Understanding Pokemon Black Star Promo Cards

October 10, 2023

The world of Pokémon has captivated fans for decades across its extensive media property, including movies, animated shows, and best-selling video games.

Alongside all of that, however, is the Pokémon Trading Card Game. A major aspect of the card game is collecting rare cards like Black Star Promos.

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What is a Pokémon Black Star Promo?

Black Star Promos are promotional cards that feature a black star symbol on them, usually on the right side or the bottom left of the card. Typically, Black Star Promos are tied into expansions, such as Sword and Shield or Scarlet and Violet.

There’s a huge amount of variety in the type of promotions that black star cards will be part of. Promotional cards are commonly released for events like competitions, holidays, anniversaries, or a new product coming out.

The history of Pokemon Black Star promos

These prized promotional cards have been part of the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 1999. Early releases are categorized by which company produced the cards.

Cards produced by Wizards of the Coast from 1999-2003 are labeled Wizards Black Star Promos, while cards from Nintendo of America from 2003-2006 are referred to as Nintendo Black Star Promos.

Since then, every promotional card has been tied into a specific expansion.

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swsh black star promo tyranitar v

In the early years of black star cards, they tended to be released along with magazines, TV shows, or movies. Other occasions for a release were collaborations with other companies, such as Nintendo releasing black star EX Deck Tins with snack bars at Target.

Stricter qualifications for releasing a black star card led to a drastically smaller checklist.  For example, from 1999 to 2006, only 93 black star cards were released. Compare this to Sword and Shield black star promos, where 307 individual cards have been released.

This increase can be chalked up to a lower standard for what qualifies as a “promotional” event. Don’t expect this trend of huge checklists of Black Star Promos to end anytime soon.

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Sword and Shield Black Star promo checklist

As mentioned above, Sword and Shield has an extensive checklist of 307 cards and counting. It features plenty of V and VMax cards that tie into the unique mechanic of the expansion pack.

They’ve leaned on popular Pokémon for these promos, with Charizard, Pikachu, and Eeveelutions making up 14 percent of the checklist.

Most valuable Sword and Shield Black Star promo cards

Despite the checklist inflation of these promotional cards, there are still some valuable cards that stand out from the pack among black star promos.

Some of the most valuable cards to watch out for include pre-release versions, anything from the special delivery set, and alternate art cards.

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5. Special Delivery Pikachu – $599.99

A part of the three-card Special Delivery set is this PSA 10 Pikachu. It features Pikachu dressed as a mailperson in front of a galactic backdrop. Like the other Special Delivery cards, it has the “Happy Delivery” attack, allowing players to draw an item card from their deck.

swsh black star promo special delivery pikachu

4. Prerelease Vivid Voltage Lugia – $648.42

This holographic Lugia from the Sword & Shield: Vivid Voltage expansion seems like a typical card.

What makes it unique, besides the Black Star in the bottom left, is the “STAFF” text on the image. This signifies that it’s a rarer prerelease card, increasing its value significantly.

3. VMax Alt Art Flareon – $999.99

This VMAX Flareon shows off the fire Pokémon as gigantic. The alternate art on the card is phenomenal, with warm colors and a hand-painted aesthetic.

2. Special Delivery Bidoof – $1000

The most valuable card of the Special Delivery set, which includes Charizard, Pikachu, and Bidoof, is surprising.

However, take one look at the card and its sky-high value will be clear. The card’s artwork shows Bidoof being carried by Charizard while they deliver parcels together.

swsh black star promo special delivery bidoof

1. Prerelease Vivid Voltage Charizard – $2275

A wise man once said, “In this world nothing is certain but Death, Taxes, and Charizard cards being valuable.”

The saying holds true for this card, which is very similar to the Lugia card above. It shows Charizard in combat over a fiery background.

swsh black star promo staff charizard

Final thoughts on Pokemon Black Star Promo Cards

As the Sword and Shield era starts coming to a close, it’ll soon end the largest black star promo checklist in Pokémon history.

It gave us some very appealing cards like Special Delivery Bidoof, but most of the checklist failed to provide much impact.

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Further reading on Pokemon

Interested in other Pokémon write-ups from Cardlines? Take a look at some of the pieces below.