The Scarlet & Violet Pokémon TCG expansion releases worldwide on March 31, 2023, and one good way to get into new sets is by picking up the Elite Trainer Box for the respective set. My friends at The Pokémon Company International sent me an Elite Trainer Box early for review, and I’ll go over what you get inside of the Elite Trainer Box, and then you can decide whether it’s right for you.
The Different Elite Trainer Boxes
For the Scarlet & Violet expansion, there are a total of four different Elite Trainer Boxes to choose from: there’s the standard version and the Pokémon Center version, the latter of which is only for retail sale at the Pokémon Center website and contains improved contents although costs a bit more.
Each of these two versions come in either a Koraidon version or a Miraidon version, with the Koraidon version being orange-and-Koraidon themed, while the Miraidon version is purple-and-Miraidon themed. They also come with a promo card matching the Pokémon on the box. Aside from the color and theme, the contents are the same, so you’ll get the same number of booster packs, the same amount of card sleeves, and so on.
Pokémon sent me the standard Koraidon Elite Trainer Box to check out, so just keep that in mind throughout this review—I’ll try my best to mention the differences between the standard Koraidon version and other versions where applicable.
What Do You Get In An Elite Trainer Box?
One of the main draws of any Elite Trainer Box is that it contains booster packs of the expansion set it is based on. With Scarlet & Violet, the number of booster packs you receive has increased ever-so-slightly to 9 booster packs for the standard edition, or 11 booster packs for the Pokémon Center edition.
This number is up by 1 booster pack from earlier expansions (excluding special expansions such as Crown Zenith, which come with different amounts), which offered 8 for a standard edition or 10 for a Pokémon Center edition.
A nice benefit of getting any of the Scarlet & Violet Elite Trainer Boxes is that you’ll also receive at least one Promo card. This Promo card matches the Pokémon on the front of the Elite Trainer Box, so you’ll get a special Koraidon Promo card (014) with either of the Koraidon Elite Trainer Boxes or you’ll get a special Miraidon Promo card (013) with either of the Miraidon Elite Trainer Boxes.
The Pokémon Center edition of either of these Elite Trainer Boxes come with an additional Promo card, and this additional Promo card has a special “Pokémon Center” logo on it—otherwise it is the same as the standard version.
These Promo cards are just alternate art versions of the Koraidon and Miraidon from the Scarlet & Violet expansion set, so they don’t offer anything exclusive gameplay-wise—they’re just nice cards for collectors or for players that enjoy including alternate art cards in their decks.
Each of the Scarlet & Violet Elite Trainer Boxes contain a total of 65 card sleeves to protect your cards. The color and theme of these sleeves are either Koraidon-themed or Miraidon-themed, depending on which version of the Elite Trainer Box you get, but are the same whether you get the standard edition or the Pokémon Center edition.
Since you’ll need to sleeve your Pokémon TCG deck if you want to use it in any tournaments (and it’s a good idea even if you’re just playing with friends to help keep your cards protected), you’ll need 60 card sleeves anyway, so the 65 card sleeves that come with the Elite Trainer Box work perfectly for a deck and also give you 5 extra sleeves in case any get damaged.
The quality of the sleeves are pretty good, having a bit of a matte finish to help prevent them from being too slippery while shuffling them or otherwise handling them. The inner side of the sleeves are also a refreshing gold color (at least on the Koraidon version—I’m assuming it’s the same on the Miraidon version).
Of course, if you aren’t interested in playing the Pokémon TCG and are more of a collector, these sleeves will do a decent job at keeping your cards protected, although I find them to be just a little tight to push the cards into and worry I could slightly scrape the top edge of the cards while inserting them into the sleeves, so I tend to prefer using just the cheap “penny” sleeves instead or otherwise loose sleeves—but that also might just be me being extra paranoid.
Coin-Flip Die and Damage Counter Dice
Six “damage counter dice” and one “competition-legal coin-flip die” are also included in all versions of the Elite Trainer Box, with the color of the coin-flip die changing depending on whether you get the Koraidon version or the Miraidon version to match that color scheme.
The damage counter dice are the same regardless of which version you get, and these are used to keep track of how much damage your Pokémon has taken. For example, if your Pokémon has taken 130 total damage, you could put a 120 and a 10 on it to indicate that. Small six-sided dice (with traditional pips) are also commonly used to keep track of damage, but with some Pokémon surpassing 300 HP, it gets a bit unwieldy putting that many standard six-sided dice on a Pokémon, so these may be a good alternative, although you might also need more than what is included in the Elite Trainer Box to properly keep track.
