Setting Boundaries For My New Pokemon Trading Card Game Addict…Hobby.

My Pokemon Trading Card Game collection went from 0-to-100 real quick.

In just over a week, I went from nothing to a coffee table full of pre-made decks, promo cards, boosters, tins, and more. Don’t worry, as I can continue to pay my mortgage and put food on the table…for now.

That said, I have discovered in short order that this hobby can drain my attention and bank account very quickly. It’s time to set boundaries on what I currently want out of this. They may change over time and that’s okay. But it’s important for me to understand my limits before I really get carried away.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: Build a foundation of cards that allow us to build decks using all energy types

When Steff and I first played our Venusaur vs. Blastoise set for the first time, the game really won us over with its adaptation of Pokemon combat. We wanted to experience more of what the game had to offer. In order to do that, we needed to expand our foundation.

Expanding the base is a bit more complicated than just buying a bunch of booster packs. Bare minimum, we want a combination of Pokemon cards and energy cards across all energy types to take advantage of the full spectrum. Due to the random nature of booster packs and the fact that only one energy card appears per pack, buying boosters isn’t necessarily the most efficient way of expanding our base quickly.

Instead, we’ve opted for pre-built theme decks as a starting point. They may not be viable in tournament play, but they do allow us to play immediately while serving as a foundation for each energy type. For example, the Groudon deck comes with 20 fighting energy and the Zacian deck comes with metal energy. We have covered more than half of the energy types this way and are working on covering the rest!

It’s not important for me to build tournament-viable decks

Being the very best like no one every was isn’t on my roadmap. As much as I enjoy playing the game, I hate the idea of buying more cards in hopes that I pull just the right ones to build my perfect deck. Furthermore, only certain cards are supported in official tournaments at any given time, meaning that players are constantly buying new cards as older ones are cycled out of rotation.

At this juncture, I want to explore the game with whatever cards I have. With so much potential for synergy between cards, there’s a lot of room to play in before I feel a serious need to compete at an IRL tournament. For now, I just want enough to have a great time with my wife and friends.

It’s (mostly) not important for me to build a collection of rare cards for the flex or for reselling

Pulling holy grail cards from packs is all the rage in the Pokemon Trading Card Game community. And I get the hype now on a personal level. My wife and I pulled this full art holofoil Pokemon Center Lady card that looks awesome and is valued at around $30 as of writing. Can’t make a down payment on a house by selling it, but it was quite the thrill to pull a card that was worth more than what we paid for the booster pack.

It’s exciting to feel that high, but actively chasing that becomes incredibly expensive incredibly quickly. I saw a TikTok of someone who spent $1,700 on boxes in hopes of landing a rare Charizard card and that life doesn’t seem appealing to me. Even if I was looking at it from the perspective of reselling for profit, it’s takes a ton of money and time with no guarantee that any of it will pay off.

All that said, I did make the splash on a booster box, which contains 36 booster packs inside. I pre-ordered the Chilling Reign booster box because:

  • I wanted to experience what it was like to have and open the big box that collectors fawn over
  • Even if we don’t pull the specific holy grails we’re looking for, we’ll flesh out the foundation of our set and should have a few great cards in there. Booster boxes are one’s best bet at landing great cards due to booster boxes having the best distribution of rare cards.

If I’m ever going to make a run at any card ever, it’s going to be a shiny Snorlax card. Thus, I throw down my cash for one box in hopes that shiny Snorlax is in there.

If it isn’t? That’s okay. Still achieves our other goal of building our foundation. This will also be the only box of this set I’m committing to, as just the one is quite the investment. And going forward, the upfront cost of these boxes is such that I don’t see myself buying them regularly. I’m okay with one-off booster packs or smaller sets, even if that means my chances of getting rare cards is lower.

It’s not important for me to complete a set of anything

Completing a set in Pokemon TCG can mean a lot of different things. It could mean filling out a Pokedex. It could mean completing a set of cards within a set, such as Chilling Reign, Battle Styles, or Vivid Voltage. It could be collecting every version of a specific Pokemon.

Whatever that idea of a collection is, it’s not important for me to complete any particular set. I’ve never been a completionist in anything, which is a valuable asset to have when completing anything in this space can cost a fortune. I’ll enjoy the cards that I get without the added pressure of seeking specific ones to finish a self-appointed objective.

I will prioritize buying new packs in order to get TCG Online codes

One of the cool things about the Pokemon Trading Card Game is that almost every item comes with a code for the online version of the game. Themed decks allow for a 1:1 import into the digital game, while booster codes give you in-game booster packs.

In the future, I hope to be playing online with a few of my friends and other random opponents around the world. Being able to build a collection in the digital world is a huge plus!

Eyes on the prize

As of writing, these are the factors I’ll use to determine how I proceed. Hopefully, keeping these in mind before I make any moves will help keep me on the rails. Over time, these priorities may change. That’s okay! If I’m in a position where I can justify moving the goal posts, I will. But for the time being, I don’t see myself being a serious collector or a competitive player. I just want to get some cards and have some fun.

(Dear Lord, please bless me with that shiny Snorlax card though!)

Buy the Pokemon TCG: Battle Deck – Venusaur vs. Blastoise Now From

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