How to Build a Pokemon TCG Deck? A Step-by-Step Guide

Time to put those Pokemon cards into good use!


how to build a Pokemon TCG deck

Ever tried playing Pokemon Trading Card Game before? Make good use of your Pokecard collection by learning how to build a Pokemon TCG deck!

Apart from learning how to play Pokemon TCG, beginners should also master the basics of creating a deck.

While it can be tempting to use all the powerful cards you have and lump them together in a 60-card deck, such practice won’t give you the edge in battles, especially against a well-prepared opponent.

So, to help you increase of chances of winning your first Pokemon TCG game, here is a definitive tutorial on how you can build a competitive and reliable deck.

Editor’s Update (May 2024): Added some relevant interlinks to the article.

Pokemon TCG Deck Building Rules

The Pokemon TCG rulebook doesn’t have strict rules when it comes to building decks.

Some official tournaments, however, follow certain formats that only allow the use of cards from specific sets, together with various lists of banned cards.

Pokemon Tcg Deck Building Rules

As far as basic rules are concerned, you only have a couple of things to worry about when building a Pokemon TCG deck:

  1. Your deck must exactly have 60 cards.
  2. You can only add up to four copies of the same card in your deck (applicable to all cards except Basic Energy cards).

There is actually a third rule, but it might sound like a no-brainer to many players: ensure that you have at least one Basic Pokemon in your deck.

Without a single Basic Pokemon card, you won’t be able to play any of your Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokemon and hence it won’t be possible for you to win games.

How to Build a Pokemon TCG Deck for Beginners

Step 1: Gather Some Strong Pokemon Cards

Ghastly - Pokemon Tcg
Haunter - Pokemon Tcg
Gengar - Pokemon Tcg

You can have as many Pokemon cards as you want, but for strategic purposes, it would be better if you focus on one or two Pokemon types and add four copies of them to your deck.

Having four copies of let’s say a Basic Pokemon like Ralts will make it likelier for you to find one Ralts at the beginning of a game.

Ralts  - Pokemon Tcg
Ralts  - Pokemon Tcg
Ralts  - Pokemon Tcg
Ralts  - Pokemon Tcg

You should also add around four copies of Pokemon cards belonging to the same evolution chart as your Basic Pokemon (e.g. Kirlia and Gardevoir ex for Ralts).

Kirlia - Pokemon Tcg
Gardevoir - Pokemon Tcg

Some Pokemon cards can create synergies that allow you to perform combos and deal more damage or status effects to your opponent.

For example, Comfey’s ability, Flower Selecting can help you pile up the cards in the Lost Zone.

Comfey - Pokemon Tcg

Such ability can benefit other Pokemon that draw power from the Lost Zone, such as Giratina VSTAR.

Giratina Vstar - Pokemon Tcg

Giratina VSTAR’s Star Requiem automatically knocks out the opposing Active Pokemon once you have 10 or more cards in the Lost Zone.

So, if you have 4 Comfey cards in the Benched Spot, you can easily gather enough cards in the Lost Zone to trigger Giratina’s devastating attack, scoring you a knockout and Prize card as a result.

Comfey-Giratina VSTAR combo is only one of the popular synergies in Pokemon TCG.

You can also find out more about other viable combos by reading this list of the best competitive decks for the current meta.

Most decks can have around 10-12 Pokemon cards, so try to stick to these numbers while building your team.

Step 2: Power Up Your Pokemon With Energy Cards

Basic W Energy · Paldea Evolved (Pal) 279
Basic R Energy · Obsidian Flames (Obf) 230
Basic G Energy · Paldea Evolved (Pal) 278

Use the right type and amount of Energy cards to power up the moves of your Pokemon and pay their retreat costs.

If the moves of your Pokemon need Dark-type energies, gather some Basic Dark Energy cards.

You can also add a bit of Colorless Energy cards, but this is highly optional.

If a Pokemon move requires a Colorless energy, you can substitute a Colorless Energy card with any Basic Energy card.

The amount of Energy cards you can have in your deck may depend on how much Energy your Pokemon need to perform their moves.

But for beginners, the best number of Energy cards would be 15.

Out of those 15 Energy cards, you can have a combination of Basic and Special Energy cards.

Feel free to get more than four copies of the same Basic Energy card, but copies of the same Special Energy card must always be limited to four.

Step 3: Add a Bunch of Trainer Cards

Ultra Ball - Pokemon Tcg
Professor'S Research - Pokemon Tcg
Clive - Pokemon Tcg

Trainer cards allow you to ensure that you can properly execute your in-game strategies.

Trainer cards can be classified into Supporter cards, Item cards, Pokemon Tool cards, Stadium cards, and Technical Machine cards.

Most Trainer cards have powerful effects such as helping you obtain a crucial card from your deck, draw more cards, or annoy the opposing team by switching their Active and Benched Pokemon.

Examples of these types of cards include the Professor’s Research, Cross Switcher, Rock Chestplate, Quick Ball, and Nest Ball.

Some Trainer cards can even be used as tools to increase your Pokemon’s damage or HP.

You can usually set the amount of your Trainer cards depending on the remaining slots in your deck, assuming you already have your Pokemon and Energy cards.

Normally, players add around 20-25 Trainer cards in their decks, with some deck builds having as much as 30.

Step 4: Check if Your Deck Has 60 Cards

60-Card Deck Pokemon Tcg

With all card types integrated into your Pokemon deck, do a final check if your deck has a total of 60 cards.

If your deck is less or more than 60 cards, you will need to add or remove cards of your choice.

Once you have a 60-card deck, you’re all set to play an epic battle of Pokemon TCG!


With a deck at hand, you can now challenge a fellow trainer to a tabletop game of wits and strategy.

Building your own Pokemon TCG deck can be a mentally draining activity, but it’s a good way to show your personality and play style.

But in case you want the easier path of playing Pokemon TCG, you can always hit your favorite stores and purchase some theme decks.

Was this article helpful to you? We want to know in the comments section below!

More Pokemon TCG guides are coming your way only here on Pokecard HQ.


From his man cave in the Philippines, Celsos hoards a box full of Pokemon cards. He loves everything about Pokemon, but he also enjoys other things like playing video games, reading Tolkien's books, and writing. He currently works as the editor and writer for PokeCard HQ.


Related Post

Leave a Comment