Common Concern: The cost of a good deck - Updated for BW-on!

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Thread: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck - Updated for BW-on!

  1. #1
    #winning Politoed666's Avatar Bulbapedia Staff
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    Default Common Concern: The cost of a good deck - Updated for BW-on!

    I've talked to a few people on here who say that they would be interested in picking up the TCG if they weren't concerned about the cost of playing the game. And since part of my mission here is to convert more Bulbagarden members into the TCG-fandom like myself, I figure I should dispel a few rumors regarding the cost of playing the Pokémon TCG competitively.

    Well, I'll be frank. It costs money. Everything does, these days. However, it's cheaper than you'd think. Unlike a certain heathen game *cough*YUGIOH*cough*, one doesn't need expensive cards to win games, even in a competitive setting.

    In Pokémon, the value of cards is often based more on playability than how rare they are. A good example was that Claydol GE (a [now rotated] normal rare!) was, in its heyday, valued much more highly than a number of Lv.Xs, such as Lucario Lv.X MT. (GE and MT are set abbreviations. You'll see me use them a lot.)

    So, the most you can expect to pay for a usable card is around $50, for a new-ish, highly playable EX. Sometimes less. Collectable cards, such as first editions, tend to hover a little higher in price, but there's no need to worry about that now. And what's even better is that there are good decks to be built that don't cost much money at all. Garchomp/Altaria looks to be very good in a BW-on format.

    The area where most of your money will go is toward trainers and staple cards. Certain trainers and certain Pokémon fit into almost every deck, and they tend to get a bit pricey. However, the good news is that, provided you don't trade them away, you only need to buy them once! No need to buy new staples when you wanna change your deck around! Only the structure Pokémon of the deck need to change. For example, if you want to change your deck from a Garchomp/Altaria to a Hydreigon/Darkrai, the trainers and supporting Pokémon won't change much; just the main lines.

    So, for your convenience, I've compiled a short list of staples, how many you should buy/trade for (provided you only want to keep one deck at a time), and approximately what they cost.

    Finally updated for BW-on!
    4x Professor Juniper - $1/ea
    4x Bianca - $1/ea
    4x N - $1/ea
    4x Cheren - $1/ea
    4x Level Ball - $0.50/ea
    4x Ultra Ball - $0.50/ea
    4x Heavy Ball - $0.25/ea
    3x Skyarrow Bridge - $0.50/ea
    3x Switch - $0.25/ea
    4x PlusPower - $0.25/ea
    4x Pokémon Catcher - $9/ea
    4x Rare Candy - $1/ea
    4x Eviolite - $1/ea
    4x Max Potion - $0.75/ea
    4x Random Receiver - $1/ea
    4x Dark Patch - $1/ea
    4x Pokémon Communication - $1/ea
    2x Super Rod - $0.75/ea

    Aaand... that's about it for staples. There may be some I didn't think of, but if you can get those, you have a good start to any great deck. From there, just decide what you want to run and buy the other necessary components.

    So, as you can see, it really doesn't cost that much. After buying the staples, I'd say go to one prerelease every time a set is released and then buy about six or seven packs. Should cost around $50 total, and that's about once every two months. Not bad.

    Oh, and events are free. I'm out of time, but I may have more to say on the matter! Comment! Discuss! Inquire!
    Last edited by Politoed666; 24th July 2012 at 11:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User JWittz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    I know that there are definitely exceptions to the case, but the average pokemon deck (just the cards itself) probably runs from 100-120 dollars at the prime time of its popularity. This can be considerably less if you buy cards that you think will be good before popularity rises (rob downs bought like 10-15 uxies at 2$ each from the start :P). It's definitely a game that costs a bit to play, but if you have a job/wealthy family and pool your money well I think the cost doesn't really feel like a burden. I buy a box of each set and MAYBE a few other packs, and that runs me about 400$ a year. Sounds like a TON, but if you think about it, it's about a dollar a day in a year. Plus, I sell cards back and trade for the things I need.

    So yeah, it's hard to ignore that the game isn't free if you want to be the best, but I think it's at least REASONABLE :D

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    黒い王様 Archaic's Avatar Webmaster
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    It should be pointed out that a good number of your trainers will be reused from year to year. While sets are rotated out, and set specific cards will move on, the real core trainer cards don't change a lot. Even when they do, they're often slow to change completely. For instance, it took about 2 years, IIRC, for the so-called "Delta Engine" of trainer cards to be rotated out, but things like Rare Candy and Warp Point are staples that are still in common use, even if the wording on the cards has changed slightly in the new versions.

