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Help an old newbie, information gathering about the "new" pokémon TCG
Shining Mew
post Jan 19 2011, 12:05 PM
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I used to play and collect Pokémon cards a tonne back in the 1st Gen days. I have no idea where all my old cards are now, sadly, though I suspect my parents probably threw them away. For some reason, in the past few months, I've been feeling a strong desire to get into pokémon cards again. I have no idea why, perhaps as a desire to return to my youth, or some stupid psychological reason like that.

A week or so ago I gave into my desires and bought some booster packs/decks, but I was rather quickly overwhelmed! There are so many different expansions and things now, I really had no idea where to start, so I ended up with a bit of everything. I wanted to buy at least two decks so my boyfriend and I could play (which was kind of funny because one of the decks was way more overpowered than the other), and then there were all these crazy rules that none of us remembered! Thankfully, the decks had directions, so we were able to figure out most things.

Anyway, instead of satisfying me, buying pokémon cards just kind of whet my appetite. I want to get more cards and build up my own decks again, and maybe even play (though I'm at the age where I might freak people out if I started playing strangers at like conventions and such). But having been out of the loop for so long, there are some things I want to learn before I jump back in again.

So, I'm looking for some advice. There might be better places on the internet to ask for such advice, but I'm already a member here, so it seemed easiest.

Buying Cards

What expansions do you guys like the most? Like the least? Any particular favourites? Which ones have the best artwork? Which are the best for play? Any particular pre-made decks that you're fond of?

It seems the stores around here are mostly selling HGSS and Platinum cards. However, I can also order online. It seems there are a lot of places that sell older expansion boosters/decks for decent prices, I'd just have to pay shipping costs as well.

Playing the Game

First of all... can anyone explain prize cards to me for real? It seemed to be one of the few things the directions just glossed over instead of explaining, and I don't remember those at all from when I used to play about a decade ago. I get that you get a prize card (sometimes 2) when you KO an opponent's pokémon, but... that's about it. Do you pick these cards out yourself or are they chosen randomly or what's the deal?

What other "new" changes have happened? Last time I was active in the pokémon TCG was with the Team Rocket set. I know some of the rules for things like Lvl. X pokémon, Champion/Elite 4 pokémon, and Legends because the rules for those were included in the rules with the premade decks I bought, but there are just SO MANY expansions that I'm not sure what else I'm missing.

Online Resources

What good online resources exist for learning about the pokémon TCG on my own? I know Serebii.net and Bulbapedia both have good resources for looking at individual cards, but unless I really feel like looking at each and every card individually for a particular set to learn about it, it's kind of clunky and hard to navigate. Are there any other good sites out there that any of you know of?

Also, specifically, is there a place where I can easily and quickly figure out which symbols match to what sets? I threw away all the packing of the booster packs I bought and know I don't know which cards are part of what sets.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. cat.gif Feel free to offer up any other information that you feel is interesting or useful, or ask me any questions you'd like. I'm excited to be getting back into this.


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Raikou Trainer
post Jan 20 2011, 08:05 AM
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QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 19 2011, 12:05 PM) *
I want to get more cards and build up my own decks again, and maybe even play (though I'm at the age where I might freak people out if I started playing strangers at like conventions and such).

No need to worry about age, because a majority of the players today who play in the major tournaments are over the age of 18.

QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 19 2011, 12:05 PM) *
Buying Cards

What expansions do you guys like the most? Like the least? Any particular favourites? Which ones have the best artwork? Which are the best for play? Any particular pre-made decks that you're fond of?

Best for play would hands down be Platinum because it contains a most of the SP support that a majority of decks run nowadays. HGSS: Triumphant would be the next best set in terms of playability, followed by HGSS. Also, the Call of Legends set that's due out next month is most likely going to be a good set in terms of playability, but until it releases, I can't be 100% sure.

In terms of theme decks, I personally like the Nightfall deck from Undaunted, as it's the best source of basic Darkness and Metal Energy (which are still fairly hard to come by), and also comes with decent Trainers and Supporters.

QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 19 2011, 12:05 PM) *
Playing the Game

First of all... can anyone explain prize cards to me for real? It seemed to be one of the few things the directions just glossed over instead of explaining, and I don't remember those at all from when I used to play about a decade ago. I get that you get a prize card (sometimes 2) when you KO an opponent's pokémon, but... that's about it. Do you pick these cards out yourself or are they chosen randomly or what's the deal?

Basically when you Knock Out a Pokemon you decide which of your Prize cards that you want and add it to your hand.

QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 19 2011, 12:05 PM) *
What other "new" changes have happened? Last time I was active in the pokémon TCG was with the Team Rocket set. I know some of the rules for things like Lvl. X pokémon, Champion/Elite 4 pokémon, and Legends because the rules for those were included in the rules with the premade decks I bought, but there are just SO MANY expansions that I'm not sure what else I'm missing.

