Note; This is a community article. Pokéspot does not necessarily share any opinion nor do we back up any statement made within this article.
When I say I’m a beginner, I mean I’m an absolute beginner. I’ve always played the video games, even the trading card video game, since gen 1; I’ve collected the cards since Pokémon first burst onto the scene. I have never however, played the trading card game in any sense of a competitive manner. I am hoping this guide will be able to help you start from scratch and get you stuck into the world of Pokémon TCG online.
(There’s a TL;DR at the bottom of the article!)
The first thing I did was get stuck into the tutorial, trying to build an IKEA bed without the instructions is just setting yourself up for failure right? It’s very quick and just throws you straight into learning all the basics (things like you can only play 1 supporter card per turn).
Once the tutorial is complete you will be nudged in the direction of the Trainer Challenges, I would highly advise you do them. They give you the option of using a variety of starter decks that you can also win just by playing them! 7 victories with a starter deck will earn you all the cards in that deck, and the decklist itself (which you can find in the theme decks list in your collection)! By earning yourself all these decks you can collect a decent amount of cards to start you on your journey, to learn all the basics of the game AND to build your confidence against some incredibly bad AI.
Now that you have the basics down you need to start testing yourself, this is where you can decide to do a number of different things depending on how you best learn. The first option, which is the route I decided to take, is to watch experienced streamers or YouTubers. If you find the right one that really engages you then you can learn an awful lot by watching them play, some of them are very informative and base their videos on teaching you how to play certain decks and how synergy between certain cards can work. Two of my favourites and people I would recommend are YellowSwellow and DarkIntegralGaming. Not only do these two guys have an incredible amount of knowledge they can share with you but often chuck up videos for good budget decks that can be built fairly easily, my favourite deck to play at the moment is the following (video):
The second route you can take is just to start playing others online and gradually build your knowledge base on how your opponents play, if you do this straight away you can also start completing daily challenges where you can earn tokens, booster packs, and points on the versus leader board which earn you prizes along the way as well. While doing this you will gradually earn more cards through various routes and this will allow you to expand upon the different kind of decks you can build.
Getting Good Cards
Now you’ve learnt the basics and have started playing Pokémon TCG against others online you’re probably thinking; ‘How do I get my hands on some of those delicious Pokémon cards?!’
There’s no escaping the fact that to get the best decks you are either going to have some incredible patience and play the game A LOT to win packs and trade your way to the top or you’re going to have to invest in some online packs (purchasable in the card shop on this site #ShamelessPlug). What I can advise however is that unless you want to spend a lot of time or money, your best bet is to SAVE YOUR PACKS. The likelihood that you pull the right cards that you need can often not be in your favour, but if there is a particular deck you would like to build then just save up your packs and trade for the cards you need when you have enough or buy some online packs and do the same thing!
Building a Deck
If you have come this far, you may be noticing that each popular deck has very few Pokémon, very few energy cards but a metric SH*T TON of trainer cards. There is an insanely clever reason for this that I only learnt from watching other people more skilled than I am play the game – Consistency. The power to be able to draw the right cards at the right time without having to rely completely on luck is an amazing ability to have, and one that having a lot of useful trainer cards can provide (i.e. Ultra Ball, Trainer’s Mail and Professor Sycamore just to name a few).
Cards Every Trainer Should Own
This brings me on to my last point, there are a fair amount of cards that when you have own them in your collection, you can create 95% of the most popular and successful decks in the game. These are what YellowSwellow, a highly respected Pokémon TCGO Player, calls ‘staple cards’ and they will be the basis of creating a great deck as these cards are what are used in order to enforce consistency into decks, to be able to get your plays right as many times as possible during the course of your Pokémon TCG career. You can view these cards below – please note that Shaymin-EX is incredibly expensive, if you cannot afford this card yet then Octillery with the ‘Abyssal Hand’ ability is a great replacement!
- Play the tutorial, learn the basics
- Play the trainer challenges and earn yourself some free decks
- Learn from others, whether this be your opponent or a YouTuber/streamer (YellowSwellow & DarkIntegralGaming) or even from the various deck reviews on this website
- SAVE YOUR PACKS (or buy them online) to trade for your wanted cards
- Build a sick deck fam
If you have a question about this post you can add a comment below.