You might have a few weird-looking e-Reader Pokemon cards in your collection. The e-Reader was a short-lived Game Boy Advance peripheral that came to North America in 2002 only to be discontinued in 2004 before the release of Pokemon Emerald.
The e-Reader scanned cards in order to unlock features on your GBA, such as minigames, short animations, and most commonly, Pokedex entries.
The e-Reader’s North American version was released at an awkward time — Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire was released a few months later, but the Pokemon Trading Card Game was still releasing cards for the Generation 2 era.
This list is going to focus on that awkward era — the Expedition, Aquapolis, and Skyridge Pokemon TCG sets. There are Ruby and Sapphire sets that feature e-Reader cards, but we’ll focus on the first three sets for now.
And obviously, there are a lot of cards in these sets. I didn’t necessarily single out the most expensive cards — I picked out the ones that I think look the coolest.
Anyway, here are 25 e-Reader Pokemon cards that you should absolutely have in your collection (in no particular order).
25. Weezing (Expedition 32)
It’s hard not to love this Weezing card. The illustration of Weezing as a cloud of gas rather than the typical solid ball is the type of bold and refreshing take on a classic Pokemon that you just don’t see in the TCG anymore.
24. Zapdos (Aquapolis H32)
Zapdos is the quintessential electric Pokemon with its pointy edges and yellow color scheme — this illustration captures that perfectly.
23. Mew (Expedition 19)
This isn’t the strongest card, but it’s one of the cutest. Over the years, it seems like Mew’s design has slightly changed, with its head growing larger over time. This “version” of Mew seems more feline-like than recent illustrations.
22. Golem (Skyridge 148)
You might have noticed that this card is Colorless… but Golem is usually a Fighting type in the Pokemon TCG! This is one of the Pokemon TCG’s early experiments with multiple typing. Golem’s Poke-Body allows this card to be a Grass, Fire or Fighting type whenever you attach that type’s respective Energy card.
21. Rapidash (Expedition 26)
This Rapidash manages to look majestic and intimidating at the same time. I definitely prefer this illustration of Rapidash over its official artwork.
20. Beedrill (Skyridge H4)
I love Beedrill cards because they often utilize status conditions or coin flips — this particular Beedrill card utilizes both! Also, this card’s art features multiple Beedrill, which is refreshing and unusual — most cards feature just one solitary Pokemon.
19. Feraligatr (Expedition 12)
Feraligatr is one of Gen 2’s beloved starters, and this card definitely does the Pokemon justice. I owned this card as a child and loved how Feraligatr was pictured swimming in water like a real alligator would.
18. Crobat (Skyridge 147)
Crobat is another one of those Skyridge cards with a weird type-switching Poke-Body. There was also another Crobat card in Skyridge, but this is definitely the cooler card of the two.
17. Hypno (Aquapolis H12)
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in this illustration, but it’s still pretty cool. Unlike a lot of cards, this illustration isn’t just a Pokemon with a solid color background.
16. Forretress (Skyridge H8)
It’s hard to make a Forretress card look pretty because the Pokemon is inherently dull, but this card’s dull colors makes the holographic effects pop out even more. This card doesn’t have a weird art style like some of my favorite cards, but it’s still nice to look at.
15. Dragonite (Expedition 9)
Dragonite is one of the world’s most beloved Pokemon, so it had to be included in this list. The flat, paper-like art style on this card might be appealing for those who like collecting weird cards.
14. Octillery (Aquapolis H20)
If you’re a fan of water-type Pokemon, then you’ll definitely want to pick up this Octillery card. This card gets bonus points for having an annoying Poke-Body and attack.
13. Magneton (Aquapolis H16)
The illustration on this Magneton card is absolutely stunning. Electricity is surging around the Pokemon in an environment reminiscent of a power plant.
12. Kabutops (Skyridge 150)
Kabutops is a cool-looking Pokemon in general, but this card managed to make Kabutops even cooler with a special Poke-Body. The illustration also has a nice “edgy” touch to it.
11. Magby (Expedition 17)
“Baby” Pokemon were introduced in Generation 2, and they’ve always been in a weird place in the Pokemon TCG. Magby is a baby but counts as a Basic Pokemon, but Magmar is also a Basic Pokemon. You typically can’t evolve a Basic into another Basic Pokemon unless one of the cards has an ability that explicitly allows it.
The earlier “baby” cards had a special mechanic for evolving baby Pokemon as seen in this card.
10. Steelix (Aquapolis H23)
If you were a fan of steel Pokemon in Generation 2, you only had a few options, and Steelix was one of them. But the beautiful art on this Steelix card makes up for the lack of Gen 2’s “metal” Pokemon cards.
9. Celebi (Skyridge 145)
Celebi is another fan favorite from Generation 2 — it had an entire movie dedicated to it, after all. And before the proliferation of internet access, there were numerous rumors and myths about how to obtain Celebi in Pokemon Gold & Silver.
The beautiful illustration on this card shows Celebi in his native Ilex Forest.
8. Alakazam (Expedition 1)
This card is very memorable because of its bold approach to Alakazam’s look. The illustration on this card features an Alakazam that doesn’t quite look right — its ears and “mustache” look smaller than usual and its body seems more short and stocky. But the quirky look on this Alakazam makes it even more appealing.
7. Electrode (Aquapolis H7)
In retrospect, Electrode is kind of a lazy design — it’s just an upside down Pokeball with a face on it. This Electrode looks particularly smug compared to the average Electrode illustration.
6. Kingdra (Aquapolis 148)
Kingdra isn’t merely a seahorse — it’s a sea-dragon. But the Dragon card type wouldn’t be released until years later.
This another one of those secret rare cards with a neat type-changing Poke-Body.
5. Blastoise (Expedition 4)
Blastoise is a great starter Pokemon, but its often overshadowed by Charizard. But even collectors who aren’t fans of Blastoise have to admit this card is pretty cool. The art on this card is similar to the Feraligatr card on this list.
4. Venusaur (Expedition 30)
Venusaur is the other starter that’s commonly overshadowed by Charizard. This particular Venusaur has a nifty Poke-Power that allows you to attach two energies in one turn.
3. Arcanine (Skyridge H2)
How can you not love Arcanine? This card shows Arcanine’s fur (mane?) flowing in the wind, which is pretty cool.
2. Ariados (Aquapolis H3)
Ariados is one of the coolest Pokemon design-wise, but it’s laughably weak for a fully-evolved Pokemon, and this card definitely reflects that. Regardless, this is a cool-looking card that I’d definitely want in my collection.
1. Tyranitar (Aquapolis H28)
If you had this Tyranitar card growing up, you were the neighborhood bad-ass.
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