A Bite on a Budget

It can be tricky to put together a stellar Pokémon TCG deck if you haven't already built a large collection of cards. If you're looking for a powerful deck without many cards from older expansions—or just a fun deck with powerful combos—be sure to try out this one built around Garchomp, Lucario, and Cynthia.

The Pokémon in this deck can evolve quickly, search out important cards with ease, and dish out massive hits. You may be surprised to find its key performers aren't Pokémon-GX or Pokémon-EX! Almost all of the cards in the deck below can be found in the Mach Strike or Imperial Command theme decks from Sun & Moon—Ultra Prism, and we'll show you how to evolve the deck as your collection grows.

Deck Strategy

  • Starter List
Pokémon
  • 4
    Garchomp
    99/138
    sm5 99
  • 4
    Gabite
    98/138
    sm5 98
  • 4
    Gible
    96/138
    sm5 96
  • 2
    Lucario
    67/138
    sm5 67
  • 4
    Riolu
    66/138
    sm5 66
  • 2
    Alolan Vulpix
    21/145
    sm2 21
Energy Cards
  • 10
    Fighting Energy
    nrg1 31
  • 4
    Double Colorless Energy
    sm1 136
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Cynthia
    sm5 119
  • 2
    Hau
    sm1 120
  • 2
    Lillie
    sm35 62
  • 2
    Pokémon Fan Club
    sm5 133
  • 2
    Sophocles
    sm3 123
  • 3
    Nest Ball
    sm1 123
  • 3
    Timer Ball
    sm1 134
  • 2
    Pal Pad
    sm5 132
  • 2
    Ultra Ball
    sm1 135
  • 2
    Rescue Stretcher
    sm2 130
  • 1
    Escape Board
    sm5 122
  • 1
    Escape Rope
    sm3 114
More Info Copy Deck List

Your main goal with this deck is getting Garchomp and Lucario into play as quickly as possible, giving you access to any card in your deck and your highest-damage attack. Your Pokémon will give up only one Prize card when they're Knocked Out, so you'll be shooting to get four Garchomp into battle each game.

Garchomp's Royal Blades attack does a respectable 100 damage by default, but it dishes out an incredible 200 damage if you play Cynthia from your hand during the same turn. You'll probably run out of Cynthia before you've taken all your Prize cards, so plan to put some back in your deck with Pal Pad. You can even bring back Gible, Gabite, or Garchomp (or all three) with Rescue Stretcher.

Lucario's Precognitive Aura Ability is the key to pulling this strategy off consistently. Each of your Lucario can search for any card in your deck once per turn, helping you find key cards like Cynthia and Double Colorless Energy to keep the attacks rolling. This Ability can only be used if you have a Garchomp in play, so make sure to keep setting up more Garchomp on your Bench.

The early turns, before you can get Lucario and Garchomp into play, are the trickiest part of the game for this deck, so we've included several cards to help. Alolan Vulpix's no-cost Beacon attack can search out any two Pokémon from your deck. The Supporter card Pokémon Fan Club is a great way to find Basic Pokémon early on, while Nest Ball, Timer Ball, and Ultra Ball can search out more Pokémon whenever you have the chance. Gible and Gabite can use their Ascension attack to evolve if you don't have the right cards in hand.

If you don't have enough Double Colorless Energy, you can swap them out for Fighting Energy, but be warned that you'll need an extra turn to attach enough Energy for Garchomp's Royal Blades.

Aspirational Deck

Once you're ready to Bite Off a little bit more, try working toward this altered version of the deck.

  • Advanced List
Pokémon
  • 2
    Garchomp
    99/138
    sm5 99
  • 2
    Garchomp
    70/122
    xy9 70
  • 3
    Gabite
    69/122
    xy9 69
  • 3
    Gible
    97/138
    sm5 97
  • 1
    Gible
    68/122
    xy9 68
  • 2
    Lucario
    67/138
    sm5 67
  • 2
    Riolu
    66/138
    sm5 66
  • 2
    Tapu Lele-GX
    60/145
    sm2 60
  • 2
    Alolan Vulpix
    21/145
    sm2 21
Energy Cards
  • 4
    Double Colorless Energy
    sm35 69
  • 4
    Fighting Energy
    nrg1 31
  • 2
    Strong Energy
    xy10 115
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Cynthia
    sm5 119
  • 3
    N
    xy10 105
  • 2
    Brigette
    xy8 134
  • 1
    Guzma
    sm3 115
  • 4
    Puzzle of Time
    xy9 109
  • 4
    Rare Candy
    sm1 129
  • 4
    Ultra Ball
    sm35 68
  • 3
    Choice Band
    sm2 121
  • 2
    Field Blower
    sm2 125
  • 1
    Counter Catcher
    sm4 91
  • 1
    Escape Board
    sm5 122
  • 1
    Pal Pad
    sm5 132
  • 1
    Rescue Stretcher
    sm2 130
More Info Copy Deck List

This version trades out several cards to gain speed and power. Brigette helps you get more Basic Pokémon than Pokémon Fan Club does, and you'll be able to use it on your opening turn more often thanks to Tapu Lele-GX's Wonder Tag.

Rare Candy further accelerates your setup by allowing you to evolve Gible into Garchomp in a single turn without having to use Ascension, so you can still attack after you evolve. Many popular decks can do 100 or more damage as early as turn two or three, so it's important to evolve more quickly when faced with such dangerous competition. Choice Band further helps you keep up with the top decks, as several Pokémon-GX can survive even a 200-damage Royal Blades without it.

The biggest change to the flow of this deck is the Garchomp from XY—BREAKpoint, the returning star of one of our previous decks (Basic Strategies Ready for Battle). This Garchomp is a Fighting type, which gives it a type advantage against the ubiquitous Zoroark-GX and allows it to use Strong Energy, which increases its attack damage. This Garchomp also gives you a way to retrieve Energy cards from the discard pile, helping you to power up more Garchomp throughout the game.

The addition of some new Trainer cards opens up new avenues of attack for this deck. Guzma can target Pokémon on your opponent's Bench, while N can disrupt your foe's hand or refresh yours without having to discard a valuable Cynthia. Puzzle of Time gives you an additional option for bringing cards back from the discard pile, which can be a lifesaver in matches where you need to recycle key Trainer cards like Cynthia, Field Blower, Guzma, N, or Rare Candy.

This deck isn't stocked with Pokémon-GX or Pokémon-EX, but we think you'll find it can hang tough against just about any opponent out there. Have fun creating your own version of this deck, and check back at Pokemon.com/Strategy for more Pokémon TCG and video game strategy.

Back to Top