Best Deck Ideas for Pokemon TCG on Nintendo Switch Online

Learn here about the best deck ideas you can get for the Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) on Nintendo Switch!

by J.R. Waugh
Best Deck Ideas Pokemon Trading Card Game TCG Game Boy Nintendo Switch Online
Images: Ken Sugimori / Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK

Pokemon Trading Card Game just dropped for the Nintendo Switch and is successfully transporting us back to a mythical era, the early 90s-late 2000s. It was a wonderful (?) time when the scope of available Pokemon was far more limited, but this Game Boy title managed to cram as much of them into a faithful portable spinoff. But if you’re wanting to get into the TCG as it was known long ago, you’ll want a primer on some of the best build options. Here are the best deck ideas for the Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) on Nintendo Switch Online!

Archetypes and Builds: Best Deck Ideas for Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) on Nintendo Switch Online

The best deck ideas for the original Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) on the Switch are based on common and flexible strategies known as “archetypes”. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the following archetypes:

  • Do the Wave
  • Haymaker
  • Raindance

Related: All Pokemon Games on Nintendo Switch, Ranked

Each archetype warrants an explanation and examples of applicable builds. But these not only present themselves in this game but are known fairly well by TCG players on the tabletop. It can be a bit of a power-gamer move to build off netlists, so we’ll provide the basics behind each archetype while giving you the freedom to customize from there. Because you’re just using this to beat the CPU, right?

Do the Wave

Images: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK

Do the Wave is built upon Wigglytuff as your central Pokemon, with its eponymous move being the basis of this strategy. Basically, as long as you’ve got a full set of Pokemon on your bench, you’ll do heavy damage (Base 10, +10x each Pokemon on your bench, up to 5 max) and with decent bulk to boot. Naturally, you’ll need the following in your deck:

  • Jigglypuff (Colosseum set)
  • Wigglytuff (Colosseum)
  • Clefairy Doll (Evolution) — Acts as a benched Pokemon to add to your Do the Wave stack, won’t award prizes if KO’d.
  • Mysterious Fossil (Mystery) — Acts as a benched Pokemon, Aerodactyl/Kabuto/Omanyte optional additions to swap in.
  • Nidoran♀ (Mystery) — Use for Call for Family to quickly add more Nidorans to benched Pokemon stack.
  • Recycle (Laboratory) — Use to recover stand-in cards like Clefairy Doll or Mysterious Fossil.

With this, you’ll want to build a deck that sets up Wigglytuff as quickly as possible, so consider Bill, Professor Oak, Poke Ball, Computer Search, anything that gets basic Pokemon on the bench. But pack in 4 Jigglypuffs and ~3-4 Wigglytuffs in particular for this build.


Images: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK

Arguably one of the simplest builds to do heavy damage in the early days, this deck favors the basic beat stick Pokemon like Electabuzz, Scyther, and Hitmonchan. Its purpose is simple: get heavy hitters on the field early, take advantage of their bulk to secure an early lead, and don’t let go. Their attacks are easy to pull off due to low energy costs, and you can pack these decks pretty easily.

  • Electabuzz (Colosseum)
  • Hitmonchan (Colosseum)
  • Scyther (Colosseum)
  • Plus Power (Colosseum) — Attach to a Pokemon for one turn, adds 10 additional power to their attacks.
  • Energy Removal (Mystery) — Use to discard Energy cards your opponent has on their Pokemon, to lower damage potential to your heavy hitters.
  • Super Energy Removal (Laboratory) — Similar principle, but at the cost of one of your energy while removing 2 attached Energy cards from your opponent.
  • Gust of Wind (Evolution) — Swap in an opponent’s benched Pokemon for their active one, useful counter against Raindance setup as it can potentially OHKO a benched Squirtle.
  • Scoop Up (Colosseum) — A strategic retreat when combined with Super Energy Removal to mitigate Energy costs of this card.
  • Lightning/Fighting/Grass Energy cards as applicable

Additionally, Bill, Computer Search, Item Finder, and Professor Oak are reasonable assets all toward getting your Haymaker Pokemon on the field or in your hand. Preferably ~4 each of Electabuzz, Hitmonchan, and Scyther are reasonable options here.

Rain Dance

Images: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK

Ahh Rain Dance. It’s not enough that Rain teams are typically among the best builds in mainline Pokemon games, but it’s powerful here too. Rain Dance is particularly helpful against CPU players, and is one of the best, most reliable deck builds in Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) for Nintendo Switch Online.

This build is focused on Blastoise’s Pokemon Power “Rain Dance” which lets you put as many Water Energy cards onto your Water Pokemon as you want. Naturally you can use this to stack Blastoise for additional damage from its Hydro Pump attack, but as you can get Lapras early on, you’ll find it has diverse uses.

  • Squirtle (Evolution)
  • Wartortle (Evolution)
  • Blastoise (Evolution)
  • Professor Oak (Colosseum) — If you’ve exhausted your hand, this can come in clutch with a healthy new 7 cards, along with a good shot at what you need.
  • Bill (Colosseum) — Versatile and an asset in any deck, no drawbacks, just draw 2 cards.
  • Computer Search (Colosseum) — Can help in those infuriating moments where Blastoise just isn’t getting drawn yet.
  • Item Finder (Colosseum) — Flexible uses, can be used for any of the listed Trainer Cards in this list.
  • Poké Ball (Colosseum) — Flexible but helps building either your Blastoise or finding other Pokemon.
  • Energy Search (Evolution) — Crucial to supplement your Water Energy.
  • Pokémon Breeder (Evolution) — Helpful for speeding along Squirtle evolution.
  • Gust of Wind (Evolution) — Displaces built-up threats by your opponents and potentially swaps in something they’ve not fully prepared that you can crush.
  • Plus Power (Colosseum) — Like for Haymaker, this can help put you over the edge against hardy opponents.
  • ~13-15 Water Energy cards

This one typically has a pretty clear idea of where you want to go with your builds. You can swap out accordingly but this can include Articuno in the mix, as well as Lapras, to continuously make use of Blastoise’s abilities, especially since some Water Pokemon can have costly attacks. Here you’ll find a deck that lets you draw quickly both for Pokemon and Energy while building up for some absolutely dominant play, shutting down a diverse array of threats.

All of these archetypes are good springboards for your own ideas and should be adjusted to your playstyle. While the game is quite old, it’s enduringly popular with robust gameplay. There are plenty of ways to enjoy this classic while still potentially discovering or encountering something new. If you’re a fan of the TCG, you’ll also be excited to see a new series focusing on the game coming soon!

- This article was updated on August 8th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a content creator with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. also manages his local movie theater.