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Best Pikachu Pokémon Cards

What are the best Pikachu Pokémon cards? We take into consideration artwork, playability, rarity and value to bring you a list of the best.

Pikachu Pokémon cards hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and Pokémon TCG players alike. It’s hard to find someone who isn’t familiar with Pikachu. From affordable, recent, playable choices to ultra-rare collector’s pieces, we’ve collected this guide to the best Pikachu cards on the planet – including release years, prices, and stats.

Whether you know how to play Pokémon cards or not, everyone knows who Pikachu is. The red-cheeked, yellow electric mouse ‘mon is a bona fide international icon.

Interestingly, Pikachu wasn’t initially intended to be the mascot; that role was meant for Clefairy – but ’twas Pikachu that won the hearts of a global audience. It’s no surprise that Pikachu cards top the list of the most expensive rare Pokémon cards of all time – but not all our favorite Pikachus cost an arm and a leg. Let’s meet them…

Pikachu Illustrator

The most valuable Pikachu Pokémon card

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Pikachu Illustrator specifications:
First released 1997/1998
Value $5.3 million
Reasons to buy
  • You are unfathomably rich
Reasons to avoid
  • You are not unfathomably rich

Yep, it’s that Pikachu card. We had to get it out of the way first.

The origins of the famous Pikachu Illustrator card trace back to its debut as a coveted prize during a series of contests hosted by the Japanese magazine CoroCoro Comic between 1997 and 1998. Only 39 lucky winners were bestowed with a copy.

Fast forward to 2020, when the discovery of two additional copies emerged from the private collection of Yuichi Konno, a prominent figure in the creation of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. As a result, the total known existence of this card amounts to a mere 41 copies, making it one of the rarest Pokémon cards ever.

Best Pikachu Pokemon cards guide - full card image of Pikachu Illustrator

Notably, the Pikachu Illustrator card was exclusively released in Japan, contributing to this status. YouTuber Logan Paul even purchased a PSA grade 10 copy for a staggering $5,300,000!

What sets this card apart is its unique artwork by Pikachu creator, Atsuko Nishida, which depicts Pikachu holding an oversized pen. Additionally, it features the designation “illustrator” rather than “trainer,” and has a pen icon at the bottom. This card is both adorable and legendary.

Surfing Pikachu

Most Chibi Pikachu

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Surfing Pikachu specifications:
First released 1997-2001
Value $15-105
HP 50
Reasons to buy
  • You think Pikachu isn’t already kawaii enough
Reasons to avoid
  • You don’t love the whole Chibi thing

Featuring a chibi Pikachu riding a surfboard on a wave, this card offers a delightful scenario, making it a top choice for collectors who appreciate unique Pikachu depictions. Since its creation, Surfing Pikachu has been referenced in various Pokémon media over the years, including the game Pokémon Yellow.

The original Surfing Pikachu is an older card with a low HP of 50 and an attack called Surfing that deals 30 damage. Although not the best card stat-wise, this card is popular among collectors and those who wish to play with vintage decks. 

Initially, it was a promo card distributed in the Japanese CoroCoro magazine in 1997. Later, it was released in North America in 2001 and distributed through the Pokémon League. Some collectors prefer either the Japanese or North American versions due to slight variations in the artwork.

Best Pikachu Pokemon cards guide - full card image of Surfing Pikachu

While this card is not as scarce as other promotional cards, due to various Japanese reprints through later promotional campaigns, the original 1997 and 2001 versions remain the most valuable, selling between $15 and $105 depending on condition.

This card was also re-released as part of the Celebrations collection in 2021, featuring 3D artwork, Pikachu receives a significant power boost with 200 HP, and its Surfing attack deals a whopping 150 damage making this version more deck-friendly for Expanded format.

