Spotting Forged Pokèmon Cards

by MichaelT
Lets start with where I bought the forged Pokèmon cards in the first place. It was Chinatown, NYC. I saw 30-card packs of Pokèmon cards for 2.50. I bought two, and when I opened them, they were forged. Now I’m going to tell you how to spot a forged Pokèmon card.
Lets start with the face of a Pokèmon card. On mine, I was able to spot that they were forged right away. Not because I’m an expert, but because Bisharp had 10,000 HP. Zapdos had 12,000. The key here is that Pokèmon card HP is never more than 3 digits long, and is never more than 200 HP. We now move to the energy symbols. On Pokèmon cards, you find energy symbols in 3 different places: to the right of its HP, to the left of its attacks, and along the bottom of the card, as weakness, resistance, and retreat cost.

See how on the Metagross, which isn’t forged, the type symbols are small and leave a good bit of space for the colored circle to show? Now look at the Cofagrigus, which is forged. Notice that the energy symbols are bigger and fill up the colored circle almost all the way.
Another thing to notice is that on Cofagrigus, the retreat cost is 5. The retreat cost on a real Pokèmon card won’t exceed 4 energy. This is another thing that flags any given card as a fake. Also, look how the copyright date on Metagross is in the center of the bottom, but in the lower left-hand corner on Cofagrigus. Further, on Metagross it says                               (c) 2010 Pokèmon/Nintendo, whereas on Cofagrigus it just says                                              (c) 2012 Pokèmon. There are just two more things to look for: whether Pokèmon is capitalized or not and misspelled words. For example, in my forged Pokèmon cards packs, I got a Professor Juniper card that was spelled Professor Jrniper and read “Discard your hand and draw 7cards.” It was missing the space between 7 and cards!

Moving on to the backs of cards, there are two things to watch out for here. Look at these scans:

real                                                                          fake

Look at the borders first. On the real card back, the blue border is sharp and clear at the place it meets the pattern, versus the fake card’s border, which almost melts into the pattern. Moreover, the blue border is much darker and bolder on the real card back than on the forged card. Look at one other key part. On the upper right corner of the Pokè ball on the genuine card there is a fair bit of detail. On the forgery, it just looks like a little bluish blob.
This next significant difference applies only to foil cards. Look at my third and final set of scans, a foil Buizel card and the forged foil Zapdos:

Again, we see the too-high HP and too-high retreat cost on the forged card, but now I’m showing you something different.  look at the genuine Buizel, how the foil pattern is obvious in the scan. If I held it at an angle in the scanner, the glare lines would be in different position. But on the Zapdos scan, the only reason you know it’s a foil card is that I’m telling you. The foil pattern on it doesn’t move at all, save for the little circular glare that you can see on non-foil Pokèmon cards. This alone flags a card as a fake.
There are also words and terms that are always capitalized, and if even one of them isn’t capitalized even once, the card is flagged as a fake. They are:

  • Paralyzed
  • Poisoned
  • Asleep
  • Confused
  • Burned
  • Special Condition
  • Knocked Out
  • Pokèmon
  • Trainer
  • Supporter
  • Stadium
  • The Pokèmon’s species (located underneath the art)
  • Energy

Leaving the the cards themselves, look at the packaging. the back of my package read, exactly:
Brace Yourself to Explore the Darkness…
What’s out there in the darknes,waiting to be discovered?Play the pokèmon Trading Card Game:Black &white-Dark Explorers expansion and find them all!In addition to more pokèmon-EX like Tornadus-EX,Raikou-EX,and Groudon-EX,the shadows are filled with other exceptional surprises,like Darkrai-EX and a host of Trainer cards that will knock your opponent’s lights out!When you play Black & white-Dark Explorers,you’ll not only explore the darkness,you’ll rule it!

look at all the missing spaces and capitalizations! Besides that, the barcode was PK30. Four characters long. Normal barcodes are around 16 characters long, I think.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter in the whole scheme of things.  Based on how many packs were there when I bought mine, nobody had fallen for the really cheap Pokèmon cards, and I’m now wiser. I can also teach people how to spot fake & forged Pokèmon cards. I almost think I should thank the person who ripped me off. Almost.



I made a mistake up there. From Black And White base set forward, the copyright date & info says (c) 2012 Pokèmon. Also, there are a few more differences- This one applying only to Pokèmon-EX that have full art.

Sorry, but in order for all the differences to be seen,  I had to make the cards massive. The first thing you can notice is that they both have some kind of texture. That’s difference #1. On the real EX card, you can feel the texture. (Why Nintendo decided to do this, I have no idea. Maybe to make EX cards almost impossible to forge without it being obvious.) But on the wannabe, the texture is just printed on. The etching is nearly impossible to replicate. This brings us to difference #2, also nearly impossible to replicate. You can’t really see it in the scans, but the real EX is foil. EX cards are always foil. There is another difference that applies to all cards- the material. Real Pokèmon cards should be made of fairly rigid white cardstock, in three layers. My forgeries were made of cheap (obviously) brown cardstock, and in only two layers. This can be caught by looking very closely at the edge of the card.


17 Responses to Spotting Forged Pokèmon Cards

  1. Robby says:

    It turns out all my Pokemon card are fake! Because I made them! Just kidding

  2. I got a forged card once. 😦

  3. dragonbest says:

    i got exacly the same packs as u but i bought 9 packs because they were for 1 dollard. i got 4 ex and i was so happy then i went back home and i exacly knew that something was wrong because a lot of my cards were printed inside out. All of my cards were forged. I already got ex (real ones ) the resistance were 5 stars (for all the cards) after i went to do resherch and i saw this website. We got scammed

  4. Parker (SF Gandalf) says:

    I buy all my packs at WalMart.

  5. Hey, I found this, can you check it out so I can tell the superfolder if it is forged?

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  9. Shawn Smelsky says:

    you know what my brother traded Mewtwo EX, Excadrill EX, and Mega Blastoise EX for a fake 10000 hp Bouffalant( I probably spelled it wrong ) and it said hash hufailo pokemon instead of bash buffalo which really sucks

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