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Enter to win a Crown Zenith ETB!

Pokemon Crown Zenith

Attention all Pokémon fans! Get ready for the highly anticipated release of the Pokémon Crown Zenith trading card set, coming in January.

Join the list for a chance to win one of 3 Pokemon Crown Zenith Elite Trainer boxes we are giving away!

We will also be giving special pricing to members who join the list. So, join the list for your chance to win and to receive Crown Zenith at a discount price. Winners will be selected at 10am PST on January 16, 2023.

As a collector, player, and seller of Pokémon cards, I am excited to see this set in hand. With 70 special artwork cards in the Galarian Gallery collection, this is going to be hits-galore and a pure joy to open packs.

The Legendary heroes Zacian and Zamazenta shine with new VSTAR Powers, and an all-star assembly of Pokémon and Trainers arrive to celebrate the era of Pokémon V! Discover dazzling special illustrations in the Galarian Gallery, and wield the strength of rare and powerful Pokémon, including Charizard as both a Pokémon VSTAR and Radiant Pokémon. Many more Pokémon have their own tales to tell in battle as the Sword & Shield Series reaches its towering peak in the Pokémon TCG: Crown Zenith expansion!

The Pokémon Company

One of the highlights of the Pokémon Crown Zenith set is the inclusion of the all-new Mythical Pokémon, Zeraora. This electric-type Pokémon is sure to be a hit with collectors, with its unique design and powerful abilities.

The Pokémon Crown Zenith set will introduce a variety of new and returning Pokémon cards, including fan favorites like Pikachu, Charmander, and Squirtle, as well as new and unique Pokémon like the dragon-type Reshiram and the psychic-type Zekrom.

The English set will include the following:

Over 160 cards
3 brand-new Radiant Pokémon
5 colossal Pokémon VMAX
8 shining Pokémon VSTAR
17 powerful Pokémon V
70 cards with special artwork in the Galarian Gallery

Are you excited for the release of the Pokémon Crown Zenith trading card set? Let us know and be sure to pre-order your set today to get in on all the action when it releases in January!

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Pokémon Charizard UPC for MSRP

We are hoping the Pokemon Company runs the printers on these boxes! Either way, we know this is going to be a much sought after product and hard to find. We want to give our customers a fair chance to buy these at the $119.99 MSRP price.

We don’t know what our allocation numbers are going to look like yet, but we are going to offer at least 25% of our total allocation to customers who join this list.

About the Charizard Ultra Premium Premium Collection

Celebrate the Sword & Shield Series and the era of Pokémon V, Pokémon VMAX, and Pokémon VSTAR with a hotshot who knows how to put all that power to good use! Charizard turns up the heat as a trio of promo cards with an etched foil treatment, and its Gigantamax form shows off blazing style on a playmat, metal coin, and set of card sleeves. Metal dice and condition markers round out this ultimate set of gameplay accessories. And as you open the huge stack of booster packs inside this box, take a journey through the Sword & Shield Series with an original booklet full of images and stats!

3 etched foil promo cards: Charizard V, Charizard VMAX, and Charizard VSTAR
1 playmat featuring Gigantamax Charizard
65 card sleeves featuring Gigantamax Charizard
1 metal coin featuring Gigantamax Charizard
6 metal damage-counter dice
2 metal condition markers
1 acrylic VSTAR marker
16 Pokémon TCG booster packs from the Sword & Shield Series
A player’s guide to the entire Sword & Shield Series
A code card for Pokémon TCG Live

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Sword & Shield—Astral Radiance

Pokemon Astral Radiance logo

The upcoming release of Pokemon Astral Radiance brings us Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR and Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. The Pokemon Company has been hitting home runs with recent releases and this looks to be a good one too!

Get ready, Astral Radiance releases on May 27th, 2022.

Here are some of the details from Pokémon…

Travel back to a primitive land dominated by myth and legend, where Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR and Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR shape the very fabric of time and space! Explore a vast wilderness unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, where you’ll encounter Decidueye, Typhlosion, and Samurott as Hisuian Pokémon VSTAR. Meet talented Trainers and other powerful Pokémon that call the ancient Hisui region home, and discover a new kind of Shiny Pokémon: Radiant Pokémon. Charge courageously into battle in a new world with the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Astral Radiance expansion!

