Collectible Chaos: A Look at the Genshin Impact Trading Cards

Genshin impact is already mostly a gambling game – why not add trading cards into that mix too? Genshin Impact trading cards

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Genshin Impact, it’s only one of the most popular Gacha games ever made. I played that game a bit on release, it wasn’t much of game back then – mostly walking around with some light combat. The graphics are great though, with very well designed character art. That character art is a primary reason the game is so popular, so it only makes sense that somebody would produce a set of Genshin Impact trading cards.

I’m also producing unboxing and pack break videos, they are silent videos because I hate my voice, maybe I’ll get over that soon – but worth a skim. The video shows the various treatments on the cards much better than a scanner can.

The Game / The Box

Before we jump into the box review, let’s talk a bit about what this game is. It sits in the genre commonly referred to as “Gacha” games. This word sounds like “Gotch-ya”, as in they hooked you and you are addicted now. The word is Japanese and written in Katakana characters which helps us understand that it is meant to be a play on the English “Gotch-ya”, ガチャ.

To be a gacha game the game needs to revolve around some kind of loot box mechanic, where playing the game is really only in service of earning more chances at the loot boxes. The mechanics of all this are closely modeled off what you would see on a slot machine in a Casino. A slow drip of wins, just enough to keep you buying more but never enough that you win big enough to leave or stop playing.

Sound like trading cards? The difference is in an economic concept called “intrinsic worth“, the cards you receive in a pack are a physical good that was improved by the manufacturer who then sold it to you. You didn’t know exactly what you were buying, but you knew the floor value of this product – as in given the odds published by the manufacturer you can determine the average value of pack. There is no way to open a pack and get nothing – so from a legal standpoint this is not gambling. That doesn’t mean there isn’t addiction risk, just look at me.

Ok back to the cards. This box is kind of plain looking, in the same way the One-Piece and Naruto boxes were. It is just color printing with a gloss coat over it, no foil or anything fancy on this. That big explosion in the middle of the box is telling us that this is the 2nd set produced, and the other explosion is telling this is the 2-yuan box, and contains 30 packs.

This was manufactured by a company named Kaer, which I had not encountered before. As usually I can’t find anything about them on the English internet, and I’m still not skilled enough to use Baidu well. I purchased this from Anime Card Store on Ali Express, you can read the mail call where I unboxed it here. I paid 17.66$ for it, which is already a great deal, I see that now it costs a bit less at 16.99$ – an even better deal for a 2-yuan box.

The sides of the box mainly feature the various prizes available through the typical redemption scheme you find in these types of products. That means every pack is going to have a dead card in it, that redemption card. The artwork is good, again the character art is the primary draw to this game so great that is looking ok here.

The Set

As usual the advertising is what convinced me to buy this specific box over the other Genshin Impact offerings – and there are a number of them out there. This marketting shares the slick artwork on the box, and I happen to really like the color green.

The fliers show that the big chase cards are those CHR level “thick bronze card”, which likely is not actually made out of bronze, but rather just metallic card stock. The SP level has some great yellow line artwork, CP are foil stamped posters, then the QR level are cute chibi characters. I’ve always wondered if the acronym QR somehow stands for chibi – but it’s impossible to search due to QR codes existing.

The PR level is another mini set of hot stamped character cards. You see this term “Hot Stamping” all over the place, what’s it mean? It’s a printing technique where instead of covering a plate with ink -> you cover it with foil. It’s still a plate though, so it has grooves and notches to the make up the image. This is then heated and stamped onto the already color printed card. If a card ever looks like the foil was hand laid on it – it was this technique that did it.

Rounding out the set we’ve 9 UR, 14 SLR – another new rarity level for me. 25 SSR cards followed by 30 SR and 40 R. So this is another smaller set compared to the 500+ cards in that Warhammer 40k set. You’d think that means you have a shot at completing it from a few boxes, and that is mostly true, you will almost certainly complete the R and SR from maybe even 1 box. But above that it’s too rare. In the 2-yuan box you’ll be lucky to get even one card above UR in the entire box.

The Cards

Let’s start with the redemption card, since we’ll be getting 30 copies of that. It looks like a very typical scheme here where you need to collect certain cards to get a prize. This one I have could be exchanged for special die cut card – if you have 3 of them – and you are in China. Weird how the top prize for this one is an Iron Man mask? That’s not even Genshin related, and it requires you to turn in a full set of GR rarity cards – personally, I’d rather keep the cards.

As for the actual cards, they are kind of meh so far. Nothing I pulled had any foil on it, just flat color printing. The art is great – but doesn’t match anything I saw in the fliers, that makes me think these are the real base cards, and they don’t show those in the ads. The border art is really nice, but shared on all cards of the same type – so these two red “fire” cards share frame art. The card back is also common for all these R cards, I only pulled R so I don’t know if higher rarity gets a different back.

That card back is quite nice, with gold stamped foil and a nice purple gradient. This yellow card has an entirely different frame design – but again I bet all the light cards have this one at the R level. I apologize that I can’t identify these characters, maybe a reader will help me out. They use the pinyin names in the english translation of the game so I suspect if I could identify the kanji here I could know the name.

These last two cards are also marked as R and also don’t match anything in the flier. They look much nicer with full color printing right up to the card edge. Still no foil, so I don’t think these are any higher rarity than the others, maybe just a different subset? Or maybe I have the wrong flier?

Conclusions

I’ll be honest, these cards don’t seem to exciting yet. At least the 5 rares I pulled didn’t wow me compared to like the 2-yuan Dragon Ball set where everything single card was amazing to look at. Still, we will archive this just like all the others. To the database they go, and I’ll see you next time.

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