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Arcanine ex/Houndoom

🏆 Top Deck 🐣 Suitable for Beginners

Pokémon (14) Trainers (30) Energy (16)
4x Growlithe
4x Arcanine ex
2x Houndour
2x Houndoom
1x Aipom
1x Holon’s Electrode
2x Cursed Stone
2x Crystal Beach
1x Battle Frontier
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Mary’s Request
3x Scott
2x Copycat
4x Energy Removal 2
3x Great Ball
1x Warp Point
1x Potion
12x Fire Energy
4x React Energy
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A Turn 2 Overrun from Arcanine ex will put quick pressure on your opponent, especially considering its ability to hit for 100 on the following turn. Functioning with a small Bench, Houndoom is the perfect partner, limiting your opponent’s options as they endure these attacks.

Banette ex

🐣 Suitable for Beginners

Pokémon (16) Trainers (30) Energy (14)
1x Jolteon pokemon-star-symbol
4x Shuppet
4x Banette ex
1x Banette
1x Smoochum
1x Jynx δ
1x Lunatone
1x Solrock
1x Girafarig
1x Holon’s Magneton
3x Crystal Beach
1x Desert Ruins
4x TV Reporter
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
1x Steven’s Advice
1x Scott
4x Energy Removal 2
3x Holon Transceiver
1x Pokémon Reversal
7x Psychic Energy
4x Rainbow Energy
2x Warp Energy
1x Cyclone Energy
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Blazingly fast with a Turn 1 Ascension, Banette ex uses the Holon Supporters and TV Reporter to quickly power its Shadow Chant. Rainbow Energy and Jolteon pokemon-star-symbol‘s Yellow Ray turn self-damage into a benefit, as Banette ex can use Shady Move to send the damage to the opponent’s side. 3 Crystal Beach help the deck avoid walking into immediate Scramble Energy-fueled attacks, while the combination of Girafarig, Lunatone, and Solrock aim to disable the Poké-Powers your opponent needs to overpower your fragile 90 HP attacker.

Blastoise ex/Lugia ex

🌠 Iconic Deck 🏆 Top Deck 🤡 Fun to Play 🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

Pokémon (24) Trainers (31) Energy (5)
1x Latias pokemon-star-symbol
3x Holon’s Castform
2x Squirtle
2x Blastoise ex
2x Pidgey
1x Pidgeotto
2x Pidgeot
2x Lugia ex
2x Jirachi
1x Kyogre ex
1x Chimecho δ
1x Tauros
1x Aipom
1x Lapras
1x Holon’s Magnemite
1x Power Tree
1x Giant Stump
4x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
2x Rocket’s Admin.
2x Professor Elm’s Training Method
2x Steven’s Advice
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rare Candy
3x Warp Point
3x Windstorm
3x Pokémon Retriever
1x Swoop! Teleporter
5x Water Energy
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Blastoise’s Energy Rain and Holon’s Castform allow you to repeatedly fuel and deliver incredible attacks, like Lugia ex’s Elemental Blast & Shooting Star. Pokémon Retriever allows you to keep these attacks coming.

Revised 5/17/2022: –1 Onix, –1 Steelix ex, –1 Jirachi , –1 Wartortle, –1 Celio’s Network, –2 Water Energy, +1 Jirachi , +1 Lugia ex, +1 Power Tree, +1 Professor Elm’s Training Method, +2 Steven’s Advice, +1 Holon Adventurer

Bombtar

🌠 Iconic Deck 🏆 Top Deck 🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

Pokémon (17) Trainers (28) Energy (15)
2x Larvitar δ
1x Larvitar
3x Dark Pupitar
3x Dark Tyranitar
2x Voltorb
2x Electrode ex
2x Jirachi
1x Lapras
1x Holon’s Magnemite
4x Rocket’s Admin.
2x Professor Elm’s Training Method
2x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
4x Pow! Hand Extension
4x Holon Transceiver
2x Windstorm
2x Swoop! Teleporter
2x Rocket’s Poké Ball
2x Cessation Crystal
1x VS Seeker
1x Pokémon Retriever
3x Fire Energy
4x Darkness Energy
4x Scramble Energy
2x Holon Energy FF
2x Heal Energy
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Dark Tyranitar boasts three powerful attacks, but getting enough Energy on Tyranitar to use these attacks isn’t always easy. That’s where Electrode ex’s Extra Energy Bomb comes in handy, allowing you to activate Scramble Energy and instantly fuel these massive attacks. With a fully powered Dark Tyranitar, you’ll be able to use Bite Off to knock out even high-HP Pokémon-ex. Extra Energy Bomb also allows you to activate Pow! Hand Extension to easily remove your opponent’s threats from the board, while simultaneously making Rocket’s Admin. more devastating to them.

Tip: Maintain your option to use Pow! Hand Extension by opting to attack with Spinning Tail, which can put Pokémon in easy one-hit KO range for Dark Tyranitar.

