[Top 10] Pokemon TCG Best Budget Decks That Wreck Hard!

Pokemon TCG Best Budget Decks
Could the best budget deck include any of these cards?


Hello all you fans of the Pokemon Trading Card Game and casual readers. Today we’ll be looking at the top 10 Pokemon budget decks. All of these decks are currently playable as of April 2, 2021. Apologies in advance if any of your favorite decks of variants get left out.

Before we get into the list, picking out good budget decks is really hard, so what makes a good budget deck. First of all, for this list we’ll consider it a budget deck only if it costs less than $50 dollars to make. This means that with 60 cards in a deck, each card should cost less than $1 on average.

In addition, most budget decks rely on some gimmick that allows them to get the jump on their opponent’s. While there are dozens of decks that can be ridiculous if you get lucky, the top budget decks should be able to consistently pull off their gimmick.

Just a reminder, this list is not what is best for you in specific. These decks are not META decks for a reason. There are always scenarios in which one of these decks might not hold up against a deck not on this list. And there are always ways to tweak these decks to be a little bit cheaper or expensive according to your preference. The goal is that these decks will be more fun than frustrating to play. Now let’s get into it.

10. Whimsicott

Whimsicott Card Art

The first deck on our list features an abundance of tool cards. Most decks play one or three of them but this deck plays 12 or more. The reason why is the main attacker. Whimsicott’s attack costs one energy and does 10 damage plus 40 more for each tool card you discard from your Pokemon. That’s a maximum of 250 damage. This is relatively easy to pull off so long as you’re playing the right cards to make sure you always have six Pokemon down and six tools on them.

  • The main card that makes this deck work is the U-Turn Board. This tool’s main function is to lower your retreat cost. However, once it is discarded from play, you can put it back into your hand. This means that you can reuse it over and over for Whimsicott’s attack.
  • Greedent acts as a support Pokemon in this deck. It’s ability allows you to search your deck for one tool card each turn. This provides the consistency needed to pull off your attack.
  • Lucky Egg is another great tool card to add to this deck. When the Pokemon it is attached to is knocked out, you draw cards until you have seven in your hand. When you’re using a lot of deck space for tools and stage 1 Pokemon, the extra draw support is really helpful.
  • Whimsicott only uses one psychic energy to attack and because it is a psychic type you can also use Horror energy. This energy deals 20 damage back to your opponent’s Pokemon when they attack. This helps raise your damage output a little.

Featured Cards in Whimsicott Deck

Here is one version of the deck list:

3 Skwovet DAA 152

3 Greedent RCL 152

4 Cottonee UNM 143

1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

2 Jirachi VIV 119

1 Oricorio-GX CEC 95

4 Whimsicott VIV 76

1 Phione CEC 57

2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

2 Boss's Orders RCL 154

2 Great Ball EPO 93

2 Air Balloon SSH 156

4 Lucky Egg SSH 167

4 Professor's Research SSH 178

2 Great Catcher CEC 192

4 Marnie SSH 169

4 Quick Ball SSH 216

2 Pokémon Communication HS 98

4 U-Turn Board UNM 211

2 Island Challenge Amulet CEC 194

3 Psychic Energy 

4 Horror Psychic Energy RCL 172

9. Mienshao

Mienshao Card Art

This deck features some of the newer cards from the Battle Styles set. Mienshao is the main card of this deck. It is a stage 1, Rapid Strike Pokemon that for two energy deals 90 damage, confuses your opponent, and shuffles it and all cards attached to it back into your deck. Here are some of the other cards that contribute to this deck.

  • First of all, you need to be able to use your attack. The Rapid Strike energy helps with this. It provides two in any combination of water and fighting energy when attached to a Rapid Strike Pokemon. With this you can power up Mienshao in one turn.
  • Once you shuffle Mienshao away, you’ll need a new person to put out. Altaria and Lillie’s Poke Doll are there for you. Knocking out a Lillie’s Poke Doll will yield your opponent 0 prize cards while Altaria is impervious to the attacks of most GX and V Pokemon.
  • Octillery is another Rapid Strike Pokemon with an ability that lets you search for other Rapid Strike cards. This let’s you get your energy, Pokemon, and other supporting cards.

