[Top 5] Pokemon TCG Best Starter Decks

Discover the top 5 starter decks in the Pokemon TCG.
Choose Your Starter

Hello all you fans of the Pokemon Trading Card Game and casual readers. A huge part of the Pokemon game is building your own custom deck of 60 cards. However, if you’re a younger trainer or don’t have cards that work together well, a starter deck is a great thing to buy. 

Starter decks are cheap and provide you with a solid basis for the rules. Many starter decks include at least one powerful Basic card, a good Stage 1 line, and a powerful but slow Stage 2 line. It’s true that very few of these decks are super competitive, but there are a lot of benefits to starting off with one. Today we’ll be looking at which of these decks will give you the most competitive experience against other starter decks. However, might I suggest one of the other articles linked at the bottom of this page if you’re looking for more intense competition.

For this list we will only be considering the starter decks that are available in the Pokemon TCG Online shop. This includes all the decks released between the Heartgold & Soulsilver and Vivid Voltage expansions. With that said, let’s get into the list. 

5. Charizard Theme Deck

This deck centers around the Charizard with the Battle Sense ability and is pretty straight forward even for starter decks. 

  • The standard draw Basic in this deck is Sudowoodo. Double Draw draws two cards and Flail deals 10 damage for each damage on Sudowoodo. They both cost one energy. 
  • The Royal Blaze attack on Charizards deals 100 damage plus 50 more more each Leon in your discard pile. This deck comes with two Leons, so you can hit a max of 200 damage. You can also use the Battle Sense ability to look at the top three cards of your deck and put one into your hand. The other two get discarded. 

  • There isn’t a whole lot more strategy to this deck. The deck features a Yanmega line, a Magcargo line, and a Lugia. These are all standard damage cards. 

Here is the deck list:

Pokémon - 21

  • 1 Lugia DAA 140
  • 2 Sudowoodo SSH 100
  • 3 Charmander VIV 23
  • 3 Slugma VIV 27
  • 3 Charmeleon VIV 24
  • 2 Magcargo VIV 28
  • 2 Charizard VIV 25
  • 3 Yanma VIV 6
  • 2 Yanmega VIV 7

Trainer Cards - 21

  • 2 Bede SSH 157
  • 2 Dan RCL 158
  • 1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
  • 2 Great Ball SSH 164
  • 4 Hop SSH 165
  • 2 Leon VIV 154
  • 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
  • 2 Professor's Research SSH 178
  • 2 Sonia RCL 167
  • 2 Switch SSH 183

Energy - 18

  • 18 Fire Energy

4. Relentless Flame

The feature card of this deck is another powerful Charizard. This Charizard features the Roaring Resolve ability and Continuous Blaze Ball attack. This is probably the hardest hitting starter deck out there, but it’s a bit slow and clunky. Let’s talk about strategy. 

  • Starter decks typically don’t feature any way to disrupt your opponent so you are free to build up your hand as much as you want. This is good because theme decks also use a lot of extra (and usually unnecessary) cards. This can be more inconsistent than necessary, so the first thing you’re going to do is draw a lot of cards. 
  • The draw Pokemon for this deck is Farfetch’d. You can use the collect attack for one energy and draw two cards. Using this attack multiple times will fill up your hand with everything you need for the rest of the game. 
  • While your Farfetch’d is drawing, you should be powering up your Stage 2 Pokemon. This deck plays two sets of Stage 2 Pokemon. Charizard and Nidoqueen.
  • You should prioritize Nidoqueen first. She has an ability that lets you search through your deck for a Pokemon and put it into your hand. This can help to get your other Pokemon later. In addition, she has a powerful attack. Power Lariat deals 10 damage plus 50 more for each Evolution Pokemon on your bench. This can hit for staggering 260 damage although it can take a while to power up because it costs three energy. 

