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The original starter set that so many young players began with. Though it claims to be a two-player set, it only contains two "half decks".

The Pokémon Retro TCG Tournament at BelleCON 2013 is designed to level the playing field for old players who haven't kept up with the newest releases over the years. In order to make everything fair, only First Generation sets are allowed (see below), and most Promo cards from the same era. The general rule of thumb is that cards released in English prior to December of 2000 (predating the release of Neo Genesis) are legal.

Over the years, alterations have been made to the rules of the Pokémon TCG, and certain cards have been altered or even banned from tournament play. Many of these decisions were made because, with the addition of newer sets, combinations with older cards opened up exploits or 'cheap' moves. By limiting the tournament to First Generation sets only, these cards are all brought back into legal play, and the tournament is run under era-appropriate rules.

This page will help you identify what cards are legal in the Retro Tournament, and how to build your deck for classic rules.

Constructing Your Deck

Every Pokémon Retro deck consists of 60 cards, no more and no less. You cannot have more than 4 of any one card, with the exception of Basic Energy cards (Fighting, Fire, Grass, Lightning, Psychic, and Water). There are numerous other kinds of Energy cards (Double Colorless Energy, Rainbow Energy, Potion Energy, and Full Heal Energy), but these do not count as Basic Energy, and therefore, you can only have four of each of them in your deck. Most decks will need 25 to 30 Basic Energy cards.

When it comes to populating your deck with Pokemon, the 'no more than four of any one card' rule has some very particular situations. For example, a deck can contain two Pikachus from the Base Set and two Pikachus from the Jungle Set, but even though the two have different move sets, they are considered the same and therefore are limited to four total. The exception lies in cards with different names. For example, a deck can contain four Base Set Pikachus, as well as four of Lt. Surge's Pikachu from Gym Heroes, because Lt. Surge's Pikachu has a different name.

There are many different deck-building strategies, and they almost all begin by figuring out what play style you would like to achieve. Most players begin by finding one or more Pokemon with abilities that they believe will be useful to them, and then selecting energy cards and Trainer Cards that suit it well. Some instead begin by picking Trainer Cards and then building a selection of Pokemon around them.

There are no requirements for how many Basic Energy cards you must have, or of what types. Most players will pick no more than two Basic Energy types for their deck, so that there's enough energy to draw the type they need with some degree of certainty. It's common practice to choose types that cover each other's Weaknesses and Resistances, such as Water and Lightning, or Fire and Grass.

Other Materials

In addition to your cards, you will need other items for playing. Though not a requirement for general play, the Pokémon Retro TCG Tournament at BelleCON will require all 60 of your cards to be inside of matching sleeves that are opaque on the back side. This is to prevent cards from being marked in such a way that they can be identified while face-down. It makes it easier for our tournament judges to check each deck, allows players to use English and Japanese cards together, and it also helps to prevent the likelihood of one player's cards becoming confused with the deck of another player. You may also choose to invest in a deck box or tin, since the card sleeves will add to the thickness of your deck considerably.

You will need damage counters. These can be anything, from cardboard circles, to pennies, to glass bead counters. The only requirement is that they be flat on one side so that they will not roll around the table. For the sake of simplicity, every counter will count as 10 damage in the Pokémon Retro TCG Tournament, rather than having different denominations.

You will also need a coin for flipping. It can be metal or plastic, and must be deemed a balanced and fair coin by our judges. Cardboard coins will not be accepted, even if they do have Pokémon on them.

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