What is Pokémon TCG?
Do you know what Pokémon TCG is? The card game of Japan's most famous franchise has been conquering more and more space, and has recently acquired even more status among collectors and fans around the world!
This game is much more than a way to have fun, involving a technical gameplay system where there are numerous strategies and the cards have designs that are true art pieces. There are even some that are worth more than a brand-new car.
"TCG" stands for 'Trading Card Game'', and Pokémon TCG is a collectible card game, as are Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh!, which are well-known franchises in this genre. This great franchise first appeared on cards in 1996, through Media Factory, which at first produced exclusively for Japan.
Years later the cards expanded, and in 1998 it was produced in the United States through Wizards of the Coast, where it later passed into the hands of the Pokémon Company in 2003.
A Pokemon TCG match
It's evident that the Pokémon card game was inspired by Magic, and it has a very similar energy structural system to MTG's Lands. But unlike Magic, energies are attached directly to the Pokémon, so it can't be harnessed by every creature on the field.
So, it's possible to say that the combats during the "Pocket Monsters" game are centered, with the development of one Pokémon at a time, unlike Magic, where many Decks are focused on the synergy of numerous creatures at the same time.
Pokémon Decks are built with 60 cards, and whoever acquires 6 prizes first wins! For each card you defeat, you will have the right to choose 1 prize, but that doesn't mean you will necessarily have to beat 6 opponent's cards because by knocking out special cards you can win 2 or even 3 prizes, as occurs when defeating Pokémons "V" and "V Max", respectively.
In addition to this form of victory, there are two more, totaling 3 ways to end the game. And they are: Knockout all of the opponent's Pokémon, or Knockout a single opponent's Active Pokémon without it having any other Benched Pokémon 'backup'.
And the third and final way to win the game is by Deck Out, a situation which ends up all the cards in your opponent's deck.
But let's take it easy, don't think that it will be easier to achieve victory by defeating 3 "V" or 2 "V Max" special cards. After all, both types of special cards have much higher resistance and attack power than regular cards, which means that if you're careless, these Pokémon could end up defeating your entire team!
Abilities and Strategy
Fortunately, the game is not just about raw power — there are numerous strategy focused abilities, and an example of this is contained in the special effects that can be inflicted in the game, such as Paralysis, Poison, Burn, Confusion and Sleep.
While the Pokémon is asleep, it cannot retreat or attack, causing it to flip a coin every next turn until the player draws "Heads". From the moment you take "heads", the Pokémon will leave the sleeping status and return to normal, being able to attack.
The paralysis status will make the Pokémon stay 1 turn without attacking and retreat, after 1 turn without mobility, the Pokémon will return to its normal condition.
As for confusion, this will make the player toss a coin every time he tries to attack, if he takes "tails", the Pokémon will suffer 30 points of damage to itself, and if he rolls "heads", the Pokémon will attack the target.
Poisoning causes the Pokémon to take 10 damage per turn, but there are some Pokémon with special effects that cause Poisoning for additional damage.
The burnt status will make the player toss a coin every turn, if it takes "tails" the Pokémon will receive 20 points of damage, and if it takes "heads" the Pokémon will not suffer damage in the respective turn, but will continue burned.
Depending on how a match unfolds, these special conditions can cause Pokémon with more modest stats to take down even powerful Pokémon!
Over time, the competitive Pokémon scene began to gain space, and the Metagame evolved a lot. Today the TCG has a greater variety of strategies, and several new mechanics. But the game is not limited to competitions, after all, a huge part of the public acquires the cards to play casually or even just to collect.
Pokémon TCG around the world
The game has become an absolute success, being present in 77 different countries, and already has a total number of sales of more than 30 billion cards. It is worth mentioning that there are numerous celebrities who collect the cards, with special emphasis on Steve Aoki, Logan Paul and Justin Bieber, who owns a really expressive collection.
Steve was responsible for introducing the TCG to many other artists in the music industry, further expanding the game's popularity, and occasionally generating a higher appreciation for certain cards.
Pokémon: Card Types
There are different types of cards for you to use in your deck. There are Energy, Pokemon, Items, Gear, Stadiums, and Supporters. And just like other card games in the genre, there are creatures that cannot be played easily.
