Whats The Deal? Issue #1: An Intro to Pokémon TCG

Hello, fellow PUCLonians!  This is the first TCG article, and there is so much going on right now, I can’t wait to get into all the topics over the next several months! But first, as with all new beginnings, I want to start at the very beginning.

This article is for those who have not yet jumped into the marvelous world of the Pokémon Trading Card Game (Pokémon TCG, or TCG for short) so this article will start at the very beginning, learning how to jump into TCG. If you’re a seasoned player, you probably know all this already, but please read on anyway. I’ll try not to make it boring.

For those who have never played TCG before, what are you waiting for? Read on!

This is meant as an introduction to TCG.  I am not going to cover all the rules, but I will be going over the main concepts, and resources where you can learn the rules, including the in-game tutorial online!  Think of this as a springboard.




Let’s start by looking at the types of cards.   As you play, you will get a better understanding of the cards, and how they work in synergy with each other, but on the very basic level, there are Pokémon cards, Support Cards, and Energy Cards.

A Pokémon card has attacks that you can use against your opponent’s Pokémon.  To use these attacks, you must have energy attached to the Pokémon.  Different moves require different amounts of energy, so having energy in your deck is a must! Some Pokémon will also have a special ability, which is described in the text on the card. These abilities can have different effects in the game.

A Supporter card, also called a Trainer card, is used to change the effects of the game. Some cards will allow you to draw more cards into your hand. Some cards will affect the amount of damage from attacks, or even block certain attacks.  When you are building your deck, you try and find the best balance of Trainer cards, quantity to keep in your deck (maximum of 4 per Trainer, based on the name of the card) and how they will work with other cards in synergy.

Energy cards allow your Pokémon to use their attack moves.  There are ten basic types in the TCG.  Some of the types you know from the video game, which have been “lumped” together into the ten basic types:  Grass, Fire, Water, Lightning, Fighting, Psychic, Darkness, Metal, Fairy, and Colorless.  For example, the Water type in TCG includes Water and Ice types from the video game.  There are also “Special Energy” cards, including a “Double Colorless” which counts as two colorless energy, and “Dragon” which can only be placed on a Dragon type, and counts as two energy of any type.  The symbols are listed below




I know what you’re thinking.  “Well, all this is great, but how do I play the game?”

The best place to start is to download the official Pokémon TCG Online (TCGO) game. It is free to play, and there are built-in tutorials, which will teach you the mechanics, and along the way, you will earn new packs to open or trade. Use the tutorial.  Play against the built-in trainers. You will get the hang of this game in no time! You can also enter the codes that you find inside each booster pack, to open an equivalent booster pack online! Don’t throw those away!



Another area of help would be your local Pokémon League. League play is a fun environment to learn the game and have fun playing and trying new decks in person, generally held at a local gaming store. As a matter of fact, for the two weeks prior to the release of a new card series (about every three months) they will hold “Prerelease Tournaments” where you get to see the new cards, and try them out with other players. For beginners, this is a great opportunity to learn and play, as the field is even… Everybody builds a deck from the cards they receive, so it is not super-competitive, and the playing field is a bit more level.

So, I hope you now have a better understanding of what the Pokémon TCG is all about. Armed with the basic knowledge here, and downloading the official TCGO, and listening to the PUCL TCGCast (#PUCL10) you will be on your way to becoming the very best… The best that ever was!

Please feel free to post comments or questions! 




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