It gets Sean and I every time- we see a Pokémon card with beautiful, unique or interesting art and boom! We suddenly own it. I have a strong leaning toward bright, bold cards while Sean leans towards art that has Pokémon engrossed in battle.
Picking our favorite cards was no easy task. We decided we’d only be picking cards that we own and went against cards that almost always end up in the top lists of best artwork. There are so many beautiful Pokémon cards that (we think) don’t get the credit they deserve, and some of them show up here! You’ll even see one that I picked with a Pokémon that is the least favorite of mine – Flaaffy!
We broke our favorites down into groups because we both ended up with too many. Sean and I spent hours going back and forth through our binders and changing the list over, and over again. After a ton of deliberation, here are our favorites! We hope some of yours made the list, but if they didn’t — you can always tell us your favorites in our Pokémon Collectibles Club!
Staraptor LV X (Supreme Victors); Gengar Prime (Triumphant); Articuno EX (Plasma Storm); Lycanroc GX (Guardians Rising); Mew EX (Legendary Treasures); Lysandre Full Art (Flashfire).
This Staraptor was one of my Holy Grail cards. It looks like the Pokémon is flying out of the card at you and shows Staraptor’s determination and will.
Gengar has and always will be one of my favorite Pokémon. This card, like all Prime cards, has a close-up of Gengar’s face and his red eyes bore into you like he’s trying to read your mind. Gengar is up to something!
The first time I saw this Articuno EX, it took my breath away. The use of blue and silver, to accent both Articuno and the background, is outstanding. I love the color blending on his wings.
Lycanroc is my #3 favorite, right after Buizel and Litten. This card shows Midnight Lycanroc in battle. His eyes are lit up in a glowing red, and his claws are glowing orange. The light and shadows show that he’s moving, and he’s got a mischievous grin on his face. He’s enjoying the battle that he’s in.
This Legendary Treasures Mew is my #1 favorite Pokémon card. I was lucky enough to pull this from a pack that came in a Charizard Tin back in 2016. The amount of sparkle on this card in person is outrageously beautiful. It truly is a legendary treasure!
Lysandre is my favorite Pokémon villain, and he’s from my favorite region, Kalos. This card captures his mystery and depth. Lysandre put a lot into trying to take over the world and wouldn’t quit, even if he’s losing. He has a fierce determination in his blue eyes, which shows through on this card.
Dark Jolteon (Team Rocket); Flaaffy (Expedition); Kingler Delta Species (Crystal Guardians); Munchlax (Majestic Dawn); Flygon (Rising Rivals)
Dark Jolteon is a long-standing favorite. I can hear the lightning crackle and striking the ground every time I look at this card. The contrast of yellow and purple is beautiful, and it shows off the power that a Dark Jolteon has.
Oh, this Flaaffy. I spotted it at the card store we frequent and stared at it for a minute. A Christmas Flaaffy? I must own it! I admit that Flaaffy is not one of my favorite Pokémon, but because of the context that this card has, it’s a favorite.
The color layout on this Delta Species Kingler is what got me with this card. The flow is perfect, and so is the storytelling. This is a Kingler that knows what it wants!
When I first saw this Flygon, I was convinced it was flying off the card at me. The light caught it just right that the holographic portrait made it seem as though Flygon was 3D. It looks different at various angles.
Munchlax under the sakura (cherry blossom) trees has a purity to it. The tree is blooming, and Munchlax doesn’t have a care in the world. He looks so happy to be alive!
Buizel (Mysterious Treasures); Leafeon (Plasma Freeze); Magikarp (Promo, XY143)
Ah, Buizel, my #1 favorite Pokémon. Out of all of the Buizel cards, this one stands out. Buizel is heavily outlined in black, showing his double tail and his floatation sac around his neck. Is he about to use aqua jet? I can hear him say, “bui, bui!” as he swims away!
The Leafeon Cracked Ice Holo was on my list to buy for a long time. I needed it to complete our Eeveelutions for Plasma Freeze. It arrived, and I couldn’t believe how pretty it was. The Cracked Ice Holo jumps around behind Leafeon and makes it look like she’s moving. This card is mainly blues and greens, but the holo itself reflects all different colors. It is a beauty to see!
