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Pokémon Trading Card Game: Elite Trainer Boxes Worth the High Cost?

While Elite Trainer Boxes for the Pokémon Trading Card Game come in a bit pricier than your average Pokémon product, the benefits of these boxes are top notch, especially if you haven’t owned one in the past. From premium damage counters – dice – to hard plastic status counters, investing in at least one Elite Trainer Box is a no brainer.

The average box in Canada is currently retailing for about 59.99, and includes 8 booster packs, 65 sleeves, six small damage counter dice, one larger dice for rolling heads and tails – even and odds – and a few other important features we will dive into! Let’s go!

When using Canadian pricing, the packs inside the box almost pay for the box itself. A stand-alone booster pack can run you 6.99, or 3 packs for 17.99 is with an extra promo card and a coin. When doing the rough math, you’d spend roughly $48 on 8 packs without all the extras that come in an Elite Trainer Box, which you could ‘upgrade’ to for $12 more.

So what does your extra $12 in Canada get you? A good deal, actually. To start off, if you have strictly built your own personal decks using booster packs, you probably have an energy problem by now. Since each deck should have roughly 20 energy cards in it – or about 1/3rd of your total deck – it takes a while to get energy that you need when Pokémon is only putting one of those cards in each booster pack. So even if you buy 20 packs, there is no guarantee you will get 20 energy that you want – generally a deck will have two main types, and therefore, two types of energy broken down into 12 of one and 8 of an other.

With so many different types of energy to receive, I’d argue you could buy dozens and dozens of packs, probably more than 100, before you’d get a good combination of energy type to use in your deck. Enter the Elite Trainer Box, which not only gives you one energy per booster pack within the box, but also a whole stack of energy packed separately, that will help you build your deck!

The fun inside the box doesn’t stop there either. On top of a pack of energy cards, players can also expect 65 sleeves with the Pokémon featured on the box, allowing you to safely protect that deck you are building. If you own multiple Elite Trainer Boxes like myself, it’s easy to identify which decks you have in your collection by the sleeves you have used. My predominantly fire deck is living inside my Charizard sleeves, while my Lightning deck was just moved over into my Forbidden Light’s Elite Tariner Box sleeves the Pokémon Company just recently sent over.

These sleeves are not like the ones you buy in stores either – where you can get 100 sleeves for under $3 – but rather thick, glossy, easy to shuffle sleeves featuring your favourite Pokémon. They look great, and protect your cards! It’s a real win-win!

The box also comes loaded with dice, 6 small ones and one large one to be exact. The six small dice act as damage counters, with each number representing the amount of damage you have taken so far, multiplied by 10. Therefore, when your Pokémon get hit with 60 damage, for example, you will place one small die on your Pokémon card with the ‘6’ side showing. The larger dice is for rolling heads and tails, and while I prefer the two sided coins Pokémon packs into the themed decks, this works well within the context of all the other dice. Even numbers represent heads, and odd numbers represent tails.

If you’ve owned Themed Decks published by the Pokémon Company in the past, you know the damage counters and status counters are just pieces of flimsy card stock. Along with the upgraded dice in the Elite Trainer Box, players will also get plastic status counters. Again, you pay a premium for the box, and you get premium components.

If you are ever on the fence about Elite Trainer Boxes, hopefully this article has convinced you that buying at least one is great for your collection. Because I’m about to get to the best part: storage. If you own hundreds – potentially thousands? – of Pokémon cards like myself, having a place to store them all can be a difficult task, especially if you want to retain their condition. Elite Trainer Boxes double as a storage container once you’ve taken all the included components out, and can hold hundreds of Pokémon cards. Dividers are also included in case you want to sort your Pokemon by type!

The long and short of this article is this: buy an Elite Trainer Box. The value you receive more than justifies the price you will pay, and having at least one of these sets in your collection is a must. Once you buy one though, you’ll have to “collect them all!”



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Article By

Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

Follow Adam on:
Twitter: @AdamRoffel   


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