How to Play Pokémon TCG

King Gaming

Pokémon TCG is a fun and engaging game for all ages. It's easy to learn, but there are many strategies that can take time to master. This guide will help you get started playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game right away!

Deciding a Deck

In Pokémon TCG, you'll need to decide on a deck type. There are three types of decks: Theme Decks, Standard Decks and Expanded Decks.

Theme decks are the easiest to start out with because they come with pre-built theme decks that have all of the cards you need included. These decks can be played against other players without having to purchase any additional cards, but they lack customization options compared to standard and expanded formats.

Standard format consists of deck sizes ranging from 60 to 70 cards based on player preference. This format requires the least amount of investment in terms of money spent on purchasing packs but requires more skill than other formats since there aren't any prebuilt themes available for selection prior to gameplay starting (similarly with Expanded Format).

Choosing your Deck

When choosing a deck, it’s important to consider how your style of play will fit with the deck you choose. If you enjoy playing fast and aggressive decks, then a deck like Machamp or Tauros-GX is the way to go. If you enjoy playing control decks that build up over time, then look for something like Alolan Ninetales-GX or Zoroark-GX.

If you are just starting out and don’t have much Pokémon TCG experience, it’s always best to start by using an easy deck that relies on basic mechanics rather than complicated ones. This way, if something goes wrong during gameplay or your opponent uses cards that are unfamiliar to you (such as Energy Evolution), then at least there won’t be any confusion about how to react when these situations arise.

Get a Trainer Kit or Starter Deck

Once you've chosen your deck, it's time to get some cards. If you're just starting out and don't have much money, we recommend getting a Trainer Kit. These come with everything you need to get started:

5 Pokémon Trading Card Game theme decks that contain all of the cards required to play against other players

1 60-card deck of basic Energy cards*

1 pair of dice (to keep track of damage)

A play mat that shows where to place your cards during each game

Building a Deck

If you're just getting started with the Pokémon TCG, building a deck can be one of the most daunting aspects of playing. Building a good deck is important because it will help you have more fun and be more successful at tournaments. This section will give you tips on what to look for when building decks and how to use those cards effectively in battle.

Here are some general guidelines for creating any deck:

  • Try not to go over 60 cards; if your deck has too many cards, it might be hard to draw the ones that are needed when they're needed. (You can always add additional Basic Energy cards.)

  • Make sure that there are enough Pokémon in your deck so that each game starts with at least one active Pokémon on your side of the field. If not, consider adding some more Basic Pokémon or Trainer Cards that allow new Pokémon onto your Bench as soon as possible!

Getting Started

To play a Pokémon TCG game, you need:

  • A deck of 60 cards that all have the same name. (For example, you can't put in both a Pikachu and Raichu.)

  • A coin to flip to see who goes first. (You can also play with dice or another method.)

  • Damage counters and damage counters markers in order to keep track of how much damage your Pokémon have taken. These come with the cards, or you can make your own by using coins or beads from around the house. If a card says "Do 5 damage" on it, then when that attack hits your opponent's Pokémon, you put five damage counters on their card until they're at zero again!

Play Options

Pokémon TCG is a two-player game. Each player has their own deck of 60 cards, which includes Pokémon and Trainer cards. You can use your Pokémon to attack or defend, while your Trainer cards help you use attacks more effectively.

Trainer cards are divided into three types: Item, Supporter, and Stadium card decks. The Item deck contains items that players can attach to their Pokémon for an additional effect; these include Berries and Poké Balls (the latter of which allow players to catch wild Pokémon). Supporter decks contain Supporters that allow the player who plays them to search through their discard pile for additional cards (such as Professor Elm's Training Method) or draw more from their deck (like Sycamore). Stadiums have general effects on both players' fields—for example, Sky Field allows each player to have up to six evolutions per turn instead of just one once played—and some only work if the right conditions are met before they're played out correctly by both players simultaneously during their respective turns; others only apply when they're in play but don't do anything else until removed by another kind of action later on down the line."

Game Objectives

In the Pokémon TCG, you win by knocking out all of your opponent's Pokémon. You can also win by having more prize cards than your opponent after a certain number of turns have passed.

This is an important principle to remember when building your deck, because it will help you understand which cards are most effective at accomplishing each objective.

The Starting Player, Opening Hand, and Prize Cards

In the Pokémon TCG, there is a special kind of card called "Prize Cards." These are awarded to the winner of each match, and they're placed in a pile near the middle of the table. In order to win, you have to have fewer Prize Cards than your opponent at the end of a match.

Here's how it works:

  • The player who goes first during setup gets first pick of their opening hand. This is called being "first player." First player can choose from any cards in their deck—no restrictions! They then shuffle this deck and place it face-down on their side of the field as an “opening hand” for their next turn.*

  • Both players draw seven cards from their deck (or up to ten if they have extra energy cards). This is called your “starting hand” for that game.*

  • Players may use any number of basic energy cards from their opening hand during this round, but not more than one per turn.*

  • The remaining six or seven cards become your discard pile until next time you draw cards during play.*

Your Turn and Your Opponent's Turn

On your turn, you can play only one card or use only one ability. Your opponent has the same restriction. You can, however, play as many cards in a turn as you like—they just have to be played one at a time.

For example: On your first turn of the game, your active Pokémon might be Pikachu (50 HP) and it's currently at 10 damage. In that case, if you wanted to attack with both Pikachu and another Pokémon of yours on Turn 1 of the game (when attacking is allowed), then Pikachu would have to attack first because it's already active—then when Pikachu is knocked out from combat damage (i.e., taking more than 50 damage), its replacement effect would kick in changing all other Pokémon on your side into their second evolution stage for free! This means that if you had another Lightning-type Pokémon like Raichu (100 HP), then Raichu could now attack without having any Energy attached!

Retreating Pokémon and Switching Active Pokémon

You can Retreat your Active Pokémon to switch it with another Pokémon in your hand.

  • You can only retreat a Pokémon that is Active. If a card says, "Switch", then it must be in play (meaning on the field) and not already Asleep or Paralyzed.

  • You cannot retreat a Pokémon that has already been Retreated, even if they are still standing on their feet and ready to battle!

Placing Damage Counters on Pokémon

In the Pokémon TCG, there are two ways to deal damage to your opponent's Pokémon: you can place damage counters on them, or you can knock them out. When a Pokémon is damaged by an attack, you'll place one or more damage counters on it at the end of each turn. You can also place damage counters on your own Pokémon as a result of other card effects.

You may not place more than six damage counters on a single Pokémon; if you would do so, any additional damage counter(s) must be placed elsewhere (or be placed back into the deck).

Knocking Out A Pokémon, Drawing Prize Cards, and Winning the Game

When a player has knocked out all of their opponent’s Pokémon, they win the game. If a player is unable to knock out any of their opponent's Pokémon, then it is possible for them to take six prize cards instead, winning the game in what is called "taking an automatic victory."

In order to claim this victory, however—or even if you decide at any point during your turn that you want to do so—you must have only one remaining Pokémon on your side of the field and no other cards in hand (such as Energy). You must then choose which prizes you would like before drawing your next card from your deck.


We hope that the information we’ve given you will help you become a better Pokémon TCG player! If you have any other questions or would like to learn more about what else is happening in the world of Pokémon TCG, please visit our website at

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