    Having said that...I do think it was probably easier to pick up the game when Japanese cards were still acceptable for tournaments, as Japanese theme decks often contained cards that were rare and valuable, up to and including ex and Level X cards.
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    Registered User JWittz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Archaic View Post
    It should be pointed out that a good number of your trainers will be reused from year to year. While sets are rotated out, and set specific cards will move on, the real core trainer cards don't change a lot. Even when they do, they're often slow to change completely. For instance, it took about 2 years, IIRC, for the so-called "Delta Engine" of trainer cards to be rotated out, but things like Rare Candy and Warp Point are staples that are still in common use, even if the wording on the cards has changed slightly in the new versions.

    Having said that...I do think it was probably easier to pick up the game when Japanese cards were still acceptable for tournaments, as Japanese theme decks often contained cards that were rare and valuable, up to and including ex and Level X cards.
    I agree with the statement about japanese cards 100%. The japanese have structure decks geared toward competitive play and their card singles are very inexpensive and durable. It was a shame for a lot of people (myself included), when POP chose to limit foreign cards to 6 per deck :/

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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    I calculated how much money a person would have to spend on your staples and I came up with about $100

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    Registered User pinkachu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    my deck cost me about 200 back in the day


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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    this game confuses me

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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    If you have any questions about how to play the game, you're more than welcome to ask them here.

    If you're having trouble getting started, pre-made decks are completely fine to start with. Once you understand the basics of the game, you can start upgrading and finding individual cards like the ones Politoed have shown here.

    A side note, the list probably needs an update since only certain sets may be played in a given season. It's a common staple for long lasting card games to 'rotate' sets to keep the game fresh and then there's business motive to keep you buying cards. >>

    I believe the Baltoy and Claydol are no longer in the current format.

    There are new staples on the market such as Interviewer's Questions and Twins which are apart of the recent HGSS Undaunted and HGSS Triumphant respectively. Supporters and Trainers are critical components of strategy in the current metagame. Don't doubt having too many trainers/supporters in your deck.
    Last edited by Rayne; 11th December 2010 at 01:16 AM.

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    Who am I? Joshawott's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    To start, just do what I did. I brought a deck, and as I went on, I added to it. I now run Flygon-Donphan Prime. Most I had to pay was about £10 a piece for my 3 Donphan. When I played Yu-Gi-Oh!, it was a nightmare - Upper Deck (and later Konami) made the more useful cards higher rarities than their Japanese counterparts (like Dark Armed Dragon - a mere Rare in Japan, but Secret Rare when released outside of Japan).

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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    It's nice that I just decided to delve into the Pokemon TCG. I used to collect cards as a kid (back when Gold and Silver were BRAND new games :P), but since then I've only played the games. Just last night my friend bought the two of us a starter deck. (Lucky me, in the extra booster I got a Charizard Star from EX Dragon Frontiers. I felt pleased, just because it looks cool and I know they're rare. ^__^)

    Well, we played a mock match just to get a grasp of the rules. I really enjoyed playing. It was simple enough to follow what was going on. I loved it.

    Here comes my comparison to Magic the Gathering:
    MTG was super tough to learn at first for me. So many rules, so many phases, and so many cards. And I'll say that I probably spent around 500-600 bucks in the first year of play. I know that the top decks around usually run from 300-600 dollars in Magic. Hell, 'good rares' usually went no less than 8 bucks. And here I am reading how some staple cards in Pokemon are 3-5 bucks. I know that in Magic, everyone wanted the best planeswalkers and Baneslayer Angel. The angel used to go for 50 bucks, and Jace (possibly the best card right now) is no less than 90 dollars. Kinda ridiculous, I would say.

    I also love the fact that they are POKEMON cards. I love Pokemon and have a liking for each and every one. It's nice to open a pack and see a Mawile. Really nice, actually. I kinda got tired of opening Magic packs and only looking forward to the rare card in the pack (and later being annoyed that it was a crap rare that I already had). At least with Pokemon I can enjoy the commons that are Pokemon I love. :)

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    Fiery Dancer Laterna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    While I agree with everything this thread offers up - that you can make a decent deck with more-or-less any card available to you if you think about it. However, as has been said, it's about actually affording the cards. While what is outlined in the first post is all well and good, it doesn't really afford much by way of personal flair to a deck, which is something I always strive for - when playing with family and friends, people tend to recognise my decks instantly more in terms of style rather than "it's a good deck".