Camler

🏆 Top Deck

Pokémon (12) Trainers (35) Energy (13)
4x Numel
3x Camerupt
4x Stantler
1x Unown
3x Team Aqua Hideout
2x Cursed Stone
4x Castaway
4x Rocket’s Admin.
2x Scott
2x Celio’s Network
1x Pokémon Fan Club
1x Lanette’s Net Search
1x Steven’s Advice
1x Mary’s Request
4x Energy Removal 2
4x Pow! Hand Extension
4x Cessation Crystal
2x Fluffy Berry
10x Fire Energy
3x Heal Energy
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Aiming for a Turn 2 Push Away from Stantler, you’ll strip away useful Supporters and ways for your opponent to escape Cessation Crystal. Once Stantler is knocked out, you’ll use Pow! Hand Extension to strand one of your opponent’s Pokémon in the Active spot, while Camerupt uses Backburner to prepare a barrage of Split Bomb attacks that will eventually wipe out their Bench. Cursed Stone helps this bench damage pile up, but you can also use Team Aqua Hideout to make escape even tougher on your opponent.

Dark Steelix

🐣 Suitable for Beginners

Pokémon (10) Trainers (34) Energy (16)
4x Onix
4x Dark Steelix
1x Voltorb
1x Electrode ex
2x Rocket’s Hideout
4x TV Reporter
3x Rocket’s Mission
2x Castaway
2x Mary’s Request
2x Rocket’s Admin.
1x Steven’s Advice
1x Professor Elm’s Training Method
4x Cessation Crystal
4x Life Herb
4x Rocket’s Poké Ball
3x Great Ball
1x Pokémon Reversal
1x Pokémon Retriever
4x Fighting Energy
4x Metal Energy
4x Darkness Energy
4x Heal Energy
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With TV Reporter and Rocket’s Mission to discard Energy, Dark Steelix is able to use Energy Link to prepare its Heavy Impact attack. Relying on Metal Energy and Rocket’s Hideout to put Dark Steelix out of one-hit KO range, you can further disappoint your opponent with a successful Life Herb flip. Not reliant on Poké-Powers or Poké-Bodies, the deck gains the huge benefit of being able to effectively run Cessation Crystal.

Tip: When preparing to use Extra Energy Bomb, promote Electrode active after your Steelix is knocked out, ensuring your own Cessation Crystal won’t prevent you from doing so.

Dragonite ex δ

🏆 Top Deck

Pokémon (21) Trainers (29) Energy (10)
4x Dratini δ
1x Dragonair δ
4x Dragonite ex δ
4x Holon’s Castform
2x Holon’s Voltorb
2x Lunatone
1x Solrock
1x Girafarig
1x Latios ex δ
1x Latias δ
2x Crystal Beach
2x Cursed Stone
4x Rocket’s Admin.
2x Scott
2x Holon Researcher
2x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
1x Holon Farmer
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rare Candy
4x Swoop! Teleporter
2x Grass Energy
4x δ Rainbow Energy
4x Warp Energy
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As a Stage 2, Dragonite ex δ won’t deliver a Turn 2 Deafen as often as Manectric ex delivers its Disconnect attack, but Dragonite boasts a few advantages over its Stage 1 counterpart. For starters, its Delta Species Evolution line allows you to make use of the Holon Engine and Delta Draw. More importantly, Dragonite ex δ’s 150 HP make for an extremely difficult knock out for an opponent who cannot play non-Supporter Trainer cards. This high HP, combined with its Deafen attack putting the brakes on your opponent, give you multiple turns to set up additional Dragonite exs to attack with. From there, you can continue your chain of Deafen attacks, slowly overwhelming your opponent’s board with damage. All of this happens while Solrock blocks Quick Search and Scott allows you to lock either Cursed Stone or Crystal Beach in play. The end result is your opponent’s board is eventually filled with damage, leaving them vulnerable to a Dragon Roar grand finale that should give you the win.

Tip: Take advantage of Latios ex’s Link Wing to remove Special Conditions from Dragonite ex δ. Warp Energy will send Dragonite to the Bench, allowing you to promote your free-retreating Latios ex, then retreat right back to Dragonite.

Also consider: Pidgeot δ over Lunatone & Solrock

Dragtrode

🌠 Iconic Deck 🏆 Top Deck 🤡 Fun to Play 🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

Pokémon (17) Trainers (27) Energy (15)
4x Rocket’s Sneasel ex
3x Dratini
3x Dark Dragonair
2x Dark Dragonite
1x Voltorb
1x Voltorb
2x Dark Electrode
1x Rocket’s Scyther ex
4x Desert Ruins
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
2x Steven’s Advice
1x Mr. Briney’s Compassion
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rocket’s Poké Ball
2x Warp Point
1x Windstorm
1x VS Seeker
4x Darkness Energy
4x Dark Metal Energy
4x Rainbow Energy
3x R Energy
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The combination of Dark Dragonite’s Dark Trance and Dark Electrode’s Darkness Navigation allow you to flood your board with Darkness Energy. With every Pokémon in the deck either being or evolving into Darkness-type, Rocket’s Sneasel ex can use Dark Ring for 140+ damage.

