Retro Deck Collecting Need Help!


Before I start, I know that it may seem out of place because we’re all discussing about the 2015/2016 format and not the one 20 years ago but anyway I need the help. So I’m trying to make retro decks from the different formats of the early era, or all of the eras before the first Pokémon World Championships in 2004 (because from then on I’m collecting the world championship decks). I would like help to make a list of 4 decks per format (no lists just decks) starting from the very beginning until the first worlds. I don’t know the formats, so I’m going to list years: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. If there are any masters out there who have played during this era, then I would highly appreciate your expertise and advice because I don’t know anything about the old meta game. Thanks! :grinning:

Rain Dance
Do the Wave
Sabrina’s Alakazam
Deck 4
Rocket’s Zapdos
Beat Up
Deck 4
Deck 1
Deck 2
Deck 3
Deck 4


1999 would be Haymaker, Rain Dance, Do the Wave, and something else, I can’t think of anything except Clefable.


Do the Wave is Wigglytuff right?


2001 is mostly Feraligatr. Also Donphan/Baby Pokemon/Focus Sash, Rocket’s Zapdos Haymaker variants and . . . Typhlosion maybe.


Judging from Klaczynski’s posts on FB and Pojo, somewhere on there should be Sneasel/Slowking, Pichu/Sneasel, and Rocket’s Zapdos something. No idea what years, but somewhere.

Would you also be doing decks for the weird 15/3 thing Wizards did?

If you really want to listen to old people who played back then, go to, they help.

Also, Worlds decks aren’t fully representative of the whole format…you completely miss out on the MD-on format.


Oh, yay! Somewhere to put my knowledge to application!

First: this may help a little:

This is probably a good reference of what the decks were, by the one and only Jason K. It was just Haymaker, Rain Dance, and Do the Wave, for the most part. Bulbapedia also has an [unfinished] archetype page, which you can check out here:


What is that?

I know but I wouldn’t like to spend too much money on this stuff, after all I’m just a teenager. Maybe later when I have all my other decks complete I’ll dig deeper and maybe make some MD-on decks.


15/3 was Wizards’ attempt to try and fix the ‘trainermon’ problem. In the early days, players eventually became sophisticated enough to realise that running a handful of Pokemon and 40 broken Trainers was the way to go. WotC saw this as a bad thing because it took the focus away from the main selling point. No kid ever opened a pack and went ‘wow! I just pulled Lass!’. The utterly unplayable Charizard, on the other hand . . .

Anyhoo, 15/3 meant that you could only use 15 Trainers and a maximum 3 copies of any one card. It was used at the 2000 STS.

Of course, no-one gives a Delphox about stuff like that now.

As a side note, those early formats were pretty terrible. If you want fun with your nostalgia then go with anything between RS-on and MD-on. (It’s better to think in terms of rotations, rather than years, for these formats).


Just wondering, what era was RS-on? Was that the Blazekatty year, Gardevoir year, the Holon year, or something completely different?


Yeah, RS-on was Team Magma and Blaziken.

Holon stuff was DX-on (widely considered the best format ever).


Is it still possible to play these earlier decks without the 15/3 rule? Or are they all built for it.


The decks were built without the 15/3 rule. When the rule came in, they just tried to adapt, so you are better off ignoring it altogether: it wasn’t around all that long and only impacted on a handful of top level tournaments.

Basically, it was typical shitty WoTC trying to impose what they wanted on players (see also scrapping of 15+ division). I won’t lie - the early game had a ton of problems, the vast majority of players were clueless, and nostalgia is the only appeal now. 15/3 wasn’t a good fix though.


I definitely see your point now, but I really want to play the older older decks and not just the ones that give me a “better format” I do really appreciate all of your advice though. I love the resources I got. Bulbapedia will help, TCG One will help, but is confusing to me. There are hundreds of decks per year and like I said I have little to no knowledge in this era of Pokémon and I’m not sure if these decks were legit and amazing or rogue and fun. The decks I want are 4 of the BEST competitive decks of their era. But again thank you all for your advice.


+1. The pre-RS formats were pretty awful. Play 2006-2007 and MD-CoL, those are generally considered the best formats of all time.


The decks for 1999, 2000, and 2001 I think are OK. If you have any other suggestions please let me know. 2002 and 2003 I’m really struggling with to find decks for, because I have no idea when a deck was popular. I would just look at the cards in the deck to see what was the latest set and that was how I organized them. Then I see decks like Kingdra/Steelix that became popular in 2002 but no cards in the deck were printed no later than 2001 so that really confuses me. I do have one question though, is SMF 2002 or 2003?


Honestly, I’ve heard a lot going for DP-UL as well. It’s also my personal favourite.


Someone needs to correct me here because I’m not really a reliable source, but I think competitive pokemon nearly died then and Pokemon Company stepped in. Part of the reason is that nearly every single card in the sets in that time was atrocious.


There were lots of reasons why Pokemon (the TCG) nearly died. Basically, WotC stopped caring as the time on its franchise ran out and it tried to force players to move on to MTG. Combine that with the fact that the fad was way past its peak and it’s a miracle that the TCG didn’t die.

Nintendo/TPC put a huge effort into keeping the thing going. They revamped the game with shiny new ex cards and put a lot of resources into prize support. Seriously, you used to get a box of the new set for winning a pre-release. (Guess why they don’t do that now).


Hello Chipadad, and sorry all others for revive this.

I´m very interested in your project because of just im runing the same project at one year and starting buying all WC Decks, but I thinked the same than you. Wath 4 old decks could i copy and have all years tier decks.

Of curse i readed some person wroted “The world champions are not specifically the best decks of each meta” but i understand than there more than 50 expansions and each one creates a new meta, we cant do 200 decks obviously.

personally im doing the decklist to copy cuting around August playable expansions in each year and bassed on that filtering playable or no techs or decks.

I already have some decks but im just researching more about to filter the maximun as possible, and im no clear about 2003 year because are not world event to clear reference, just now im starting test in TCG-ONE (that image thegrovylekid showed from)

wath do you say about? could work together and find suitable decklist. do you ended your project?


So for 2003, Jason klaczynski has his own blog where he covers just about every format up to the end of the EX era. I’m not sure on the exact website address but I’m sure it’s easily searchable