CGC Trading Cards Certifies Four Ultra-rare Cards from Japanese Pokémon Tournaments

Posted on 1/26/2023

Recent submissions to CGC Trading Cards include first-, second- and third-place Trophy Pikachu cards as well as a Kangaskhan Parent/Child Tournament promo card.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game was released in Japan in April 1996. It quickly took the region by storm, so much so that the Pokémon Company began hosting Pokémon TCG tournaments around the country. The first of these tournaments were the first official Pokémon TCG tournament and the Lizardon (Charizard) and Kamex (Blastoise) Mega Battles, hosted in 1997 and 1998.

The First Official Pokémon TCG Tournament

The first official Pokémon Trading Card Game tournament was held in June 1997. Entry to the tournament was limited, since the event was technically an exhibit being hosted as part of the 6th Next Generation World Hobby Fair in Japan. Players competed in a five-battle tournament, where just one loss meant disqualification. Four total sessions were held across two days, with one winner each.

The four winners of each of the four sessions won a No. 1-3 Trainer trophy card (with the third- and fourth-place winners both receiving a No. 3 Trainer) and an exclusive baseball cap with the Pokémon logo on the front and the TCG energy types on the back. CGC Trading Cards® recently had the honor of certifying one of these No. 2 Trainer cards: a No. 2 Trainer, Pokémon (1997) Japanese First Official Tournament 2nd Place Promo Holo graded CGC 9 with subgrades of 8.5 for Centering, 9.5 for Surface, 9.5 for Corners and 9 for Edges.

Click images to enlarge.

Lizardon (Charizard) Mega Battle

The Lizardon Mega Battle tournament is considered the first official Pokémon tournament because it was the first tournament to be held exclusively for the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Pokémon TCG players competed in a series of regional qualifiers for their chance to compete in the national tournament, which would be held later that year. To keep things organized, competitors were split into Junior and Senior leagues depending on their age. Each first-, second- and third-place winner of these qualifiers received a special “trophy” Pikachu card and a promise of entry into the national tournament.

CGC Trading Cards also certified one of these trophy Pikachu cards: a No. 1 Trainer, Pokémon (1998) Japanese Charizard Mega Battle 1st Place Promo Holo graded CGC 8.5 with subgrades of 9.5 for Centering, 8 for Surface, 8.5 for Corners and 8.5 for Edges.

Click images to enlarge.

These Lizardon and Kamex Mega Battle trainer promos are considered some of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence. There were a total of nine junior cup tournaments and six senior cup tournaments, for a total of 15 copies of the No. 1-3 Trainer promos. They are a critical piece of history for the Pokémon TCG, and their value cannot be understated.

Kamex (Blastoise) Mega Battle

The summer after the Lizardon Mega Battle national tournament concluded, the Pokémon Company decided to host another round of qualifiers for a second national tournament to be held in the fall. This tournament followed the same rules as the Lizardon Mega Battle and was dubbed the Kamex Mega Battle, after Blastoise.

Once more, junior and senior TCG players competed in regional qualifiers for their chance to compete at nationals. The first-, second- and third-place winners once more received copies of the No. 1-3 Trainer promos, but this time with text personalized for the Kamex Mega Battle tournament — not the Lizardon tournament. CGC Trading Cards certified an example of the No. 3 Trainer, which received a grade of CGC 6 with subgrades of 9.5 for Centering, 5 for Surface, 9.5 for Corners and 9 for Edges.

Click images to enlarge.

Players who competed in the national tournament were also eligible to participate in side events while they weren’t participating in a match. One of these events was the Kangaskhan Parent-Child Tournament — a side tournament that paired up adults and children in 2v2 tag team matches. The top eight teams in this side event received a special Kangaskhan promo card — the tournament winner received two copies, one for the parent and one for the child — of which there are only 20 in existence. This CGC-certified Kangaskhan Garura Parent/Child Tournament Prize received a grade of CGC 8 with subgrades of 9 for Centering, 8 for Surface, 8.5 for Corners and 7.5 for Edges.

Click images to enlarge.

CGC Trading Cards is thrilled to have certified such important pieces of the Pokémon Trading Card Game’s legacy. For more information about these spectacular cards, check out our list of The Rarest and Most Expensive Pokémon Cards by clicking here.

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