Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Getting What You Want on PTCGO

Are you struggling to acquire cards upon the release of a new PTCGO set? This article will surely help you out!

08/13/2020 by Zach Lesage

PTCGO, or Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, is the best way to collect or play Pokémon online. There are thousands of unique cards and collectibles available on the application, but you may find yourself struggling to get that one card. I have personally witnessed friends spend hours to find a copy of Solgaleo GX (BW; 104) , after the results of Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71) , and it is because they don’t understand how trading works. Like don’t get me wrong, you can always find a copy of Eternatus VMAX for a bunch of packs, but are there other ways to get it cheaper? My goal of this article is to help all PTCGO players learn more about their options to acquire cards online in the most efficient way. Enjoy. 

Get your Freebies

When you start PTCGO, you are automatically given a theme deck to ply around with, likely XY: Basic Yellow” or something similar, and you can use it to play the game at a basic level. What many users don’t realize that they can use these decks in the Trainer Challenge to win packs and other prizes. The decks aren’t the most strategic creations, but there is no need to complain about getting something for free right? Now these packs aren’t always Darkness Ablaze, they can include Evolutions packs, but the main thing is that you are getting free packs. Additionally, if you earn enough free packs to build a deck or you can use codes to acquire a deck, you can start to participate in Tournaments. They have an entry fee of a few Event Tickets, which you can earn by playing on the Versus ladder, but the big thing here is that you can play in Tournaments to earn free packs. Sometimes free packs aren’t enough though and you might want to get some more direct cards. That is when I play on the Versus ladder in an attempt to get some free chase cards.

Grind Versus for Chase Cards

Every few weeks the “ladder” on PTCGO changes the chase cards that you can acquire by getting enough Versus points. You can acquire these points from playing Pokémon in the Versus section within the application just by playing games. In the current Versus Rewards, you can win Plasma Freeze packs, Zeraora GX (LT; 201) , and a “Full Art” copy of Faba (LT; 208) . While they might not be cards that you instantly want to acquire for your collection, the developers do a pretty solid job of picking cards that are playable at the very least. It isn’t hard to get Versus points either - they even give you some when you lose a game. I personally use the Versus ladder to test new decks against the general metagame before heading to an event. Considering that these cards are only available for a finite amount of time, it is often worthwhile to shoot for the chase card each time. It will help you fill holes in your collection, you get to test any concept you want in Standard or Expanded, and you get to enjoy some Pokémon action. The biggest issue drawback is that you are never the one who chooses what the chase card is - that is the job of the developer. Sometimes you are going to want to trade for the specific cards that you want. If you are looking to acquire more specific cards, you might need to optimize the way that you are searching for cards on PTCGO.

Get Your Settings Right

On PTCGO you can search for Cards, Packs, and Gameplay items and that is pretty common knowledge to most users of the application. Why many users don’t know, is that you can make your search more in-depth by adding certain filters. You can change the criteria from a broad search to a more specific search. Perhaps you are new the game, you want to collect some Hidden Fates cards, and you are trying to collect the majority of the set. You can easily go to Trades, click on the Cards section, press Cards again, and then the Cards filter will pop up. You can make selections based on what you want to get to what you are giving and choose other filters to give you more of an exact search. Let’s use me as an example. I am trying to acquire a copy of Decidueye GX (SUM; 12)  for one of my Expanded decks so I am going to trade for it. I am going to go to Trades, click on Cards, click on Cards again, and now I can make my selection. Since it is a special “Alternative” art card, even though it is from Hidden Fates, you can see it uses the Guardians Rising set. I click on "I Am Getting", I can scroll through the Expansions, and then I will select Guardians Rising. At the bottom, I can put in the collection number, SV47, and hit Apply. Looking through the results, I can see that there is only one copy for an available Trade, but do I really want to Trade one of my four copies of Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) ? Probably not! The next step is to click on the check mark where it says Acceptable Trades Only so that I can see what other potential Trades are being offered for this card. I can see one that has popped up for two Hidden Fates packs - what a steal! The only issue is that I don’t own any Hidden Fates packs right now? Well, I can always trade around right? 

Trade Around

Sometimes PTCGO will send you on an adventure to find Trades, but that is perfectly fine, we gotta hunt for the cards that we want. Based off the information I have provided above, I am going to have to acquire some Hidden Fates packs if I want to get my precious Decidueye GX (SUM; 12) (SV47). Using the same technique as above, I am going to narrow down my search results. Let’s click on Cards, click on Packs, and it should pop up the Pack Filters. Click on I am Getting and click on Hidden Fates in the Expansion tab. I can trade anything from three Unified Minds packs to a Keldeo GX (UB; 47)  for the two Hidden Fates packs I need. As you can see, packs are the unofficial currency of PTCGO, but you can sometimes find users who are looking for direct trades. My rule of thumb is to acquire a playset of anything that I am particularly looking for; in my case staples of cards like Shaymin EX (ROS; 77)  and Ultra Ball (SUM; 161) . You also might run into more difficult scenarios when you are looking for more rare cards. For example, look at the “Full Art” version of Welder (UBO; 214) ... Some days you might be able to find it for 18 packs of Unified Minds and other days, users might be looking for other rare cards to trade for it. One day when I was looking for a rare card, the only way to trade for it was to acquire a copy of the “Golden” Fairy Energy (BUS; 169) . While I didn’t necessarily own one at the time, I was able to trade for that card relatively cheap and traded it for the “Full Art” Welder (UBO; 214)  that I was looking for. There are other ways to acquire cards though and they might be easier (and cheaper) than the other ways.

Buying Code Cards

There are only a handful of ways to acquire codes on PTCGO - redeeming the code card from each individual pack you buy, do well in events on PTCGO, or you can buy code cards from a trusted store. I personally buy codes whenever I am looking for a specific card and I need it as soon as possible. Sometimes it would take my an hour to “dust” my extra cards into Darkness Ablaze packs and I don’t have that time to acquire an Eternatus VMAX hat would run me a bunch of packs. I could easily go to a code reseller and pick up whatever amount of codes I am missing and get them whenever I need them, 24/7. Pretty simple right? It can get even better when you look at some of the instant Promo GX cards that they offer on the site, like the Garchomp & Giratina GX (UB; 146)  code card, that offers two copies online. Considering a single copy of the card has gone for upwards of 10 packs online, the price point for the code might be cheaper than trading for it on PTCGO. Additionally, sometimes there are code cards available for full decks that are actually playable. I just finished making a trip to my local game store to pick up a copy of the Pikachu League Battle deck that contains a code card in it for the deck . That code card contains a deck filled with playable cards - Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)  and the highly sought after Jirachi (TM; 99) . With online events quickly becoming the new normal, make sure to pick up some codes as soon as you can.

I hope this article has given you the necessary insight to acquire the cards that you want on PTCGO. Whether you are new to the application or you are a veteran user, I am sure there are some helpful tips in here to make your life that much easier. I know that it is a great reminder for me heading into our newest set release, Darkness Ablaze, as I plan out some of the cards that I want to collect online. For those who are interested in more of a strategy article, I have a few articles in the works that should scratch that itch. That being said, best of luck acquiring your cards online and have a great day! If you wanna keep updated on what I have going on, feel free to check out my socials.

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