Deckbuilding for Beginners

I read many articles on different views of how to build decks and people’s opinions on the best cards. I also see many different types of decks from my job as a mechanic. So, jumping on the bandwagon, I decided to offer more deckbuilding info, which will most likely contradict everything else and add to the general confusion you get from hearing different views on the same matter. This is meant mostly for the less experienced players who

have just started playing or haven’t caught hold of the mechanics of a good deck yet. Please remember these are my opinions and I’ll most likely change my mind or regret something I wrote after this is posted =).

Anyway, here we go...

You need to consider many factors when designing a new deck, the first being the strategy. I remember very clearly *remembering myself playing my friend Dustin with the fire+fighting starter deck* the first time I heard of Pokémon TCG. We knew only the precon decks and played like it too, hehe. When the first of the 6 issue review of Pokémon for Gameboy came in Nintendo Power, we read it over and over in anticipation and hoped when we finally got the game, we’d be able to find and catch a Geodude. The scary thing is, I’m completely serious. Anyway, I can look back on this and almost see into the mind of the people who send the "trashfest" decks, mainly because they look sorta familiar...

I remember this about my early decks-

1. Trainers had no regard and the deck contained only about 5, normally only 1 of each of 5 different Trainers =(.

2. They had no real strategy.

3. Basics that don’t evolve, such as Hitmonchan and Electabuzz, were looked down upon. "only 20 damage for a hologram?!?" We loved Zapdos, though. "I can’t beleive Andrew got a Charizard AND a Zapdos! He’s so lucky

}=( "

We didn’t know any better, though. I write this so others will. So anyway, back to strategy (sorry I’m so longwinded).


A good deck needs a strategy, a purpose. This was my main mistake when I was a beginner, I just picked two colors and built the deck around those. The strategy normally envolves a certain card or combo that has an interesting and useful attack or Poképower. An example would be Raindance decks that revolve around Blastoise and his Raindance power. Stall envolve using Alakazam to stall your opponent into running out of cards to draw and "decking". An easy way to pick a strategy is to find a unique card. There are normally a couple when a new set comes out, and the game environment changes as these new cards are integrated into decks. A good example is the Metronome decks that came out with the release of Clefable in Jungle. Find an interesting card with a unique aspect of it, usually an attack; or a combo, such as Alakazam and Mr. Mime, and make these your strategy. Then the other cards in the deck should help support the strategy.


This normally falls in easily behind the strategy, such as Psychic & Stall or Water & Raindance. Sometimes, though, you have options, like when your strategy envolves a colorless Pokémon. In this case, you look at the strategy and see what color helps back it up the best. If your strategy envolves a colorless weak to Electric, like Dodrio, water wouldn’t be a good choice to back it up since it too is weak to Electric. Fighting would work well because Electric is weak to it. I’ve heard before that Pokémon is a big game of rock-paper-scissors, and you always want to consider weakness and resistance when deciding on color.


These also fall in behind the strategy, but once again you will have some options. Another big thing I overlooked as a beginner was Haymaker Pokémon (see #3 above). For those who don’t know, haymakers are non-evolution Pokémon with high (about 70) HP; cheap, 1, 2, or 3 energy attacks that deal fairly high (10-40) damage; and low retreat. Good examples are Electabuzz, Scyther, Fossil Magmar, Promo Mewtwo, etc. They look weak compared to the heavy evolutions with 100 HP and 60 damage, but they’re fast and don’t have to deal with evolution. If you’re skeptical, try them out and you’ll see. Back up your evolutions with some haymaker Pokémon for dealing damage while you build your bench. Or, use no evolution at all. But, the #1 thing to remember is to USE MULTIPLES! I can’t stress this enough. If it’s important, have 3 or 4. If it’s good but not that important, use 2. Almost never use just one.


Don’t go with one of each stage, you’ll never get them when you need them. Most often, you should pyramid the evolutions. Ex. 4 Bulbasaur, 3 Ivysaur, 2 Venusaur. And, DON’T ADD TOO MANY FAMILIES! Don’t stick every good water Pokémon you’ve got in there. Try to limit it to around 4-5 total families. One stage 2 is Okay. Two is iffy. Don’t even think about three.


Extremely important. Don’t overlook these, these are the oil that keeps the gears of your deck from squeakin (hehe, bad metaphor). These are harderto pick than Pokémon, but most decks include

4 Bill

2-3 Prof. Oak (the exception for these two are stall decks, since you don’t wanna deck yourself)

2-4 Gust of Wind

(sometimes) 3-4 Energy removal and 2-3 Super Energy Removal 2-3 Com. 

Search These are just some examples of trainers found in most decks. Other trainers should, of course, support the strategy. Stall decks need lots of healing. Raindance need lots of card drawing. And, don’t use Potions/Supers unless you have a really good reason. Once again, USE MULTIPLES. And, don’t be afraid to use a lot of trainers, they are more important than many people think.


This most often depends on the deck, and that’s why I consider it last. When I build a deck I skip around a little to make sure the 60 cards are used the best way possible, so don’t limit yourself to the Strategy, Pokemon, Trainers, Energy order, these are just general guidelines. Most decks work fine with 24, 12 of each color. Sometimes double colorless are mixed in if many Pokémon use them. In decks with heavy energy requirements, like Raindance and energy-discarding fire decks, a few more energy are normally used.

That’s about it. I hope you’ve found this helpful and consider this when you build your deck. Keep in mind these are just my opinions and suggestions, not concrete rules. On a final note, CONGRATULATIONS to all those who have the patience and eyesight to actually read the whole article! Thanks for hanging in there! And with that, I leave you to your deckbuilding. Good luck!

~ Souper ~

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