Pokemon TCG – A history of Japanese lottery promos

Pokemon Japanese Lottery

Recently, there was an announcement regarding the “missing” alternate art Eeveelutions from the Eevee Heroes set. Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon will be having their alternate art VMax cards appear as Black Star promos. There will be a total of 3,000 sets printed, and they will be released via a Pokemon TCG lottery system. Like all of us, Eeveelution fans were celebrating, I noticed that there was a lot of discussion regarding their distribution, a lot of shock and surprise from newer collectors that rare cards would use a lottery system to decide who received them. Well, if you are a newer collector then you may be even more surprised to learn that this is nothing new, and Japan uses a lottery system for a large amount of Pokemon distribution, both for merchandise and for cards. Let’s have a look at some of the previous lotteries that have been held for Japanese promo cards.

012/P – 017/P

Our first Pokemon TCG lottery takes place in late 2001/early 2002. Players were required to collect three proof of purchase tokens from e-series Starter Decks and mail them attached to a postcard for entry into the lottery. Five separate drawings took place over a few months, with a total of 10,000 winners. 5,000 of these winners received the “Red/Green Course” prize containing Venusaur, Blastoise, and Charizard, while the other 5,000 received the “Gold/Silver Course” prize containing Meganium, Typhlosion, and Feraligatr. The six cards were reprints from the e-series Starter Decks but added the cosmos holofoil, and a new numbering to make them part of the /P promo set. The six cards did receive an international release after being added to the Expedition expansion, however only in their original non-foil versions.

Pokemon TCG Lottery

039/ADV-P – 040/ADV-P

Butler’s Kirlia and Forina’s Absol were originally released in the Half Deck that coincided with the release of the Jirachi: Wishmaker movie. Later prints of these were released with new artwork via a lottery that ran alongside Pokemon Card Gym Starting venues. Unlike the e-series lottery, less is known about exact release numbers or the method of entering the lottery. These two cards never received an international release in either version.

Pokemon TCG Lottery


Another lottery ran alongside Pokemon Card Gym Starting venues, with a similar lack of information on exact numbers. This Ivysaur was originally released in the Venusaur ex Random Constructed Starter Deck, and the promo contained new artwork. The original was released in the international EX FireRed & LeafGreen expansion, while the lottery promo artwork was released in the POP 2 set.

061/PCG-P – 062/PCG-P

A third Pokemon Card Gym lottery event, but this time with exclusive promos rather than simply a new artwork. To enter the Pokemon TCG lottery to win these Latias and Latios cards you had to spend a minimum of ¥500 on Pokemon merchandise. These cards received an international release, fronting the Latias/Latios EX Trainer Kit.

Pokemon TCG Lottery

062/L-P – 066/L-P

Across a two-month period of May-June 2010, purchasing two booster packs on any Legend series sets would make you eligible to enter the Japanese lottery for the Shiny Pokemon Present Campaign. There were a total of 2,000 winners to this contest, with 1,000 receiving promos of Entei, Raikou, and Suicune, and the other 1,000 receiving promos of Ho-Oh and Lugia. All five cards featured Shiny versions of the Pokemon and were unique releases rather than reprints. The five cards received international release as part of the SL subset within the Call of Legends expansion.

071/L-P – 076/L-P

Another Legends era lottery, this one slightly easier to enter, and with more winners. The Legendary Pokemon Present Campaign required any Legend series purchase to enter and had a total of 5,000 winners with all 5,000 receiving all six promo cards, Kyogre, Groudon, Palia, Dialga, Rayquaza, and Deoxys. Once again, all six promos featured Shiny versions of the Pokemon and were unique releases rather than reprints. The six cards joined the previous five lottery cards within the internationally released Call of Legends expansion, filling out the SL subset.

Even though it has been a while since we have seen a true lottery for promo cards, I’m happy to see them making a return and think they have chosen an excellent set of cards to do so. I’m ready to be hunting down my copy of the Vaporeon when these start popping up on the secondary market!

Dan Norton – DJGigabyte

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