The Pokemon trading card game (TCG) is a game based on the Pokemon characters from the Nintendo video game. Different decks contain a selection of common, uncommon, and rare cards. Some rare Pokemon cards have extra powers that help win the game, but their true value is their rarity. Collectors can complete their collection by purchasing individual rare cards on eBay instead of investing in complete Pokemon sets.
In the video game, "rarity" describes how frequently a certain Pokemon appears in the wild. The same is true of rare cards, as the chances of pulling them out of a deck are slim, and only one random rare card comes in a new deck of Pokemon cards. Usually a Pokemon with high "HP" (Hit Points) and strong attacks, rare Pokemon cards often include Stage 2 Pokemon, Legendary Pokemon, or strong Stage 1 Pokemon. However, some rare types are valuable collector's items but do not provide special gameplay advantages. A star symbol on the bottom right corner indicates a rare card.
"Holofoil" Pokemon Cards
Though a duplicate of any non-holofoil, "holographic", "holo", or holofoil Pokemon cards feature shiny artwork instead. They do not offer any extra gameplay advantages. Every set has a number of these "ultra-rare" cards. Holofoil cards also include Level X cards—a set of rare and powerful cards from the Diamond and Pearl sets. Rare holofoils from EX Pokemon card sets, Gold Stars have a gold star printed at the top. Do not confuse "Shining" or "Shiny" cards with holofoil cards, though they are a subset. These rare cards portray the Pokemon in a different colour and have three stars on the bottom right corner.
Reverse Holo Cards
Not as rare as regular holographic cards, reverse holo cards feature holographic art in the coloured area where the attacks are located, not in the picture section. Another type of reverse holo card is the "reverse holo holo" card—rarer and more valuable than reverse holo cards.
Secret Rare Cards
The hardest cards to find, Secret Rare Pokemon cards feature full-colour art. For example, the "Mysterious Treasures" set of 123 cards had a secret extra "Time Space Distortion" card marked "124/123".
Rare Pokemon cards are not very expensive, with most rare cards being very affordable. However, several other factors—condition of the card, its rarity, and whether or not it belongs to a complete set—play a part in determining its value. As of 2014, a few very rare cards can cost in the thousands.