Deck Building 101 – What the Theme Decks do Wrong

(Note: This article is aimed at newer players who want to learn why their Luxray/Raichu/Weavile deck gets destroyed by just about everything way too easily and what they can do to change that fact. If you’re already a skilled deck builder – or at least know why using pyramid lines is a bad idea – this article will not teach you anything you don’t already know. I suggest reading this excellent article by Vysekun instead.)

Deck building.

wchfh.orgIt’s something that a good player has to master, and something that holds a lot of new players back from playing at a pro level. However, if you know how to do it properly, it’s honestly not that hard.

With this article, I’m going to try to go through the basics of proper deck building, common newbie mistakes and how to improve on and test your deck once you’ve got a solid starting list. Let’s start with the first step of making a good deck: Building a basic list.

Common Mistakes: What the Theme Decks do Wrong

Most new players’ first experience with actually playing the Pokémon TCG is through a theme deck. While they’re a good introduction to the game mechanics, the theme decks’ card choices and amounts are very non-competitive. When these new players then attempt to get into the competitive game and build a deck on their own, they’ll likely base it off of a theme deck and proceed to get completely annihilated by a player with a competitive deck.

However, learning to avoid these mistakes is as easy as realizing them and understanding why they’re considered mistakes. To point these errors out, I’ve taken a standard theme decklist and compiled a list of things it does wrong and ways to improve on the faults.

Pokémon – 29

2 Reshiram NXD

4 Litwick NXD

2 Lampent NXD

1 Chandelure NXD 20

2 Growlithe NXD 11

2 Arcanine NXD 13

2 Darumaka NXD

2 Pansear NXD

2 Cubchoo NXD

1 Beartic NXD

2 Vanillite NXD

2 Vanillish NXD

2 Basculin NXD

2 Meowth NXD

1 Persian NXD

Trainers – 13

2 Cheren

2 Cilan


2 Heavy Ball

2 Energy Search

2 Energy Retrieval

2 Pokémon Communication


1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 18

12 R

6 W


This is the Explosive Edge theme deck from our newest set at the time of writing, Next Destinies. It’s a fairly standard theme deck that, while containing a few useful Trainers, also contains a lot of the easily avoidable “theme deck faults.”

Here’s a list of the more common ones:

Pyramid Lines

emhotep.netPyramid Lines are evolution lines that are, as the name suggests, are pyramid-shaped (for example, 4 of the Basic Pokémon, two Stage 1 Pokémon and one Stage 2 Pokémon, hereby referred to as 4-2-1 lines), like the Chandelure line in this deck. Using lines like these is not recommended for one simple reason: when you’ve got your single copy of the Stage 2 out, what are you going to do with the leftover Stage 1 and Basic Pokémon?

If you use a Stage 2 Pokémon in your deck, its Stage 1 and Basic forms are usually only used for evolving – and once you’ve evolved into your only Stage 2, you’re stuck with a bunch of useless unevolvable Pokémon taking up space in your deck.

To fix this problem, you could either remove some of the unnecessary Pokémon or add some more evolutions to make a 4-4-4 line so your extra Basics won’t go to waste. For the purpose of improving this deck, I’m going to go for the latter option since Chandelure is one of the better cards in the deck.

+3 Chandelure NXD 20
+2 Lampent NXD

(Note: I realize that I’m going over the 60-card deck limit here – it’ll all work out in the end.)

More than One Energy Type

This isn’t something all decks have to follow – many popular decks like The Truth and CaKE use multiple types of Energy – but using two different types of Basic Energy like in most theme decks is generally a big no-no. While it may seem very nice to cover one type’s Weakness with another, what if you have a fully evolved Chandelure active and ready to attack, but you only pull Water Energy?

To improve consistency and reduce the possibility of the above scenario happening, we’re getting rid of the weakest type in this deck – in this case, Water.

