Newbie Dad Nees a Clue - Help!

Discussion in 'Cards: Strategy and Rulings Discussion' started by jazee, May 16, 2008.

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  1. jazee

    jazee New Member

    Okay, I'm trying to help my kids build a Pokemon Card collection but I also want them to get involved in a League so they/we need to learn how to build a deck. One kid 6-1/2 the other is 8. I haven't read the rule book but have a basic understanding of the game, very basic, mostly from playing Pokemon XD on the Wii (GC version). I've seen the kids play the card game casually but I get the feeling they don't have a clue about all the rules.

    So I went and bought (with the kids money on their direction), a bunch of $2-$20 cards, mostly 'Ex' cards off E-bay. They have a few hundred cards, but they seem to really want these Ex and Lv.X. This of course before I really did much home work. Duh.

    But being an analyst, I at least thought, there must be some tools out there to figure out which cards are best. So I discovered pokepedia.net and through that I discoverd poke-post.com. The first thing I realized is that some of the cards they wanted couldn't be used in official game play 'Not playable in modified format' and that the World Championship (WC) cards couldn't be used in tournaments either. They were just re-releases of cards that were used to win the WC and their original non-WC versions are quite valuable. I'm assuming if you want to get seriously into playing (and/or collecting) these cards that are not playable in modified format should be avoided, prefereing the similar card this is playable?

    So I'm thinking why don't all the players with money, just buy all the best cards and use them in their deck? Well that was before I loosely understood there is an aspect of evolution in the card game (and the Candy Trainer card's value in evolution.) (I read one basic article on deck building recently) Seems you not only need the top level (Stage 2) super duper Ex or Lv.X cards, but you need the lower stages of that same character to evolve to that card in order to use it? Am I getting this right? So even though we now have about 50 Ex, Lv.X and other reallly good stage 2 cards, they are only going to be able to really include what 2 or 3 of them in their 60-card deck. And the deck should roughly be 20 energy (try to get a Rainbow Energy), 20 trainers (get a few candy trainers), and 20 character cards or whatever you call them. But those 20 characters are really only 2 or 3 main attack cards with their lower stage versions and then some support characters right?

    So it's looking to me like in reality what is happening is the majority of kids out there just want these expensive cards for bragging rights and to trade on the school bus. As soon as they are played, their value goes down as they are no longer mint condition. So there seems to be two sides to this whole thing, one is the game itself, and the other is the card collecting aspect.

    We want to do both. So I suppose in that respect, since they have hundreds of lower cards already, having bought up a bunch of Ultra Rare cards is probably a good strategy as then they can pick and choose which Ultra Rare's they are going to play with and which ones they will be treated just as collector cards and never played. It's going to probably take a while for them to experiment with deck building so having a wide variety of Stage 2 cards to choose from when experimenting with different decks is probably good. Right? However, I can't see anyone in their right mind wanting to actually play something like a Charizard EX (a $100 card) unless they got money to burn? Or do they let you play the cards with protectors on them (doubt it.) You can see how clueless I am about all this.

    If someone could throw me a bone as to whether or not I'm totally nuts the way I'm going about this or if there are some big points that I'm missing, I would greatly appreciate it. I don't want to see the $200 bucks I just dumped on about 60 cards go to waste.

    Even just a link to maybe an article: Intro to Pokemon Card Game Playing and Collecting for Bonehead Dads. :)

    Thanks much in advance!

    Jazee
     
  2. Prof Clay

    Prof Clay New Member

    As a former newbie dad, I think I can give you some helpful advice.

    With your kids being the age they are, your best bet to start out is to simply get them starter decks and have them play a league. League is the BEST place to learn the game and what cards are truly needed to play the game at higher levels.

    If other leagues are like ours, we have oodles of basics and even some uncommon cards that have either been donated by helpful box openers or they are leftovers from the store opening a couple boxes to get the rares for the case. These cards make up our "newb" stuff. When new players come in with their Bestest cards, but have no real idea what is involved in Pokemon Deck construction, we go to these and piece together a deck for the new kids to learn the game.

