For the first time in recorded history card collectors and general Pokemon fans alike can all agree on one thing: the year 2021 was an outstanding year for the franchise! The Pokemon Company really had a field day last year, with hit after hit concerning their TCG scene. While generally speaking the entirety of the Pokemon scene was amazing, it was especially good for those would consider themselves collectors. Last year was filled with so many different historic highs for Pokemon such as an all time high of the scalper epidemic, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the series, and even some behemoths such as Target refusing to sell cards due to safety, the year was truly a ride to remember! Today we are going to break down the top 10 products of the last year, and look back on what will certainly go down in the history books as one of the best years for the Pokemon TCG scene. Some slight rules for this list: only products and sets that debuted in this year will be in the running, obviously; only English products will be looked at, if this wasn't the case this list would have been a little more difficult to construct. Now, let's dive into the top products of the last year!
Number 10- Battle Style Booster Box
A shocking thing to see myself, the number 10 slot ends up going to the Battle Styles booster box. Personally speaking, this set has had an interesting history. When it first came out many people, myself included, were excited to get their hands on some of the cards in this set. As time went on for me, however, for whatever odd reason this set fell out of interest, even more so for my friends. I can’t say that the people I mingle with would say they dislike a generation eight set more, for one reason or another. While I personally can’t say I’m a huge fan of Urshifu, this set has so much more to offer. Pokemon such as Tyranitar, Empoleon, and Krickitune add to the robust roster this set has. What makes this set so distinct however, and what skyrocketed it’s popularity, is its revival of alternate art cards. These cards are often the crowning jewels of recent sets, and we have Battle Styles to thank for it.
Number 9- Fusion Strike Booster Box
I cannot tell a lie, it pains me to see this set as low as it is. Fusion Strike had sizable shoes to fill, coming right off the heels of both Evolving Skies and Celebrations. This set was already off to a harsh start coming off of those two sets, and once it hit the scenes it didn’t fare too well. The hype for this set died away incredibly quickly, as people were looking over the horizon to Brilliant Stars, which came out in the next year, and so they stopped wanting to collect this set. All of this to say however, I personally love this set, and I know many others do as well. Boasting a wonderful array of featured Pokemon, along with incredible artwork, this set does have something for everyone.
Number 8- Chilling Reign Booster Box
I don’t say this to sound conceited, but I think this placement may be a shock too many, for alternating reasons. When it first came out, Chilling Reign was the talk of the town, with its’ robust card set list which featured breathtaking artwork. It came right off of the heels of Battle Styles, which had paved the road for it, Battle Styles walked so Chilling Reign could run. The main issue with Battle Styles was the Pokemon it featured, and this set took note of that. Its star Pokemon were two different groups, the new Calyrex as well as the three Kanto birds in their new Galarian forms. Many have mixed opinions on the new horses, but the Kanto birds are nearly loved by all. Even now the alternate art for Galarian Moltres V is a highly sought after card. This set’s ultra rare shiny snorlax card was also a huge chase card. All in all, this set has a little something for everybody, and frankly with it’s unique ice-tundra motif, how is it possible not to see the appeal?
Number 7- Evolving Skies Elite Trainer Box
None of you reading this better be surprised to see this set appear on this list. Evolving Skies single handedly became the most beloved normal set of the year the moment its card list was leaked. This set is the culmination of three different Japanese sets, which all group together to make one of the largest card set lists in the history of the Pokemon TCG. What makes this the only ETB that has been featured thus far is the demand for them. Elite Trainer Boxes are a great purchase for those wanting to expand their collections, but are honestly filled with an exorbitant amount of useless filler items that many people don’t have any interest in. Five dollars a pack isn’t a great deal for a non-holiday set, but Evolving Skies the exception to this rule due to the sheer love people have for it.
Number 6- Celebrations Elite Trainer Box
Finally, we’re getting to the real meat of the card hoard! Celebrations is the first holiday set to make an appearance, but do not be fooled into thinking that this product or set isn’t high in people’s wishlists. Frankly I can’t say that on any other list of this nature this product would score as low as it is (but you’ll soon see why it was). Celebrations was such an amazing set, being the celebratory set of Pokemon’s 25th anniversary it contained a small main card list and then a group of cards called its “classic collection”. These classic collection cards are what gave the set it’s true notoriety. Cards such as old as THE first edition Charizard were included, cards as recent as Mega Rayquaza EX from Roaring Skies, to even Tapu Lele GX from Guardians Rising. In addition to bringing back these older cards, Pokemon brought back its older card looks that it had used throughout the years and applied it to some of the newer members of the national Pokédex. Zacian lv. X and Dark Sylveon are just two examples, but show why this set is as adored as it is. The set truly is loved, and its elite trainer box is in general the best way to open it.
