How To Play Pokémon TCG: A Beginners Guide - Gathering Games

How To Play Pokémon TCG: A Beginners Guide

Pokemon has been claiming the hearts of fans around the world since the late 90’s. Whether you're a seasoned player or a newcomer to the Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG), the journey to becoming a skilled Pokemon card player is both exciting and rewarding. In this article you will discover the fundamentals of playing the beloved Pokemon TCG, from building a deck to executing strategic gameplay. As both an avid player & collector, nothing quite beats the feeling of getting that win, it’s right up there with pulling that shiny Charizard when you were a kid!

Understanding the Pokemon TCG Basics

Before diving into gameplay, it's essential to grasp the basic concepts of Pokemon TCG. Familiarise yourself with the different card types, such as Pokemon, Energy, Trainer and Special Energy cards. Understand the card layout, including the HP (Hit Points), attacks, retreat costs, and weaknesses/resistances. Additionally, learn about the different card rarities and their significance.

Each deck from the very first Base set in 1998 (English print), to the latest set (they just keep on coming!) has a very different feel & inclusion of different styles of cards. This makes the latest deck even more beneficial than the last to really build out that battling collection! Of course each ‘battle’ needs to be kept within the same Pokemon Card Collection, otherwise it would just be total carnage. 

Building out your Pokemon TCG Deck

A well-constructed deck is crucial for success in Pokemon TCG. Start by choosing a strategy or theme for your deck. You can base it on a specific Pokemon, type, or a combination of strategies. Ensure your deck adheres to the official format rules, which may vary depending on the tournament or casual play.

Aim for a balanced composition of Pokemon cards, Energy cards, and Trainer cards, ensuring there’s a synergy between them.

Becoming a Pokemon Master

The core gameplay revolves around taking turns, drawing cards, playing Pokemon, attaching Energy, using Trainer cards and battling opponents.

Get comfortable with the following gameplay setup:

1. Setting up: 

Shuffle your deck and draw seven cards. If you don't have basic Pokemon cards in your hand, you need to shuffle and redraw. Then, both players set up their active Pokemon and benched Pokemon.

2. Drawing and playing cards: 

Draw a card at the beginning of each turn and optionally play Trainer cards to enhance your gameplay. Attach Energy cards to your Pokemon to power their attacks.

3. Evolving Pokemon: 

If you have a Basic Pokemon in play, you can evolve it into its Stage 1 or Stage 2 evolution. Evolving Pokemon often grants new attacks and increased HP.

4. Energy management: 

Properly managing Energy cards is crucial. Ensure you have enough Energy attached to your Pokemon to execute their attacks. Utilise Trainer cards like Energy retrieval to recover discarded Energy.

5. Strategic battles: 

Engage in battles with your opponent's Pokemon. Compare attack costs, damage output, and potential effects to make strategic decisions. Utilise weaknesses and resistances to gain an advantage.

Expanding Your Pokemon Knowledge

To become a proficient Pokemon card player, expand your knowledge beyond the basics. Stay updated with the latest card sets, rule changes and tournament formats. Regularly practise with friends, join local Pokemon leagues or participate in online communities to learn from experienced players. Watch competitive matches and analyse strategies employed by top players, YouTube is an excellent wealth of knowledge when it comes to this! Continuous learning is the key to improvement, at Gathering Games we can help you find local tournaments. 

As master collectors here at Gathering Games you can find a full range of the very latest Pokemon Trading Cards! We have a huge range of the collections, split out between Booster Packs, Blister Packs & Elite Trainer Boxes.