  • Over 180 cards
  • 3 brand-new Radiant Pokémon
  • 8 awesome Pokémon VSTAR
  • 21 powerful Pokémon V and 2 enormous Pokémon VMAX
  • 30 cards with special art in the Trainer Gallery subset
  • More than 20 Trainer cards
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The glut of Pokémon

If you’re like me, you are addicted to watching Poké Tubers of all kinds. Box breakers, players, collectors, and store owners alike. If you’ve been watching recently you’ll notice a little shift in tone from the store owners. Maybe they are scowling a bit more, a touch of crankiness. You may have also noticed how much more product has hit the market all at once! Retailers have significantly more product to sell, prices have fallen to levels where the average Jane and Joe can finally get their hands on awesome sets like Evolving Skies!

So what gives? Why are retailers a bit on edge?

It seems clear to me, the Pokémon Company wanted to make sure there was plenty of product available for the holidays – Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the intense shopping that happens between now and Christmas day. The odd thing is, we’ve been scratching for more product for over a year… How did they suddenly resolve the capacity to produce more product??? My guess is, to be able to release the amount of product as quickly as they have over the past couple of weeks they must have been stockpiling cards as they were printed, readying to unleash the November torrent we are now seeing.

This might initially seem awesome for everyone. Retailers want lots of product to sell. Buyers want access to lots of product at fair prices. Sounds kind of like the old days when our distributors always had some set booster boxes in stock, ready to ship… EXCEPT, for the past year retailers have been ordering with the idea products would be received in waves. For example, if I place an order for 96 boxes of Chilling Regin with my distributor I would be told I was going to get that amount divided into 3 to 4 waves – a nice chunk at release, a bit more a few months later, and maybe the rest some time after that. Stores planned their ordering and cash flow around that concept.

A little preface and then we explore the trouble some stores now find themselves in…

We have always been huge advocates of using cash on hand, not credit, to purchase new inventory. Of course this is limiting, you don’t have the leverage advantage that using credit has, and you are literally limiting you business by the amount of cash you have available to spend. The huge advantage cash on hand has is limiting risk. You don’t have to worry about selling though inventory just in time to pay back credit cards before interest kicks in – margins on trading cards are so thin paying interest can quickly wipe out profits. Add the lack of inventory control and putting products on credit cards and you’re setting yourself up for disaster! This right here is one of the things shaking the retailer side of the business right now. So many retailers are stuck taking on product they don’t have cash on hand for, putting it on credit cards, and they still don’t know what other inventory they might have to take on come the new week.

Why don’t stores simply turn down new inventory? Because demand is so high, everybody and their mother opened a retail account – so many, that some distributors are no longer accepting new applications – distributors have so many accounts they can allocate product to, turning down product you had previously said you would buy can quickly put you on the outs with your distributor, and potentially put you out of business.

We count our lucky stars we are risk averse and don’t order beyond our ability to purchase with cash, but even we are not immune from the unexpected! When we put our orders in for a product we usually get the original invoice price when the product is ready for us to take possession of. One of our distributors thankfully holds to this and always honors the original price. One of our other distributors doesn’t.

For example, when we put in our order for Vivid Voltage many moons ago our quoted price was our standard booster box rate (DM me on Twitter if you want to want to know the numbers, etc.), we just got our final wave and were invoiced $115 per booster box. Obviously that means we can no longer sell them for the $109.99 price we were selling them for 🙁

Here’s the breakdown of selling a Vivid Voltage booster box for our current $129.99 price
+$129.99 our price to customers
-$115 current cost of product from our distributor
-$3.98 in credit card processing fees (2.9% + $0.35)
-$10 USPS priority mail shipping
-$0.98 sturdy shipping box
$0.03 Adj. NET 🙁

We obviously don’t want to see our favorite TCG shops go out of business, but the current situation could shake the market up a bit. Keep in mind, all those $95 Chilling Reign booster boxes and $85 Battle Styles booster boxes you see online are being sold at a loss by retailers. They need to get rid of them to free up capital because the next round of product might be around the corner and those credit cards are gonna come due!

Does this help or hurt the hobby in the long run?

The obvious answer is, “who knows?” The immediate reality is, there is currently an imbalance in supply and demand. In a perfect world the customer gets what they want at a great price and the retailer makes a little money so they can keep providing Pokémon to the customer. We spent the last year out of balance with severe supply shortages, mostly hurting the end consumer. Now we’ve swung the other direction. Can we find our way to the middle again?

