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How to play the Pokemon Trading Card Game

Image via The Pokemon Company
Image via The Pokemon Company
Brandon Moore
ANALYST
Modified 31 Dec 2020, 00:31 IST
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The Pokemon Trading Card Game has been a staple of The Pokemon Company and its brand for over two decades.

Pokemon cards are not just for collecting, although their prices are skyrocketing at the moment. The Pokemon Trading Game is a huge part of competitive Pokemon. There are thousands of dollars worth of prizes in tournaments each year.

The Pokemon Trading Card Game sees players assemble decks in order to battle with. Over the years, the meta has shifted drastically with each new series release. Still, mastering the TGC will take some work, but anyone can join in on the fun.


How to play the Pokemon Trading Card Game

Assembling a Deck

Image via The Pokemon Company
Image via The Pokemon Company

First things first, Pokemon Trading Card Game players need to put a deck together. There are rules regarding deck assembly. Exactly 60 cards must be in the deck, no more and no less.

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These will consist of Pokemon cards, energy cards, trainer cards, and item cards. There is no limit on energy cards, but for other cards, no more than four of the same card can be in a deck.

For beginners, picking up a pre-built deck may be the best option. There are several versions that can be found wherever Pokemon Trading Card Game packs are sold.

Starting a Game

Image via The Gaming Mat Company
Image via The Gaming Mat Company

To start a Pokemon Trading Card Game battle, players will need to find an opponent. Flip a coin to see who goes first. Shuffle the opponent's deck and vice versa. Place six cards face down to the side as Prize Cards, then draw a hand of seven cards.

Prize Cards are cards that are added to a hand once an opposing Pokemon is defeated. Now, both players can play a basic Pokemon card facedown as their active Pokemon, then up to five more on the bench.

Battling

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Image via TheJWittz
Image via TheJWittz

Now the game begins. Draw a card from the top of the deck at the start of each turn. Then play any basic Pokemon card. From there, players can do any and all of the following. Attach only one energy card to a Pokemon in play.

Evolve a Pokemon with a Stage 1 or Stage 2 evolution card, depending on the Pokemon's current stage. The Pokemon cannot evolve on the same turn it is played, though, unless an item states otherwise.

Pokemon Trading Card Game players can play any number of item or trainer cards. They can also retreat an active Pokemon and replace it for a cost. Then, any number of Pokemon abilities can be used if applicable.

Now an active Pokemon can attack. The attacks are listed on the card itself. Damage is done to the opponent's active Pokemon and once it has received more damage than it has hit points, it faints.

After an attack occurs, no matter if there are playable cards left or moves to be made, the turn ends.

Conditions

Image via The Casual TCG
Image via The Casual TCG
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Much like in the video game entries of Pokemon, status conditions can affect those in the Pokemon Trading Card Game. They are asleep, paralyzed, burned, confused, and poisoned.

Asleep means a Pokemon cannot attack or retreat. Flip a coin at the end of the turn. If it lands on heads, it wakes up. Tails means it stays asleep.

Paralyzed means a Pokemon cannot attack or retreat during the next turn. At the end of the turn, it is automatically cured.

Burned damages a Pokemon by 20 at the end of each turn. Like asleep, players will flip a coin to determine if the burned status is cured.

Confused means a Pokemon can hurt itself. Flip a coin. If heads, the Pokemon can attack. If tails, the Pokemon takes 30 damage.

Poisoned deals 10 damage to a Pokemon at the end of each turn. If a Pokemon can retreat in its condition, doing so or evolving it will cure all special conditions.

Winning the Pokemon Trading Card Game

Image via Pokemon Trading Card Game Online
Image via Pokemon Trading Card Game Online

There are several ways that a Pokemon Trading Card Game player can win a battle. The most common way that a player wins is by receiving all of their Prize Cards. This means six opposing Pokemon have been knocked out.

Another way to win is by defeating an active Pokemon while the opponent has no other Pokemon on their bench. Victory can be claimed is there is no replacement Pokemon on the bench available.

Lastly, a player wins if the opposing player has no more cards. If the deck is completely used, a player loses. There is no longer a card available to draw at the start of a turn. This is known as "decking" an opponent in the Pokemon Trading Card Game.

Published 31 Dec 2020, 00:31 IST
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