The Best Pokémon TCG Decks Right Now (July 2023)

Which decks are poised to clean up at the World Championships?

The 2022-2023 competitive Pokémon season has concluded, with the final International Championships having crowned its champions in Columbus, Ohio. Many players are now looking toward the World Championships, which are happening in just over a month in Yokohama, Japan!

There are no new cards becoming legal in between now and the World Championships, so expect to see these decks at Worlds!

#1 Gardevoir ex

Gardevoir ex deck
  • 3 Ralts ASR 60
  • 1 Ralts SIT 67
  • 4 Kirlia SIT 68
  • 2 Gardevoir ex SVI 86
  • 2 Gardevoir CRE 61
  • 1 Zacian V CEL 16
  • 1 Cresselia LOR 74
  • 1 Mew CEL 11
  • 1 Radiant Greninja ASR 46
  • 1 Manaphy BRS 41
  • 4 Iono
  • 2 Boss’s Orders
  • 1 Professor’s Research
  • 1 Worker
  • 1 Penny
  • 4 Battle VIP Pass
  • 3 Level Ball
  • 3 Ultra Ball
  • 3 Fog Crystal
  • 3 Rare Candy
  • 2 Super Rod
  • 1 Pal Pad
  • 1 Temple of Sinnoh
  • 1 Collapsed Stadium
  • 1 Artazon
  • 1 Reversal Energy
  • 11 Psychic Energy

Gardevoir ex was the most popular deck in both Day 1 and Day 2 of the North America International Championships (NAIC), and it’s set to be the most popular deck at the World Championships. While Gardevoir ex was a solid deck in the Scarlet & Violet format, with Paldea Evolved it gained several cards which elevated it to the top Pokémon deck in Standard.

Iono (sv2-185)

Market Price: $1.24

Reversal Energy (sv2-192)

Market Price: $0.48

Gardevoir ex (sv1-86)

Market Price: $2.21

Iono is a great draw Supporter but also disrupts the opponent in the late game when Gardevoir inevitably falls behind in Prize cards on account of being a Stage 2 deck. Speaking of being behind on Prize cards, Reversal Energy gives you a huge boost of energy when attacking with Gardevoir CRE. Reversal Energy is especially powerful when you consider that you can only attach six energy to a Gardevoir CRE with Psychic Embrace, meaning that Reversal Energy lets you push to 330 damage with Gardevoir CRE. Gardevoir ex itself is also a very powerful attacker: hitting for 190 damage and having 310 HP is a very useful option to have against several of the decks in this list.

I expect Gardevoir ex to remain the top deck heading into Worlds, and the majority of players will have a game plan against it.

#2 Arceus/Duraludon/Umbreon

Arceus/Duraludon/Umbreon deck
  • 4 Arceus V BRS 122
  • 3 Arceus VSTAR BRS 123
  • 2 Duraludon V EVS 122
  • 2 Duraludon VMAX EVS 123
  • 2 Umbreon V EVS 94
  • 2 Umbreon VMAX EVS 95
  • 1 Lumineon V BRS 40
  • 1 Radiant Alakazam SIT 59
  • 1 Spiritomb PAL 89
  • 4 Iono
  • 3 Boss’s Orders
  • 2 Adventurer’s Discovery
  • 2 Professor’s Research
  • 1 Judge
  • 1 Raihan
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Nest Ball
  • 1 Switch
  • 1 Escape Rope
  • 1 Choice Belt
  • 3 Lost City
  • 1 Path to the Peak
  • 4 Double Turbo Energy
  • 4 Darkness Energy
  • 4 Metal Energy
  • 2 Fighting Energy

Arceus/Duraludon/Umbreon came second at NAIC in the hands of Ian Robb, cementing its place in the metagame. It has a very solid game plan into Gardevoir ex, which is to aggressively Knock Out Kirlias and use Lost City to send them to the Lost Zone, which prevents the Gardevoir player from seeing too many cards or getting extremely set up.

In addition, you also have the Mean Look attack on Umbreon V, which can trap a Pokémon that cannot attack in the Active Spot and then use Radiant Alakazam to move the Mean Look damage to Benched Pokémon. This deck is the reason that most Gardevoir ex decks are playing a copy of Penny, as they can use Penny to get out of the Mean Look lock.

Duraludon VMAX (swsh7-123)

Market Price: $2.14

Spiritomb (sv2-89)

Market Price: $0.19

Against other matchups you also have solid game plans. Duraludon VMAX can wall out the entirety of a Lugia VSTAR deck since they don’t play basic energy and can also absorb a lot of attacks against Lost Zone Box decks thanks to its 330 HP. Umbreon VMAX hits Mew VMAX for weakness, and you also have Spiritomb PAL to shut off their Fusion Strike System ability.

Arceus/Duraludon/Umbreon is a solid choice for the 2023 Pokémon World Championships, and I wouldn’t expect it to go away anytime soon.

#3 Rapid Strike

Rapid Strike deck
  • 3 Inteleon V FST 78
  • 3 Inteleon VMAX FST 79
  • 2 Rapid Strike Urshifu V BST 87
  • 2 Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX BST 88
  • 2 Remoraid BST 36
  • 2 Octillery BST 37
  • 1 Medicham V EVS 83
  • 1 Radiant Alakazam SIT 59
  • 1 Lumineon V BRS 40
  • 3 Iono PAL 185
  • 2 Irida
  • 2 Melony
  • 2 Professor’s Research
  • 1 Korrina’s Focus
  • 1 Cheryl
  • 1 Klara
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 Battle VIP Pass
  • 2 Nest Ball
  • 2 Energy Retrieval
  • 1 Energy Search
  • 1 Hisuian Heavy Ball
  • 1 Echoing Horn
  • 1 Escape Rope
  • 3 Forest Seal Stone
  • 3 Tower of Waters
  • 4 Rapid Strike Energy
  • 6 Water Energy

Cyrus Davis took her Rapid Strike deck to a 1st place finish at NAIC, surprising everybody who wrote off this deck.

