10 Best Standard Decks in Pokemon TCG 2023 Ranked
Whether you are looking for your next deck to build, or what deck counters the meta here are the 10 best standard Pokemon TCG decks of 2023 ranked.
As a little background if you are new to the Pokemon Trading Card game, this list will be looking at the current game’s meta – meaning the decks and strategies that are most popular in competitive play. Although it changes all the time, without doubt a few strategies end up climbing their way to the top. These are the standard format meta decks that have the best chance of helping you win both online and at your local event!
Major Update – January 2, 2023 – updated to the Silver Tempest format.
Below are the current best decks in the Pokemon TCG Standard Format based on data from recent tournaments. As the meta game in Pokemon is constantly changing, check back often as we make updates to this page frequently.
1. Lugia VSTAR Takes the Title for Best Deck in Pokemon TCG Standard 2023
The star of Silver Tempest, Sword and Shield’s final expansion, Lugia VSTAR packs a lot of power from the start. As important to this deck’s ability to win, however, is the powerful combo of Lugia VSTAR and Archeops’s ability. Thanks to Archeops, you can quickly power up Lugia VSTAR with virtually any energy you want, giving Lugia extra attack power, defense and other special powers.
What really makes Lugia VSTAR so powerful is its incredible versatility. You can tell from the deck list below that it has an answer to almost any threat, even other Lugia VSTAR decks! It can topple a mighty VSTAR in one attack, while benefiting from an effective HP of 310 thanks to V Guard Energy.
Meanwhile, Archeops makes it possible to effectively counter single prize decks with the help of Yvetlal, Stoutland V, and Radiant Charizard.
While it looked like Giratina VSTAR would dominate tournament play for a while, Lugia VSTAR is here to clearly state that it is the best deck in format, causing many serious players to actively counter just this one deck.
2. Giratina VSTAR
Wow. What a deck. Giratina VSTAR’s release is probably the single biggest deck archetype to come out of Pokemon TCG since the days of Mew VMAX. And it will have that kind of impact. Because it has no weakness, it will be hard to tech against, with only cards like Empoleon’s basic Pokemon ability canceling coming to mind.
But the reason Giratina is so ground breaking for the meta game goes beyond dragon’s lack of weakness – it introduces yet another reliable engine that isn’t the Inteleon Line. It’s Comfey.
There are a number of ways to play this deck, but you can see the list I’ve been tinkering with below. Use Comfey and Colress’s experiment to get plenty of cards in your lost zone, making your Pokemon easier to power up late game.
In this deck, however, you can also use Leafeon to help power up your Giratina early on, and a combination of Heavy Ball and Peonia to get the cards you need since this deck runs a lower count of all your cards. Leafeon VSTAR makes an excellent attacker and also its ability to effectively “boss out” without the use of supporter is clutch.
Single Prize decks remain strong in this format, and none is stronger right now than Regigigas. Not only is it hard to stop once it gets going, but it contains Pokemon of multiple different types, allowing it to hit many other decks for weakness when necessary. While the necessity of keeping a full bench makes this deck vulnerable to bench snipers due to the inability to play Manaphy, there aren’t many bench sniping decks out there. Those that are usually leverage Radiant Greninja. However, the Regis are well over the 90 HP Radiant Greninja hits for, meaning taking two prizes in a single turn in this format is incredibly difficult to do.
4. Palkia VSTAR
In Astral Radiance, a new contender for BDIF (best deck in format) arose. Palkia VSTAR has an incredible attack, and a super powerful ability, able to accelerate energy onto itself to prepare for attack. Additionally, it pairs incredibly well with the Inteleon engine, can take advantage of great supporters like Irida and Melony, and can do incredible damage for only two energies.
Palkia remains one of the top decks in the format despite the new powerhouse Lost Zone engine. We can expect it to be relevant for some time to come.
5. Mew VMAX – Fusion Strike
As soon as Fusion Strike was released, it became quickly apparent that (for a time, at least) the new best deck in format was none other than the Mew VMAX deck. Its strength lies in its incredible ability to get you the cards you need when you need them, thanks to Genesect V’s ability.
Additionally, Mew VMAX’s attack allows it to leverage Genesect’s Techno Blast, doing 210 damage with just two energies. Combine that with Power Tablet, and you even have enough to OHKO a VMAX!
As Brilliant Stars got released, Mew VMAX got even stronger thanks to cards like Choice Belt, Ultra Ball, and Double Colorless Energy. Since those days, however, other powerful archetypes have come along to displace Mew VMAX as undisputed BDIF (best deck in format). However, it remains a popular choice due to its effectiveness and fun play style.
6. Kyurem VMAX/Palkia VSTAR
Palkia may get top billing in this powerhouse of a deck, but the reality is it only plays second fiddle to Kyurem VMAX. One of the few VMAX deck archetypes still dominating the game, Kyurem is a good ol’ straight forward damage dealing attacker. It reminds me a lot of former VMAX decks that didn’t really make it. I’m thinking decks like Rayquaza VMAX (although grossly underrated). Similar to that deck, Kyurem deals significant damage for each energy it discards. Unlike Rayquaza, however, Kyurem has a ton of support in the current meta thanks to the fantastic support for Water Pokemon in general.
