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Released in December of 1998 and developed by Hudson Soft, Pokémon Trading Card Game is a video game adaptation of the tabletop trading card game. Players control a boy named Mark and must prevail in multiple fights with other Pokémon masters.


Best time: Single-segment 1:08 by 'aneeslol' on 2011-12-14.

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Author's comments:

Warning: There are a LOT of white flashes in this run, so don't watch if you're sensitive to that stuff!

I got into speedrunning this game after hearing that people were racing it at SpeedRunsLive. This was a game I absolutely loved as a kid, so I had to get in on the action. After doing a bunch of races, cyghfer came up with a pretty good route for any% and started recording races in an attempt to get a submittable run, but he lost interest. I ended up being the only one left who still liked playing the game, so eventually I bought a Gamecube and Gameboy Player to do this run. Most of the route used here was made by cyghfer, I just made a few tweaks here and there to make things easier or save time.

As for the run itself, I will try to explain the route and decisions I make, as well as going over any significant things that happen in the duels.

First off is the unskippable tutorial, which is probably the worst thing about running this game. If you already know how the card game works, you can just skip ahead to 7 minutes, which is when it ends. Reading through it might help you follow what's going on if you don't know how to play the game, though. Anyway, I choose the Charmander and Friends deck because fire types generally deal the most damage the quickest, and it has the best fighting types, which are my main type through most of the run. I stack my deck full of energies and talk to the guy to the right, who gives you 10 of each basic energy if you aren't carrying any extra energies outside of your deck. This lets me get rid of the electric pokemon from the starter deck, as well as the less useful colorless types, while keeping the 60 card requirement. Overall this makes the deck much more streamlined and less prone to bad luck. Then I go over to the fighting club, because I need to defeat the club members before I can duel Mitch, and I need to talk to him in order to make them appear in the other clubs.

Grass club:
I start here because my deck is mostly fire types at the moment, so I might as well abuse the weakness while I still can. I have to defeat all of the club members here before the club leader Nikki appears at Ishihara's house, so I go ahead and take care of that before leaving. The duels here go exceptionally well.

Electric club:
Before talking to Nikki, I go ahead and complete the electric club. Even though I end up changing my deck to mostly fighting types later on, and fighting types are strong against electric, I do this club beforehand because a few of the decks here use flying pokemon, which are resistant to fighting, and I need my fire pokemon to deal with them. This club also gives a bunch of Colosseum booster packs, which are pretty much the only useful booster packs in the game, so I want to grab those as quickly as possible in order to make my deck stronger. The duels here against the club members go incredibly well once again, plus I get some really good booster luck(Dugtrio, Electabuzz, and Dewgong are all extremely useful later on). The duels against Isaac...not so much. The first duel is the first of two unintentional losses, and I think it shows how stupidly unlucky you can get in this game. However, this loss was pretty quick and I got a crazy amount of good luck beforehand, so I kept going because I was still way ahead of my usual time at this point. The second duel wasn't too great either, but I got through it and was able to move on.

Grass club(again):
With the electric club down, I go to Ishihara's house and talk to Nikki, and then return to the grass club to go duel her. I fumble around a bunch trying to actually get around the grass club because I'm bad at using an analog stick to do D-pad controls(plus the game's controls themselves are really slippery). Anyway, the duel itself is pretty quick, which is to be expected since I'm using fire types against grass types, and grass type basic pokemon are pretty weak in general. As I exit, Ronald comes up and challenges me to what is basically an optional duel. If I win, he gives me a rare(read: useless) card, but I don't need to win to be able to progress, so I just try to lose the duel as fast as possible. Unluckily for me, he starts off with Cubone, which he only uses for stalling purposes. I try to damage him through Snivel(which reduces attack damage by 20) so that it either dies or does a ton of damage to me with Rage, but he ends up retreating it when it's low enough and finally finishes me off. Afterwards I go ahead and make my first deck change before I face Michael, who is one of the fighting club members. Mostly the point of the deck change is to get rid of cards that have a high chance of being dead weight, and adding more generally useful cards instead. I couldn't remember if I had gotten a Scyther or not, which is why I was looking through my grass pokemon at one point. As for the duel with Michael, it goes pretty well except for one time where I mistakenly use Slash instead of Earthquake, but it only ends up costing one turn. I get another Dugtrio as well as a Professor Oak from the booster packs, which are really nice.

Fire club:
Next up is the fire club, which has another Colosseum booster, and the club leader who uses mostly colorless pokemon. I quickly add in the cards I got from the previous duel before dueling Jessica, another member of the fighting club. Don't blink, or you'll miss that duel. Anyway, I get another Electabuzz from that, and then go on to duel Ken. I mistakenly bench a bunch of pokemon during that duel, so Earthquake ends up taking a lot longer than it should have, but other than that the duel goes by pretty quickly. Afterwards I go check my mail to try and get some Scythers, since they make the next two clubs really easy. I didn't get any, but I got an extra Raichu and another Computer Search, which are both really useful later on.

