These are the best Pokemon TCG decks I'm using in 2024

These are the best Pokemon TCG decks I'm using in 2024
Images via The Pokemon Company

Written by 

Daniel Megarry


8th Apr 2024 14:20


Whether you're dreaming of becoming a world champion or you just fancy having a few rounds in the Pokemon TCG Live app, I've rounded up some of the best decks you can use right now.

The Pokemon TCG is one of the most accessible trading card games out there, with colourful artwork and relatively simple rules. But with thousands of cards available to collect and battle with, the hardest part can actually be putting a decent deck together!

While it can be fun to simply create a deck that consists of your favourite Pokemon, that's not always going to lead to victory - you need to consider how every card works together. If you'd like some top-tier decks to get you started, I've got you covered.

Charizard ex deck

Charizard ex deck in Pokemon TCG
Click to enlarge

As we saw at the Pokemon European International Championships 2024 event, Charizard ex is currently the most popular deck in the competitive scene. Here's the set used by Masters Division Champion Tord Reklev:

  • Charmander (026/197) - 4 cards
  • Charmeleon (008/091) - 1 card
  • Charizard ex (125/197)- 3 cards
  • Pidgey (016/165) - 2 cards
  • Pidgeot ex (164/197) - 2 cards
  • Radiant Charizard (020/159) - 1 card
  • Bidoof (111/159) - 1 card
  • Bibarel (121/172) - 1 card
  • Rotom V (045/159) - 1 card
  • Lumineon V (040/172) - 1 card
  • Cleffa (080/197) - 1 card
  • Manaphy (041/172) - 1 card
  • Jirachi (126/182) - 1 card
  • Arven (186/197) - 3 cards
  • Iono (185/193) - 3 cards
  • Boss's Orders (172/193) - 2 cards
  • Professor Turo's Scenario (171/182) - 2 cards
  • Roxanne (150/189) - 1 card
  • Team Yell's Cheer (149/172) - 1 card
  • Rare Candy (191/198) - 4 cards
  • Ultra Ball (196/198) - 4 cards
  • Buddy-Buddy Poffin (144/162) - 4 cards
  • Super Rod (188/193) - 2 cards
  • Nest Ball (181/198) - 1 card
  • Counter Catcher (160/182) - 1 card
  • Prime Catcher (157/162) - 1 card
  • Lost Vacuum (162/196) - 1 card
  • Forest Seal Stone (156/195) - 1 card
  • Choice Belt (176/193) - 1 card
  • Defiance Band (169/198) - 1 card
  • Collapsed Stadium (137/172) - 1 card

The star of this deck is, of course, Charizard ex from the Obsidian Flames expansion. With a whopping 330 HP, it's a bulky option that can withstand pretty much any attack when it's at full health, while the ability Infernal Reign gives it immediate access to the devastating Burning Darkness attack.

The main issue you'll run into with this deck is not being able to get Charizard ex set up fast enough, but having four Rare Candy cards and a bunch of search cards like Ultra Ball in your hand should help with that. In fact, the majority of this deck exists to support your Charizard ex!

Giratina VSTAR deck

Giratina VSTAR in the Pokemon TCG
Click to enlarge

One of the most unique and immediately recognisable decks in the Pokemon TCG is the Giratina VSTAR deck. Using the Lost Zone, this deck can become almost unstoppable with instant knockouts:

  • Giratina V (130/196) - 3 cards
  • Giratina VSTAR (131/196) - 3 cards
  • Comfey (079/196) - 4 cards
  • Sableye (070/196) - 2 cards
  • Cramorant (050/196) - 2 cards
  • Manaphy (041/172) - 1 card
  • Beach Court (167/198) - 2 cards
  • Colress's Experiment (155/196) - 4 cards
  • Roxanne (150/189) - 2 cards
  • Boss's Orders (172/193) - 2 cards
  • Nest Ball (181/198) - 4 cards
  • Mirage Gate (163/196) - 4 cards
  • Switch (194/198) - 4 cards
  • Switch Cart (154/189) - 4 cards
  • Buddy-Buddy Poffin (144/162) - 3 cards
  • Super Rod (188/193) - 2 cards
  • Psychic-type Energy - 6 cards
  • Grass-type Energy - 4 cards
  • Jet Energy - 4 cards

