I started this site at the beginning of 2023 as a new hobby, a way to both document and share the cards I would be collecting. So this site is both information about these lesser known products, at least here in the west, and also a sort of digital binder of all my cool cards. I have a lot of boxes to get through, and more on the way, but so far we’ve opened 10. That’s right 10 boxes have been opened and reviewed so far. I figured it might be fun to try and rank them. So this is my top 10 best AliExpress trading card sets (so far).
Keep in mind I opened these 10 kind of at random, kind of not, so this list is going to be incomplete and biased. As we get through more and more boxes we should be able to really rank things a bit better. I may even keep a running ranking as I go or something like that. For now though, we have 10, so let’s rank those 10.
#10 Game Soul, XY-01, 5-Yuan
This is a set that you won’t find in many of the shops on AliExpress. I’m never sure if that is because it is old, new or possibly counterfeit. Older sets tend to go out of print and become really hard to actually find, I’ve ordered the first box of SCP cards 3 times and not actually gotten that box yet – I keep getting sent the series 2 box instead. But I don’t think this is old, just based on the markings on the back. I also don’t think it’s new, that’s because my main vendors carefully track all new releases and this is not sold at those vendors at all.
So this is probably counterfeit, or at least un-licensed outside of China. Legit vendors won’t deal in unlicensed products most of the time. The meaning of this is really different over there then it is here. Over there its more about “Will selling this anger a Chinese company?”, if so they will be cautious. This is why the recent Kayou crackdown on Naruto actually got some vendors to hide the products – Kayou is a Chinese company.
Ok so it’s a weird set, but it exists and I have it – why is it ranked last? Everything about this feels cheap, from the box to the cards, to the artwork, it all feels cheap even for this type of product. The artwork doesn’t have a cohesive feel, each card uses the art style of it’s source video game property so they all look different and the framing art doesn’t do enough to pull it back together. Sure it’s neat to even get these characters on trading cards at all, but other than that there is much value here, even at 20$.
#9 SCP Forgotten Monsters, YCSR2, 1-Yuan
I love the SCP cards, mostly just the novelty of them existing at all. I know they use stolen artwork from users and the entire concept is essentially stolen as it was all user generated. Still, these are well produced cards. The art is disjointed for sure, but the framing and theming helps pull that all back together again and make this feel like a real set.
I’m ranking this lower because it is the 1-yuan box, so all the cards in the pack were just (R)are with 1 (S)uper (R)are. With only ~18 new R cards in this set, the rest being reprints from set 1 – and 36 packs in this box, I’m going to be sitting on a lot of dupes. Won’t be surprised if I have 20+ copies of certain rares. This is also the box i keep getting sent instead of the YCSR1 1-yuan box — so I have 3 copies of this box in my collection.
So yeah, cool cards but them being stolen and this being a 1-yuan box keep me from ranking it much higher.
#8 Demon Slayer, GM-04, 1-Yuan
This was the 2nd box I opened for the site. I had purchased this before I really knew what I was doing so it was chosen at random. I didn’t understand that the sets yet, or the 1/2/5 yuan system. I also know nothing about Demon Slayer. And then further, this box taught me a lesson about pricing tricks on AliExpress – I thought I was getting it for 4$, but it was 15$ like all the others. The extra cost was hidden in shipping. That same shop sells this box for 15$ with free shipping, or 4$ with 11$ shipping. I’m not mad at all, price is still incredible for what you are getting here.
These are Kayou cards, that is one of the biggest manufacturers in China, so big that this entire sub-genre of trading cards is something referred to as “Kayou Cards”. In the same way your parents might call all video games “Nintendo”. Oh but wait, you see that red dinosaur logo in the corner? These are actually “Little Dinosaur” cards, the 2nd largest manufacturer. Little Dinosaur produces copy-cat sets of Kayou cards. It’s kind of wild-west-y in the Chinese business world, if somebody can make money doing something, they are going to try it.
These are getting ranked lower again because they are 1-Yuan so I didn’t get many really good cards in the pack I opened. Also lower ranked just because I don’t know this property, I’m sure it’s a great show/manga but I just don’t read or watch it. So the characters look cool but mean nothing to me, not even as much as like Goku from Dragon Ball Z – I don’t watch that either, but at least I know that character.
#7 Dragon Ball Z, LZ03, 1-Yuan
Ah Dragon Ball Z, easily the most popular franchise I’ve reviewed cards from so far. When I post about these I get so many more views than anything else. And yet, these aren’t really even very good Dragon Ball Z cards. This is another random 1-yuan box I picked up early on, actually in the same order I got those Demon Slayer cards with. These are also Little Dinosaur cards, so not quite as nice as the official sets.
Even with all that, the cards look great! Especially the SSR I got as a box promo, that card is gorgeous, it even has etching for the foil lightning. So why the lower rank? It’s a 1-yuan box so I’ll be getting tons of dupes – and I know for a fact there are much cooler sets out there as I have a bunch of them on order. See, these cards aren’t the best, but they were good enough they convinced me to do some research and buy a few of the really good sets. So keep any eye open more more Dragon Ball Z content in the future.