Tip: If you’re expecting to play against decks with Cessation Crystal, you’ll want to cut some Desert Ruins for additional copies of Windstorm.

Eeveelutions/Absol ex

🌠 Iconic Deck 🤡 Fun to Play

Pokémon (18) Trainers (28) Energy (14)
1x Jolteon pokemon-star-symbol
4x Eevee
3x Jolteon ex
1x Umbreon ex
1x Espeon ex
2x Rayquaza ex δ
2x Absol ex
1x Girafarig
1x Lapras
1x Tauros
1x Holon’s Magneton
1x Giant Stump
4x Rocket’s Admin.
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
1x Holon Researcher
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Super Scoop Up
2x Windstorm
2x Warp Point
1x Pokémon Retriever
10x Lightning Energy
4x Multi Energy
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With Super Scoop Up allowing you to reuse Jolteon ex’s Evolutionary Thunder (and a variety of other come-into-play Poké-Powers), this deck aims to spread enough damage to create easy KOs for Jolteon ex’s Second Bite or Rayquaza ex δ’s Special Circuit.

Tip: Use Giant Stump on heavily-damaged Pokémon-ex that linger on your Bench, denying your opponent prize cards.

Exploud ex

Pokémon (19) Trainers (27) Energy (14)
4x Whismur
1x Loudred
3x Exploud ex
1x Exploud
3x Jirachi
2x Pidgey
1x Pidgeotto
2x Pidgeot
1x Tauros
1x Holon’s Magnemite
1x Drake’s Stadium
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method
2x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rare Candy
3x Windstorm
2x Energy Charge
1x Swoop! Teleporter
1x Pokémon Retriever
4x Metal Energy
4x Boost Energy
4x Warp Energy
2x Cyclone Energy
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With 150 HP, Exploud ex is tough to knock out, which creates trouble for opponents relying on Pokémon-ex. Each turn Exploud ex remains in play allows its Extra Noise Poké-Body to pile on more damage to their Pokémon-ex, allowing Hyper Tail—a great attack in a format filled with Poké-Bodies and Poké-Powers—to deliver knockouts. Boost Energy allows you to attack with Exploud ex out of nowhere, and you can conveniently use Energy Charge and Quick Search to keep finding Boost Energy to repeat your attacks.

Flariados

🌠 Iconic Deck 🐣 Suitable for Beginners 🤡 Fun to Play

Pokémon (20) Trainers (28) Energy (12)
4x Eevee
4x Flareon ex
1x Espeon ex
4x Spinarak
4x Ariados
1x Ditto
1x Girafarig
1x Holon’s Magneton
4x Battle Frontier
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
4x Rocket’s Admin.
4x Mary’s Request
3x Steven’s Advice
4x Super Scoop Up
3x Great Ball
2x Windstorm
6x Grass Energy
2x Fire Energy
4x Multi Energy
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With Flareon’s Evolutionary Flame, Ariados’s Reactive Poison becomes a one-Energy 70-damage attack, plus Burn damage. Super Scoop Up allows you to reuse Evolutionary Flame, ensuring Ariados can continue to deliver powerful attacks.

Tip: Pile on the special conditions by adding poison from Ariados, allowing Reactive Poison to get up to 100 damage.

Imprison

🌠 Iconic Deck 🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

Pokémon (23) Trainers (26) Energy (11)
1x Mew pokemon-star-symbol δ
4x Ralts δ
2x Kirlia δ
2x Gardevoir ex δ
2x Gardevoir δ
4x Holon’s Castform
2x Pidgey δ
1x Pidgeotto δ
2x Pidgeot
1x Jirachi
1x Jirachi ex
1x Holon’s Magnemite
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
1x Holon Researcher
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rare Candy
3x Windstorm
1x Warp Point
1x Swoop! Teleporter
6x Psychic Energy
2x Metal Energy
3x Warp Energy
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In a format heavily reliant on Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies, Gardevoir ex δ’s Imprison can be devastating to most opponents’ strategies. Pidgeot helps you evolve into your two non-ex Gardevoir, which work in perfect synergy to prepare powerful Psychic Rage attacks.

Tip: Lead with Jirachi ex’s Shield Beam while preparing your Gardevoir ex δ, ensuring your opponent gets few (if any) turns to use their most valuable Poké-Powers.

Ludicargo

🌠 Iconic Deck 🤡 Fun to Play

Pokémon (21) Trainers (27) Energy (12)
1x Umbreon pokemon-star-symbol
4x Lotad
2x Lombre
3x Ludicolo
1x Ludicolo
2x Slugma
2x Magcargo
1x Magcargo
2x Jirachi
1x Celebi ex
1x Holon’s Voltorb
1x Holon’s Castform
3x Battle Frontier
4x Lanette’s Net Search
4x Celio’s Network
3x Rocket’s Admin.
1x Mr. Briney’s Compassion
1x Solid Rage
4x Rare Candy
2x VS Seeker
2x Windstorm
1x Pow! Hand Extension
1x Pokémon Retriever
1x Warp Point
6x Water Energy
4x Double Rainbow Energy
2x Scramble Energy
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With the obvious combo of Ludicolo’s Swing Dance and Magcargo’s Smooth Over, this deck quickly evolves multiple Ludicolo, keeping the deck-searching one-sided in your favor thanks to Battle Frontier. With a variety of situational Trainer cards that can always be searched out, the deck has almost endless ways to catch your opponent off-guard.

