advice, Magic the gathering, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! -

Getting Started in TCGs

Getting Started in Trading Card Games

I worked at a card shop for over 10 years, and I have many amazing memories of my time there. One thing I really enjoyed was whenever a new customer would ask me, “Any advise on what would be a good deck to start with?”

My answer would always be the same, “Whenever I start a new game, I find a card that I like the most and try to build around that.”

In my mind, you can always search online for the decks with the best win percentages, but those decks are usually complicated and require a ton of money to build. A really bad combination for both the player wanting to learn, and the store who wants a repeat customer.

For a card shop employee who cares about his customers (and business he works for), nothing is worst than watching a kid drop $100 on a deck, enter a tournament, and lose 0-3. They get so embarrassed you don’t usually see them for another few months. Although, that might have also been because the parent would get just as upset. I think nothing is worst for a parent than spend tons of money on your child’s hobby just to see them more depressed leaving than when they came in.

While players learn, they need something about the game that makes them want to keep playing besides winning. That is why I always recommend to build your first deck around a card that you personally like. It can be the artwork, the name, the effect, the flavor, anything that makes you feel excited to get to play it.

For me, in Yu-Gi-Oh! it was Remove Brainwashing, in Magic the Gathering, it was Door to Nothingness, in Pokemon it was any of the Team Rocket themed cards (#TeamRocketForever). My win-lost ratio was never that great, but it was still amazing when they did work as expected, or just fun to immerse myself while playing. If you stick with it, you may even get that golden opportunity when your dedication to your favorite finally pays off!

The point is, when you are new to any game, focus on having fun first, and winning later. You’re not going to beat the person who just taught you how to play for a while.


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