Last weekend marked the 19th anniversary of the Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire GameBoy games, which were released in Japan on November 21st, 2002. This era brought many changes to the entire Pokemon franchise and is arguably one of the reasons why Pokemon continued to stay exciting, relevant, and fresh. One part of the franchise that definitely benefitted from the vast array of incredible new Pokemon was the TCG, which wasted no time in introducing these new creatures in card form, including the intimidating Legendaries, Groudon and Kyogre.
With the recent release of Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond on the Nintendo Switch, Pokemon fans around the world have gotten a nice big dose of nostalgia in a clean rebooted format. The Pokemon games are a lot like James Bond, and what I mean by that is everyone has that one era that they were first introduced to the series and has since become a beacon when it comes to looking back at our childhoods. As someone who was born in the early 90s, for me, that era was the original Red and Blue games, but for many, that era was Ruby and Sapphire.
At the time of its release, these titles changed the series as we knew it, with the improved technology of the Game Boy Advance taking the flat dated graphics and injecting more colour and higher resolution elements. One of the biggest changes the new games brought were the introduction of 135 new Pokemon, including the two main Legendaries, Groudon and Kyogre. To coincide with the English release of the games, these new Pokemon found their way into the Pokemon TCG with the EX Ruby & Sapphire booster set that hit stores on July 1st 2003.
Our Top Picks –
Team Magma’s Groudon
The first Groudon card to enter the Pokemon TCG was ‘Team Magma’s Groudon’, which came with the EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua booster, released on March 1st 2004. This CGI artwork is definitely of its time but brings back memories of the Pokemon Colosseum game, which shares the same graphics. This card has since reached iconic status and was even chosen to be part of the Pokemon 25th anniversary, with a reprint included in Pokemon Celebrations.
Groudon ex (Black Star Promo)
This ‘Groudon ex’ was first available as a Black Star Promo card, given out to those participating in the Ruby and Sapphire Challenge that was held in the US in August 2003. Shortly after, a non-holo version was printed and included with the October 2003 issue of Nintendo Power magazine.
‘Kyogre ex’ came with the Hidden Legend booster and shows this denizen of the deep swimming through its hunting ground. Look at that dead-eyed glare it is giving, even with a master ball in hand, I think I would turn tail and paddle away. This was the first ex version of Kyogre, which was followed by another in Crystal Guardians.
If Jurrasic Park had been based on ancient Pokemon, all this card art would need is Jeff Goldblum waving a flair to complete it. This card was originally released in Japan as both a holo and non-holo promo card for the 7-Eleven stores participating in the Pokémon Fair campaign that began on June 25th, 2003. For a chance to get this card, or one of the other 20 in the set, all you had to do was buy a bottle of Sprite Classic, Ambasa Sour White, Fanta Fruit Punch, Fanta Melon Soda or Coca-Cola Vanilla.
Kyogre & Groudon Star
The Kyogre released within EX Delta Species is currently the most valuable Kyogre on the market, with the last PSA 10 sale via PWCC Auctions at $3000 in April 2021 (PWCC listings have now been removed from eBay). This was the first time a Shiny variant of Kyogre was introduced to the Pokemon TCG and showed the Legendary Pokemon in a whole new way. The Groudon that came in this set also deserves a mention, as it holds an impressive value with a PSA 10 selling for $4000 just over a month ago. Masakazu Fukuda’s artwork shows the Shiny Pokemon in a pose that is a complete contrast to how it was illustrated prior to this point.
Gold Stars are incredibly rare, with a pull rate (depending on the set) of one Gold Star every two booster boxes. Taking into account that sealed booster boxes of the EX era of Pokemon currently sell for tens of thousands of dollars it’s no wonder Gold Stars are so expensive to obtain.
The Pokemon TCG is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, with a number of fantastic products released to mark the occasion. If you would like to learn about Pokemon Celebrations, check out our articles below –
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
Have a story? Let us know