Tip: Strip away your opponent’s hand with the combination of Umbreon pokemon-star-symbol and either Rocket’s Admin. or Mr. Briney’s Compassion.

Medicham ex

🌠 Iconic Deck 🐣 Suitable for Beginners

Pokémon (14) Trainers (31) Energy (15)
4x Jirachi
3x Meditite
1x Meditite
4x Medicham ex
1x Wobbuffet
1x Holon’s Magneton
3x Island Cave
1x Team Aqua Hideout
4x Rocket’s Admin.
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Mary’s Request
2x Steven’s Advice
2x Scott
4x Pow! Hand Extension
4x Swoop! Teleporter
4x Energy Removal 2
6x Fighting Energy
5x Psychic Energy
4x Metal Energy
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If you don’t have the Meditite and Medicham ex ready to go in your opening hand, Jirachi serves as a great starter, allowing you to pick up useful cards while preparing to use Swoop! Teleporter to replace it with a Meditite, then evolve into Medicham ex. From there, carefully place your Pure Power damage to avoid walking into Scramble Energy, shifting gears into an aggressive Sky Kick when the board warrants it. When behind in prizes, you can use Pow! Hand Extension to strand a weak Pokémon active, allowing you consecutive turns of Pure Power to demolish your opponent’s Bench.

Tip: Use Island Cave to wake up a sleeping Jirachi, ensuring you can use Wishing Star.

Meganium

🤡 Fun to Play 🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

Pokémon (25) Trainers (27) Energy (8)
1x Latios pokemon-star-symbol
4x Chikorita δ
2x Bayleef δ
2x Meganium δ
2x Meganium ex
4x Holon’s Castform
2x Pidgey δ
1x Pidgeotto δ
2x Pidgeot
1x Onix
1x Steelix ex
1x Chimecho δ
1x Tauros
1x Holon’s Magnemite
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
1x Holon Farmer
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rare Candy
3x Windstorm
2x Warp Point
1x Swoop! Teleporter
8x Grass Energy
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With Holon’s Castform & Meganium ex’s Nurture & Heal, you’re able to deliver powerful attacks, like Latios ‘s Shooting Star. Meganium ex conveniently fits into the same line as Meganium δ, a Pokémon that not only helps you achieve impressive set-ups, but also hit Fighting Weakness and shut down Pokémon not capable of heavy damage.

Tip: Use Meganium δ’s Delta Reduction to protect your Bench from attacks like Exeggutor’s Split Bomb and Dark Tyranitar’s Spinning Tail. Unlike other similarly-worded attacks, Delta Reduction reduces all damage the Defending Pokémon does by 30, meaning bench damage too!

Metanite

🌠 Iconic Deck 🤡 Fun to Play

Pokémon (23) Trainers (23) Energy (14)
1x Rayquaza pokemon-star-symbol
3x Dratini δ
1x Dragonair δ
3x Dragonite δ
4x Beldum δ
2x Metang δ
3x Metagross δ
1x Metagross
2x Holon’s Castform
1x Mew δ
1x Jirachi
1x Holon’s Voltorb
3x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
1x Holon Researcher
3x Rocket’s Admin.
1x Celio’s Network
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rare Candy
3x Windstorm
2x Warp Point
10x Lightning Energy
4x Metal Energy
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Using its Delta Control Poké-Power, Metagross δ helps you evolve your Dratini δ and Dragonair δ into Dragonite δ, which replenish your board with Energy to unleash heavy-hitting Crush and Burn attacks. The Holon Engine is a perfect fit in the deck, allowing you to pitch Lightning Energy into the discard for Dragonite δ’s Delta Charge. A single Deoxys Metagross even gives you a way to recover Metal Energy as well.

Mewtric

🌠 Iconic Deck

Pokémon (16) Trainers (29) Energy (15)
4x Electrike
4x Manectric ex
2x Lunatone
1x Solrock
1x Mew ex
1x Girafarig
1x Lapras
1x Tropius δ
1x Holon’s Magneton
2x Cursed Stone
2x Crystal Beach
4x Rocket’s Admin.
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
2x Copycat
2x Scott
1x Steven’s Advice
1x TV Reporter
4x Dual Ball
3x Swoop! Teleporter
2x Switch
1x Pow! Hand Extension
1x Pokémon Retriever
11x Lightning Energy
4x Multi Energy
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A Turn 2 Disconnect is enough to spoil most opponent’s plans, but when you can hit a Turn 1 High Voltage too, your opponent will be immediately crushed by the slow start you create for them. Once you have Manectric ex attacking, you’ll use Scott to find the right Stadium card to lock in play. Lunatone & Solrock work together to stop an opponent from using Quick Search to overpower your somewhat fragile deck.