-1 Beartic NXD
-2 Cubchoo NXD
-2 Vanillish NXD
-2 Vanillite NXD
-2 Basculin NXD
-6 Water Energy

+1 Persian NXD (see note below)

(The Colorless Pokémon that are usually thrown into theme decks – in this case the Persian family – usually aren’t great either, but since Persian has a decent first attack, we’ll be keeping it in the deck and adding the second Persian to get rid of a pyramid line.)

In doing this, we’ve also fixed two major problems most new players’ decks have: Too many Pokémon and too much Energy. High counts of Pokémon and Energy serve no purpose when the same effect of consistently getting that one Fire Energy or Reshiram you need can be acquired by the effects of Trainer cards, which make space for a few extra empty card spaces you can fill with even more consistency-boosting Trainers. This brings me to my next point:

Not Enough Trainer Cards

pokemon-paradijs.comIn the original list, this deck had about 30 Pokémon, 10 Trainer cards and 20 Energy. Look at just about any competitive decklist and you’ll see that the card proportions are more toward 15-25 Pokémon, 5-15 Energy and 20-30 Trainers.

Trainers are vital to your deck because, even though you can’t actually win the game with only Trainers, they help you search for and draw the Pokémon and Energy you need to get going. Trainers help you get set up and ready for battle as fast as possible, hinder your opponent from setting up faster than you and keep your Pokémon going through the later stages of the game.

If you don’t use enough Trainers, you’re going to let your opponent set up quicker than you, giving them a huge advantage in the match. Also, the more search Trainers you use (for example, Pokémon Communication or Pokémon Collector), the fewer Pokémon you’ll need. If you can easily search out that Litwick, you don’t need more copies than the absolute minimum just to make sure you draw one!

Now, of course you can’t just throw in random Trainers and expect a consistent deck. There are a lot of “dud Trainers,” for example the Supporter Bill and the Item Full Heal, that are either outclassed by other, better cards or just serve no good purpose.

To make the process of finding good Trainers easier for new deckbuilders, here’s a list of common HS-on “staples” – cards that are recommended in most decks because they’re just useful, in order of necessity:

Pokémon Collector
Pokémon Communication
Twins (only used in decks that rely on falling behind in Prize cards)
Dual Ball
Pokégear 3.0
Professor Elm’s Training Method

Professor Oak’s New Theory (abbreviated PONT)
Professor Juniper
Sage’s Training

Pokémon Catcher
Junk Arm
Super Rod
Lost Remover
Flower Shop Lady

Eviolite (only used in decks with a high focus on Basics)
Rare Candy (only used in decks with Stage 2s)
Skyarrow Bridge
Rocky Helmet

So let’s include some of these in our deck and get rid of some lesser needed ones!

-2 Cilan
-2 Heavy Ball

-2 Energy Search
-1 Skyarrow Bridge

+3 Pokémon Collector
+3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
+2 Pokémon Communication
+2 Junk Arm
+1 Professor Elm’s Training Method
+2 Pokémon Catcher
+1 PlusPower
+2 Rare Candy
+1 Switch

Speaking of lesser needed, let’s get on to the next mistake:

Basics without Evolutions

Not in the sense of Basic Pokémon that actually can’t evolve, but Basics that have evolutions that are not in the deck. In this deck, that includes Darumaka and Pansear. Since these Basics aren’t good at all on their own, we’ve again got two options: either add their respective evolutions, or get rid of them altogether. And since their evolutions aren’t much to speak of either, we’ll go for the latter.

-2 Pansear NXD
-2 Darumaka NXD

Lastly, to fill out the list, we’ll add a Fire Energy and bump the Arcanine line up to 3-3, replacing the Arcanine NXD 13 with the far superior Arcanine NXD 12.

