From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Both players in a Pokémon Trading Card Game require a playing Deck. An official deck is either purchased or built with 60 cards, composed of Pokémon cards, Energy cards, and Trainer cards. The term Deck, however, is a general term that may mean a player Constructed deck, Deck archetype, Half deck, Preconstructed deck (Theme deck or Trainer kit), or World Championship deck.
A Constructed deck is a 60-card deck built by a player from that player's own Pokémon Trading Card Game collection. These decks often follow a certain Deck archetype in their design and structure. While there are many competing theories and strategies as to the best balance of card types (Pokémon, Energy, and Trainer) in a 60-card deck, a common theory for beginner players is: 2/5th Pokémon (24), 2/5th Trainers (24), 1/5th Energy (12).
Booster packs are a typical means for players to acquire cards for directly building or for trading in order to build player Constructed decks. Booster packs contain cards from a given Expansion (typically four expansions are released per year). Boosters also offer the chance to acquire stronger cards to strengthen a purchased Theme Deck or Trainer kit, create new decks of cards, or customize old ones. Every booster pack contains cards of different Rarity levels. They are guaranteed to contain at least one Rare () card, with generally three Uncommon () cards and the remainder being Common (). Since the release of the Legendary Collection set, one reverse foil print of a common, uncommon, or rare card has also been included in every pack.
- Main article: Deck archetype (TCG)
A Deck archetype is a player Constructed deck utilizing a set structure or theme (a certain Pokémon type and/or Energy type, specific Pokémon cards and/or Trainer cards, etc.). Various players often have slight differences between their own decks of the same archetype. These decks are a great way for players to gain inspiration and see how others have used cards that may be available in their own player collection.
- Main article: Half deck (TCG)
The Half deck is popular among many Pokémon Trading Card Game players, particularly in Japan. In Half deck play, both players use a 30-card deck instead of a traditional 60-card one and lays out three Prize cards instead of six.
See Theme deck or Trainer kit below.
- Main article: Theme deck (TCG)
A Theme deck is a Preconstructed 60-card deck that is sold pre-packaged. Most Theme decks are designed with a specific strategy (such as Special Conditions) or theme (such as starter Pokémon) in mind. They tend not to be as strong as player Constructed decks, but can otherwise be a sound introduction to the game for new players since they have all the cards necessary for a single player to begin playing immediately. Theme decks are also a defined gameplay category in the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.
Similar to Theme decks, Trainer kits, such as the Black & White Trainer Kit, come with two Preconstructed 30-card decks or Half decks, which may be combined to form one complete 60-card deck or can be built upon with a player’s own cards to make two 60-card play decks. Trainer kits also typically include game aids such as Booster packs, a rulebook, a double-player play mat, damage counters, Special Conditions, a Coin, and a deck box – almost everything a single player could need to begin playing immediately. Current Trainer kits include:
World Championship deck
- Main article: Theme Deck (TCG)#World Championships Decks
Similar to Theme decks, World Championship decks are purchasable non-tournament-legal prints of 60-card decks used by World Championship players. Like browsing Deck archetype decks, these decks are a great way for players to gain inspiration and see how others have used cards that may be available in their own player collection.