After nearly two years in open beta, Pokémon Trading Card Game Live arrives on PC in full today, replacing Pokémon Trading Card Game Online as the primo destination for all digital Poké TCG players. Alas, with Summer Game Fest happening today, none of the RPS Treehouse are going to be able to enact their plans of being the very best like no one ever was until at least early next week at this rate, but if you fancy giving it a go yourself, you'll be pleased to hear it's free-to-play and is available for both Windows and Mac devices (and iOS and Android, if you want the full list of platforms).
Pokémon TCG Live launches alongside the Scarlet and Violent - Paldea Evolved expansion, which adds Gen 9 monsters and more EX forms to keep matches feeling spicy. EX cards have higher HP and more powerful attacks compared to their regular card versions, but they have a big risk reward factor attached to them as well. If EX cards get knocked out, for example, then players must give up two of their prize cards to their opponent, rather than one - a loss that probably stings a little less when they're in digital form (at least compared to giving up physical TCG cards, that is), but I also know I'd be too scared of losing them forever to ever play them myself.
New cards can be added to your deck by scanning code cards, exchanging crystals earned in-game to get booster packs, and taking part in daily challenges. You can also buy these things with real money, too, and there's going to be a premium battle pass available that gives you access to extra quests and more booster packs.
We'll be taking a closer look at Pokémon TCG Live's monetisation structures as soon as we can, but in the mean time, why not check out what our friends at Dicebreaker have to say about it? They've been playing the beta, and you can find out exactly how it plays in the video below:
It's been years since I've played a round of Pokémon TCG - I sadly had to bin most of my original decks when I was clearing out boxes of stuff I'd left at my parents' house - but more recently I've been enjoying getting reacquainted with it by watching calm and collected folks unbox reams and reams of booster packs on YouTube. Honestly, these people don't know they're born, getting guaranteed shiny, reverse holos and fancy mega cards in every pack... (and yes, I know this doesn't apply to all expansions!) What happened to the days of 3 basic energy cards, 5 Magikarps and 2 Weedles in a pack, eh?
Pokémon TCG Live is available to download now, over on the Pokémon TCG Live website.