6 Best Pokémon TCG Sets For Beginners

Pokemon beginner sets
Pokemon beginner sets

With new expansions dropping every few months, The Pokémon Company has a way of keeping veteran TCG fans on their toes. Unfortunately, this never-ending supply of new Pokémon cards doesn’t make it any easier for new fans – who have no idea where to start – to get their feet wet in the TCG community.

Whether you’re opening Pokémon packs for the first time in your life or doing it for the first time in decades, you might be overwhelmed by the number of sets available today. We’re talking nine different generations, roughly 100 main series expansions, dozens of special expansions, promos, and more.

That begs the question – which sets are the best sets for beginners? Better yet, which sets are cheap enough that they won’t break the bank, but exciting enough that you’ll still pull some valuable cards (if you’re lucky)? If you want to get your collection off to a good start, here are six Pokémon TCG sets that’ll get you there.

NOTE: all values listed here are subject to change due to the ever shifting trading card market.


6. Silver Tempest

Silver Tempest pack
Silver Tempest

Release Date: November 11, 2022
# of Cards: 245 cards (195 base, 20 secret, 30 subset)

Silver Tempest was the final main expansion of the Sword & Shield series – and it didn’t disappoint. Lugia and Rayquaza are the primary chase cards in this set, but don’t forget about the adorable Alolan Vulpix.

Here are some of the most valuable cards in Silver Tempest:

  • Lugia V – 186/195 – $115
  • Rayquaza VMAX – TG20/TG30 – $30
  • Lugia VSTAR – 202/195 – $22
  • Serena – 193/195 – $19
  • Unown V – 177/195 – $17

Silver Tempest is the perfect set for you if you enjoy beautiful artwork and colorful cardboard. Pull rates are decent, and packs are still relatively cheap – considering the set is only a year old.


5. Lost Origin

Lost Origin
Lost Origin

Release Date: September 9, 2022
# of Cards: 247 cards (196 base, 21 secret, 30 subset)

Lost Origin was released just two months before Silver Tempest and is about the same size, but features one of the most expensive cards in the entire Sword & Shield series – for those lucky enough to pull it.

Here are some of the most valuable cards in Lost Origin:

  • Giratina V – 186/196 – $256
  • Aerodactyl V – 180/196 – $93
  • Pikachu VMAX – TG17/TG30 – $34
  • Rotom V – 177/196 – $28
  • Pikachu V – TG16/TG30 – $19

Lost Origin is a big set, but the pull rates are decent (about the same as Silver Tempest), and you can find packs everywhere (for cheap). It might take a while to complete the set, but you’ll be happy when you do.


4. 151

Pokemon 151
Pokemon 151

Release Date: September 22, 2023
# of Cards: 207 cards (165 base, 42 secret)

151 was the first special expansion of the new Scarlet & Violet series. While that means packs are a little harder (and more expensive) to come by, it’s the best *new* set for those interested in a bit of nostalgia.

Here are some of the most valuable cards in 151:

  • Charizard ex – 199/165 – $119
  • Blastoise ex – 200/165 – $47
  • Zapdos ex – 202/165 – $40
  • Venusaur ex – 198/165 – $40
  • Alakazam ex – 201/165 – $33

If you’re collecting Pokémon cards for the first time in decades, then this is the set for you. While new Pokémon are introduced every year, this set brings us back to the old days – the original 151 Pokémon .


3. Astral Radiance

Astral Radiance
Astral Radiance

Release Date: May 27, 2022
# of Cards: 246 cards (189 base, 27 secret, 30 subset)

Astral Radiance was the 13th expansion (10th main expansion) of the Sword & Shield era. It didn’t take long for this set to become a fan favorite due to its eye-catching artwork and collection of new VSTARs.

Here are some of the most valuable cards in Astral Radiance:

  • Machamp V – 172/189 – $84
  • Starmie V – TG13/TG30 – $41
  • Origin Forme Palkia V – 167/189 – $27
  • Origin Forme Dialga V – 177/189 – $23
  • Path to the Peak – 213/189 – $23

The pull rates are similar to that of Silver Tempest and Lost Origin, but those Machamp and Starmie cards are top-notch and a big reason why so many people are still buying packs today – they’re not easy to find.


2. Brilliant Stars

Brilliant Stars
Brilliant Stars

Release Date: February 25, 2022
# of Cards: 216 cards (172 base, 14 secret, 30 subset)

If anyone was underwhelmed by Astral Radiance, it’s not because it was a bad set – it’s because Brilliant Stars, which was released three months prior, was just that good. It introduced the Trainer Gallery for the first time and marked the beginning of the VSTAR era – a new way to play the game.

Here are some of the most valuable cards in Brilliant Stars:

  • Charizard V – 154/172 – $94
  • Charizard VSTAR – 174/172 – $48
  • Ultra Ball – 186/172 – $25
  • Arceus V – 166/172 – $24
  • Umbreon VMAX – TG23/TG30 – $21

In terms of pull rates, Brilliant Stars fails to disappoint – where most people can expect to pull a chase card (ultra, secret rare, Trainer Gallery, etc.) 30% of the time, Brilliant Stars is closer to 40-45%. You’ll be pulling a new chase card nearly every other pack.


1. Crown Zenith

Crown Zenith
Crown Zenith

Release Date: January 20, 2023
# of Cards: 230 cards (160 base, 70 subset)

Crown Zenith is a special expansion and was the final expansion of the Sword & Shield era. They couldn’t have chosen a better set to end it with – primarily due to the 70-card Galarian Gallery subset. Similar to the Trainer Gallery, the Galarian Gallery features some of the best artwork you’ll see on a Pokémon card.

Here are some of the most valuable cards in Crown Zenith:

  • Giratina VSTAR – GG69/GG70 – $68
  • Arceus VSTAR – GG70/GG70 – $54
  • Mewtwo VSTAR – GG44/GG70 – $48
  • Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR – GG68/GG70 – $35
  • Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR – GG67/GG70 – $34

If you thought the pull rate for Brilliant Stars was good, just wait until you start opening Crown Zenith packs – where you’ll pull a chase card nearly 50% of the time. Not every chase card is worth $30+, but the artwork will have you wanting more. If Evolving Skies is too expensive for you, this is the set for you.

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