Now, the list looks like this:

Pokémon – 24

2 Reshiram NXD

4 Litwick NXD

4 Lampent NXD
4 Chandelure NXD 20

3 Growlithe NXD 11
3 Arcanine NXD 12
2 Persian NXD
2 Meowth NXD

Trainers – 23

3 Pokémon Collector
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Cheren
1 Professor Elm’s Training Method


4 Pokémon Communication
2 Rare Candy
2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Junk Arm
2 Energy Retrieval
1 PlusPower
1 Switch

Energy – 13

13 R

This looks much better, doesn’t it? Now that we have our basic list down, it’s time to move on to the second step of deckbuilding:


What do I mean with “fine-tuning”? Well, while we have a somewhat solid deck, it’s still a bit rough around the edges. It still has a few unnecessary cards and it’s a bit on the slow side, and I get the feeling it’s lacking something. What we need to do is effectivise the deck to improve consistency and speed; we need to fine-tune it.

One way to fine-tune is to look at the Pokémon you have in your deck and see if they have anything (say, an attack effect) in common. Then, check if there’s any card in the format that can support that effect, or that complements it – if you will, a card that has synergy with the other cards.

For example, Reshiram NXD, Chandelure NXD 20 and Arcanine NXD 12 in our deck all have something in common: discarding or “burning” Energy. And we’re in luck – there is a Pokémon that recovers Energy from the discard pile and attaches them to your Pokémon: Typhlosion Prime!

This deck’s main attackers, while having relatively powerful attacks, all have the downside of sometimes having to discard attached Energy. However, Typhlosion’s Poké-Power Afterburner attaches Fire Energy from the discard pile to your Pokémon, also giving them a damage counter which boosts the power of Reshiram’s Outrage attack! See the synergy developing here?

We’re going to go ahead and add a solid line of Typhlosion to the deck, removing a 1-1 Arcanine line (we hardly need more than 2) and the now superfluous 2-2 Persian line. We’re also getting rid of a 1-1-1 Chandelure – even without the fourth Chandelure, the 7 main attackers that we have should be more than enough.

-1 Arcanine NXD 12
-1 Growlithe NXD 11
-2 Persian NXD
-2 Meowth NXD
-1 Chandelure NXD 20
-1 Lampent NXD
-1 Litwick NXD

+3 Typhlosion Prime
+3 Quilava HS
+3 Cyndaquil HS

But wait – remember Rare Candy? Rare Candy’s effect allows you to skip an evolution stage when evolving a Basic into a Stage 2. And since that takes less time than evolving manually, and therefore is more effective, we don’t actually need as many Stage 1s as Basics and Stage 2s! So then, what we can do is this:

-2 Lampent NXD
-1 Quilava HS

+2 Rare Candy
+1 Mewtwo-EX

This’ll free up a card slot we can use for the essential Mewtwo-EX, which at the moment is sort of a “play it or lose” card. It’ll also give us a good secondary attacker that with 170 HP doesn’t really care about that Afterburner damage counter.

However, this deck is still a bit slow early-game. After all, it relies on getting a Stage 2 set up to actually make it work. We need something to help it set up quicker, and for that we’ve got the all-hailed sleeping pink baby Pokémon, Cleffa HS. Its attack Eeeeeeek allows you to refresh your hand if you get a bad start, it can stall with its Poké-Body, and it’s got free retreat for when you’re all set up. Oh, and did I mention it’s searchable via Pokémon Collector?

-1 Fire Energy

+1 Cleffa HS

After this fine-tuning session, we’ve ended up with this list:

Pokémon – 23

2 Reshiram NXD

3 Litwick NXD

1 Lampent NXD
3 Chandelure NXD 20

3 Cyndaquil HS

2 Quilava HS
3 Typhlosion Prime

2 Growlithe NXD 11
2 Arcanine NXD 12
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 25

3 Pokémon Collector
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Cheren
1 Professor Elm’s Training Method


4 Pokémon Communication
4 Rare Candy
2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Junk Arm
2 Energy Retrieval
1 PlusPower
1 Switch

Energy – 12

12 R

Ah, that’s much better. With Typhlosion we’ve actually got a strategy now, Cleffa improves our draw, and the deck overall looks pretty solid. Time for phase 3:



This deck looks pretty good in theory, but we still have no idea if it’s actually going to work against the competitive decks of today. Therefore, we’re going to play a few matches against popular metagame decks with this deck and see if it holds up.

