Hello everyone! This is Elena from Gaia Storm, and it is a pleasure to be here once again at PoTown’s home! After some weeks of play-testing the new 2021 Standard format, I must say that it’s been a while since I last enjoyed the game as much as I am doing now. There are so many different viable options that you can currently bring to a tournament - something that was not common last year- and there is no Tier S deck that feels completely unbeatable. This variety is key to a creatinalthy and welcoming environment, but sometimes new players can feel a bit overwhelmed with the number of available options. Today, we are going to be looking at three inexpensive decks that will give you a lot of chances against most of the current strategies you could potentially face.

The state of the game

As I said in the intro, a very positive aspect of the 2021 Pokémon TCG Standard format is that you can pick between a lot of different pokemon online decks, each one with its unique strengths and weaknesses. Broadly speaking, I think we can categorize them into the following types according to their style of play:
  • VMAX Decks: They focus on getting these big boys out and wipe the field with them. The problem is that your opponent only needs to take down two of the main attackers to win the game. Some examples are Victini, Single Strike, and Shadow Rider Calyrex.
  • VMAX Decks with the Inteleon Engine: The Inteleon line provides consistency and the capability for many VMAX Pokémon to reach significant numbers. This category will include things like Dragapult, Jolteon, or Leafeon.
  • Pure V Decks: Those revolve around solid V Pokémon to attack, which may not be able to one-hit KO any VMAX but are quick and strong. Some of the most popular strategies that fall here are Suicune with Ludicolo and Zacian Zamazenta.
Of course, nothing is black and white, and there is always a wide range of greys in between, but my point here is that it doesn’t matter what style you like more, there will always be an option for you. That's being said, let’s jump onto some of the most budget-friendly decks that you can currently find in Pokémon TCG and see how they do against the metagame!

Regidrago Cherrim

From the moment it was revealed, everyone knew that Regidrago from Evolving Skies had potential on its own. Its high attack (240 damage every turn) can take down any Pokémon V in the format that is not running a Cape of Toughness, and being a one-prize Pokémon forces your opponent to attack many times.




LowSingle Prize AttackersDifficult set it up

Can deal very easily with most V PokémonBad match up against Rapid Strike Urshifu and Dragapult

Grass attackers can hit certain popular strategies for weaknessesRelies a lot on recycling cards


The perfect partner for Regidrago is Cherrim (Battle Styles), as it can help get the energy requirements in just one turn. Once they are together on the field, it is as simple as keeping your Regidrago coming and continuing putting pressure on your opponent.

But not everything is ideal with this deck. First of all, it has to find a lot of different combo pieces at the beginning of the game, and it suffers if your opponents can take down your benched Cherrim early on. In addition, it relies on constantly finding recycling cards like Energy Retrieval or Ordinary Rod, and without a consistent drawing engine, this can be a problem in the late game.

Nevertheless, what I like about this deck is how accessible it is for new players as it does not require any expensive card or anything you won’t practically find in the Trainers Toolkit 2 . It will be for sure one of my recommendations to any newcomer to the game.

Regidrago Cherrim Decklist

Pokémon (18)

Trainers (31)

Energy (11)

1x Crobat V DAA 1044x Energy Retrieval SSH 1608x Grass Energy EVO 91
4x Regidrago EVS 1242x Ordinary Rod SSH 1713x Fire Energy EVO 92
3x Cherubi BST 72x Quick Ball SSH 179
3x Gossifleur SSH 202x Klara CRE 145
1x Kricketune V BST 62x Air Balloon SSH 156
1x Tropius EVS 62x Boss's Orders SHF 58
3x Cherrim PR-SW 884x Level Ball BST 129
2x Eldegoss EVS 163x Scoop Up Net RCL 165

4x Professor's Research SSH 178

2x Zinnia's Resolve EVS 164

2x Marnie PR-SW 120

2x Turffield Stadium RCL 170

Regidrago decklist

Rapid Strike Malamar

Rapid Strike Malamar is probably my favorite pick in terms of money and value, being a very easy deck to build both at PTCGO and in real life. As it happened in the case of Regidrago, Malamar is a single prize card, which means that your opponent has to get all 6 prizes, one by one, to win a game against you. While they are trying to do so, your goal will be to continuously evolve your Malamar and takedown V Pokémon in just one hit.




LowSingle Prize AttackersBad match up against spread

Can get easy KOs on most of the V and, sometimes, VMAX PokemonCape of Toughness is becoming very popular and makes it difficult to take easy KOs as they used to

Once Octillery is set up, it isn't easy to brickNeed to be constantly drawing cards and has little space for gusting cards like Boss Orders.


