Help Competitive players’ budget

Toni Kensa

Playing and Collecting
Member
Hi Pokebeach trainers!

A question for all of you on competitive scene, just to set my expectations: how much do you normally spend per each month on TCG?
I saw that expansions get released more often than I thought, do you buy each expansion boxes to try your luck or/and look for specific cards that match your strategy?

After six years of pause I’m resuming to play TCG on events and (hopefully) competitive scene on my country. Since we’re a group of friends who did stop long ago and some novices we would like the pro’s opinion on how to move forward.

Thanks!
 

Vom

it's not because i like you
Forum Mod
Member
Hey, welcome back!

I recently got back into it myself, and before doing anything I spent about a week researching the current metagame, watching videos, tournament results, etc. If you haven't been keeping up with the current game, I recommend you watch OmniPoke, google, ZapdosTCG and maybe YellowSwellow if you have the time. In terms of sites, there's, obviously, PokéBeach, and as for tournament results, you can check Limitless TCG.

In terms of pricing, I get all of my cards from TCG Player or eBay if they don't have them. What I did is go for staples first based on what I learned from that week, and then moved on to cards to build a specific deck. At this point I probably spent around a 100$. Then, since my budget allowed for it, I looked into other playable cards from the more recent expansions, and bought another 100$ worth of cards.

I personally like to go over each expansion on release and pick out all the cards I think have potential, but it really depends on your budget. I wouldn't exactly say it's x$ per month (unless you're buying cards monthly) but more of spending here and there depending on what you want to play or tournaments you want to attend.

Hope this helps!
 

Toni Kensa

Playing and Collecting
Member
Hey, welcome back!

I recently got back into it myself, and before doing anything I spent about a week researching the current metagame, watching videos, tournament results, etc. If you haven't been keeping up with the current game, I recommend you watch OmniPoke, pokebeach, ZapdosTCG and maybe YellowSwellow if you have the time. In terms of sites, there's, obviously, PokéBeach, and as for tournament results, you can check Limitless TCG.

In terms of pricing, I get all of my cards from TCG Player or eBay if they don't have them. What I did is go for staples first based on what I learned from that week, and then moved on to cards to build a specific deck. At this point I probably spent around a 100$. Then, since my budget allowed for it, I looked into other playable cards from the more recent expansions, and bought another 100$ worth of cards.

I personally like to go over each expansion on release and pick out all the cards I think have potential, but it really depends on your budget. I wouldn't exactly say it's x$ per month (unless you're buying cards monthly) but more of spending here and there depending on what you want to play or tournaments you want to attend.

Hope this helps!

Hey Vom! Thanks for the reply! We did make a note of those sources here at home, we’ll take a look on each one of those! Many things changed, cards, monsters and even Burn status is different now! TCGO is helping a lot on those effects and meeting different players to understand “what’s happening”, we’re happy to return playing on 2018, many friends are returning their interest on TCG! :D

Do you look for trends on japanese sets to find great opportunities? Or does US brings the new trends?
 

Pyukumuku

BARF (Barf Arf Rf F)
Member
Hey Vom! Thanks for the reply! We did make a note of those sources here at home, we’ll take a look on each one of those! Many things changed, cards, monsters and even Burn status is different now! TCGO is helping a lot on those effects and meeting different players to understand “what’s happening”, we’re happy to return playing on 2018, many friends are returning their interest on TCG! :D

Do you look for trends on Japanese sets to find great opportunities? Or does US brings the new trends?
Really, both of them bring new trends.

The various golisopod decks didn't exist until the Japanese players swept the floor with it at worlds.

so basically Americans like to yell and scream about their decks so that the Japanese can use obscure decks to beat them :)
 

Toni Kensa

Playing and Collecting
Member
Really, both of them bring new trends.

The various golisopod decks didn't exist until the Japanese players swept the floor with it at worlds.

so basically Americans like to yell and scream about their decks so that the Japanese can use obscure decks to beat them :)

Lol we’ve got a situation! On VG normally japanese “dictate” on some games but here looks like it’s more like sports!
 

