Pokémon Trading Card Game: An Introduction to Competitive Play
As this is the first article I write for this site, I hope that you all will find it to your liking! Do not hesitate to share your opinion, whether it is praise or constructive criticism; it is welcome. After all, we are all here to learn something!
My name is Steffen Eriksen, and I am a competitive Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) player. I have for the past 11 years played Pokémon TCG competitively, and currently I am playing for team 8bp. I will be writing articles about Pokémon TCG related contents. This could be anything from deck lists and tournament reports, to advice on how to get into the game, and how it is to be a competitive TCG player. Many of you might be wondering: Is Pokémon TCG still a thing? Are there really tournaments in that game? A lot of people ask me these questions, so in this article, I will give a short overview over the current state of the Pokémon TCG tournament scene.
Pokémon TCG has been around for more than 20 years. Last year they celebrated their 20th anniversary, and with the release of Pokémon GO, and Pokémon Sun & Moon, the franchise has grown even bigger. During all these years, Pokémon TCG has been a game people of all ages could have fun with, and almost every year during the past two decades, the number of competitive players have grown. At this point in the 2016/2017 season, there has been more than 29.000 players participating in an official TCG event globally (excluding Japan and South Korea, making the actual number much higher!).
From the start of the 2016/2017 season, big changes have been made to the competitive tournament scene. In general, there are fewer but bigger events, and cash prizes has now been formally introduced. Previously, only scholarships could be won, meaning that your prize could only be spend on school related activities… Now you can win up to $10,000 at one of the 4 International Championships, and up to $5,000 at one of the multiple Regional Championships spread around the globe. In total, there are up to $62,000 in the prize pool for an international championship (based on attendance), and up to $28,500 in the prize pool for a regional championship (based on attendance) for Pokémon TCG.
This might sound nice and all, but for newer players who just entered the competitive scene, this might seem a little ambitious. You might wonder if there are other, smaller tournaments, that might be interesting? Sure, there is! If you are looking for smaller events, where you get the chance to try out the competitive side of Pokémon TCG, then you can participate in either a League Challenge or a League Cup. League Challenges are designed to provide players with small, entry-level tournaments on a local scale. Such events, are a great way to get started in the world of Pokémon TCG tournament play. League Cups are also considered local events, but do come across as more competitive events than League Challenges. A League Cup is a good practice event, before deciding to take on one of the larger events in the Pokémon TCG Championship Series.
The road for many of the great players today, started at their local Pokémon league. Aside from hosting League Challenges and League Cups, a Pokémon league is a place where Pokémon fans can meet and share the interest they love. At a Pokémon league, you can learn how to play the game, and practice against more experienced players. You can check out pokemon.com, and see if there is a league near you!
Not close to any Pokémon League? or just too lazy to leave your couch? Fear not! There are plenty of ways to learn the game, and get all the information you need right at your fingertips. There exist a vast number of Youtube channels, websites, Facebook pages, and even weekly podcasts, all ready to share their information with you! The game can even be played online, so you have the option to practice anywhere. You can begin your adventure to become the next great Pokémon TCG player anytime, so don’t stop after reading this article. Get into the game!
Soon, more articles will become available on this site. The next will feature a deck analysis of the well-known Rayquaza deck. This beastly dragon comes in many varieties. I will give you my opinion about the different versions of the deck, and provide you all with some lists to work with. So, stay tuned, and thank you all for reading!
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I’m Steffen Eriksen and I’ve spend the last 12 years of my life being involved in Pokémon TCG, mostly as a competitive player, but also as a judge, organizer and league leader. I feel fortunate for being able to spend my time doing what I love to do. I get to play the game at an international level, travel to a lot of different places, seeing parts of the world I otherwise never would have seen. When I am at home, I enjoy teaching new players how to play the game at the local league every Wednesday.