Getting Started with Pokemon TCG (Part 3 of 5)

By now one hopes that by reading Why we love Pokemon TCG – 13 Reasons to Play, you are convinced playing Pokemon TCG has some value.

If you are a first time Pokemon TCG shopper, you will go to your local gaming shop (you should really support these) or online to buy some cards, how hard can that be? Suddenly you are confronted with a wall of products, and it is so very confusing. So here we try to break it down in the order of what you might buy.

Trainer Kit – It is really important to stress here we are not talking about the Elite Trainer Box, that is something different. This really is the starter set and comes with two, 30 card decks and everything you need to learn how to play. The real benefit is that the decks are sorted, and with the accompanying booklet, it takes you through a game like a tutorial. You can also get going immediately as you have two playable decks. However once you know how to play, you will most likely want to keep playing, and will need a 60 card deck, will buy one of the next two products, and will wonder why you spent your money on this in the first place.

Unified Minds Theme Decks

Theme Deck – It is really important to stress here we are not talking about the World Championship Theme Decks, that is something different. A Theme deck is a 60 card deck with everything you need to play a game. You can split this deck into 2, 30 card decks (not perfectly) to get started, but eventually you will need to find someone else to play against. This is a great starter deck which you can build onto at a later stage. This is the product you want to buy (except maybe for the next one).

Battle Arena Deck – This is also a 60 card deck, just like the Theme Deck, but is just more powerful. If you have the extra money, and are fairly sure that you are going to proceed into League play, then this is probably the deck for you. Be careful, they are sometimes sold as two decks together.

So it is really important to note that you should be purchasing one of the above three products to start. Once you have a playable deck, and you want to take your game to the next level, you can invest in some more cards or other products.

Booster Packs – This is the standard of most Trading Card Games, and very possibly how you came to have cards in the first place. This is a packet of 10 cards, mostly Pokemon, perhaps an energy or trainer if you are lucky. There is something magical about opening a booster pack to see what is inside, especially one of the super rare or powerful cards. They are great for birthday gifts from Granny, or Christmas stocking stuffers, but you can not, cost effectively build a deck from them. With usually over 200 different cards available, the number of packs that you will need to open to pull 60 cards, that all work together is just too many. Now a word of warning if you pull a super rare card, they can actually be worth a lot of money, so look after it and if you want sell it to fund your endeavours.

Packaged Booster Pack Products – This is the most confusing section as there are a plethora of products out there, all under different names, which have one or more known cards, usually shiny holos, maybe some related merchandise like a coin or pin (some people like to collect these items) and of course a few booster packs, usually 3 or 4. The benefit here is you get a known card, which hopefully can fit into your deck. However you need to understand what you are buying to get true value out of it.

Elite Trainer Box – This is for the serious deck builder and the price tag will inform you of that too. This box has 8 booster packs, can be used to transport your decks, has lots of other useful things in it, and includes a known card. The great benefit here, is the 45 pack energy cards, not easy to get unless you are pulling a serious number of packs.

Singles – When building a deck, it is sometimes more cost effective to go to your local gaming store and purchase some single cards, which could make a big difference in your deck, especially the trainer cards which are difficult to pull from packs. Again, only when you are getting serious.

Battle Box – Four times a year new Pokemon cards are released, and they hold a Pre-Release event, where you get a Battle Box. You might come across a Battle Box from time to time on some of the online market places. They contain a 23 card pack useful as a starting point to build a deck, with some booster packs and other items for playing the game.

World Championship Theme Decks – Each year players from around the world get together to play the Pokemon World Championships. They build their decks and put them to the test against others. The top four decks builds are released each year as theme decks. Absolutely awesome to own the top cards sorted into amazing working decks, but at a fraction of the price. However they are not playable at competitions, so limited to playing like the pro’s with a couple of friends.

So we did the deed and have stocked up on some cards. Where can we play Pokemon TCG (Part 4 of 5)

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