To test your deck, you can either take it to your local League and play a bunch of matches, or you can test from home using programs like Redshark or the official Pokémon TCG Online. I like using Redshark, but that’s just me – go ahead and use whatever method you prefer.

Currently, the decks to test against would be ZPST, CaKE, Thunderdome, ZekEels, Celebi/Mewtwo and Durant. When testing, I like using the Cabd method™, which means playing 10 matches against every top-tier deck, recording the win/loss rate, and changing the deck from there.

I’m not going to list my testing results because this is not a deck article per se, but in testing I found that Chandelure was usually not worth going through the trouble of getting out, and that I used Arcanine more than expected. I also found myself needing PlusPower more often than expected, warranting an extra copy. I’d go ahead and change the list like this:

-1 Chandelure NXD 20
-1 Litwick NXD
-1 Rare Candy
-1 Energy Retrieval

+1 Arcanine NXD 12
+1 Growlithe NXD 11
+1 PlusPower
+1 Professor Elm’s Training Method

Making the final list as follows:

Pokémon – 23

2 Reshiram NXD

2 Litwick NXD

1 Lampent NXD
2 Chandelure NXD 20

3 Cyndaquil HS

2 Quilava HS
3 Typhlosion Prime

3 Growlithe NXD 11
3 Arcanine NXD 12
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers – 25

3 Pokémon Collector
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Cheren
2 Professor Elm’s Training Method


4 Pokémon Communication
3 Rare Candy
2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Junk Arm

2 PlusPower
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Switch

Energy – 12

12 R

A pretty solid deck for being based on a theme deck, I’d say.

In Conclusion

In this article, I’ve attempted to show the development of a semi-competitive deck – or rather a deck that, while not great by any means, has the makings of a competitively viable deck – from a standard theme deck. Keep in mind, though, the best way to improve on a deck is to test, test and test ‘til the Miltanks come home. I can also recommend this excellent article by Vysekun for further, more advanced reading on deck building.

I hope this article has helped at least a few newbies understand how a competitive deck “looks”, and as always constructive criticism is greatly appreciated!


Reader Interactions

34 replies

  1. Thanos Prokopidis

    Quality article right here, great job. Covers almost anything a new player may need.

  2. DrMime

    Kind of like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon–how many steps does it take you to get from any theme deck to Typhlosion?

    • Akane Satou  → DrMime

      True story: My second deck choice for this article was Recon from CoL, which depends even more on Typhlosion Prime.


  3. Roarkiller Master

    Excellent article on competitive deck vs theme deck.

    Slightly poor article on starting out IMO.

    (1) You missed the most important part: strategy.

    I have to be frank: the people using theme decks or decks using a similar structure, i.e. newbies, will NEVER be able to pilot that final list well. The reason is simple: they have NO IDEA how those cards are supposed to work in tandem with whatever strategy the deck is supposed to have, because the STRATEGY itself isn’t explained. Remember, this article is for new players, so you can’t just say “replace this Arcanine with that Arcanine” without a proper explanation. For example, I can argue that the other Arcanine is better because it can abuse DCE, and following that logic, I don’t need Typhlosion; I’d recommend Cinccino instead.

    In fact, following that line, I don’t see why you don’t just throw out the Arcanines and fit in 4 reshiram to build TyRam instead.

    Likewise, there’s VERY few so-called “dud trainers” you mentioned. This is one problem a lot of current players suffer from: inability to adjust their deck engine. A deck with copycat and cheerleader can work just as well as PONT and cheren, for example. In fact, weavile decks utilise cheerleader better than cheren. The introduction to these “duds” are VITAL for teaching deckbuilding to beginners.

