Pokemon TCG Deck Building Tips: 10 Ways to Make a Winning Deck

Take the upper hand and win battles with our Pokemon TCG deck building tips!

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While most fans enjoy collecting the rarest and most expensive Pokemon cards, some find enjoyment in Pokemon TCG battles where players can indulge in a duel of wits with their favorite Pokemon.

If you’re planning to explore the competitive aspect of Pokemon TCG, you need to familiarize yourself with the different formats of playing the game, as well as building your own deck.

Speaking about deck building, having a sizeable collection of Pokemon cards from the recent sets is not enough; you need to create a system where you can select the right cards and make them work together in a battle.

To learn the art of deck building in Pokemon TCG, we’re going to provide you the best tips that you can keep in mind in case you’re preparing for an upcoming tournament or a game with friends.

Pokemon tcg deck building tips

10 Pokemon TCG Deck Building Tips

To build a winning Pokemon deck, follow these essential Pokemon TCG deck building tips:

10. Develop a Strategy

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - develop a strategy
ericamay farazi (flickr)

Just like most trading card games, your Pokemon TCG deck must revolve around a specific idea that can give you an advantage in the game.

If you’re building a deck for the Standard format, you might consider going for an aggressive deck that can end a game as fast as possible, a control deck to disrupt your opponent’s combos or a deck that can deny Prize Cards to the opposing party by sustaining heavy damage.

Alternatively, you can also try borrowing ideas from top-tier competitive decks or you can check out our article about the best Pokemon TCG decks for the Standard meta.

9. Get the Right Quantity of Cards

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - get the right quantity of cards
Rebecka Yu (flickr)

As much as you want to stack your deck with tons of powerful cards, you need to understand that Pokemon TCG is a game of chance, so you better increase the odds of drawing the right card at the right time.

As a rule of thumb, your 60-card deck should be composed of 20 Pokemon cards, 30 Trainer Cards, and 10 Energy cards.

Ensure you have multiple copies of the most important cards in your deck.

Ideally, you can have one copy of cards that can turn the tide of battle in your favor, two copies of cards with one-time effect, three copies of cards that make up your primary strategy, and four copies of cards you badly need at the start of the game.

8. Focus On One or Two Pokemon Types

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - focus on one or two pokemon types

Considering that the resistance and weakness mechanic is also present in Pokemon TCG, it might be tempting for you to add Pokemon from various types to cover any possible weaknesses your deck might have.

However, this practice might backfire since the more diversified your Pokemon are, the fewer chances that you’ll pick the most crucial ones for your strategy.

If you think your opponent’s deck is countering your Pokemon in terms of resistance and weakness, there are other ways you can react in the game, such as the following:

  • Playing gusting cards.
  • Cards that remove energy cards from the opposing Pokemon.
  • Cards that deal damage counters per turn.

So, to prevent filling your hands with cards that won’t help you win the game, stick to one or two Pokemon types and cover their possible weaknesses with Trainer cards that provide utility.

7. Make Every Card in Your Deck Count

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - make every card in your deck count
-babybeluga (flickr)

In relation to focusing on one or two Pokemon types, every card in your Pokemon deck should serve a specific purpose.

You only have a limited number of cards in your deck, and each of them should synergize with each other.

Do not add any card just because you think it’s strong enough to win you a game; instead, ask yourself if that card will complement the other cards in your deck.

You should also build a deck with Pokemon that you are most familiar with and ensure that you understand how their moves and abilities work.

6. Use a Sweeper to Concentrate Your Attacks

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - charizard ex
Pokemon tcg deck building tips - gardevoir ex
Pokemon tcg deck building tips - giratina vstar

In the mainline video games, a sweeper is a Pokemon assigned to knock out as many Pokemon as possible during a battle.

The same principle can be applied when making a Pokemon TCG deck.

You need to select at least one Pokemon that can deal tons of damage or provide a game-breaking effect that demolishes your opponent’s Pokemon.

Once you have your sweeper or main attacker, ensure that your strategy will focus on playing your sweeper as your Active Pokemon and boost its moves and abilities with Energy and Trainer cards.

5. Utilize Trainer Cards to Establish an Advantage

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - utilize trainer cards to establish an advantage
neat grey-puff (flickr)

It’s almost impossible to fully rely on your strongest Pokemon to win, and that’s the reason why Trainer cards are the most numerous types of cards found in many Standard decks.

Smarter players will likely use Trainer cards such as Item cards to provide support for their Active and Benched Pokemon.

Trainer cards have various effects that are crucial to execute strategies such as drawing specific cards, evolving basic or Stage 1 Pokemon, and attaching extra Energy cards to a Pokemon.

4. Equip Your Deck With Draw Engine

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - korrina's focus
Pokemon tcg deck building tips - professor's research
Pokemon tcg deck building tips - pyukumuku

Every Pokemon deck should have a set of cards that play one vital role: to take the most important cards from your deck.

These cards will serve as your draw engine, which will save you from trouble in case most of the cards in your hand are not yet usable for the time being.

Cards that can bolster your draw engine can be Pokemon or Trainer cards.

Some examples include Pyukumuku from Fusion Strike, Professor’s Research from Scarlet & Violet, and Korrina’s Focus from Rapid Strike.

3. Add Gusting Cards

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - boss's orders
Pokemon tcg deck building tips - cross switcher
Pokemon tcg deck building tips - tornadus

Gusting cards are an excellent way to annoy your opponents and delay their main attacker from damaging your team.

Gusting is the method of forcing your opponent to switch their Active Pokemon with one of their Benched Pokemon through the effects of specific cards like Boss’s Orders, Cross Switcher, or Tornadus from Brilliant Star’s Sudden Cyclone ability.

Benched Pokemon are usually weaker than the Active Pokemon, so adding some gusting cards in your deck can catch your opponent off-guard and score you some free knockouts and Prize Cards.

2. Identify Your Deck’s Weak Points

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - identify your deck's weak points
Christian M (flickr)

Once your deck is complete, you can check its weak points by testing it out in games.

You can try your new deck by playing against your friends and joining games in your local card store.

The more you use your deck, the more you learn to play it properly and identify the cards that might need better replacements.

Deck building in Pokemon TCG is a continuous process, and you might need to make regular tweaks in your deck in case of a new Standard Rotation and you want to catch up with the current meta.

1. Study the Cards From the Newest Set

Pokemon tcg deck building tips - study the cards from the newest set

To keep up with the trends in the Standard format, you have to study the card list under a new set.

The latest sets tend to add new game mechanics and more powerful cards are being added over time.

Every new card provides new opportunities to improve your deck, so take your time reading these cards online and see if any of them can be useful in casual and competitive play.


Building a strong Pokemon TCG deck requires careful planning and selection of relevant cards.

While you win the game by knocking out the opposing Pokemon team, you will need the help of your Trainer and Energy cards to guide your Pokemon to victory.

Ang whatever strategy you have, always remember that winning games isn’t all about the cards – you, the player must also spend some time testing your deck to ensure that you are skilled enough to use it against the toughest of foes.

Wanna learn more other than Pokemon TCG deck building tips? Check out more of our content here at Pokemoncoders:

About Celsos

Celsos is a dedicated writer who's all about Pokémon TCG. With tons of experience playing the game and a massive card collection, Celsos is a go-to guy for all things Pokémon TCG. He brings his love and knowledge of the game to create engaging articles that fellow Pokémon fans will enjoy.

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