The Value of Leagues

Everyone has a moment where they want to get into something, but have no one to help them start. Many people want to avoid the embarrassment of not knowing what to do. Whether it be a sport, a hobby, a video game, whatever. Luckily in the Pokémon TCG, we have a great place to start off, Leagues. While many people see League as a place to just got and fool around with new decks, for newer plays, it can be a gateway of getting into the game. And I’ve been noticing recently that many players in my area have ever been to a League, and are missing out on many benefits.

When I started playing the Pokémon TCG, I had NO idea how the game worked. Like all my friends when I was a kid, I had hundreds of cards, but I never knew how the game itself was played. But late last November I decided to take a look at the Pokémon website, something which I always saw as just a big advertisement for the show. I was surprised to see a competitive play area for the video games, which I have always played pretty obsessively.

Soon I found a searcher to find local Leagues in my area. My expectations at the time were to go and have some DS battles, I had no idea I was about to stumble into the wonderful world of the TCG. I was somewhat nervous on the way there, expecting to be the only older guy in a group of Pokéfan children. And things already seemed to have started going bad. Many of the members skipped due to the bad weather Ohio is so famous for in winter time. No one around looked like they were playing Pokémon to me. Soon a guy looking to be in his early twenties approached me and opened with the statement, “Here for some Pokémon dude?”

I was honestly pretty surprised when he pulled out a deck of cards afterward. Luckily I had picked up a starter deck from HS the day before just for nostalgia of buying cards. I learned that this was the League leader named Kyle. (Much to both our disappointment, he was the only one to show up that icy night.) He realized I had no idea how to play the game and proceeded to show the ropes step by step. It took me a while to get the basics down but by the end of the night, I could get through a game on my own.

Although disappointed at first by the lack of DS play, I realized that I had a ton of fun playing the card game that night and decided to show up again next week. Now there were many more people, all around my age. Things didn’t end up being awkward as I had previously thought, it was cool to meet fans of Pokémon for once, the games had died in my town back during Gen 3. As I played with the new people I met I saw tons of different decks, play styles and strategies and was surprised. I was under the impression before, Pokémon is a kid’s game, the card game should be a breeze.

Oh how wrong I was. Some of the combos I found were as complex as any other TCG I had played before. My starter deck wasn’t cutting it so I ended up getting the Undaunted Night Fall deck and building onto that, as I saw Umbreon UD as a good counter to most strong Pokémon. Eventually I started catching onto how decks worked and actually started winning games against my League rivals. Who would have thought that in a few months time these people would become some of my best friends as we began to travel to City Champs, Prerelease, and soon States and Nationals together?

pokebeach.com
Who DOESN’T want more of these?

But League isn’t just a good place to get playing experience. The great people at Pokémon also supply registered Leagues with promo cards. Many of them are great staple cards. For some people, such as I, a 17 year old in High School with no time for a job, buying cards you need can be a bit of a hassle. Thanks to League promos I was easily able to obtain cards like Uxie, Azelf, Bebe’s Search, Expert Belt, Darkness Special, ect! These are all great cards that mostly every deck in the game can use, so it’s awesome to be able to get some for free.

League is also a great way, like many people know, to test out your new decks, or to take a break from play testing your new big deck for hours before a big tournament likes states. Luckily the people I go to League with are all really kind and helped me out so much as a beginner, helping me mold my deck and play style to my liking and abilities. Now I’m part of a team and don’t have to face the big scary meta alone, I have a group of friends to tackle the big matches along with.

So if you a new player or even a veteran, League is a great way to sharpen your skills and in my case, make great friends who share a love of Pokémon with. I recommend anyone to head on over to the Pokémon site and see if you can find a League reasonably close to your area. It may be one of the better decisions you make in your TCG career.

Reader Interactions

8 replies

  1. noxster

    Nice article dude. Takes me back to my first league experience. Where im from (in the U.K. we have quite a small community. The first time i went i was a wad of cookie doh, a month later i was carved out of wood. It really is a hard game to get into and i was just like you at the start :)

    Thanks for sharing that with us… makes me smile :) :) :)

    • Derek Coontz  → noxster

      Glad to hear. League is the highlight of my week. I love chilling at Arby’s playing Pokemon with my pals.
      Though the value menu always takes a bite out of my wallet. xD

  2. Adam Capriola

    Great article Derek! I hope some players who may be on the fence about going to league like you were find this article and get the inspiration to go. :)

    League was definitely the reason I got into the game at the beginning too. Thanks for sharing man.

    • Derek Coontz  → Adam

      That was my exact mission set while writing this. Leagues have so many benefits people miss out on. I know some bigger Leagues that have a lot of people can be off putting because there’s the chance to run into that snobbish player with way more experience, but 90% of the players in the Pokemon TCG community as a whole are great people. When you get lucky, you can find a league like mine where were all best friends.

  3. liam h

    This is something that I always see as a great thing at league. Its a much nicer atmosphere than say YGO, and people actually want to test new deck ideas usually rather than just the decks that just topped at the last big tournament, card for card.

    The problem I’m finding with my league at the moment is that I feel I’m the best regular player. Everyone else tends to play the same decks every week, and only play at league. This is fine, but as I also go to BRs, Cities and the upcoming States next week, I tend to feel I’m not being challenged as a player.

  4. Evan Grossman

    League is probably the only reason I am still playing today. A few buddies of mine and I bought cards to mess around with last summer and one guy and I went to league and there we really learned a lot, and since then we have done pretty well. At our last cities when we told a couple of the better players we had just started playing competitively after this past summer they said “You guys got good fast” in that cities we placed 2nd and 6th and it was in Cincy. However we would have never been nearly as good as we are if it weren’t for League jump starting our careers.

  5. Evan Grossman

    League is probably the only reason I am still playing today. A few buddies of mine and I bought cards to mess around with last summer and one guy and I went to league and there we really learned a lot, and since then we have done pretty well. At our last cities when we told a couple of the better players we had just started playing competitively after this past summer they said “You guys got good fast” in that cities we placed 2nd and 6th and it was in Cincy. However we would have never been nearly as good as we are if it weren’t for League jump starting our careers.

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.