FAQs about Archetypes

What is an archetype? - According to the American Heritage Dictionary, an archetype is "an original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype." In the Pokémon TCG, an archetype is a model for a deck that has been widely copied.

An archetype is not a specific card or combo of cards or even a deck. You can make a Riptide deck that uses different cards, or even a different strategy, than my Riptide deck, but the two decks are still Riptide decks.

Is an archetype the same as a Pokémon power? - No. You will notice that many of the archetypes listed below bear the name of a popular Pokémon Power, or in some cases, the name of an attack. However, there is little correlation between Pokémon Powers and attacks. Most Pokémon powers are not associated with a particular archetype. And many archetypes are not associated with a particular Pokémon Power. Some archetypes are based on particular attacks. Others, such as Haymaker, are based on strategies that don't depend on particular cards.

Can a deck use two multiple archetypes? - Yes, but only in limited cases. A few archetypes go together well or even naturally, but for the most part using two archetypes severly weakens a deck.

What are the most common archetypes in the Pokémon TCG? - It depends on what is popular. Popular archetypes fall into two classes. The first class is those that became popular because they work well. Examples of such archetypes include Raindance, which was the first widely popular archetype, and Riptide, the best-performing archetype at the 2001 Super Trainer Showdowns. The second class are those archetypes that counter the popular ones. For example, because Riptide relies heavily on Trainers and Feraligatr is weak to Grass, archetypes based on Trainer-denial strategies and Grass Pokemon became popular in 2002.

Does an archetype have to win tournaments to be an archetype? - No. There are many archetypes that would not do well in tournaments. Note also that the playability of certain archetypes changes as new cards are introduced and the metagame of the Pokémon TCG as a whole changes. The release of one or two sets could turns today's hot archetype into yesterday's news. Most archetypes are useful for casual play or instructing on the dynamics of the Pokémon TCG.

The Archetypes

Beat Up Built around NG Sneasel's Beat Up attack.
Cleaner Relies on status effects (particularly Poison and Paralysis) to draw a few prizes while building a big hitter on the bench.
Conductivity Built around Dark Ampharos's Conductivity power.
Crobat Uses NR Crobat L51 as a primary attacker.
Damage Swap Built around Alakazam's Damage Swap power.
Deep Sleep Built around Dark Gengar's Deep Sleep power.
Energy Transfer
Erika's Jigglypuff
Fire Recharge Use Typhlosion L55's Fire Recharge power to feed Fire Energies to big Fire Pokémon.
Haymaker Inflict heavy damage quickly.
No Evolutions Prevent evolution.
Psylink Combo Sabrina's Alakazam with other Psychic Pokémon.
Raindance Built around Blastoise's Rain Dance power.
Riptide Built around Feraligatr L69's Riptide attack.
Shapeshift Based on Brock's Ninetales.
Stall Prevent the opponent from inflicting damage and force the opponent to deplete his deck.
Steel Pokémon Use a strong Pokémon with a high-energy attack that does significant damage not only to the Defending Pokémon but also to itself.
Trainer Denial (a.k.a. Lock) Prevent the opponent from using Trainer cards.
Wigglytuff/Wave Based on Jungle Wigglytuff's Do the Wave attack.
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