Tip: Attach Holon’s Magneton and Multi Energy when preparing a Mega Shot attack. Since Holon’s Magneton counts as Special Energy, this reverts Multi Energy back to Colorless Energy, allowing it to remain attached to your attacking Pokémon after using Mega Shot.

Mew Lock

🌠 Iconic Deck 🏆 Top Deck 🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

Pokémon (28) Trainers (31) Energy (1)
4x Mew ex
4x Holon’s Castform
4x Holon’s Magnemite
3x Holon’s Voltorb
2x Wynaut
2x Wobbuffet
2x Jynx
2x Minun
1x Roselia
1x Unown
1x Stantler
1x Girafarig
1x Lapras
4x Battle Frontier
4x Rocket’s Admin.
4x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Pow! Hand Extension
3x Swoop! Teleporter
3x Pokémon Retriever
1x Warp Point
1x Windstorm
1x Super Scoop Up
1x Warp Energy
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Agonizing to play against, Mew Lock relies on either attacks from Roselia or Unown, or Pow! Hand Extension to strand a weak or Energy-less Pokémon active. Wobbuffet’s Stages of Evolution help keep that Pokémon stuck in the Active spot, while Minun’s Sniff Out allows you to recycle Pow! Hand Extensions, eventually depleting the opponent of Energy. Once that’s accomplished, the deck can enter its final strategic phase of using Jynx’s Pure Power to claim its six prize cards. Full of easily used tricks thanks to Mew ex’s Versatile Poké-Body, the deck can also use attacks like Stantler’s Push Away or Girafarig’s Foresight to deny the opponent access to key cards needed to break the lock, hence the name of the deck.

Tip: Don’t rush into drawing prize cards unless you’re looking for a card you’ve prized. Staying at six ensures your opponent can’t catch you off-guard with Rocket’s Admin.

Queendom

🌠 Iconic Deck 🏆 Top Deck 🐣 Suitable for Beginners

Pokémon (20) Trainers (26) Energy (14)
4x Nidoran♀
2x Nidorina
4x Nidoqueen
3x Pidgey
1x Pidgeotto
3x Pidgeot
1x Feebas
1x Milotic
1x Holon’s Magneton
4x Desert Ruins
4x Celio’s Network
3x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Steven’s Advice
2x Copycat
1x Mr. Briney’s Compassion
4x Rare Candy
3x Great Ball
1x Windstorm
1x VS Seeker
6x Grass Energy
1x Fighting Energy
4x Double Rainbow Energy
2x Heal Energy
1x Scramble Energy
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Simple but powerful, every Basic Pokémon in this deck has the ability to evolve, offering Nidoqueen the opportunity to use Power Lariat to its full potential. With 4 Rare Candy, a thick Pidgeot line, and both Nidoran and Nidorina offering attacks to help you set up, you’ll begin evolving with this deck quickly.

Tip: Look for spots where Toxic will keep your opponent’s Pokémon in KO range for Power Lariat even after using Milotic’s Healing Shower.

Revised 5/17/2022: –1 Mr. Briney’s Compassion, –1 Scramble Energy, +2 Heal Energy

Rai-Eggs

🌠 Iconic Deck 🏆 Top Deck 🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

Pokémon (19) Trainers (30) Energy (11)
3x Pikachu δ
1x Pikachu δ
3x Raichu δ
3x Exeggcute δ
3x Exeggutor δ
4x Holon’s Castform
3x Holon’s Magnemite
4x Cursed Stone
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Holon Mentor
2x Holon Researcher
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
2x Steven’s Advice
4x Cessation Crystal
4x Holon Transceiver
2x Swoop! Teleporter
2x Pokémon Retriever
4x Metal Energy
4x Scramble Energy
3x Double Rainbow Energy
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Going all out to exploit the format’s over-reliance on Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies, this deck aims to first spread damage with Raichu’s Zzzap, forcing the opponent to take the first prize. From there, you can unleash 90-damage Metallic Thunder attacks with a single Scramble Energy, or target Fighting-weak Pokémon with Exeggutor δ.

Tip: Try to bait your opponent’s Windstorm with a single Cessation Crystal or Cursed Stone, allowing you to more safely play multiple later in the game.

