How to Buy Pokemon Cards and Booster Packs

Using cards, players battle each other in rounds, winning Prize cards when they knock out the opponent’s Pokemon. Players can start the game with preconstructed decks or build their own unique decks from booster packs.

Evolve Pokemon to improve their attacks and HP. They can only evolve to a Stage 1 card from their evolution line and cannot be evolved on the same turn they are played.


Players draw a hand of seven cards. They then place a Basic Pokemon from their deck, face down on the play mat, to act as their active Pokemon. Each Pokemon card has its name, type, hit points and evolutionary stage on it. Most also have a Poke-Power, Poke-Body and/or Ability printed on it. Additionally, a number of Attacks are listed on each card along with their damage (inflicted in the corner of the attack card), effect and retreat cost.

A Pokemon is considered burned if it suffers two damage counters. It is cured if the player flips a coin – on heads, the Pokemon heals itself. A Pokemon is paralyzed if it has three or more damage counters on it and cannot attack or retreat on the next turn.

Trainer cards can be used to heal a Pokemon, draw more cards or perform other actions. A player may only use one Supporter and Stadium card per turn. Other cards, called Trainer Aids, allow you to switch your active Pokemon with a benched one.


Pokemon has a long history in the card game world and, as such, its rules are pretty straightforward. Players shuffle their decks and draw seven cards each to form their starting hand. They then place one basic Pokemon in the active spot on their play mat and up to five more on their bench (all face down). If either player does not have a basic Pokemon in their hand, they must take a mulligan. After taking mulligans, each player shows their hand to the opponent and then shuffles their deck and draws a new set of seven cards.

Players can use any number of Item and Tool cards during their turn, but only one card designated as a Supporter or Stadium each turn; attach any number of Energy cards to an active Pokemon or a benched Pokemon that has an Ability; attack the opponent by paying the attack cost listed on a Pokemon’s card in energy; and set aside the top six cards from their deck as prize cards. During each turn, any Pokemon that is Burned, Confused or Paralyzed takes damage and is discarded at the end of their owner’s turn.

Booster Packs

Booster packs are the best way to buy into the Pokemon TCG without spending a fortune on an expansion box. Generally speaking, each booster pack contains one Rare card, three Uncommon cards and six Common cards. Additionally, each pack has a chance to contain a Reverse-Holo rare or a Holofoil rare card, which is an alternate version of a normal card with a different picture and holographic effect.

Each pack also contains a Pokémon code card. These are used to track the cards you own and can be redeemed for rewards such as booster packs, foil, Pokemon V or Pokemon VMAX cards, and even complete sets!

With the 2023 Pokemon TCG market rebounding after a downturn in January, it’s an excellent time to buy into the newest releases. For instance, the 2021 set Lost Origin features a number of fantastic singles, including Full Art Alternate artworks by Shinji Kanda. His vivid, dynamic style makes his work stand out on cards such as Brilliant Stars Sawk and Astral Radiance Bronzong.

Collectible Cards

As a collectible, Pokemon cards have real value. Some vintage and modern cards can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Whether you’re collecting for profit or just for fun, it’s important to stick to your budget and stay within your means.

For example, the 1999 base set’s 1st Edition “Shadowless” Charizard card can sell for hundreds of dollars. It’s the rarest card in the entire set, and it has a nostalgic association for kids who grew up with Pokemon in the 90s.

Another high-value Pokemon card is the Epseon Gold Star, which can fetch four figures in mint condition. This rare collectible features the heroine of the Sun & Moon games, Lillie, and has a beautiful, well-drawn card art. If you want to keep your cards in mint condition, use penny sleeves and invest in binders. These rigid plastic cases protect your cards from bending and damage while they’re in storage or being shipped.

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