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Top 6 Pokemon Cards: Base Set

Updated on January 11, 2017

The Pokemon Trading Card Game

Like many kids, I didn't even know how to play the TCG, I just enjoyed collecting and trading the cards. As an adult, I can now appreciate the care players utilize when building their decks, and I still love to scour through cards and find the best of the best.

And what better way arrangement to review than the original set? In our youth we collected, traded, and fought over these cards without even knowing how to play simply because we loved Pokemon; today, we'll finally determine which ones actually reign supreme!

Base Set Quiz

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Evolution Stages

Basic Pokemon can be played from your hand as you like.

Stage 1 Pokemon are evolutions that must be played on a corresponding Basic Pokemon.

Stage 2 Pokemon are further evolutions to be played on corresponding Stage 1 Pokemon.


6. Arcanine

Arcanine wields incredible HP and power for a Stage 1. Its attacks come with a price, but the immense power offered more than compensates.

  • (3 energy) Flamethrower unfortunately requires you to discard an energy, but dishes out an impressive 50 damage.
  • (4 energy) Take Down's 80 damage well, took down all but the strongest foes in one blow, but forfeits 30 of Arcanine's own HP.

Capable of taking hits as well as landing them, Arcanine earned its place in many decks.


5. Blastoise

A Stage 2, Blastoise also joins with a hefty 100 HP, as well as a stellar Poke-Power and attack.

  • Rain Dance (which would eventually become an actual Pokemon move in the games) lets you transfer Water energy between your Pokemon as you like, perfect for powering up Blastoise's attack..
  • (3 energy) Hydro Pump blasts for 40, plus an extra 10 damage for each additional Water energy on Blastoise (up to a maximum of 60).

Blastoise could rapidly bolster its own strength, or redistribute energy to fresh fighters if it was about to perish, supplementing many Water teams.


4. Nidoking

Another Stage 2, Nidoking carries a solid 90 HP as well as two useful moves.

  • (3 energy) Thrash either deals 40 damage to your opponent, or 30 and 10 to yourself depending on a coin flip. Not the best move, but still a good way to finish off weakened Pokemon once you've used..
  • (3 energy) Toxic only nets 20 damage, but Poisons your opponent, dealing 20 damage instead of the usual 10 each round!

Nidoking adeptly dispatched opponents by badly Poisoning them, then ending them with Thrash.


3. Machamp

Yet another Stage 2 Pokemon with 100 HP, Machamp has two simple but awesome traits:

  • Poke-Power Strikes Back retaliates with 10 damage whenever Machamp is hurt, even if it's knocked out!
  • (4 energy) Seismic Toss demands many energy, but lands an impressive 60 damage.

Between Seismic Toss and Strikes Back, Machamp decimated foes.. as long as you could afford its attack.


2. Charizard

You knew he was coming. Perhaps the most famous Pokemon card of all time, Charizard brandished the highest HP and strongest attack of his age, plus a resistance to Fighting.

  • Poke-Power Energy Burns turns all energy on Charizard into Fire, useful for multi-energy decks.
  • (4 energy) Fire Spin requires 4 energy to use and burns through 2 of them, but would defeat any opponent in the game with one hit (except another Charizard).

As long as you could replenish his energy reserves, Charizard eradicated all opposition.


1. Gyarados

Not nearly as famous as Charizard, Gyarados still displays the HP and power of a Stage 2 champion, yet only needs to evolve once. It also shares Charizard's resistance to Fighting.

  • (3 energy) Dragon Rage scores a potent 50 damage!
  • (4 energy) Bubblebeam blasts foes for less hurt than Dragon Rage, and needs more energy, but has a 50% chance to Paralyze opponents, forcing them to waste a turn.

A Pokemon that quickly evolves and can unleash fearsome attacks without spending energy or taking damage, Gyarados nets today's top rank.

Which card do you prefer?

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Your Vote

Hopefully today's list highlighted some awesome Pokemon and let old fans revisit classic cards. These guys may not match the strength of modern Pokemon cards, but we can still appreciate the legacy they left and the place they held in our hearts.

Feel free to vote for your favorite, and I'll see you at our next Pokemon countdown!


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