    There will probably be many great players at the league that will be willing to show you the current decks that are in the format, and which cards you should keep an eye out for or to grab up on e-bay if the price is right. Don't feel rushed right now to go out and get a bunch of older stuff as it will be rotated out of competitive play after the world championships..but its a pretty safe bet to stick with any of the Diamond and Pearl sets

    As a PTO now, I recommend that new players, especially young ones, are slowly introduced to real competitive play...stress the fun you guys are having doing it together. Competitiveness may or may not kick in with them. Compete in Battle Roads, Prereleases that are coming up...but do it for the fun of it and to simply get a feel for the environment. One of the biggest aspects of the Pokemon TCG for my family has been the social aspect, we have friends all over the country and the confidence that my now 14 year old daughter has developed playing this great silly little game. She was 6 when she and I started down this road together...wouldn't change a thing

    Good luck
     
  3. Electipwner

    Electipwner New Member

    Hi! Welcome both to Pokegym and Pokemon in general! On to your questions:

    Q:
    “I'm assuming if you want to get seriously into playing (and/or collecting) these cards that are not playable in modified format should be avoided, preferring the similar card this is playable?”

    A: Yes and no, If you play at league tournaments etc. you do not want cards that are not legal in the Modified format. If you collect or like to play in Unlimited leagues or just play at home, there is nothing wrong with getting any cards that appeal to you. Since you say you would like to do both, I would suggest collecting only legal cards as they tend to have more value and are playable.

    Q: Seems you not only need the top level (Stage 2) super duper Ex or Lv.X cards, but you need the lower stages of that same character to evolve to that card in order to use it? Am I getting this right?

    A: Yes, that is correct


    Q: And the deck should roughly be 20 energy (try to get a Rainbow Energy), 20 trainers (get a few candy trainers), and 20 character cards or whatever you call them. But those 20 characters are really only 2 or 3 main attack cards with their lower stage versions and then some support characters right?

    A: Correct again

    Q: So I suppose in that respect, since they have hundreds of lower cards already, having bought up a bunch of Ultra Rare cards is probably a good strategy as then they can pick and choose which Ultra Rare's they are going to play with and which ones they will be treated just as collector cards and never played. It's going to probably take a while for them to experiment with deck building so having a wide variety of Stage 2 cards to choose from when experimenting with different decks is probably good. Right? However, I can't see anyone in their right mind wanting to actually play something like a Charizard EX (a $100 card) unless they got money to burn? Or do they let you play the cards with protectors on them (doubt it.) You can see how clueless I am about all this.

    A: Again, this is a question of how you use the cards. If you play, by all means use the cards for your decks. If you collect and/or hope to sell them for a profit, keep them in hard sleeves in a box. If you do play, invest in soft sleeves for your deck, these keep your cards in better condition than just having them loose.

    Q: If someone could throw me a bone as to whether or not I'm totally nuts the way I'm going about this or if there are some big points that I'm missing, I would greatly appreciate it. I don't want to see the $200 bucks I just dumped on about 60 cards go to waste.

    A: Your money did not go to waste, EX and Lv. X cards are good starts for decks. Look around at the posts on this site if you need ideas. It may take you as long as a year to build a really good collection. One thing about Pokemon is there is always a different deck to build. Even Uncommon cards like Kricketune can be very good!

    If you find that you need cards for a deck in a hurry these are two sites I would recommend.

    Stop2shop.com

    Gamingetcstore.com

    They have good prices and are very fast with Shipping.

    ~Hope this is helpful! Feel free to ask if you have more questions.
     
  4. japple52

    japple52 New Member

    Jazee -

    I may not answer your questions specifically, but let me offer you some information that I hope will help you.

    You are indeed correct that you need to evolve your Pokemon like below:

    Basic - Stage 1 - Stage 2 (e.g. Bulbsaur - Ivysaur - Venusaur)

    When building a deck, you need a base of cards (i.e. trainers, energy, basic Pokemon, etc…), not just the powerful Pokemon. Your children can decide what their favorite, powerful Pokemon are, and you can use that as a base to help them build their decks. If they choose Venusaur, you’d want something like 3 Venusaur, 3 Ivysaur, and 3 Bulbsaur, which is commonly referred to as a 3-3-3 Venusaur line. They could even do a 4-4-4 Venusaur line if they wanted. This is a very basic way of building a line. With Rare Candy, a commonly used trainer, lines will start looking more like 3-2-3 or 4-2-4 (# basics, # stages 1s, and # stage 2s.) It’s important to note that you can’t have more than 4 of any card in your deck except for basic energy.