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I really want to celebrate Celebrations with you…

Pokemon Celebrations

The trials, troubles, and tribulations of being a small seller continue to haunt us. Our allocations for Celebrations came in at 5% of what we ordered. We feel the pains of being perpetually out of stock while we watch the undulations of traffic waxing and waning, the traffic flowing through analytics and can only feel apologetic to our loyal customers. We sincerely appreciate you. We appreciate that you still check in regularly, despite our lack of inventory. We appreciate the messages you still send us asking how things are going and if we are getting anything new soon. We appreciate you.

Because our Celebrations allocations have been so limited we are going to send out emails to previous customers, giving them first dibs on the release. We are going to put together a Celebrations package which will include several Celebrations products bundled together for one price. Look out for an email on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning!

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Vivid Voltage Restocked

Vivid Voltage is one of those sets that always flies off the virtual shelves. It’s hard to keep it stocked so we’re excited when we wake up Monday mornings and see we’re getting more in!

Small restock and new addition today. Here’s what we’ve added…

The 2021 Trainer’s Toolkit might be a sleeper pick. It comes with 2 copies of the beautiful and very playable Crobat V!

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Allocations are still tough

The woes and struggles of allocations are still hitting us again.

When Battle Styles released and we got everything we asked for, it looked like we had turned a corner. Thinking we’d get a lot more product in, we were getting hopeful we’d be able to start offering pre-orders on sets like Chilling Reign and Evolving Skies. The more product we can get, the better and more competitive pricing we can offer our customers. We want to get back to selling booster boxes in the $100 to $110 range! We know that kind of pricing is what brings customers to our store and build loyalty. Unfortunately it seems allocations have recently become worse than what we were receiving at the end of 2020. Fingers crossed it turns around!

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Pokémon Milk Carton Marnie for MSRP

Pokémon TCG: Marnie Premium Tournament Collection

Word is the Pokémon Marnie Premium Tournament Collection, otherwise affectionately known as the MIlk Carton Marnie, is going to be extremely allocated. We are hearing we might only get a small handful of these from our distributor. The heavy allocations will likely mean these will be selling for well over the $39.99 MSRP.

UPDATE: We got our allocation numbers and they are tough! The good news is, after talking with both of our distributors it sounds like more Marnies will become available in the next few weeks. If that happens, we will select more people from the list. We still don’t know our exact allocation numbers but we want to be sure at least one lucky customer can purchase this awesome Marnie box for the MSRP price. We will offer at least 10% of our allocation to randomly selected list members.

About the Marnie Premium Tournament Collection

In the Galar region, every Pokémon fan knows Marnie, the hometown girl from Spikemuth who really wants to win the Champion Cup! Gear up for your next big tournament and expand your options with the Pokémon TCG: Marnie Premium Tournament Collection. This premium collection contains everything you need to protect your cards and keep them organized before any Pokémon TCG tournament, plus all the dice, coins, and extras you need when you’re ready to play. Rev it up and get your Pokémon prepared for that moment they go into battle—Marnie keeps your team looking sharp!

1 full-art foil Supporter card featuring Marnie
3 additional foil Supporter cards featuring Marnie
65 card sleeves featuring Marnie
A sturdy deck box featuring Marnie
A large metallic coin featuring Marnie
2 coin condition markers
6 tournament-ready damage dice
7 Pokémon TCG booster packs
A code card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online

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Is the sky falling?

I am seeing way too many “the sky is falling” type videos and social media posts about Pokemon TCG prices tanking lately. There is panic in the market right now, but should you be panicking too? That’s a good question and the answer depends on why you’re buying Pokemon TCG in the first place.

A seller’s perspective

Since we transitioned to being an online shop only a few years back, we know first hand the different dynamics between pricing for a physical store and a virtual one. The biggest being the cost of overhead! When we had the physical store we had monthly rent, water & power bills, employees…all of those things eat into margins. It is incredibly difficult to make money running an LGS — the margins on selling TCGs are so extremely thing. A physical store NEEDS to clear at minimum 30% margin, whereas an online only shop can get away with 20% margins or even less. Sure, you’re not going to be making much at 20% but you can still cover any overhead you might have…hosting costs, seller fees if you’re selling on eBay, Amazon, etc.

