Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
JC.

Beginner's Guide - Standard (Updated June 1, 2020)

Recommended Posts

»JC.    5329

You've worked your way through some theme tournaments on PTCGO. You have your credit card in hand and have loaded up TCGPlayer or TheGameAcademy. It is time to build your first deck. But, what will it be?

 

UPDATE: This original post is a time capsule to the meta in October 2017. Skip this post to find one made as recently as for June 2020.

 

This guide is meant to highlight the relatively low cost of PTCGO to other trading card games and give some examples of "budget" decks, which are still rather powerful. We have excluded the card Tapu Lele GX, as it is a barrier to entry for some new players that don't want to spend much money.

 

These decks, online, are worth roughly 20 packs or less (~10 USD). If you play with physical cards, the price will be higher, likely in the $50-100 range. This is enough for most decks. There are a couple of powerful decks that are outside of this budget, but you can and will be able to compete against them. However, new players of the physical TCG should check out their local game stores before buying a deck. You might find players or the shop willing to sell you Energy cards and common Trainers for lower than normal prices (or free).

 

Before we get into specific decklists, I want to take a second to reiterate a general deckbuilding point which you will have seen come up if you've read the other sections of the beginner's guide: Trainer cards are good. Trainer cards are your friends. Trainer cards make your deck consistent. Trainer cards are reusable in multiple decks. Having a good suite of Trainer cards makes your life easier. If you're playing with real cards, drop the $20 on your playset of N way before you consider adding the extra copies of whatever Pokémon your deck is themed around. You will use it in every single deck you build until it rotates out of standard.

 

Staple Cards (Own These First):

4 Professor Sycamore

4 N

3 Guzma

4 Ultra Ball

2 Field Blower

1 Rescue Stretcher

2-4 Choice Band

 

Next, let's talk about some decks with great strength to cost ratios.

 

13409b302698cc61020f5a639937751f83930582

 

Greninja BREAK

Greninja BREAK is the most common answer to new players wondering what deck they should start out with. While it does take a few turns to set up, it is both cheap and powerful. The deck revolves around using Frogadier's Water Duplicate attack to get all Frogadiers from the deck, and then evolve them into multiple copies of Greninja and Greninja BREAK, locking your opponent out of Abilities and providing chip damage anywhere on the board with Giant Water Shuriken, an ability that lets you deal 60 damage once per turn by discarding a Water Energy.
If you're using the online client, PTCGO, you can obtain a large portion of this deck by purchasing two copies of the Wave Slasher theme deck and a few others that contain needed Trainers.

 

Example Decklist:

 

3 Greninja BREAK (XY BREAKpoint)
4 Froakie
4 Frogadier
4 Greninja
1 Staryu (XY BREAKpoint)
1 Starmie (XY Evolutions)
1 Remoraid

1 Octillery
 

4 Professor Sycamore
4 N
1 Wally
2 Skyla
2 Guzma

2 Rescue Stretcher
2 Brooklet Hill
4 Evosoda
4 Ultra Ball
1 Rare Candy
3 Choice Band
2 Field Blower

3 Splash Energy
7 Water Energy
 

 

 

1-11.jpg

 

Big Basics Fire

While decks like Gardevoir and Greninja revolve around setting up a Stage 2 Pokémon, this deck focuses on EX and GX Pokémon that have high HP and damage. Volcanion EX's Steam Up ability lets you discard a Fire energy to increase the power of your attack this turn by 30. Turtonator GX's ability brings back up to five discarded Fire energy, and Ho-Oh hits for large damage. Unleash the strong attacks from Turtnator or Ho-Oh to obtain an early lead, followed by recharging with Turtonator's Nitro Tank GX to coast to a victory.

Play Tip: Use Staryu's free retreat or a Float Stone along with Guzma to remove the downside of attacks like Ho-Oh GX that prevent it from using the same move twice.
Play Tip: Turtantor GX's GX attack is much better than Ho-Oh's. Since you can only use one per game, try not to waste it.

If/when you get Tapu Lele GX, consider also adding in a copy of Kiawe, which allows you to power up on the first turn.

