The best Pokémon card

Amber Van Wort

A Pokémon deck is made up of 60 cards. Generally, you want to divide that into 20 character cards, 20 energy cards, and 20 trainer cards.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) is a fun hobby for people of all ages. Whether you enjoy playing the game with friends or simply want to collect all the rarest cards, there are endless hours of entertainment to be had. With over 800 Pokémon in existence and myriad rules to follow, knowing where to get started can feel overwhelming.

But don't worry -- our shopping guide has all the information you need, including some of our personal card recommendations. Serious collectors will love our top pick, the Pokémon TCG Lycanroc Gx Box, for its rare foil cards.

Considerations when choosing Pokémon cards

Types of Pokémon cards

Character cards: These cards feature the actual Pokémon and are really the only type of card collectors are interested in. You will find the Pokémon's name, type, HP, and abilities featured on these cards.

Energy cards: Energy cards are an essential aspect of playing Pokémon TCG. These cards are divided into types: grass, water, ghost, etc. and are what allows your Pokémon to use its power.

Trainer cards: Trainer cards can do a number of things in Pokémon TCG. Each card has different directions on them that may require you to draw new cards, switch Pokémon, and more.

Pokémon card generations

Every few years, a new generation of Pokémon is released. Here's a rundown of what's out there:

First generation: This generation was released in 1998 and ties into the original video games: Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow. Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle are just a few of the most popular first-generation Pokémon.

Second generation: Released in 2000, the second generation of Pokémon are featured in the Gold, Silver, and Crystal video games. This generation saw Pokémon like Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile.

Third generation: In 2002, Pokémon video games Ruby and Sapphire were released and with them came Pokémon like Treecko, Mudkip, and Torchic.

Fourth generation: In 2006, Pokémon like Turtwig, Piplup, and Chimchar joined the Pokémon world and the Diamond and Pearl games were released.

Fifth generation: The fifth generation, which was introduced in 2010, included the Black and White video games along with many popular Pokémon, such as Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott.

Sixth generation: 2013 saw the release of video games X and Y and with it, Pokémon like Chespin, Fennekin, and Froakie were introduced.

Seventh generation: The seventh generation is the newest generation currently available and features Pokémon like Rowlet, Popplio, and Litten.


Ready-to-play decks

Building a deck can be overwhelming and complicated if you are new to the Pokémon world. Luckily, there are a number of preassembled decks that come with everything you need to dive straight into playing. You can expect a ready-to-play deck with character, energy, and training cards. Game mats, rules, and Pokémon coins are also included. These preassembled decks are perfect for starting out, but you might not receive the greatest cards and they often include a number of duplicate cards.

Online play

Many of the booster packs and themed decks come with a code you can scan into the Pokémon TCG online app. This allows you to play and trade cards online with a large community of Pokémon enthusiasts.

Pokémon card prices

The prices of Pokémon cards vary depending on how rare they are. On average, you can expect to pay around $5 for a booster pack and about $10 to $20 for a starter deck. Prices for individual cards range anywhere from 25 cents to hundreds of dollars for rare collectible cards.


Q. How can I tell which Pokémon cards are rare?
If the bottom right corner of your card has a star, a star H, or three stars, then you have a rare card.

Q. Can all generations of Pokémon cards be played together?
If you're playing for fun, you can absolutely mix generations. However, this might not be allowed if you're playing in an organized tournament.

Q. How can I tell if my Pokémon cards are fake?
Discoloration, thinner cards, or shockingly low prices are all indicators of potentially fake cards.

Pokémon cards we recommend

Best of the best: Pokémon TCG Lycanroc Gx Box

Our take: An amazing set that includes foil cards and a few rare cards. Perfect for the avid collector who doesn't require any of the basic startup cards.

What we like: A balanced collection of cards with few to no duplicates, includes both foil and rare cards.

What we dislike: This set sits at a slightly higher price point than the others on our list.

Best bang for your buck: Pokémon 100-Piece Assorted Cards

Our take: A large number of cards for an affordable price, this set is the perfect way to instantly boost the size of your card collection on a budget.

What we like: Large set includes a number of popular collectibles from each generation as well as a number of energy cards. Sits at a reasonably low price point.

What we dislike: Some sets include a large number of duplicates.

Choice 3: Pokémon Mewtwo & Pikachu XY Evolutions TCG Card Game Decks

Our take: This set of two starter decks is the perfect way for new fans to kickstart their collection.

What we like: Based on popular characters Mewtwo and Pikachu, these decks include quality top-character cards and can be used to play online as well.

What we dislike: A few reports of numerous duplicates in the decks.

Amber Van Wort is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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