​Featured Cards in Mienshao Deck

Here is one version of the deck list:

3 Pidgey TEU 122

2 Swablu CPA 48

2 Altaria CPA 49

2 Pidgeotto TEU 123

4 Mienfoo BST 76

4 Mienshao BST 77

1 Mew PR-SM 215

1 Oricorio-GX CEC 95

2 Remoraid BST 36

1 Octillery PR-SW 89

1 Korrina's Focus BST 174

2 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189

2 Pokémon Communication TEU 152

2 Evolution Incense SSH 163

2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187

4 Quick Ball SSH 179

1 Air Balloon SSH 156

1 Boss's Orders SHF 58

3 Professor's Research SHF 60

4 Lillie's Poké Doll CEC 267

4 Marnie SSH 169

3 U-Turn Board UNM 211

4 Level Ball NXD 89

4 Rapid Strike Energy BST 140

8. Donphan

Donphan Card Art

Donphan is a stage 1 Pokemon that deals 120 damage for 1 energy. In addition the attack does 20 damage to each of your benched Pokemon. Now this is a fairly common card style in Pokemon. Many powerful stage 1s are capable of dealing about 120 damage for one energy with some kind of interesting downside. Later we’ll be looking at Excadrill which is similar. 

What makes Donphan better than a lot of them is its type(which hits many Meta decks for weakness), its high HP, and its self damage placement. This can be used to power up other benched Pokemon or just himself. 

There are many different versions of this deck but the core of it is really just Donphan and energy. Below is a Donphan/Spiritomb deck list but in general Donphan can be used in more experimental and subjective lists.

3 Spiritomb UNB 112

4 Phanpy VIV 86

4 Donphan VIV 87

1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

4 Jirachi TEU 99

1 Jynx UNM 76

1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

1 Great Catcher CEC 192

2 Great Ball CPA 52

2 Pokémon Communication TEU 152

2 Quick Ball SSH 179

3 Level Ball NXD 89

4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165

2 Switch SSH 183

2 Lucky Egg SSH 167

3 Cape of Toughness DAA 160

2 Martial Arts Dojo UNB 179

3 Boss's Orders RCL 154

3 Marnie SSH 169

4 Professor's Research SSH 178

4 Aurora Energy SSH 186

3 Fighting Energy 

2 Darkness Energy 

7. Primeape

Primeape Card Art

Here’s another deck featuring many cards from the new Battle Styles set. This deck focuses on using the attack of Single Strike Primeape. Its attack for two energy deals 50 damage for each one of your benched Pokemon that have damage on them. With the right support, this deck can hit for 250 or more damage.

  • While Primeape’s attack maxes out at 250 damage, the Single Strike energy provides an additional 20 damage for each one attached. This can boost your damage to 270 or more which OHKOs most Tag Team Pokemon.
  • Houndoom helps to make sure that you have enough energy to attack with. This stage 1 Pokémon’s ability lets you search your deck for the Single Strike energy and attach it to your Pokemon. This effect also places 20 damage on whichever Pokemon you attached to and that damage can be moved around by…
  • Jynx. This Basic Pokemon sports the ability “Ominous Posture” which lets you move 10 damage from one of your Pokemon to another. Once you get 20 damage on a Primeape you can move 10 of it to another Pokemon, which boosts the damage output of your attack.
  • Urn of Vitality is a useful item that shuffles two of your Single Strike energy back into your deck. This makes sure that you always have access to the energy even if your glass cannon(Primeape) gets knocked out.