 

Example Decklist:

 

3 Turtonator GX


3 Volcanion EX
2 Ho-Oh GX
1 Volcanion
2 Staryu (XY BREAKpoint)
1 Starmie (XY Evolutions)
1 Remoraid
1 Octillery (XY BREAKthrough)
1 Oranguru (Sun & Moon)

 

4 Professor Sycamore
4 N
3 Guzma


4 Ultra Ball
4 Fighting Fury Belt
3 Float Stone
2 Field Blower
1 Rescue Stretcher
3 Brooklet Hill
3 Max Elixir

 

14 Fire Energy

 

XY9_EN_57.png

 

"Control" - Drampa GX + Garbador

Drampa GX provides the ability to draw 10 cards, control your opponent's Special Energy, and also serves as a big hitter. Garbotoxin Garbador locks down your opponent's Abilities, and Trashalanche Garbador deals damage for every item card that has hit their discard pile. Po Town punishes evolution heavy decks like Greninja or Gardevoir and doubles as a way to remove Brooklet Hill and other stadiums from play without wasting a Field Blower. Lock down your opponent, and then hit big with Garbador! The deck also includes Espeon EX, which combos with Po Town to rack up damage on your opponent's Pokémon.

Like most other decks, add in Tapu Lele when you can. A more expensive variant of Garbador combines it with Golisopod GX, a hit-and-run attacker that deals 120 damage for one energy on the turn it enters the active zone. This decklist uses other cards like Acerola to return damaged Pokémon to the hand while also promoting Golisopod to the active zone.

 

Example Decklist:

 

4 Trubbish (XY BREAKpoint)


2 Garbador (Garbotoxin)
2 Garbador (Trashalanche)
3 Drampa GX
1 Oranguru
1 Espeon EX

 

4 Professor Sycamore
4 N
3 Guzma
2 Hala
1 Brigette

 

4 Ultra Ball
4 Float Stone
4 Choice Band
3 Field Blower
2 Rescue Stretcher
1 Super Rod
4 Po Town

 

4 Rainbow Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy
3 Psychic Energy

 

s-l300.jpg

 

Energy Ramp - Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu GX

Energy manipulation is a recurring theme in popular decks. Greninja and Volcanion discard energy from their hand to power up attacks, for instance. Tapu Bulu is a heavy hitter that deals 180 damage for three energy at the cost of discarding all attached energy (or 120 without discarding). Vikavolt's ability allows you to attack a Grass and Lightning Energy from your deck for free each turn. This means if you also play energy from hand, you will have the three you need every turn to fire off Tapu Bulu.
To set up, the deck utilises Rare Candy to skip the middle evolution of Vikavolt. Additionally, Super Rod and Brock's Grit allow you to recycle your energy back into the deck to be retrieved once more by Vikvavolt.

 

Example Decklist:

 

3 Tapu Bulu GX


3 Grubbin
1 Charjabug
3 Vikavolt
1 Tapu-Koko GX

 

4 Professor Sycamore
4 N
3 Guzma
2 Acerola
1 Brigette
2 Brock's Grit
2 Skyla

 

3 Rare Candy
3 Ultra Ball
3 Heavy Ball
3 Choice Band
2 Float Stone
2 Field Blower
1 Super Rod

 

8 Grass Energy
6 Lightning Energy

 

 

SM2_EN_132.png

 

Anti-Meta - Alolan Ninetales
This anti-meta deck features Alolan Ninetales GX, whose GX attack allows you to fully heal your Ninetales while pushing all of the damage counters to the opponent's active Pokémon. With 210HP, Alolan Ninetales GX is hard to OHKO, and if they attack without KOing it, often hitting for 160-190 damage, you often have the opportunity to return the KO. It also runs the Mallow supporter card, which lets you stack your deck, along with a 2-2 Octillery line to fill your hand. Alolan Vulpix's Beacon attack also lets you search for two Pokémon, but those are at a high risk of being hit by an opponent's N.

