Repackaged Pokemon cards are a staple of dollar stores and convenience stores. Unlike your standard booster packs, these repackaged cards usually sell for less while adding some other incentive to sweeten the deal, such as more cards or smaller packs that only feature rares.
Are they worth it? Depends on what you’re looking for from these cards. Let’s run through some of the pros and cons with these types of card packs.
With official Pokemon card packs being in consistently-high demand, they can be incredibly difficult to find. Also, you may just happen to be at a dollar store or convenience store where these repackaged cards are seemingly always available. If you just want a quick fix of cards in that moment, it’s hard to say no.
PRO: Cheaper cost per card than a standard booster pack
The biggest benefit to these repackaged cards are that they’re cheaper on a cost-per-card basis. Most of their standard packs are cheaper while also featuring more cards. They oftentimes also sell premium packages with fewer cards that only consist of holos or rares. While the quality of either set is questionable (more on that in a bit), you do indeed get more cards or more rares at a lower price than a standard booster pack.
PRO: Get cards spanning different eras of the game
Official Pokemon cards are released in sets. Also, the only official cards that are readily available at stores are the newest ones. When you buy a repackaged set, you’re eligible to get cards that span almost the entire history of the franchise. The pack pictured above had cards that were released as recently as 2020 and as old as from 1999! If specific sets don’t matter to you, this can be a cool way to get cards from all eras of the game.
CON: Repackaged packs are guaranteed to have worse cards than official boosters
The biggest drawback to repackaged cards is that you’re never going to find the most sought-after cards from repackaged sets. Any packs that don’t explicitly state that they have rares or holos in it simply won’t. You aren’t going to find any hidden gems of any monetary value here either, as those got picked clean by someone along the repackaging chain long before it got to you.
Even when you buy the packs that advertise having holos and rare cards, you’re still getting the least valuable versions of those. You will never get the ultra rare cards or secret rare cards that everyone clamors for from repackaged sets. For those chasing the most desirable cards, these are literally a waste of time.
CON: Not the cheapest option for bulk cards
If your goal is to buy in bulk, your local game store with a Pokemon section probably sells bulk boxes at a much cheaper cost-per-card rate. My dollar store sells 20 cards for $4, but my local board game store sells sets of 100 for $7.00. It’s probably not as convenient as taking the 20-pack off the rack when it’s right in front of your face, but if you’re willing to work a little bit for it, you can get many more cards for a little bit more money.
CON: Most cards from these sets aren’t the best to play with
If you have any desire of playing the game in competitive matches or tournaments, repackaged cards are a mess. Many of the cards that come from these sets won’t be eligible in tournament play, as officially-sanctioned matches focus on the newest cards only. Even trying to do something like completing a two-stage evolution (ex. Charmander to Charmeleon to Charmander) is a pain, because Charmander and Charmeleon are sold in the standard packs while a stage 2 card like Charizard would be sold in the premium packs. Assuming Charizard is even in there at all, considering its massive popularity among collectors.
Even when playing casually with friends, your dollar store decks will likely get destroyed by others who have better cards that come with official booster packs. Besides being generally weaker and lacking of EX/GX/V/VMAX cards, the game has evolved over the years to give newer cards higher HP and damage. Older cards are fun to experiment with or a cost-effective way of teaching a kid how to play with a variety of cards, but these won’t be the best option if you have any inkling of actually playing the game.
CON: No online code for Pokemon Trading Card Game Online
The online version of the Pokemon Trading Card Game is a great way of playing the game digitally with friends or other Pokemon trainers from around the world. When you buy an official Pokemon TCG product, you will get a code that allows you to import your decks or earn booster packs in the digital game. Most of my time actually playing the game has been through the online version.
When you buy repackaged cards, you don’t get those codes. If you have any ambitions of playing the game, get the codes so that your money goes towards being able to play IRL and online.
Are repackaged cards worth it?
It depends on what you’re looking for. As a means of filling an immediate itch for Pokemon cards, sure. Despite what I’m about to say next, I will likely still buy these types of packs if the mood strikes to fill in weird holes in my collection.
But for most, there are better ways to cover seemingly every use case.
- If you want lots of cards and don’t care about the quality, you can buy a bulk set from a local game store
- If you want a shot at the most desirable cards, buy the official packs or singles from a local game store
- If you have any interest in playing the game IRL or online, it’s better to buy official packs for cards designed for the current meta while also getting codes for use in the online version
- If you have any interest in learning how to play the game, buying an official starter set like Battle Academy or Trainer Kits are a better investment
The odd pack here-and-there won’t hurt. But building a massive collection through repackaged card packs is probably not the best way to go.
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