Pokémon TCG Live App Announced, Will Replace TCG Online

Posted by Marriland
Pokémon Trading Card Game Live Key Art with a Pikachu VMAX shown

The Pokémon Company International has announced a new app that will launch sometime in the near future, Pokémon TCG Live, which will replace the existing Pokémon Trading Card Game Online (TCGO) app upon its release. Pokémon TCG Live will be available on PC, Mac, iPhones (iPhone 7 and up with iOS 15), iPads (iPad 2017 and up), and both Android smartphones and tablets (Android 8.0 and up).

UPDATE: This post has been updated on Sep. 21, 2021. It was previously reported that during the transfer from TCGO to TCG Live, extra individual cards beyond the cap (4 copies of most cards) would be converted into Credits. This has been corrected; Credits will only be earned from extras obtained in TCG Live, not in TCGO or the transfer process.

Pokémon Trading Card Game Live logo

It brings a lot of changes from the existing Pokémon TCGO app, including a Battle Pass system, 3D customizable avatars, and ranked matchmaking. However, unfortunately the ability to trade in the new app will not be an option—instead, a new type of currency, Credits, can be redeemed for single cards that you might want or need for a deck, acting sort of like a wildcard.

The new Pokémon TCG Live app is set to launch globally (localized in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese) “sometime soon,” while later this year, a global open beta will be made available for PC and Mac, while players in Canada will be able to try out the mobile versions first with a soft launch coming later this year before being made available everywhere later on. It’s a free-to-play app and players get 8 playable decks for free, but can also unlock more cards for their decks by scanning the code cards inside of booster packs, which should be pretty much the same process as with the previous Pokémon TCG Online app.

In regards to the existing Pokémon TCG Online app, as long as you have your Pokémon Trainer Club account set up properly and linked to TCGO (which most people should), it will import most of your cards there—an exception being any sets older than Black & White, namely the HeartGold & SoulSilver series, which will not be migrated over. If you have more than 4 of a unique card in your collection (or more than 59 of a basic Energy, or more than 1 of an ACE SPEC, Prism Star, or a single part of a V-UNION card) when it is migrated over, those extra cards will not be carried over, which might seem bad at first but since you’ll only ever need 4 of a card at most for decks and since trading will no longer be an option, it isn’t a major issue.

Gameplay Trailer

PC / Mac Screenshots

Mobile Screenshots

Frequently Asked Questions / General Information

There’s a support article on the official website that answers many of the questions involving the sunsetting of the Pokémon TCG Online app and migration to the new Pokémon TCG Live app, but below are a few of the more important questions and general summaries of their answers.

For brevity, Pokémon TCG Live will be abbreviated as TCG Live and Pokémon TCGO Online will be abbreviated as TCGO.

What CAN Be Transferred From TCGO to TCG Live

  • Most cards from the Black & White series onwards (including the XY series, Sun & Moon series and Sword & Shield series, as well as Detective Pikachu, Celebrations, and most other special sets during these periods) will be transferred.
  • “Many” coins, card sleeves, and deck boxes that were unlocked on TCGO will be transferred, although extra copies will not be transferred as they are not tradeable and there is no need to have them.

What CANNOT Be Transferred From TCGO to TCG Live

The following list of items are not transferrable and any players with these will receive nothing extra for having them on their accounts during the migration process:

  • Any cards from the HeartGold & SoulSilver series.
  • McDonald’s Happy Meal promotional cards.
  • More than 4 of most cards. As trading is no longer possible, there is no reason to have more cards than what you can put in a deck, so a maximum of 4 of most cards will be transferred and the rest will not be transferred (effectively removed).
    • For ACE SPEC and Prism Star cards, which are normally limited to 1 per deck, this limit is 1 instead of 4.
    • For V-UNION cards, only 1 individual piece of the card will be transferred, since these are also limited to 1 per deck.
    • For basic Energy cards, any more than 59 basic Energy will not be transferred.
  • Avatar items.
  • In-game currency.
  • “Certain” coins, card sleeves, and deck boxes.
  • Friends list and any saved deck lists (although these can be exported from TCGO before it is shut down and then imported into TCG Live).

