It’s recommended (as a new player), to first spend your hard-earned tokens on Theme Decks, and not booster packs.
If you need a refresher, check out the Getting Started guides:
- Getting Started: The Basics (Pokemon TCG Rules)
- How to Earn Tokens, Tickets, and Boosters in Pokemon TCG Online
- Beginner’s Overview: Earning Unlocked Boosters
- How to Build Competitive Decks
Why Theme Decks?
Theme Decks cost 500 tokens and net you 60 cards. Booster packs cost 200 tokens and net you 10 cards. Besides netting you more cards per token, if you play the Theme Deck in the Trainer Challenge and win 12 times, you’ll also unlock a booster pack from that Deck’s expansion set.
Also, playing in the Theme format for Versus and Tournament as a new player will be best until you can build your own Deck for Standard. By buying more Theme decks you’ll expand your inventory for the Theme format.
Besides the online-exclusive Theme Decks, there are currently 14 Theme Decks (2 Theme Decks for 7 expansion sets) available. Buying all of them would take 7,000 tokens. Sure, that sounds like a big chunk of change, but it doesn’t take that long.
Which Theme Decks to Get First?
Outside of the starter decks (Crushing Current, Hidden Depths, Born of Fire, and Mental Might), the best Theme Decks are arguably Battle Ruler and Dark Hammer (rotated out Sep 1, still can play, but no longer available in the Shop). Honorable Mentions to Aurora Blast, Stone Heart (4-3-1 of Item-Lock Vileplume), Iron Tide (Regice x1), Night Striker, and Storm Rider.
For those planning on building a Greninja BREAK deck, Wave Slasher has a few of the staples (3-2-2 line of BKP Greninja, Wally x1, also Fighting Fury Belt x1 for other decks).
For the current Theme Decks, the Best Decks are Crushing Current, Hidden Depths, XY Basic Blue, XY Basic Green, and Battle Ruler. (The XY Basic Decks are no longer available to new players as of 9/26/16 with the 2.39 client update.)
What after Theme Decks?
Once you’ve use your tokens to get the best Theme Decks available (such as Battle Ruler, Night Striker, Wave Slasher, and Gears of Fire—your choice), you can choose to spend your tokens on the following:
Limited-time Promotional bundles (may include promo card, coin, or deck box/sleeves, in addition to boosters). May cost between 400-1,200+ tokens. Usually available for 2-3 weeks at a time. For most bundles, it’s recommended to buy just 1 of each.
Your favorite locked booster packs for 200 tokens, to have a chance at getting a desired card. (Looking for Volcanion-EX? Buy a Steam Siege booster. Looking for M Mewtwo-EX? Get a BREAKthough booster.)
Roaring Skies boosters for a chance at Shaymin-EX (~1% odds for RA+FA), Rayquaza-EX (colorless), M Raquaza-EX (col.), Rayquaza Spirit Link, Sky Field stadium, Double Dragon Energy, SR VS Seeker, and others.
Keep in mind that your odds of pulling that ultra rare card are quite low. But, if you want to spend your tokens, and need to build your collection, go ahead! Still, save your unlocked booster packs!
Any remaining Theme Decks.
Theme Deck List
- Evolutions (launching November 2, 2016)
- Steam Siege
- Fates Collide
- Ancient Origins
- Roaring Skies
- Primal Clash
For a list of every Theme Deck, check out the List of Expansion Sets (from the Original Base Set to Sun & Moon).
Final Tips and Advice
Remember that all items purchased using tokens in the shop are trade-locked. They’re always yours and you can never trade them (with the exception of a couple odd items, like Pikachu avatar boxes).
Missed a Theme Deck that was rotated out and no longer available in the Shop? No worries. You can still redeem the code included with the physical deck, indefinitely. You can also purchase the code by itself on many third party sites, including eBay.
If you get a Theme Deck by redeeming a code that came with a physical Theme Deck, you can only redeem 1 of each Theme Deck per account, ever. You can buy unlimited duplicate copies of each Theme Deck using Tokens in the Shop (usually not necessary). Theme Decks obtained by redeeming codes come with unlocked, tradable cards. If you trade any of the cards included they’re gone from your collection, but you can still play the same Theme Deck in the Theme Format as if you hadn’t traded anything.
Battle Area Decks and Tins usually come with 1 or 2 tradable cards (plus Battle Arena ones come with some tradable holo energies), and the rest are locked. For Battle Arena Decks, those include an -EX card, and such decks, while better than Theme Decks, are not playable in the Theme Format, only in Standard/Expanded.
The Rayquaza vs Keldeo Battle Arena Deck includes some fantastic staples, including the new exclusive Karen. All of these cards are unlocked and tradable.
Keep Unlocked Packs!
It’s also a good practice to never open unlocked booster packs, such as those earned in Ticket Tournaments or redeemed with codes. Use them to trade for the cards you need, as currency. Opening them is a huge gamble, and you’re much less likely to pull the card or cards you need in x amount of packs than trading that same amount for it/them.
Feel free to always open trade-locked boosters, like those bought in the Shop, earned from Trainers Challenge, Versus Ladder, etc. If you have, say 20 unlocked boosters and 2 locked ones all for Steam Siege, the first packs you open will be the locked ones.
If you have any pending trades, those cards and booster packs will be listed as “locked”. Be careful not to mistake them for regular locked packs and try to open them! Check your pending trades before opening locked booster packs.
It may be a good idea to keep a “reserve” of a certain number of tokens. This way you’ll be able to get a promo bundle, play some 89-Token tournaments for tickets, or post a trade, in a pinch. A good number would be to keep 500-1,000 tokens or so in reserve.