Although video games have wiped away people’s desire for card games, others tend to flock to trading cards for collecting and socializing purposes. While some trading card games (TCG) are more popular than others, fans can’t get enough of them.
Therefore, we’re here to celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest, and unforgettable TCG through the years. While we technically focus on books, games, tv shows, movies, and anime, we’d like to point our attention to TCG this time around.
From the iconic Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh TCG to the obscure KeyForge, there should be enough here to whet your appetite. Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Pokémon Trading Card Game
Pokémon is a massive hit around the world. From its compelling video games to the nostalgic anime series, fans can’t get enough of the colorful world Satoshi Tajiri created. While some flock toward the games and anime, others enjoy collecting the boatload of trading cards. The TCG has you sending out Pokémon to battle against an opposing team’s monsters to claim victory.
However, the TCG plays out differently compared to its video and mobile games. You need to apply energy cards to your Pokémon to deal damage to an opposing monster. You can use the trainer and item-themed cards to buff or heal your creatures. You can evolve monsters instantaneously as long as it’s your turn and you have its evolution in your hands.
For beginners, it’s best to pick up a starter deck. These include cards that will help you learn about the game and develop killer strategies for competitive play. If you love Pokémon but want a new way to experience the phenomenon, consider picking up some Pokémon cards.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game
Yu-Gi-Oh! is an incredible franchise with great characters, duel monsters, and storytelling. What started as a manga written by the late Kazuki Takahashi has snowballed into something grandiose and charming. While it has spawned amazing anime and films, the TCG is what many Yu-Gi-Oh! fans gravitate toward.
In it, players will battle each other with duel monsters, traps, and magic cards. Both opponents receive the same amount of life points. Your goal is to wipe out your opponent’s life points by using the cards stashed in your deck. It sounds simple but can get extremely complex depending on the cards you or your opponents have at their disposal.
You’ll see many duelists whip out magic cards that can negate attacks. Some will spend a whole turn devising a strategy to summon the most powerful duel monster in their deck. That said, things can get intense swiftly with the number of unimaginable combinations players can whip out on the battlefield. With new cards releasing by the day, it doesn’t look like Yu-Gi-Oh will be ending anytime soon.
Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering is a tabletop card game that’s been around for about three decades now. In it, players are called Planeswalkers, wizards who travel between multiversal dimensions to battle opponents with spells, artifacts, and creatures. Your goal is to deplete your opponent’s life total by using these cards.
Like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering has over 100,000 cards for players to collect and use in battle. With this many cards, players can expect each battle to feel diverse, intense, and suspenseful. The combinations and strategies people pull off in this game will blow you away. For those curious, Magic: The Gathering has a free-to-play online version called Magic: The Gathering Arena.
You can download this title at the Google Play and Apple App Store. However, you can download the game via its website. This allows players to practice the game before buying cards. If you’re looking for a fun card game that’ll put your brain to good use, check out Magic: The Gathering.
Android Netrunner is a brilliant card game that many consider being the greatest card game ever made. It features intruiging lore, an enticing cyberpunk aesthetic, and many well-designed cards for players to collect. In this asymmetric title, one player is a hacker (The Runner) while the other assumes the role of a menacing corporation (The Corp).
The Runner claims victory by stealing cards that rack up to seven points or higher or if the Corp can’t draw any more cards. The Corp wins when they get seven or more points by collecting cards or when the Runner discards more cards than they’ve got left. This game relies on the players’ stellar resource management and bluffing capabilities. This leads to some intense and engaging circumstances.
TCG enthusiasts appreciated Android Netrunner’s packaged expansions and sets. It made it easier for fans to collect cards without having to spend money on countless packs. Unfortunately, Android Netrunner was canceled a couple of years ago, making it difficult for people to get into the card game. However, if you’re someone who likes searching around for historical products, this one’s worth looking into for its visual aesthetics and thought-provoking concepts.
Cardfight!! Vanguard is an active multimedia franchise. It was created by several individuals named Akira Ito, Satoshi Nakamura, Mistuhisa Tamura, and Takaaki Kidani, the president of the Japanese Entertainment Company Bushiroad, Inc. It spawned numerous films, anime, and merchandise. However, many people gravitate toward the franchise’s delightful card game.
The cards are incredibly designed and feature the series’s iconic characters and monsters. The game involves players (Astral Spirits) who summon beasts and characters (Units) to fight each other. You’ll take turns calling upon these individuals to attack and defend you from your enemy’s army. The cards come in different sets and the special ones contain holographic foiling. If you’re a fan of card games like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, then this one is right up your alley.