Featured Cards in Primeape Deck

Here is one version of the deck list: 

3 Houndour BST 95

2 Spiritomb UNB 112

2 Houndoom BST 96

4 Mankey BST 66

4 Primeape BST 67

3 Jirachi TEU 99

2 Jynx UNM 76

3 Evolution Incense SSH 163

2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

3 Bird Keeper DAA 159

3 Quick Ball SSH 179

3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152

3 Bruno BST 121

2 Boss's Orders SHF 58

4 Level Ball BST 129

3 Scoop Up Net RCL 165

4 Professor's Research SHF 60

2 Urn of Vitality BST 139

4 Fighting Energy 

4 Single Strike Energy BST 141

6. Decidueye

Decidueye Card Art

Here is a deck that despite being a budget deck sees prominent and successful play in the META. Decidueye is a stage 2 Pokemon and has an ability that prevents it from being damaged by GX and V Pokemon. This gives you plenty of time to do all the damage you want while your opponent can’t retaliate. 

Decidueyes attack does 90 damage to your opponent’s active Pokemon and 30 damage to two of their benched Pokemon. Decidueye isn’t higher on this list because almost all of the other budget decks can beat it due to their lack of GX and V Pokemon.

  • This deck also plays Galarian Obstagoon, a stage 2 Pokemon whose attack prevents Basic Pokemon from doing damage to it.
  • Rare Candy is a very important item in this deck. It allows you to set up faster via letting you skip Decidueye’s stage 1 evolution.
  • Because the strategy of this deck is to get a Decidueye in play as fast as possible Turffield Stadium is a good choice. It allows you to search your deck for a grass type evolution Pokemon and put it into your hand. Nice and simple.

​Featured Cards in Decidueye Deck

Here is one version of the deck list:

1 Oranguru SSH 148

3 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117

1 Galarian Obstagoon SSH 119

3 Rowlet CEC 17

2 Dartrix DAA 12

4 Decidueye DAA 13

3 Jirachi TEU 99

1 Phione CEC 57

3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152

2 Boss's Orders RCL 154

4 Level Ball NXD 89

4 Rare Candy SSH 180

2 Big Parasol DAA 157

4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165

2 Rosa CEC 204

4 Professor's Research SSH 178

3 Marnie SSH 169

1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

2 Turffield Stadium RCL 170

2 Switch CES 147

7 Grass Energy

2 Darkness Energy

5. Excadrill

Excadrill Card Art

Excadrill is a fighting type like Donphan. It has a similar attack that for one energy deals 120 damage. However, this attack discards the top four cards of your deck instead of doing damage to your bench.

Normally discarding your own deck isn’t the best option but Excadrill really kicks it into high gear when you have very few cards in your deck. It has another attack that can deal 180 damage if you have less than four cards in your deck.

Getting rid of cards via the first attack works great but there are a few supporting cards that can speed up the process.

  • Cinccino is a powerful support Pokemon. This stage 1 has an ability that lets you discard a card from your hand and draw two more. Having multiple of these in play can really help you go through your deck.
  • Martial Arts Dojo is a stadium card that helps Excadrill out in the damage department. As long as he has a fighting energy attached he does 10 more damage or if you’re losing he does 40 more.
  • Once you have your deck down to three cards, you have to keep those three in there because if you start your turn with none, then you lose. Pal Pad lets you shuffle two supporter cards from your discard pile into your deck and Ordinary Rod does the same for Pokemon and Energy cards.

​Featured Cards in Excadrill Deck

Here is one version of the deck list:

4 Minccino SSH 145

4 Cinccino SSH 147

1 Crobat V DAA 104

4 Drilbur UNM 118

4 Excadrill CEC 246

1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

2 Vitality Band SSH 185

1 Brock's Grit TEU 172

4 Crushing Hammer EPO 92

2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

3 Boss's Orders RCL 154

4 Great Ball EPO 93

1 Pal Pad FLF 92

4 Professor's Research SSH 178

1 Great Catcher CEC 192

4 Marnie SSH 169

4 Quick Ball SSH 216

2 Pokémon Communication HS 98

1 U-Turn Board UNM 211

1 Tool Scrapper DRX 116

2 Martial Arts Dojo UNB 179

6 Fighting Energy

4. Mad Party

Mad Party Pokemon Card Art

Our next deck has also seen some relevance in the current META. Decks similar to the Mad Party deck have featured in Pokemon for years. These decks usually feature multiple Pokemon with the same attack. Having Pokemon with those attacks in certain places will boost the damage dealt by the attack. The Mad Party attack deals 20 damage for each Pokemon with Mad Party in your discard pile.