The “competition-legal coin-flip die” is a larger, standard six-sided die, although the 1 pip has been replaced with the “ex” logo. This die is legal for official competitions and you roll it instead of flipping a coin, even if the card says to flip a coin. Even numbers (2, 4, 6) count as heads, while odd numbers (1, 3, 5) count as tails.
Unfortunately, the plastic containing these dice was torn when I opened up my Elite Trainer Box, so there were loose dice rolling around inside of the Elite Trainer Box, but thankfully none of the cards or items were damaged. That is still something to watch out for and I hope that their quality control is able to keep issues like these to a minimum, as it would be very unfortunate if these loose dice wound up damaging the Promo card, which has little more to protect it than a thin plastic wrapping.
Special Condition Markers
The Special Condition markers from previous Elite Trainer Boxes have gotten a rather substantial overhaul and look much different! They’re no longer made out of acrylic, but are now just a standard plastic.
They have a much different appearance, too: the purple “gooey” one now indicates Poisoned, while the orange “fiery” one now indicates Burned. I like the new looks of them, even though I still tend to associate “Poisoned” with green—however, in the video games, it has been marked with a purple color for pretty much the entire series, so this does make sense.
Either way, you’ll need these to put on your Active Pokémon in case it becomes affected by one of these conditions.
Basic Energy Cards
You’ll get a total of 45 Basic Energy cards with the Elite Trainer Box, divided across the 8 different Basic Energy types. These have the new Scarlet & Violet look to them, with the silver borders and the Energy symbol placed on the bottom of the card as well, so even if you have older Basic Energy cards, these may be worth looking into.
Of course, you are guaranteed to get 1 Basic Energy card in every Scarlet & Violet booster pack, so you’ll probably end up getting quite a few more, but if you’re a newer player that wants to get into the TCG, this can help get you started.
One of my favorite features of any Elite Trainer Box is the Player’s Guide that it comes with, and the Scarlet & Violet one is no exception. It will be either Koraidon- or Miraidon-themed, depending on which version you get, but aside from the exterior design, the contents are the same.
It contains some helpful information about the new expansion set, any changes to the rules, some useful strategies about specific cards and combinations, and a very nice gallery/checklist of all of the cards in the set, including the “secret rares.” This is a great way to look at all of the cards and see what they do, and I find I really like to have these for any new set that releases.
Of course, you can also use it as a checklist to check off any cards you have in your collection, and this is a complete checklist unlike the one contained in the Build & Battle box, which doesn’t show the secret rares.
Card Storage Box and Separators
The Elite Trainer Box itself actually makes for a nice storage box for storing your cards and other accessories in. Keep in mind that it does compress a fair amount from what it looks like before it’s opened—there’s a cardboard insert that increases its height, which can be discarded/recycled after opening the Elite Trainer Box.
There are also four separators or dividers, made out of cardboard, that feature either Koraidon or Miraidon on them and are reversible. These may not appeal to everyone, but they can be used to divide sections of cards in either the Elite Trainer Box or in any other sort of storage solution you might have.
TCG Live Code Card
Lastly, you’ll also receive a code card for the Pokémon TCG Live, which unlocks the Promo card from the Elite Trainer Box. Presumably this also unlocks cosmetic card sleeves as well, but since this code could not be redeemed before the launch of the set, I was unable to test this.
One important thing to note: this code and all TCG Live codes within the Scarlet & Violet booster packs do not work on the old Pokémon TCG Online! You’ll need to update to TCG Live if you were previously on PTCGO in order to use these included code cards.
Is the Scarlet & Violet Elite Trainer Box Worth It?
This is the big question, and one that hopefully I’ll be able to at least help you answer.
However, before I continue, I need to provide an important disclaimer: the product shown in this review was provided free of charge by The Pokémon Company International, but no money was received for this review and it is independent from Pokémon. The full disclaimer is down below, but it’s important that I’m transparent about this, especially when it comes to discussing whether I recommend it or not.
That being said, over the past several years, I’ve become a definite fan of Elite Trainer Boxes in general and have bought many of them myself, with my own money (I’ve gotten quite a few from my friends at Pokémon, too, which you may have seen in various unboxing videos on my YouTube channel!), and I adamantly believe that they are a great way to start off any new set.
So is the Scarlet & Violet Elite Trainer Box worth it for you? Let’s dissect what you get from it and whether it’s worth it to you or if you’d be better off getting just plain old booster packs instead!
Cost of the Elite Trainer Box
Well, this is something that definitely deserves discussion, because the cost of Elite Trainer Boxes has increased! The base price (MSRP) for standard Elite Trainer Boxes of the Scarlet & Violet set is now $49.99 (USD), which is up from the previous $39.99 (USD). For the Pokémon Center editions, the price has increased from $49.99 (USD) all the way up to $59.99 (USD). Keep in mind that these are suggested prices: individual stores may charge more, such as $54.99 or even $59.99 for standard Elite Trainer Boxes, and aftermarket prices may be higher or lower.