Lord of The Rings TCG
What started off as a sequel to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit evolved into a franchise that’s still beloved today. The Lord of the Rings contains remarkable storytelling, well-rounded characters, and an incredible fantasy world fans hold close to their hearts. Like many popular media franchises, Tolkien’s series would receive a TCG for fans to play.
The TCG includes cards with characters based on Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s work. However, the game includes characters that didn’t appear in the films but showed up in the novel. While the card game’s producer, Decipher Inc., wrapped up card production in 2007, fans can still get their hands on the card game via online retailers like Amazon or eBay.
The game involves two players duking it out with a 60-card deck. Your goal is to guide Frodo (or another Ring-bearer) closer to Mount Doom by traversing 9 diverse sites. If you can make it to the game’s final site without losing the ring, you’ll win. This is a two-player game and both opponents must have decks filled with “Free Peoples” and “Shadow” cards. This game can feel incredibly thought-provoking and exhilarating with its push-and-pull dynamic, making it a great game to play with fellow The Lord of the Rings fans.
While Digimon trading cards aren’t entirely new, Bandai revitalized the card game for modern audiences. It was meant to coincide with the Digimon Adventure anime remake. It features multiple monsters and humans from the Digimon franchise. You’ll form strategies and utilize your mathematical expertise to claim a victory over your opponent.
Each player plays with a deck of up to 50 cards. The deck will consist of Digimon, Tamer, and Option cards. Both players’ goal is to lower their opponent’s defenses to land a devastating strike that’ll net them a win. You’ll battle players with Digimon you placed in your Security Stack and you can evolve them. The cards feel remarkable and are wonderfully designed.
This game encourages players to whip out mind-numbing techniques to pull one over on their opponent. The game can feel daunting for newcomers, so it’s best to pick up a starter deck before giving it a try. If you love Digimon and miss the old card game, this one’s worth your hard-earned time.
Are you looking for another compelling card game from the creator of Magic: The Gathering? Say hello to KeyForge, a game that evokes competition with its raw innovation. Instead of built decks, players use cards granted to them by a unique algorithm. These cards are fixed, so players can’t swap a card or two out for one they’re experienced with.
This makes the gameplay feel more challenging, fair, and unique in people’s eyes. In it, players assume the role of Archons. Your goal is to be the first one to collect Æmber and forge three keys. Players’ decks will consist of creatures, artifacts, actions, and upgrades. You’ll choose between three Houses and use and dispose of cards from that House.
You can play as many cards as you wish as long as it belongs to that House. This is what helps the game stand out from other TCGs that require you to use energy or mana cards to attack. If this game fell under the video game genre it’d be hack-and-slash because it’s all about clashing with your opponents up until they reach zero health points. With incredible creatures and abilities at your disposal, this is a card game you don’t want to skip out on.
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn is a remarkable card game with beautiful imagery and one that merges dice-rolling and card-battling gameplay well. This card game takes place in a fictional land called Argaia, where players control a powerful wizard deemed a Phoenixborn. You’ll square off with others like yourself to see who Argaia’s best Phoenixborn is.
You’ll have a deck full of spells, creatures, and abilities that’ll help you shorten your opponent’s hit points. You’ll be equipped with ten dice that will provide you with essential resources that’ll allow you to play your cards. The game’s distributors have released many expansion models that’ll make it easy for newcomers to hop into the game.
This game can feel extremely fast-paced and the movement potential is vast due to the number of cards you can collect and utilize. If you’re looking for an incredibly-fun card game to play that’s easy to learn but challenging to master, give this a shot.
Final Fantasy Trading Card Game
The Final Fantasy franchise predates Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! by a large margin. From its early NES days to its current releases on Sony’s PlayStation 5, this franchise has spawned numerous video games fans can’t get enough of. Like every popular franchise, Final Fantasy has joined Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! in distributing an enjoyable card game based on its source material.
This card game shares strong similarities with Magic: The Gathering but offers straightforward rules. Each player has a 50-card deck and must spend Crystal Points to play their cards. You’ll gain Crystal Points by turning your Backup cards in a vertical/horizontal direction or by discarding cards. Some of the card games’ aspects resemble Final Fantasy’s stellar JRPG game mechanics.
For instance, several cards have astonishing EX effects that can help your character recover when they’re in a pinch. Every card has the same defense and attack stat. While this may be a bummer for those who like developing hardcore strategies, it assists players in making better decisions with their cards from an offensive and defensive perspective. If you’re a hardcore Final Fantasy fan and enjoy TCG like Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, or Yu-Gi-Oh!, I’d recommend picking this up.
So, there we have it, our pick for the best trading card games through the years!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!