What is the Pokémon Card Rip Test?

What is the Pokémon Card Rip Test?

You’ve probably heard people refer to the “rip test” to determine whether or not a Pokémon card is fake. The rip test will destroy your card, however, the results are conclusive. But don’t worry, you don’t have to rip your card in half. In this article, we cover why the rip test works and why you don’t need to use it. 

What is the Pokémon Card Rip Test?

Pokémon cards are printed on a special kind of thick paper called card stock. Card stock is made of multiple layers of hardwood and softwood. The card stock that is used for Pokémon cards happens to have a black graphite laminate layer in it. The manufacturing process does not include gluing the layers of cards together, as this graphite laminate serves that purpose. Counterfeit cards are cheaply produced and do not have this black layer. This means that the black layer in the card stock can be used to authenticate a Pokémon card.

The black layer can clearly be seen here.
WIN 20220616 19 39 28 Pro
A closer look at the black ink layer

The easiest and quickest way to see if a card has this black graphite layer is to rip the card in half. This will obviously destroy the card, so it is not a useful test in most cases. However, if you’ve received a booster pack or booster box that you suspect is fake, you can rip one of the inexpensive common cards to see if it is authentic or not. If there is no black layer, then the cards are probably all fake. 

Be careful. If you rip your card, it will become virtually worthless. No one will buy your ripped card.

The black layer in the middle of the card can actually be found without ripping the card. You’ll need a good camera with a zoom function, a magnifying glass, or keen eyes. The black layer can actually be seen from the side of the card. 

WIN 20220616 20 01 23 Pro
The black layer can be seen when observing the edge with a camera’s zoom function

The rip test is not necessary if you do not want to rip your card. 

Alternative to the Rip Test

There are many other methods of identifying a fake card. In fact, there are multiple guides available online. 

The easiest way is to compare the card to an authentic copy. Don’t have one? That’s ok, just Google the card. Once you’ve found an image of the card, hold the suspected fake up and compare it closely. Fake cards will have mistakes all over them, that you can’t see until you compare them with a real card. Some of these mistakes include poor spelling, incorrect font, incorrect energy cost, incorrect spacing between words, and sometimes the holo pattern will be wrong altogether. 

Does The Rip Test Work on Other Trading Cards?

The rip test works on Pokémon cards, Magic: The Gathering, and Flesh and Blood. However, it will not work on Yu-Gi-Oh or most sports cards. 

Whether or not the rip test works will depend on the card stock that the trading cards use as well as where they are made. For example, Japanese Pokémon cards do not have a black layer, but a light blue layer instead.

A Japanese Pokémon card with a blue layer instead of black.

Final thoughts

Ripping your card is the last resort. However, the rip test can be utilized to determine if a booster box is full of fake cards. If the black layer is missing, all the cards are likely fake. Be careful though, because Japanese Pokémon cards won’t have the black layer. They will instead have a light blue layer. Even though it is blue, not black, the test remains conclusive as counterfeits will not have a colored layer at all.