At first, you can only play basic Pokemon, if you intend to use a Charizard, you will have to have a Charmander on the field, to then evolve it into a Charmeleon (Stage 1) and only then can you play a Charizard (Stage 2).
In addition to the need to have the basic form on the field and evolution in hand, it is important to note that a Pokémon can only evolve from its second turn on the field, and in addition, it cannot evolve twice in the same round. That is, at best, you will only be able to use a Charizard on the third turn of your Charmander!
But don't worry, there's a way to speed this up! There are special cards that have the "V" logo in front of their name. And these cards are always considered 'Basic', even if it's a traditionally evolved creature. That is, Charizard V will be considered a basic Pokémon because it is a special card, so it can be played without needing Charmander or Charmeleon.
Interesting, isn't it? But for everything, there is a balance! If this "V" card of yours is Knocked Out, unfortunately, it will be equivalent to losing 2 Pokémon! So be careful, these cards grant combat power, but double your risks!
Pokémon Cards: Collections and Expansions
Like other types of card games, Pokémon TCG has several collections, each of which has several expansions.
Each generation of the card game is inspired by the current generation of the Game, that is, the first generation of cards was based on the game's Green, Red and Blue, and the second generation on Gold and Silver. From the third generation (Ruby and Sapphire) onwards, the Pokémon Ex system was implemented, which served as the basis for the new Pokémon V.
Currently, the game is already in the eighth generation "Sword and Shield", and within this collection there are numerous expansions. Let's introduce some expansions present currently:
- Sword and Shield: Base
- Sword and Shield: Battle Styles
- Sword and Shield: Vivid Voltage
- Sword and Shield: Evolving Skies
- Sword and Shield: Celebrations
- Sword and Shield: Fusion Strike
- Sword and Shield: Brilliant Stars
- Sword and Shield: Astral Radiance
It is interesting to note that in each expansion there will be a series of different cards, but that can be used with previous expansions, as long as they are within the same Metagame.
That is, any expansion of Sword and Shield can be used together. There will be no problem mixing Brilliant Stars with Astral Radiance cards, as both are from the Sword and Shield set. The important thing is that your deck strategy makes sense and is efficient in matches.
Pokémon TCG: Where to start
If you want to enter the Pokémon TCG universe and don't know where to start, the most appropriate thing is that you start by purchasing theme decks, they are cheaper and have an easier format to play, considering that they are focused on casual and non-professional games.
After your first contact with the game, it is interesting that you gradually evolve the strategic level, replacing the theme decks with Decks assembled card by card, only then will you be able to have a competitive level deck.
If you think it will be difficult to find people to train and gain experience, you are very wrong! Fortunately, there is Pokémon TCG Online, and you can train your gameplay through the game!
Whenever you purchase a booster pack, you will also receive a code that can be used in the online game, and there you will receive decks and booster packs to open according to your purchases! That is, by purchasing physical cards, you also receive virtual cards!
Basic Decks can be purchased easily, and have 60 cards. And boosters have 6 cards and 1 online code, the cards in these envelopes are drawn, and can come with common or rare cards.
You can use the cards taken in Boosters to replace cards from the preconstructed deck if you find it interesting.
The most used game format is Standard, and in 2022, this modality only allows cards with regulatory marks ''D'', "E" and later letters. In the past, it was much more difficult to know which cards were legal in the format, but with the arrival of these counters, everything became easier.
Briefly, the current Standard format allows cards from the Sword and Shield set and its expansions, and just check the ''D'' and ''E'' marks to confirm if your cards fit the modality.
Another very important modality is the Expanded Format, in which the player will be able to use a much wider variety of collections.
All cards released from Black and White will be released in the 2022 Expanded. That is, you will be able to mix cards from Sword and Shield, XY, Sun/Moon, and any other set that was released after Black and White.
There is also a very interesting format for beginners, the Theme modality, where it is allowed to use only themed decks and without changes. That is, in this format players can only use preconstructed decks, creating more balance between beginner players.
Legacy is a format where the player can only use cards from the collections and expansions of Heart Gold and Soul Silver and Black and White. These two collections are already around 10 years old.
Pauper is a great alternative for players on a budget, taking into account that in this format you can only use cards of common rarity, which greatly reduces the cost of building the deck.
For more tips and information about the TCG universe, keep following our articles, Cards Realm is counting on you to become the next Pokémon Master!