Pokemon TCG retrospective: EX FireRed and LeafGreen

18 years ago, Japanese Pokemon fans were transported back to Kanto is an updated re-telling of Pokemon’s generation 1 video games. Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen would go on to sell over 12 million copies worldwide becoming one of the most beloved releases in the franchise’s history. In this article, we’re going to go back to 2004 and celebrate the 18th anniversary of FireRed and LeafGreen’s release by looking at their TCG counterpart. 

On August 30th 2004, a mere two weeks before the North American release of Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen for Gameboy Advance, Ex FireRed and LeafGreen launched as a TCG expansion. The expansion brought back the beloved Kanto Pokemon with modern artworks, Ex mechanics, and a hard to pull Secret Rare. 

At the time of writing, Ex FireRed and LeafGreen booster packs sell for upwards of $250 with multiple listings on eBay US for a full booster box at anywhere between $17,000 and $20,000 with some cards like Gengar EX regularly fetching over $1500 in a PSA 10. For many fans of the Pokemon video game series the return to Kanto opened up their eyes to a return to the TCG as well – Ex FireRed and LeafGreen gave a modernised approach for them to do so.

Ex FireRed and LeafGreen’s main set is filled with fan favourite Pokemon ranging from Dewgong to Snorlax and many Kanto Pokemon in between. Not only did the set provide multiple artworks for each of Kanto’s starter Pokemon but it continued on the highly popular Ex era of Pokemon TCG giving us some of the best Kanto Pokemon in a highly collectable form. 

Ex FireRed and LeafGreen gave collectors and players alike 12 new Ex cards: Blastoise, Charizard, Clefable, Electrode, Gengar, Gyarados, two versions of Mr. Mime, Venusaur, Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos. Nowadays some of these cards are highly sought-after fetching a pretty penny on the graded market. 

Due to the nature of the Ex era of Pokemon TCG when popularity for the series was dwindling, market values for many of these cards are hard to find as some cards in the set have as little as single figure PSA 10 pops. 

Top 3 most expensive Ex FireRed and LeafGreen cards in a PSA 10

Blastoise Ex

A recent sale from December 2021 shows Blastoise Ex in a PSA 10 selling for $1300, a hard fall from its all-time high of $5200 back in October 2020.

Ex Firered

Gengar Ex 

We all know Gengar is incredibly popular yet the Pokemon doesn’t seem to appear as much as it should in recent sets. In December 2021, a PSA 10 Gengar Ex was sold on eBay for $1600. The card currently has 70 PSA 10s in the PSA registry.

Charizard Ex 

No surprise that Charizard Ex is the most expensive card from Ex FireRed and LeafGreen with recent sales ranging between $4600 and $5000 on eBay US. At the height of Pokemon TCG’s resurgence in 2020/21, a PSA 10 copy sold for $8300, wow!

Ex Firered

A fan-favourite Secret Rare

One of the main reasons I love this set is the nostalgia that Charmander 113/112 with its artwork by Ken Sugimori brings. The card screams Pokemon TV show with the card containing Charmander in front of a forest and a beautiful holo pattern. Arguably the best Charmander holo of all time, this card brings me back to playing Pokemon FireRed on my GameBoy Advance SP matching the artwork from official guides and other Charmander mercy from the time.

Ex Firered

Charmander is the best starter of all time (fight me), so what’s not to love here? When documenting this article I was unable to find exact pull rates for this card from Ex FireRed and LeafGreen booster boxes – if you have more information please reach out.

Are you nostalgic for the FireRed and LeafGreen ear of Pokemon VGC and TCG? What’s your favourite memory from the Kanto remakes?

Thanks to Pokellector for images.

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John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief

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