Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Future Value of Ultra Prism?

Ultra Prism Complete Set
With the rumors swirling about Ultra Prism being out of print and the fact that it is such a good set for the competitive Pokemon TCG, I have been getting lots of questions about what I think will happen to this set in the future. What will happen to individual cards in this set, as well as sealed products, and what is the recommended route to complete the set.

First off, I still haven't seen anything official about this set being out of print, most on social media agree that there may be a lull in printing to fix Cyrus Prism Star, but there is no way the set is just plain out of print, plus, even if it is out of print, lots of retailers online are selling booster boxes and cards for very reasonable prices. Just today on YouTube I did post a video on how much each individual secret rare and ultra rare from this set is worth, this gives a good outline of the more valuable cards in the set and which cards are more desirable for the TCG at this point in time.

Prices for cards in a new set usually follow the same pattern, prices are very high any time before the official release date, shortly after release date, all cards drop in price, then a couple of weeks after, cards that are good in the TCG and in high demand go back up in value, and those not good in the TCG, continue to drop. If you're looking to complete a set as soon as possible, never buy sealed products, just buy the cards individually. I personally like to purchase 2 booster boxes of the set then purchase individual cards. If you're tight on money, or just want to collect a set the cheapest way possible, wait until a set is out of the Standard Format, that is usually 2 to 3 years after a set is released, at that point, the cards will lose their demand, supply will increase, and prices will drop. I personally have put $1,000 into Ultra Prism to complete the set. With so many secret rares, this set will always be expensive to complete, but I could see it costing $200 to complete instead of $500 if you're just buying singles, a couple of years down the road compared to now.

While this set is new, booster boxes should remain around $90 to $100, for the next 2 or 3 years boxes should stay around this price range, about 5 years from now is when the price will jump to several hundred. I would compare this set to Guardians Rising, there are lots of good Trainer cards in this set as well as Pokemon GX. Similar to N and Professor Sycamore, I am sure Cynthia will be reprinted in future sets, meaning Cynthia from this set will remain playable after Ultra Prism is rotated out, so it is always a good idea obtaining sealed products of Ultra Prism, as Cynthia will always be worth $4+.

Long term, I think this is a set worth investing in. Most sets that are worth more down the road, I'm talking sealed products, contain either lots of Legendary Pokemon or starters from a specific Generation of Pokemon. Ultra Prism features both of these things, Legendary Pokemon including Ultra Beasts, plus lots of 4th Generation Pokemon, which is when I think lots of collectors, like myself, starting collecting again, so this Generation of Pokemon holds a special place in people's hearts, therefore increasing demand because of the nostalgia of the set.

If you are looking to buy cards from this set for building a deck, always purchase the regular GX form of a Pokemon, it is always cheapest. Most times, if you wait a couple of months, the Full Art and Rainbow Rare forms of the cards drop a little. Also, remember that Solgaleo GX and Lunala GX are reprinted from Sun & Moon Base Set, so there is no reason to go out and buy the gold-colored ones in this set. For the time being, Glaceon, Dusk Mane Necrozma, and Leafeon would be the best GX cards in this set and the most expensive Pokemon to buy. Overall, Cynthia is easily the best card in the set, but if you're deck building, the uncommon Cynthia does exactly the same as the Full Art, just with less style.

So to end this article, if you're just getting into the Pokemon TCG, I would highly recommend this set, if you want to complete this set, wait a couple of years until prices go down, and if you are a sealed product collector, this is one to collect, no reason to think this set won't be worth it in the future!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Why does it cost so much to collect Pokemon cards?

Although Ultra Prism has only been out for a week, I've already invested $1,000 into the set. Why is it so expensive to collect Pokemon cards? For me, the goal is to always complete newly released sets as quickly as possible, merely for the satisfaction of completing the set. What I do is I buy 2 sealed booster boxes, and all other sealed products released, like Elite Trainer Boxes and blister packs, then I finish the set by buying singles. I am happy to say that I have already completed the Ultra Prism set, but it seems like with each new set in the Pokemon TCG, I have to spend more and more money! Between sealed products and singles, I spent around $1,000. There is no possible way that children or those not working full time can afford to complete sets like this! While I enjoy collecting large sets like Ultra Prism, with 173 total cards, I would be much happier if Pokemon removed GX Rainbow Rares from sets, or, if they made several regular GX in a set, then only made a few cards available as GX Full Art or GX Rainbow Rare. Of course, I could save a lot of money if I waited until sets like this were out of the Standard Format, but it isn't as fun to collect when the set is older.

As I'm getting more and more involved in the competitive TCG, my goal to collect as many cards as possible is decreasing, I would much rather just buy the cards I need for a deck individually, or only buy booster boxes to get what I need. While it is a cool feeling going to a retail store and picking up all of the collection boxes or blister packs in stock, most times, the promo cards included in these products are either reprints from regular sets, or just aren't that good in the TCG. That got me thinking, I wonder what other collectors and players of the Pokemon TCG do to complete a set or to get cards they need, do they open sealed products, or do they just buy what they need individually.

My motto when it comes to buying singles cards is to check several online retailers as well as eBay and TCGPlayer to find the cheapest prices I can for each individual card, since I'm not sending my cards in to get graded, I don't necessarily need to see the exact condition of the card I'm buying, just having the near-mint designation is fine. While most retailers change their prices daily to stay competitive, I still find it best to search around, it is almost a guarantee that no one site will have the cheapest prices for every card you're looking for.

