Ten Steps in Joining the Pokemon TCG Community.

by Pikkdogs ~ May 29th, 2010.

A big howdy to all members of Omar nation, this is your friend Pikkdogs.  A month or so ago I wrote a “Ten Step” article about trading Pokemon cards online.  This month I will follow that up with another “Ten Step” article, this one is about starting the Pokemon TCG.   Sableye - SF

I am a huge follower of the POJO message boards, and at least once every few days we have people posting questions about how start playing the game.  So this article is for all you newbies out there.  Hopefully you’ll be able to take something away from this article and be another step closer to top cutting at worlds.  So without further ado here are my ten steps in joining the Pokemon TCG community.

1.  Decide what you want to do.

     This may sound like a vague step, but it is very important.  First you must decide what you want to get out of the Pokemon game.  You may just want to build a couple of fun decks to play with your friends a couple of times a month.  If that is all you want out of the game, there is no point in spending countless hours pouring over cards and websites.  If so, just pick up a couple of themes decks and once in a while buy a couple of packs and have fun.  But, if you want to become a competitive player you should be prepared to do some hard studying, and spend some money.

2.  Find People to Play With.

           No matter how serious you want to be with the game, it always helps to have friends who are in the game.  Hopefully you and a friend can join together, so you can each push each other to be better players.  If not I would reccomend going to a local league.  Most leagues have freindly players and judges who would love to help you join the game.  You can find a league near you by going to


3.  Learn the Rules of the Game

    It may seem simple, but one of the first steps in joining the game is simply learning the rules.  Rule books are included in every theme deck or are avaliable on the official Pokemon website.  For more advanced rules I would use a “Ask the Masters” forum on a Pokemon discussion board.

4.  Surf That Internet

      Most Pokemon players spend a lot of time on Pokemon websites looking at other decks and researching cards.  When you are just starting out it is important to spend extra time searching the net for ideas.  You don’t have to spend all day on the computer, just take a look at what other people are playing and how the decks work.  At the end of the article I will provide some links to some vital sites.

Beginers always seem to want to know what the best decks are and where they can find decklists of them.  Well, in Pokemon people don’t always want to share their decklists.  So that makes it harder for the begineer.  But, most of the great decks now (like Luxchomp and Cursegar) are very advanced and require expierenced players to play them.  My advice to you is to not want to get a really good deck right away, just look around the net at different decks and find one that suits you the best.  Once you get more accustomed to the game you can move up and play the best decks.

5.  Begin your Collection.

     All Pokemon players have some type of card collection.  Some people have a complete collection of every Pokemon card made in the last 5-10 years, while others just have one deck and a handful of other cards.  It doesn’t matter how many cards you have, its just important to have the cards you need for a deck you want to play.  But. I will admit that it is easier to play the game if you have a lot of cards.  This game can get expensive so be prepared to spend some money. 

When I restarted this game (about a year and a half ago) I started my collection by buying several tins, some theme decks, and loose packs off EBAY.  I got them for a decent price, so that is always a decent way to start.  Some people prefer buying boxes of cards, thats a good way too, but can get pretty expensive.  If you can find a box at a good price (usually 70 or under) it could be worth your money to buy a box of a good set (like Platinum, or Rising Rivals).  Or you could just find  a deck you want to play and buy singles off the internet to complete the deck.  Either choice is fine. 

6.  Select Your First Deck

        One of the most important choices you will make is the choice of a deck.  There are two ways to choose a deck, either copy a list off the internet (and make minor adjustments) or make your own list.  The latter option is a risky choice for a first deck, but it will get your career off to an adventerous start.  In order to make your own deck I would suggest going to www.pokegym.net/tower and looking over some of the cards in the format.  Then pick 1 or 2 of the cards you like and make a deck that features them.  If you are netdecking (taking a list from off the internet) it would help to ask people online advice on how to play the deck.

   Since you are new to the game try to keep your deck idea simple.  Dont worry about a lot of techs, just find a deck that lets you attach low amounts of energy and do lots of damage.  I wrote an article about a good, cheap, fast deck that is excellent for beginers.  You can find it here


7.  Adjust Your Deck.

     The Wright Brothers smacked into the ground many times before they soared along with the birds, so your new deck will need some tweaking as well.  After you play the deck a couple of times you will see where your deck can improve.  Go back to the drawing board and improve your deck, look at cards online and see what cards can help your deck succedde more often. 