  • Polteageist is a stage 1 Pokemon with the Mad Party attack and an ability that lets you discard other Mad Party Pokemon to draw cards. This Pokémon’s attack costs two colorless energy.
  • The other attacker for this deck in Bunnelby. This basic Pokemon also uses Mad Party for two colorless energy.
  • Dedenne is a basic Pokemon that uses the Mad Party attack for one psychic and two colorless energy. You can attack with it but most deck lists don’t play psychic energy so it’s better to just discard it.
  • Most Mad Party decks don’t even play the basic for this stage 1 Pokemon. Galarian Mr. Rime is really just for discarding.
  • This deck uses special energy cards to provide multiple energy for one attachment. Twin energy can be attached to anyone and provides two energy while Triple Acceleration energy provides three and can only be attached to evolved Pokémon.

Here is one version of the deck list:

4 Bunnelby DAA 150

4 Dedenne DAA 78

4 Galarian Mr. Rime DAA 36

3 Sinistea DAA 82

4 Polteageist DAA 83

3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

1 Oranguru SSH 148

1 Crobat V SHF 44

4 Professor's Research SHF 60

2 Boss's Orders SHF 58

1 Giovanni's Exile HIF 57

4 Quick Ball SSH 179

4 Level Ball BST 129

4 Great Ball CPA 52

2 Great Catcher CEC 192

2 Evolution Incense SSH 163

1 Pal Pad SSH 172

1 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169

1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

3 Air Balloon SSH 156

4 Twin Energy RCL 174

3 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190

3. Battle Sense Charizard

Charizard Card Art

Charizard is a popular Pokemon among fans. There is usually some kind of Charizard deck that is good or playable. This Charizard is especially good and can even keep up with a lot of META decks.

This deck is based around Charizard attack. For two energy, it does 100 plus 50 more damage for each Leon in your discard pile. This can hit for up to 300 damage which KOs all but the highest HP Pokemon.

  • “What’s Leon,” you may ask. Well Leon is a supporter Pokemon that makes your Pokemon deal 30 more damage when they attack that turn. You can either put all of them into your discard pile or save one in your hand and play it with your attack to hit 330 damage.
  • In addition to his attack, Charizard has a pretty good ability. Battle Sense is the namesake of this deck and it allows you to look at the top three cards of your deck. You pick one of these cards to put into your deck and the other two get discarded. This helps you to get the cards you need and also get rid of your Leons.
  • Rare Candy is a staple in most decks that feature stage 2 Pokemon. It allows you to skip the stage 1 evolution of Charizard for a fast set up.
  • Even though the energy cost for Charizard attack is only two, you can always go faster. Welder allows you to power up Charizard in one turn. And draw more cards of course.

​Featured Cards in Battle Sense Deck

Here is one version of the deck list:

1 Oranguru SSH 148

1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117

4 Charmander VIV 23

1 Charmeleon VIV 24

4 Charizard PR-SW 66

1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

4 Jirachi PR-SM 161

1 Mewtwo UNB 75

1 Oricorio-GX CEC 95

2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

3 Giant Hearth UNM 197

4 Switch PRC 163

3 Welder UNB 214

4 Marnie SSH 200

4 Rare Candy SSH 180

1 Boss's Orders RCL 189

4 Leon VIV 154

4 Scoop Up Net RCL 207

4 Quick Ball SSH 216

3 Pokémon Communication HS 98

6 Fire Energy 

2. Salazzle

Salazzle Card Art

This is another new deck out of Battle Styles. The main attacker, Salazzle, deals 90 damage for each special condition on your opponent’s active Pokemon. For only two energy. While there are five types of special conditions in total, bear in mind that one Pokemon can only have three special conditions on it at once. However, if you can get three onto your opponent, this attack is incredibly powerful.