We are seeing a lot sellers who are over leveraged, getting squeezed and needing to dump their inventory to free up capital. Generalizing, I see two types of sellers in the market that drive prices in the short term and in the long term. 1) Sellers who put all their capital and credit into each release and require selling their entire inventory in order keep buying new products 2) Sellers who have access to larger pools of cash/capital and can keep buying new product regardless of sales.

If you look at the prices of Battle Styles you can see the squeeze happening on the first type of sellers. For the first time in a long time sellers had access to larger amounts of product. Heck, we easily got our full allocations on Battle Styles; it’s been a really long time since we’ve seen that happen! We still see an abundance of Battle Styles product available in the marketplace. Imagine if we had put all our cash into buying Battle Styles AND we got full allocations? We would still be sitting on so much inventory we wouldn’t be able to purchase our allocation of Chilling Reign, put in pre-orders for Evolving Skies, etc. It can snowball out of control very quickly for sellers who do that, resulting in illiquidity, possibly losing their relationships with their distributors, and closing up shop.

Even for most online sellers, selling a booster box at or below $100, including shipping, equals breakeven or a loss. We are seeing tons of products being unloaded at below this price right now which a strong clue as to how their business is managed.

If you are thinking of becoming a seller, I highly recommend taking a slow approach and having a enough capital to buy through all releases for at least one year. Assuming 5 to 6 releases per year you can easily do the math. Ebing a smart seller means you are buying time to make more rational business decision rather than getting backed into a corner and having to sell at a loss. Set yourself up to be able to be patient. Heck, in person play hasn’t even started up again, that could be a game changer and energize the market…who knows.

A collector/player’s perspective

I hope you’re buying Pokemon because you love playing the game or collecting it, but there are also soooooo many people who jumped in this past year who only see it as a commodity. Look how many YouTube channels there are dedicated to Pokemon TCG prices! Some are great and informative — others just jumped on the bandwagon — no doubt the market downturn will shake out the bandwagon peeps.

It’s a good lesson to collect what you love because there is a fair chance you will lose money. Being stuck with something you come to loathe is no fun at all. I have a large, vintage PEZ collection that I have amassed over 20 years of collecting. The 2000s saw a huge boom in PEZ prices and then the 2008 financial crash that brought everything down decimated PEZ collectible prices, and they’ve never really recovered. I bought all the way through the rise and fall in prices, but I love my collection. I have so many specific memories tied to even ones that are probably forever worth 50% less than I paid. If I had collected with the notion my collection would make me right, I would be devastated today.

I won’t disparage people who buy Pokemon TCG as only an investment, but smart investors are diversified into a wide range of investments — they’re not putting all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. Similar to sellers who are over leveraged, you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you HAVE to sell you collection because prices are falling.

Only time will tell if the current downturn in prices gets deeper, but one thing is for sure, if you’re a player or collector this is a great time to be a buyer! The Pokemon Company has really been putting out fantastic products lately — the new card artwork has been ridiculously good! This gives me very strong faith in the longterm viability of the game, the collectibility, the playability, and Pokemon as an investment.

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Eevee Evolutions Tins coming September 3, 2021

Eevee Evolutions Tins 2021

No doubt The Pokemon Company has the pulse of the collector and player community in mind when they map out their product releases. How could it be more evident than the three most popular Eevelutions being released as tin on September 3rd 2021?! The Eevee Evolutions Tins will feature Vaporeon V, Jolteon V, and Flareon V — including a respective foil card in each.

Depending on our allocations, we aim to sell these for the $19.99 MSRP price per tin as sets of three so you’ll be sure to get one of each artwork!

Here is the full 411…

Take the next step up in your game with Eevee’s original Evolutions! Pick the rapid draw power of the Water-type Vaporeon V, the electrifying energy of the Lightning-type Jolteon V, or the focused flames of the Fire-type Flareon V in the Pokémon TCG: Eevee Evolutions Tin! Each of these colorful tins includes a handful of Pokémon TCG treasures, along with a Pokémon who’s ready to prove itself in battle!

1 of 3 foil crds featuring Vaporeon V, Jolteon V, or Flareon V!
4 Pokémon TCG booster packs
A code card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online

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New Release Day!

Pokemon release day packages

We’ve been selling Pokemon seriously for more than 5 years and I still get giddy every new release day. While we no longer have our physical storefront my heart starts racing when I hear the UPS truck pull up and the distinctive beep beep beep start playing as the driver prepares to unload and deliver the goods.

