In late 2021, MetaZoo cards were among the top 10 most submitted items to PSA for a two-month span. MetaZoo is a young but promising trading card game (TCG) launched in 2020 that has gained an enthusiastic following in short order. To acknowledge the growing popularity of this emerging TCG, the PSA Set Registry has officially added a new set based on MetaZoo’s inaugural release: 2021 MetaZoo Cryptid Nation 1st Edition Holofoils.
MetaZoo, like Pokémon, is based on a lineup of magical creatures with abilities to attack or defend against your opponent. The lineup of creatures – which includes Bigfoot, Babe the Blue Ox, and the Chupacabra, to name a few – is based on mythology, folk tales, and cryptids from around the world. After inspecting a MetaZoo card foreven a second, it’s clear that the art style is heavily inspired by the early days of Pokémon, specifically artist Ken Sugimori’s simplistic, whimsical character design. PSA had a chance to speak with MetaZoo creator Michael Waddell, who explained, “I wanted to see what a modern take on a monster-based TCG would look like. Fusing vintage aesthetics with a more progressive, forward-thinking company so that people could recapture some of that late 1990s, early 2000s magic, while still being excited for the future.”
Although it is young, MetaZoo already has highly sought-after items that have skyrocketed in the secondary market. Such items include a promo card dedicated to popular YouTuber Alpha Investments (Rudy Investment Sasquatch) and a couple of secret rare cards lacking card numbers that were short-printed and used as box toppers. These highly coveted “Star Rare” cards include Red Ink (inserted into 2021’s Cryptid Nation), Old Scratch (inserted into 2021’s Nightfall), and possibly more to come.
But perhaps no other MetaZoo card commands more attention than the 1st Edition Cryptid Nation Mothman. Based on West Virginian folklore, this monster has become the face of the MetaZoo franchise. The folklore of the Mothman cryptid is a favorite of creator Michael Waddell, who stated, “Through my love and fear of Mothman, and the community’s generally positive reception of the character, he has become somewhat of the de facto mascot of the brand.”
Collecting MetaZoo comes with a decent variety of chase and variations. Like Pokémon, various cards come as both holo and reverse holo. The standard holo treatment covers the environment surrounding the cryptid, while the reverse holos isolate the foil to the cryptid’s body itself. Both variations sport a starry foil treatment reminiscent of the brilliant foil patterns featured on several Pokémon cards. Additionally, the Cryptid Nation set also has a Kickstarter Edition that includes the Kickstarter logo on the bottom right of the card artwork. This variation fetches higher prices on the secondary market for its added scarcity. Other variations include Collect-A-Con exclusive cards, which can be identified by a foil MetaZoo stamp on the front of the card.
Waddell described the Kickstarter days of MetaZoo as being an “early struggle,” but despite these challenges, MetaZoo has steadily gained steam in the TCG world, with a growing, passionate community behind it. With its upcoming set, Wilderness, slated for March 2022, collectors will be on the edge of their seats to see what comes next from this new franchise.