8.  Grow Your Collection/ Learn the Lingo

     Now that you have a decent deck and a small collection, it is time to grow the collection.  Take that small collection and make it larger.  Through trading with friends, buying packs and singles, and online trading; you can start to have a respectable collection.  A bigger collection means that you can run bigger and better decks.

I have a problem, I have an extra step that I want to talk about.  So Im going to add this step in with the previous step.  This step is called “Learn the Lingo”.  TCG players have a weird set of words they use to describe the games they play, and it is important for a newbie to learn them, so I have included a small list here.

Tech– A card used in the deck that differs from the other cards in the deck.  For example, Mewtwo Lv.X is a tech that can be put in a lot of decks to give it an advanatage against Basic Pokemon that the deck did not have in the first place. 

Staple– a card that is so good that it is included in most decks.  For people starting the game right now, the current staples are: Claydol GE, Uxie La, Warp Point, Night Maintenance and many others.

Set/ SP names You will always here people talk about “Gengar SF”, “Snorlax RR”, and “Garchomp C.”  So what are those letters after the names of Pokemon.  Well some of them are set names, SF means the set “Diamond and Pearl: StormFront”, and RR means the set “Platinum: Rising Rivals.”  Other lettters signify Pokemon SP, which are just SPecial forms of certain Pokemon.  C means “Champion” G means “Galactic” and GL means “Gym Leader.”  There are other sets and initials so make sure you ge them all down.

Donk– a Donk is a win that happens very quickly, usually on the first, second, or third turns. 

Metagame– Metagame is a broad term refering to the game in a certain place or the game as a whole.  For example, if every player in the state of Tennesse would run water decks you could say that Tennesse’s Metagame is heavy on water.  Currently, it is possible to say that the Metagame is very fast, so your decks will need to be very fast to have a shot at winning.

There are lot of other terms, but those are the major terms.  If you learn those you will be off to a good start.

9.  Practice, Pratice, Practice.

     Perhaps the most important step in learning the game is to practice your heart out.  It may not sound like a big deal, but practicing is the number 1 way in which you can improve your deck and your skills.  It doesn’t matter if you play online (with the help of the Apprentice, or Redshark software), with your friends, of by yourself; you must practice the game to get a leg up on your competition. 

10.  Just Have Fun!

     This step cannot be understated, Pokemon is a GAME, so have fun with it.  It would be nice if you could become one of the best players around, but no matter how serious you are never lose sight of the fact that Pokemon is for fun.  Some people play only to win, those are the kids that are crying after they miss top cut at a tournament.  No matter if your deck is steam rolling your opponents or is getting blown over, just maintain a positive outlook and have fun. 

Now here is a short list of important websites.

www.pojo.com-  This is the site I turn to most.  It has a “Card of the Day” section where you can get the opinions of some of the most expierenced players.  But its main draw is the forum where you can trade cards, get deck advice, and ask questions.

www.teamomar.com-  No need to go anywhere else.  TO has deck workshops, and a card of the day like article written by a handsome and smart guy named Pikkdogs.

www.sixprizes.com-  In the past couple months 6P has grown very large.  It has a lot of deck articles, tournament reports, and strategy advice.  It is ran by a nice guy from Philly named Adam.  Adam will keep you informed on the game and will even give you the oppurtunity to write an article or two for him once in a while. 

www.pokegym.net– Still one of the best Pokemon sites.  It has an awesome message board, and its researching tower is essential.

www.pokemon.com– This is the official Pokemon website.  Here you can serach for leagues in your area and chech your official rankings.  It is a little unorgainized and one part of it always seems to be down, but it is the only official site and that means that it can do things that others can’t.

www.pokebeach.com-  This website is designed more for Pokemon news.  If  you want to learn about the new promos that just came out, this is the site for you.  It is also a great site if you just want to look for over English translations of cards not released yet. 

TheJwittzs Youtube Show-  Just like 6P.com this youtube show came out of nowhere to be a really helpful Pokemon resource.  It is ran by a nice chap from Illinois named Jwittz, and he is always happy to be giving people advice.  This is a link to his YouTube page.


Thats all for now.  Hopefully this will answer some of your questions.  I know that it is hard and intimidating to be joining the Pokemon TCG, it seems like everyone is so much better than you.  But if you talk to most players they will be more than happy to give you some advice. 

Make sure to come back next week when I again will write my normal “Pikk Three” article.

And above all let me be the first to say, “welcome to the game.”

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