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Pokemon TCG: How To Make The Best Lightning Deck


A Lightning Deck can be devastating in the Pokemon Trading Card Game, and these tips will help trainers maximize their setup’s potential.

Usually, in the Pokemon TCG, there is quite a lot of amalgamation that happens. Multiple types from the Pokemon video games often get lumped together, such as how Water and Ice-types get combined into the water element in the TCG. However, Electric-types from the digital adventures get a far more direct transition into the card game as all pure Electric-type Pokemon get placed in the lightning element. Furthermore, the only Pokemon from the video games that enter this element besides the pure Electric-types are dual-types that are at least part Electric.

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Lightning type cards stand out as being reckless, dynamic, and very dangerous. Pokemon of this type often specialize in offensive tactics that aim to deal a lot of direct damage to the opponent’s active Pokemon at any cost, even draining themselves of energy or taking damage from their own attacks. They can also turn the tables against foes who they should not normally be able to stand up to with specific move effects that target a particular card-type.

Afflicting the opposition with status ailments are also common traits, particularly making foes confused or paralyzed. Though, the most worrying tactic for opponents is that many lightning Pokemon have attacks that target defenseless benched Pokemon who can only sit there and get shocked until they faint. Without many conventional ways to return benched Pokemon to their hand, sometimes the adversary can do nothing as their rear lines get decimated, which leaves them with little reinforcements and less precious prize cards.

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Shock & Awe

the lightning type card.

One strategy that can be devastating in the early parts of a battle is to throw every bit of direct damage someone has at their foe. This is very much meant to hit opposing active Pokemon hard enough to either force the enemy trainer to retreat them or to straight-up knock them out. The best moves to accomplish this usually come with negative effects, such as taking some damage when using them.

A great example of this strategy is the Toxtricity card from the Darkness Ablaze expansion. Their Thunder Jolt lets loose 160 direct damage. That’s enough to one-shot most stage 1 or stage 2 Pokemon in a single hit! Toxtricity will take 30 damage itself upon each use of this move, though this is arguably worth it net a prize card or two.

Counter Powerhouse Cards

two lightning type cards.

With the introduction of the immensely powerful Pokemon GX cards as well as the Pokemon V cards, there has been a clear power-creep over the last few years that has seen regular Pokemon cards receiving less usage due to people flocking to stock their decks with EX, GX, and V Pokemon more and more. However, some normal lightning Pokemon have been released that have addressed this and were made specifically to balance this issue by targeting such powerhouse cards with deadly yet niche attacks.

In the Vivid Voltage expansion, there have been two prime cards that demonstrate this equilibrium. The legendary bird Zapdos screeches forth with very clear intent. Their Drill Peck is almost useless, so the only reason to play this card is to attack the opponent’s V or GX Pokemon with their Thunder Snipe. Aptly named, this move can fire a severe bolt at any V or GX card on the opposing trainer’s side, regardless if they are in the active position or on the bench. It may drain all of Zapdos’ energy, but can be a game-clincher if a foe has two or fewer prize cards left and this knocks out one of their high-powered Pokemon. Another legendary from the same expansion, Zeraora, can do a similar feat, though with less damage and without discarding all of their energy cards.

Confuse & Conquer

ampharos from the darkness ablaze set and electivire from the rebel clash set.

If someone misses the opportunity to zap their foe right at the start of the battle with a low-cost and high-damage card like Toxtricity, they should fall back to a more versatile tactic to ensure that they don’t overextend themselves while still applying pressure to the adversary. Inflicting special conditions to opposing Pokemon is an ideal way to do this. Lightning-type Pokemon tend to specialize most in making enemies confused or paralyzed.

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Confusion is a lot easier to apply quickly and efficiently, as most of the time the lightning cards that usually have this effect (particularly the Ampharos evolutionary line) don’t need a coin flip to determine success. Ampharos, from the Darkness Ablaze set, can do just that with their very low-cost Dazzle Blast move that deals 50 damage and is guaranteed to confuse the foe. This forces the opposing trainer to flip a coin if they choose to attack, which results in a 50% chance that they will get tails and take 30 points of damage while failing to execute their move. More often than not, adversaries will opt to skip their attack phase altogether or even retreat.

A more common special condition to find on a lightning card is the ability to make enemy Pokemon paralyzed. One of the many lightning Pokemon that can do this is Electivire from the Rebel Clash set. Their commonly found move, Thunder Shock, is an easy way to cripple enemies. Most of the time, paralyzing effects require a coin flip to activate and are the best method to lock down the adversary’s active Pokemon. Since a Pokemon can neither attack nor retreat while paralyzed, the only thing their trainer can do is heal them with a trainer card or simply wait out the status ailment.

Target The Rear Lines

the legendary beast as a lightning card.

There are many variants of moves that target benched Pokemon, though the one possessed by the legendary beast Raikou card in the Vivid Voltage set is among the most powerful of this kind. Their Amazing Shot takes three kinds of energy: grass, lightning, and metal; though, despite the high and diverse cost, it can wreck the foe’s bench.

120 damage with no negative effects allows Raikou’s trainer to use this unorthodox move repeatedly to knock out foes who can’t retaliate while also doing the same damage to the opposing active Pokemon. Clearing out the adversary’s reinforcements, as well as injuring their lead fighter, results in Raikou dealing enough damage and snatching enough prize cards via rear-line destruction to be absolutely worth the diverse energy requirements.

NEXT: Pokemon TCG: How To Make The Best Grass Deck

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