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Pokémon TCG is the cheapest to play competitively, data shows

If you want to play trading card games competitively and on a budget, this YouTuber reckons Pokémon cards are your cheapest option.

A trading card game YouTuber has crunched the numbers, and it turns out that Pokémon is the cheapest TCG for competitive players. DeckFlare shared a YouTube video on May 16 comparing the top deck prices for ten popular trading card games. This included major players like YuGiOh and Magic: The Gathering, as well as newer names like the One Piece card game and Flesh & Blood. The Pokémon TCG won last place in the price comparison, with an average of $79 per deck.

To understand that number better, here’s a quick summary of DeckFlare’s calculations. DeckFlare researched the top five decks for each game based on their success in tournaments, adding their individual prices together to calculate a lump sum and an average deck price. He also determined the price of the deck without duplicates of cards that go over a playset – if you were planning to buy all these decks, you’d only need to own one playset, after all.

Only one variant of a deck was considered for simplicity, and the minimum rarity of cards was used. Additionally, DeckFlare only looked at the Standard format for each game. The prices shown were taken from TCGPlayer on May 2.

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For Pokémon, DeckFlare priced up the following decks: Lost Zone Box ($100 / £80), Gardevoir ($60 / £48), Lugia ($110 / £88), Mew ($70 / £56), and Control Box ($55 / £44). Many of these are among the best Pokémon decks in the current meta.

Without removing duplicates, this gives a total of $395 (£317), with an average of $79 (£63) per deck. The prices change to $343 (£276) and $69 (£55) with duplicates removed. It turns out that the best Pokémon cards and the most powerful Pokémon cards to put in your deck aren’t necessarily the most expensive Pokémon cards.

In comparison, Flesh & Blood tops the price list with a combined deck price of $3,720 (£2,995) and an average of $744 (£599). With duplicates removed, this drops to $2,172 (£1,749) and $434 (£349) – still the most expensive option.

Here’s the full list of prices calculated by DeckFlare:

Rank Game Combined price Av. price Combined price (no duplicates) Av. price (no duplicates)
1 Flesh & Blood $3,720 $744 $2,172 $434
2 Vanguard $2,255 $451 $2,044 $409
3 YuGiOh $1,990 $398 $1,800 $360
4 MTG $1,940 $388 $1,263 $253
5 Dragonball $1,895 $379 $1,647 $329
6 Battle Spirits Saga $1,110 $222 $511 $102
7 Weiß Schwarz $795 $159 $795 $159
8 One Piece $616 $123 $528 $106
9 Digimon $520 $104 $520 $104
10 Pokémon $395 $79 $343 $69

For more Pokémon, here’s our guide to all Pokémon TCG expansions. We can also help you answer the big questions: How many Pokémon are there, and how many Pokémon cards are there?