Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pokemon Trainer Challenge now in open beta!

...and it's looking pretty good. The Pokemon Trainer Challenge enables anyone with a Pokemon Trainer Club account to play the Pokemon TCG against 14 different virtual Trainers, each with a different deck, personality, and skill level. You can use any one of three decks (fire, water, or grass) to challenge your opponents; when the Black and White theme decks come out on April 6, they will contain codes you can use to play with their virtual versions.

As you might expect, the Trainer Challenge works a lot more smoothly than third-party simulators like Redshark - deck shuffling and card drawing are automatic, only legal moves are allowed. The AI needs a little tightening up, though; opponents will often use Trainer cards when there is little need to use them (e. g. Potion on a Pokemon that has only 1 damage counter on it). Hopefully, any kinks that might be present will be ironed out when player-vs.-player matches debut in the fall.

The Trainer Challenge is also a great opportunity for players to get acquainted with the new Black and White rules before they come into effect (whenever that is). The two most important changes are:

  • You can play Trainers, Supporters, and Stadiums on your first turn, even if you go first.

  • You cannot play Rare Candy on the first turn of a game or on the first turn a particular Pokemon is in play.

The Pokemon Trainer Challenge can be found at pokemontcg.com. It's a great place for newcomers to learn the ropes and experienced players to hone their skills.

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