Updated: Top 10 Astonishing AliExpress Trading Card Sets

There is a new king in town. I’ve re-thought the top 10 AliExpress trading card sets opened so far. Find out what made the list… and what didn’t.

Back when I hit 10 box reviews I stopped and ranked what I had opened so far, that was the first top 10 post. Now I’ve opened 16, which happens to be what 1 of my database pages can hold, so I decided to update that list. This means that not all boxes are going to make it, 6 won’t be on the list at all. Will I mostly keep the original ranking, has my thinking changed much since then? Read on as I rank my top 10 AliExpress trading card sets opened so far.

Retiring sets

These sets are leaving the top 10 list for now to make room for boxes I’m currently thinking are better. That might change in the future and these sets could make it back onto the list as I open more of their packs – but for now, they aren’t making the cut:

  • Game Soul, XY-01, 5-Yuan. Was 10th place, these cards just aren’t exciting enough to compete with what I’ve been opening lately.
  • SCP Forgotten Monsters, YCSR2, 1-Yuan. Was 9th place. I still have 2 SCP sets on the top 10 list, but as 1-yuan packs these just can’t compete anymore.
  • Demon Slayer, GM-04, 1-Yuan. Was 8th place. Again as just 1-yuan packs, and Little Dinosaur cards at that, these just can’t compete. I have a 5-yuan box I’ll open that might redeem this franchise.
  • Dragon Ball Z, LZ03, 1-Yuan. Was 7th place. Can’t be too sad about this one as this box inspired me to buy 3 more Dragon Ball boxes and one of those is on the list now.

It might look like I just bumped my bottom 4 – but you’ll see the changes are deeper than that. Brand recognition wasn’t enough to keep Star Wars in the top ranks – and value stops mattering once you see these incredible Duel Gundam set 2 cards. Here is the updated list:

#10 (was 5th) 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.

#9 (was 6th) 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 like the 5-yuan packs you see higher up on the list.

#8 (was 2nd) Star Wars Pre-Release Boxed Set

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.

#7 (was 4th) JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, JJ01, 2-Yuan

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 box. The cards I’ve pulled so far have all been of exceptional quality and the artwork is just perfect for this franchise.

#6 (was 3) Gundam, Duel Gundam

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.

#5 Dragon Ball, LZ02, 10-yuan

Finally a new addition to the list. This is the first expensive box of Dragon Ball cards I ordered after the first box turned out to have some really great cards in it. While that was just a 1-yuan box – this is a 10-yuan box. These packs have less cards, and the cards seem completely different in both card stock and shape. It’s hard to understand how they are part of the same set, but maybe I just don’t know enough yet.

As you can see, the 10-yuan cards look incredible. This Mr. Satan UR card has diamond foil layered onto all of those impact stripes. That isn’t a single piece cut that way, it’s separate pieces rotated and layered onto the card. This kind of advanced printing process is what makes these cards so fun to collect.

#4 My Little Pony, CH005: 5-Yuan

I know this entry is always a bit controversial, but trust me – this are high quality trading cards with enough innovating ideas to be worth collecting even if you don’t like the media franchise. My Little Pony is of course a well loved and long running animated franchise featuring ponies that talk. I don’t know much else beyond the various internet memes that keep popping up.

I do know that these are Kayou produced cards, and their stock and printing techniques are just better than anything Little Dinosaur is doing. If you can stomach the artwork, pick up a box of these cards – any of the Kayou sets will be a lot of fun to open. I promise you will see trading card ideas you have never seen before.

#3 (was 1) Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki Hayao Box

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 was #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.

While I still love this set and can’t wait to open more packs, I have to admit that the two sets coming up are just more exciting. Even if they don’t have the quality in one case, or value in the other, the packs are just more fun to open up.

#2 SCP: Failure Of Reception: 5-Yuan Box

Yes, I do love these SCP cards. I’ve been fighting the feeling that these are all using stolen art by tracking down the original artists and restoring attribution to the sets. While that won’t get these artist paid for their work, it does make me feel a bit better about spending money on these. This box is the 5-yuan glitter cube. It’s a cube shaped box with 20 packs in it. Each pack then has 8 cards.

And it’s the layout of these packs that makes them especially fun to open and pushed this up to number 2 on my list. I even bought a second cube just because of how fun these are. of the 8 cards, at least 3 slots are able to upgrade past their default rarity from what I’ve seen so far. This means you get 3 higher rarity cards in each pack. In my first pack I got the amazing looking CR you see above.

If you only ever buy one box of SCP cards, but this 5-yuan cube – really seems like the best money/fun ratio of the ones I’ve opened so far.

#1 Duel Gundam Set 2 Box

Another Duel Gundam box?!? Yes, these cards are that good. Maybe I am biased, being a huge fan of this franchise generally – I also own 1000s of dollars worth of assembled kits. This site is largely funded by the proceeds of me selling the unassembled backlog I had in a closet. Even with that bias you have to trust me – this cards are off the charts good. So much better then every single other set I’ve opened and that is 15 other sets at this point.

Just look at the artistic design of the F90 UR card? Or that crazy counter-foiled green line background on the AGE-3 card that makes the whole thing pop-out like it’s 3d. I have to warn you that this set is also the most predatory I’ve seen from a gambling perspective. This is the first one where they are limiting certain cards to the entire print run. So for example the top chase cards, which are solid metal trading cards btw, are limited to 10 copies. In the entire run. It’s like Willy Wonka’s golden tickets. Even with all that I’d still recommend grabbing a box or two – they are that good.

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.

Conclusions

Alright, that’s my updated list. This Gundam and SCP heavy that isn’t likely to change anytime soon, but we also see some surprises like those My Little Pony cards. I’m not joking, those are seriously good trading cards. Ok, back to opening more boxes. We’ll update this list again at 20 boxes.

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2 thoughts on “Updated: Top 10 Astonishing AliExpress Trading Card Sets

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