    (2) Introducing hard-to-find/expensive cards

    Next, having a list of “useful staples” isn’t going to help any player at all, good OR bad. You’re never going to convince a new player to max out collectors because they’re “staples”. As said above, there has to be a strategy. But more importantly, as a new player, it’s going to be pretty daunting for them to be forced to part with wads of cash or rare cards for these “staples”. It is more important to teach them the “idea” of a card’s usage rather than tell them outright to use these cards.

    For example, the idea of PONT/juniper is to be able to gain access to your cards fast. The BASIC idea is that the more useful cards you have in your hand, the better. In this case, copycat is the best tool to teach this: drawing a big hand is good, drawing a small hand is bad, hence PONT is a good card because of its consistency. Likewise, engineer draws more cards at the cost of discarding an energy card, and so teaches management of resources; juniper then becomes the next step. Reversal or circulator creates the step to catcher.

    I also have to question your inclusion of Mewtwo EX in the list for the reason stated above. I mean seriously, a $75 card in a modified theme deck? Really? Zoroark would have been a better example, and also a tool to learn about why those cards you use Foul Play on are so good.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I just had to voice this out for the sake of the newbies I’m currently guiding.

    • DrMime  → Roarkiller

      I think theme decks play an important role for first-time players. Many of us learned the rules and basic mechanics of the game through a theme deck. I think the natural next step after learning those mechanics–a step that happens before throwing the theme deck away and moving straight into the meta–is how to improve a deck. Given a collection of cards that I just pulled from packs I got at the NDE pre-release, how can I use some of them to improve my theme deck? (Okay, maybe like me you didn’t pull a Mewtwo. Probably not the best example.) This article uses one example to give a roadmap for how that might work.

      It may be that the new players you’re advising now are past this point. But I still think it’s a helpful step.

      • Akane Satou  → DrMime

        You hit the nail right on the head with your response to roarkiller’s point 2. I was attempting to point out that these cards are known for being especially useful, and that they should be used if available. I did not intend to say “if you don’t have all these in your deck, you can’t play competitively”, although I imagine it could have come out like that.

        My intention with this article was to show the bigger differences between competitive and theme decks, and nothing more than that. On re-reading of the article, though, I really didn’t get that out clearly!

    • Akane Satou  → Roarkiller

      You bring up very valid points, and you’ve basically summarized a lot of things that I would have added to this article, had I intended for it to be a more complete newbie’s guide. However, the direction I decided to go in with this article was more what you described in your first sentence, a comparison of theme deck vs competitive deck. I was considering going for a full-on guide to how to build a deck from scratch, taking into account strategy more than I did as well as giving alternatives for expensive cards. After much contemplation, though, I went for a shorter comparison.

      I absolutely take the blame for this, though; I can imagine I advertised it as more of a complete “bible” on deck building. Huge oversight by me not mentioning this – thank you for pointing this out and giving constructive criticism!


    • Grant Manley  → Roarkiller

      ‘slightly poor article on starting out’
      Easy for you to say. ( mr. ‘A look at the new era’ rated like +27)
      I thought the article was good and the author got the point across.

      • Anonymous  → Grant

        honestly i have to agree with roarkiller. theme decks have no strategy, pyramid lines, inconsistency, and multiple energy types. i beleive this is like the 2nd or 3rd article on theme decks i remember and each bring up different points. roar is also correct in its a lot easier to teach of kid if he knows why he’s doing something. i ask my father why all the time(and sometimes get in fights when he gives me a cruddy answer) and if i agree on the reason i think i put more work into it.

        also lets not forget the best teacher of all. FAILURE

  4. Ed Mandy

    I’m thinking that maybe a lot of these things go together. For example, the pyramid lines are actually quite important if the deck doesn’t have much in the way of T/S/S support. In my opinion, it’s the trainers/supporters that the new deckbuilders (and theme decks) really lack. The rest of the deck changes fit around this.

