How many Pokemon Cards are there in total?

Pokemon Cards
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Pokémon is one of the most iconic and legendary franchises in history. Since launching in 1996, the franchise has touched every corner of media, from the legendary videogames to the popular anime and even the famous trading card game. There is no place Pokémon has not gone. 

The previously mentioned trading card game is fascinating. While other games have come and gone, Pokémon has maintained its popularity, getting loads of new cards and booster sets every year. 

However, this raises the question of exactly how many Pokémon cards there are. 

How Many Pokémon Card Sets Have There Been?

The easiest way to break down the sheer number of Pokémon cards is to look at the number of sets released in every Pokémon generation. 

The first generation kicked off with the now-legendary base set. Launching in English in 1999, this set only contained 102 cards. However, the game would soon expand, as six new packs were added during the generation. 

Gen 1 (Jan 1999 – October 2000)

  • Base Set 1
  • Jungle
  • Fossil
  • Base Set 2
  • Team Rocket
  • Gym Heroes
  • Gym Challenge

Generation 2 massively expanded the range of cards in the game. This generation saw the release of eight new sets, many of which contained more cards than the Generation 1 sets that preceded them. 

Gen 2 (Dec 2000 – May 2003)

  • Neo Genesis
  • Neo Discovery
  • Neo Revelation
  • Neo Destiny
  • Legendary Collection
  • Expedition Base Set
  • Aquapolis
  • Skyridge

This pattern would continue with the next Generations of cards, with each new one bringing loads of new sets, each made up of hundreds of new cards. 

After Generation 2, there were: 

Gen 3 (June 2003 – Feb 2007)

  • EX Ruby & Saphire
  • EX Sandstorm
  • EX Dragon
  • EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua
  • EX Hidden Legends
  • EX FireRed & LeafGreen
  • EX Team Rocket Returns
  • EX Deoxys
  • EX Emerald
  • EX Unseen Forces
  • EX Delta Species
  • EX Legend Maker
  • EX Holon Phantoms
  • EX Crystal Guardians
  • EX Dragon Frontiers
  • EX Power Keepers

Gen 4 (May 2007 – Feb 2011)

  • Diamond & Pearl Base Set  
  • Mysterious Treasures  
  • Secret Wonders  
  • Great Encounters  
  • Majestic Dawn  
  • Legends Awakened  
  • Stormfront  
  • Platinum Base Set  
  • Rising Rivals  
  • Supreme Victors  
  • Arceus  
  • HeartGold & SoulSilver Base Set  
  • Unleashed  
  • Undaunted  
  • Triumphant  
  • Call of Legends  

Gen 5 (April 2011 – Nov 2013)

  • Black & White Base Set
  • Emerging Powers
  • Noble Victories
  • Next Destinies
  • Dark Explorers
  • Dragons Exalted
  • Boundaries Crossed
  • Plasma Storm
  • Plasma Freeze
  • Plasma Blast
  • Legendary Treasures

Gen 6 (Feb 2014 – Nov 2016)

  • X & Y Base Set
  • Flashfire
  • Furious Fists
  • Phantom Forces
  • Primal Clash
  • Roaring Skies
  • Ancient Origins
  • BREAKthrough
  • BREAKpoint
  • Generations
  • Fates Collide
  • Steam Siege
  • Evolutions

Gen 7 (Feb 2017 – Nov 2019)

  • Sun & Moon Base Set
  • Guardians Rising
  • Burning Shadows
  • Shining Legends
  • Crimson Invasion
  • Ultra Prism
  • Forbidden Light
  • Celestial Storm
  • Dragon Majesty
  • Lost Thunder
  • Team Up
  • Detective Pikachu
  • Unbroken Bonds
  • Unified Minds
  • Hidden Fates
  • Cosmic Eclipse

Gen 8 (Feb 2020 – May 2022)

  • Sword & Shield Base Set
  • Rebel Clash
  • Darkness Ablaze
  • Champion’s Path
  • Vivid Voltage
  • Shining Fates
  • Battle Styles
  • Chilling Reign
  • Evolving Skies
  • Celebrations
  • Fusion Strike
  • Brilliant Stars
  • Astral Radiance

When you add up all the sets, you find over 100 Pokémon card sets are currently in circulation, showing just how vast and beloved the game is. 

How many Pokémon Cards Are There? 

Working out the exact number of Pokémon cards can be tricky as it depends on what you consider an individual card. Over the game’s long history, several cards have been reissued sometimes as they originally were, but others have received updated art or rules patches. So your opinion on if those updates or reissues count as a new card will heavily affect the number you come up with. 

On top of this, many promotional cards and event-exclusive cards have been released over the years. This includes cards like the Ancient Mew card given away at showings of Pokémon The Movie 2000, the No. 1 Trainer card given to the winner of the 2009 World Championships, and the Pikachu card given out by Build-A-Bear in 2019. While these are all Pokémon cards, they are usually not counted as they were not released for TCG play (and they are often banned from tournaments due to balance issues). Meaning that the number is even more tricky to work out. 

It is generally accepted that the American Pokémon TCG contains 13,501 playable cards. Interestingly, the Japanese game contains more cards as the Japanese market has had some extra cards released over the years.

As for how many physical cards are in circulation, it is nearly impossible to tell. In 2017 the Pokémon company said that 23.6 billion cards had been printed and shipped worldwide. The company also announced that it released over 3.5 billion cards during the pandemic, showing how quickly the number of cards is growing. Of course, there is no way of telling how many cards have been destroyed, so getting an accurate circulation number is near impossible.