No matter what TCG is your passion, there is always one card that has achieved legendary status among the top collectors. For Pokemon, it is the ‘Pikachu Illustrator’ card. In Magic the Gathering, it is the ‘Alpha Black Lotus’, and in the case of the Final Fantasy TCG, it is without a doubt A-002, ‘Cloud of Darkness / Onion Knight’. A-002 was intended to be a way of promoting the FF TCG at an event in Japan that was hosting a tournament for the Dissidia Final Fantasy arcade game. Soon after they were handed out, however, the card fell into scarcity.
So, how did a piece of seemingly generic promotional material, tossed into a gift bag and discarded in the trash by many visitors of the Dissidia event, become the rarest and most expensive card in the FF TCG?
The History of Cloud of Darkness / Onion Knight (A-002)
The 3rd anniversary of the Dissidia event took place at the Tokyo Dome City Gallery on November 10th, 2018. At the event, a tournament for the Japanese arcade game, Dissidia Final Fantasy, was held. 140 teams faced off against each other, with around 400 players competing overall.
Upon entering the Dissidia event, all visitors were given a gift bag containing a commemorative keychain and either a limited edition ‘Bartz’ card or the now fabled ‘Cloud of Darkness / Onion Knight’. Unfortunately, because many of those visiting and participating in the tournament were there for the arcade game, many of them had no interest in the Final Fantasy TCG and tossed their cards straight in the trash. There is a saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and in the case of A-002, that treasure is now worth thousands.
Just outside of the Dissidia Tournament, FF TCG tables were set up to further promote the game and allowed players to take a seat and challenge staff members. These games acted as a tutorial for the FF TCG and let potential new players try out a starter deck. Even those interested in the Final Fantasy TCG may not have seen any value in the A-002 promotional card, leaving it unprotected in their gift bag or deciding to throw it away.
Interestingly, there is a Starter Deck that shows the art of A-002, only split into two separate character cards. This starter deck was the ‘Wraith vs Knight’ Two-Player Starter Deck, which was released on September 13th, 2019, during Opus X. This is closest thing to an English version of A-002 people can get, as the promo was a Japanese exclusive.
A Collector’s Dream
It is believed that only around 75 to100 copies of A-002,‘Cloud of Darkness / Onion Knight’, are still in existence, although others have estimated that it could be closer to 200. Although many were thrown away, These low numbers are also a result of it being exclusively used for the Dissidia 3rd Anniversary Event and no other. In terms of the limited print run and cards still in circulation, ‘Cloud of Darkness / Onion Knight’ is without a doubt the rarest card in the Final Fantasy TCG.
Getting your hands on this card is almost impossible, with the only publicly listed copy having a £14,000 price tag on eBay. Because A-002 was part of a gift bag, many of them were scuffed or damaged by being carried around all day at the event. This means that getting a PSA 10 quality A-002 is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. On average, mint copies have a price guide of around $7000 USD (£5000), while near mint copies cost around $3500 – $4500 USD. With that being said, because of the lack of public sales data available for A-002, these prices are not set in stone and will ultimately come down to what a buyer is willing to pay to obtain this holy grail find.
Having been exclusive to the Dissidia Arcade Event and being largely discarded as trash, The A-002 Japanese promo card is not only the rarest card in the Final Fantasy TCG but is among the rarest trading cards of all time. For most collectors, A-002 will be at the top of their chase list. With that being said, with its incredible rarity, most people won’t get to see one of these cards in person, let alone add one to their collection.
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
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