Pokemon TCG - Trading Card Game
I Choose You
The Pokemon TCG launched way back in 1996 and since then, more than 30 billion cards have been sold in more than 75 different countries. That makes it one of the best-selling games in history, and an annual world championship prize pool of more than $500,000 also makes it one of the most hotly contested!
The game is based on the Pokemon anime series and sees two players battling it out to become a Pokemon master. Using a deck of 60 cards, both players send their Pokemon into battle and each time they knock out an opponent's Pokemon, they earn a prize card - the first player to earn six prize cards wins the game. Trainer cards are used to help players advance their chosen strategy while energy cards power up their Pokemon's attacks.
Players can build decks with cards from the most recently released sets in the game's standard format while cards from decades gone by can be used in the expanded format. Cards are occasionally banned from being legal to play due to how powerful they are or how they interact with newer cards that get released, but it rarely happens.
Getting Started with Pokemon TCG
One of the best ways to get started with Pokemon TCG is to pick up a starter deck and head down to your local Pokemon League. League events are usually casual get-togethers held in a local game store and they're open to players of all skill levels, so it's a great place to learn more about the game and get some practice in. If you want to find out where your nearest Pokemon League events take place, the Pokemon Store Finder is the best place to start.
If playing online is more your kind of thing, then the free Pokemon TCG app will be right up your street. Whether you want to play on a Windows or a Mac system, or on mobile on iOS or Android, there's a dedicated version of the game that you can download and play. There's a really straight forward tutorial that walks you through how to play and that will help you to pick the basics up pretty quickly.
Whether you want to play online or in the real world, you'll need to sign up for a free Pokemon Trainer ID and fill out all your personal information. The Trainer ID generates you a Player ID number - something you'll need to enter real-world events. That ID tracks your performances at every event you ever play in. The Trainer ID also generates your in-game nickname for the online version of Pokemon TCG.
Improve Your Playing Skills
Once you've been playing Pokemon TCG for a little while, you might have found your niche in a particular style of play or you've found fun in hunting for new, top-performing decks with high win rates. Either way, as long as you're enjoying what you're doing, you're doing it right!
If you're looking for a way to improve your gameplay skills and become a better Pokemon TCG player, there are lots of resources that can help. The TCG page on the official Pokemon website regularly has blog posts from players that can help others improve their game. Meanwhile, the #PlayPokemon hashtag on Twitter is a good place to explore because players from across the world share their deck ideas and strategy guides. Even if you're not looking for a new deck to play, finding out what other people are having success with is a good way to understand how to beat them!
Playing at the Pokemon League event at your local game store might become your favourite part of the week, but branching out and playing at different events can help you to become a better player. Playing against different players from the ones you're used to will expose you to new strategies and styles of play, and advice - lots of players will offer tips on how you can be a better player (in a constructive way!).
The Path to the World Championships
The road to victory is a long one, but it's open to every Pokemon TCG player. Each year, the world championship award more than $500,000 in prizes to the globe's top players, so it's little wonder why so many people try and quality to play!
As well as the casual level Pokemon League events your local game store runs, they're also likely to run League Challenge and League Cup events too. Both of those are official tournaments and if you finish among the best performing players in the event, you'll earn Championship Points. Those points are basically world championship qualifying points. Once you earn a certain amount of points, you'll be invited to take part in the next Pokemon TCG World Championships.
League Challenge and League Cup events tend to attract players from the local area, but if you're looking to spread your wings and challenge yourself at a higher level, a Regional Championships and International Championships award more qualifying points to high achieving players, but competition is fierce!
Pokemon TCG at Team Norse Thunder
Pokemon TCG is the very centre of what we do at Team Norse Thunder - we're all really big fans of the game. We have players on our roster who have played the game since it first came out... and they have no plans to stop any time soon!
Karys Belfield leads the team's Pokemon TCG division and she is currently on the road to qualifying for the 2021 World Championships after a really strong 2020 season. She only took up the game in 2019, but fast-paced electric type decks have carried her to victories since then.
You can catch Karys streaming Pokemon TCG on the Team Norse Thunder Twitch channel a couple of times a week, while we post regular articles on our blog which covers some of the game's breaking news stories.