5 Easy Pokemon TCG Trainer Cards to Start Your Deck With


Credit: The Pokemon Company

Forget strong Pokemon. Trainer Cards are the name of the game in the Pokemon TCG meta. So stock up on these five staples to turn your matches around quickly.

I have not played the Pokemon TCG in years, not really. I downloaded the online TCG very recently and began to muddle my way through once again, and was pleasantly surprised at the way this strategy card game has evolved. While I’m still more partial to Hearthstone, I’m amazed at how well the Pokemon TCG has aged…and, unfortunately, how overwhelming it is to jump right into.

I grew up with Theme Decks, not realizing that their composition was absolutely terrible for competitive play. Now that I’m stepping into the world of Quick Match and Versus, I’m discovering there was a lot I never knew about deck composition. I realized I had way too many basic Pokemon and Energies in my deck, and wasn’t using Trainer Cards nearly enough. Trainer Cards are really the staple on which decks are built, since they allow you to ensure that in a deck of 60 cards, you’ll actually have what you need in your hand at any given moment.

If you, like me, are baffled as to what you need to be doing in a Pokemon TCG match, let me help. Here are five common, easy to use Trainer Cards that you can use to start your first custom deck, no matter what else it includes:

Credit: The Pokemon Company


You’ll hear this from me a lot in this piece, but one of the key points of playing the Pokemon TCG is making sure you have the right cards in your hand at the right time. The theme decks accomplish this by putting a lot of the same basic Pokemon cards in so you’ll draw a crap ton of them, but this is inefficient as there’s never any way to get what you need to power them up beyond pure luck. Including two to four Shaunas in your deck helps combat this by giving you a quick and easy way to dump your hand without losing it entirely, and draw an entirely new one.

Do be careful with using Shauna to ensure you’ve used up everything you’ll need out of your current hand at the moment. She’s not helpful if you’re worried about not having enough Energies, intend to evolve from your hand soon, or have other cards to help you find more specific things. But if your draw just isn’t going well and you need a fresh start, Shauna is the easy, penalty-free way to go.

Credit: The Pokemon Company

Ultra Ball

While Pokeballs and Great Balls operate by either luck or specific conditions, Ultra Ball allows you to find exactly what you need…for a price. You have to discard two cards to obtain the Pokemon you need, but if you’re looking for one very specific Pokemon, this is likely a small price to pay. Dump basic Pokemon whose evolutions are already spent or vice versa, or Trainer Cards you don’t currently need. You can dump Energy, too, but this isn’t as recommended unless you have a good way to pull it back out of your Discard Pile, such as an Energy Retrieval.

Don’t use Ultra Ball on cheap things. Use it to find the final stage evolution, your EX Pokemon, or other monsters that you may have that can easily crush your opponent in a hit or two. Keep a few in your deck, but it may not be worth it to overkill with four if your deck isn’t based around finding only one or two specific Pokemon.

Credit: The Pokemon Company


Wow, if only your Pokemon would just get that pesky Mewtwo EX off the field with its damning 230 HP! They only have a bunch of weak basics on their Bench! But as long as it’s just you and that Mewtwo, you can’t do anything…unless you have Lysandre around. Lysandre gives you a free switcheroo to bring out something else from your opponent’s Bench, whatever you choose.

You can use this in one of two ways. You can either force a high retreat cost, high energy Pokemon out to buy yourself some time to build a strategy up, or you can use it to bring out an easy-KO to take another prize card. The latter is best used as a final move to win a match, as if you do KO an easy bench warmer, you’ll immediately have to deal again with whatever they had out before. So Lysandre Pokemon away at your own risk!

Credit: The Pokemon Company


The opposite of Lysandre, Switch is for when you have a Pokemon out that needs to not be there before. Switch has been a staple since the early days of the Pokemon TCG, since it effectively acts as a free Retreat for any Pokemon at all. You can use it to bring in a heavy hitter at a key time when you haven’t been energizing your current active ‘mon, you can use it to save a valuable Pokemon from heavy damage, or you can just try to mess with your opponent’s strategy by playing with weaknesses and resistances from the bench.

Keep several Switches in your deck so that you don’t waste valuable Energy on retreating. It allows you to have fewer Energy in your deck as a result, which means more Trainer cards, which means more useful Pokemon on the field at any given time.

Credit: The Pokemon Company


N is another key drawing card, but with a twist. Both you and your opponent shuffle your hands into your decks, then draw according to your Prize Card numbers. I like N because I tend to lose a lot, so late in the match when I have six Prize Cards and my opponent has one, it’s handy to force them to dump their insanely powerful hand for one measly card while I potentially get six brand new ones to turn the game around in the final battle…as if that was a likely scenario.

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N is a gamble for that very reason, though, as his presence is only helpful if you’re running behind or if there’s some mechanic on the field that benefits you by having controllable amounts of cards in your hand. You run the risk of handing your opponent a key card they need in a decisive moment, leaving it all up to the RNG to determine how you both play the next turn. N is insanely useful in the right moment and helpful for beginner decks, just be cautious.