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The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is everything you’d ever want a digital trading card game to be.

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Category : Pokemon

If You Arent Playing Pokémon Trading Card Game Online You Should Be

It’s likely you haven’t thought about Pokémon cards since you were 7 years old, and there’s a pretty good chance you never actually played the game even if you collected the cards. Pokémon cards are just as big now as they were 20 years ago, and perhaps even more so, thanks to the physical card game’s integration with Pokémon Trading Card Game Online (PTCGO), an incredible digital card game that’s everything you’d ever want a digital trading card game to be.

Pokémon TCG was my gateway to Magic: The Gathering and eventually Hearthstone, which I stuck with for years until the price of keeping up was simply too high. This Christmas, I was reintroduced to Pokémon TCG by a very excited kid ripping open packs under the Christmas tree. By and large the cards remained unchanged, aside from a few gimmicky Dynamax-type mechanics, and looking through each booster gave me a warm rush of nostalgia. There is one major difference in modern Pokémon cards however: every single booster back comes with a second booster pack for Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

If You Arent Playing Pokémon Trading Card Game Online You Should Be

I was vaguely aware of PTCGO as a person in gaming media, but I also never gave it much thought, assuming it was a shallow app for kids. What I discovered instead was a rewarding, feature rich game that has a healthy community, solid progression, and one hell of a new player experience. If you aren’t playing PTCGO, you should be.

The Best New Player Experience

When it comes to digital card games, we talk a lot about the new player experience. Hearthstone has a particularly awful new player experience in my opinion. I’ve managed to get a couple people in the door and past the tutorial phase of the game only to lose them when they realized their lousy starter decks have a pretty terrible win rate. The only solution? Spend money on packs, A LOT of money, or be prepared to grind daily quests for months.

Pokémon TCG has a really elegant solution that makes it the best new player experience of any digital card game I’ve played. Versus, the PVP mode in PTCGO, is broken up into 4 separate ladders: Standard (2~ year rotation), Expanded (4~ year rotation) Legacy (8-10 years old) and Theme. Theme decks are preconstructed decks that are ready to play, the exact same decks you can buy physical for around $12. These decks are solid, fun to pilot, and can be earned at a rate of 1-2 decks a day with in-game currency. They aren’t “competitive” in the sense that you’d never use these decks in standard, but that’s the beauty of theme mode: you’ll only be competing against other, equally powerful theme decks.

If You Arent Playing Pokémon Trading Card Game Online You Should Be

You can learn the game with a huge variety of fun decks, earn coins and packs by playing, and expand your collection until you’re ready to start constructing your own, if you want. It’s also perfectly reasonable to just stick to theme, there 80+ theme decks to collect and more get added every few months. Without spending a dime, you can have a great time playing PTCGO.

If You Arent Playing Pokémon Trading Card Game Online You Should Be

What’s more, buying a theme deck with coins adds those 60 cards to your collection. You can purchase multiple copies of the same deck, and there are a couple theme decks that can be combined to make a fairly competitive standard format deck. Theme decks make getting started in the game so much less daunting. Even with no experience, collection, or money, you can play this game without feeling under-powered by a lack of competitive cards.

The Most Rewarding Digital Card Game

The price of packs and dust economy in Hearthstone is a pretty constant point of contention with its players and the reason I ultimately dropped the game. PTCGO, on the other hand, seems to think keeping people playing has brand value even if they aren’t spending money, and rewards you for your time. The amount you can earn on a daily basis is pretty staggering, including:

  • Daily log in bonus (tokens and packs)
  • Daily Challenge (tokens and level progress to additional daily challenges)
  • Daily Versus Rewards (160 tokens + 5 mystery prizes + 1 Event Ticket) for your first 11 wins
  • Season Versus Rewards, which offer tons of packs, tokens, and special cards, resetting every 3 weeks
  • Winning and Win Streak Bonus Tokens
  • Trainer Challenges (tokens and packs)
  • Tournaments (tokens and packs)

If You Arent Playing Pokémon Trading Card Game Online You Should Be

I’ve quite easily been earning 3-4 packs and ~1000 tokens a day by playing. In the shop, theme decks cost 500 tokens and packs cost 200. You can see how quickly your collection can grow just from playing and spending tokens. In fact, there is literally no way to spend actual money within the game. Purchasing physical packs (or 3rd party codes from packs) is the only way to spend money in the game, a fact I find particularly refreshing and indicative of a pro-consumer mentality.

A Healthy Community And Exciting Marketplace

In Hearthstone if you want a card you’ll need to open packs until you find it or destroy cards to craft it at a rate of about 4:1. In PTCGO, just like the video game, it’s all about trading.

The cards and packs you earn and purchase in game are locked to your account and cannot be traded, but the packs you gain from purchasing physical packs and winning tournaments are tradeable, meaning packs are the primary currency in PTCGO. If there is a specific card you want for you collection, you can search the in-game marketplace for it or post an ad offering a trade. The entire system is pretty simple to get a grasp on once you get an idea of the cards you want, and trading packs or even card-for-card feels a lot better than destroying cards to craft new ones.

Pokémon TCG is a simple game to understand, but deck construction can be pretty daunting considering just how many cards are available today. I’ve engaged with the subreddit and various Discords to source information and have found every interaction to be pleasant.

Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is much more than an extension of the physical card game. It’s a robust platform packed with awesome features like avatar customization, exportable game logs, and game tutorials. It has the best new player experience and it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to squeeze every penny out of me that it can. If you aren’t playing PTCGO, you really should be.

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