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Beginner’s Guide to Pokémon Cards

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Pokémon cards are most likely a part of your childhood. Whether you collected them yourself or recall friends excitedly telling you all about their collection, Pikachu, Trainers, and Pokémon are definitely terms you remember.

Either way, there is no appropriate age to get into Pokémon, you just need the interest. People everywhere still follow the ever growing franchise and it’s new stories. So, want to join in?

Whether you were or are a card collector who wants to join in the game or a novice Pokémon fan, we have outlined everything you need to know about one of the most popular franchises.

Let’s dive in.

What are Pokémon Cards

Pokémon cards are a collectible card game based on the Pokémon franchise which includes an anime, video games, card game, and merchandise. The storyline is based on creatures that live in the wild or with their owner (trainer). The trainer aims to “catch them all,” referring to the Pokémon, and battle against other trainers.

How Many Pokémon Cards are There?

There are over 800 Pokémon cards in existence, they are collected for different reasons including one’s personal collection, trading, and to participate in card trading games (TCG). People who participate in TCGs need exactly 60 cards to build a strong deck to win battles against other trainers.

New cards come out every new season of the show. They are referred to as a new generation or series. We are currently in the 8th generation, the Sword & Shield generation.

There are a multitude of types of Pokémon cards that have different purposes and strengths. There are also rare cards that both players and collectors seek to find, but not for the same reason.

You see, some cards are rare but only for age and nostalgia, while others are rare in power and strength. Depending on the purpose of collecting cards, people look for different things.

Different Types of Pokémon Cards

There are three different types of Pokémon cards that make up a proper deck. These include Pokémon Character cards, Energy cards, and Trainer cards. Aside from these you will also find EX and GX cards as well as Rarity cards. The last two are what take a basic deck to a powerful one.

1. Character Cards

Character cards are a favourite for most because they are the Pokémon! Every card is complete with all of the information a player needs to know about a specific Pokémon. 

Furthermore, each character has a type, including fire, water, psychic, ect.

The cards also indicate how evolved a Pokémon is, whether it is in its basic form, Stage 1, or even Stage 2. These cards evolve during a game when a player layers a basic card with a Stage 1 or a Stage 2 evolution on top of a Stage 1 card. 

There are also legendary Pokémon that do not evolve but are some of the most powerful in a TCG, they are only found in booster packs.

2. Energy Cards

Energy cards are needed to power Pokémon through a game. Basic Energy cards are always found in any pack on the market as it consists of one of the three needed to make a proper deck.

However, there are also special energy cards which give a different kind of boost to different Pokémon depending on the type. In most cases, a Pokémon can’t attack without an Energy card.

Types of Energy Cards:

  1. Grass: Attacks that heal themselves or poison the opponent.
  2. Fire: Big Attacks that can burn the opponent, but this attack takes longer to build up again.
  3. Water: Can manipulate energy and move the opponent around on the other team.
  4. Lightning: Can bring back used energy from the discard pile and can paralyze the opponent.
  5. Psychic: Amazing for special powers, it can put the opponent to sleep, make them confused, or poisoned.
  6. Fighting: Able to take bigger risks for more damage, some allow you to flip a coin for possible combo hits.
  7. Darkness: Has sneaky attacks that often force the opponent to discard cards, it can also poison Pokémon.
  8. Metal: it can resist attacks for longer than any other Pokémon.
  9. Fairy: It makes the opposing Pokémon’s attacks less effective.
  10. Dragon: Very strong attacks, but often needs two energy types to be used.
  11. Colourless: Has many more moves and works with any type of deck.

3. Trainer Cards

Trainer cards are used for the items, supporters, and stadiums available during battle. They also include special rules on the bottom of the card that must be followed whilst in play. Trainer cards are categorized into four main types and four less used types. They can all feature a rarity, no matter the type.

Trainer card categories:

  1. Supporter cards: These can only be used once per turn as they are powerful.
  2. Item cards: These can be used as many times as you want but do not have as powerful a result.
  3. Stadium cards: These are not often used simply based on practicality. Once set down, a stadium card is in play until another stadium card takes its place.
  4. Pokémon tool: These attach to your Pokémon in play and are very useful.
  5. Technical machine: These work similar to Pokémon tool cards, but they list an attack instead of a tool.
  6. Ace spec: A very powerful card that comes with severe restrictions which place limits on the power itself.
  7. Rocket’s Secret Machine: A special type of trainer, but the card doesn’t feature anything definite about them. These are mostly a rare collectable item as they are being replaced by other Trainer cards.

4. EX and GX Cards


EX cards are ultra rare cards known for their flashiness. The EX stands for extra because they are very powerful. These cards are usually basic Pokémon  which means that they can be used right away. But as they are so powerful, there are many restrictions, for example, if your opponent strikes down your EX card, they claim two prizes instead of one.

EX cards are not as popular among players anymore as the new generation places a bigger emphasis on GX cards. GX cards are the same as EX cards, however, they are not basic Pokémon. Instead, you must evolve your Pokémon into GX cards in the same way you would with a stage one or two card.