    20 Trainers, 20 Energies, and 20 Pokemon are a good base for a beginning deck. These numbers aren’t set in stone, and the more advanced players, will hardly ever play a deck built like that. However, for a beginner, it works. This forum offers a lot of good insight on decks and how to build them. You can just see what other people do and follow that model. Also, you can get a feel for what cards are playable and why by perusing deck builds.

    Generally, cards that are in the current format (legal in tournament play) are more valuable. Some cards are valuable to collectors but not very playable, hence its value varies greatly from player to player. At this point, I'd suggest, as far as playable cards go, buying from Diamond and Pearl sets only. Most kids will always like the shiniest, coolest card to show off. That’s par for the course, however those cards are usually very playable and powerful, hence the reason for their rarity. You just need to make sure you have the necessary supporting cards to go with them. For example, if you buy a Venusaur Ex for play make sure you get an Ivysaur and Bulbsaur to go with it. Starting out, you certainly don’t need a great deck or have great cards. Just know what you’re buying. If you're going to spend money on Trainers, you need to figure out what Trainers are useful. When most kids learn how to play, it's best to keep the cards in their decks simple. You can buy a $20.00 Lv. X, but your kid may think its terrible because he or she doesn't know how to use it or could frustrate them due to its complexity.

    You can certainly play with sleeves (card protector) and I strongly suggest that you do, as it protects the card’s value greatly.

    I'm not much of a collector, but as far as playing and deck building go the best advice is to just do some research, learn how to play so you understand what makes cards good, and play to gain experience. It’s a wonderful activity to do you’re your kids too!

    I hope this helps and good luck!
     
  5. SuicidalPikachu

    SuicidalPikachu New Member

    yea, generally if you buy a structure deck, i would suggest something from DP that will survive the roatation, they usually run something like 25 pokemon, 10 trainers, 25 energy. out of that, you really want to get to what japple said, 20-20-20. Now, the more advanced decks, if you want to go that route a little later, runs roughly 18-24 pokemon, 20-26 trainers, and usually no more than 16 energy.

    to answer your last question, yes you can run your cards in a sort of protector. Card sleeves, usually running about $6 for 60, are great ways for you to keep your deck protected. However, when buying sleeves please note, not all sleeves are tournament legal. Sleeves with Pictures on them that are not the Basic Pokemon Diamond and Pearl-on sleeves are not allowed, and generally speaking, there are some that can be considered too reflective in which case a thing of cheating may be raised. Now, unless you are doing Premier events, most players don't mind, but that is just in case you go to one. The Prerelease sleeves are great little freebies from Prereleases, and they usually hold well. if you can't get your hands on them, then generally Dragon Shield brand sleeves work well.
     
  6. What area do you live in? Is there a league? We give away cards that we have tons of to new kids that need to start decks. I have seen others do it too. Texas has had a 6 year old win State and Gym before. Worlds was won last year by a 7 year old. Good luck and keep it fun.
     
  7. mumsascrappa

    mumsascrappa Active Member

    I'm a Mom of a Pokemon playing almost 14 year old boy. I also play, but not competitively, just at league. We are in New Hampshire.

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned it, but go here (if you haven't already) www.go-pokemon.com Click on trading card game or pokemon organized play and look around. There is a ton of information. Hope this also helps. There is even an online tutorial which is very good to get you started.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  8. Heatherdu

    Heatherdu New Member

    The best way to learn how to play are the Trainer Kits and Starter or Theme Decks. I would let each of your children pick one the they like (for instance the one with Infernape on the box) and go from there. The decks will have Pokemon, trainers and energy. Then once they have learned how to play with them you can work on personalizing them with some of your other cards.

    Leagues are a great place for kids and parents! There are usually players that do not mind playing with and helping new players.

    It does sound like some of your cards are not playable in tournaments. But many kids have fun collecting and trading too so you can consider them an investment as you might end up trading two of those EXs to get the Infernape Lv X to update that starter deck, etc.

    Good luck!
     
  9. MetronOob

    MetronOob New Member

    You and your kids should join a league and buy starter decks, and the league leader and some of the more experienced players will/should help you and your kids learn the rules and how to play.
     