    Without wholesale changes to the trainer and supporter base, you can’t really justify moving away from pyramid lines or multiple energy types.

    The “basics without evolutions” issue is somewhat separate in my mind. I believe that this is meant as a marketing opportunity. They want you to take a theme deck and get a feel for the game. They also want you to come up with easy ways to add to it so you desire cards to “upgrade” the deck. They want you to think, “this Pikachu would be so much better if I added Raichu” or whatever.

    I think that new deckbuilders can take a simple step forward using your ideas. Some will not have the resources to build such a deck, though. I’ve also addressed some of these things (from a slightly different perspective) in a recent article.

    • Neil Klima  → Ed

      honestly, I think the theme deck discussion boils down to this: you’ve probably never played the game before if you’re buying a theme deck, at least this is what the guys who assemble theme decks assume. Most theme decks are meant to be an even game between two 10-year olds with no experience. Not to mention a lot of those pyramid lines are included to give the beginning player a good base of different cards from which to build a collection. You can refine a theme deck, but competitive metagame play is not the purpose of these decks like it was 15 years ago. The purpose is game mechanic introduction and collecting. To that end, I really do not believe that the “faults” of theme decks are really faults. They’re simply not metagame ideal, is all. The only genuine flaw that i see not being done with Pokemon theme decks is the inclusion of booster packs with the decks every time a new set is released. It helps introduce deck modification and encourages a better collection. That’s why I loved what they did with the HS-Triumphant decks and why i like to occasionally splurge on the trainer kits. They just come with more of the ingredients that help you get into building. That’s just my opinion however. I’ve never played a competitive tournament and i probably never will. It is interesting to see how decks can run on so few Energy cards though. That trend has been on the ups for a few years now, interesting to see where it will go from here.

  5. theo Seeds

    Mewtwo EX? If I’m just getting in to the game, I’m not spending $75 on that just to put it in to a semi-competitive deck. I’m probably not even now spending $75 on it (esecially since I pulled one).That’s like telling a newer player to add a 1-1 Luxray X Line into their deck last year. It ain’t never gonna happen.

    • Akane Satou  → theo

      Agreed – the inclusion of Mewtwo-EX was careless of me and not explained enough in the actual article. However, I did not intend for any newbie to attempt to play the lists included in this article. What I intended to convey was the difference between a competitive and theme deck, and how competitive decks look staple-wise (both for Pokémon staples and Trainer staples) – and that’s why Mewtwo was in the list. It’s used in most competitive decks today, and while it’s not absolutely necessary, it’s still a defining card in this format.

      • DiamondsAhoy  → Akane

        Plus you can get a Mewtwo EX Collectors tin with Mewtwo and 4 boosters for about 17$. Assuming Mewtwo is 75$ and the boosters are 4$ you are saving about 62$.

        • Akane Satou  → DiamondsAhoy

          Now you can, yep, but when this article was written the only way to get Mewtwos was still via NXD packs!

  6. Balasar

    i certainly liked the article. it was well written and it got the point across rather quickly. i know several people who would benefit from reading this article.

  7. jimmy chen

    Starter decks aren’t meant to be competitive, they’re meant to get you started by providing you energy cards and some trainers/pokemon that make the basis FOR competitive decks. Making the competitive deck is up to the part of the player. If starter decks were tier 1 or 1.5 or even 2 what’s the point of boosters? value for each card would decrease as well.

    • Anonymous  → jimmy

      Just a side note, Japan gets “starter decks” with LV. X, Prime etc cards in them. They also get most of their “chase cards” more easily. In fact, about the only case where we had it easier was with Espeon and Umbreon Prime(s); which were rather useless anyways. (Sorry eeveelution fans, but only Espeon has niche use)

      • Andrew  → Anonymous

        Japan’s starter decks are the equivalent of $25 here. If I had a $25 limit, I could put together a pretty decent deck too, but try and do it for the $11 they charge here.

