Over the past year, the Pokemon Trading Card Game has seen a massive boom in popularity. Maybe you’ve wanted to jump into the world of the Pokemon TCG but just never known where to start. Today, we’re going to walk you through some products that can help jump start your Pokemon TCG journey—whether you are looking to play or simply collect!
If you are looking to play...
The best way to jump straight into playing Pokemon is to pick up a theme deck or two. Theme decks are pre-constructed 60 card decks based around a particular Pokemon. Pictured above are the theme decks from the Vivid Voltage set, featuring Drednaw and the ever-beloved Charizard. Theme decks also often come with a rules booklet, damage counters, a metallic coin, a deck box and a playmat, so they are the perfect way to get started. Here at Gameology, we sell theme decks in pairs—perfect for you and a friend!
- Vivid Voltage Theme Decks (Drednaw and Charizard)
- Venusaur V and Blastoise V Battle Decks (Unfortunately sold out, sometimes you need to act quick to catch that Pokémon)
Designed with the beginner in mind, the Pokemon Battle Academy Board Game is another great option if you’re looking to start playing this legendary TCG. Containing 3 complete 60-card Pokemon decks, each one with a powerful special Pokemon (Charizard-GX, Raichu-GX, or Mewtwo-GX), it’s like buying 3 theme decks in one box! Where this differs from the individual theme decks is that this box includes tutorial guides for each deck to help you understand the flow of the game and get to know the mechanics. This is the perfect all-in-one gift for a beginner!
Similar to the Deckbuilder’s Toolkits from Magic: The Gathering, the Trainer’s Toolkit offers all the cards you need to build powerful Pokemon decks yourself! Though still on preorder, this item is a great one to pick up after you’ve gotten a couple theme decks or the Pokemon Battle Academy game and are ready to start building your own decks. In such a small box, you’ll get dozens of Trainer cards, more than 100 Energy cards, 4 booster packs, 65 card sleeves to protect your cards, a Deck Builder’s guide, and more! The Deck Builder’s Guide will be particularly helpful with the choices and questions you might have when building your first deck, like deciding how many Energy cards to put in, or whether to favour big Pokemon or strategic Trainers.
If you are looking to collect...
If you’re looking to start collecting Pokemon cards, you won’t want to bother with theme decks and toolkits, you’ll be looking at buying boosters—whether in a full booster box or individually. Booster boxes contain 36 individual booster packs from a named series—be that Battle Styles, Vivid Voltage, Darkness Ablaze, Rebel Clash and so on. These can be wildly expensive but are overall better value than buying 36 booster packs individually. While some collectors opt to open the packs and hunt for the valuable cards, others choose to keep booster boxes sealed in their shrink wrap in order to sell later on, once the series has gone out of print.
When you start your journey as a collector, you’ll have to decide where you fall on that spectrum. Much like stocks, TCG collecting can be an investment. Therefore, like you would research the stock market before you buy stocks, you’ll also want to research the Pokemon TCG market. Which sets or series are currently sought after? Which ones will be valuable later on? Which cards are valuable? Which sets are those cards found in? Generally, Pokemon TCG items are cheapest when they are on pre-order or fresh off the pallet. The longer they sit around, the higher the price tends to climb. Be sure to do your research, and you’ll be well on your way to building a Pokemon card collection your younger self could only dream of!
Though all the major Pokemon sets release booster boxes and single boosters (along with many, many other items we won’t get around to today!), there are some sets and series that only release in special boxes and collections, like the Champion’s Path Hatterene V Box pictured above. Champion’s Path (and the upcoming Shining Fates) are examples of sets where the booster packs can only be found in special boxes and usually only in small quantities within those boxes. For example, the Hatterene V Box above contains only 4 Champion’s Path booster packs and the Shining Fates Elite Trainer Box below contains only 10 Shining Fates booster packs.
You can’t buy Champion’s Path or Shining Fates booster packs either individually or in a dedicated booster box, which tends to make them more valuable in the eyes of collectors. Though often more expensive per booster pack than the main sets I talked about in the above section, these special sets are ones to keep an eye on if you’re looking to start collecting Pokemon cards.
And of course, if you’re going to accumulate all these valuable cards, you’ll need a way to store them and keep them free from damage, so as to preserve their resell value later on. There are a few different products people use to store their cards so I’ll give you a brief rundown of the purpose of each:
These are a minimum for protecting your cards (unless you are keeping your boosters all sealed). They are simply thin pockets of plastic that can protect your cards from accidental fingerprints, light splashes or smudges.
These booklets can store up to 9 cards per page and are a great way to protect your cards while still being able to admire and flaunt them. You can buy a binder with a pre-set number of pages, or pick up a ring binder and some loose leaf pages for more flexibility.
- Ultra Pro 3” Ring Binder Album & Ultra Pro Platinum Pages
- Ultra Pro Sword and Shield 3.5 9PKT Portfolio
Top Loaders & One Touch Cases
And for all those super-pricey cards too valuable for a mere binder, you’ll need some form of hard case, whether that’s a top loader or a one-touch case. These are a must if you are looking to get your valuable cards professionally graded as they make sure your cards are kept in tip-top condition.
So in summary, if you’re looking to…
Play? Get a pair of theme decks or the Pokemon Battle Academy board game and pick up the Trainer’s Toolkit when it releases!
Collect? Do your research and decide which sets or cards or boxes you are looking to buy, try to get in early for the best prices, and make sure to protect your investments!
And there we have it! Our tips on how to get started with the Pokemon TCG! Do you have any other tips for newbies to the hobby? Let us know in the comments below!