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  #1    
Old March 7th, 2012 (11:51 AM). Edited November 17th, 2013 by donavannj.
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    I decided to write this article for all of the PC members who are looking to get into the Pokémon TCG, whether they intend to play casually, competitively, or if they’re just curious about what the “good” decks are. Seeing as there have been so many different cards printed over the years, and so many deck archetypes which have been established and discarded, I would like to set out some very basic guidelines which can be applied to decks from any era, but for specific cards I will only mention modified legal ones.

    Where do I start?

    First, you need to decide whether your deck needs to be able to be taken to a tournament, or if it’s something you intend to play casually with your friends. If it’s a casual deck, feel free to use cards that you have from any set, but if you are looking to make a tournament deck, check out this thread for a list of tournament-legal cards: http://www.pokecommunity.com/showthread.php?t=309435


    A good way to begin a deck is to choose a card that will be your main attacker; go through your cards and pick something that seems like it has either a strong attack, good ability, high HP, or all of those if you can. Think about what kind of a strategy you are going to go for; does it deal a lot of damage? Use status conditions? Snipe weaker Pokémon on the bench? Whatever it is, make sure you only include cards that involve the strategy you choose!


    What goes in a deck?

    There is no set ratio of Pokémon, trainers/supporters/stadium, and energy that you need in your deck. You can have them in any combination as long as they total 60 cards exactly; however there are better combinations than others, and you can only have up to 4 copies of a card in your deck, excluding basic energy. A common mistake is to overload a deck with Pokémon while overlooking those crucial support cards.

    An example deck:

    So I want to build a deck, and the card I’m interested in is this one:

    http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/media/upload/thumb/f/ff/GyaradosGyaradosHalfDeck30.jpg/436px-GyaradosGyaradosHalfDeck30.jpg

    I will need some Magikarps and some of these Gyarados. Seeing as it’s my main Pokémon, I’m going to have four Magikarp and three Gyarados. I want to max out the basic form because you can’t start the game unless you have basic Pokémon in your hand, and this gives me the best odds of getting Magikarp at the start of the game and setting up the Gyarados as quickly as possible. I’ll use the Magikarp from Heart Gold Soul Silver because it’s in format.

    Now I need Pokémon that support Gyarados. It’s a water-type, and I happen to know that Feraligatr prime from HGSS has a power that puts energy on water Pokémon quickly, so I’m going to add that. It will be 4 Totodile, 3 Croconaw, and 3 Feraligatr (4-3-3 or 4-2-3 if you have Rare Candy are pretty standard for stage 2 Pokémon). I can also add Pokémon that aren’t water type if they have attacks which can use any type of energy (colourless attacks). I’ll use Zoroark from Black and White because its attack uses two of any type, and its dark type will add variety to my deck, so I don’t just automatically lose to electric decks. 1 Zorua and 1 Zoroark sounds good, which puts me at 19 Pokémon in total.

    Trainers/Supporters/Stadiums: arguably the most important part of your deck. I need cards that search for my Pokémon, draw new cards, set up my Pokémon faster, and restore my cards from the discard pile. My Pokémon have a high retreat cost so Switch will help a lot. Here is a fairly standard list of things to add:

    3 Pokémon Collector
    4 Professor Oak’s New Theory
    2 Professor Elm’s Training Method
    1 Cilan
    3 Cheren
    3 Pokémon Communication
    2 Switch
    3 Rare Candy
    3 Junk Arm
    1 Super Rod

    25 T/S/S

    3 Rescue Energy
    4 Double Colourless Energy
    9 Water Energy

    16 Energy Total

    Water energy is obvious, and Double Colourless energy can be used by both Zoroark and Gyarados, basically giving you two energy in one attachment. Rescue energy brings your Pokémon back to your hand after it has been knocked out.

    There are plenty of good cards both in and out of format right now, so choose the ones that seem to help your strategy. If energy is really important for your deck, get cards that help you search them out and recover them from the discard pile. If your Pokémon is a stage 2, rare candy will get you to the last stage one turn faster by skipping the middle stage. The most important thing is for the cards in your deck to work with one another, so don’t throw things in unless they specifically add something to your overall plan. Unnecessary random cards will only get in the way and hurt the consistency of your deck.
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      #2    
    Old March 7th, 2012 (11:20 PM).
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    This is a good guide. I'm making this a sticky.
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    Old March 8th, 2012 (2:59 AM).
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      I agree, this is good guide for beginners to get to grips with things.
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      Old March 8th, 2012 (11:16 AM).
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        Why thank you I'd love to write more, if you have any ideas.
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          #5    
        Old August 27th, 2012 (8:24 AM).
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        Hey, I don't know where else to put this...

        Um, so usually, what is the ideal ratio for energy-trainer-Pokémon? I always feel that I don't have enough, so I want an answer once and for all.

        From what I can read, it's usually 16 energy cards, right?