With just 15 Pokemon cards, this is a deck that relies on Trainer cards to set itself up over time. The key here is to move as many cards to the Lost Zone as quickly as possible, so you can unleash Giratina VSTAR's wildly powerful ability Star Requiem, which dishes out an immediate KO to your opponent's active Pokemon.

Although it'll take you a while to get to that point, cards like Comfey and Colress's Experiment can help you fill up your Lost Zone pretty fast. Cramorant is an excellent addition to this deck, as it can attack without needing any Energy cards as soon as you've placed four cards in the Lost Zone.

Chien-Pao ex deck

Chien-Pao ex card in Pokemon TCG
Click to enlarge

Is it getting chilly in here, or is it just me? Chien-Pao ex burst onto the scene with the Paldean Fates expansion and immediately made waves in the meta thanks to its synergy with Baxcalibur:

  • Chien-Pao ex - 3 cards
  • Frigibax (057/193) - 3 cards
  • Baxcalibur (060/193) - 3 cards
  • Bidoof (111/159) - 2 cards
  • Bibarel (121/172) - 2 cards
  • Lumineon V (040/172) - 1 card
  • Manaphy (041/172) - 1 card
  • Radiant Greninja (046/189) - 1 card
  • Irida (147/189) - 4 cards
  • Iono (185/193) - 2 cards
  • Boss's Orders (172/193) - 2 cards
  • Morty's Conviction (155/162) - 1 card
  • Professor Turo's Scenario (171/182) - 1 card
  • Superior Energy Retrieval (189/193) - 4 cards
  • Buddy-Buddy Poffin (144/162) - 4 cards
  • Nest Ball (181/198) - 4 cards
  • Ultra Ball (196/198) - 4 cards
  • Rare Candy (191/198) - 3 cards
  • Super Rod (188/193) - 2 cards
  • PokeStop (068/078) - 2 cards
  • Hisuian Heavy Ball (146/189) - 1 card
  • Water-type Energy - 10 cards

Chien-Pao ex is the focus here, with its Hail Blade attack dealing 60 damage for each Water Energy card you discard from your Pokemon. There's no limit to this attack, so if you've spent time finding and attaching Water Energy cards to your team, you can take out almost any opponent.

This deck relies on getting Chien-Pao set up with plenty of Energy cards as fast as possible. Its own ability Shivery Chill lets you find 2 Water Energy cards from your deck each turn, but it's Baxcalibur's ability Super Cold that seals the deal, as this lets you attach as many Water Energy cards as you want each turn.

As you can probably imagine, the rest of the deck exists to help you get Baxcalibur set up (eg. Irida) and find those Water Energy cards (eg. Superior Energy Retrieval). I've struggled to find success with this deck myself, but I know lots of other players love it, so give it a go and see what you think!

Tinkaton ex deck

Tinkaton ex card in Pokemon TCG
Click to enlarge

This deck is based on the official Tinkaton ex Battle Deck, although I've made some tweaks to make it more viable, such as adding Mewtwo V and Mewtwo VSTAR to the lineup:

  • Tinkatink (100/193) - 4 cards
  • Tinkatuff (103/193) - 4 cards
  • Tinkaton ex (240/193 or SVP 031) - 4 cards
  • Mewtwo V (030/078) - 2 cards
  • Mewtwo VSTAR (031/078) - 2 cards
  • Flittle (101/198) - 3 cards
  • Espathra (103/198) - 3 cards
  • Squawkabilly (162/198) - 2 cards
  • Nemona (180/198) - 4 cards
  • Jacq (175/198) - 4 cards
  • Youngster (198/198) - 2 cards
  • Great Ball (183/193) - 3 cards
  • Nest Ball (181/198) - 2 cards
  • Switch (194/198) - 2 cards
  • Pal Pad (182/198) - 1 card
  • Psychic-type Energy - 18 cards

Tinkaton was my favourite new Pokemon from the Scarlet & Violet games, so I was glad to see it has usability in the TCG as well. Inspired by its ridiculously powerful signature VG move Gigaton Hammer, this Tinkaton ex card features the attack Pulverizing Press, which deals a massive 140 damage for just three Energy.