There are a few other things that can’t be transferred, but players can receive certain benefits for if these items are in their TCGO accounts prior to the migration:

  • Any unopened packs, products, or bundles will be converted into Crystals—one of the premium currencies in TCG Live—but will not be transferred over directly. The amount of Crystals you get depends on how many unopened products you have in your account:
    • 1 to 9 unopened items: 250 Crystals
    • 10 to 24 unopened items: 550 Crystals
    • 25 to 49 unopened items: 1125 Crystals
    • 50 to 124 unopened items: 2350 Crystals
    • 125+ unopened items: 6200 Crystals
    • During the testing period, if you do not want your unopened products or bundles converted into Crystals, you should avoid logging into the beta test and opening them first on TCGO.

What Cards Are Available At Launch?

While cards from the Black & White series onward will be available for transfer, only cards from the Sword & Shield series and from Sun & Moon—Lost Thunder through Sun & Moon—Cosmic Eclipse will be playable in the app and in decks. Support for these cards will be added in a future update to the app, but in the meanwhile they can still be a part of your TCG Live collection.

Since the current Standard format for the Pokémon Trading Card Game only allows cards from the Sword & Shield series onward, this should not be a problem for anyone wishing to play in Standard format matches, as these are all supported.

What Happens To Old Code Cards?

If you have a bunch of old code cards lying around, you’ll still be able to scan them and get virtual booster packs. Unless it’s from an unsupported product, where you’ll get something different instead, you’ll get the virtual booster pack or other product (such as deck box or sleeves) as you did on the old TCGO app.

Since trading will no longer be an option after the release of TCG Live, if you have quite a few code cards, you have a few options. You can scan the codes and either open up the packs now and then try to make some trades online to get cards you need or you can even use the packs themselves as part of the trade. You can also hold onto the code cards until after the new TCG Live app releases and open it up there. There are quite a few other options and the value of these code cards may be impacted a bit.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are Credits, too, which can be used to get certain cards you need, so you don’t need to depend on getting lucky with your booster packs to get the cards you need—luck helps, but after hitting the cap of 4 cards, any you get past that are converted to Credits which can then be exchanged for cards you want.

If you have a bunch of old code cards and want to get the most out of them, you’ll ideally want 125 unopened items (such as booster packs) on your TCGO account to get the maximum of 6200 Crystals, and then beyond that, since you’ll only earn Credits for extra copies on TCG Live instead of TCGO, you’re best waiting to scan any extra codes until after TCG Live is released to get you a better chance of earning Credits for your extra cards.

What About The Battle Pass?

The Battle Pass is something that can be purchased using the premium currency, Crystals, and there is also a Battle Pass+ available as well. According to the screenshots, the Battle Pass costs 800 Crystals while the Battle Pass+ costs 2000 Crystals.

Here’s what the Battle Pass offers access to, according to the screenshots:

  • 8 Booster packs (past expansions)
  • 1 Collector pack (assuming these contain several really good cards rather than being a traditional booster pack)
  • 500 Coins
  • 50,000 Credits
  • 4 Avatar items
  • 600 Crystals

You do not get those immediately upon purchasing the Battle Pass—you have to unlock them and advance through the difference tiers to unlock them. The Battle Pass+ offers the same rewards, but you skip ahead a bit, getting the 8 Booster packs, the Collector pack, and the 500 Coins immediately, and skipping to Tier 15 of the Battle Pass, saving you some time.

To progress through the Battle Pass, you’ll need to complete quests to earn points that help you advance levels. As you advance through levels, you unlock some of the rewards. There’s a free tier of Battle Pass, which unlocks some basic rewards, but the one you buy with Crystals gives you access to the Premium rewards as well, which is where a lot of the good stuff is. The Battle Pass lasts until the next main expansion is released, which is usually every three months.

