Everything you need to know about Pokemon TCG Live

There will be no more trading in the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. There, I’ve said it. The game is officially turning into Pokemon Trading Card Game Live, or PTCGL, where the word “trading” seems to be just a souvenir, a remnant from a different past.

Now, I know what you want to know: is this a good thing? Is Pokemon TCG Live better than Pokemon TCG Online?

It’s hard to answer that in one word, and the vocal minority might make it seem like a change for the worse, but it certainly looks like there’s more good than bad in the transition. Here’s everything that is changing about Pokemon TCG Online in this new version of the game.

The big question: how do you get new cards in Pokemon TCG Live?

Let’s start with the good part: trading is gone. The inflation of card prices is gone, and everything costs the same as everything else in the same category. Pokemon TCG Live will be a lot more accessible to new players, as we won’t have prices going crazy depending on how the meta shifts.

This also means that the task of constantly holding onto higher-valued cards such as SR Quick Ball will be gone. You can join the game, earn credits (we’re not sure exactly how that would work yet), and build the best or the worst deck in the game at around the same price. Speaking of price, Credits are going to be one of the three new currencies in the game. Credits can be exchanged for any single card to add to your PTCGL collection.

There will be three currencies in Pokemon TCG Live:

  1. Credits: Can be exchanged for new cards. Note that any extra copies you have of your cards (above the max limit) will be automatically converted into Credits. Just like in PTCGO, Live will let you own up to four copies of a card.
  2. Crystals: Can be exchanged for Booster packs, bundles, special promo cards, or Battle Pass tiers (oh yes, there’s a Battle Pass).
  3. Coins: Can be exchanged for cosmetics, including outfits, emotes, as well as card sleeves and deck boxes.

Most of your current cards will be transferred over, but we’ll be going through that in detail in our How to prepare for Pokemon TCG Live guide.

How will gameplay change?

The core gameplay will not change at all, but a lot will change about how the app works and the features it offers before you get into the actual game. The best decks in the game will remain untouched, as none of these changes affect the physical card game that PTCGO and PTCGL are based on.

Pokemon TCG Live gameplay
Image by The Pokemon Company

For starters, there will be a Battle Pass with tiers and unique rewards, along with a premium version that you can upgrade to. You will be able to progress through the Battle Pass by playing matches and completing daily quests. You will get two daily quests, which will help you achieve tiers, unlock rewards, and grant XP. The Battle Pass will give all kinds of rewards, compared to the current Ladder system. Along with booster packs and currencies, you will also be able to earn cosmetic items.

There will also be a separate ranked mode from casual modes, a feature that Pokemon TCG players have been requesting for ages now. Hopefully, this will let players use fun decks in a nothing-to-lose format without worrying about going up against the best decks in the game.

Your current saved decks from PTCGO will also not carry over, but you can still save those decks by using the Export Decks feature.

Changes in expansions and formats

One major temporary change is that the game will only feature Standard decks in the beginning. Support for Expanded will eventually be added, after which TPC might prioritize Theme and Unlimited. For beginners, the game will grant all new players eight pre-made decks, and we can only hope that they are competitive enough. We also have confirmation about Skill-Based Matchmaking, which will allow you to go up against players who have a similar skill level. We don’t know how this will be decided, but hopefully, it will keep in mind smurfing and players deliberately losing to match up against weaker players.

Now PTCGL will also not be supporting decks older than Sun & Moon – Lost Thunder, which is why Legacy is gone for good. The format had turned into a wasteland for a while, but there are a few people who truly enjoyed it and will have to play with newer cards from now on. If you have Legacy cards in excess, be sure to convert them to newer cards so that you can at least make good use of those Credits.

Cosmetics and other changes

The avatars in the trailer look pretty different from what we have in Pokemon TCG Online, which is one of the changes that has received mixed opinions. The avatars you currently own and other clothing items will not carry over to Pokemon TCG Live, but the newer avatars seem to have a greater degree of customization. This includes eye, skin, and hair color, hairstyles, and clothing items as well.

One technical change that was pretty unwarranted is the permanent removal of the chat feature. I’m definitely going to miss spamming the smiley emoji after OHKO-ing my opponent’s best attacker by using Boss’ Orders.

When does Pokemon TCG Live release?

TPC doesn’t have an official release date yet and we will be updating this article as soon as we know for sure. You can continue playing Pokemon TCG Online till then, as the game will be running until PTCGL launches. Pokemon TCG Live will release on PC, Android, iOS, and Mac. The game will also be officially supported on all mobile devices, which is an absolute game-changer for everyone who has been using .apk files to play on their phones.

Moreover, the UI of the game is also made in a way that is friendly for mobile users and will not require you to lean and squint to be able to read the text on your cards. Pokemon TCGL is being created by the Pokemon Company International itself, unlike PTCGO, which was created by Dire Wolf Digital.


This will be a huge game-changer for PTCG as it will bring more players to the game, and a game like this will be updated regularly. This looks like a step in the right direction as it is a clear upgrade in terms of accessibility as well as on a technical front. You can like or dislike the new UI and the old one will always be in a nostalgic sweet spot in our minds, but nothing changes about the core gameplay. I should also mention, the release of Pokemon TCG Live will be a fresh start on all fronts aside from your inventory of cards, and this includes your Friends list as well.

Is the lack of trading a huge issue? Frankly, it’s not. I’ll happily sit in my app and play my game without tabbing out and checking live price charts. If you truly enjoyed the trading process, the new game will feel like a step-down. Sure, we’re digressing from the “essence” of one of the game’s most key features, but TPC seems to want emphasis on gameplay and collection rather than exchanging cards. As long as the chore of trading isn’t replaced by a wall of microtransactions, most players will be happy.

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Rahul Abhyankar

I'm a 25-year-old writer and digital marketer based in Toronto.
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