If you’ve been buying loose boosters recently on forums, Facebook groups or Ebay then you’ll have probably noticed a number of them saying that a pack is Unweighed or makes some reference to the weight of the pack. No, we’re not fat-shaming, in fact it’s quite the opposite!

Before I get into what pack weighing is and how it can be done, there is an important point to make first: the ethics. I am not recommending that you weigh packs, especially with malicious intent. Instead I want this article to educate new buyers to help understand and stay vigilant to the issue. Ludkins Collectibles wrote a great piece on the Ethics, Morals and Normalization of Pack Weighing that I suggest you give a read.

Packs that are weighed give an indication to the cards that may be hiding inside. We can’t narrow it down to the exact card, however, but what we can garner is a hint to the texture of the rare card. As you probably know, each booster pack usually contains a bunch of commons and uncommon cards, maybe the odd energy card thrown in for good luck, but the card everyone chases is the rare at the end.

This rare card has evolved (tee-hee) over the years. From the early WOTC sets, these rare cards would just be either a holographic rare or a non-holographic rare. This kept things nice and simple, and as kids we would tear through packets without a second thought. But what our young minds didn’t think is that the holographic aspect of the card had a weight. A weight greater than that of a non-holographic variant.

Now, with a 0.01g accurate set of scales (available from plenty of places, just have a Google) you can pop a pack on top of the scales and by comparing this to various cheat sheets around the internet you can estimate the probability of a holographic card being present. Magic! Kind of.

Image credit: Ludkin Collectibles

Reddit user u/GiftedViets gave an extremely insightful post of a thread back in 2020 that I wanted to include in this post. It’s quite long, but it gives a good idea of pack weights and could be useful.

Packs from Expedition to Skyridge will range from 17.2g – 18.2g and Everything from Base to Legendary collection will range from 20.0g – 21.8g.

The range of heavy pack really depends as there can be a lot of variance. A heavy pack from Expedition to Skyridge is about 17.6g – 18.2g though packs weighing at 17.6g may not contain a holo even though it’s around the weight of a heavy pack; the same goes for Base to Legendary Collection but the variance is even better. The heavy packs weigh around 20.8g – 21.8g and you can bet that most people will assume a pack weighing 20.8g is a light pack.

Anything above 21.4g is a safe bet while 21.3g has great odds, 21.2g good odds, once you get below 21.1g than the odds start getting mixed.

When it comes to the more modern sets, the Pokémon Company had an ingenious idea. The code card that you get in every booster pack to redeem the pack in the online TCG actually counters weighing attempts. These cards have subtly different weights that throw off scales and weighing attempts to keep the mystery alive.

In my opinion, this is a very well received fix to the issue and a welcome one in my book. Preventing boosters from being weighed prevents people from buying booster boxes, getting the best cards and reselling boosters at face value. They would know that buyers wouldn’t be able to obtain the better cards of the set, but aim to profit from that.

So all this means that when it comes to buying packs online you need to be diligent. Old packs are commanding high amounts currently and the weight of the pack can greatly vary the price. Even if the card is listed without a weight mentioned, or even listed as unweighed, there is no guarantee that the seller hasn’t just weighed it, realised it was light, and avoided mentioning that fact. So here are some things you can do if you’re buying a sealed booster pack to open:

  • Message the seller, asking them to weigh the pack before purchasing.
  • Request proof of weight along with a referenced timestamp
  • Only purchase from reputable sellers in groups or Ebay sellers with high ratings
  • Only purchase high value items when you’re 100% confident in the product
  • Buy boosters from Box Breaks, as you’ll see the booster pulled straight from a sealed booster box

With the above steps you should be able to save some heartache!

Bear in mind that Japanese booster packs still fall prey to this. In a recent article I evaluated the recent Eevee Heroes set and was able to get a 100% hit-rate on rare cards.