We’ve been anticipating the Chilling Reign release for quite a while. It’s almost torture seeing the all the art on the Japanese releases and having to wait for the English releases! of course we couldn’t wait to crack our own booster box open and see the cards in person. We’ve heard a lot of stories of production and card quality being pretty poor so we were a little nervous. We must have lucked out because the boxes we opened actually had exceptionally good card cut quality and centering!!

Here’s a pic of the pulls from our first box…

Klara (Secret Rare), Metagross VMAX, Metagross V, Brawly (Full Art), Liepard V, Zeraora V, Moltres V, Tornadus V
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About Us

Spicy Bears logo header

It’s about time we write up an article about who we are and why we have this shop called Spicy Bears! We’ll also try to start posting short articles in the future to keep people updated and informed on product releases, stock notices, and generally our thoughts on trading card games and games in general.

To organize my memories of how this all came to be, a timeline is probably the best format. Maybe this exercise is just for us, maybe some of you will find it mildly interesting…


What the heck?! Nineteen ninety two? Wasn’t that 1,000 years ago? Well, yeah, definitely feels that way. My now brother-in-law and I were super into comic book art, him a great penciller and me a very mediocre inker. We’d spend many weekends hitting up Golden Apple Comics, buying just about anything McFarlane was drawing. Always talking about ways we could make a little extra money we found out we could get a reseller permit and an account with Diamond Comic Distributors. Easy enough, we can sell preorders to all our friends and they’d tell their friends and we be rolling in extra bucks…or so we thought. That lasted all of about two years and we still have some inventory today!

We’d bought a few packs of Pokémon over the years before, lot’s of EX era packs, but this was the year my first son, then a 7-year old, got into the game. We were buying Diamond and Pearl checklane packs every time we went to Target, breaking them open and building decks. I don’t think we really knew the rules very well, but we had tons of fun playing each other and his friends every weekend.

After I left Yahoo! I teamed up with my buddy Ben and became serial entrepreneurs. Both of us web veterans at this point we tested a million different internet start ups ideas. We bought overstock and sold on eBay, we helped a friend start a really early version of splitting the cost of something with friends (eDivvy), we launched a custom wheel business…ok, we were unfocused and eclectic! Now both my kids and I were super into playing Pokemon. We’d go to Frank & Son just about every weekend buying singles to add to our decks and battling it out when we got home. This inspired me to test selling Pokémon for the first time. Ben hooked me up with a local distributor buddy of his—I remember buying a few boxes of HeartGold & SoulSilver for like $50 each. I sold single packs on Amazon, after burning through the boxes I realized I was breaking even. Damn, how do people make money selling this?! Lesson learned, margins are so extremely thin unless you’re selling 1,000s of boxes at a time you have to just enjoy the experience because you’re not going to be making much.

My kids and I were still hitting up Frank and Son on the weekends, buying singles, and now booster boxes too! My youngest was doing online school during this time, so was home most days; he started showing interest in business and selling online. Inspired by our love of Pokémon, we connected and built a relationship with one of the vendors at Frank and Son who would give us great cash prices on cases or booster boxes—I think we were paying $80 cash a box then. We’d have little box break parties opening the booster boxes and my son built a little business selling singles on eBay and in online Pokémon communities. When all was said and done, we were probably making in the range of $10 to $20 a booster box, not terrible but not a great return on the time investment selling single cards.

Twee’s Candy, our parent business, had a physical store these years. Yep we briefly had a physical store selling candy, toys and TCG! The name Spicy Bears was derived from the addictive chilli lime gummy bears my wife made and sold. Unfortunately my wife got sick so we had to close the store, but it was a wonderful experience for our entire family. I have great memories of my boys stock items and work the cash register.

This was the year we transitioned to buying from a distributor and selling primarily sealed product. Our box pricing from the distributor was only a couple dollars less but we had the advantage of guaranteed product (this was pre-allocations), buying on credit, and the items shipped to our door. We were mostly selling on eBay and Amazon, but also tried a short-lived monthly subscription mystery box model on

We are still a small operation, a father and a couple sons, doing this because we love Pokémon and trading card games. We love engaging and building relationships with our customers here on and the other places we sell. We hope you keep coming back to us and we’d love to her from you too!


Josh, Wes, and Ry