You already know about Supporters and Poke-Powers/Poke-Bodies? Those, and the ones you mentioned, are really the only other mechanics that you have to worry about nowadays.

QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 19 2011, 12:05 PM) *
Online Resources

What good online resources exist for learning about the pokémon TCG on my own? I know Serebii.net and Bulbapedia both have good resources for looking at individual cards, but unless I really feel like looking at each and every card individually for a particular set to learn about it, it's kind of clunky and hard to navigate. Are there any other good sites out there that any of you know of?

Also, specifically, is there a place where I can easily and quickly figure out which symbols match to what sets? I threw away all the packing of the booster packs I bought and know I don't know which cards are part of what sets.

Pokegym.net has scans of just about every card (with expansion symbols), and in a much easier interface than either of the sites you mentioned.

I'd strongly suggest looking for a League near you if you're wanting to play again. Use Pokemon.com's Event Locator to search for one. Leagues are meant to be casual, so there's no pressure on trying to win a lot. You also get some sweet promo cards just for playing in a League, win or lose, and most Leagues are free to play in, so it's definitely worth checking out.

Finally, Prereleases are a great way to get cards from the newest sets before they are officially released. They only cost around $25, and you get 6 packs of the new set to use during the tournament with which you build a forty card deck (including basic Energy, which are provided). Afterwards, regardless of how well you did, you get an extra two packs, a promo card and a promotional item (in the case of Call of Legends, it is a deck box). Some Prereleases also offer a Theme Deck Challenge, which you use a Theme deck from the new set, and afterwards get four packs and the promo items.

For a beginning player like yourself, the Theme deck option is most definitely the way to go, as you get a theme deck, five packs (including the one in the theme deck itself), a deck box, and a promo card for only $25. Sweet deal! While Prereleases are more structured than Leagues, it is well worth it. The Call of Legends Prereleases are on the weekends of January 29th and February 5th. Use the Event Locator I linked to earlier to find a Prerelease near you.

Hope this helps, and welcome back to the game!


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Shining Mew
post Jan 20 2011, 06:23 PM
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Thanks for the great reply! Don't mind me, just going to walk through and nitpick some stuff to clarify.

QUOTE(Raikou Trainer @ Jan 20 2011, 07:05 AM) *
No need to worry about age, because a majority of the players today who play in the major tournaments are over the age of 18.


Definitely a good relief to know that. Reminds me of a webcomic that someone linked me to of a girl's progression through pokémon fandom: all her friends played pokémon in grade school, then she was alone in high school, and then all all the people she met in college also loved pokémon.

QUOTE(Raikou Trainer @ Jan 20 2011, 07:05 AM) *
Best for play would hands down be Platinum because it contains a most of the SP support that a majority of decks run nowadays. HGSS: Triumphant would be the next best set in terms of playability, followed by HGSS. Also, the Call of Legends set that's due out next month is most likely going to be a good set in terms of playability, but until it releases, I can't be 100% sure.

In terms of theme decks, I personally like the Nightfall deck from Undaunted, as it's the best source of basic Darkness and Metal Energy (which are still fairly hard to come by), and also comes with decent Trainers and Supporters.


Any specific Platinum expansions you prefer over others? Last I checked there were 4 of them. One the theme decks I got was a Platinum one (Overflow), and I wasn't too impressed with it, though it was a premade deck, and was also missing a card (sadly).

I ended up going with the Espeon theme deck over the Umbreon deck... mostly just because Espeon is cool, though I'll probably end up getting the other for the energy. I do need to build all those resources back up, after all.

QUOTE(Raikou Trainer @ Jan 20 2011, 07:05 AM) *
Basically when you Knock Out a Pokemon you decide which of your Prize cards that you want and add it to your hand.


That much I get but... where do the prize cards come from? Are they cards you randomly select from your deck after shuffling? Or do you choose which cards are your prize cards? Are they actually from your deck or are they added on top of the total number of cards in your deck? I'm sure this probably sounds really dumb, but how prize cards are chosen and where they come from doesn't appear in the rules at all.

QUOTE(Raikou Trainer @ Jan 20 2011, 07:05 AM) *
You already know about Supporters and Poke-Powers/Poke-Bodies? Those, and the ones you mentioned, are really the only other mechanics that you have to worry about nowadays.


Yeah, those all seemed pretty simple. Although: what's the difference between Poké-powers and Poké-bodies? Is it kind of an active (power) versus passive (body) difference, or is there more to it mechanically?

QUOTE(Raikou Trainer @ Jan 20 2011, 07:05 AM) *
Pokegym.net has scans of just about every card (with expansion symbols), and in a much easier interface than either of the sites you mentioned.