  • Charizard is your other main option in this deck. His attack deals 30 damage plus 50 more for each fire energy you discard from Charizard. This attack has unlimited damage potential but you’ll probably only need two or three energy to KO most starter deck Pokemon. You can easily attach two energy with the Roaring Resolve ability. It searches your deck for two fire energy cards and attaches them to Charizard. Then you can attach another energy for more damage or attach to Nidoqueen to use a different attack later. Just be careful because this ability also does 20 damage to Charizard.
  • This deck also has the alternative attacker: Rapidash. Searing Flame deals 20 damage and burns your opponent’s Pokemon. Agility costs two energy and deals 60 damage. You also flip a coin and if heads, your opponent’s attacks can’t hit you next turn. 

Here is the deck list:

Pokémon - 22

  • 3 Farfetch'd TEU 127
  • 3 Charmander TEU 12
  • 3 Ponyta TEU 17
  • 2 Charmeleon TEU 13
  • 2 Rapidash TEU 18
  • 2 Charizard TEU 14
  • 3 Nidoran♀ TEU 54
  • 2 Nidorina TEU 55
  • 2 Nidoqueen TEU 56

Trainer Cards - 18

  • 2 Brock's Grit TEU 135
  • 2 Copycat CES 127
  • 2 Cynthia UPR 119
  • 2 Hau CES 132
  • 2 Nest Ball SUM 123
  • 2 Pokémon Fan Club UPR 133
  • 2 Professor Kukui SUM 128
  • 2 Switch CES 147
  • 2 Timer Ball SUM 134

Energy - 20

  • 20 Fire Energy 

3. Laser Focus

This deck is a little bit more complicated than the first two and might be better for a more advanced player.

  • Your first step is going to be putting out Dedenne. This is your draw Basic. It has the Return attack which for one energy deals 20 damage and draws until you have six cards in your hand. 
  • While Dedenne is drawing cards, you’re going to want to set up your five bench spaces like this. Two Malamar, one Silvally, and two Necrozma. 
  • Necrozma is a Basic Pokemon and the main attacker of this deck. Special Laser deals 100 damage for three energy. This attack deals an extra 60 damage if you have special energy attached to Necrozma. There is one special energy in this deck for each Necrozma so use them well. 
  • Malamar is a Stage 1 Pokemon with Psychic Recharge ability. This ability attaches a psychic energy from your discard pile to one of your benched Pokemon. Once your Pokemon start getting KOed you can use this to power up new Pokemon in an instant. 
  • Silvally is the other attacker of this deck. He’s a Stage 1 with the Air Slash attack. For three energy, it deals 120 damage, but discards an energy from you afterwards. 

  • There’s another important step that you should take after your Dedenne gets KOed. Audino is a Basic Pokemon with the Hearing ability and one retreat cost. You can put Audino out to draw an extra card and let Malamar power up your bench. You can then retreat for free with the help of U-Turn Board.

Here is the deck list:

Pokémon - 24

  • 2 Audino UNM 177
  • 2 Tauros UNM 164
  • 3 Type: Null UNM 183
  • 3 Yungoos UNM 180
  • 2 Gumshoos UNM 181
  • 2 Silvally UNM 184
  • 2 Dedenne UNM 145
  • 2 Inkay FLI 50
  • 2 Mesprit UNM 84
  • 2 Necrozma UNM 101
  • 2 Malamar FLI 51

Trainer Cards - 16

  • 2 Bug Catcher UNM 189
  • 2 Cynthia UPR 119
  • 2 Hau CES 132
  • 2 Lillie UPR 125
  • 2 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
  • 2 Pokémon Fan Club UPR 133
  • 1 Switch CES 147
  • 1 Tate & Liza CES 148
  • 2 U-Turn Board UNM 211

Energy - 20

  • 18 Psychic Energy 
  • 2 Weakness Guard Energy UNM 213

2. Drednaw Theme Deck

I know that it says Drednaw deck in the title, but the best way to play this deck is to focus on Samurott. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start out with a look at this deck’s draw Basic. 