Revised 5/17/2022: –2 Desert Ruins, –1 Pow! Hand Extension, +1 Cursed Stone, +2 Steven’s Advice

Rayler

🌠 Iconic Deck 🏆 Top Deck 🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

Pokémon (10) Trainers (36) Energy (14)
4x Stantler
3x Rayquaza ex δ
2x Minun
1x Unown
3x Cursed Stone
2x Crystal Beach
4x Castaway
4x Rocket’s Admin.
2x Pokémon Fan Club
1x Lanette’s Net Search
1x Steven’s Advice
1x Mary’s Request
1x TV Reporter
1x Scott
1x Mr. Stone’s Project
4x Pow! Hand Extension
4x Energy Removal 2
4x Cessation Crystal
2x Balloon Berry
1x Super Scoop Up
14x Lightning Energy
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By leading with Stantler’s Push Away, you can immediately put your opponent in a predicament, stripping away their Supporters or switching cards. Forced to deal with Stantler, your opponent will typically have no choice but to walk into Pow! Hand Extension, allowing you to strand your opponent’s Active Pokémon while Rayquaza ex δ’s Special Circuit goes to work on their Bench.

Revised 5/17/2022: –1 Rayquaza ex δ, –2 Wynaut, –2 Wobbuffet, –1 Chimecho δ, –1 Girafarig, –1 Lapras, –1 Holon’s Castform, –4 Battle Frontier, –4 Holon Transceiver, –2 Holon Mentor, –1 Holon Adventurer, –1 Holon Scientist, –1 Holon Researcher, –3 Warp Point, –2 Super Scoop Up, +2 Stantler, +1 Minun, +1 Unown, +2 Cursed Stone, +2 Crystal Beach, +4 Castaway, +2 Pokémon Fan Club, +1 Lanette’s Net Search, +1 Steven’s Advice, +1 Mary’s Request, +1 Scott, +1 Mr. Stone’s Project, +4 Cessation Crystal, +2 Balloon Berry, +2 Lightning Energy

Salamence

🤡 Fun to Play

Pokémon (25) Trainers (27) Energy (8)
4x Holon’s Castform
4x Bagon δ
1x Shelgon δ
2x Salamence ex
1x Salamence ex
1x Salamence
2x Pidgey δ
1x Pidgeotto δ
2x Pidgeot
2x Swablu δ
2x Altaria ex δ
1x Chimecho δ
1x Tauros
1x Holon’s Magnemite
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rare Candy
3x Windstorm
2x Warp Point
1x Swoop! Teleporter
1x Pokémon Retriever
6x Fire Energy
2x Water Energy
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The main goal of this deck is to build a Salamence ex fueled by Altaria ex δ’s Extra Boost to deliver consecutive Bright Flame attacks, but the deck has a lot of other things going for it that make it stronger than it may seem at first glance. First, even though Salamence ex isn’t a Delta Species Pokémon, it does have a Delta Species Bagon and Shelgon, which when combined with Swablu δ & Altaria ex δ, as well as Pidgey δ & Pidgeotto δ, allow the deck to use Delta Draw to set up efficiently. Another neat trick the deck has is Dragon Salamence, which takes full advantage of Salamence ex’s Dragon Lift Poké-Body. With free retreat, you can promote this Salamence either after Warp Point or surrendering a KO. This allows you to use its Dragon Wind Poké-Power and then easily bring it back to safety on the Bench. Dragon Lift also provides an invaluable defense against decks that attempt to strand a weak Pokémon in the Active position—a popular strategy in the EX format.

Scizor ex/Metagross

Pokémon (21) Trainers (27) Energy (12)
1x Jolteon pokemon-star-symbol
3x Beldum
1x Metang
3x Metagross
3x Scyther
2x Scizor ex
2x Pidgey
1x Pidgeotto
2x Pidgeot
1x Jirachi
1x Tauros
1x Holon’s Magnemite
1x Giant Stump
4x Rocket’s Admin.
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method
2x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
1x Steven’s Advice
4x Holon Transceiver
4x Rare Candy
3x Windstorm
2x Warp Point
1x Pokémon Retriever
6x Psychic Energy
4x Metal Energy
2x Warp Energy
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Combining Metal Energy with its Steel Wing attack, Scizor ex makes for a tough knockout. Metagross’s Super Connectivity allows you to easily build (and rebuild) Scizor ex, and can even conveniently trigger Scizor’s Danger Perception, boosting your attack’s damage.

Tip: Use Jolteon’s Yellow Ray (along with Super Connectivity) to trigger Scizor’s Danger Perception.

Scrambled Eggs

🏆 Top Deck 🐣 Suitable for Beginners 🤡 Fun to Play

Pokémon (14) Trainers (31) Energy (15)
3x Exeggcute δ
1x Exeggcute
4x Exeggutor
3x Voltorb
3x Electrode ex
1x Magnetic Storm
4x Rocket’s Admin.
4x TV Reporter
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Castaway
4x Cessation Crystal
4x Pow! Hand Extension
3x Great Ball
2x Poké Ball
2x Windstorm
1x Energy Root
3x Psychic Energy
2x Lightning Energy
4x Scramble Energy
3x Double Rainbow Energy
3x Heal Energy
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Your early turns can involve setting up with Exeggutor’s Psychic Exchange, but sometimes you’ll draw into a Turn 2 Crush & Burn or enough Energy to start attacking early with Exeggutor’s Big Eggsplosion. One way or another, those Energy cards will eventually reach your discard pile, setting you up for an Extra Energy Bomb that can have Exeggutor dealing literally hundreds of damage. These Extra Energy Bomb turns are made even more devastating by Pow! Hand Extension and Rocket’s Admin., and if you can get a Cessation Crystal down on Exeggutor too, there will be little your opponent can do other than simply watch their Pokémon be knocked out.