Released in Chilling Reign, Malamar is an exciting psychic-type Pokémon that deals 40x damage for each Rapid Strike card from your hand that you put back in the deck from your hand. Luckily for us, a strategy around this is totally viable because there are so many good cards in the archetype: Octillery ensures you can search any piece you are missing turn after turn, Korrina’s Determination is a good draw supporter, and Tower of Water provides a free retreat in your board, to name a few examples.

Rapid Strike Malamar Decklist

Pokémon (21)

Trainers (33)

Energy (6)

3x Minccino SSH 1453x Tower of Waters BST 1382x Psychic Energy SMEnergy 14
3x Cinccino SSH 1472x Ordinary Rod SSH 1714x Spiral Energy CRE 159
4x Inkay CRE 692x Bruno BST 121
4x Malamar CRE 702x Scoop Up Net RCL 165
4x Remoraid BST 361x Rescue Carrier EVS 154
3x Octillery BST 1781x Pal Pad FLF 92

4x Professor's Research SSH 178

4x Fog Crystal CRE 140

2x Pokémon Catcher SUM 126

4x Evolution Incense SSH 163

4x Level Ball NXD 89

4x Korrina's Focus BST 128

Malamar decklist

If you can go for a decent set up (which is something that you might struggle with from time to time) the deck tends then to run pretty smoothly with Octillery and the drawing power of Cinccino up to the point that you should be easily getting a 1-Hit-Ko on most of the V Pokémon and the taking VMAX down in two hits.

There are some players I’ve seen running some thin Inteleon lines instead of the Minccino/Cinccino ones, but even if I understand their logic, I am not a big fan of including it as I feel that Cinccino is more sustainable and effective in the long run, but it really depends on your style of playing.

The fact that you need to constantly replenish your fallen Malamar forces and your hand turn after turn means that you will need to be constantly digging for cards and that conflicts with the possibility of drawing other types of supporters like Boss Orders, which can be huge in some specific parts of the game. Good old catcher is the only possibility for Malamar but forces you to toss a coin, so bear in mind that some games might be resolved by pure luck.


It is funny how such a straightforward strategy as pure Zacian/Zamacenta V has proved to be so effective in this metagame. The concept is very simple: use Zacian to draw cards and attack, accelerate energies with Metal Saucer, and wall VMAX pairings with Zamacenta. And that is just it.




Medium/LowVery aggressive buildCape of Roughness is being played in many decks, making Zacian lose effectiveness

Zamazenta alone can win pairings against unprepared VMAX decksVMAX decks can run Phoebe to easily take Zamacenta down

Lack of lots of fire decks in the metagameVery dependant on turn 1 Intrepid Sword hitting energy

Zacian vZamazenta v

The main advantage of this deck is Zacian’s capacity to use Intrepid Sword and get additional energies during the first turn of the game because that puts a lot of pressure on your opponent. If he or she is running a V deck, Zacian will effectively deal with these Pokémon before they can even attack. And in the rare occasions where Zacian is not enough on its own, Zamazenta is a fantastic weapon against VMAX strategies since they can’t get over it. The only possibility they have is finding Phoebe BTS at the right moment, but it is a card that does not see play very often.

Zacian/Zamazenta Decklist

Pokémon (9)

Trainers (39)

Energy (12)

2x Oranguru VIV 1993x Marnie PR-SW 12112x Metal Energy SUM 163
1x Crobat V PR-SW 984x Metal Saucer SSH 214
4x Zacian V PR-SW 764x Switch PRC 163
2x Zamazenta V SSH 2124x Crystal Cave EVS 230

4x Boss's Orders RCL 189

3x Rotom Phone CPA 64

4x Cape of Toughness VIV 200

1x Tool Scrapper RCL 208

4x Professor's Research SSH 201

4x Quick Ball SSH 216

2x Raihan EVS 202

2x Air Balloon SSH 213

Zacian and Zamazenta decklist

Another very interesting aspect of this strategy is how resistant Zacian and Zamazenta get with the Cape of Toughness and four copies of Crystal Cave. Not even VMAX Pokémon can finish them in just one hit!


The post-rotation metagame is as good as Standard can get. We have a lot of different options, cute Eeveelutions dominating the tournaments and a variety of very cheap pokemon online decks to start your Pokémon journey! Remember you can get all the PTCGL codes you need here at PoTown to build the strategies listed above. Thanks for reading and good luck with your games!

About the writer

Elena has been playing Pokémon TCG for years and leads one of the biggest TCG-dedicated channels in the world. You can find her on Youtube & Twitch (@gaiastormtcg) as well as in other social media channels. Don’t forget to check them out!