What are Pokémon Alternate Art Cards?

Alternate Art Cards are Pokémon Trading Cards that depict Pokémon that have already appeared in an Expansion Set. They are named Alternate Art Cards because although the Character, Stage, HP and Abilities are identical, the artwork is always a different, alternative design. These cards frequently feature in the top 10 Chase Cards of a set and always fetch higher prices than their duplicate counterpart.

With the release of Scarlet and Violet in 2023, the rarity of cards was revamped and new rarity symbols introduced, making it very clear to determine the rarity of each card. Two new categories – Illustration Rare and Special Illustration Rare only contain cards that are Alternate Art cards. 

See also: Complete List of Alternate Art Cards
Complete List of Illustration Rare Cards
Complete List of Special Illustration Rare Cards


How to tell if a card is an Alternate Art Card?

Alternate Art Cards can be found in regular Expansion Sets or as Promo Cards. Those that have been released since since August 2019 have been Full Art, holographic and, with the exception of Promo Cards, Ultra Rare or Secret Rare. Alternate Art Cards feature some of the most stunning images in the Pokémon Trading Card Game and are highly sought after by fans of the TCG. 

095/203 Umbreon VMAXAlternate Art Cards - 215/203 Umbreon VMAX 

Pictured above are the regular Umbreon VMAX 095/203 and the Secret Rare Alternate Art Umbreon VMAX 215/203 from the Evolving Skies Expansion set. Both cards have identical Stage, HP and Abilities but the artwork is very different. The Alternate Art version of this popular Eeveelution shows Umbreon set against a stunning landscape background.

This card remains one of the most sought after Alternate Art Cards of all time. It is currently (Dec 2022), selling on Ebay UK for around £400 and on Ebay.com for around $350. In contrast, the regular card is currently selling on Ebay UK for around £10 and on Ebay.com for around $8.

From 2014 to 2019 Alternate Art Promo Cards were released that were not Black Star Promo Cards. These cards were released as Prize Cards or in Collection Boxes. They were considered part of a regular expansion set and have that set’s number. However, to distinguish them, these Alternate Art Promo Cards were designated as such by a letter A next to the card number. Additionally, the card number was given a small a after its card number to distinguish it from its counterpart in the main set.

65/119 Aegislash EX65a/119 Aegislash EX

Aegislash EX 65/119 was released as part of the XY Phantom Forces Set in 2014. The Alternate Art version, Aegislash EX 65a/119 was released in 2017 as a Promo Card in the Premium Trainers XY Collection. The yellow A in a black circle to the right of the set symbol indicates it is an Alternate Art Version. 


When were the first Alternate Art Cards released?

Although sets throughout the history of the Pokémon TCG have contained more than one card for a particular Pokémon in a set, these cards have not always been completely identical. Many had different HP or different attacks so are not Alternate Art Cards.

The first Alternate Art Card was released in 2014 when an Alternate Art Promo Card of Blacksmith was released as 88a/106. Although it bears the number of the XY Flashfire Set, it was released separately in the XY Premium Trainers Collection.

88a/106 Blacksmith

Alternate Art Cards first appeared as part of a main set in 2016 when an Alternate Art version of Gyarados 123/122 was released as part of the XY BREAKPoint set.

123/122 Gyarados EX

Which Sets have Alternate Art Cards?

List of Sets with Alternate Art Cards

XY Flashfire 2014
XY Furious Fists 2014
XY Phantom Forces 2014
XY Roaring Skies 2015
XY Ancient Origins 2015
XY BREAKPoint 2016
XY Generations 2016
XY Steam Siege 2016
XY Fates Collide 2016

SM Promo Cards 2019
SM Base Set 2017
SM Guardians Rising 2017
SM Burning Shadows 2017
SM Shining Legends 2017
SM Crimson Invasion 2017
SM Ultra Prism 2018
SM Forbidden Light 2018
SM Celestial Storm 2018
SM Dragon Majesty 2018
SM Lost Thunder 2018
SM Team Up 2019
SM Unbroken Bonds 2019
SM Unified Minds 2019
SM Cosmic Eclipse 2019

SWSH Battle Styles 2021
SWSH Chilling Reign 2021
SWSH Evolving Skies 2021
SWSH Fusion Strike 2021
SWSH Brilliant Stars 2022
SWSH Astral Radiance 2022
SWSH Pokémon Go 2022
SWSH Lost Origin 2022
SWSH Silver Tempest 2022



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