Pokemon TCG Basic Archetypes

Like most trading card games, Pokemon TCG has a wide variety of deck types to consider. Whether you’re just getting started or a real veteran of the game, you absolutely have to stop and think about exactly what you want your deck to be doing. Pokemon decks often fall into one of three basic archetypes: aggressive “aggro” decks that try to win before the other player’s game plan can start, control decks that look to stop the opponent’s deck with direct interaction, or more insidious resource denial decks that try to take away the opponent’s energy or cards.



Pure Aggression

The most straightforward way to build your deck is to build it to win as quickly as possible. Your goal is to take knockouts as quickly as possible and start earning prizes before your opponent has the chance to do the same. An aggro deck aims to play as efficiently as possible without having to devote too many resources to anything but earning prizes. You want to look out for Pokemon that deal effective damage, like Zacian V, and combine them with ways to keep your opponent from setting up their defenses with Trainer cards like Boss’s Orders.

A solid starting hand for an aggressive deck might include something like the following:

Zacian V (211/202)Boss's Orders (132/172)Metal Saucer (214/202)Turbo Patch (172/189)Metal Energy (94/109)Metal Energy (94/109)Metal Energy (94/109)

This gives you all the resources you need to start taking knock outs with Zacian V almost immediately and steam roll from there!

Solid Control

Stopping your opponent’s game plan is satisfying in its own way, and there are a lot of options in Pokemon TCG that let you really control the flow of the game. A control deck takes advantage of these elements to keep the opponent on the backfoot throughout the game, letting it take its time to earn prizes. Stop your opponents plans with cards like Siesmotoad EX while you chip away at their Pokemon and play defensively to keep your own bench healthy and happy.

A good hand for a control deck might looks something like this: 

Seismitoad EX (20/111) (Punches 'n' Bites - Patrick Martinez)Ultra Ball (102/108) (Pesadelo Prism - Igor Costa)VS Seeker (140/147) (Happy Luck - Mychael Bryan)Acerola (112/147) (Samurai Sniper - Kabu Fukase)Counter Gain (230/214)Double Colorless Energy (103/123) (LuxChomp of the Spirit - Yuta Komatsuda)Double Colorless Energy (103/123) (LuxChomp of the Spirit - Yuta Komatsuda)

This sets you up for a lot of efficient plays with a bit of protection for your primary, controlling Pokemon.

Resource Denial

Similar to a control deck, denial decks aim to slow down the game and take prizes at your own pace. A number of powerful effects in Pokemon TCG force the opponent to discard cards or remove banked energy from their Pokemon. By filling your deck with these kinds of effects, even something as seemingly small as draining single points of energy with Centiskorch V, you can heavily disrupt your opponent’s plans and steal the game for yourself. Remember, Pokemon games often come down to how well you manage your resources, so every point of energy matters!

A resource draining deck based around Centiskorch V would want to start with a hand like this:

Centiskorch V (SV108/SV122)Centiskorch VMAX (SV109/SV122)Victini (23/113) (Theme Deck Exclusive)Welder (189/214) (Perfection - Henry Brand)Professor's Research (147/172) (Theme Deck Exclusive)Fire Energy (Cinderace Stamp #9)Fire Energy (Cinderace Stamp #9)

This lets you generate a powerful active pokemon and bench with all kinds of ways to refuel, letting you keep ahead of the opponent while taking away their resources.

Bringing It All Together

To some degree, you can safely mix and match elements of all three archetypes when you’re deck building, but it’s almost always best to pick one game plan and stick to it. Whether you want to earn prizes as quickly as possible, play around your opponent’s plans, or outright take away their resources, they’re all viable paths to victory.

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