Don’t migrate to Pokémon TCG Live before reading these tips

The new Pokemon TCG Live game board.

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

Ultimately, the goal of Pokemon TCG Live is to replace the ten-year-old pokemon tcg online as the way to play the hugely popular card game over the internet. However, as of today’s global beta, given the bugs and issues we’ve been experiencing, we strongly recommend that you avoid it for now. However, if you’re determined, then for God’s sake read on to find out what you’re doing should do first.

pokemon tcg online (PTCGO) is undeniably a shaky old piece of software. Struggling to maintain internet connections on a tablet and a clumsy thing to deal with on PC, it’s certainly fit for purpose, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. The intention is that this improvement will come in the form of Pokemon TCG Live (PTCGL). In several betas over the past few years, and delayed from its intended release in 2021, it’s finally available for everyone to download today, while PTCGO will remain available until the beta is over. It’s just, well, I wouldn’t switch just yet.

The main issue is migrating your account to PTCGL means you can never log in again PTCGO. It definitely warns you that this will happen when you sign up for migration, but it’s far too easy to overlook how serious the implications are and how much there is to lose. If you do, then you’ve moved from a relatively stable version of the game to one that The Pokémon Company, to my surprise, deemed fit for worldwide release.

Go spend your coins or they’re gone

Those who have played PTCGO for a while will inevitably have a wobbly pile of Pokécoins they’ve won, which can be used to buy packs of cards and decorative items. Migrate to PTCGL and, well, you lost them. There is apparently some kind of conversion to an amount of PTCGL‘s Crystal currency, but it is opaque and the two currencies are not equivalent. You definitely want to go there Online and spend as many as you can before they go to waste.

You must export your Battle Decks or they will be lost

I had no idea about this one at all. While migrating your account to PTCGL brings both your card collection and some of your card cases, covers and coins (although it’s not clear which one won’t make it), and also acknowledges your priorSun Moon cards (even though you can’t play them right now), it just won’t bother importing your personally created battle decks.

This is completely mysterious and frankly just fucking stupid. Because I missed this detail, every hand-built deck I’ve made is now just gone forever. And it’s not like there’s an elegant solution for those who to do know in advance.

To keep your own Battle Decks, you need to login to PTCGOand then export the text of your “deck lists” to a text file. To do this, go to Deck Manager, then View Deck, then Export Deck, which you can save as a .txt or Word file. You do this for each individual deck and then migrate your account to PTCGL. You can then copy this text to PTCGL‘s Deck Editor, via the Create Deck – Import Deck menu options. But if you migrate first, there is absolutely no way to get this data from the old app. Considering it’s apparently as simple as exchanging text files, it’s beyond silly that this isn’t an automated account migration process.

Building decks in PTCGL

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

It limits how many cards it imports and destroys the rest

When you import your account, up to four of each card will be displayed. Why? According to the FAQ, just because. Instead, more than four of everything you have in your collection will simply be burned without compensation.

This gets even worse for ACE SPEC, Prism Star, and Pokémon Star cards, where you can only keep one of each. The same goes for every quarter of a Pokémon V-UNION card. Why? It’s just like that.

There’s also the bizarre decision to only allow you to carry more than 59 of each standard energy type. 59!

Oh, and if you’re wondering how to see the cards in your collection now, outside of building cards, you can only find them by… looking in the shop? Yes, serious.

The broken Battle Deck warning in PTCGL.

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

It’s a buggy beta

It’s not like PTCGO was the world’s most reliable piece of software. Apparently, a butterfly farting near your Wi-Fi was enough to bump you back to the login screen, and load times were… unimpressive. But PTCGL just seems like a cluster of problems at the moment. Sure, it’s a beta, so that’s understandable, but since importing your account means you can never go back to the better version, it’s definitely information you’ll want to know.

One of the best features of PTCGL is the Battle Pass, a much more advanced version than the fortnightly unlockables in its predecessor. Most of the time while I am using this new software it just tells me that it is not accessible. It did this to me, basically in the middle of the forced tutorial, which meant I was locked into a page I wasn’t allowed to leave, but couldn’t do anything with. I had to quit and start over in the middle of the game’s apparent attempts to give me some Silver Tempest Lugia-based cards, and I honestly now have no idea if any of that worked.

After winning battles I’ve played since then I wanted to see my progress. But I just get told “This feature is not available right now.” Not impressive.

Also unimpressive is finding, every time you open the app, the game had to disable one of the key elements of the game’s new meta, Forest Seal Stone. These VSTAR-giving tools are a brand new mechanism for Silver Tempest, and one of them has already been “banned from the game” for not working properly in PTCGL.

Oh, and perhaps less importantly, the game’s new avatars keep changing themselves without warning, meaning the guy I built to look a bit like my son keeps switching himself into really thick sunglasses.

The delicious Fuckle_Shuckle

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

There is no functioning curse filter

Well, I just can’t wait for my eight year old to log in and play Fuckle_Shuckle. Good job, everyone.

The new in-game currencies are mind-boggling

One of the very best things about PTCGO was that, despite the obvious billions that could have been made, it never allowed real money to be spent in the game. While the infrastructure is definitely built around those code cards that you get in there pokemon card products, which always feel like an extra, never the reason why you would buy something, making the online game feel like a free gift.

Currently the same applies to PTCGL, with no option to buy anything directly in the app. It seems excruciatingly inevitable, however, given the bewildering number of new currencies it’s sporting.

You still have gold coins, which can be earned by leveling up, completing missions, reaching Battle Pass levels, and can be ‘purchased’ with crystals. Crystals are earned by, er, leveling up, completing missions, and reaching Battle Pass levels. But they can also be spent on getting the Premium Pass for the Battle Pass, which will unlock more crystals? Then there are Credits! These can be obtained by – you guessed it – leveling up and reaching new levels in the Battle Pass. But you can also recycle cards you’ve earned above the new four maximum Credits limit, then use them to purchase individual cards in the Deck Editor. Confused? I think that’s the idea.

Of them all, the only one you generally want is crystals, so you’ll never guess which one is the hardest to find. In the dumbest aspect by far, to unlock the Premium Battle Pass you need Crystals, which you’re supposed to earn by winning them in the Battle Pass, but they’re only rewarded in the… that’s right! The premium battle pass.

That is certainly impossible a of these insanely overlapping counterfeit coins will ultimately not be available for a small amount of cash. I hope I’m wrong, but you know, capitalism. We’ve reached out to The Pokémon Company to see if they have plans to share.

Map gallery pages are now hidden... in the shop?

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

Trade is gone

Honestly, I find this one of the most shocking changes, and certainly not one you’ll be warned about when migrating. PTCGL has no trading option which is just the biggest shame.

In PTCGOif there was a particular card for you For real wanted or needed, you can look through the trading section to see what others would trade it for. If it wasn’t there, you could suggest your own trade, leave it for 24 hours and see if anyone would bite. It was a nice online version of one of the most important elements of any TCG, and it’s such a shame to see it eliminated altogether in the update. We asked The Pokémon Company if it would ever come back.

You will eventually have to switch

In the end there is no escape. PTCGO is meant to be sunset as soon PTCGL is ready to exit beta. The Pokémon Company is still hesitant about when this will be, but very open and clear that time is running out. The company promises that there will be enough warnings before the older version is shut down for good.

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