A Beginner’s Guide to the Pokemon TCG Online (PTCGO)

While new ways to play Pokemon TCG are right on the horizon, The Pokemon Trading Card Game Online is still the best way to play the game digitally. Here, we’re going to look at some of the most beginner-friendly features of PTCGO and the best way for you to get started in the digital version of the Pokemon Trading Card Game. 



A Friendly Start

PTCGO offers a very friendly and straightforward new user experience. After downloading the game here, it immediately hands you some starter decks, which while not exactly competitive, will give you more than enough to start playing the game and earning your own resources. You then get to play a tutorial that walks you through how the game is played, after which you are promptly rewarded with coins, a booster pack, and a random rare Pokemon! Combined with your intro decks, you have a tidy little start to your collection. 

The Initial Challenge

After the tutorial and the rush of cracking your first pack, it’s time to get to know the game even better and earn some more resources. While you could take your starters straight into versus mode, pitting yourself against other real players, I don’t think it’s the right approach. Instead, you should go to the trainer challenge section and test out the various starter decks against an array of opponents.

The trainer challenge is particularly important to sink some time into as its an easy way to earn free packs- for each win you get with a different deck against a challenger, you earn a star, and once you hit four stars you earn a pack! This is an easy way to start fleshing out your collection and bolster your starter decks with more powerful pulls. Even better, you can progress your daily challenges against these computer-controlled trainers, making grinding out some extra coins easy. If you complete all the challenges against these AI trainers, you’ll earn a grand total of 40 packs, which should be more than enough to get you started!

Versus the Competition

Once you’ve buffed up your collection with the powered up intro decks, you’re ready to take your first steps into the versus game modes. While there are a number of formats available in PTCGO, a beginner only needs to focus on two: theme and standard.

The theme vs mode only allows players to use the preconstructed theme decks, so you’re always going to be on an even playing field against the opposition. PTCGO has a number of theme decks available for you to pickup, and they are all playable out-of-the-box in the Theme versus game mode. You don’t have to stress about any deck building yourself, and you’re always guaranteed to be playing against opponents with decks of a similar power level.

Standard uses decks built from only the most recent sets, making it the easiest one to start building towards from scratch, but only recomendable once you think you’ve earned plenty of cards from the AI challengers and Theme Deck matches. Current standard decks can be built from cards included in the following sets: 

  • Sword and Shield
  • Rebel Clash
  • Darkness Ablaze
  • Champion’s Path
  • Vivid Voltage
  • Battle Styles
  • Chilling Reign
  • Evolving Skies
  • Fusion Strike

Getting Economical

Once you’ve gotten as much as you can out of the starter-friendly formats, it’s time to start considering what else you want to get out of the game. You have a lot of options of how you want to spend your resources, including additional packs and decks, and you can also trade with other players to start acquiring the specific cards you’re looking for. How you build out your collection is up to you, but you’ll either need to spend your time grinding or real money if you want to branch out into more competitive formats. 

Trading Up

While it is up to you how you want to use your resources, one of the greatest things about PTCGO is the previously mentioned ability to trade. You don’t just have to rely on the in-game currency to build out your collection, and can instead find out what kind of cards people are looking for in exchange for your own game pieces. With time and a bit of luck, you can trade your way up to a deck without having to worry as much about individual pulls from packs and rewards.

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