    Digressing aside, I think the more common concern people have is not in terms of buying really specific individual cards that bump up any deck - while those cards outlined in the first post are useful, I think they're too specific and not everyone is gonna make a deck using those cards - obvious, I know, but I felt it needed saying. I don't think it's right to be so specific in "what cards you can use" where it doesn't really allow much room for differentiation between player to player. That's where either doing a hell of a lot of research and digging in places like Serebii's CardDex, PokéBeach's listings or even going through each individual Pokémon on Bulbapedia. It becomes a bit too much. The only other option is to buy pre-made them decks, card tins or card booster packs.

    Which brings me to my point, which is a little more of an aside to what this thread is actually about, but still related - I know myself that in recent years (since about Stormfront onwards) my set is dwindling - the cost of even a booster pack has shot up dramatically in Scotland (can't really speak for anywhere else) and it's become almost a rarity for me to be able to afford to buy things like booster packs, card tins and pre-made decks. It creates a huge problem especially when I'm trying to something new with my own decks rather than falling back onto specific strategies and over-used cards.

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    Registered User Format-Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    Sorry if this is a bit of a medium sized bump, but...

    I think that this thread should be updated. All the staples mentioned are OLD and now illegall ('cept Rare Candy, which is still awesome). I can write up a few of the current format's staples, and I would only hope that you can update the first post.

    Alright, a lot of the good main attacking Pokemon can cost a ton, so that's why you go rouge now adays. You do not need to go rouge, it is all up to the player, but if you are concerned about money, then it is what needs to happen. Hey, who knows, maybe your rouge deck can become the new Luxchomp (highly unlikely, though) and you will make a quick buck just by winning Tournaments then selling the deck. So, I realise I am just rambling on, and now I will state the staples in a great deck.

    Staples for HGSS-on (ebay prices):

    3-4 Professor Oak's New Theory (about 20¢ Each)/Professor Juniper (about 20¢ Each)
    2-4 Judge (about $1.00 each)
    0-4 Copycat (about $1.00 each, or go to a league and get them for free) (It's personal preference, but needed if you are running Yanmega)
    3-4 Pokemon Collector ($4.00+ each)
    2-3 Dual Ball (about $1.00 each)
    3-4 Pokemon Communication (about $1.00 each)
    0-4 Rare Candy ($1.00-$5.00 each) (Only needed if you have Stage 2 Pokemon)
    2-4 Pokemon Reversal ($2.00+ each)/Pokemon Catcher (n/a) (With the new set)
    0-4 Double Colorless Energy ($2.00-$10.00 Each, or wait untill it is a league promo) (a.k.a. DCE)

    Feel free to add on to that.
    Last edited by Format-Man; 28th July 2011 at 09:36 AM.

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    Registered User Palbert6393's Avatar
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Format-Man View Post
    Sorry if this is a bit of a medium sized bump, but...

    I think that this thread should be updated. All the staples mentioned are OLD and now illegall ('cept Rare Candy, which is still awesome). I can write up a few of the current format's staples, and I would only hope that you can update the first post.

    Alright, a lot of the good main attacking Pokemon can cost a ton, so that's why you go rouge now adays. You do not need to go rouge, it is all up to the player, but if you are concerned about money, then it is what needs to happen. Hey, who knows, maybe your rouge deck can become the new Luxchomp (highly unlikely, though) and you will make a quick buck just by winning Tournaments then selling the deck. So, I realise I am just rambling on, and now I will state the staples in a great deck.

    Staples for HGSS-on (ebay prices):

    3-4 Professor Oak's New Theory (about 20¢ Each)/Professor Juniper (about 20¢ Each)
    2-4 Judge (about $1.00 each)
    0-4 Copycat (about $1.00 each, or go to a league and get them for free) (It's personal preference, but needed if you are running Yanmega)
    3-4 Pokemon Collector ($4.00+ each)
    2-3 Dual Ball (about $1.00 each)
    3-4 Pokemon Communication (about $1.00 each)
    0-4 Rare Candy ($1.00-$5.00 each) (Only needed if you have Stage 2 Pokemon)
    2-4 Pokemon Reversal ($2.00+ each)/Pokemon Catcher (n/a) (With the new set)

    Feel free to add on to that.
    DCE is normally a staple in most decks, there is usually something that can use it
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  14. #14
    Registered User Format-Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    Ah, yes, true, I will update immediatly.

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    Default Re: Common Concern: The cost of a good deck

    I made a deck mainly from gifts from people and one deck i cant remember if I bought it or not, but in friendly games it is pretty good, and i am trying to find a way to revise it and make it tornument ready. Decks can come cheap, especially if you creatively use the cards you have.

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