        Sry if this is breaking the rules
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        Old August 27th, 2012 (8:29 AM).
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        That really depends on what kind of deck you're trying to run, droomph, and whether you've got enough Supporters/Trainers to retrieve them when you need them.
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        Old August 27th, 2012 (12:10 PM).
        AngelArsenic AngelArsenic is offline
           
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          A lot of subtleties here. Question. If you want your main card say a Typholsion to be an Attack Sweeper what would good supporting Pokemon for a fire based deck? I got Cyndaquil and Quilava and will be buying a Typholsion when I get the chance. Also what would be the best Typholsion for an attack sweeper?
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          Old September 1st, 2012 (10:33 AM).
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          It's all like the actual Pokémon games. For example, I have this Hydreigon who can convert every energy into dark energies. If I'm short on dark energies, that would be a good bet. But if you have a lot of dark energies, then I don't need that Hydreigon anymore, and I'd focus on one with some helpful ability (eg can put multiple energies on or heal another Pokémon, take energy from the discard piles, etc)

          I all depends on what you want. I suggest looking at a couple cards on Bulbapedia to find out what Typhlosion card you should have. And then search for another card that compliment your Typhlosion's attacks and abilities.
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          Old September 1st, 2012 (10:49 AM).
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            Quote:
            Originally Posted by AngelArsenic View Post
            A lot of subtleties here. Question. If you want your main card say a Typholsion to be an Attack Sweeper what would good supporting Pokemon for a fire based deck? I got Cyndaquil and Quilava and will be buying a Typholsion when I get the chance. Also what would be the best Typholsion for an attack sweeper?
            I'd use Typhlosion as your support Pokémon. A rather popular combination from last year's format was Reshiphlosion A.K.A. Tyram. It used Reshiram from Black and White and Typhlosion Prime. Reshiram states that for [F][F][C] you get to do 120 damage to the defending Pokémon at the cost of discarding two Fire energy. This combos very nicely with Typhlosion Prime because Typhlosion's Poké-POWER states that once during your turn, you may attach one Fire energy card from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon but the Pokémon you attach it to gets 10 damage. If you've got two Typhlosion on your bench, you can effectively recharge Reshiram after it used it's attack. It's not a too complicated deck, and it's a good start to playing competitively. Do note however that it isn't tournament legal anymore.
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            Old September 1st, 2012 (1:06 PM).
            AngelArsenic AngelArsenic is offline
               
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              Thanks. On another thread but related post donnavanj got me hooked on a fire deck with Charizard Arceus as the main attacker with Typholsion Prime and Ninetales HGSS as the supporters. Really excited about it now I just need to get the cards. Sigh
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                #11    
              Old September 1st, 2012 (3:21 PM).
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              Reshiram would be faster than Charizard, but also more expensive.
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              Old September 2nd, 2012 (8:50 AM).
              AngelArsenic AngelArsenic is offline
                 
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                I don't know anything about Reshiram. Is it a fire Pokemon? I'm really partial to fire Pokemon.
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                  #13    
                Old September 2nd, 2012 (5:58 PM).
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                Quote:
                Originally Posted by AngelArsenic View Post
                I don't know anything about Reshiram. Is it a fire Pokemon? I'm really partial to fire Pokemon.
                It is indeed a Fire Pokemon, from the 5th generation. Pictured below is the first of its cards:
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                Old September 2nd, 2012 (6:40 PM).
                AngelArsenic AngelArsenic is offline
                   
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                  Awesome! Now I understand speed in the video games of Pokemon but I don't understand how one card can be faster than another in TCG. Will someone kindly explain?

                  P.S. On closer inspection that is one helluva Basic Pokemon!
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                  Old September 2nd, 2012 (7:10 PM).
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                  Speed in TCG terms relates to how fast you can get it in play and attacking. Reshiram is faster than Charizard because you don't have to evolve it to get it to its final stage. You could have it attacking on the first turn as well with a Double Colorless Energy.
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                    #16    
                  Old September 3rd, 2012 (5:51 AM).
                  AngelArsenic AngelArsenic is offline
                     
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                    So Reshiram doesn't have an evolution? No wonder it is such a good Basic. So if I go this route how would I change that list donavannj?
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                      #17    
                    Old September 3rd, 2012 (1:00 PM).
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                    Check the thread for your deck.
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                      #18    
                    Old January 15th, 2013 (8:14 PM).
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                      I'm playing unlimited format, where can I check decks like that and where can I post my recipe to let you see it?


                      Posted from Pokecommunity.com App for Android
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                        #19    
                      Old January 16th, 2013 (6:54 AM).
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                        You can post your deck list in this "section" Lucho. Just create a "New Topic" with your Deck list.
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                          #20    
                        Old October 15th, 2014 (6:38 AM).
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                          This probably sounds like an obscenely stupid question, but does it matter if you just want to slowly build up your deck without trading, just to collect the cards?

                          That's the only reason I want to start collecting, 'cause I want to collect them and look at them all :3
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                          Old October 15th, 2014 (5:52 PM). Edited October 15th, 2014 by icycatelf.
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                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by PikaEeveeChu View Post
                            This probably sounds like an obscenely stupid question, but does it matter if you just want to slowly build up your deck without trading, just to collect the cards?

                            That's the only reason I want to start collecting, 'cause I want to collect them and look at them all :3
                            You don't have to build a deck if you're just wanting to collect the cards. You only need a deck if you're interested in playing the game.

                            Building a decent deck with random cards you've pulled from booster packs can be pretty tough if you don't trade or buy a lot of cards, but there's nothing wrong with building a casual (just for fun) deck with some favorites from your collection. It might not be very good, but wouldn't you rather use cards that you like to look at? Just try to keep things balanced (no more than 2 types + Colorless, several copies of pre-evolutions for your Stage 1-2 cards, etc.) and playable (don't put Flareon in your deck unless you have Eevee, include some Trainers that help you get what you need, etc.).
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                              #22    
                            Old October 15th, 2014 (11:37 PM).
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                              Okay, thank you

                              I might start playing at some point, so I'll bear that in mind. But thanks for the tips anyway.
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                                #23    
                              Old August 20th, 2015 (2:33 PM).
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                                Quote:
                                Originally Posted by donavannj View Post
                                It is indeed a Fire Pokemon, from the 5th generation. Pictured below is the first of its cards:
                                hey i have that card the same moves and everything
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                                Old November 7th, 2015 (7:45 AM).
                                west1389 west1389 is offline
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                                  good article trying to get back into playing.
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