What Are Legendary Pokemon Cards? Everything You Need To Know

What Is A Legendary Pokemon?

A legendary Pokemon, in the context of the whole of Pokemon, not just the TCG, is an extremely rare and equally as powerful Pokemon. They are often sported on the front of their designated game’s cover and are only obtainable once in their games (excluding through trading). Most Pokemon games’ stories revolve around the legendary Pokemon of its given region and how the player will inevitably catch it. However, in the Pokemon TCG, there isn’t actually anything that distinguishes Legendary Pokemon from other Pokemon, there isn’t any descriptor that would indicate that the Pokemon is legendary. Instead, players must rely on the games and anime to gauge what Pokemon are legendary.

Lugia Legendary Card

Are All Legendary Pokemon Legendary Pokemon Cards?

So, with this in mind, wouldn’t this technically make all Pokemon cards that feature a legendary on them, a “legendary Pokemon card”? Unfortunately, the answer is not it isn’t that simple. Nobody really refers to Pokemon cards with legendaries on them as legendary cards as it would just cause confusion thanks to an actual mechanic in the game called “legendary cards”. To put it in lamen terms, not all legendary Pokemon are Legendary Pokemon Cards but all Legendary Pokemon Cards are legendary Pokemon.

Ho-Oh Legendary Card

What Makes A Pokemon Card Legendary?

Okay, so if a Pokemon card being legendary doesn’t contribute at all to its status in the game, then what on earth is a Legendary Pokemon Card? Well, “Legendary” cards were introduced in the base set of Heart Gold and Soul Silver in 2010 and immediately caused some stir in the TCG community as they weren’t like anything the game had ever seen before. These were four separate cards featuring Lugia and Ho-oh, 2 of them representing each Pokemon. The interesting thing about these cards is that the art of the card is split into two parts distributed between the two cards horizontally, one card making up the top half of the art and the other card making up the bottom half of the art. When both of the cards were combined in actual play they would make an extremely powerful turn and could sometimes steamroll the opponent. 


This style received a mixed reception, some complaining that it was impractical and looked dumb when you only packed one half of the card, while others loved the originality and collectability of it. However, this feature would go on to reappear in the set Unleashed in 2010 with the Pokemon Raikou, Suicune, and Entei and would then appear again in the set Triumphant with the Pokemon Darkrai & Cresselia and Palkia & Dialga. 

Another Type Of Legendary Pokemon Cards

If you’re a super, super observant Pokemon fan, you may have even heard reference to legendary Pokemon cards within the card game itself before 2010. These cards were introduced in the 2001 Japanese-only sequel to the Pokemon Trading Card Game known as Pokémon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR! which would introduce what I guess is the sequel to Team Rocket: Team Great Rocket. Within the context of this game, legendary cards were cards that could be obtained by (similar to gyms in the video game) beating their guardians known as the “Grand Masters”. Each Grand Master’s deck revolved around one of these legendary cards each of which represented a legendary Pokemon. There were only ever four legendary cards and these legendary Pokemon included the legendary birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres) and Dragonite. Some of you may be scratching your head and thinking to yourself “well why is Dragonite there, that’s not a legendary Pokemon”. Well actually, (adjusts glasses), Dragonite was, at the time of release, one of the first-ever pseudo-legendary Pokemon in the game, technically making it a legendary Pokemon. 


These cards were known to be extremely powerful and capable of completely changing the tides of a game if played correctly. 

Are There Still Legendary Pokemon Cards Being Made?

The legendary mechanic in Pokemon was discontinued in the very same year it started: 2010. There wasn’t a warm enough reception or a super high demand for these cards and viability in competitive play wasn’t worth the hassle of collecting them. Because of this, Legendary cards, or any cards with a similar mechanic for that matter have yet to see a return. 


The closest thing to legendary cards we have seen since their dissolution would probably be the introduction of Break cards in the 2015 X & Y set Breakthrough which were cards that, much like Legendary cards, had art that displayed horizontally across the entirety of the card and featured gold versions of the Pokemon. However, thanks to its strange art and the fact that the art is on the card horizontally, even these were not particularly popular amongst Pokemon fans and you’d struggle to find one that is actually worth anything. 


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Entei & Raikou Legendary Card

How Can I Get A Legendary Pokemon Card?

If you’re looking to get a hold of some legendary cards yourself there are a few ways to go about doing so. So, we’ll cover a few below.

