What Is The Best Pokemon TCG Set?
How to decide which is right for you
There are a couple of things to consider when deciding what the ‘best’ set is. Are you looking for a set that has the highest-cost chase cards, the most fun to open, and the best for playing the game?
Some stand by that Evolving skies is the best and will remain the best due to how many high-value chase cards are in the set.
However, anyone who has opened it knows it is a struggle. There are no special subsets and the chase cards are all secret rares. This means that by opening up a booster, you have one chance to get a chase, but there are many others in that secret rare spot that are not chasing. So at the current market price of $250 a booster, you have a single chance at a worthwhile card. There are currently only 2 cards that are worth more than a booster box. This means it makes more sense to buy the single cards that are lower value, then make the choice if you want to really chase those premium 2 cards sitting at the top, or bite the bullet and buy those too.
Many agree that most of the fun of actually opening packs is pulling that super expensive chase card yourself. “It can happen with a single pack” is the mindset going into this. The problem is that a single pack quickly becomes more expensive than just buying the card you want, but where is the fun in that? Anyone can just buy the card.
The next thing to consider in choosing the best set is how fun is it to actually open.
Evolving skies as we have seen are not very fun unless you get very very lucky. Sets that have alternative arts (like evolving skies) can be fun if you pull that super rare, but that means most packs are boring. Other sets starting with Brilliant Stars have alt art chase cards AND a trainer gallery subset. This is a 30-card collection that generally isn’t worth much, but is much easier to pull and double the chances of having a hit in your pack. Many times you can pull a trainer gallery and a hit. Is that more fun even though the cards aren’t worth as much? Again depends on why you are collecting pokemon, to begin with. Do you want to make money, or collect beautiful cards? There are cards worth only a few bucks that Id argue are more pleasant art pieces than some of the top chase cards.
Finally, we have the few and far between who just want to play the card game. Good news for you all, almost every NEW set is going to be fun. The most expensive cards are just fancier versions of the easier-to-pull cards. From purely a playing mindset, the most modern set is going to be the most fun since it is more often than not going to have the best cards for the new meta, or at least can get your mind churning for ways to improve your current deck.
Now, what if you want to play AND give your deck a little bling?
I still believe that the most recent sets are going to be the ones for you as older sets have starters to rotate out. (Regulation mark D was used on the first few sets of SWSH and at the start of the 2023 season, they will no longer be allowed in standard. This means unless you play expanded, older sets are worthless to you.)
So the best set of the SWSH era will vary depending on what you want from the cards. Money, enjoying actually opening the packs and the art, or playing the game with possibly adding some flair.
With that in mind, I have made a list of the best sets for each type of collector.
In it for the money:
In it for the fun/art:
In it for playing:
The four most recent sets will do.
There is one final set coming to the SWSH era to end it all with a bang, and there is a very good chance this will be the one to top the list for all collectors: Crown Zenith