Card-buying advice for beginning players

Before we begin, a fair warning: this article is concerned with optimizing the process of acquiring cards for use in the Pokemon trading card game.  Some people buy cards because they want to play the Pokemon trading card game, while other people buy cards because they enjoy buying and collecting cards.  This article’s intended audience is the former group.

Summed up briefly, there are two approaches to buying cards:

  • Figure out which cards you want to use, and then buy them (the economical way)
  • Buy cards, and then figure out which ones you want to use (the popular way)

Probably the biggest reason that new players choose to buy pre-constructed decks or booster packs (the popular route) is that they simply don’t know how to build a good deck. “Skill as a deck builder is something that comes from experience,” most people seem to figure.  And they are right.  However, building decks with completely random cards from booster packs is a tremendously inefficient way to learn how to deck-build, and pre-constructed theme decks generally serve as very poor examples of effectively-constructed decks.  Even a novice player buying singles according to a planned deck list can expect to come up with a better deck than someone trying to piece together a deck using the random cards that they pulled from packs, and it doesn’t take much learning to make a deck that will outperform basic theme decks. Continue reading