Vom

it's not because i like you
Forum Mod
Member
Hey Vom! Thanks for the reply! We did make a note of those sources here at home, we’ll take a look on each one of those! Many things changed, cards, monsters and even Burn status is different now! TCGO is helping a lot on those effects and meeting different players to understand “what’s happening”, we’re happy to return playing on 2018, many friends are returning their interest on TCG! :D

Do you look for trends on japanese sets to find great opportunities? Or does US brings the new trends?
Not really, unless it's something so big that everyone's covering it in which case you don't miss it anyway. Decks that pop up in Japan might not do so well everywhere else or vice versa. An example that comes to mind is AltariaChomp from Dragons Exalted, a deck that saw play in Japan but flopped over here. You just gotta keep up with both tbh.
 

Pokefam

300 something/400
Member
Not really, unless it's something so big that everyone's covering it in which case you don't miss it anyway. Decks that pop up in Japan might not do so well everywhere else or vice versa. An example that comes to mind is AltariaChomp from Dragons Exalted, a deck that saw play in Japan but flopped over here. You just gotta keep up with both tbh.
Or alolan Eggs at LAIC
 

Toni Kensa

Playing and Collecting
Member
Not really, unless it's something so big that everyone's covering it in which case you don't miss it anyway. Decks that pop up in Japan might not do so well everywhere else or vice versa. An example that comes to mind is AltariaChomp from Dragons Exalted, a deck that saw play in Japan but flopped over here. You just gotta keep up with both tbh.

Does Japan have specific rules for TCG? I tried to find but couldn’t, or is it a different way the meta evolves normally there ?
 

Vom

it's not because i like you
Forum Mod
Member
Does Japan have specific rules for TCG? I tried to find but couldn’t, or is it a different way the meta evolves normally there ?
As far as I know the only difference is they get their cards before we do, although there are some tournament with special rules sometimes.
 

FlashRayquaza

Rayquaza Fan
Member
I'm a competitive player (not a tryharder, but I'm not really bad) and it's really hard to tell how much I spend per month. I usually buy singles as soon as a new set is released. For example, I looked at LOT and thought of the archetypes you could create and which of them I would like to play, then I ended up getting Zeraoras, Sceptiles and Ninetales as well as all trainer staples. Now I am well prepared for any small tournament.

Sometimes, there is a month without a new release and without any Regionals, SPEs or Internationals. In these months, I pay nothing than the trips to local Cups and Challenges.

Sometimes, there are months with new sets or big tournaments you need to be prepared for. I usually pay around 00 per new main Set release for staples (three times a year) with some small purchases of staples, sleeves or other things. All in all, I'd say I spend $400 a year for PTCG without travel costs.

do you buy each expansion boxes to try your luck or/and look for specific cards that match your strategy?

It is almost never recommended to buy products or packs unless they have a valuable promo card like Zoroark GX or Solgaleo GX. If you already know which deck you want to play, just buy singles. Some people recommend new players to buy a specific theme deck or an Elite Trainer Box. I would only advise you to buy an ETB if you need the markers, dices and if you get it cheap. Buying a theme deck (Mach Strike is one of the best atm) is no bad idea if you want to be semi competitive or start slowly playing the game (again).

Does Japan have specific rules for TCG? I tried to find but couldn’t, or is it a different way the meta evolves normally there ?

They don't have different rules but they have a different format because their sets release much earlier.

Since we’re a group of friends who did stop long ago and some novices we would like the pro’s opinion on how to move forward.
I suggest that you look at recent tournament results (mainly the Internationals last weekend, limitlesstcg was already mentioned as a great source for results and lists), then choose a deck (either one that placed well, or a counter to one of the decks) you want to play and then get the cards as singles.
 