So this brings me to my question, what do you spend to maintain your Pokemon card collecting hobby? Do you try and complete sets when you're collecting, do you just buy your favorite Pokemon, or do you solely collect the cards you need for a certain deck? Lately I've been playing the online game a ton, mainly because the cards are cheaper to purchase, and you can quickly re-use the same card in multiple decks without having to build the deck again. For a hobby that seems to get more expensive with every new set, I'm all about trying to be frugal and save where I can, but still enjoy the hobby I've been doing since I was a kid.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Is Pokemon TCG Ultra Prism really OUT OF PRINT?

If you've been reading any Pokemon TCG related sites lately, or follow those involved on social media, there have been lots of rumors of Ultra Prism going out of print. This news is very shocking, considering it was just released a week ago! While I can't find any official news out there, my best guess would be that the Pokemon company will not be printing any additional booster boxes until the Cyrus Prism Star card is fixed, once it is fixed, booster boxes will be printed like normal. With that being said, many suppliers and retailers out there are still selling Ultra Prism products.

There are also rumors out there that printing of Ultra Prism booster boxes will be stopped for good, to increase demand of the "Collection" boxes that sit on shelves and never seem to sell that include Ultra Prism packs. While this may be a good idea, to make a larger profit on current products, I can't imagine with such a popular set like Ultra Prism, that they will stop printing booster boxes.

As far as prices go, I was one of the consumers who went out and bought another booster box of Ultra Prism as soon as I heard the rumors, I bought my box for $84.95 from eBay, now that same seller is listing the booster box as out of print and charging $109.95. While there may be some merit to buying a booster box at this price, you can still find several retailers online, like Troll and Toad, selling their boxes for $89.95.

To summarize, if Ultra Prism is truly going to be out of print until March, prices of both sealed products and singles should rise, in the short term, but don't panic, either try and find these cards at reasonable prices, or just wait a few weeks and get the newer print of Ultra Prism, with the correct Cyrus Prism Star.
Cyrus Prism Star, error version.

If you know any official news on this subject, please let me know! Right now, I'm trying to collect as many Cyrus Prism Star cards as possible, but who knows which one will be more popular! And a reminder, just because you see a rumor like this online, don't automatically believe it!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Ultra Prism - The Most Popular Decks

Dusk Mane Necrozma GX Deck
Dusk Mane Necrozma GX Deck
With Ultra Prism being a newly released set in the Pokemon TCG, there are lots of players testing cards from the set on the Pokemon TCG online. It seems like two decks have been used the most, a Dusk Mane Necrozma GX deck, and a Glaceon GX deck. In my opinion, the Dusk Mane Necrozma GX deck is a superior deck, especially since it can take down Gardevoir GX and any deck with Alolan Ninetales very easily. Glaceon GX is usually paired with Zoroark GX, this is more of a two hit knock out deck, but Glaceon GX does shut down Abilities of EX and GX cards of your opponents when Glaceon is in the Active Pokemon spot.

Most decks built around Dusk Mane Necrozma GX also use Solgaleo Prism Star and Magnezone. Both Solgaleo and Magnezone from Ultra Prism help accelerate Metal Energy into play, plus, the way Energy cards are accelerated can't be stopped by something like Glaceon GX. This deck is certainly a one hit knock out deck, since Dusk Mane Necrozma GX can do at least 220 damage when attacking. This deck does go through a lot of Energy cards, but Mt. Coronet from Ultra Prism can help retrieve Energy from the discard pile, putting them into your hand, plus you can add things like Energy Recyler to get more Energy cards back into your deck. Dusk Mane Necrozma is overpowered, 100%, since its GX move can do 250 damage with no consequences. You can also use Solgaleo Prism Star as a primary attacker, since it can do 160 damage, and a card with 160 HP is a lot to try and knock out and only get 1 prize card. So essentially with this deck, if you are looking for massive power, this is a deck to consider building.

Glaceon GX Deck
Cards featured in a Glaceon GX deck.
Glaceon GX was one of the most hyped cards in a long time, now that the card is released, many are doubting how good it will be. Like I mentioned above, any deck with Glaceon GX is mainly a two hit knock out deck, since Glaceon GX can only normally do 90 damage per turn. However, if you do need to knock out something, Glaceon's GX move does do massive damage, if the defending Pokemon already has some damage on it. Most Glaceon GX decks I've faced so far include Zoroark GX. Zoroark GX is used for its Ability from the Bench, allowing you to draw two cards, but also for its Riotous Beating move, which does 120 damage per turn. I've seen both Alolan Ninetales from Burning Shadows in Glaceon GX decks, since its Ability prevents all effects of attacks from GX and EX Pokemon, and I've seen Alolan Ninetales GX used in Glaceon GX decks, Alolan Ninetales GX can do more damage when attacking, 160, and it can do 50 damage to any Pokemon in play, allowing Glaceon to use its GX attack more effectively.

So for now, the two most popular decks from Ultra Prism would be decks based around Dusk Mane Necrozma GX and Glaceon GX, both decks certainly are good, but going forward, I expect Dusk Mane Necrozma to be much more popular. I will be reviewing versions of both decks on my YouTube channel in the near future.