Astral Radiance is on the horizon! With all the powerful new cards in the set, I figured it would be a good time to check out a brand new VSTAR – Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR.
The latest Pokémon TCG set, Brilliant Stars introduced the new VSTAR mechanic. VSTARs are a perfect mix between the tankiness and power of VMAXes and the frail, but fair prize-giving ability of the Basic Vs. Each Pokémon VSTAR also has a special power called VSTAR POWER, which is a once-per-game Ability or Attack that could change the flow of the game. A good example is the Ability – Star Birth of Arceus VSTAR, which can make you search any 2 cards of your deck.
Let’s dive into this decklist with the two key cards that you will need in every version of this deck.
To start things up in this deck build, I need to introduce: Gardenia’s Vitality and Hisuian Lilligant V/VSTAR.
Kinda like Welder was for Fire, Gardenia’s Vitality will help greatly the Grass type archetype in our Standard format. This card attaches 2 Grass Energy from your hand to 1 of your benched Pokémon while drawing 2 cards before the effect. Any Pokémon attacking for 1 to 3 Grass Energy will now have an immediate Supporter to charge it up.
Although it is far from being the first Grass VSTAR Pokémon, Hisuian Lilligant has no real reason to be scared of competition as it is the one that synergizes the most with Gardenia’s Vitality in my opinion. Its attack can do 230 damage while having the cost of the added damage helping you set up with Gardenia’s. The VSTAR Power also screams, “USE ME BEFORE USING GARDENIA”. I will go more into what to do with the card while explaining the deck list. The evolving V is also great, not everyone has a drawing attack for 0 Energy.
These will be your main attackers for the deck. Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR, will take the first 2 turns to be ready to attack most of the time. It being an evolution and needing to be benched for Gardenia’s to charge it up can be a hassle to try to get on going while having it ready to attack in the Active but there are some tricks to help all that. If you started the game with the Basic evolving V, I found that evolving it to give it 1 less in its retreat cost could be effective.
230 damage is a great number to hit, 260 with Choice Belt. Your game-plan mostly consists of one-shoting Pokémon Vs or some of the more frail VSTARs and two-shoting VMAXes or the bulky VSTARs. Lilligant will have a lot less trouble against those one-shot match-ups since it would probably be two-shotted, like most VSTARs.
Hisuian Lilligant will most of time need to use the second effect of its attack to KO its target but some Pokémon, like Galarian Moltres V, Umbreon V, Darkrai V, and most Basic/Stage 1 1-prizer, like Rapid Strike Malamar, are great exceptions to keep in mind.
Zarude V is also a great secondary-attacker. With only a 3-3 line of Lilligant, you can get it in play 3 times, which, normally, is enough to play until your opponent has no prize remaining. But if you need to discard at least one of these 6 cards, or if you have bad prizes in that aspect, it would be almost impossible to get the game going after 2 Lilligant KOs. Zarude solves that problem.
It hits for similar numbers, 240 instead of 230, but lacks the tankiness and Ability that our dear VSTAR has. It is a ready-to-swing Basic Pokémon though, so if you get a Lilligant KOed and you didn’t prepare another one to keep the kicks going, Zarude could help you keep the momentum. It sucks to start the game with it thought, so if you don’t care about having a basic attacker, I would suggest Ordinary Rod as a replacement.
At this point I think everybody has heard about the Inteleon Engine and how it shaped the format since Chilling Reign. But for explaining the deck’s sake, I’ll share what’s the plan with using these lil’ lizards. Drizzile is super duper important to get Gardenia’s Turn 2, but it can also search other trainer cards for specific scenarios – pivot options, Pokémon Tools, combo cards, Pokémon search, disruption, etc. And Quick Shooting Inteleon can help make some of those pesky two-shot matchups into nice one-shot ones.