GamePhoenix

Fellow Mortal
Member
I usually look over new sets in advance and try and pin down a few decks that I think will be good after the set's release. Once the set is released I will test new decks on the PTCGO or as proxies with friends. if I find a deck I like I will get the cards for it IRL. Not the most effective method but with a limited budget it works for me. I would recommend getting a full playset of staples like Lillie, Cynthia, and guzma ASAP. Once you have those most decks only need about 20 specialty cards per archtype.
 

Toni Kensa

Playing and Collecting
Member
I'm a competitive player (not a tryharder, but I'm not really bad) and it's really hard to tell how much I spend per month. I usually buy singles as soon as a new set is released. For example, I looked at LOT and thought of the archetypes you could create and which of them I would like to play, then I ended up getting Zeraoras, Sceptiles and Ninetales as well as all trainer staples. Now I am well prepared for any small tournament.

Sometimes, there is a month without a new release and without any Regionals, SPEs or Internationals. In these months, I pay nothing than the trips to local Cups and Challenges.

Sometimes, there are months with new sets or big tournaments you need to be prepared for. I usually pay around 00 per new main Set release for staples (three times a year) with some small purchases of staples, sleeves or other things. All in all, I'd say I spend $400 a year for PTCG without travel costs.



It is almost never recommended to buy products or packs unless they have a valuable promo card like Zoroark GX or Solgaleo GX. If you already know which deck you want to play, just buy singles. Some people recommend new players to buy a specific theme deck or an Elite Trainer Box. I would only advise you to buy an ETB if you need the markers, dices and if you get it cheap. Buying a theme deck (Mach Strike is one of the best atm) is no bad idea if you want to be semi competitive or start slowly playing the game (again).



They don't have different rules but they have a different format because their sets release much earlier.


I suggest that you look at recent tournament results (mainly the Internationals last weekend, limitlesstcg was already mentioned as a great source for results and lists), then choose a deck (either one that placed well, or a counter to one of the decks) you want to play and then get the cards as singles.

400US$/year was lower than I thought, having focus and being able to discern what to buy is a nice strategy to save money (and space). Does it take time and some expansions to feel the vibes on what’s good what’s not, right?

What do you mean by archetypes? Something like a solid deck structure to receive some kind of monsters with decent supply of support and energies?

For you, what did come first? Going to tournaments or creating a nice deck to make a great impression? I confess I like to be on events, meet and watch people playing. In US, is it considered bad etiquette to enter a tournament with a “deck to be”?

Last weekend the Latin American Championship happened on my city, but I was on a holiday trip. I’ll look for locals, many stores on my city hold matches on weekends!

Thanks for the answer and explaining me so many things!!
 

Toni Kensa

Playing and Collecting
Member
I usually look over new sets in advance and try and pin down a few decks that I think will be good after the set's release. Once the set is released I will test new decks on the PTCGO or as proxies with friends. if I find a deck I like I will get the cards for it IRL. Not the most effective method but with a limited budget it works for me. I would recommend getting a full playset of staples like Lillie, Cynthia, and guzma ASAP. Once you have those most decks only need about 20 specialty cards per archtype.

Good to know, we did buy A LOT of stuff, my wife also plays and is a big Pokemon fan, so together we’re getting stuff. November we get a lot of discounts on my city, it was really a great time to start. We got some trainers you mentioned above on structure decks, what do you mean specialty cards? Specific trainers to help specific monsters?
 

GamePhoenix

Fellow Mortal
Member
Good to know, we did buy A LOT of stuff, my wife also plays and is a big Pokemon fan, so together we’re getting stuff. November we get a lot of discounts on my city, it was really a great time to start. We got some trainers you mentioned above on structure decks, what do you mean specialty cards? Specific trainers to help specific monsters?
It could be specific trainers or even just some pokemon. For example look at this list that uses malamar to accelerate energy to the other pokemon.
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 18

* 2 Marshadow-GX BUS 137
* 1 Chimecho CIN 43
* 1 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX PR-SM SM101
* 1 Deoxys CES 67
* 2 Giratina LOT 97
* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 2 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Necrozma-GX PR-SM SM58
* 4 Malamar FLI 51