Number 5- Shining Fates Elite Trainer Box
I honestly couldn’t begin to describe my love for this set, but for the sake of this article I must. Shining Fates, Hidden Fates younger sibling, was the other holiday set of the year, and the decision to put it in front of celebrations was a difficult one, but a calculated one. Shining Fates is a set which features not just a rather well rounded card list, but an expansive shiny vault. The shiny vault is an expansive card list which features plenty of Pokemon, some new some old, and even includes V’s and VMAX’s of said shiny Pokemon. In addition to its shiny vault, Shining Fates is also one of only two sets (Vivid Voltage being the other) to feature ‘amazing rare’ cards. While I previously stated that ETB’s weren’t the most price efficient way to purchase packs, its different with holiday sets. Elite trainer boxes become the best way to only get packs of the set you want to collect, and when that set is Shining Fates, everybody wants a box! One of the reasons I feel that this set deserves the number five spot more than Celebrations is simply due to the scarcity of the product around its release. For weeks after it’s release, I remember constantly scouring my town just trying to find a box, often times to no avail.
Number 4- Flareon, Vaporeon, and Jolteon Premium Collection Boxes.
What happens when Pokemon releases a set of premium collection boxes, which all feature one of three of the most iconic and well loved Pokemon from the Kanto region? Profit, that’s what! For those not in the know, a premium collection box is a very unique type of Pokemon product, because once its first production run is through, it’s gone. Because of their very limited supply, as well as their wondrous contents, premium collection boxes are a staple in many collectors’ closets. These three premium collection boxes specifically featured the three original eeveelutions: Flareon, Vaporeon, and Jolteon, which are some of the most notorious offenders of nostalgic love. When these boxes where in circulation, it was near impossible to get one’s hands on them because of their insane demand, yet somehow the next three items were in even more demand.
Number 3- Evolving Skies Booster Box
Remember how this set had it’s elite trainer box featured in this list? Here’s its booster box. By far the most in demand booster box of last year, Evolving Skies was a juggernaut which decimated many collectors’ wallets. What makes this set so great though? Evolving Skies has all of the eeveelutions, plenty of dragon types such as Rayquaza and Dragonite, and finally some other obscure but loved Pokemon such as Suicine and Golurk. If anything, the third category of cards makes this set even better, simply because of how it expands the featured Pokemon to other fan favorites, which don’t often get as much love as they deserve. Any one of these booster boxes has chance to be bursting at the wrap, containing a treasure trove of eye catching alternate arts, V’s, and VMAX’s. Not only are so many of the cards in this set attractive, a great deal of them are also very expensive and can actually get you a good return. To put it plainly, Evolving Skies booster boxes have every benefit a significant other has, but also can actually make you money!
Number 2- Marnie Premium Tournament Collection
There’s only one thing that can topple a premium collection box that features the three cats that every Kanto-sexual seems to faun over, and that’s a premium collection box with an anime girl on it. Depressing? Yes. Surprising? Not really. The Marnie premium collection carton is hands down one of the most well received Pokemon TCG items of all time; it had collectors essentially recreating the one scene from Futurama that everyone seems to love. This waifu box came was essentially the one item that everyone had on their minds’ for the few weeks it was still going around. Scalpers went nuts for it, and people were willing to pay them. These boxes were neigh-impossible to find in stores when they were available, and the easiest way to acquire them was simply hoping you stumbled on a fresh restock somewhere online. Truly I tell you, no other item in a long time had people yelling “shut up and take my money!” more than the Marnie milk carton.
Number 1- Celebrations Ultimate Premium Collection Box
Legend has it, almost every Squid Games participant was there because they were Pokemon card collectors in the fall of last year. Did you happen to want to find a new way to go bankrupt? Even if your answer is no, kiss your assets goodbye because someone just restocked Celebrations UPC’s! No one can deny that these were the best selling Pokemon items of 2021, not a single soul. There isn’t a single doubt in my mind that tells me that this product doesn’t deserve the gold medal for this list. In number six of this list I explained why Celebrations itself was such a wonderful set, so I won’t restate all of that. I can add however, all of the things that made this item in particular such a sought out commodity. Celebrations has a large amount of black star promo cards, and a couple of them can only be found in this one box. On top of that, this product comes filled with so many celebrations packs you may as well open one of these and call it on the whole set. If the Marnie premium collection carton was impossible to find, then this box may as well not exist. Well, that isn’t entirely true. While this box could be found online, it was hardly ever at a reasonable price. You would only be able to find boxes with the greasy new price tag scalpers love to go around and stick, which somehow drove demand up even more for these boxes.
Congratulations on making It to the end of the article! If you read this whole thing, I can only applaud you. Writing this article taught me a few things honestly, and one of them I would like to share with you. Whenever a new Pokemon TCG product releases, and you’re on the fence about buying it, go for it (assuming it won’t be detrimental financially, in which case please don’t). I could’ve bought an Evolving Skies booster box way back when, but I barred myself from doing so. If you want to avoid the mistake I made, I can’t recommend TCGStadium enough. With highly competitive prices, and free shipping on orders 200 dollars and above, you really can’t loose here. This has been Ash from Stadium News, and I’ll see y’all here next year for the best selling products of 2022!