Inteleon VMAX (swsh8-79)

Market Price: $8.83

Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (swsh5-88)

Market Price: $1.69

Rapid Strike focuses on using Inteleon VMAX’s Double Gunner ability to spread damage to small HP Pokémon such as Kirlia SIT and Comfey LOR, then using Radiant Alakazam to set up for Medicham V’s Yoga Loop attack to take extra turns. You also have the threat of Rapid Flow from Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX which often forces your opponent to bench Manaphy BRS, which you can then Yoga Loop and use Rapid Flow anyway. Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX also hits Arceus VSTAR for weakness, giving you a solid plan into those decks.

The list that Cyrus took to NAIC has no answer to Mew VMAX, which is a historically poor matchup for Rapid Strike. Rapid Strike also struggles against Lugia VSTAR. However, both Mew VMAX and Lugia VSTAR were on the way out of the format thanks to Spiritomb PAL, and since Rapid Strike has incredibly good matchups into both Lost Zone and Gardevoir it was able to win NAIC.

Going forward into the World Championships I would expect many players to respect Rapid Strike, but I could also see some pushing through!

#4 Mew VMAX

Mew VMAX deck
  • 4 Mew V FST 113
  • 3 Mew VMAX FST 114
  • 4 Genesect V FST 185
  • 1 Meloetta FST 124
  • 1 Eiscue BRS 44
  • 2 Elesa’s Sparkle
  • 2 Boss’s Orders
  • 1 Judge
  • 1 Iono
  • 4 Power Tablet
  • 4 Battle VIP Pass
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Cram-o-matic
  • 2 Feather Ball
  • 2 Lost Vacuum
  • 2 Escape Rope
  • 1 Switch Cart
  • 1 Nest Ball
  • 1 Pal Pad
  • 4 Forest Seal Stone
  • 1 Choice Belt
  • 1 Cleansing Gloves
  • 2 Lost City
  • 1 Path to the Peak
  • 4 Fusion Strike Energy
  • 3 Double Turbo Energy
Mew VMAX (swsh8-114)

Market Price: $4.83

Fusion Strike Energy (swsh8-244)

Market Price: $0.07

Mew VMAX never goes away. Many players thought it would finally leave the metagame thanks to Spiritomb PAL, but after Naichi Nezu won the Japan Championships with Fusion Mew it became a real deck again. The Double Turbo Energy version of Mew has essentially disappeared, since it has no answer to an opposing Spiritomb. However, since Fusion Strike Energy protects the Pokémon it’s attached to from an opponent’s Abilities, you can attach it to a Genesect and use Fusion Strike System under Spiritomb!

Eiscue (swsh9-44)

Market Price: $0.13

Lost City (swsh11-161)

Market Price: $0.17

Current Mew VMAX lists play Eiscue BRS to attack opposing Benched Pokémon as well as lots of copies of Lost City, so you can permanently get rid of Spiritomb. Lost City also helps in the Gardevoir matchup, since you can snipe the Kirlias down with Eiscue and perform a similar game plan to the Arceus/Duraludon/Umbreon deck.

The biggest weakness of this current build of Mew VMAX (outside of Spiritomb) is its consistency. The Fusion Strike Energy package does clog up your hands occasionally and prevent you from drawing cards with Genesect. However, if you draw your cards in the right order, Mew VMAX is one of the strongest Pokémon decks in the current format!

#5 Lost Zone Box

Lost Zone Box deck
  • 4 Comfey LOR 79
  • 2 Sableye LOR 70
  • 1 Cramorant LOR 50
  • 1 Radiant Greninja ASR 46
  • 1 Manaphy BRS 41
  • 1 Dragonite V PR-SW 154
  • 1 Raikou V BRS 48
  • 1 Drapion V LOR 118
  • 1 Lumineon V BRS 40
  • 4 Colress’s Experiment
  • 1 Boss’s Orders
  • 1 Klara
  • 4 Mirage Gate
  • 4 Battle VIP Pass
  • 4 Switch Cart
  • 4 Escape Rope
  • 3 Lost Vacuum
  • 3 Super Rod
  • 2 Nest Ball
  • 1 Ultra Ball
  • 1 Hisuian Heavy Ball
  • 1 Echoing Horn
  • 1 Pal Pad
  • 2 Forest Seal Stone
  • 2 PokéStop
  • 1 Artazon
  • 4 Water Energy
  • 2 Psychic Energy
  • 2 Lightning Energy

Lost Zone Box has been on a decline ever since Paldea Evolved came out, but it has still been picking up results as Victor Aung came 5th with this turbo version at NAIC. The big issue for Lost Zone was the printing of Iono, which made your Gardevoir matchup much closer and gave many decks an easy way to reduce your hand size, something that only existed with Roxanne previously.

Super Rod (sv2-188)

Market Price: $0.14

Pal Pad (sv1-182)

Market Price: $0.13

However, Super Rod is a big bonus for Lost Zone decks, giving you a way to recover any Pokémon without using your Supporter. Most Lost Zone decks have been incorporating Pal Pad as a way to play around Iono, since you can increase the number of good cards in your deck and make the cards you see off your opponent’s copies of Iono much better.

I assume that most Lost Zone decks at the World Championships will be the turbo version, similar to what is pictured here. Having ways to end the game quickly is very important in a tournament where you cannot afford to take too many ties, and the slower versions of Lost Zone Box are very prone to ties. I’m interested to see the future of the Lost Zone Box archetype. While there are currently a lot of things going against it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a resurgence in Yokohama!

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