion – Kyogre, Reshiram  and Yveltal. It is rumoured that there will be no more amazing rare cards so these will probably increase in value.

What Are Ultra Rare Cards?

Full Art Card BeautyPokémon ultra rare cards first appeared with the Black and White series released in April 2011. Two ultra rare cards were included in that set – Reshiram 113/114 which is a full art white card, and Zekrom, a full art black card.

Ultra rare cards make up the last numbers in the regular set of cards and come just before the secret rare cards. They are generally full art or alternate art duplicates of Pokémon or Trainers that feature in non-ultra rare form in the earlier numbers of the set.

The card illustrated is the ultra rare Beauty from the Vivid Voltage expansion set. It is a textured full art card and is numbered 181/185. In the set, Beauty also featured as an uncommon card number 148/185 and a secret rainbow rare 194/185.

What are Secret Rare Cards?

Dark Raichu  Secret Rare CardSecret rare cards are cards that are additional to the set they are included in. As such they have a card number higher than the set number making them easy to distinguish.

These cards were launched with the Team Rocket expansion in April 2000. Just one secret rare card was included – Dark Raichu with a card number 83/82. This card featured holographic artwork and was able to use a special Surprise Thunder ability.

The Black and White expansion set was the first to feature full art cards and from that set onwards secret rare cards are full art.

Over the years the artwork of secret rare cards has become more stunning. 

What are Secret Rainbow Rare Cards?

Secret Rainbow RareSecret Rainbow rare cards were first introduced with the Sun and Moon series in February 2017.

The very first rainbow cards were reprints of special GX cards designed with a holographic rainbow colouration. Over the years they have become more detailed and the latest Sword and Shield Rainbow cards have a textured surface which makes them shimmer in the light. 

The card illustrated features Aegislash in VMAX form from the Vivid Voltage set. The card number is 190/185 and it has rainbow colouring over a textured background. 

What are Gold Secret Rare Cards?

Exp Share Battle StylesGold coloured full art cards had appeared in earlier sets, but the first Gold secret rare cards were released with the Sun and Moon Series in 2017. The Sun and Moon base set included four gold trainer cards and two energy cards with gold borders. The gold finish is holographic and gives the cards a very special look. As with the rainbow rares, the most recent cards have a textured background that makes them shimmer in the light. 

The card illustrated is a Gold Secret Rare Trainer – Exp. Share 180/163 from the Battle Styles expansion set. It features gold artwork on a textured background.