When you’re using Perfume Star – Hisuian Lilligant’s VSTAR POWER, you can search for 5 in any combination of Grass Pokémon and Grass Energy. You can search theoretically for 3 Grass Energy, 1 Pokémon to keep your game going and an Eldegoss V, which when placed, can be a Gardenia’s Vitality from your Discard Pile. So, Eldegoss V can basically make your VSTAR POWER into a Supporter search as well. It can even be for Boss’s Order.
Hoppip is a free retreater Basic 1-prizer pivot that can be interestingly searched with both Star Perfume and Keep Calling (Sobble) since it is both Grass and Rapid Strike.
The Beedrill is also a way to win against more annoying matchups. It’s really easy to get Single Strike Style Mustard consistently and to get a surprise kill out of nowhere with Persist Sting, which KOs the opponent’s Active if there’s a Special Energy attached to it. Great against Arceus VSTAR, Single Strike, Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Mew VMAX which are difficult match-ups otherwise. Training Court, which helps with Gardenia’s in general, also helps to confirm an energy attachment on Beedrill after getting a random 5-cards hand with Mustard.
Marnie was a recent addition to the decklist. It can be helpful as a straight draw or small disruption in early game, but it’s mostly because it’s the only way to put cards back in the deck. Beedrill can only be Mustard-ed if it’s in the deck and playing a mid-to-late-game Mustard can be rough with the big hands Gardenia + Shady Dealing could give you. Raihan is nice as a quasi-fourth Gardenia that can only be played on specific turns, but can be a lot more consistent if you only need 1 Energy acceleration. Searching for any card is also good in general.
Besides retreating or using Scoop Up Net, Escape Rope is the only switch-out card in this deck, which can be important in a deck that only charges Energies on the Bench. Having it prized can be sour, but I found that searching it with Shady Dealing is more than enough most of the time, even having games where it was not necessary. The repel effect it gives is also nice to keep in mind. Tool Scrapper can be great to remove opposing power increases by Choice Belt, HP increase with Big Charm / Cape of Toughness or Air Balloons!
When I’m building VSTAR decks, I like to have either a 1-1, 1-2 or 2-1 split of Choice Belt and Big Charm, depending on the VSTAR in question. For Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR, I found that the HP buff comes a lot more clutch than the damage increase, which sometimes Quick Shooting or Persist Sting can take care of anyway. My best suggestions would be to test the counts of your choice and decide on the one you’re most comfortable with.
From what I tested and built, I think Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR, with the help of the Inteleon Engine and Gardenia’s Vitality, has the potential to stand toe-to-toe with the other dominant decks in our format. It doesn’t have the great advantage of searching 2 important cards in a deck nor does it have the big-BOOM that some other VSTAR and VMAXes have, but I would argue that it does not need it. Shady Dealing gives it the consistency boost it needs and the Mustard-Beedrill side of the deck gives it the advantage while forcing a 7-prize game for your opponent.
I think, at the end of the day, it’s a prize race, going first and dodging knockouts is the way to play. You can all feel free to test the list and change things up. Changes will be necessary when the meta-dust settles after a few weeks post-release.
Thanks for reading!
Astral Radiance will be the next booster set coming to the Pokemon TCG! Set in the Hisui region, this land is subject to changes in both space and time. Fractal pieces of Dialga and Pialka linger in this realm, ready to bend reality as they see fit. Be careful who you cross here – you never know where you might end up.
This booster set is going to bring VSTAR to new level. Not only will we be getting some powerful Dialga and Pialka VSTAR cards (known as Origin Forme), but we will also see Decidueye, Typhlosion, and Samurott in VSTAR status!
But we are not just getting new Pokemon to help our deck builds. Be prepared for some new Trainers to help change the tide of battle! With twenty new cards in the Trainer sphere alone, there will be plenty of new gems to go around.
Last but not least, make sure to keep an eye out for a brand new type of Shiny Pokemon. This set will officially introduce Radiant Pokemon, a unique sub-type that promises to make a big splash!
Astral Radiance comes out on May 27th, 2022!