With the release of the recent Unbroken Bonds expansion, the Pokémon TCG also received another huge chase card in the form of the Reshiram & Charizard-GX hyper rare. Let's take a closer look at why this card is now selling for over $250 (USD) within a week of launch!
When Double Blaze (one of the Japanese sets that makes up Unbroken Bonds) was first announced, Charizard collectors around the world were excited to be adding not one, but FOUR new prints of their favourite Pokémon to their collection.
With the Japanese version of the Reshiram & Charizard-GX hyper (rainbow) rare still selling for only $45-55 on eBay, not many would of expected it's English counterpart to be the hot ticket as it has rapidly become.
Two weeks before the official set launch on May 3rd 2019, prerelease events around the world were held, in which players and judges could get hold of Unbroken Bonds cards early. The very first of these hyper rare Reshiram & Charizard-GX cards that were pulled were only selling on various Facebook groups around the $100-140 mark, which seemed a reasonable price in comparison to the Burning Shadows hyper rare Charizard-GX released nearly two years ago.
It didn't take long for players that like to have “max rarity” decks (most expensive/rarest versions of a card in comparison to the cheapest) and collectors to realise how much more elusive and difficult to obtain, compared to its Burning Shadows counterpart.
Now, only one week after the set launch, the card has seen multiple buyouts and now (as of May 9th 2019) has only ONE copy available on the popular USA-based website Troll and Toad (TnT) at an incredible $399.98, almost three times the amount the card was selling for during the prerelease window!
For context this is only the price the retailer is asking for it as there is no other copies currently available to purchase through TnT. However if we look at recent eBay sold listings ,we can see that three have sold for $250-$285 which is still almost double the prerelease price.
Next we have to ask is a simple question; why? Why is this card reaching new heights for a non-promo/staff stamped card, so soon after the set launch?
I touched upon it earlier the playability of the card in tournaments. Despite not being legal for play in official Pokémon events (outside of Japan) until May 18th, the card has dominated recent events in Japan shortly after its release in Double Blaze.
This is of course bad news for collectors who are used to seeing the vast majority of Charizard cards seeing only fringe play at best in tournaments, meaning they'd only usually have their fellow collectors to compete against to obtain the latest version of their favourite Pokémon.
The deck that recently won the Kyoto Champions League, and many of the other decks in the Top 32 of this 1489-person tournament, used Reshiram & Charizard-GX as their primary attacker. In addition all of these deck lists (that were viewable on Limitlesstcg.com) used THREE copies of the card, meaning that it is in huge demand straight out of the door from both players and collectors alike.
As well as possibly being the best and most playable Charizard card in the history of the Pokémon TCG, the hyper rare Reshiram & Charizard-GX and its two other versions (the alternate art is in a promo box to be released later this summer), are all only obtainable from Unbroken Bonds booster packs, which itself is the largest ever Pokémon TCG set released.
All of these factors combine for a perfect storm of elusiveness that we haven't seen for a modern Pokémon TCG set card that I haven't seen in the three years I've been playing and following the game. Even now, two years after the launch of Burning Shadows, you can obtain a mint condition hyper rare Charizard-GX from that set, for a cheaper price currently than the hyper rare Reshiram & Charizard-GX.
I've already been asked multiple times if I think this is just a phase and if the price will go back to $100-150 in the near future. It's really hard to tell, but due to the mammoth size of the set and the difficulty in pulling the card, combined with its inclusion in a potential Tier 1 tournament deck, I see it extremely unlikely to drop under the $200 mark anytime soon. I would love to be proved wrong though as I know many are eager to add this fiery Tag Team to their collection!
Stephen Kent - Ludkins Pro Player