Pokemon Trading Card Game Collecting Burnout

Pokemon Trading Card Game Collecting Burnout

What’s going on ChannelFireball readers? TrainerChip here back with another collecting article! Today I’m writing about something a little different than I normally would.

Most of the time my articles look at new sets coming out and you analyze the collectability and investing aspects that new Pokemon TCG sets have to offer. But today, I’m going to be writing about collector burnout, what exactly the things are that can cause it and how to combat burnout so you can keep your passion for collecting going.

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What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a term that is most often used in the workplace. It describes someone’s exhaustion or even negative feelings towards their job. The term burnout is often also applied to one’s hobbies or really anything that takes up a large chunk of your time. When you spend a ton of time doing something, you are bound to get a little tired of it at some point!

Tyranitar V (155/163)

In collecting, I feel like the ways that burnout is most often experienced are losing interest, becoming overwhelmed and even being overly focused on collecting. I have personally experienced burnout regarding work, my hobbies and yes, even Pokemon card collecting. As I’m sure many of you have as well! In this article, I’m going to analyze each of these types of burnout and talk about some of the things that I have done to combat them.

Losing Interest

Losing interest is one of the main causes of burnout. I think this occurs most often in collectors who buy in super hard to the hobby in a very short period. Maybe a specific set or card came out that really caught your interest or maybe you got a great deal on some card that you remember from your childhood. This leads to buying a few packs every time you go to the store or spending your evenings searching online for good deals. This is fun for a while, but eventually the cost adds up. That initial spark and excitement that you felt eventually subsides and now you’re left looking at the new cards that are coming out and just trying to find that passion again.

If you find yourself losing interest, I think there are a couple of solutions. The first is to simply take a step back for a little while. It doesn’t have to be long, maybe a week or a month, but every once and a while I think it is important to remind yourself that there are other things going on in the world and other hobbies to enjoy besides just collecting Pokemon cards. Take a couple weeks away from the hobby and don’t go searching online for deals on cards and take a break from buying packs. Just take time to do the other things you enjoy that maybe you haven’t had as much time to do recently. This is something that has often worked for me if I ever feel like I am losing interest in something, and I often feel that the short break lets me appreciate that initial passion that I had.

If you want to prevent yourself from losing interest in the collecting hobby, then I think taking a step back every once and a while is both beneficial and important. It is also important to pace yourself when it comes to collecting. Like I said, losing interest most often happens to people who get way too invested, way too quickly. So, if you feel that you fall into that category, then be okay with slowing things down!

Becoming Overwhelmed

Maybe the opposite of losing interest is true for you. Perhaps you are as interested in collecting Pokemon cards as you have ever been. Even if that’s the case, it is still possible to experience burnout. The truth is, there is just so much to possibly collect, that fact alone could theoretically overwhelm you to the point of losing interest.

Japan recently got its newest set, VMAX Climax and let me tell you, it’s amazing. The set boasts a staggering 285 unique cards. This even beats out your most recent set, Fusion Strike, which has 284 cards. The thing is, most of the time Japanese sets are much smaller than your sets in the western part of the world. So, the fact that this set already has so many cards, leaves me to wonder how exactly all these cards will make their way to you in the rest of the world. The reason I bring this set up is because of the absurd amount of new collectible cards there are included.

Now if you primarily collect modern cards, like many other collectors out there, the initial prospect of the new character rare arts and of all the other alternate arts and the new black/gold-secret rare cards is exciting, but it also flirts with overwhelming. Now don’t get me wrong, the brand-new character arts are stunning cards, and it is very fun to collect all these different variations on already existing cards, but I wonder if it ever gets to the point where it’s just too much. Collecting a master set of VMAX Climax must be a nightmare and on top of that, insanely expensive.

I almost feel like there has become an issue of “too many rarities.” When Sword & Shield came out, I felt like things were in a good place. There were the regular V and VMAXs, there were full arts of Pokemon V and Supporters, there were rainbow rares of the VMAXs and the Supporters and then some gold Items and Pokemon to top it all off. That is already a ton of cards to collect! This was the same trend for the next few sets to come out. Then things changed when Battle Styles introduced alternate art cards. I love the alternate art cards and think that they are super fun to collect. But it feels like you have gotten a little out of hand with just how many different printings there are for each individual card.

We are now getting into a territory where people may pass on a certain set or lose interest in modern cards simply because there is too much going on. If you find yourself in this class, then I would suggest just taking a little step back and analyzing your collecting goals. Do you want to be a master set collector? Do you have a favorite Pokemon that you want to get every print of that Pokemon? Maybe you just have a few alternate arts that you really like and want to try and pull for yourself. Whatever your collecting goals may be, I think it is always important to keep them in mind, to help keep you from getting overwhelmed by all the amazing new cards being released.

Keeping goals keeps you on track and achieving those goals and finishing that part of your collection leaves you with a very gratified feeling. Checking things off your collecting list (so to speak) can keep you rejuvenated and interested and it’s also a fun way to keep track of how your collection is growing!

Bonus: Burnout Playing PKMN

This should be no surprise, but Pokemon players can feel burnout all the same as collectors. If you are a competitive player specifically, burnout becomes a big issue during the season. This hasn’t been much of an issue in the last year and a half since no Pokemon events are going on, but when you’re competing every single weekend to try and earn precious Championship Points to get that invitation to the World Championships, it’s easy to lose your passion for the game. I think that many of the points I brought up in the above sections can also be applied to playing Pokemon (taking a break, setting goals) but another great way to combat burnout for Pokemon players, is to play some Pokemon for fun! And I don’t just mean Standard format, I mean do something fun! Get some Build & Battle kits and do a prerelease-style battle with some friends, build a cube, play with old decks, try out the Gym Leader Challenge format – the list of ways to play Pokemon that don’t include just Standard goes on and on. Playing for fun can take you back and remind you why you most likely started playing Pokemon in the first place: the people you play it with! Recatching that initial excitement for the game that you once felt can mentally prepare you and give you a different outlook to get back in and grind for a Worlds invite.

Focus Band (86/111)Focus Band (86/111)

Even though this article is mostly meant for Pokemon collectors, I wanted to include a little section here for the players, since events are slated to return in 2022. I’m sure there will be many new players participating, who don’t quite know the mental drain that competing for a Worlds invite can put on a player. Perhaps some of you collectors reading this may consider sleeving some of those pretty cards you’ve collected up and bringing them with you to a local Pokemon league to get your playing journey started!


A little bit of burnout along the way in your collecting journey is certainly to be expected. But I hope this little piece either helped you learn how to bounce back from burnout or gave you some useful tips to help prevent it! Collecting Pokemon cards is one of my favorite hobbies and I’m sure it is for many of those reading this as well. The biggest takeaway from this article should be that it is okay to take a step back and that you should set collecting goals for yourself to not get lost in the mass of new cards constantly being released. Collecting is supposed to be fun! You should do it because you love it, so if you ever feel burnt out, try and recapture that original feeling.

As always, thanks so much for reading. Keep on collecting and keep on playing Pokemon!


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