However, the cost of booster packs has also increased, going from a base price (MSRP) of $3.99 (USD) per pack up to $4.49 (USD) per pack. Elite Trainer Boxes also now include one additional booster pack compared to the older Elite Trainer Boxes (again, excluding special sets like Crown Zenith and Pokémon GO, which have a different amount and cost).
Comparing Elite Trainer Box Cost vs. Pack Cost (Older Sets)
Let’s first start by taking a look at the older sets, for comparison (all prices are USD):
- Cost of Packs (older sets):
- 8 packs (Standard Edition) = $3.99/ea = $31.92
- 10 packs (Pokémon Center) = $3.99/ea = $39.90
- Cost of Packs vs. Elite Trainer Box (older sets):
- 8 packs = $31.92 of $39.99 = ~$8 for ETB contents
- 10 packs = $39.90 of $49.99 = ~$10 for ETB contents
As you can see, at those prices, you’re basically paying $8 for everything in addition to the booster packs for the Standard Edition, or $10 for the Pokémon Center version. This means, for the standard edition, you get sleeves, dice, the storage box, acrylic markers, Energy cards, and storage box for $8. And that’s what you need to ask yourself: is that worth $8 to you? Or, in the case of the Pokémon Center version, $10 (although you typically get more premium contents in that).
Comparing Elite Trainer Box Costs vs. Pack Cost (Scarlet & Violet)
However, those above figures are for the older sets. Let’s now take a look at these same figures, except using the prices for booster packs and Elite Trainer Boxes for Scarlet & Violet specifically (all prices are USD):
- Cost of Packs (Scarlet & Violet):
- 9 packs (Standard Edition) = $4.49/ea = $40.41
- 11 packs (Pokémon Center) = $4.49/ea = $49.39
- Cost of Packs vs. Elite Trainer Box (Scarlet & Violet):
- 9 packs = $40.41 of $49.99 = ~$9.50 for ETB contents
- 11 packs = $49.39 of $59.99 = ~$10.50 for ETB contents
So, once again, the best way to determine whether the Elite Trainer Box is right for you is to determine whether the other contents of the Elite Trainer Box is worth approximately $9.50 to you.
In the case of the Standard Edition, that means the storage box, 65 card sleeves, Promo card, plastic Special Condition markers, dice, and player’s guide; the Pokémon Center version basically nets you an extra Promo card (Pokémon Center stamped) for an extra $1 of value.
So Is It Worth It?
Perhaps the biggest factor, in my personal opinion, as to whether it’s worth it or not is if you like the card sleeves. If you frequently use card sleeves for battling or collecting, then you’ll know getting good-quality opaque card sleeves—especially ones that have a matte finish—will usually run you $5–10 for 60–100.
The Pokémon Center website sells packs of 65 sleeves for $7.99, just for comparison, and these are official Pokémon sleeves and should be comparable to what you get in the Elite Trainer Boxes.
Back when the standard Elite Trainer Boxes were $39.99, the difference between buying an Elite Trainer Box as opposed to 8 booster packs was just $8, so the included sleeves basically covered that; now the price difference means you’ve got about $1.50 for the standard edition, but previous Elite Trainer Boxes didn’t always include a Promo card, so that’s kind of nice for $1.50, along with the dice, dividers, storage case, and player’s guide.
I’m a fan of Elite Trainer Boxes, but they aren’t for everyone, and if your main goal is to just get cards, then booster packs are probably the better way to go.
Also, barring special sets where you can’t get loose packs or booster boxes (Crown Zenith, GO, Celebrations, etc.), you usually don’t need more than 1 Elite Trainer Box. One is almost always fine. Sometimes they’ll have two main versions, such as the Koraidon and Miraidon version this time around, but they usually just have one variant and that’s all you’ll usually need, unless you want more sleeves and matching dice, of course.
So, as I said earlier, I can help you with the answer, but ultimately you’re the only one that can decide that for sure. Hopefully the information about the prices help with that process and help you determine whether you’d be better off just buying the packs separately or going for the Elite Trainer Box. Thanks for reading!
The Pokémon TCG: Scarlet & Violet set, including the Elite Trainer Box shown in this post, launches worldwide on March 31, 2023. You can check out a complete listing of all of the cards in the set over on the Marriland Scarlet & Violet TCG database.
DISCLAIMER: The product covered in this review was provided by The Pokémon Company International free of charge. No monetary or financial compensation was exchanged for this review by either party, and all thoughts and opinions are independent.