Pokémon Pulls Me To Play

Lately I’ve been purging things and limiting tasks; less to have, less to do. And over the past year, I’ve especially pulled back from collecting and playing Pokémon cards. Until last week when I “accidentally” bought a box of new cards and spent hours organizing my collection and trading cards; Pokémon pulled me back.

I can explain.

Back Story

But first, some back story. Three years ago, my family first played Pokémon TCG, so my wife and I enjoyed a new hobby with our kids for wholesome family fun. Well, I wrote about the cost and craze of Pokémon back then. In short, the Trading Card Game is involving, time-consuming, and expensive. At times it’s a bit overwhelming.

As I pulled back from playing Pokémon, some of my family has stuck with it. Instead of playing, I just collected some cards while purging others. Yes, Pokémon can be fun to get into, but with my limited free-time and money, I would rather geek out on video games — it’s hard enough making time to play RPGs that average 70 hours each.

Turning Point

Things were going okay. But the latest expanded card set — Astral Radiance — caught my attention more than usual. I think it was simply because it features Darkrai, a dark type Pokémon I happen to like, having played it in one of my favorite battle decks. I was also pulled in as my wife bought a new Elite Trainer Box and was setting up a new deck. I also spent some time checking out justinbasil, a super helpful site for playing Pokémon.

It’s worth mentioning that since the Covid pandemic strongly squelched Pokémon TCG in America over the past year or two, it was much harder to meet-up at Pokémon League to play. And it was hard to find new Pokémon cards to buy in the first place as supply and distribution were very limited. Pokémon itself was pulled back, making it easy to distance myself from it.

But now, Pokémon TCG is getting back to “normal,” so it seems to be pulling me in again, like the Death Star’s tractor-beam attracting a small ship that can’t escape.


I’m kind of at a crossroads. In August, when the next expansion releases, there will be the annual rotation. A certain set of older cards will no longer be considered “Standard” for play. My current main battle deck will become rotated out of the playable lineup. So either I must build a new “current” deck, or use this moment as opportunity to resist the pull and further distance myself from Pokémon TCG.


Part of me says I should keep pulling away. Save time and money. But part of me wants to enjoy the fun, the family camaraderie, and the strategic challenge of the card game. Oh, and also I like getting cool new cards. #GottaCatch’emAll


Each new Pokémon expansion releases more cards, often with new game mechanics to keep things fresh. Buying new packs is like playing the lottery — you might get a good pull! A “pull” is a rare and valuable card — either for collecting or playing or both — that is sometimes found in a pack of “common” cards. Just keep pulling the lever on that slot machine until…jackpot!

“Pulls” are part of the pull of Pokémon.

To combat the expensive habit of buying more packs to find pulls, there is the excellent TCG Player online website, where you can buy the exact cards needed to build a winning or fun-to-play deck. But sometimes I just want the excitement from getting a new booster pack of unknown cards, hoping to pull a card so valuable that I wouldn’t otherwise buy it directly online. It’s cool to spend about $4 on a pack and then pull a $20 card from it. In fact, I got a $4 pack a few months ago and pulled a $55 card and sold it within a few days. Nice!

Battle Decks

I just learned about the how Theme Decks have changed. They’re now called League Battle Decks or V Battle Decks and have a level rating system. Basically, these take the classic theme decks and amp them up with better cards. The more you pay, the more “pull” type cards you’re given, along with specific trainer cards.

So I found a League Battle Deck I really like and ordered it: Single Strike Urshifu. What’s great is that besides the physical cards, you also get the digital version for the online card game. To me, that makes practicing the deck easier. Either way, this version of Urshifu is a mix of Fighting and Dark type, which are my two favorites. While Zygarde 100% Complete and Eternatus have been my favorite Pokémon, I think SS Urshifu will be my newest (third) fave. Oh, and since Urshifu was introduced with the Isle of Armor expansion in the Sword & Shield video game, I think I’m going to play that too (I finished Pokémon Sword but never played the expansions).

And as if Pokémon TCG and TCGO (soon to be TCG Live) and the Sword & Shield video game weren’t enough, there’s also the upcoming video game. The next generation of Pokémon, Scarlet & Violet, was further revealed June 1st, showing off the newest legendaries set to release November 18. And they look awesome! With so much happening in the world of Pokémon, its pull is inevitable. I can’t wait to enjoy these games!

I’ve definitely been pulled back into the game. What began as capitulation has become celebration. I’ve got that excitement for playing again. New Pokémon, new sets, new mechanics, and family that stays into it: these make the game’s gravity very hard to escape. Despite the costs, falling diving into Pokémon is fun.

Do you play Pokémon? What’s your favorite? Have you felt the pull?