Gold Pikachu

The heaviest Pikachu card

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Gold Pikachu specifications:
First released 2021
Value $35-950
HP 40
Reasons to buy
  • You love gold – the smell of it, the taste, the texture
Reasons to avoid
  • You find the idea of a solid metal TCG card silly

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise, the Gold Pikachu card serves as a reprint of the beloved Base Set Pikachu. Gold Pikachu’s stats are 40 HP with their Gnaw attack giving 10 damage and Thunder Jolt 30 – for an older card, not the worst numbers.

Contrary to our guide on regular Pokémon card size and weight, this special edition rather breaks the mold, as it’s crafted from metal, rendering it undoubtedly more durable than cardstock, but incredibly heavy and singularly unsuitable for gameplay.

For those seeking to construct a deck featuring this card, you’ll have to purchase an original Base Set Pikachu – though collectors should be wary of using the much sought after Shadowless Pokémon card version of Base Set Pikachu, as this can command a high price.

Exclusive to the Celebrations Ultra Premium Collection, this card comes as part of a set that originally retailed for $120. Alongside the metal Pikachu, the collection boasts a metal Charizard and a special gold version of Pikachu V, among other treasures (‘zard fans should also check out our guide to the best Charizard Pokémon cards).

Since this card isn’t available in individual booster packs, the gold Pikachu card holds significant value, fetching anywhere from $35 to $950 depending on its condition.

Pikachu VMAX

The chonkiest Pikachu card

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Pikachu VMAX specifications:
First released 2022
Value $3-30
HP 310
Reasons to buy
  • You like big Pikachus (and you cannot lie)
Reasons to avoid
  • You’re a Pokémon purist who refuses to acknowledge Gigantamax

Pikachu VMAX is a part of the Lost Origin Trainer Gallery from the Sword and Shield collection, and stands out as a holographic visual delight. This card showcases Gigantamax Pikachu alongside trainer Red, making for a rather captivating visual spectacle.

During the Sword and Shield era, the introduction of Gigantamax evolution brought forth larger-than-life versions of beloved Pokémon, each adorned with unique visual enhancements. Notably, Gigantamax Pikachu resembles its first-generation counterpart from the Base Set, evoking a sense of nostalgia among collectors.

Best Pikachu Pokemon cards guide - full card image of Pikachu VMAX

Strategically, the Pikachu VMAX proves invaluable in any deck, provided you possess the Pikachu V for it to evolve from. Its signature move, G Max Volt Tackle, requires three electric energy cards and delivers a formidable 120+ damage to your opponent.

By discarding energy cards, you can unleash a potentially devastating critical hit, adding an extra 150 damage to the assault! Combine that offensive power with an impressive 310 HP, this card emerges as a formidable adversary on the battlefield.

Ooyama Pikachu

The most distinctive Pikachu card

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Ooyama Pikachu specifications:
First released 1998
Value $122-250
HP 50
Reasons to buy
  • You want the weirdest Pikachu in the bunch
  • You love goofy, cheerful art styles
Reasons to avoid
  • You want an officially playable card
  • You have an aversion to wobbly lines

This card is among a collection of “spoof” cards exclusively found in Japan. Released in 1998 as part of the Japanese Expansion Sheet 3 – also known as Vending Series 3 – these cards were distributed through vending machines.

Unlike most Pokémon cards, Ooyama’s Pikachu cannot be used in official gameplay, but it’s highly sought after by collectors. Due to its rarity, prices for this card range between $122 and $250 depending on its PSA grade.

Best Pikachu Pokemon cards guide - full card image of Ooyama 1998 promo Pikachu

The Ooyama Pikachu’s stand-out artwork makes it easily the most distinctive Pikachu Pokémon card we’ve seen in our travels. Depicted in a whimsical, childlike art style, every element of the card appears hand-drawn in wobbly lines – from the card art and Japanese text to the energy symbols.

This is just our opinion, but we think the happy little man in the bottom right corner – presumably representing the artist – faintly resembles Mr. Garrison from South Park. Do with that information what you will.