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 2 Spell Tag LOT 190
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 3 Lillie SUM 122
* 4 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 3 Escape Board UPR 122
* 4 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 Sightseer LOT 189
* 1 Altar of the Moone GRI 117
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 Choice Band GRI 121

##Energy - 10

* 10 Psychic Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
Cards like Cynthia, Guzma, acro bike, and Marshadow are used in almost every deck, and these are what I mean by staples. On the other hand, specialty cards like Sightseer, Giratina, and Alter of the Moone are pretty specific to this type of deck. If you have four of cards like Cynthia, acro bike, and guzma you wouldn't have to buy more of them. Generally, about one half to two thirds of a deck is made up of cards that a specific to that archetype. The rest are "staples" found in most decks. However, not all staples are in every deck. In this Malamar list, for example, I don't play Tapu Lele GX, a staple in many decks.
 

GamePhoenix

Fellow Mortal
Member
It could be specific trainers or even just some pokemon. For example look at this list that uses malamar to accelerate energy to the other pokemon.
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 18

* 2 Marshadow-GX BUS 137
* 1 Chimecho CIN 43
* 1 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX PR-SM SM101
* 1 Deoxys CES 67
* 2 Giratina LOT 97
* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 2 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Necrozma-GX PR-SM SM58
* 4 Malamar FLI 51

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 2 Spell Tag LOT 190
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 3 Lillie SUM 122
* 4 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 3 Escape Board UPR 122
* 4 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 Sightseer LOT 189
* 1 Altar of the Moone GRI 117
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 Choice Band GRI 121

##Energy - 10

* 10 Psychic Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
Cards like Cynthia, Guzma, acro bike, and Marshadow are used in almost every deck, and these are what I mean by staples. On the other hand, specialty cards like Sightseer, Giratina, and Alter of the Moone are pretty specific to this type of deck. If you have four of cards like Cynthia, acro bike, and guzma you wouldn't have to buy more of them. Generally, about one half to two thirds of a deck is made up of cards that a specific to that archetype. The rest are "staples" found in most decks. However, not all staples are in every deck. In this Malamar list, for example, I don't play Tapu Lele GX, a staple in many decks.
Hopefully, that makes sense.
 

FlashRayquaza

Rayquaza Fan
Member
Good to know, we did buy A LOT of stuff, my wife also plays and is a big Pokemon fan, so together we’re getting stuff. November we get a lot of discounts on my city, it was really a great time to start. We got some trainers you mentioned above on structure decks, what do you mean specialty cards? Specific trainers to help specific monsters?

I wanted to say that the first step is getting a decklist and the second step is buying the specific cards you need online so that you don't have to pull them.

How to get a decklist? Here is what I suggest:

1. Search for recent tournament results on limitlesstcg.
2. Look at the decks that had good results and try to understand how these decks work. Gamephoenix already gave a great example for a Malamar deck and explained the strategy. Really spend some time on understanding which decks are good and why they are good.
3. Choose a deck you want to play. This can be one of the top performers of the last tournament, or another deck that could counter one of those by disrupting their strategy or hitting them for weakness.
4. Search for an example decklist in the internet. This is called netdecking and you should never just take a deck that you saw online and play it. This is why we have step 2+3 for understanding and step 5 for improving that deck.
5. Take that example decklist and edit it a little bit. Do you prefer one more Lilly over Cynthia? Do you not like the tech Pokémon and would rather play another one?
6. Here comes playtesting. If you do not have the cards, use PTCGO or proxies for testing.
7. Look at the results and improve your deck. Was the one more energy totally unnecessary? Cut it. Did you miss that one tech Pokémon? Edit your decklist. If your list is perfect, you are now finished, the next thing to do is improving your playing skills. If you edited that list, go to step 6 again.

I hope I could help a little bit. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via PM.
 

JGB146

♫♪.ılıl|̲̅̅●̲̅̅|̲̅̅=̲̅̅|̲̅̅●̲̅̅|lılı.♫♪
Member
Getting back to the original question... I'm pretty sure that I'm an exception to the average case, but I tend to spend in the $25-50 range out of pocket for each new set that comes out. I supplement that by selling pulls/packs/mats that I win each quarter, and by judging in multiple leagues, and by TOing Pokebeach tournaments.