Opening The Original Packs: Now, it may not be the most cost-effective way of going about obtaining the cards but it is a method of getting them nonetheless. If you open any of the aforementioned sets: Heart Gold & Soul Silver Base Set, Triumphant or Unleashed, you have a shot at getting one of the two pieces of the cards. Granted packs from these sets are about $100 a pop these days, but the novelty of owning a vintage pack never wears off.

Buying Second Hand: Alternatively, if you aren’t looking to spend thousands of dollars potentially to get absolutely nothing for your money, you can just buy the legendary card you are looking for second-hand. You must keep in mind, however, that the cards are likely to be scuffed, scratched, or poorly centered if you are buying them ungraded. This is because most people who own these in good condition have sent them off to be graded or have already graded them. Therefore you should take an extremely close look at these cards when trying to buy one to get the best value out of your purchase. 

Buying A Graded Copy: If you are looking to guarantee that the card you have bought is in pristine condition, then buying a graded copy of the card is probably the best option for you. This will likely be super expensive but it is still cheaper than buying the packs and trying to pull the cards yourself. Getting a graded copy of most of them in a PSA 9 or better will likely cost upwards of $500.


Are Legendary Pokemon Cards Worth Anything?

While their discontinuation would suggest otherwise, these cards are in fact worth a lot if you can get them graded well. Below we have listed the approximate pricing of all Legendary cards in a PSA 10. 




Top Half: $1877.75


Bottom Half: $638.60




Top Half: $1500.00


Bottom Half: $1968.59


Entei & Raikou: 


Top Half: $615.17


Bottom Half: $262.50


Raikou & Suicune: 


Top Half: $894.03


Bottom Half: $775.00


Darkrai & Cresselia: 


Top Half: $512.00


Bottom Half: $225.00


Palkia & Dialga: 


Top Half: $307.14


Bottom Half: $310.78


Kyogre & Groudon 


Top Half: $453.98


Bottom Half: $551.00


Rayquaza & Deoxys 

Top Half: $560.00

Bottom Half:  $1574.33.


How Do Legendary Cards Work?

A possible reason (aside from how they were printed) why these cards never made it far in the Pokemon TCG is because of the unique way in which they work. Because they are such powerful cards you would need both pieces of the card before you can even bench it, remaining completely unplayable until that point. This means that in a lot of games one half of the card would just remain dormant in your hand for the whole game never really having an opportunity to really shine. As well as this, if you somehow managed to get this lucky, it cannot be played on your first draw meaning you can’t even ramp up any momentum with it and must wait until later in the game to drop it. 


Another issue with these cards was the amazing ability to completely turn the tides of a game in just one turn, some of them being able to deal upwards of 1000 damage dependent on the number of energies on them. This can be a pretty frustrating experience as the card requires little to no setup for such huge damage but at the same time can potentially remain unplayable for a whole game. This complete coin-flip style of play was not received well by the community and there have yet to be any more legendary cards since.


How Much Are Their Packs?

As discussed before, if you’re looking to pack either the Ho-Oh or the Lugia, then you are looking at spending about $100 per pack. However, not all of these cards come from the same set, so how much would it cost to get some of those other cards?

If you’re looking to get a legendary version of any of the dogs (Raikou, Suicune, and Entei) that come from the set Unleashed, as of right now, you’ll actually be looking to pay upwards of $150 which is more expensive than the Heart and Gold Base Set. 


Then there is Triumphant which saw the release of Palkia & Dialga as well as Darkrai and Cresselia which still costs around $160. 


Finally, if you’re looking to pick up the Rayquaza & Deoxys or the Kyogre & Groudon then you’ll have to try and get your hands on a pack from the set Undaunted, you’ll probably be disappointed to discover that, much like the previous two, it is going to cost you anywhere in the ballpark of $150 to $200.


Then What Are Legendary Collection Cards?

A common misconception when talking about legendary Pokemon cards is to think that they are “Legendary Collection” which is a completely different thing. So, what does it mean for a card to be from the Legendary Collection? Well, Legendary Collection was actually a standalone expansion released May 24th 2002 that featured reprints of older cards. It featured cards from Base Set, Jungle, Fossil, and Team Rocket, and was essentially designed for competitive play more than anything else. Having said that, however, if you are able to get a hold of a holographic Charizard from the Legendary Collection set in a PSA 10 you would be looking at upwards of $1750.


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