Kyurem might be your first line of attack, but you’re backed up by Palkia VSTAR, and after that Radiant Greninja. What’s more, you can take advantage of incredible energy acceleration via its own ability, as well as Palkia’s ‘Subspace Swell’, and powerful supporters like Melony and Irida.
7. Hisuian Zoroark
One of the other great decks to come out of Lost Origin is Hisuian Zoroark. This deck focuses on getting Pokemon with damage counters onto your bench in order to power up your Hisuian Zoroark’s attack. It pairs well with Empoleon V (countering the “Lost Zone” engine and can also be played with Cheren’s Care thanks to its typing as a Normal Pokemon.
8. Lost Zone Box
“Box” decks – or decks with answers to just about any situation in the current meta – are always popular with competitors. What makes this particular box so deadly, however, is the addition of Radiant Charizard. Even if your opponent manages to get ahead of you early game, unleashing Charizard to claim prizes late game can quickly turn the game in your favor. As the title suggest, this deck makes use of the “Lost Zone Engine”.
9. Goodra VSTAR with Arceus VSTAR
Just when you thought Arceus VSTAR had seen its final days as BDIF, this deck comes along. Credited with a recent win at the 2022 Salt Lake Regionals, Goodra and Arceus make a powerful combo. Goodra is hard to knock out, and that’s made worse when you combine it with Radiant Gardevoir and Big Parasol. Even the best Giratina VSTAR players would be hard pressed to overcome Goodra VSTAR with these modifiers.
10. Ice Ryder Calyrex/Palkia
Going up against Ice Ryder can be a pain, especially when it’s using Path to the Peak. Use a combination of Melony and Calyrex VMAX’s super low energy threshold to do a lot of damage very quickly. Early or late game, Palkia helps with energy acceleration and pinch hitting.
To be really successful, Ice Ryder relies on the Inteleon engine, allowing you to pull any trainer you need from your deck.
Former Best Decks in Format
These decks have recently been featured in the top ten but have since fallen a few spots.
10. Arceus VSTAR and Flying Pikachu VMAX
Arceus’s ability combined its energy acceleration makes it a great addition to just about any deck out there. The strategy here is to use Arceus VSTAR to lead the charge, and then use Flying Pikachu VMAX to take selective knockouts against Palkia VSTAR whiled defending against basic Pokemon attackers.
While this deck is pretty cool, you can also try out an alternative version that is similar. I’ve created a Surfing Pikachu VMAX deck list featuring Arceus that has the added advantage of spreading damage across your opponent’s entire bench.
Lately, this deck has fallen out of favor, in part due to its inability to counter the raw power of some of the newer decks that can easily one shot an Arceus (Giratina and Kyurem VMAX). Still, we’ll always remember how Arceus, combined with Flying Pikachu VMAX, took the title at World’s 2022.
What? A two-prize Pokemon that has the added advantage of giving you two turns? How could this powerful VSTAR attacker end up anywhere but in the top 10 best Pokemon TCG standard decks?
The only catch? You need five energies to pull this attack off.
Luckily, steel Pokemon have the advantage of getting access to Metal Saucer. Still, the high energy cost of this most powerful attack will probably be enough to forever keep Dialga off the top.
Thanks to Manaphy, single prize decks are back in style! Lunatone is a tricky little beast. Once you get it going, there almost ain’t no stopping it!
It takes advantage of Solrock’s ability to add energies from the discard, combined with the recently released “PokeStop” stadium card to not only get energies into the discard, but to pull handy items.
Again, once this deck gets going it’s pretty hard to stop. However, it can brick relatively easy early game and it’s by no means unstoppable.
Regardless, it seems that – for now – Lunatone has taken Rapid Strike Malamar’s title of “best single prize deck in format”.
Duraludon VMAX with Arceus VSTAR
Duraludon was already a serious contender for its spot on this list of best standard Pokémon decks before Arceus came around. Now, however, with Arceus VSTAR, it’s that much stronger. This deck finished second at the Brisbane Regionals and has gone on to win many other tournaments.
Thanks to Arceus V’s attack, which can be used with a single Turbo Energy, Duraludon can get powered up and ready to attack in one turn.
Of course, its ability to not be damaged by Pokémon with special energies attached is a great bonus in a meta heavy with them.
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX
Urshifu was one of the best decks in the game for a long time. As a testament to its power, even after a deck with its weakness topped the list (Mew VMAX), and a card came along that basically nullified its bench sniping ability, Urshifu could still top major events (like the the Liverpool regionals last season).
It did this largely through combining him with Galarian Moltress V. Today, however, the game has evolved far enough that Urshifu VMAX seems to be out of the mix as a top tier, competitive deck, once and for all.