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Deck Building

How to build standard format decks for the Pokemon Trading Card Game

Basic Concept

You have 60 cards in your deck. You draw 1 card each turn. This is not enough.

You play DRAW Supporters to get 6-7 cards randomly from your deck (Cynthia, Sycamore, and N)

Those 6 cards should give you:

  • 1 DRAW Supporter for next turn.
  • 1 Energy Card. 
  • 1 Pokemon or Item that searches for Pokemon
  • 3 Anything Else (More Pokemon, Poke Tools, Items, Extras)

Estimated Proportions

15 Draw Support (Tapu Lele GX, Oranguru and Ultra Ball INCLUDED) 

12-18 Total Pokemon

12 Total Energies

About 30 Total Trainers

Deck thinner items with Octillery or Oranguru drastically increases card draws throughout the game.


Copy Paste Trainer Deck TEMPLATEs

Most the deck is done for you! Save a base trainer template  to copy for every new deck.

 Brigette Template:

Brigette Template:

 Nest Ball Template:

Nest Ball Template:


Bridgette templates run 2-3 Tapu Lele GX and 2-3 Bridgette count to open turn one with a big bench most of the time.  

  • Opens with strong bench turn 1 most of the time
  • Relies on higher 2-3 Tapu Lele GX to land Bridgette, may take up more bench space
  • Bridgette is dead weight later in the game
  • Vulnerable to ability lock or pressure (go away Glaceon GX and Garbotoxin Garbodor)
  • Zoroark GX works well by transmuting extra Bridgettes

Nest Ball template runs high Nest Ball to fill bench early, but opens turn one with a draw supporter, allowing access to more cards via both starting and fresh new hand.

  • Opens with twice as many cards via draw supporter
  • Has 1-2 Tapu Lele GX for Ultra Ball combo
  • Nest Ball is useful throughout the game
  • Vulnerable to item lock or pressure (you stink Trashalanche Garbodor)
  • May still incorporate 1 Brigette with 2 Tapu Lele GX, but not solely focus on this opener

Key parts of Trainer Template

Draw Supporters: You need to play these cards every turn. They give you lots of cards to play

Cards: 4 Cynthia,  3 N, 3 Sycamore

Recommended: 10 with Draw Support Pokemon, 15 for Pure Supporter Build

Draw Supporters.jpg

Draw Support Pokemon: Bonus Draw / Supporter Replacement

Cards: coconut master, banana master, Sushi Master, Berry Master

2 Tapu Lele GX: Ultra ball becomes any Supporter You want

1 Oranguru: Ultra BAll and deck thinners trigger 5-10 extra cards throughout the match

       1-2 Sushi Master: Ultra ball and deck thinners Trigger LOTS of extra cards

2-3 Zoroark GX: Who cares about Ultra Ball. Trades useless cards in your hand for 2 extra draw each turn

Recommended: 1-3

draw pokemon.jpg

Energy Cards: Your Pokemon Energies need to attack. and special Motivation

Recommended: 12 Energy Cards average, 4-10 for unique low energy attackers, 14 for heavy energy decks (Volcanion and Volcanion EX, Turbo Darkrai, Turbo Raichu)

Energy Cards

Energy Bonus: Your Pokemon need to Attack quickly

Key: Double Colorless Energy, Max Elixir

Recommended: varies with deck, 4 Usually

Example: 4 Double Colorless Energies or 4 Max Elixirs 

Others: Many extra methods exist: Sogaleo GX, Lurantis GX, Volcanion, vikavolt, Monster energy drinks

Energy Bonus Trainers

Utility Trainers: Game Changing Effects You need such as:

Finishing Bench Pokemon

Setting up Bench 

Denying Prize cards

Key: 2-3 Guzma, 1-2 Field Blowers

Recommended: See above

Others: Professor Kukui, kiawe, Justin Bieber

utility supporters.jpg

(crucial) Deck tHinner Items: 

Combos with Oranguru and Octillery by dumping your Hand

       Drastically affects deck setup Speed

Get the right card You need in play

enhance deck flow by thinning deck

Key: Ultra Ball, Nest Ball, Timer Ball, Evo Soda, MAx Elixir, Rotom Dex Poke Finder Mode, Energy Loto,  Bowling Ball 

Recommended: 4-8


Retreat: Be able to switch Pokemon when needed

Deny opponent prize cards

Switch a big Pokemon into battle

Counter status effects

Cards: Switch, Float, guzma, and Escape Rope

Recommended: 3+ Cards

Others: Manaphy, Fairy Garden, Zoroark, Sogaleo GX, armed Get away minivan


Stadium: Powerful Constant bonus

stadiums are game changing, you cannot allow your opponent to maintain one

Cards: field blower (removes it), brooklet hill, Apca, Altar of moone and sunne 

Recommended: 2-4 Cards

Others: po town, scorched earth, fairy garden, reverse valley, Shrine of attractive young maidens


combat Pokemon Tools: Greatly Enhances pokemon

Beef up your Pokemon with powerful effects

Cards: Choice Band, Fight Fury Belt, Body Building Dumb bells, Bursting Balloon, Poison Barb

Recommended: 2-4 Cards

Others: Weakness Policy,  Jedi Master light sabers


RECYCLE Trainers: Recover cards from the discard for longer games

You need your energies and pokemon back after they are knocked out

Cards: Super Rod, Rescue Stretcher,  Special Charge

Recommended: 1-2 Cards

Others: Energy Recycler, Energy Retrieval, Fisherman, Brock


(expanded) Extra deck thinners: Greatly Improve Card flow

Got Extra space? These Will thin your deck to home into your best cards. Most were rotated recently

Cards: Trainer Mail, acro Bike, Unown, shipping box bubble wrap

Recommended: 4+

deck thinners


Setting up Pokemon in Your deck

Decks focus on one single Core attacking pokemon.

3-4 Copies are these are in a deck.

core pokemon.jpg

Decks may have alternate attacking Pokemon that share similar energy costs, often with a useful special attack.

1-3 are in a deck, if any

core 2 pokemon.jpg

Decks may have support Pokemon with abilities that help the core attacking Pokemon.

2-3 of these are in a deck, if any

core 3 pokemon.jpg

Troubleshooting Your deck

Losing: what card did you need in your hand?

Success: you might have an awesome deck!

test your deck

Keep track of what you need

Improve your deck by adjusting 

You have no cards to play in your hand? 

Without any tapu lele, oranuguru, or Octillery, about 15 draw supports is NECESSARy for deck flow ( sycamore, n, Cynthia)

You have the wrong cards to play in your hand? 

You have Too Much of Something. Replace it with what your are missing.

Your setup too slow? 

Add deck Thinners, Item Trainers that Represent Cards You want. Try an extra Nest Ball and evosoda instead of extra Pokemon or energy loto for DCE

Deck thinners shrink your hand quickly, allow big card combos with Oranguru and Octillery

Not enough damage?

you need to at least 2 hit ko gx Pokemon90 for most basic gx, 110 for most stage 1 gx, 130 for most stage 2 gx

Most competitive decks can 1 hit ko basic and stage 1 gx pokemon with 180-210 damage attacks

add damage Poke Tool (Choice Band)

Try Spread Damage (Tapu koko Promo and necrozma gx)

Pokemon That Increase Damage (Lurantis Promo, Decidueye GX, Empoleon, Salazzle)

All Guzma in the back of your deck when you really really need it?

You need more Swag dude. Bummer though


Good luck and have fun!