I'm a very new player to the Pokemon TCG, and have picked up two themed decks to play with (Ultra Prism).

So far in my experience however it seems that if one player gets their active Pokemon to its final evolution (for example Empoleon) before the other player, then that player has a massive advantage, and is able to one shot all of the opponent's Pokemon before they can do enough damage to knock out the evolved Pokemon.

Is there a strategy for countering this? It can turn a game very one sided very quickly.

  • 1
    To be honest, not really. I've not played in a while but unless something has changed, that's one of the things I also disliked which made me stop playing. I think your only hope is to send in fodder to get killed while you try to buff something up on your bench that can take it out in return. In my experience a one-sided game of TCG tends to stay one-sided due to how the game works. Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 13:21
  • 3
    I am not an active player but I do know that there are cards that only work when you are behind and if you look at high level play you will see that most of those decks don't run many if any evolution.
    – Styxsksu
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 20:25
  • 1
    Usually fully evolved pokemon needs lots of energy, energy removal works well. Many trainer cards are able to send it back to his hand, which means he lost a LOT of time.
    – LamaDelRay
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 12:40
  • If you want a specific answer, you could try using a card like this Shedinja: pokemon.com/uk/pokemon-tcg/pokemon-cards/ex-series/ex3/11
    – Showsni
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 17:28

3 Answers 3


Which is one of the main concepts to win a game, prepare your pokemon so that they can do massive damage and dominate the scenario (either by evolving it or get it ready with necessary energy cards).

Since we are talking about theme decks here, cards and scenarios are limited which is really beginner-friendly. Each expansion (in your case, Ultra Prism) comes with 2 theme decks normally (which they balance out the odds of winning between them so they both will sell), each has it's strenghts and ways to take over the game.

There are a few ways to "comeback" in the game playing any mode, unfortunately (and fortunately at the same time) in Theme mode ways to win is limited to setting up your Over Powered evolutions and swiping your oponents actives. One way to comeback in themes which I have noticed is sacraficing some prizes and Pokemon until you prepare a Pokemon that could take out your oponents active.

Basically, while your opponent got their active evolved and ready with energies and is swiping your actives and taking prizes (he is 1-hit KOing your active Pokemon), he/she is probably "over comitting" on his active Pokemon, which they have spent a few turns only attaching enery cards to that pokemon and probably do not have other Pokemon prepared on their bench. You can take the opportunity to stall by giving him the turns to KO your some of your Pokemon while preparing 1 Pokemon to fight against his "OP" Empoleon. E.g. have your garchomp set with a Cynthia in hand so you can KO his Empoloeon with 200 dmg.

Try to get the cards you need to set up powerful attackers while your oponent is putting all his eggs in one basket, by optimizing usage of trainers and supportes you have in hand.

You need to calculate your sacrafices and chances, and give your best shot. There have been many times where games were turned from 6-1 prizes to 0-1.

I'm no pro player but hope that helps : )


Overall, strategies include a switch, sleep stun or paralyze, and energy discard. Look through your decks carefully. Many pokemon as well as trainer cards can use one of these techniques. Theme decks usually have some decent trainer cards. It's your job to decide when to use them. In a little more detail:

Switch: Switch an opponent's benched pokemon with their active one. Swap that basic low HP pokemon on their bench with their evolution. Guzma is a (currently active) supporter card which does this quite well, although it also requires the player to switch their active pokemon so a little planning is required. Pokemon Catcher is an item card that has a 50-50 chance (coin flip) of doing a switch. This technique requires your opponent to have a benched pokemon.

Sleep, stun or paralyze: Several pokemon have attacks that cause these effects. This prevents the one-shot kill and lets you get some damage in. The opponent can clear the condition with trainer cards (Pokemon Center Lady).

Discard Energy: There are both trainer cards and pokemon attacks which discard energy from the opponent's active pokemon. If they don't have energy, they can't attack.

I would recommend downloading the "Card Dex" app (made by Pokemon Int.) and look at some different item cards.


Other answers provide good strategies. I will try to provide additional info and some other strategies and cards that can help with that.

  1. As @TomYumGuy wrote you could sacrifice some pokemon while preparing your defeater on bench. There are trainer cards that can help with this like Raihan:

You can play this card only if any of your Pokémon were Knocked Out during your opponent’s last turn. Attach a basic Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Pokémon. If you do, search your deck for a card and put it into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

  1. One more option is to buy time with pokemon/attack that prevents future damage to it, for example Shelgon - Hard Roll:

Flip a coin. If heads, during your opponent’s next turn, prevent all damage from and effects of attacks done to this Pokémon.

Diglett - Dig or Pikachu - Agility.

  1. There are some pokemon/attacks with advantage against evolution pokemon like Hitmonchan - Clean Hit:

If your opponent’s Active Pokémon is an Evolution Pokémon, this attack does 50 more damage.

  1. It is also possible to devolve the pokemon, f.e. Golurk - Devolution Punch:

Devolve the Defending Pokémon and put the highest Stage Evolution card on it into your opponent's hand.

Devolved pokemon might not have enough HP left and be knocked out!

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