  • So how do you get special conditions onto your opponent’s Pokemon? The first step is Yell Horn. This item card inflicts confusion on both active Pokemon. 
  • The next step is evolving your Weepinbell. When you do, you can burn and poison your opponent’s active Pokemon. This officially gets three special conditions down. Mission accomplished.
  • And don’t forget about actually getting the energy to attack with. Because Salazzle’s attack uses colorless energy, you can effectively use Twin and Triple Acceleration energy. These energy supply all the energy you need in one attachment.
  • Once there are three special conditions in play, Salazzles attack hits for 270 damage. However, don’t forget that with burn and poison in play your opponent is taking an additional 30 damage at the end of their turn. If they don’t get rid of these they might take 330 damage before your next turn. 

Featured Cards in Salazzle Deck

Here is one version of the deck list:

1 Crobat V DAA 104

4 Salandit BST 27

4 Salazzle BST 28

4 Bellsprout BST 1

3 Weepinbell BST 2

1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

1 Mewtwo UNB 75

3 Evolution Incense 

4 Yell Horn DAA 173

1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

3 Bruno BST 121

3 Boss's Orders SHF 58

4 Level Ball BST 129

4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165

4 Professor's Research SHF 60

2 Marnie SSH 169

4 Quick Ball SSH 216

2 U-Turn Board UNM 211

4 Twin Energy RCL 174

4 Triple Acceleration Energy UNB 190

1. Spiritomb

Spiritomb Card Art

Earning the number one spot on our list is Spiritomb. This deck features Spiritomb, a basic Pokemon which pulls double duty as backup in a number of other decks. However, it is also fairly effective on its own. Spiritomb deals 10 damage plus 30 more for every 10 damage on it. And boy are there a lot of ways to get damage on Spiritomb.

  • First of all let’s talk about Cape of Toughness. This tool card boosts Spiritomb’s HP by 50. When you have 50 more HP, Spiritomb can put 50 more damage on himself which doubles his max damage output.
  • Now how do we get damage on Spiritomb? First of all, Spiritomb’s ability puts 10 damage on itself per turn. As simple as that.
  • Next is the Spikemuth stadium. This stadium card puts 20 damage on a Pokemon whenever it leaves your active spot. 
  • In order to trigger the damage of Spikemuth you have to use a lot of switching options. Cards including Scoop Up Net, Escape Rope, Switch, Hiding Energy, Bird Keeper, and Lillie’s Poke Doll all allow you to switch multiple times a turn and accumulate massive damage.
  • Don’t forget about Jynx. This Basic Pokemon sports the ability “Ominous Posture” which lets you move 10 damage from one of your Pokemon to another. Just another 10 damage that you can consolidate on one Spiritomb.

​Featured Cards in Spiritomb Deck

Here is one version of the deck list:

1 Crobat V DAA 104

4 Spiritomb UNB 112

1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57

2 Jirachi PR-SM 161

1 Jynx UNM 76

1 Marshadow UNB 81

1 Oricorio-GX CEC 95

3 Professor's Research SHF 60

2 Bird Keeper DAA 159

3 Boss's Orders SHF 58

4 Quick Ball SSH 216

4 Level Ball BST 129

4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165

4 Escape Rope BST 125

4 Switch HS 102

2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

4 Cape of Toughness DAA 160

4 Spikemuth DAA 170

2 Lillie's Poké Doll CEC 197

2 Bruno BST 121

3 Darkness Energy 

4 Hiding {D} Energy DAA 175

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in:

More on this topic:


Hello there. I'm an writer who enjoys sci-fi, fantasy, and strategy games.
Top 3 Favorite Games:, ,


Latest Comments

1 Gamers Commented on this game. ADD YOURS.

You must login to post comments.
500 characters remaining

All Comments (1)

Mewthree's picture

Mewthree 1 month 3 weeks ago

Hi everyone. Are there any budget decks that you enjoy playing? Someone I play with regularly uses exclusively budget decks. So I have a lot of experience fighting them. Plenty of them are really competitive. P.S. Some of them are really bad though.

More Top Stories