Tip: Don’t be shy playing Cessation Crystal, as you can always use Extra Energy Bomb by retreating into Electrode ex.

Revised 5/17/2022: –1 Exeggcute, –1 Girafarig, –1 Double Rainbow Energy, +1 Exeggcute δ, +1 Castaway, +1 Psychic Energy

Shiftry ex

🌠 Iconic Deck 🐣 Suitable for Beginners

Pokémon (21)Trainers (26)Energy (13)
4x Seedot
2x Nuzleaf
4x Shiftry ex
3x Lickitung δ
2x Pidgey
1x Pidgeotto
2x Pidgeot
1x Absol ex
1x Holon’s Magnemite
1x Holon’s Magneton
3x Crystal Beach
4x Rocket’s Admin.
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
2x Holon Mentor
1x Holon Adventurer
1x Holon Scientist
4x Rare Candy
4x Holon Transceiver
2x Pow! Hand Extension
1x Windstorm
5x Psychic Energy
4x Darkness Energy
4x Multi Energy
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With Pidgeot’s Quick Search to assist, this deck can evolve into multiple Shiftry ex, forcing your opponent to take huge amounts of damage from Dark Eyes. Shiftry’s Target Attack forms natural synergy with its Poké-Body, easily KOing these weakened Pokémon.

Additional Decks

If 25 decks isn’t enough, there’s 30 more on Page 2!

Fun Match-Ups

Here’s a few fun and even match-ups to play for the EX format.

EX Format Rules

The EX format marked the start of modern rules for retreating, confusion, and mulligans that continue to be used today.

  • A player may only retreat once per turn. (This rule applies to 2-on-2 as well.)
  • Confused Pokémon that fail to attack have 3 damage counters placed on them (compared to dealing 20 damage in the Wizards era).
  • Players draw 1 card per opposing mulligan, not 2, as they did in the Wizards era.

Playing First

The EX era has its own unique Turn 1 rules. The opening coin flip is performed after set-up. The winner of the coin flip must play first. The player playing first does not draw a card on their first turn and is also not permitted to play a Supporter on their first turn.

Burn

Pokémon that are Burned use the original burn rules. A player with a Burned Pokémon flips a coin in-between turns to see if that Pokémon takes damage. If tails, place 2 damage counters on that Pokémon. Burn does not go away until the Pokémon evolves, devolves, or is brought to the Bench.

Poké-Powers & Poké-Bodies

The EX sets fall on Pokémon’s timeline between Pokémon Powers and Abilities, in the period of time where Pokémon could have either a Poké-Power or Poké-Body. (Some even had both!) Though the text will always remind you, remember that Poké-Powers cannot be used by a Pokémon affected by a Special condition. Poké-Bodies, on the other hand, work even when the host Pokémon is affected by a Special Condition.

Supporters

After playing a Supporter in the EX format, it is not immediately discarded, but rather stays next to your Active Pokémon until the end of your turn. This may seem like a trivial technicality, but affects gameplay because of attacks like Banette ex’s Shadow Chant. This rule also prevents you from using VS Seeker or Holon Transceiver to recover a Supporter card you just played.

Fossils

It may seem odd, but beginning at the EX Legend Maker set (and continuing into the Diamond & Pearl/Platinum era), Fossils began to be treated as Basic Pokémon during set-up. This means that if you have a Fossil Trainer in your opening hand, you may place it down as one of your starting Pokémon. Because Fossils are treated as Basic Pokémon during set-up, a hand with Fossils but no other Basic Pokémon will not be a mulligan; you must begin the game with a Fossil as your starting Pokémon.

Erratas

The EX era has eight (mostly minor) erratas, five of which were corrected by reprinted versions of the affected card:

  • electrode-ex-firered-leafgreen-107Electrode ex (FireRed LeafGreen) Crush and Burn adds 20 damage for each Energy card discarded, not each Energy.
  • Blastoise ex’s (FireRed LeafGreen) Hyper Whirlpool allows the attacking player to choose which Energy cards to discard. (The text can give the wrong impression that the opponent decides which of their Energy cards to discard.)
  • Mt. Moon (FireRed LeafGreen) affects Pokémon with 70 HP or less, not less than 70 HP.
  • Machamp’s (Hidden Legends) Brick Smash should apply Weakness. (This was corrected in the Power Keepers reprint.)
  • Steven’s Advice (Hidden Legends) cannot be played if you have 7 or more cards in hand, including Steven’s Advice. (This was corrected in the Power Keepers reprint.)
  • Double Rainbow Energy (Team Magma vs Team Aqua) should alter damage before applying Weakness and Resistance, not after. (This was corrected in EX Emerald.
  • Strength Charm (Team Magma vs Team Aqua) should alter damage before applying Weakness and Resistance, not after. (This was corrected in the EX Deoxys reprint.)
  • Early versions of Marill (Sandstorm) are printed with a zero retreat cost, though it should have a 1 retreat cost.

