What is a shadowless Pokemon card?

The Pokemon Trading Card Game is currently experiencing a massive resurgence. Lapsed Pokemon TCG fans are digging out their old collections and plenty of new collectors are joining the hunt for rare cards. Both of these groups are encountering new terminology, however, which can be quite confusing for the uninitiated. This guide serves as an explainer on one such term. So, what is a shadowless Pokemon card? Here’s the need-to-know for all budding collectors.

How to tell if a Pokemon card is shadowless

What is a shadowless Pokemon card?

Left: Charizard with no shadow, Right: Charizard with a drop shadow

Original Pokemon cards are the oldest, which, of course, also makes them the rarest and most collectible. There are three common categories of cards that help to indicate how much each one is worth. Ordered from most to least valuable, these are as follows: 1st edition, shadowless, unlimited. Identifying 1st edition cards is easy, due to the prominent badge, but what identifies a shadowless Pokemon card?

Shadowless Pokemon cards do not feature the drop shadow effect to the right of the character portrait. If there is no shadow and no 1st edition badge, then the card is a shadowless variant. Shadowless cards are from the Pokemon Trading Card Game’s second print run.

If there is a drop shadow on the card, then it’s an unlimited version. These are far more common and less desirable to collectors as a direct result.

The drop shadow effect is somewhat subtle, so check out the example in the image above. Another identifying factor to look out for is the thickness of the HP value typeface. As pictured, the shadowless card has slimmer writing than the bold “120 HP” of the Charizard Pokemon card with a shadow.

Pokemon TCG’s explosive popularity currently has new cards in short supply. Alternately, the second-hand market is booming with owners looking to offload everything from Pikachu to Squirtle.

Should those resellers hold onto their collections, though? Get the lowdown on whether or not cards will continue to go up in value.