This Magikarp Promo is a card that I fell head over heels for when I first saw it. The Magikarp is shiny and boy, is it mad! It makes me think of James’ Magikarp fiasco in the anime (although his wasn’t shiny). Every time I look at it, I feel like an epic Splash is about to happen! It is so special that it’s still in its original plastic.
Parallel City Trainer Stadium Card (BEAKthrough); All Night Party (BREAKpoint)
The Parallel City Trainer card is one I went a little pull-crazy over. We got it in regular form, and I couldn’t stand not having it in holo. It was so much better than I expected when it finally showed up! The entire card bounces light around, making it look like the building, and the huge trees are lit up with city lights and bioluminescence.
All-Night Party, better known as Nocturnal Celebrations in Pokecardex, is not only a favorite of both of us (but I got it for this article), it’s also a long-standing source of hysterical laughter. Neither of us knows why it does that when we pull it, but it does. Umbreon is leading the pack here and getting into it with Weavile. They’re both fierce Pokémon, known for their will to fight, although Weavile fights dirty where Umbreon usually doesn’t. Where is this party going to, I wonder?
Mew Prime (Triumphant); Mewtwo EX (Next Destinies); Zeraora GX (Lost Thunder)
Mew looks 3D in this photo. You can hear her say, “mew” as she floats by in her playful way. There’s a twinkle in her eye!
Mewtwo is utilizing one of his signature moves in this picture. It is simple but complex at the same time, and like Mew Prime, Mewtwo looks 3D.
It’s the use of color and accentuation for this Zeraora GX that makes it a favorite. The electricity jumps off the card at you, and you can feel Zeraora moving toward you as he attacks.
Dark Celebi (Hidden Legends); Snorlax (Dragon Frontiers); Ninetales (Power Keepers); Houndoom (Undaunted); Dark Golduck (Team Rocket)
Celebi is one of Sean’s favorite Pokémon. Here she is Dark, but the light color around her shows that she can come back from this and be good again!
Snorlax has been a favorite Pokémon of Sean’s since he started collecting and playing back in 1998. Snorlax is enormous, and this card makes you really feel that scale.
Ninetales has nine tails and nine tales. Each of her tails is showcased in this card, and she looks like she’s ready to tell you one of her nine tales.
Houndoom, similar to a hell-hound. He’s in a cave in this photo, and you can’t tell if he’s coming or going. Is he protecting something or someone?
Dark Golduck is using his gem, but we can’t see what he’s attacking. It’s left up to interpretation.
Pikachu EX Promo (XY124); Charizard Team Up Pre-release Promo (SM158); Victory Piece Ace Spec (Plasma Storm)
It’s rare to see Pikachu get this angry, but it has happened in the anime. He’s been under the control of the villains, and he’s gotten like this when protecting Ash. He is charging straight on here, completely fearless.
There are so many Charizard cards out there to choose from! Sean’s been around since Gen 1, so Charizard and him go way back. But this artwork really shows what Charizard is all about when he battles. This Pokémon will stop at nothing, and he knows what his strength really is.
The Ace Spec cards don’t get the recognition that they deserve. This one is especially cool because it looks like you can grab the victory piece off the card and hold it in your hand.
Infernape LV. X Promo (DP10); Infernape 4 LV. X (Rising Rivals); Infernape (Plasma Storm); Infernape (Majestic Dawn); Infernape (Stormfront); Infernape (Diamond and Pearl)
Sean tried to pick one or two, but he couldn’t. Infernape has a resolve and will that only a few Pokémon can match (Ash’s Greninja is one of them). That resolve is shown in each of these cards, whether it’s the pose or the facial expression. The use of color on each is eye-catching!
Honorable Mention: Litten
Litten SM02 Promo
Not to be ignored, Litten also insisted on choosing a card. At first, she chose every card that featured her. After some hair puffing and hissing, she narrowed it down to her SM02 Promo. She says this photo of her was taken while she was practicing with her friend Lycanroc and she likes her battle jump!
There are so many Pokémon cards to choose from when picking favorite artwork. It wasn’t an easy task, and many cards that we love didn’t make the cut. Everyone has a favorite card or cards – which do you like?