  8. Anonymous

    I was meaning to write something like this for a long time but never did (instead just made a video). Glad someone covered it.

  9. Anthony Smith

    Sweet article! I wanted to beat you to it, but this is more or less what should have preceeded the article I wrote recently. Thank you for mentioning mine too.

    Haven’t completely finished reading it, but it seems close to what the ‘kid that has lots of cards, but can’t build a good deck with them’ needs to read. I know a lot of young players that will build decks with funny lines and choices and would probably do well to read this.

  10. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Ok, ending up with Reshiphlosion/Mewtwo/Chandy was weird.

    But leaving that aside, there’s lots of good stuff in this article.

    Just not enough Lilligant. (But I Liked it all the same)

  11. Roarkiller Master

    @grantm1999: What the hell does my article have to do with anything? I don’t even care about the rating.

    Immature is as immature gets, I suppose.

    @Lavender: If it’s a comparison between theme decks and competitive decks, then it is an excellent article. A little more depth on why so-and-so card is useful would still be good though.

    For example, I have some seniors who are jumping on the Heavy Ball bandwagon in their Magneel. You could use this example to show the difference between a “dud” trainer and a “good” trainer; while Heavy Ball does indeed get out Magnezone more efficiently than pokecomm, it can’t be used to get out anything else. Hence, in this case, it becomes a “dud”.

    Or, to better your example, Cilan serves little purpose because the deck has 18 energy; you hardly need a method to get them out. Pokemon lines are harder to get out, so pokecomm can replace Cilan.

    Something like that.

  12. Anthony Smith

    Also freakin Adam and the Deck building pictures.

    Every time.

  13. Andrew

    If I have access to the entire card pool and unlimited resources, I can turn a theme deck into Tyram or Eelzone by any combination of -45 cards, + 45 cards. Thats hardly the point. You need to do it with limited resources. If you keep to commons only or cards < $1, it would be more impressive. Things like +4 Dual Balls instead of Collectors. Mewtwo ex? No thanks.

    Megavelcibot on the 'Gym (and my co-league leader) came up with a concept of just buying two of a theme deck and combining some of the cards to thicken trainer and Pokemon lines. Thus for $25, you get a pretty competitive deck. I give it a +1 for effort as I know how hard these things are to write, but you might have done better with a different approach.

  14. Bjørn Clausen

    Being a new player, this really helped me before going to the local league to play. While the cards I have are in no way competitive level yet (as I decided to only collect card from Black & White and onwards), it certainly tightened my deck for battle.
    Thanks a LOT Akane! I apreciate the hard work you put into this article!

  15. Keegs

    I think these Article needs Updating for the 2012/2013 Rotation PONT and Sage’s Training aren’t Legal to start with =(

  16. Juan Cardenas

    The original deck you started out with only had 58 cards? hmmmmmmm.

  17. R. G. Price

    Sadly, 3 years after this post was written, a “competitive deck” today would not even have this much variety. It would simply be 4 Mewtwo EX 4 other EX, a couple of supporters, for about 10-15 Pokemon, with 12-15 energy/special energy and the rest all trainers.

    EX have certainly made the game stale…

  18. Chris R

    I think the theme decks are mostly built around trying to make for fun noncompetitive play, mostly because they often serve as an introduction to the game. Competitive decks are more what the player would go on to create from there.

    One reason I think they go with pyramid evolutions is to ensure the budding player gets in a lot of play time with basic pokemon which are more forgiving for a new player to play with as they deal with lower attacks and HP as well as low retreat costs, and to give them a varied experience of evolved pokemon as what evolutions they do get will often be by luck rather than preplanning. This forces them to play whichever evolution happens to wind up in their hand rather than have an entire deck built around putting a specific evolution line in play. So they end up with greater variety, but less control.

  19. Joe Holliday

    Has anyone ever told you that you look exactly like Taylor Swift?

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