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Collecting to Combat – Learning How to Play Pokémon TCG – PCTGO Basics

PCTGO Basics

Last week, I wrote the first in a series where I discussed my eagerness to learn how to play Pokemon TCG after decades without focusing on an energy card. You can read the first article here where I discuss the benefits of purchasing a League Battle Deck so you can get started on PCTGO (Pokemon Trading Card Game Online) and in real life straight away. 

Today I want to discuss how to build a deck on PCTGO, as I grow more confident within playing I’ll discuss the actual thought process behind my card decisions. This article will focus on the actual steps needed to obtain cards, something that hadn’t crossed my mind until I delved in.

As a collector, I’ve had to change my mentality slightly with my physical cards. Usually, if I had seen a cool sealed Pikachu TCG product there would be an urge to place it on my shelf as a display piece. However, when my Pikarom League Battle Deck arrived I had to fight that urge and open up the package to sleeve the cards ready for battle. 

League Battle Deck Pokémon

I’ve played most nights over the last week getting to grips with my deck online, the code card gets scanned and you’re ready to go which is a nice touch. As I began playing and learning the ropes, I quickly realised how powerful some of the cards in the pre-built deck are. Using a mixture of Quick Balls and Tapu Koko Prism there’s the possibility of powering up Pikarom for a Full Blitz attack within one turn (Full Blitz deals 150 damage and allows you to place 3 extra energy onto your Pokemon). 

After playing around with the pre-built deck for a while I decided to venture into online decklists to expand my strategy. I found a deck mixing my current setup with a Mewtwo & Mew GX grouping that looked very strong on paper and merged some of my favourite Pokemon.

At first, I had no idea how to proceed. I could try and pack the cards on the game but as I’ve mentioned previously my pack luck isn’t blessed at the moment. Instead, I got frustrated that the cards I own in my physical collection couldn’t be used online without finding a way of purchasing them with real money through websites or finding products like the Trainer’s Toolkit to obtain the code card included. This is when I realised an aspect of PCTGO I was oblivious to up until now – To obtain cards, code cards from physical packs are used to trade towards individual singles. For example, I traded 7 Shining Fates packs for a single Mewtwo & Mew GX – I knew the thousands of code cards I had building up in a drawer would finally come in handy!

Pro tip: Using an iPad or other tablet with multitasking functionalities, open up your camera app and the code card redemption page of The Pokemon website side by side. Move the QR code towards the camera then copy the code popup rather than open the link. Copy and paste ten at a time, this is by far and large the quickest way to obtain enough packs to trade your way to your card goals. 

All in all, the deck I decided to build cost me around 60-70 code cards and the code for my Pikarom deck from the box so maybe £15-£20 if you need to buy the code cards and the League Battle code, not bad for a really fun starting point that has everything you need to perform at way more than a starter level as you begin your journey with learning Pokemon TCG. 

Deck List Pikazrom

This time next week, I feel like I’ll have played enough to give more insight into how I’ve slowly grasped the basics and built my strategy. In the meantime, I’m going to continue scanning code cards for hours in the hope that I can flex with gold trainer cards as I get disintegrated by Arceus, Dialga, and Palkia (ADP).

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to make sure you’re always up to date and stay tuned for the next iteration as I learn how to play Pokemon TCG. If you have any tips on learning the TCG ropes get in touch.

John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor

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