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CostHelper > Recreation & Activities  > Pokémon Cards for the Trading Card Game

Pokémon Cards for the Trading Card Game Cost

How Much Do Pokémon Cards for the Trading Card Game Cost?

ItemSuggested Retail Price
Battle or Theme Deck The easiest way to start playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game is with a battle or theme deck for $13-$20.
Pokémon TCG Boxes and Tins Many players enjoy the surprise of unwrapping booster packs. Individual Booster Packs cost $4-$5, but boxes of 3 booster packs run $13-$20, and larger boxes with 4-8 booster packs should cost $25-$50.
Individual Cards Serious Pokémon TCG Players can spend hundreds of dollars collecting the rarest cards to build a specific deck, paying $.25 to hundreds of dollars for each card.

Pokémon is a multimedia franchise spanning video games, television series and movies, manga (Japanese graphic novels) and a Trading Card Game, Pokémon TCG. Pokémon games and stories are set in a world where people live alongside pocket monsters, or Pokémon. In the Trading Card Game, players can compete against others using a deck of 60 cards. While many players buy cards to build a collection, there are also local and international tournaments.

Typical costs:

  • The easiest way to start playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) is with a battle deck of 60 cards for $13-$20, which come ready-to-play. A theme deck may feature a particular basic tactic -- for example, a water-themed deck may contain basic water Pokémon and evolved versions of those Pokémon, and Water Energy cards. However, theme decks typically do not contain very rare cards. Recent battle theme decks include the Venusaur V Battle Deck and the Blastoise V Battle Deck.
  • Many players enjoy opening a booster pack of 10 cards for the surprise and the chance to come across an exceptionally rare card. Each booster pack of Pokémon cards typically costs $4-$5.
  • Boxes that contain 3 Pokémon TCG booster packs usually cost $13-$20 depending on whether they contain extras like miniature figures, promotional cards, and coins.
  • Tins and larger boxes that contain 4 or more TCG booster packs usually cost $20-$55 or more, especially if they contain more than 5 booster packs. Tins and larger boxes also usually feature certain rare promotional cards, like the Glaceon GX tin.
  • Note: due to decreased production during the pandemic and shipping delays, new Pokémon packs are often sold out, and sometimes are sold online at a significant markup over their original retail price. If you buy directly from a large retailer like Target or Wal-Mart, and not another retailer hosted on that site, you should get the original suggested retail price, although new releases sometimes sell out in days.
What should be included:
  • Each booster pack of cards contains 10 cards, and at least one is guaranteed to be "rare" or even more uncommon. Sometimes, a booster pack will contain two rare cards.
  • You can also play Pokémon TCG Online, and each pack of cards comes with a code you can scan to use those same cards online.
  • The Pokémon website lists which cards can be used[1] for the 2022 Pokémon TCG Championship Series. Each season, "Standard" decks usually include cards released within the last 1 1/2 to 2 years.
  • The Pokémon website provides the official Pokémon Trading Card Game Rule Book[2] .
Additional costs:
  • To play Pokémon TCG against an opponent, all each player needs is a deck of cards. However, players often use a playmat ($20-$25) to keep their cards organized.
  • Other accessories include sleeves ($2-$10) to protect cards, dice or counters to keep track of damage ($1-$6), and a coin to flip. Pokémon Elite Trainer boxes ($40-$60) contain these accessories plus 8 Pokémon booster packs.
  • Dedicated players who wish to build a competitive deck sometimes purchase entire boxes of 36 booster packs (at $90-$150 for 36 booster packs), and then supplement further by purchasing individual cards (from $.25 to over $100 a card) to execute a particular strategy.
  • Occasionally, there are promotions with McDonald's Happy Meals or certain cereal boxes which can contain 3-4 free Pokémon cards.
Shopping for pokémon cards for the trading card game :
  • Pokémon cards are sold at Pokémon Center, the official Pokémon website, at big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart, at some game stores like GameStop, and at local hobby and gaming stores.
  • The Pokémon website[3] lists locations where official Pokémon TCG tournaments are held, although there are very few locations in the world during the 2021 pandemic. Local gaming shops -- often where local Dungeons and Dragons games are held -- sometimes host Pokémon TCG games, and in 2021, some of them host online game rooms.
  • We don't recommend purchasing loose cards from sources like eBay or Amazon, sometimes sold as a bag of hundreds of cards, as many counterfeit cards exist. When purchasing individual cards, we recommend going to a trusted retailer, like a local hobby store.
  • Note: In May 2021, Target announced that it would no longer carry Pokémon cards[4] in their stores "in an abundance of caution," due to violence that sometimes erupted trying to get card boxes that were often out of stock. Target continues to sell Pokémon cards on its website.
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