Marriland’s Thoughts and Opinions

Although I typically try to keep my opinions and thoughts out of updates on the site, this is a rather substantial change to a pillar of the Pokémon Trading Card Game that has been around for over a decade now. I remember the days before the TCGO was released as well as when it just started taking off. It was a cool idea, and it’s only grown over time.

While I never got too into it myself, the concept of it was cool, and over time I’ve amassed quite a few code cards for TCGO. I kept telling myself, “Someday, I’m going to open these and it’s going to be cool. I’m going to open these and build a deck. Maybe even do some trades to get cool things.”

I’ve read a few opinions online throughout the day disappointed in the removal of Trading from the Pokémon Trading Card Game. At first, those were my opinions as well. Trading is a huge part of what makes the Trading Card Game fun. However, what really hit me was that, while people may be disappointed following the removal of Trading from the Trading Card Game, I’ve seen so many people over the past year or two in particular completely forget there’s a Game in the Trading Card Game!

Two years ago, it wasn’t overly difficult to get ahold of Pokémon cards, products, and other merchandise. Some stuff sold out rather quickly, sure, but no doubt you’ve seen the difficulty over the past year or two in getting these things. While it is nice to see people getting interested in Pokémon, so many people have been buying up Pokémon cards for the collecting element of it, and while that is a huge part of any sort of collectible cards, it is the Pokémon Trading Card Game that people buy booster packs of. If they’re just collecting, they’re not playing the game.

That’s fine for some people, but the pressure of trading, value, getting cards, and so on has crept into places like the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online. Trading or exchanging virtual cards or product for real-world cards or cash is absolutely against their Terms of Service and is a bannable offense. Trading or selling physical code cards for physical, real-world things is fine (as far as I’m aware), but once you’re in the digital world, you can only trade your cards or virtual items for other virtual things.

This has led to its own economy in the TCGO, where unopened booster packs have a lot of value, along with the usual really rare cards, or staples for decks. Collectors and competitive players alike try to amass these cards, either for trading or for their own decks, and once booster packs are no longer easy to obtain, getting cards from those sets to build decks with can be tough for casual players looking to get better at the game.

While that can be fun for collectors, it’s frustrating for people wanting to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Pokémon Trading Card Game Live square art, same as shown at the top of the post

This new approach in Pokémon TCG Live, where trading is no longer a possibility, you are limited to only the # of cards you need for a playset (4, for most cards, as that’s the most you can have in a deck of that card), and anything extra gets converted into Credits. The whole point of Credits is to use them instead of trading, where you can get whatever card you want, pay the amount of Credits for it, and then actually use it in your deck. Your cards in your TCG Live account have no value—for that matter, your TCGO cards had no value either, outside of its in-game economy. You are meant to play with them.

You still have to go through the hunt of getting the cards you need for your deck, but it’s no longer about trying to hoard rare, useful cards for trade fodder; now, you just focus on getting specifically what you need for your deck, and then actually playing the game. Whatever you don’t have you can use Credits to get.

Although TCG Live has a Battle Pass system, numerous in-game currencies, and all of the other hallmarks of typical free-to-play games, I have hope that it will still be a lot of fun to play even for free, and that it won’t constantly make players feel like they have to spend their money on virtual products, but give them the option to since real-world packs are hard to come by in today’s day and age. They make plenty of money from all of the physical booster packs and product, so if you already buy physical cards regularly, I can see that helping fuel your digital collection selection of cards, but unlike most free-to-play games, you’ll still have your physical cards that you can collect and trade and do whatever you want with.

I’m all for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Live being more about the Game than about the Trading. I miss the days when that was what people viewed the Pokémon TCG as—something that you actually played with rather than just collected—and I hope that it’s able to encourage people to give the Game a chance. It’s a lot of fun, and I think I’ll actually enjoy the virtual element more without the Trading.

Of course, those are just my opinions, but I hope they were interesting to read.

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