Don’t migrate to Pokémon TCG Live until you’ve read these tips

The new look of the Pokemon TCG Live game board.

Screenshot: The Pokémon / Kotaku company

Ultimately, the goal of Pokémon TCG live is to replace the decennial Pokémon TCG Online as the way to play the hugely popular card game on the internet. However, as of today’s global beta, given the bugs and issues we’ve encountered, we strongly recommend that you avoid it for now. However, if you’re determined, for goodness sake, read on to find out what you’re up to must do first.

Pokémon TCG Online (PTCGO extension) is undeniably old flaky software. Struggling to keep internet connections on tablets and a clunky thing to manage on PCs, it’s certainly fit for purpose, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. The intention is that this improvement will come in the form of Pokémon TCG live (PTCGL). In various betas over the last couple of years, and behind schedule for a 2021 release, it’s finally available for everyone to download today, while PTCGO extension remains available until the end of the beta. It’s just, well, I still wouldn’t change.

The main problem is migrating your account to PTCGL it means never, ever being able to log in again PTCGO extension. It absolutely warns you that this will happen when you agree to the migration, but it’s all too easy to miss how bad the consequences of this are and how much there is to lose. So when you do, you’ve gone from a relatively stable version of the game, to one that I’m surprised The Pokémon Company has seen fit to release worldwide.

Go spend your coins or they’re out

Those who have played PTCGO extension for a while they’ll inevitably have a shaky pile of Pokécoins they’ve won, with which they can buy decks of cards and decorative items. Migrate to PTCGL and, well, you missed them. There is apparently some kind of conversion in a quantity of PTCGLit is the Crystal currency, but it is opaque and the two currencies are not equivalent. Surely you want to go to on line and spend as many of them as possible before they are lost.

You must export your battle decks or they are lost

I had no idea about this. When migrating your account a PTCGL bring your own card collection too some of your boxes of cards, sleeves and coins (although it’s not clear which one won’t make it), and also recognizes your pre-Sun Moon cards (even if you can’t currently play them), you simply won’t bother importing your own personally created battle decks.

This is absolutely mysterious and frankly damn stupid. Having lost this detail, every hand-built deck I’ve made is gone forever. And it’s not like there’s an elegant solution for whom Do know in advance.

To keep your Battle Decks, you need to log in to PTCGO extension, then export the text of your “decklists” 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, then migrate your account to PTCGL. You can then copy this text to PTCGL‘s Deck Editor, via the Build Deck – Import Deck menu options. But if you migrate first, there’s absolutely no way to pull this data out of the old app. Since it’s seemingly as simple as a text file exchange, it’s beyond stupid that it’s not an automated account migration process.

Building decks in PTCGL

Screenshot: The Pokémon / Kotaku company

Limit the number of cards it imports and destroy the rest

When you import your account, only up to four of any card will be imported. How come? According to the FAQ, just because. Instead, more than four of everything you have in your collection is simply burned for zero compensation.

It gets 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. How come? It just is.

There’s also the bizarre decision to only allow you to carry more than 59 of any basic Energy type. 59!

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

The broken Battle Deck notice in PTCGL.

Screenshot: The Pokémon / Kotaku company

It’s a beta buggy

It’s not like PTCGO extension it was the most trusted software in the world. Apparently a butterfly farting near your wifi was enough to bring you back to the login screen, and its load times weren’t… impressive. But PTCGL it just seems like a bunch of problems right now. Sure, it’s a beta, so that’s understandable, but since importing your account means you’ll never be able to go back to the best version, that’s definitely information you’ll want to know.

One of the best features of PTCGL it’s the Battle Pass, which is a much more sophisticated take on the fortnightly unlockables in its predecessor. However, most of the time I use this new software, it just tells me it’s not accessible. It did this to me, in fact, right in the middle of the forced tutorial, meaning I was stuck on a page that I couldn’t leave, but couldn’t do anything with. I had to quit and start over, right in the middle of the game’s apparent attempts to give me some Lugia-based Silver Tempest cards, and I honestly have no idea now if anything worked.

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

It’s also not impressive to discover, every time you open the app, that 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 mechanic for Silver Tempest, and one of them is already “banned from the game” because it doesn’t work properly in PTCGL.

Oh, and perhaps least, the game’s new avatars keep changing themselves without warning, which means that the boy I built to look a little like my son keeps switching to a really crappy pair of sunglasses.

The delicious Fuckle_Shuckle

Screenshot: The Pokémon / Kotaku company

There is no working swear filter

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

The new in-game currencies are staggering

One of the best things about PTCGO extension was that, despite the obvious billions that could have been made, it never allowed real money to be spent in the game. While its infrastructure was absolutely built around those code cards that you enter Pokémon card products, those always seem like an extra bonus, never the reason why you would buy anything, allowing the online game to feel like a freebie.

Currently, the same is true for PTCGL, with no option to purchase anything directly within the app. However, it seems unbearably inevitable given the staggering number of new currencies it showcases.

You still have gold coins, which are earned by leveling up, completing missions, reaching Battle Pass tiers, and can be “purchased” with crystals. Crystals are earned by leveling up, completing missions, and reaching Battle Pass tiers. But can they also be spent on getting the Battle Pass Premium Pass, which lets you, er, unlock more Crystals? Then there are the credits! These can be obtained by, you guessed it, leveling up and reaching new tiers in the Battle Pass. But you can also recycle the cards you earn for exceeding the new four credit limit, and then use them to purchase individual cards in the deck editor. Confused? I think that’s the idea.

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

It is surely impossible that one of these counterfeit coins overlapping madness will eventually not be available for a small cash amount. I hope I’m wrong, but, you know, capitalism. We reached out to The Pokémon Company to see if they share any plans.

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

Screenshot: The Pokémon / Kotaku company

Trading is over

Honestly, I find this to be one of the more shocking changes and certainly not one you are warned about during the migration. PTCGL it has no trading options, which is only the biggest shame.

In PTCGO extensionif there was a particular card you truly desired or needed, you can consult the trading section to see what others would be willing to trade it for. If it isn’t there, you could suggest your trade, leave it up for 24 hours, and see if anyone would take the bait. It was a nice online take on one of the key elements of any TCG, and it’s a real shame to see it completely eliminated in the update. We asked The Pokémon Company if it could ever return.

Eventually you will have to change

There is no hiding in the end. PTCGO extension it is destined to be set as soon as PTCGL is ready to leave the beta. The Pokémon Company is still cautious about when that will happen, but is very open and clear that its time is almost up. The company promises that there will be plenty of warnings before the older version is permanently decommissioned.

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