Today we are talking about Neo Revelation, Neo 3 in Japanese, as it is the third installment of the Neo era of Pokemon. The set was released in North America in September of 2001, and followed the release of Neo Genesis and Neo Discovery. Wizards of the Coast was still in charge of manufacturing the cards, so if you hear anyone referring to this set as part of the WOTC era, that is what they are referring to. The Neo era marked the release of the second generation of Pokemon with Gold and Silver version for the gameboy color, but even more importantly it was the first set to introduce Shining Pokemon into the set list.
Background on the Shining Pokemon in Neo Revelation:
Maybe you played the video games, maybe you didn't, but to give a refresher in Pokemon Silver and Gold versions, Team Rocket forced Magikarp to evolve into Gyarados at the Lake of Rage, something that while evil in the game, I think we would actually all appreciate. However, most importantly, this resulted in the appearance of a Red Gyarados, as opposed to the usual blue coloring of the Pokemon. Similar to the TV show’s plot line, you go on a quest with the Dragon master lance to help stop Team Rocket and end the Gyarados’ suffering. While the back story of the red Gyarados is not a happy one, the card that came out of it is absolutely stunning. In Neo Revelation, this red Gyarados was featured as one of the two first ever “shining” versions of Pokemon in Pokemon card history. But how can you have a shining Gyarados…without a shining magikarp to go with it. And Neo revelation has just that. The Shining Magikarp was not red, like its evolved form, but instead gold. Why? Well there is an old Japanese story of many carp attempting to swim up a river called the Koga River, fighting against intense currents which stopped almost all carp who tried. However there was one golden carp that successfully swam up the river and became a magical dragon once it reached the upper stream. Which sounds a lot like Magikarp turning into a Gyarados don't you think? The carp is a symbol of perseverance and courage, and someone training a Magikarp will need both, but the reward at the end is worth it! Someone attempting to get on of these cards out of a booster pack will also need perseverance, as the Shining Magikarp and Shining Gyarados are both Secret Rares, and have a low chance of being pulled from a booster pack, but just like evolving a Magikarp it is worth it if you do.
The Shining Gyarados and Shining Magikarp were also both drawn by Ken Sugimori, and if you are new to the hobby you may not know who that is but he is definitely a big deal. Sugimori has been with Pokemon since the beginning, and actually helped design many of the original 150 Pokemon, and proceeded to draw many of the artworks for the base set which was released in 1996 in Japan. Sugimori also single-handedly drew every artwork for the sticker cards released by Bandai in 1996 and 1997. Go onto ebay and type in Pokemon Bandai 1997 if you haven't heard of this set, because it has some of the best vintage artworks in the entire TCG.
So whats the big deal with this set?
Well, Neo Revelation was the first set to finally introduce the new legendary Pokemon from the Silver and Gold era and the 100 new Pokemon that came with it. Similar to the three legendary birds (Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos), these three legendary Pokemon were also water, electric, and fire (though articuno of course was more an ice type). However instead of birds, the Neo era legendaries are dogs, Entei the fire type, Raikou the electric type, and Suicune the water type. All three are featured on the pack arts of the set, and all three are some of the biggest hits in this set. There are two artworks for each dog in Neo revelation, one version a holographic, one a non holographic. The Holographic versions are a big step up in price and are some of the most coveted in the Neo era. One other legendary pokemon was also introduced in Neo Revelation, and that was Celebi, a mysterious grass and psychic type Pokemon that holds a similar place as Mew did for the first generation of Pokemon. Also, while Lugia stole the hearts of many collectors, let us not forget the fire bird Ho-Oh, which was actually spotted in the first ever episode of Pokemon, pretense of things to come. Ho-Oh has a normal type non Holo card in this set, and the much more desirable fire type holographic. It's a beautiful card and can fetch quite a lot at auction. And I cant talk about neo revelation without talking about the Houndoom. Houndoom is a second generation Pokemon that became an immediate hit when the games came out. Houndoom has a card in Neo Discovery, which was released earlier in the same year as Neo Revelation, but comes nowhere close when it comes to popularity. For a hardcore Houndoom collector, the Neo Revelation Houndoom will always be toward the top of the list, and who could argue with an artwork like that.
One more card I want to highlight is the Blissey holographic. Seasoned collectors will already know but many may not realize why a gem mint copy of this card is so sought after. This card is notoriously hard to grade a 10 on due to what is called print lines. Print lines refer to very line lines that run across the surface of the holofoil on the card and are caused by the actual printing machine itself, not by any human error or mishandling. Unfortunately, the Blissey from Neo Revelation is known to often contain at least one print line on the holofoil, so while a Mint 9 grade can be achieved, sadly a gem mint 10 is no longer on the table. However, this can also be an opportunity, because if you are the lucky one to pull a card like Blissey with no print lines and you can grade a 10 on it, the price you can ask is significantly higher than any other holographic card in the set. For another example, look up sold listings for Dark Magneton from the team rocket set.
Unlimited vs 1st ed?
Well, if your Logan Paul and have no limit on your spending grab all the 1st edition you want. If you can find it that is. First edition boxes of Neo Revelation certainly exist, but they are very difficult to track down, and almost impossible to buy at a price where opening them makes any sense at all financially. The issue is, for most people, even those who have some money to spend on obtaining new cards, the first edition prints of a lot of vintage sets are simply out of reach price wise. First edition print runs were more limited and as a result the cards and packs command a much higher price point, unobtainable for most people. As much fun as it is to open ludicrously expensive boxes, it only allows a very small number of people to join in the fun, and the artwork is just the same on the cards, just without a first edition stamp.
Neo Revelation has some incredible cards, so even though the first edition versions may sell for more, there are still plenty of big cards that you can try to pull from this set that would be worth grading for your collection or to sell. A Shining Magikarp or Shining gyarados will always be an expensive card whether first edition or not, and the same can be said for the legendary dogs and the houndoom.
Want to learn more?
Check out Thom's YouTube video breaking it all down: