I’m constantly being asked, “What’s the best way of getting into the Pokemon TCG?” The problem is I still never really know how to answer it! It can be a very expensive game to get into and this has put many people off playing the game. In this article I aim to explain what I think the best ways of getting into the Pokemon TCG in the 2020 – 2021 Season!
Despite what anyone tells you, buying Booster Packs, Elite Trainer Boxes or Booster Boxes really aren’t the best place to start deck building. This is because many of the most playable decks in the format use cards from up to eight different sets. Not only that, but getting multiples of the same card is not very common from booster boxes at all! This is why i recommend starting with a premade deck and up grading it with cards you think are nessesary.
But what are the best premade decks to start with? I believe that there are a few you should keep your eyes out for!
Reshiram & Charizard League Battle Deck (£20-£25)
This Green’s Exploration deck is a brilliant start for new and veteran players alike. Featuring 2 copies of Reshiram & Charizard-GX, a powerful 3 prize attacker that can 1-hit-KO almost any Pokemon as well as a single copy of Charizard & Braixen-GX, an alternate 3 prize attacker that does 180 damage, whilst allowing you to search for any three cards. Not only do you get two of the best fire attackers in the format, you also get cards that support them. This includes Welder, a supporter card that allows you to attach two extra fire energy from your hand and draw 3 cards for doing so, Giant Hearth, a card that allows you to discard a card from your hand and search your deck for 2 fire energy and Volcanion, a Basic Pokemon that allows you to search fire energy out of your deck and attach it to your fire pokemon!
This is a deck you could play for the 2020-2021 format and have success with, but you could consider upgrading it further with cards such as the following.
Victini-V: A new V Pokemon that allows you to attach 3 energy from your discard to your Pokemon in any way that you like. For two fire it can also deal 30 damage for each energy attached to it and your opponents active Pokemon combined! This is good against Reshiram & Charizard-GX which needs 6 energy attached to it to use it’s 300 damage attack.
Ninetales-V: This Pokemon V allows you to copy one of your opponent’s active Pokemon’s attacks and use it as Ninetales’ attack. Because you can use Welder to attach extra energy and it’s a basic Pokemon, you can copy expensive attacks or Stage-2 Pokemon’s attacks faster than they can pay them!
In conclusion, this deck is perfect for people who think they will enjoy playing fire type decks until September 2021 as the fire type will be a consistantly good type as long as Welder is in the format!
Pikachu & Zekrom League Battle Deck (£35-£50)
This Jirachi based deck is so versitile, it’s a struggle getting ahold of! Your main attacker in this deck is Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, this 3 prize attacker deals 150 damage whilst allowing you to search your deck for up to 3 lightning energy and attach them to one of your pokemon. You may want to attach those energy to Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX, as for 3 Lightning energy it can deal 160 damage, whilst leaving your opponents active pokemon paralyzed! Just like with the Fire deck, there are many tools in this deck to help support these powerful Pokemon! However, the tools you gain in this deck are not specifically for lightning decks only!
Jirachi really is the highlight, this support pokemon allows you to find extra trainers to give your deck extra consistancy. It is a card that is played in 95% of competitive decks so getting 4 of them in this starter deck is huge! You also get a Tapu Koko* (Prism Star), this card is one of the 4 Prism Star cards that survive the 2020 rotation and this means that you are limited to one in your deck. However, you get to accelerate 1 lightning energy from your discard pile to 2 benched pokemon, this gives you an extra energy attachment, which will make paying these three energy attackers an easier job! You can even play energy switch to help you move an energy from one pokemon to another!
If you buy this deck, you really aren’t conditioned to Lightning Pokemon due to the copies of Jirachi, Marnie, Professor’s Research and Quick Ball that you receieve. Howver, if you did want to stick to lightning and upgrade your deck. There are some cards I would recommend.
Tapu Koko-V: A powerful 2 prize attacker that can hit 200 damage and has 3 retreat. Both the 3 Prize attackers in the deck can hit 160 make without using their GX Attacks. This means that tapu koko is more effiecient overall.
Boltund-V: This Pokemon has a damage scaling attack, it does 30 damage for each lightning energy that’s attached to all of your pokemon in play, combining this with Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s ‘Full Blitz’ can result in a high damaging attack!
Dedenne-GX: This support GX allows you discard your hand and draw 6 cards when you bench it! This allows you to draw cards even if you don’t have a supporter in hand and is played in basically every deck! With the new Trainers Toolkit product being released with two of these included. You should definatley be aiming to play this cards in your deck!
Theme Decks (Sword & Shield Series) (£5-£15)
Not looking to play competitively? Don’t worry, there are premade decks made for you too!
I would always try to pickup the newest theme deck if you are just getting started! Chase Games stock all Sword and Shield decks on their site if you are looking to order them! These decks are designed for complete beginners and are not competitively viable. However, in recent years they have started including more playable cards! For example, the Zacian Rebel Clash theme deck includes 3 copies of Professor’s Research and some Metal Saucer. Buying Single cards online to add on to this deck can gradually help you to build a more competitive deck in the future!