#6 SCP Failure of Reception, YCSR1, 2-Yuan
This was the first box of SCP cards I opened, it is a set 1 box but the 2-yuan version. This means there are only 30 packs but each pack contains a higher rarity distribution then the 1-yuan packs. I don’t even yet have a 1-yuan box of this set, it’s the hardest box to find. I ended up with 3 1-yuan set 2 boxes trying to order box 1. So if you want to collect these at all, pick up set 1 boxes – they are out of print and disappearing fast. I have enough to ensure I’ll get complete sets of each already.
Ranking these lower again as they are stolen art and content, even if they do look cool. The 2-yuan packs did give better cards, but still nothing amazing yet, nothing to push this box into my top 5.
#5 Transformers, TF01, 2-Yuan
This was also a really popular box, transformers is still a well loved property – especially when talking about comic/anime art vs modern movie interpretations. There are a lot of trading card sets based on the Transformers, a lot. There are a lot here in the west, and there are even more on AliExpress. I picked this box simply because I liked the artwork better and I knew enough not to pick up a 1-yuan box to test a property anymore. If you are going to pick any of these up as an actual collection, skip the 1-yuan products entirely and only consider 2-yuan and above. Generally the higher level you can buy, the happier you will be with it.
These cards look great, even with 2-yuan packs I didn’t get many rare cards mostly the equivalent of commons which are “SG” in this particular box. The art is consistent across the cards at least, and the framing does a lot to help make things pop. I suspect the higher rarity cards will have more treatments than these. If you are interested in Transformers cards, I recommend this set over the others I’ve seen – there is a second series from this same manufacturer out now that I might pick up in the future.
#4 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, JJ01, 2-Yuan
Getting into the top 4 things are getting more difficult for me. These last 4 boxes are all great, if I wasn’t trying to run this site I would have just opened all these packs already. Especially these, I love the Jojo franchise, it’s so… bizarre? These cards are then amazing to look at, the foil layering is exceptional even on the rares and then the SSR I have is like a disco ball in the light. Only reason this box isn’t higher is it’s only a 2-yuan and I have 3 pretty amazing boxes to put in front of it.
Gundam was the real inspiration for all of this. Yes, I love the SCP cards and have bought way more of those. I have ~12 boxes of SCP cards, but only 3 boxes of Gundam cards. But when I started, the idea was to replace my Gunpla hobby, which takes up way too much space, with something easier to travel with and store.
The very first box I ever ordered from AliExpress was this Duel Gundam box. The cards look great in the advertising, which is all you really had to go on before this site existed. I knew they were expensive, 35$ where all the other boxes are 20$. I also knew it had less packs, only 12 and then each pack has only 3 cards. The cards are so cool though! They are thick, way thicker than traditional cards. Covered in foil, emboss and etching treatments, even some treatments I don’t really understand that give it a kind of metal look.
Amazing cards to collect, if you enjoy Gundam I would certainly recommend grabbing a box. Just be happy with what you get and don’t try to collect this entire set. It would cost you many 100s of dollars to try that and I doubt you’d ever be successful, maybe with ~40 boxes or something. The math just isn’t in your favor with this one. That’s the primary reason this is ranked 1, there is not as much value in this box as I’d hope.
Speaking of math not being in your favor, let me introduce you to the Star Wars pre-release boxed set. You will find this everywhere on AliExpress right now, although the actual set is also out and slowly replacing this. If you are interested in these cards you should pick up pre-release boxes ASAP since they seem to be out of print in favor of the way more expensive real set. I haven’t found a way to buy the real set that I’m comfortable with yet. I’m not going to risk ~80$ to find out if I’m getting 100 cards or 2 lol.
Onto the box itself, it’s amazing, really high quality printing and manufacturing. The box is a sturdy collector’s item on it’s own, each pack feels like western quality packaging instead of the much thinner materials you get on the other packs in this list. This is a premium product and it is packaged and priced that way. You will be ~30$ for this, that will get you (maybe) 1 of the 12 possible movie-ticket cards, assuming the vendor didn’t steal that before shipping it. Then you get only 12 packs, each has only 2 cards in it.
Now the cards are exceptional, very close to those Gundam cards in thickness and feel – but with even more advanced printing treatments on them. This chibi Emperor card I received for example has true rainbow foiling – every color is represented, it shines like a rainbow. I’d never seen this type of foiling before, so you will be getting some really nice cards from this. Just understand you won’t get many, and you are paying a lot for each one. Given the rarity counts on the various levels – you are never going to get a complete set by opening packs, it just isn’t going to happen. That’s the only reason this isn’t #1
Bias is creeping into this list again, who doesn’t love the Studio Ghibli films? Still they could have produced a set closer to what Little Dinosaur prints, but they didn’t. This set is just as high quality as the Gundam and Star Wars sets, with thick cards and advanced printing techniques. The art is exceptional and beautifully framed.
The reason this makes #1 over the others is value. This set will cost you ~25$, but you get 20 packs with 5 cards each. That’s way more high quality cards then either the star wars or the Gundam box would give you. It still is unlikely you’d ever complete a set by buying boxes, but at least there is a chance, I bought 2 and am hoping to at least see a card from each rarity. If you bought 10 of these, only a bit more than 200$, you could get this entire set and tons of great dupes too. I’m not saying you should do that, but at least it’s possible.
Alright, that’s my top 10 list. I’ve ranked the 10 boxes I opened so far, not all the boxes I have. Once we’ve opened another 10 I can come back and revisit this – but for now, that’s my ranking. Who would have thought the world of AliExpress trading cards could give us so many awesome products to explore and collect.