 

Example Decklist:

 

 

 


4 Alolan Vulpix (Guardian Rising)
3 Alolan Ninetales GX
1 Alolan Ninetales (BUS)
2 Remoraid
2 Octillery
1 Sudowoodo (Guardian Rising)
1 Tapu Koko (Promo)

 

4 Sycamore
4 N
3 Guzma
1 Brigette
2 Mallow

 

4 Aqua Patch
3 Choice Band
2 Float Stone
2 Field Blower
4 Ultra Ball
1 Rescue Stretcher
1 Brooklet Hill
4 Evosoda

 

4 Double Colorless Energy
8 Water Energy

 

 

 

 

611rec3QhZL._SY450_.jpg

 

Spread Damage - Tapu Koko / Necrozma GX / Weavile
This deck uses Captivating Poképuff to force your opponent's Pokémon into play, and then follows up with the attacks of Tapu Koko, Necrozma-GX, and Weavile to deal damage to multiple Pokémon at once. We also include a Po Town/Espeon EX lineup, allowing you to deal additional chip damage and gain KOs with Espeon's devolution attack. This deck's strength is the ability to perform huge momentum shifts, knocking out multiple of the opponent's Pokémon in one turn and claiming 3+ prizes.

 

Example Decklist:

 

4 Tapu Koko (Promo)


2 Necrozma GX
4 Sneasel
4 Weavile (BUS)
2 Espeon EX
1 Oranguru

 

4 Professor Sycamore
4 N
3 Guzma
2 Brock's Grit
1 Brigette
1 Professor Kukui

 

2 Po Town
2 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Choice Band
2 Field Blower
3 Ultra Ball
2 Captivating Poképuff
1 Rescue Stretcher

 

4 Double Colorless Energy
10 Psychic Energy

 

 

That about wraps it up for this post. Unlike the other sections of the beginner's guide, there is a lot of variance here in terms of what decks should be featured and the cards those decks should run. Please feel free to suggest changes to these lists and post any decks you think should be included here.

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mark    3105

Pinned

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
»JC.    5329

Since the original post, most cards have rotated out, so I wanted to give a small update with a few new options. When judging formats, 2017 may have been a "better" one, but this format remains fun and may make the game easier to get into than ever before due to the introduction of competitively-oriented sealed products known as "League Battle Decks."

 

Let us repeat something from the original post:

Quote

Before we get into specific decklists, I want to take a second to reiterate a general deckbuilding point which you will have seen come up if you've read the other sections of the beginner's guide: Trainer cards are good. Trainer cards are your friends. Trainer cards make your deck consistent. Trainer cards are reusable in multiple decks. Having a good suite of Trainer cards makes your life easier. If you're playing with real cards, drop the $20 on your playset of N way before you consider adding the extra copies of whatever Pokémon your deck is themed around. You will use it in every single deck you build until it rotates out of standard.

 

2020 Format Staples--Unlike in 2017, we have a larger swath of archetype-specific trainer cards, but we still have a good set of staples worth picking up to make things easier. I've included the most universal ones, along with other universal-type cards that just don't see quite as much play. I've left out cards that are staples to specific archetypes (e.g. a Stage 2 deck will be running Rare Candy, but not every deck is a Stage 2 deck).

 

SUPPORTERS

3 Marnie

3 Boss's Orders

Good to Have: Professor's Research, Cynthia, Sonia

 

ITEMS

4 Quick Ball
4 Switch
2 Reset Stamp

2 Escape Board

Good to Have: 4 Pokégear 3.0, 2 Scoop-Up Net, 1 Tool Scrapper, 1 Friend Ball

 

POKEMON

4 Jirachi (Team Up, has Stellar Wish ability)

2 Dedenne GX (Unbroken Bonds, has Dedechange ability)

 

 

Next, here are some decks that do very well for their cost:

image.png

 

Pikachu & Zekrom GX

 

The recently released Pikachu & Zekrom League Battle Deck recently released. Inside, you will find Jirachi ($18 x4 card), along with an entire rest of a deck. This package costs $25 dollars. It is intended to be locals-viable out of the box, and to remain legal after rotation in August. However, that last part means it is missing a few of the power cards that will be rotating out. Here's an example decklist you can use to compare to the contents of the box. Also note that if you play using the Online client, this product comes with a card code that allows you to gain all of the cards online as well. This is probably the best product I've seen since the release of Yu-Gi-Oh's Master of Pendulum structure deck, which, upon release, had 1 player top cut at my locals with literally nothing but 3x copies of that deck, and which had the rest of the top cut being that deck with more cards added to the extra deck for variety.