  • Wishiwashi has a powerful attack for one energy that shuffles your hand into your deck and draws eight cards. Just be careful because Wishiwashi only has 30 HP so it won’t be sticking around for long. 
  • While Wishiwashi is splashing around in the active spot, you’re going to want to evolve your Samurott as fast as possible. This Stage 2 is powerful and possibly the best one in any theme deck. It has 160 HP and it’s ability reduces damage done to it by 30. This effectively brings it’s HP up to 190. The Aqua Wash attack deals 120 damage and can put two energy from your opponent’s active Pokemon back into their hand. This can stall out pretty much any deck and the damage output can knock aside any stall attempts your opponent puts out. This attack costs three energy, but is typically in play for multiple turns. 
  • Nessa is a powerful supporter that can retrieve four in any combination of water energy and Pokemon from your discard. The fact that this deck plays three Nessa allows you to use Samurott for all six on your prize cards by reusing the two you start with.

  • Other supporting Pokemon in this deck include Drednaw, Cramorant, and Barraskewda. 

Here is the deck list:

Pokémon - 22

  • 3 Arrokuda VIV 41
  • 3 Chewtle VIV 38
  • 2 Cramorant VIV 40
  • 3 Oshawott VIV 33
  • 2 Wishiwashi DAA 50
  • 1 Barraskewda VIV 42
  • 3 Dewott VIV 34
  • 3 Drednaw VIV 39
  • 2 Samurott VIV 35

Trainer Cards - 20

  • 2 Bede SSH 157
  • 2 Dan RCL 158
  • 1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
  • 2 Great Ball SSH 164
  • 4 Hop SSH 165
  • 3 Nessa VIV 157
  • 2 Professor's Research SSH 178
  • 2 Sonia RCL 167
  • 2 Switch SSH 183

Energy - 18

  • 18 Water Energy

1. Soaring Storm

This deck is a versatile one that really makes use of most of the cards in it. All of the cards work really well together and there aren’t really any cards that you won’t use. Let’s break it down. 

  • Alolan Grimer is the draw Basic of this deck and is much better than nearly all the others available because its attack costs no energy. Collect draws two cards and doesn’t cost you a thing, so you can focus on your bench set up. 
  • Pidgeotto is a Stage 1 Pokemon that features a powerful draw ability. Air Mail looks at the top two cards of your deck. One of them goes into your hand and one of them goes into your deck. This is the one of the only draw abilities that can be used from anywhere in play. 
  • While you’re drawing cards, you’re going to focus on evolving one Dragonite line. Dragonite is a Stage 2 Pokemon with the Hurricane Charge ability and the Dragon Impact attack. It can act as a support Pokemon or attacking Pokemon depending on what you need. Hurricane Charge allows you to attach one water and one lightning energy from your hand to your Pokemon each turn. The Dragon Impact attack can also be used to deal with more tanky Pokemon. For four energy it deals 170 damage, but you need to discard three energy from Dragonite. 

  • Thundurus and Tornadus act as powerful Basic Pokemon that boost each other's attack. Thundurus deals 120 damage for three energy and does 40 damage to one of your Pokemon. Tornadus deals 80 damage for three energy. In addition, if you have both of them in play, Tornadus’s attack deals 20 damage to each of your opponent’s benched Pokemon.

  • Lanturn and Pidgeot act as great bonus attackers in this deck.

Here is the deck list:

Pokémon - 24

  • 3 Pidgey TEU 121
  • 2 Tornadus UNM 178
  • 2 Pidgeotto TEU 123
  • 1 Pidgeot TEU 124
  • 2 Alolan Grimer UNM 127
  • 3 Dratini UNM 148
  • 3 Dragonair UNM 150
  • 2 Dragonite UNM 151
  • 2 Chinchou CES 49
  • 2 Thundurus UNM 68
  • 2 Lanturn CES 50

Trainer Cards - 16

  • 2 Bug Catcher UNM 189
  • 2 Cynthia UPR 119
  • 1 Energy Recycle System CES 128
  • 1 Fisherman CES 130
  • 2 Hau CES 132
  • 2 Lillie UPR 125
  • 2 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
  • 2 Pokémon Fan Club UPR 133
  • 1 Switch CES 147
  • 1 Tate & Liza CES 148

Energy - 20

  • 11 Lightning Energy
  • 9 Water Energy 


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