Pokemon Cards: 5 Tips to Play Like a Pro

Both strategic and dynamic, the Pokémon card game is now played in both professional stadiums and tournaments. For CNEWS, an expert offers tips to follow to improve your game, but also to prepare for the competition.

Stephane Ruf, the former French 2016 Pokémon blackjack champion, is now a Pokémon Master, a title given to a professional referee. He officiated the 2018 World Championship Final in Nashville (USA).

Get all your equipment

Stéphane Ruffe: “The game of Pokémon cards is very popular among collectors and players are still in the minority. It is a game designed for children but in competition we also have thirty things. To play within the rules you must have specific equipment. You must first protect your cards, We often recommend playing mats to put them aside. The idea is not to damage the cards so you don’t bend them. This may have consequences for the rest of the competition. There are also signs to indicate, for example, the status of the Pokemon. Some players use dice here (easy to carry). And of course: cards!

Usually, when new players arrive for a tournament, we’re talking about the gameplay, and often tournaments only allow certain cards. From next September, Pokémon cards will also be tagged for better location. The cards will have a small alphabet on the bottom of the cardboard which will show whether or not this card can be played, from that letter to be associated with certain years. This will make it possible to perform the first screening.

You should also know that some Pokémon cards are illegal. Even before the competition, we run a check. The sixty cards chosen during the competition must remain the same allowing the judges to take control at any time to prevent cheating.”

I know your game well

“It is very important to provide analysis on the playing cards we have in our hands. Players need to know their game well and know what each card can do. There is of course opportunity to play and it is necessary to accept that defeat can come. We must not think that training allows us to emerge victorious In each tournament.Training on your own allows you to move forward, but you have to keep in mind that there is only one winner for each competition.On the other hand, setting goals is very interesting, like reaching the top ten for example.

So there are different ways of setting goals. Ask yourself if you are there to have fun, learn and improve your game or go and try your luck in a national or even international competition. Because for each of its goals, it is necessary to provide a different method of preparation. So training remains the key. There are a lot of tournaments and specialty stores organizing sessions across the country.”

Manage your time well


“Each competitive match usually lasts 50 minutes. During this time, you have to win two rounds. When you know the first part is lost, you better stop and move on to the second round. Because time often plays against the person who lost the first round. It ends with you It’s about playing fast, but then making more mistakes. Good players are those who know the game can’t go any further, and there’s no point in completing it 100%. And then it’s better to give up on the first round and move on.

Since the beginning of Pokémon TCG, the rules have been more or less the same: we compete one-on-one and we have to eliminate up to six Pokémon, in turn. Unlike other card games, the opponent cannot do anything when it is his opponent’s turn.

Learn to manage your emotions

“Very tough! But the emotions we see through his opponent’s expressions can betray his game, and an experienced opponent can then try something, if he sees that he has a way to win the round. If you don’t show any emotion, it can be confusing. But it takes a lot of self-control “.

Be inspired by other players


“Out of the hundred or so new cards that come out every three months, there is a very small portion of these that are actually going to be played. What we call meta, these are all the cards that we will find in competition. When you are ready to play seriously and even for competition, you have to call Internet to see what’s been played before.

The idea is to avoid the mistake of choosing our cards and find a good balance in your Pokémon deck. We train and fit the rolls, to be comfortable with our cards. However, it is necessary to take a critical look at what these online lists offer. For example, if you feel comfortable with one of the recommended games, you can for example choose to change a card that might make a difference on competition day.”

Imagine a driving game of axes

“You need axe drives in your deck. This is key! The idea here is to draw regularly to replenish your game at any time. The ax is critical. So consider having cards that allow you to renew your game. If you don’t draw, you’ll quickly find yourself blocked. Can Certain Pokémon and Training Cards allow you to draw axes from elsewhere.


The Nostenfer V card (above) can be found in almost all games today. This allows you to draw up to six cards, so it is possible to draw a whole hand thanks to them. ”

Go to specialty stores

“There are specialty shops hosting matches between players all over France and I advise you to go there. Many volunteers do their best to give advice and unite the beginners. The preview sessions are very nice because you can discover the cards without stressing yourself and gifts are given elsewhere. It is a great approach “.

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