Sun & Moon Cosmic Eclipse released last Friday (November 1st 2019), and the Charizard & Braixen-GX rainbow (hyper) rare found within it will be the prime target for many Pokémon collectors. But is the card a worthy investment?
Set and Card Information
Cosmic Eclipse is the twelfth and final expansion of the Pokémon Sun & Moon block of cards. The set consists of cards found within Japan's recent Alter Genesis, Dream League and Remix Bout sets, released between July-September 2019.
By a long margin, Cosmic Eclipse is the most extensive and largest Pokémon TCG set released to date, boasting 236 main set cards, plus around 34 secret rares Unlike the last encounter with a Charizard card, (mini set Hidden Fates) Cosmic Eclipse launched in a typical manner, meaning buyers can purchase sealed booster boxes (36 packs), Elite Trainer Boxes (10 packs), and a manner of other products from day of launch on November 1st onwards.
Charizard & Braixen-GX appears in four forms: half-art, full-art, alternate-art (coming in a promo box later in November), and lastly the rainbow rare GX.
It is the Charizard & Braixen GX rainbow rare that will have by far the hardest pull rate of the above mentioned versions, and of course it will be the chase card collectors will seek to obtain, Charizard fan or otherwise!
It's now the second Charizard card featured within the Sun and Moon Tag Team block of sets (Team Up onwards) that displays a Charizard with another Pokémon. The release of Unbroken Bonds was the first expansion to set a tag-team Charizard precedent, which featured Reshiram at the forefront, with Charizard being secondary. Charizard was secondary not only the size of the character (on the full art and rainbow versions), but its name appearing after Reshiram.
On this occasion though, Charizard is at the forefront of most of the Cosmic Eclipse cards, carrying Braixen on its back.
Cosmic Eclipse Pull Ratios:
1:19 Packs – Regular GX (aka Silvally-GX, Vileplume-GX)
1:14 Packs – Team-Up Regular GX
1:100 Packs – Full Art Supporter
1:100 Packs – Secret (Hyper) Rare GX
1:150 Packs – Tag-Team GX Secret (Hyper) Rare
1:67 Packs – Stadium/Item Secret Rare
(Big thanks to Viridian Forest for the example pull ratios from 1800 packs!)
Like previous sets; to determine how many booster packs you'd need to open to find the Charizard & Braixen-GX (RR) card, we must first assume each Tag Team secret rare is equally rare as each other. If a Tag Team secret rare card is found in one in every 150 packs (rough average) and there are eight Tag Team secret rare cards, the possibility of pulling the Charizard & Braixen-GX is around a one in 1800 chance.
Remember, the above ratios are strictly based on Tag Team secret rare in an relatively small 1800 Cosmic Eclipse booster pack sample.
Disclaimer: Due to the way the product is released and the high variance, these numbers are only rough estimates.
Cases of Product are Mutually Exclusive
No matter what Pokemon TCG set you purchase, each case of the product(s) will have different pull rates. For example; in a case booster boxes, or where there is 6x the amount of a product, you may be lucky enough to find a highly desired card in each box. While if you were to purchase another six, you could be unlucky and not find any. This is theoretical, of course.
On the day of pre-release (casual preview events two weeks before the official launch), we purchased several of the Charizard & Braixen-GX Tag Team secret rares. One thing we noticed that despite being pack fresh, the cards were being pulled with slight edgewear or raised corners, which make it easier for white nicks to appear on the corners.
However, since the sets official release on November 1st, we've noticed that apart from some cards having centering issues, general condition has improved dramatically. Meaning the first concerns no longer seem apparent, resulting in the expansion having a similar quality to the Shiny Vault cards found in Hidden Fates.
We were surprised at this, therefore be sure to make no assumptions before making a high value purchase, and inspect the card thoroughly.
The last time we saw a Tag Team Charizard GX card was within the Unbroken Bonds set, released on March 2019. However, the high level of playability of Reshiram & Charizard-GX ensured out of the gate the cards were selling between $100-140 (USD). Despite featuring another Pokémon (Reshiram) in the artwork, the price was consistent with the previous release of the hyper rare Charizard-GX from Burning Shadows (2017).
Reshiram & Charizard-GX was highly playable in tournaments, meaning both players and collectors were driving up the price. Charizard & Braixen-GX however might have potential in tournaments, it's unlikely to be see as much success straight out of the gate.
Additionally, unlike the Reshiram & Charizard-GX, the Charizard & Braixen-GX displays a more prominent Charizard within the artwork, instead of Reshiram previously dominating the attention in Unbroken Bonds.
The shiny Charizard-GX from Hidden Fates, saw unprecedented hype for a modern Pokemon card, commanding $350+ for at least six weeks before dropping around 10% in value. 10 weeks on and the shiny Charizard-GX has fallen to around $250 ungraded.
The Charizard & Braixen-GX, between pre-release and the official launch date sold for around $200-250. However, we're now seeing ungraded sales fetch low as $70-80, which is incredibly unique considering all previous trends of Charizard releases over the past three years.
Grading PSA & BGS
The shiny Charizard-GX set a precedent when graded a perfect BGS 10 Black Label (10/10 in all four subgrades), which first sold for $10,100. Prices have now dropped to around $2,000 because there are currently 63 Black Labels graded at the time of writing this article. However, it was this $10k figure that set the Pokemon community into a frenzy.
Most collectors have always opted for PSA (Professional Sports Authenticators) when it comes to grading their Pokemon cards, but it soon becomes apparent that BGS (Beckett Grading Service) would be the new option for any modern chase card.
Cosmic Eclipse has been out for nearly a week, and the pre-releases were almost three weeks ago. Despite this, there are only eight of these cards graded by BGS so far, with just one black label Charizard & Braixen-GX. This could be attributed to any (or all) of these five things:
1) BGS has a backlog, and we are yet to see more graded.
2) The production quality of the cards isn't as good.
3) Collectors and flippers have reverted to PSA for chase cards.
4) Flippers don't care about this Charizard variant.
5) It is a lot harder to pull this card than the shiny Charizard-GX
It could also be too early to tell, but the counter-argument to that would be whoever hits the market first with a PSA 10, or a BGS black label, usually receives the best return. With that in mind, I'm surprised why more collectors haven't used Beckett's two-day service to achieve this.
Additionally, we have on good authority that the current and only black label has been struggling to receive private offers of more than $1100. The card mentioned is now on eBay for auction. We'll be monitoring this auction, and many more over the coming weeks, and provide our readers with a market analysis report.
Cosmic Eclipse is the finale and end to the Sun & Moon series. While the card is beautiful and features Charizard more prominently, the market appears to be "Zarded Out". Collectors are also bracing themselves for the new Pokemon Sword & Shield Base Set (Release Date: 7th February 2020), with additional hype being created from the upcoming Nintendo Switch games being released next weekend.
I think a lot of buyers were stung overpaying during the shiny Charizard-GX hype, and now they're holding fire and waiting to see what the Charizard & Braixen-GX hyper rare does, and where is goes over the coming months. Additionally, we have seen three Charizard GX cards released in a single year, which could signal for 2019 they have become saturated worthy of any special attention.
Lastly, the low figures could be because the "chase card" in this set also features another Pokemon making the item, and might not be considered a "complete" Charizard by some collectors. The above possibilities are purely speculative of course, but with the price being this low, we now envisage the only way this card can go, is up.
Is the Charizard & Braixen-GX hyper rare from Cosmic Eclipse Worth Buying?
At this point, the new Charizard is at a new low compared to any other Sun & Moon secret rare Charizard. However, it is still a Charizard.
We will personally be taking advantage of the low prices, and patiently wait for the price to increase.