Either way, this Pikachu is like no other, and deserves a spot in every serious ‘chu lover’s collection.

Birthday Pikachu

The happiest Pikachu Pokémon card

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Birthday Pikachu specifications:
First released 1998
Value $7+
HP 50
Reasons to buy
  • You enjoy silly, fun loving novelty rules
Reasons to avoid
  • You hate birthdays and despise joy in all its forms

It was a close run thing between Birthday Pikachu and Surfing Pikachu for the title of ‘happiest Pikachu card’ – but we settled for this one in the end; just look at those eyes and smile. Who wouldn’t be overjoyed at a delicious birthday cake and present – even if they are floating in deep space?

This card has an extensive history. Originally released in Japan in November 1998, Birthday Pikachu was released to celebrate the Pokémon Trading Card Game’s second anniversary. Subsequently, it was introduced in Australia in 2000, this time as a holographic version offered exclusively at an event.

In 2001, it made its way to North America through a contest, albeit in a non-holographic form. Fast forward to 2021, and Birthday Pikachu received a reprint in holographic, included as part of the 25th Anniversary Celebrations collection. The latest iteration of the card is naturally far more readily available, typically selling for around $7.00, while older versions go for significantly higher prices.

Best Pikachu Pokemon cards guide - full card image of Birthday Pikachu

All versions of this card feature artwork by Kagemaru Himeno and include a space for the owner to personalise it with their name, claiming Pikachu as their own.

Its attack is great fun, stating: “If it’s not your birthday, this attack does 30 damage. If it is your birthday, flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 30 damage plus 50 more damage; if tails, this attack does 30 damage.”

The card was eventually banned in competitive play, due to its potential for misuse, with players falsely claiming it was their birthday to gain extra damage. Nonetheless, Birthday Pikachu remains a beloved and entertaining addition to any collection (and an excellent birthday gift).

Pikachu V Union

The Pokémon card with the most Pikachus

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Pikachu V Union specifications:
First released 2021
Value $30-50
HP 300
Reasons to buy
  • 25 times as many Pikachus as a regular card
  • Adds interesting Pikachu-centric strategy options
Reasons to avoid
  • 4x the normal cost in card sleeves

V Union cards stand out due to their distinctive concept: four individual cards merge to create a unified Pokémon. When united, the card boasts enhanced stats and attacks. This feature adds an extra dose of spice to battles, prompting players to devise strategies for assembling and using their V Union cards efficiently.

Most excitingly for us electric mouse fans, Pikachu V Union offers a rare opportunity to construct genuinely versatile and formidable decks centred around Pikachu. This four-part card showcases 25 renditions of Pikachu, each skilfully drawn by a different artist (The Ooyama Pikachu particularly stands out).

Best Pikachu Pokemon cards guide - full card image of all four Pikachu Union cards together

You can get all four cards (and a promotional jumbo version) by picking up the Pokémon Celebrations Special Collections – Pikachu V Union pack, which originally retailed at $29.99. Sadly, the pack is no longer in production, so it’ll cost you a chunk more than that now.

Alternatively, this quad is available in the Japanese run of the Celebrations range.

How we chose the best Pikachu Pokémon cards

Curating this list wasn’t easy, given the vast array of Pokémon cards available. We’ve carefully considered factors like artwork, playability, value, and Pokémon card rarity to compile it.

Naturally, collectors are drawn to cards with visually appealing illustrations, high rarity, and significant value. On the other hand, players prioritise playability to determine a card’s usefulness in a deck. It’s worth noting that many of these cards are no longer legal for competitive play as of March 22, 2024.

However, not all TCG players are focused on competition, and these Pikachu cards remain among the best choices.

For more Pokémon TCG wisdom, check out our guides on the most powerful Pokémon cards, the highest HP Pokémon cards, and the best Pokémon decks to play.

Or, if you’re a tad behind on generations, we’ve got an up-to-date guide to answer that burning question: how many Pokémon are there?