That is definitely a cool website; thanks for sharing! cat.gif

QUOTE(Raikou Trainer @ Jan 20 2011, 07:05 AM) *
I'd strongly suggest looking for a League near you if you're wanting to play again. Use Pokemon.com's Event Locator to search for one. Leagues are meant to be casual, so there's no pressure on trying to win a lot. You also get some sweet promo cards just for playing in a League, win or lose, and most Leagues are free to play in, so it's definitely worth checking out.

Finally, Prereleases are a great way to get cards from the newest sets before they are officially released. They only cost around $25, and you get 6 packs of the new set to use during the tournament with which you build a forty card deck (including basic Energy, which are provided). Afterwards, regardless of how well you did, you get an extra two packs, a promo card and a promotional item (in the case of Call of Legends, it is a deck box). Some Prereleases also offer a Theme Deck Challenge, which you use a Theme deck from the new set, and afterwards get four packs and the promo items.

For a beginning player like yourself, the Theme deck option is most definitely the way to go, as you get a theme deck, five packs (including the one in the theme deck itself), a deck box, and a promo card for only $25. Sweet deal! While Prereleases are more structured than Leagues, it is well worth it. The Call of Legends Prereleases are on the weekends of January 29th and February 5th. Use the Event Locator I linked to earlier to find a Prerelease near you.

Hope this helps, and welcome back to the game!


Wow, that definitely seems cool. The prereleases thing seems like a great, economical way to get started on new sets, and playing in a league environment would be fun. Using the site you linked, I found a comic shop in Chicago (not too far) that hosts league playing and has prereleases for the new Call of Legends set going too.

The only real downside for me is that I'm really, horribly shy. I don't think I could muster up the courage to go do something like that on my own, and I have no friends around here that would go with me. Two very good friends of mine (one of which I remember playing pokémon cards with BACK IN DAY) probably would have gone with me in a heartbeat... except they both just moved to Texas in fall. It seems all my friends are spreading out.

I think it's something I'll just have to work my way into. I'm hoping there will be some league activities at a local anime convention that I'm staffing for in May of this year, and maybe I can take some part in that (even if it's just watching from the sidelines and showing some vague interest). If all else fails, I know my boyfriend would be willing to come along with me the next time he's back in town, which will be this summer. Hopefully once I get to know some of the people involved, I won't be quite as paralyzed by fear if I choose to go on my own at a later date. And it'll give me a couple months to build up my collection and knowledge.

Thanks again for all the great information! You've been a real help. <3


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Interact with my pokémon and eggs and I'll reciprocate in kind
Click on the cute Pokémon trainer couple to access my party page, and please don't steal my artwork <3
I have claimed Shellos! East Sea represent, yo~
Formerly, Terezi Pyrope, Kirie
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Raikou Trainer
post Jan 20 2011, 09:48 PM
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QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 20 2011, 06:23 PM) *
Any specific Platinum expansions you prefer over others? Last I checked there were 4 of them. One the theme decks I got was a Platinum one (Overflow), and I wasn't too impressed with it, though it was a premade deck, and was also missing a card (sadly).

The original Platinum set is what I was talking about.

QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 20 2011, 06:23 PM) *
That much I get but... where do the prize cards come from? Are they cards you randomly select from your deck after shuffling? Or do you choose which cards are your prize cards? Are they actually from your deck or are they added on top of the total number of cards in your deck? I'm sure this probably sounds really dumb, but how prize cards are chosen and where they come from doesn't appear in the rules at all.

You take the top six cards of your deck and set them aside face down after you set up your Pokemon. Unless you use a card that allows you to look at them, you cannot look at your Prize cards.

QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 20 2011, 06:23 PM) *
Yeah, those all seemed pretty simple. Although: what's the difference between Poké-powers and Poké-bodies? Is it kind of an active (power) versus passive (body) difference, or is there more to it mechanically?

Poke-Bodies are always active, while you choose when to use Poke-Powers.


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Shining Mew
post Jan 20 2011, 10:00 PM
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Thanks again. cat.gif

Another dumb newbie question.

What does it mean when energy symbols are just kind of smudgy circles like in this pokémon?


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Interact with my pokémon and eggs and I'll reciprocate in kind
Click on the cute Pokémon trainer couple to access my party page, and please don't steal my artwork <3
I have claimed Shellos! East Sea represent, yo~
Formerly, Terezi Pyrope, Kirie
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Raikou Trainer
post Jan 21 2011, 07:26 AM
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QUOTE(Terezi Pyrope @ Jan 20 2011, 10:00 PM) *
What does it mean when energy symbols are just kind of smudgy circles like in this pokémon?

That means no energy is required to use that attack.


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Shining Mew
post Jan 21 2011, 05:17 PM
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That's what my gut said, just thought I ought to clarify. :P

Thanks again for all your help. <3


--------------------

Interact with my pokémon and eggs and I'll reciprocate in kind
Click on the cute Pokémon trainer couple to access my party page, and please don't steal my artwork <3
I have claimed Shellos! East Sea represent, yo~
Formerly, Terezi Pyrope, Kirie
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