I also cater my decks slightly toward what I can build without breaking the bank (so, for example, right now I still have zero Rayquaza GX and I have only a single copy of Blacephalon GX which was obtained before the price spike, costing me around $11). If I need expensive cards to be competitive, then I will get them. But most formats have a few mid-tier options that are actually very strong (examples include Bulu and Solgaleo in the Garde formats, Silvally Boxes in the pre-baby-Buzz formats, Psychic Malamar while baby buzz and Buzz GX were at their height, GasKan last format, Decidueye/Zoroark and Granbull in the current format).
 

Toni Kensa

Playing and Collecting
Member
It could be specific trainers or even just some pokemon. For example look at this list that uses malamar to accelerate energy to the other pokemon.
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 18

* 2 Marshadow-GX BUS 137
* 1 Chimecho CIN 43
* 1 Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX PR-SM SM101
* 1 Deoxys CES 67
* 2 Giratina LOT 97
* 4 Inkay FLI 50
* 2 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Necrozma-GX PR-SM SM58
* 4 Malamar FLI 51

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 2 Spell Tag LOT 190
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 3 Lillie SUM 122
* 4 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 4 Cynthia UPR 119
* 3 Escape Board UPR 122
* 4 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 Sightseer LOT 189
* 1 Altar of the Moone GRI 117
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 Choice Band GRI 121

##Energy - 10

* 10 Psychic Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
Cards like Cynthia, Guzma, acro bike, and Marshadow are used in almost every deck, and these are what I mean by staples. On the other hand, specialty cards like Sightseer, Giratina, and Alter of the Moone are pretty specific to this type of deck. If you have four of cards like Cynthia, acro bike, and guzma you wouldn't have to buy more of them. Generally, about one half to two thirds of a deck is made up of cards that a specific to that archetype. The rest are "staples" found in most decks. However, not all staples are in every deck. In this Malamar list, for example, I don't play Tapu Lele GX, a staple in many decks.

Guess now I did understand what you mean by staples, thanks for the rich explanation! Seeing the deck and comparing to other ones on the internet I pretty much can see a pattern between those. Thanks!!
 

Toni Kensa

Playing and Collecting
Member
I wanted to say that the first step is getting a decklist and the second step is buying the specific cards you need online so that you don't have to pull them.

How to get a decklist? Here is what I suggest:

1. Search for recent tournament results on limitlesstcg.
2. Look at the decks that had good results and try to understand how these decks work. Gamephoenix already gave a great example for a Malamar deck and explained the strategy. Really spend some time on understanding which decks are good and why they are good.
3. Choose a deck you want to play. This can be one of the top performers of the last tournament, or another deck that could counter one of those by disrupting their strategy or hitting them for weakness.
4. Search for an example decklist in the internet. This is called netdecking and you should never just take a deck that you saw online and play it. This is why we have step 2+3 for understanding and step 5 for improving that deck.
5. Take that example decklist and edit it a little bit. Do you prefer one more Lilly over Cynthia? Do you not like the tech Pokémon and would rather play another one?
6. Here comes playtesting. If you do not have the cards, use PTCGO or proxies for testing.
7. Look at the results and improve your deck. Was the one more energy totally unnecessary? Cut it. Did you miss that one tech Pokémon? Edit your decklist. If your list is perfect, you are now finished, the next thing to do is improving your playing skills. If you edited that list, go to step 6 again.

I hope I could help a little bit. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via PM.

Nice step-by-step exercise to begin with, limitlesstcg is a nice deck database to rely on, I'm checking the high rated decks and understanding what do they have in common to begin with. This is the kinda of thing I like, research and study, find patterns, it's kinda hobby for me!

Really, this helps us a lot, it's an explanation I'll pass forward to other new players I'll teach, for sure!

Thanks! I mean it! :D
 
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