While this is a great attack for inflicting some guaranteed pain, its cheaper attack - Big Hammer, costing just two Energy - is actually my favourite thing about this card. This move deals 30 damage for every card in your hand, so if you can show some restraint, this move can easily rack up 200+ damage every turn.

Most of the Trainer cards in this deck exist to help you get the cards you need to set up Tinkaton, whether that's Nemona letting you draw three cards or Jacq letting you add two evolution Pokemon to your hand. It can be a pain to get a Tinakton into play, but its 300HP means it should be able to stick around for a while.

Fighting & Water deck

Koraidon and Palkia cards
Click to enlarge

While the rest of the decks on this list are tried and tested by other Pokemon TCG fans, this deck is something I've put together myself and I've had quite a bit of success with it:

  • Koraidon ex (125/198) - 2 cards
  • Koraidon ex (124/197) - 2 cards
  • Origin Forme Palkia V (039/189) - 2 cards
  • Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (040/189) - 2 cards
  • Finizen (060/197) - 4 cards
  • Palafin (062/197) - 4 cards
  • Riolu (113/198) - 2 cards
  • Lucario (079/172) - 2 cards
  • Lake Acuity (160/196) - 4 cards
  • Professor's Research (189/198) - 4 cards
  • Blanche (064/078) - 2 cards
  • Ryme (194/197) - 2 cards
  • Boss's Orders (172/193) - 2 cards
  • Gutsy Pickaxe (145/189) - 2 cards
  • Vengeful Punch (197/197) - 2 cards
  • Nest Ball (181/198) - 2 cards
  • Fighting-type Energy - 10 cards
  • Water-type Energy - 10 cards

The deck features a mix of Fighting-type and Water-type Pokemon for a range of coverage, with the standout being Palkia V and its VSTAR evolution. There are also two versions of Koraidon ex in this deck - one from Scarlet & Violet and one from Obsidian Flames - but you can just stick to one version if you prefer.

If you're wondering why I chose these two types of Pokemon, it's because of the Lake Acuity Stadium Card. When this is in play, all Pokemon that have Water-type or Fighting-type Energy attached to them will take 20 less damage from the opponent's Pokemon. This could be enough to withstand a powerful hit!

These two types are also backed up by the other Trainer cards, including Blanche which can help you recover Water-type Energy from your discard pile and the Gutsy Pickaxe which can help you find Fighting-type Energy cards from your deck. This isn't a championship-winning deck by any means, but I really enjoy using it.

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And there you have it - those are my recommendations for the best Pokemon TCG decks you can use right now! It's worth pointing out, of course, that these are just my personal favourites. Everyone is going to have their own preferences, so they might not work for you.

In my experience, the best thing you can do is practice, practice, practice. This is why the Pokemon TCG Live app is so handy: there are always opponents ready to battle and you don't need to purchase loads of booster packs to get the cards you need for your deck.

While you're here, why not visit our Pokemon homepage for the latest news and guides? You can also check out the Temporal Forces card list, or see what the most valuable cards in Pokemon 151 and Paldean Fates are!

Daniel Megarry
About the author
Daniel Megarry
Daniel is GGRecon’s Deputy Guides Editor. He graduated from university with a degree in Journalism & English Language before covering video games and LGBTQ+ culture at publications including Gay Times and Dexerto. His favourite games include Pokemon, Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil, and anything Nintendo. You can reach him on [email protected].
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