When Logan Paul purchased a sealed case of 1st Edition Base Set booster boxes for $3 million, the Pokemon TCG community looked on in disbelief. What followed was one of the most intriguing and surprising insights into the darker world of the hobby as the box was opened to find G.I Joe trading cards inside. At the forefront of the investigation to understand the dodgy dealings that led to Logan being scammed was Mike more commonly known as Rattle Pokemon. We sat down with Rattle to discuss his YouTube channel and the impact he has had on The Pokemon community by taking up the role of Pokemon TCG’s Sherlock Holmes.
For those that don’t know you, please introduce yourself
So I go by Mike in the real world, aka rattle Pokemon on YouTube and most other social media. I’m a Canadian Pokemon YouTuber or what seems to be turning into a YouTuber who started out making videos for fun with friends, mostly openings and stuff like that. I’ve gradually been getting more and more into covering the shady things that are going on in the hobby, some past some present, with a lot of information that isn’t necessarily accessible to people. So my YouTube channel is a little bit on the informative side. But at the same time, I’m trying to at least be a little bit entertaining.
How long have you been collecting Pokemon cards?
Like most, I started back in 99. When Base Set came out I was right around the perfect age, I would have been 12 – the prime Pokemon age. Before the TCG, my brother and I were obsessed with the Red and Blue Gameboy games – we used to play and trade with our neighbour’s console until one day we beg our mom and dad to get us them until they caved. We used to go home every day, excited to watch the cartoon and then when the cards came out, everyone had them – we were no exception.
Have you collected Pokemon TCG since 1999 without any breaks?
I started to fade after the Neo sets and got back into the hobby around 2014 with XY. At the beginning of XY, my cousin and I found out that you could play Pokemon cards online, so we downloaded the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. After getting hooked on the app, we started building actual decks.
As a kid, I never really knew how to play the game properly. I didn’t go to any organised events or anything like that, we mostly collected so when we got excited by PTCGO we thought to open some modern packs for fun. I dug out the old binder of cards, I still had a lot of my WOTC stuff and then from there, I started buying vintage singles.
Your YouTube channel has found a niche in investigative work and looking at different aspects of the community, like grading practices, that are often overlooked. When did you start doing these styles of videos and what sparked the ideas?
I think there’s a little bit of a lack of investigative stuff in the hobby. There is a tonne of extremely knowledgeable people but a lot of them either don’t want to get involved or speak out about some of the dodgier sides of the hobby. From personal experience, I’ve seen on my channel that scammers often threaten you with lawsuits, violence, whatever they need to do to keep it quiet – I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to take that responsibility or harassment voluntarily, because it’s going to result in that.
I feel like this information must be available to everyone without a paywall. If you spend enough time in the hobby, you’re going to make a lot of really knowledgeable friends, you’re going to have the knowledge yourself of all of these situations because people do talk about it – just typically not publicly. Everything I talk about, like counterfeit items and scammers, should be public information so people know what to look out for. I feel like a lot of the content gets repetitive a little bit, but at the same time, if it helps prevent people from getting scammed, then all the better.
More recently, your YouTube channel has shot to prominence when you debunked the 1st Edition Base Set case purchased by Logan Paul. What got you interested in the sale in the first place?
I didn’t think too much of it at the time when it was listed on eBay back in March 2021 – I think a lot of people had doubts whether it was real or not. A telltale was that the larger collectors in the hobby that knew about it didn’t want to touch it. The thing is at that point in time as well, if someone purchased it on eBay, it should have been an easy eBay refund if it ended up being a counterfeit case. At that point in time, I don’t think anyone had any thought that they were going to wrap it or keep it sealed as a premium case, that didn’t cross my mind that didn’t cross anyone else’s mind. So if it was real, then someone would have got it for an absolute steal and opened it to confirm the contents.
I get a lot of questions about why didn’t you cover it when it was on eBay. But I can’t cover every fake item or everything that looks suspicious on eBay. Back then I wasn’t doing as much in terms of like, sketchy Pokemon videos and I’m also only one person, I’m not a real detective.
When the case showed up with a baseball player shrink wrap on it, selling for an insane amount of money, that’s when I started to look into it as it seemed suspicious. I wasn’t even familiar with Baseball Card Exchange (BBCE) at the time. But to see all of a sudden this case show up with baseball players on it was the first red flag that got me thinking “what is going on here?”
After I released the first video about the 1st Edition case, we started to learn more and more about why it was potentially fake. The label for example, after looking closer was just a whole different label that was printed off. The more and more I looked, the more I found wrong with it – both the story from the people involved and the case itself that the small details that just didn’t match anything.
How has the newfound exposure impacted your YouTube channel/social media?
The discord was extremely small before the Logan Paul stuff, like maybe 100 members and it has probably multiplied by 5 at this point. A lot of the assistance that I get with any of this stuff is growing with the channel size as more people see my content. Somebody will watch a video and they’ll say oh, that happened to me or Oh, I know some more about that and they’ll reach out. I’m a little bit slower now to get back to comments or messages just because there are a lot of them but I think it’s helpful that there are so many more eyes on these situations.
At the moment I’m around 12,000 subscribers on YouTube, I was hoping to get 1000 by the end of 2021!
Did you ever get to speak to Logan? Did he reach out to you?
He sent me some messages and thanked me for helping shine a light on the scam. In my 10k q&a, he asked a question through Gary Haas about why I spent so much of my own time on the investigation.
I wasn’t trying to save Logan money, it was just kind of trying to expose a scam. I would’ve done the same thing whether I found this information out when Shyne150 had it or if anyone else had purchased the case.
Have you changed your approach to the content you produce?
I think depending on who’s watching, somebody can use it differently. I try to focus my content on being a resource for people to use when they need it. There are a lot of things to prevent getting scammed in the first place, whether it’s payment method or just avoiding things that are too good to be true.
I also think it’s important for people to be able to check their cards, I think we rely a little bit too heavily on getting cards graded. If you’re buying something expensive and you’re worried about it, you can check those things yourself and that’s where I’m trying to push people with my videos. If you don’t have a jeweller’s loupe, go buy one for $4. People aren’t going to be able to fake these cards to the extent that would pass magnification tests, you’re going to be able to tell by just using comparisons and the information that’s available.
What’s next for Rattle Pokemon?
The main goal for 2022 is to create a situation for me where I can spend my day to day entirely on Pokemon. It’s a pretty hard thing to do in terms of getting the revenue where it needs to be compared to what my normal day job is, but if I can get it to a point where it’s comparable, then I ‘d love to do that!
After giving us one of the most intriguing stories of 2021, Rattle Pokemon has deservedly gained a larger audience willing to help shine a light on the underground world of Pokemon TCG. For those intrigued by scammers and dodgy dealings in the hobby, subscribe to Rattle Pokemon on YouTube
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief
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