 



3 Jirachi

2 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

1 Eldegoss V

1 Boltund V

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX

1 Tapu Koko Prism

1 Marshadow (Resetting Hole ability)

 

3 Volkner

2 Boss's Orders

2 Guzma & Hala

2 Marnie

1 Mallow & Lana

 

4 Quick Ball

4 Electropower

4 Switch

3 Tag Call

2 Reset Stamp

2 Escape Board

1 Tag Switch

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Great Catcher

1 Vitality Band

1 Big Charm

 

1 Thunder Mountain Prism

1 Power Plant

 

9 Lightning Energy

4 Speed Lightning Energy

 

image.png

 

Reshiram & Charizard-GX

 

This is Pikachu & Zekrom's counterpart deck, which also just released. While not as sought after as the Pikachu one (as this list does not include Jirachi), and while a weaker deck once fully fleshed out, it actually has a great head-to-head matchup using the stock $25 lists due to the Pikachu's decks relative issues with energy acceleration. Instead of Jirachi, this uses a supporter known as Green's Exploration, which lets you grab two Trainer Cards when you don't have any Pokémon with abilities in play. Here's an example list of a deck that maintains the Green's engine and saw some success at a tournament.

 

Example Decklist:



4 Volcanion

2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX
1 Victini V

1 Omastar (with the Fossil Bind ability)

 

4 Welder

4 Green's Exploration

1 Cynthia & Caitlin

 

4 Pokégear 3.0

4 Custom Catcher

3 Reset Stamp

2 Fiery Flint

2 Switch

2 Quick Ball

2 Fire Crystal

 

1 Great Catcher

1 Evolution Incense

1 Wait and See Hammer

1 Tag Call

1 Unidentified Fossil

1 Rare Candy

1 Big Charm

 

2 Power Plant

2 Lysandre Labs

1 Heat Factory

 

12 Fire Energy

 

Due to the need of every deck to run either Jirachi or Green's Exploration, it is difficult to justify picking a different deck as a starting point. However, I'll include one other option:

image.png

 

Galarian Obstagoon

Galarian Obstagoon's attack, Obstruct, prevents all damage done by un-evolved Pokémon. If you look at the two deck lists above, you'll notice there are 0 Evolved Pokémon in the Pikachu list, and only 1 support Pokémon (Omastar) in the other list. The non-budget decks of this format, such as "Zacian ADP (Arceus, Dialga, Palkia)" and "Blacephalon" share this trait. This makes Obstagoon a strong anti-meta contender. If the decks aren't teched against you, you can obtain a lopsided matchup almost impossible for your opponent to overcome. The downside, of course, is that decks that evolve, the most popular being the Grass-Type Rillaboom, will thrash you all day, especially as they hit you for Weakness! Obstagoon decks rely on a few other attackers to take out evolved Pokémon, most notably Sableye V, who deals 10 damage + 60 damage for each damage counter on the opponent, allowing it to take advantage of the 3 Damage Counters Obstagoon places with its Ability when it comes into play.

 

Example Decklist:



4 Galarian Zigzagoon

2 Galarian Linoone

3 Galarian Obstagoon

3 Jirachi

2 Sableye V

1 Yveltal-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew (Bench Barrier ability)

1 Mimikyu (Shadow Box ability)

 

4 Marnie

2 Boss's Orders

2 Cynthia

2 Rosa

2 Professor's Research

 

4 Quick Ball

4 Scoop Up Net

3 Pokémon Communication

2 Super Scoop Up

2 Rare Candy

2 Switch

1 Lillie's Poké Doll

1 Ordinary Rod

1 Escape Board

 

2 Shrine of Punishment

 

8 Darkness Energy

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×