Pokemon TCG: Five Strongest Decks from Base Set to Fossil Era

Rain Dance, Haymaker, Damage Swap and more! Shuffle up and explore these five strongest decks from the Pokemon Trading Card Game’s early years.
Pokemon Trading Card Game. Courtesy of The Pokemon Company
Pokemon Trading Card Game. Courtesy of The Pokemon Company /
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The early days of the Pokemon Trading Card Game were dominated by a small handful of decks, each of which had specific strengths and weaknesses and featured the strongest cards of the era. While there were myriad fun archetypes that could be played, if one was a serious competitive player, there were only a select few decks that could truly dominate at the highest level.

When Base Set was released, there were a number of major archetypes that began to rise above the rest, and then as new cards were released in the subsequent Jungle and Fossil expansions, those archetypes were either buffed or nerfed depending on what cards debuted. So, grab your favorite deck and shuffle up to explore the five strongest decks during the Base Set to Fossil era of the Pokemon TCG.

Haymaker Screenshot of Base Set Electabuzz from Pokemon TCG (2)
Pokemon Trading Card Game. Courtesy of The Pokemon Company /

Rain Dance

Featuring The Strongest Base Set Starter Pokemon Final Evolution

Based around (and named after) Base Set Blastoise’s Pokemon Power: Rain Dance, the purpose of this water energy-based deck was to get Blastoise into play as soon as possible in order to power up its Hydro Pump attack or power up another, ultra-strong water-type attacker – such as Gyarados and Dewgong from Base Set or Articuno once the Fossil expansion was released.

Blastoise’s Pokemon Power said that as many as times as you’d like during your turn, attach a water energy card to one of your water-type Pokemon. This meant that if your hand was chock-full of water energy, you could simply slam them down infinitely until you powered a monstrously strong attack.

There were multiple ways to get Blastoise onto the field ASAP, but the most effective method was to rifle through your library with Trainer cards such as Bill, Professor Oak and utility search card Computer Search in order to nab the card Pokemon Breeder.

This allowed you to evolve Squirtle directly into Blastoise – bypassing the first-stage evolution Wartortle completely. From there, it was usually fairly trivial to power up whatever strong attacker you needed to win the game using Rain Dance. When Fossil released, cards like Aerodactyl and Muk shut down this strategy, but if you could get Blastoise onto the field before your foe played those cards, your odds of success were quite high.