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I've realised that, when playing Pokemon, the trick to winning is to evolve your Pokemon.

This takes a bit of luck, in that you have to have the first level Pokemon on the table, then you have to have drawn its corresponding first evolve card, and then you have to have drawn its second evolve card.

So, if I want to create the ultimate Pokemon deck, I'd simply buy 5 water type decks, then assemble a deck containing 25 Totodiles, 10 Crocinaws and 10 Feralligators. It would make for a less interesting game, but I'm guaranteed to evolve my Pokemon, and my opponent doesn't have a chance unless he does the same thing I do.

I wouldn't be the first person to have thought of this. Is there an official rule specifying the maximum number of any one Pokemon in your deck?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

The official website does have the rules, and the maximum limit for any card is 4, unless the format restricts the card further.

1.1 Constructed - In a Constructed event, players arrive at the tournament with a 60-card deck. The cards used to build the deck come from each player's personal collection. Decks may not contain more than 4 copies of a single card, as defined by the card's English title, with the standard exception for basic Energy cards. Some cards may have additional construction restrictions on them, which are treated as exceptions to the 4-copy rule. Matches are played for 6 Prize cards.

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The short answer is four cards of each name, for a sensible deck. This is similar to the equivalent rule for Magic: The Gathering. Quoting from the unofficial rulebook:

100.2 A deck for Constructed Play can include a total of only four copies of any card with the same name. Basic Energy cards are an exception to this rule. Decks can include any number of Basic Energy cards. Decks for Limited Play can include any number of cards with the same name.

You can find this four card ruling repeated in many places on the internet, but definitive rules for Pokemon are scattered among the many theme decks, so it's a bit of a pain to find an official ruling. The rulebook I've quoted here, while not official, is reviewed by tournament judges and the Pokemon TCG community as a whole.

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Many responses included the answer 4 for any type of Pokemon unless further restricted. One year, many many moons ago, Sneasel, a dark Pokemon, was banned in any deck. The official Pokemon web site publishes the rules for deck building and playing, but an event may also have additional rules and restrictions.

Of course energy is one of the card types that is not restricted, unless it is a special energy. Just for fun I used to make a psychic deck with mostly psychic energy and just 4 pokemon! Because I get to shuffle untill I draw at least one basic pokemon in my opening hand the deck was annoying, but I always had plenty of energy to fuel my clever deck.

So to be a good "Pokemon Trainer" when you play the card game you need to use the right balance of trainer cards in order to draw cards and get to your key evolutions, key basic pokemon, and trainer cards. If you go online you can find the four top decks in the senior division and the junior division of the world championships. You will notice a common ratio of Pokemon, trainers, and energy in these top decks. Try to imitate their ratios and even their decks, especially how and why they use certain trainers and you will be competitive in a local Pokemon league or against your friends. Notice which basics they use that do not evolve, and notice the weakness and resistance they have. Pokemon is a "don't put all your eggs into one basket" type of game, influenced by who gains control first with a key knockout, and by the ability to play an energy every turn or more. (Blastoise was so powerful because of his ability!)

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