Adjusting to the EX Format

fluffy-berry-unseen-forces-85
Prepare to squint a lot when playing the EX format.

One of the few negatives of the EX era is that the verbose text on cards can be overwhelming, especially if you’re playing with these cards for the first time. Many cards list in their fine print that they either don’t affect or can’t be attached to Pokémon-ex, while a smaller portion of cards affect only Pokémon-ex. Though it can be tiring to read and re-read these cards in an attempt to memorize which cards exclude Pokémon-ex and which don’t, such exclusions help maintain a balanced format. If Pokémon-ex were able to harness the power of cards like Scramble Energy, the EX format would likely tip noticeably in favor of them.

A second confusing textual element of the EX series is the constant reference to the 2-on-2 format. Don’t confuse a card that refers to each Defending Pokémon as meaning both your and your opponent’s Active Pokémon. Rather, it is simply referring to your opponent’s Active Pokémon, both of them, if they have two.

The 2-on-2 Format

The EX format can be played both in the regular 1-on-1 format as well as 2-on-2, where each player has two Active Pokémon. Rules for the 2-on-2 format are the same as a regular Pokémon game, except that players must have two Active Pokémon anytime they have more than one Pokémon in play, which means the Bench is limited to four Pokémon. (If you play a second Pokémon down, it immediately becomes active.) When attacking in the 2-on-2 format, you may only choose one Pokémon to attack with, and must also choose which of your opponent’s Active Pokémon to attack. (Some Pokémon have attacks target both of your opponent’s Active Pokémon!)

Though any regular format deck can be played in the 2-on-2 format, some strategies work better than others:

  • wobbuffet-power-keepers-24Safeguard Pokémon (Pokémon that can’t be attacked by Pokémon-ex) become weaker, as your opponent can simply attack your other Active Pokémon. Even if both of your Active Pokémon have the Safeguard Poké-Body, your opponent will need both of their Active Pokémon to be Pokémon-ex to be significantly disrupted.
  • Sleep, Paralysis, and Confusion are all weaker, as they will need to be inflicted on both of your opponent’s Active Pokémon to be disruptive. Even attacks that put both of the Defending Pokémon to sleep are weak, as each Pokémon gets a separate coin flip to try to wake up.
  • shuppet-crystal-guardians-40Decks that rely on starting with a certain Pokémon are stronger, since you can make that Pokémon Active without needing to retreat. For example, Banette ex decks aim for a Turn 1 Ascension attack from Shuppet, but in the 1-on-1 format, a bad starting Pokémon can prevent this. In 2-on-2, if you open with a less than ideal starting Pokémon, you can still play Shuppet down (perhaps searching it with Holon Mentor), where it immediately becomes your second Active Pokémon, able to attack.
  • vileplume-ex-hidden-legends-100Poké-Bodies that work only when a Pokémon is Active are in general stronger in the 2-on-2 format since you aren’t required to rely only on that Pokémon to attack. As one example, Vileplume ex, which has a mediocre attack, can unleash its devastating Block Dust Poké-Body, while a second, stronger Pokémon does your attacking.

Because of these differences, when playing the 2-on-2 format, you should use decks constructed specifically for it. Don’t rely heavily on special conditions (unless you can paralyze both Defending Pokémon), and don’t expect Safeguard Pokémon to be as effective. On the other side of this, if you are playing a deck based around Pokémon-ex, you’ll need to worry less about Safeguard Pokémon, as you can simply use a second, non-ex Active Pokémon to attack these Pokémon.

Acquiring Cards from the EX Sets

Although many will tell you the EX era is the most fun time period of Pokémon to play, it is by far the hardest era to obtain cards from. 2003 through 2007 were far from the game’s peak popularity point, and expansions of this era were printed accordingly. Some uncommon cards, like Holon Transceiver, require both money and effort to obtain a playset of. Pokémon-pokemon-star-symbol, which were found at the rate of only 1 per 3 booster boxes, can reach prices in the thousands of dollars. (Rayquaza pokemon-star-symbol is actually one of the most valuable cards in the game!) If you’re planning on building decks with these original cards, expect to relive the days when building a deck meant hunting down and trading for cards instead of just simply buying singles online.

Diamond & Pearl

diamond-pearl-booster-boxFollowing the EX sets were the Diamond & Pearl sets, which brought significant rules changes for Weakness & Resistance, as well as Trainer cards. Though this era too produced fun decks and some very skillful match-ups, it also created some dangerous cards that regressed the game back to the days where games were frequently decided in the first few turns.

Thanks to Kyle Sucevich, Jonathan Paranada, Cara Querin, and Evan Cole for their contributions to this article!


e-Card | EX | Diamond & Pearl/Platinum