  10. Muscovy Level X

    Muscovy Level X New Member

    If your kids aren't that good yet, try getting them starter decks. Encourage them to modify the decks with cards they have, to make them better.
    The "tournament legal" sets are: Majestic Dawn, Great Encounters, Secret Wonders, Mysterious Treasures, Diamond&Pearl, ex Power Keepers, ex Crystal Guardians and ex Holon Phantoms. All cards have a black and white set symbol on the bottom right of the card.
    Now as I don't know how much you do or don't know, here are the basics for determining "card value".
    1.) exs and Lv.Xs are baicly stronger forms of a Pokemon, that have certain drawbacks so they are fair.
    2.) A good deck is not about "invicible cards", but cards that work together.
    3.) When your kids trade, know about it. Plenty of people tried to rip me off when I was new, and I suspect the same could happen to them.

    And best of luck getting them playing!:thumb: It's good to see parents getting involved and heilping their kids out. (My parents dug in their heels when I started, so it's good to see the opposite).
     
  11. Everwind

    Everwind New Member

    I am in a similar situation. You need to read the rules. They are not difficult, but is important. There is a nice demo of the game on the official pokemon site that I watched with the kids. It is very helpful.

    What is fun about the game? The game has strategy (which requires creativity and understanding of probability) and tactics.

    The strategy comes in the building of a deck. Picking cards that support your strategy of how you want to win the game. There are two primary means of winning the game. One is to win by getting all your prize cards first, the other is to kill the active pokemon with no bench pokemon to replace it. There is a third alternative, "decking" which you force your opponent to run out of cards. This is very difficult in this game. Do you play offensively, defensively balanced, or do you like to disrupt your opponents plans and pick off the weak pokemon? Most young kids like pure offense decks. Do lots of big damage for the 1 or 2 turn knock outs.

    The tactics of the game is during play and basicaly reacting to what your opponent does, whether it is to kill your bench, prevent your powers from working, try to kill things before your bench is established, or just be the last pokemon standing. Here is where the weaknesses and resistance come into play and can really dominate the game. Fire pokemon really hate water decks. Those simple 20 damage attacks can easily become 50 damage attacks.....

    This is where the cards come into play. My kids are impressed by big damage, since they are young so that meant infernape, magmorter. This works well because they cards are realtively easy to get by purchasing the trainer decks and perhaps one of the lvl x tins. So I made decks for them that work off those cards. My one son has a Magmorter/Amphoros deck this is deceptively simple yet very powerful and effective once set up.

    Now the game. As an analyst you need to understand that the game is basicaly about probability. Getting the card(s) you need when you need them. You are limited to 4 of any card (except basic energy), the game encourages you to evolve in a progression to more powerful cards, and there are resources required to make your attacks to defeat your opponents pokemon. So a big part of this game is removing as much random chance as possible. This is where the trainers and certain powers come into play. They are all designed to help realize your strategy as quickly as possible. The cards that help you do that are the ones that are more "valuable" and often have those abilities. Remember, at the begining of the game you have a 4 in 60 chance of drawing any single non energy card you need. When you compound it with other rules in that you also need at least 1 energy, so you can see how probability factors into the equation. Having a hand full of Stage 2 or Level X pokemons doesn't do you a bit of good if you do not have the correct basic version in play or in your hand. You can have all the right pokemon in play, but if your attack requires you to have 2 psychic energy cards on your pokemon to attack, and all you have is water energy in your hand or worse yet no energy at all to play, you are not going to win the game. That is why everyone says to start 20/20/20 because it seems to provide the right ratios from a probability standpoint. Once you have an understanding on how to manipulate the probabilities through power and trainer/support selection you can alter your numbers. That is while you can build decks with 1 or 2 of an evolution line it will not be reliable and ultimately frustrating to the player. That is why they say 3-3-3 or better yet 4-4-4. That way if one or two of your key cards get stuck in the 6 prize cards set aside at the begining of the game, your not screwed.

    Invest in card sleeves when playing and invest in card holders for collecting. All of the toy stores and places like Target have the card storge binders/holders. These are good investments.

    Remember it is just a game and you will be fine. Collectable card games (CCG) are as far a part from traditional board games as you can get. The CCG companies have set up a system that rewards buying more and more cards with intentional planned obsolesence. As long as your cool with that you will be fine. Folks spend lots of money on essentialy card stock, but it offers an incredible depth and breadth of play.
     
  12. edwarpy

    edwarpy New Member

    Everwind++
     

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