Furthermore, GX cards also have a GX move which is so powerful it can only be used once throughout the whole game.

5. Rarity Cards

As mentioned earlier there are different types and uses of Rarity cards. For collectors a Rarity card is one of the most important to collect as it holds more value. For a player, a Rarity card is good to have, but it is not the most important card to have in a deck.

You can determine the rarity of a card by looking at the bottom right corner, there you will find a symbol. A black circle means the card is common, a black diamond indicates the card is uncommon, and a black star indicates the card is rare.

Aside from these symbols, a card can also be holographic or of another special look to indicate its rarity. There are a ton of different variations of symbols and special looks to find.

You can find Ultra Rare cards including Pokémon Legend cards, Pokémon Prime cards, Pokémon Star cards, Secret Rare cards, and more.

Pokémon Expansion and Booster Packs

An expansion pack is a new set of cards that are released with a new generation or series. Every new expansion includes 100 to 200 new cards based on characters introduced through the anime and video game. You cannot actually buy a complete expansion all together, you must collect them through booster packs.

Booster packs are sets of ten cards that you can buy and add to your collection. Booster packs may hold any of the cards from a generation. Purchasing a booster pack is a game of luck as you never know what you are going to get, you can only be sure of it’s generation.

Often, a booster pack will contain one rare card, three to four uncommon cards, and four to five common cards (or the remaining cards left).

What is Pokémon TCG?

TCG stands for trading card game in which a Trainer (player) uses their deck of cards to defeat their opponent. The player’s deck of cards is strategically made to fit their style of play.

To play, you need a deck of 60 cards that consists of all three categories. Aside from energy cards, you can’t have more than four of the same card in your deck.

Thus, it’s recommended for beginners to start with a pre-built deck while learning the game. Once you understand the basics, you can start building a custom deck with your favourite cards based on your style of play.

How to Play Pokémon TCG

Every year, the rules of Pokémon TCG change depending on the current season. The Pokémon company releases a new guide with the official tournament rules as well as a refresher of how to play the game and what all cards signify.

How To Win Pokémon TCG

There are three possible ways to win a Pokémon TCG match. You can either;

  1. Claim all available prizes.
  2. Knock out all of your opponent’s Pokémon plays.
  3. If your opponent has no more cards at the beginning of their turn.

How to Set Up Pokémon TCG

Before you begin playing, here is how to set up your TCG;

  1. Be courteous and shake hands with your opponent.
  2. Flip a coin, the winner decides which player begins.
  3. Each shuffle your own deck of 60 cards and draw 7 cards from the top.
  4. Ensure you have a Basic Pokémon in your hand.
  5. If you don’t have a Basic Pokémon, reveal your hand, reshuffle your it, and place it back in the deck. Then, pick 7 more cards to replace your hand. Continue this process until you have a Basic Pokémon.
  6. Every time an opponent doesn’t have a Basic Pokémon, the other opponent can draw an extra card.
  7. Place one of your Basic Pokémon face down, this is your active Pokémon.
  8. Pick maximum five more Basic Pokémon and place them face down on your bench.
  9. Put the top six cards of your deck to the side, face down, as your prize cards.
  10. Both players flip their active and five benched Pokémon face up and begin the game.

Play Your Turn of Pokémon TCG

Every turn has three parts to it before your turn is officially over, they include:

  1. Drawing a card
  2. Taking one of the following actions
    1. Put as many basic Pokémon as you want from your hand on the bench.
    2. Evolve as many Pokémon as you desire.
    3. Attach an energy card to a Pokémon in your hand.
    4. Play as many trainer cards as you want (but only one supporter card and one stadium card per turn).
    5. Retreat one active Pokémon card.
    6. Use as many abilities as you want.
  3. Attack and end your turn.

When your turn is over, and before the next round begins, you need to do some damage control. This is called Pokémon Check-Up and it happens between every turn.

During Pokémon Check-Up you need to:

  1. Take care of any special conditions in the following order;
    1. Poisoned
    2. Burned
    3. Asleep
    4. Paralyzed
  2. Apply any effects of any ability or trainer car, or any other directions stated on the card.

Once both players have completed their Check-Up, any Pokémon that is left with no more Hit Points (HP)* is knocked out and a new Pokémon must take its active place. The opponent gets a prize card for their success and the next turn begins.

* A Pokémon’s HP signifies its stamina and health Every character begins with a certain amount and it will change depending on attacks.

The game will continue with these steps until someone wins, and that is the game of Pokémon.

Where Can I Get Pokémon Cards?

Pokémon cards can be purchased online and at almost any super store including Target, Walmart, game stores, and even the dollar store.

You can count on Geek Fashion for all of your Pokémon needs and desires. We have everything from the most current generation of cards and merchandise to the Pokémon supplies that will amplify your game! 

Pokémon cards are most likely a part of your childhood. Whether you collected them yourself or recall friends excitedly telling you all about their collection, Pikachu, Trainers, and Pokémon are definitely terms you remember.

Either way, there is no appropriate age to get into Pokémon, you just need the interest. People everywhere still follow the ever growing franchise and it’s new stories. So, want to join in?

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