Rock club:
Now I go to the rock club, which has the last fighting club member that I need to defeat before I can go duel Mitch. During that duel I tried to get a Pluspower to kill Kangaskan in one turn, but it never showed up, so I just end up looking silly and drawing a bunch of cards for no reason. Either way, Dugtrio cleans up both duels without much trouble.

Fighting club:
Cyghfer's orignal route went to the psychic club before this one, but I switched the order because I felt like it was a smoother transition to do the fighting gym first. Anyway, Mitch has a really dangerous deck, as going against a Hitmonchan at the start can be tough, and a full energy Hitmonlee can turn things around immediately. Because of this I make a deck change to make sure I have pokemon that can withstand his attacks, as well as anything else that can help me, such as Energy Removals. This is a pretty long deck change since I didn't get too many cards that help me deal with Mitch effectively, so I had to look around and think for a while to make sure I didn't miss anything. As for the duel itself, I made a pretty big mistake and didn't reattach an energy after using Flamethrower, so my Charmeleon died to Hitmonlee, which probably made this duel take much longer than it should have. I also tried gambling with Magmar's Flamethrower, which didn't work out so great either since I didn't have any more fire energies, so overall this was a pretty bad duel. Afterwards I make a big deck change in order to prepare for Murray, the psychic club leader. The main thing is to get rid of any fighting types that are weak to psychic, and add in as many Ratattas as I can. Overall this leaves me with weaker basic pokemon, which conveniently lets me lose the next Ronald duel(another optional duel) quickly as well.

Psychic club:
Murray's deck is entirely based around stalling with Mr. Mime and Alakazam, so he can take an extremely long time to beat if he ends up getting any pieces of his combo together. My general strategy is to get out both a Ratatta and a Diglett, and abuse their 0 retreat costs and type advantages in order to quickly deal with whatever Murray brings out. Luckily, he never managed to get out anything troublesome, which made this duel seem a lot easier than it normally is.

Water club:
With the psychic club down, it's almost time for a complete deck overhaul. But first I need to beat Amanda, whom I don't need to deck change for since my deck is already perfectly equipped to deal with her. Once that duel is over with, it's time to bust out all the electric types I've been getting throughout the run. The duel against Sara goes quickly since it's only 2 prizes, although sadly I get my other unintentional loss against Joshua due to a crappy starting hand. Luckily it was a quick loss, so it didn't waste all that much time. I get pretty lucky during the rematch, since his Cloyster got a bunch of tails and didn't get to do much before I took it down. The duel against Amy, the club leader, was also pretty fast, which makes up for all the time I lost against Joshua.

Science club:
Time to finish the last club before I can go duel the grandmasters. Before I can duel the club leader Rick, I have to defeat Joshua, who uses a bunch of flying pokemon. Because of this, I go ahead and switch out my fighting types for Seels and Dewgongs, since I'm mainly going to be using those against the grandmasters anyway, and I want to avoid getting stalled due to only having fighting types against flying pokemon. Anyway, there's nothing too special here. The club leader Rick got a lucky paralysis against me and managed to get a ton of pokemon on his bench because of it, so that duel ended up being way longer than it should have been.

The Elite Fou-I mean, the Grandmasters, baby! I go through the Grandmaster duels very carefully, since if I lose to one then I have to fight through all of them again, which means the run is over. For the most part, my strategy is to just get a Dewgong out as fast as possible, since it has a bunch of HP and has a hefty 50 damage attack for a reasonable energy cost. Dugtrio isn't as effective for these duels because all of the legendary birds are resistant to fighting, so the only way to really damage them with Dugtrio is to use Earthquake, which has a very tough energy cost to satisfy.

Courtney - I took it really slow against Magmar at the beginning because I was afraid of getting tails with Thunder Jolt and then having Magmar kill me with Fire Punch right afterwards. She stops attaching energy to it though, so I'm able to set up a Raichu and stay in control until I get a Dewgong out to clean up.

Steve - I switch to Diglett/Dugtrio here because their resistances are very useful against all of Steve's non-Zapdos Pokemon. This duel went really well, considering that Steve's probably the hardest grandmaster and almost all of my previous runs that got this far were lost because of him. He never gets his legendary Zapdos out, so I'm able to just sweep with Dugtrio after my Raichu is knocked out.

Jack - Not much to say about this one. Aurora Beam is pretty good, I guess.

Rod - Accidentally attached a lightning energy to Seel, but most of Rod's basic Pokemon are really weak, so I'm able to take him down quickly with Pikachu and Electabuzz.

Ronald - Accidentally threw away my Dewgong with Computer Search(at the point where I can't undo it anymore), so I panicked for a bit and didn't know what to do. I got a Seel anyway because I still had a Professor Oak in my hand and another two Dewgongs in the deck, so it was pretty likely that I could get another one. Electabuzz keeps me alive until I finally get another Dewgong, which cleans up for the win. And with that, the legendary cards are mine! Thanks for watching, and hope you enjoyed the run.

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