New Decade, New Pokemon! — A First Look at the Decks of Sword & Shield

Hello everyone! Welcome to the new decade! Only a few weeks from now, we’ll have an equally exciting event in the Pokemon TCG–the release of a new generation of Pokemon! The Sword and Shield set is the first set of the eighth generation, and by all accounts, it looks like the future is nothing but bright.

We’ve definitely been spoiled recently when it comes to set quality. Every new release, the new set seems to have a ton of potential, and for the most part, those sets have lived up to that potential. Dragon Majesty was the last one that I would consider a dud, aside from that, it’s been one after another of impactful additions. Sword and Shield is no exception to this trend; in fact, I would probably consider it to be the best set we’ve had in a while — even compared to the Tag Team sets. The quality of the Trainer cards in this set is exceptional, and it has multiple cards that I think should be included in nearly every deck in the format. As far as Pokemon go, there are plenty of solid options as well, both in terms of additions to existing archetypes and in the new ones that will be coming out. As I’m writing this — several weeks before the Prereleases, mind you — there are already at least eight new deck concepts that I think could be competitive, one of which I am rather certain will immediately be considered top-tier. So, in this article, I’ll be giving you a sneak preview of what’s to come!

Initial Assumptions

Before I get too far into the new cards, let me first explain the two assumptions I’ve made when writing this article, and why I’m confident that those assumptions will be correct. Firstly, I’m assuming that, like in Japan, our turn 1 rules will change to disallow the use of a Supporter by a player going first. This hasn’t been officially announced for the TCG outside of Japan, but it would be a huge change from past policy to have a different set of gameplay rules in each region. Consequently, whenever I’ve been playing any of these decks, I’ve done so under those new Turn One rules. Secondly, I’m assuming that our Sword and Shield set will be made up of at least the cards from Sword, Shield, and the Starter Set V decks. It is also likely that we’ll have the cards from VMAX Rising, but like Japan, we don’t actually know what’s in that set yet! For the most part, however, the decks and concepts in this article likely won’t change all that much based on the VMAX Rising cards. It’s certainly possible there is an amazing Trainer or tech Pokemon will be revealed that would warrant inclusion in these lists or some absurd counter card that would affect the viability of one of these decks. More than likely, however, VMAX Rising won’t have any drastic effects on the makeup of these new decks. I’ll update you all as needed if VMAX Rising reveals any must-have cards, or if one of the cards from the aforementioned sets is inexplicably missing!

New Staple Cards

As I’ve stated above, Sword and Shield contains plenty of top-tier Trainer cards and support Pokemon. Even if you aren’t interested in switching to a new deck, you’ll more than likely want to include some of these new cards!

These are the staple cards that I would recommend acquiring from Sword and Shield, listed in order of how I would prioritize acquiring them. The most important ones come first.

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