If you ask anyone on the street to name one Pokémon, odds are good they could utter the word “Pikachu.” But not far down on that list is another well-known and beloved Pokémon that’s also been with us from the beginning—Charizard.
So what would happen if Pokémon created a special trading card that featured both Pikachu and Charizard? It would be one of the most popular cards in recent years! Everyone would want to get one and add it to their collection. Except nobody could get their hands on it. Not because it was rare. Not because inventory was low. But because Pokémon never released the card to the public.
If you knew about the card ahead of time, you are probably in the minority. I first heard about it in passing from a YouTube video but didn’t hear or see anything for months. I was curious to learn more about this card, but to my knowledge, no one has compiled all of what we now about this elusive card—until now.
Bottom Line-Up Front
A few copies of the card were sent out in error, packaged in orders placed with the U.S. Pokémon Center online store in 2021. However, The Pokémon Company International never announced any official information on the card and it has never been released to the public.
The Lizard, the Myth, the Legend
Charizard is one of the most iconic Pokémon in existence. Though not one of my favorites, Charizard is likely one of the top 5 all-time popular Pokémon. The fire lizard got off to a strong start by being the poster child for one of the original Game Boy games: Pokémon Red. In the TCG space, Charizard enjoys arguably more popularity.
Any Charizard card in any set is a hot commodity. In most cases, Charizard cards soar to the top of the list in terms of the priciest cards in a specific set. I appreciate the interest and enthusiasm Charizard can bring to the TCG space and Pokémon in general. But it is fair to say that Charizard is sometimes used to add interest where it might be lacking.
Take for example the special TCG set Champion’s Path, which was released in September 2020. By all accounts, the set was lackluster both collectability in terms of and usability in the Pokémon TCG. But once the news hit that a shiny Charizard V card could be pulled from packs, the hype exploded.
Champion’s Path became one of the first sets in the pandemic era that sold out instantly whenever it landed on shelves. Charizard generates interest and sales, and The Pokémon Company International is aware of that.
A Special Delivery Headed Our Way?
Not long after the release of Charizard V in Champion’s Path, another Charizard card was discovered in the hopper. Though not announced directly in any press, an image of the card’s official artwork could be seen in the Player’s Guide for the Zacian and Zamazenta Ultra-Premium Collection.
I typically don’t buy these collections because of their high cost, as I try to find better deals on single packs or individual cards. Since this speciality product is expensive and somewhat rare, it took some time before news spread about Special Delivery Charizard.
Though nothing else was known at the time, the card was given the black star promo designation SWSH075. Based on this numbering system, it was possible to estimate the cards release timeline based on other Sword & Shield promo cards.
On November 9, 2020, Pokémon announced the availability of black star promo SWSH074, which happened to be Special Delivery Pikachu. This card was released to celebrate the opening of Pokémon Center Canada. It was available as a free gift to both customers in the U.S.
and Canada with a $20 purchase from the online store. I missed out on this release because I didn’t know the dates of the promotional window. Eventually, the card was either sold out or the promotional was discontinued—Pokémon never clarified which occurred.
Like many others, I assumed that Special Delivery Charizard (the next promo card in numerical order) would be released in time for the holiday season. Promo cards SWSH076 and SWSH077 were included in the Zacian & Zamazenta Ultra-Premium Collection, released in November 2020.
Promo card SWSH078 was an Orbeetle V found in a standard four-pack collection box, also released in November 2020. But after these releases, there was no news. No updates from Pokémon Center. No announcement on the Pokémon website. The dream of a 2020 release was over.
In February 2021, Pokémon released a series of pin collection boxes with promos for the new special TCG set Shining Fates. Black star promos SWSH079–SWSH082 were included in these boxes.
Special Delivery Charizard had officially been passed over. But after a few months of nothing, a bombshell announcement reignited the hype surrounding the card in June 2021. Early that month, PokéBeach, one of the leading Pokémon news outlets in the world, confirmed that two legitimate copies of the card were posted to the online reseller marketplace Mercari.
Additionally, PokéBeach confirmed that even more copies of the card had been released via accidental inclusion in Pokémon Center orders in the previous month. This announcement generated a wave of new interest in the card and wild speculation about the card’s perceived impending release.
YouTube videos hyped up the card and encouraged people to be ready to place orders. Sellers on sites such as eBay began listing the card for preorder at hundreds of dollars each. Many people rolled the dice and placed multiple orders on Pokémon Center in June for the Pokémon Center-exclusive Chilling Reign Elite Trainer Box.
There was a belief that the card would be sent free with orders of these boxes, even though no such announcement was ever made. But the new wave of hype came crashing down when the Elite Trainer Boxes and other June orders from Pokémon Center started to be delivered.
Special Delivery Charizard was nowhere in sight. The card had definitely been printed and was on hand in warehouses, but still Pokémon Center would not release it.
Scheduling a Future Delivery
Though we still don’t know why the Special Delivery Charizard card was not released (and we may never know), there are some valid reasons why Pokémon would keep these promo cards locked away. The most likely reason is the overwhelming demand and the resulting market for the card itself.
During the height of the global pandemic, Pokémon Center was one of the few places to order new releases of TCG products at MSRP. Big-box stores were constantly emptied by scalpers and resellers looking to make a profit, and many local card stores raised prices in response to market demand.
