This is all the Print Run data starting from Pokémon TCG: Black & White up to the latest set, BW: Next Destinies.

But what’s a “Print Run” you ask, and why is it important to know? Well, when packs are printed and stuffed into boosters, the cards you get are NOT in random order, but instead are in a specific order. Ever noticed how sometimes you get several booster packs and Pikachu almost ALWAYS follows Torchic? Well, that’s the Print Run in action; it’s the way the cards were cut and packaged. Now knowing this order can be useful for all kinds of reasons, such as knowing what cards your opponents take in pass drafts; if you study the print run of a set and you notice your opponent has been taking all the Gothitas and Gothiritas, then chances are that they pulled a Gothitelle, and thus you can build your draft deck with that info in mind.

There are plenty of other reasons why knowing the Print Run is important; Magic: the Gathering players use them all the time… so if Magic players do it, it MUST be useful for Pokémon players as well…. right? Anyways, this video and this link help give you a good idea of why knowing a set’s print run is important to know. Now, of course, even though this information covers Magic sets, let’s keep in mind that Nintendo learned everything they know about making a TCG from Wizards of the Coasts back when Wizards printed the game from 1999-2003… and given that I’ve noticed that the printing system Nintendo uses for the Pokémon TCG is similar to the one that Wizards used—based on the similarities of the system used in Gym Challenge (by WotC) and the one used in Black & White (by Nintendo), there is no reason to believe that the system Nintendo is currently using for the Pokémon TCG can’t be deciphered akin to how WotC’s system for Magic has been.

My ultimate goal is to get the ball rolling on popularizing the Pokémon TCG Print Run system, only to hand it off to more capable players who know more about what they’re doing than I am.

TL;DR: I want to decipher the system Nintendo uses to pack Pokémon TCG booster packs in order to—among other things—figure out a way to get whatever card I want out of a (fresh?) booster box. Nifty, huh?



YOU CAN STILL HELP!! Even though a set has long since been released and is no longer “relevant”, you can still help me out with this endeavor! What you can do to help me is either:

  • Go through the raw data and help me with the Uncommon Print Run (which is far more difficult to ascertain than the Common Print Run)
  • If you buy a booster box of any of the (BW-on) sets, make sure you record the contents of each pack in that booster box AND what position it was when you opened it!
    • It would be best if you could record the contents of each pack in the exact order you get them in, and in the order of: C C C C C / H R / U U U
    • C = Common, H = Reverse Holo, R = Rare/Holorare, U = Uncommon
  • Look at the raw data of people’s booster boxes and see if you spot any patterns in the way the rares are ordered (such as if you spot a Zoroark rare always coming after a Cinccino rare).
  • ….as well as any other suggestions for how working out the Print Run for sets can be useful, based on anything you already know being used in Magic or other games where knowing the Print Run is useful/important.

If you have anything interesting to share, feel free to post them in the respective Print Run’s comment section, or you can email me at plip [at] att [dot] net and give me the info there. Your help would be MOST appreciated, AND I’ll give you credit when it’s due (which would be ANY time anyone helps me!)

Thank you for your interest and I can’t wait to see what comes of this!!