The official online store was one of a few places to score new releases at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, whenever Pokémon Center posted a new TCG product, the site would inevitably crash. Sometimes you got lucky and placed your order before that happened, and other times you’d be stuck on a buggy confirm order screen with no way out.
My favorite was the website banning my IP Address several times because it assumed that because I refreshed the webpage to try to check out I must be a bot. Good times. The Pokémon Center online store could not handle the increased site traffic during new release ordering windows. Imagine what announcing a free Charizard card with a $20 purchase would do to the site.
The release of Special Delivery Pikachu in November 2020 also likely played a role in the decision to delay or shelf the Charizard card. Once Special Delivery Pikachu cards were released, prices exploded. Single cards were selling for hundreds of dollars each on the secondary market.
A PSA 10-graded Special Delivery Pikachu sold for over $14,000 on eBay in January 2021 (though it cannot be confirmed that the transaction was completed—$14,099 was the high bid).
Considering that Charizard cards always sell for more compared to Pikachu cards (when rarities are similar), I believe Pokémon wanted to avoid the potential bad press from website crashes and scalpers buying out and reselling these cards before true collectors could get copies.
As a business, The Pokémon Company International wants to make money, and Charizard TCG cards can help them do just that. But the amount of bad press from a release debacle in the making was not worth it to them.
At this point, I do not believe the card will ever be released, which is truly sad for TCG collectors and Charizard fans. The moment has passed—Pokémon black star promos are well past SWSH200. Going back to SWSH075 just doesn’t make sense at this point.
Though some of the pandemic-related TCG product scarcities are in the past, Special Delivery Charizard would still fetch a high price on the secondary market. To combat this, Pokémon would need to print this card in numbers unlike any promo card ever, which is unlikely at this point. Charizard collectors shouldn’t hold their breath for the card to be released, but we can always hope a gift comes our way.
Alternative Delivery Options
Though Special Delivery Charizard can’t be added to our collection, there are several other trading card and merchandise options available to Pokémon fans.
The “special delivery” theme has been popular for the past several years, and Pokémon Center has released pins, note cards, a notebook, wall art, and even a Special Delivery Pikachu plush. I’d expect other “delivery” themed merchandise will continue to be released.
Though no longer available from Pokémon Center directly, the Special Delivery Pikachu card can be found on secondary markets. But there is another delivery card promo that deserves special recognition.
Special Delivery Bidoof was announced on July 1, 2021, in honor of Bidoof Day. The Pokémon Company International created this event based around Bidoof to spotlight the then-upcoming Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl and Pokémon Legends: Arceus games for Nintendo Switch.
This “holiday” celebration proved to be popular with the Pokémon community. Many Bidoof supremacy memes and Bidoof exploits were shared across the internet.
When I read the July Pokémon monthly newsletter (which was nothing but Bidoof) I assumed the sign-up page for the Bidoof promo card was fake. But sure enough, later that summer I got a code and redeemed it for my Special Delivery Bidoof. Who needs Charizard and Pikachu when you can have Charizard and Bidoof?
Other Pokémon Center Promo Cards
Besides Special Delivery Pikachu and Special Delivery Bidoof, Pokémon Center has released several promo cards through the years to celebrate the physical (or online) stores operated by The Pokémon Company International. Wizards of the Coast Black Star promos 41 and 42 were released to celebrate the grand opening of the Pokémon Center store in New York City in November 2001.
These cards, Pokémon Center (40) and Lucky Stadium (41) are now quite rare and pricey—I have been searching for copies for years and still do not have them. Lucky Stadium is an interesting promo card as its design includes Charizard, Pikachu, and Pichu.
I have no doubts that the designer of Special Delivery Charizard at least looked at this vintage card before settling on a final design and illustration.
Residents of Japan are more spoiled with promo cards related to their Pokémon Center stores. More than 10 promo cards featuring Pikachu have been released honoring the grand opening of these stores.
Many of these cards are also quite pricey and all are exclusive to Japan. While I believe we will get other Pokémon Center online store promos in the future, Japan releases more of these types of cards, virtually none of which are ever released in English.
Question: Has Special Delivery Charizard (SWSH075) been Released?
Answer: As of mid-2022, no, the card has not been released to the public. A handful of copies were released in error; however, no announcement of a pending release has been made. It is now unlikely that the card will ever be released.
Question: Are there Other Special Delivery Promo Cards Available?
Answer: Yes, two different cards. Special Delivery Pikachu was released in late 2020 and was free with a $20 minimum purchase from the Pokémon Center online stores in both the U.S. and Canada. Special Delivery Bidoof was available until late 2021 by redeeming a code for one free card at the Pokémon Center online store with a $20 minimum purchase.
Question: How Can I Learn About any Upcoming Promo Card Releases?
Answer: Keep yourself in the loop—check new announcements on Pokemon.com, follow news outlets on social media, and subscribe to the monthly Pokémon email newsletter.
Special Delivery Charizard Guide: Final Thoughts
Special Delivery Charizard has not been released and probably won’t be anytime soon (if ever). But for future Pokémon Center card releases, make sure you stay informed. I missed the Special Delivery Pikachu release and almost didn’t click the link to get a Bidoof code. If you get an opportunity to place an order and get one of these promo cards, make sure you do it.
These cards are printed in limited numbers for a very small window of time. I suspect we will continue to get a promo card available about once per year either in fall or winter to encourage purchases from the Pokémon Center online store. Who knows, maybe one year Charizard fans will see their patience rewarded with a special delivery.