The next Pokémon TCG set, Astral Radiance, gave us some interesting cards for Water decks. One being the focus of this deck: Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR which is an enhanced evolved version of Suicune V, a Pokémon most of us are familiar with since Evolving Skies. If we’re looking at the Japanese Standard Format, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR looks to be a top tier deck and a great offensive threat. Let’s see how we can build something with it.
Palkia VSTAR does 60 damage + 20 more for each benched Pokémon on each player’s side, doing a maximum of 260 damage. Its VSTAR POWER is an Ability that accelerates 3 Water Energy from your discard pile to your Water Pokémon in any way you like, an Ability that will be used in many different ways in this deck. Other new cards will be explained later in this article.
Whatever way you play, I think a VSTAR deck should primarily focus on getting its main VSTAR attacker’s evolving Basic V on the bench on the first turn. Playing the maximum count of Origin Forme Palkia V is a way to help doing that.
When attacking with Palkia VSTAR, you don’t necessarily need to always have both player’s bench full. If you were going to 2-hit-KO anyway, you could focus your resources on getting a better board-state or having a better hand. Palkia is a straightforward Pokémon, swing and bench or get your opponent to bench to swing harder. Your game-plan consists of doing the appropriate damage to get KOs before your opponent and in a faster pace than them too.
Sometimes it can be an hard blow to miss a Knock Out and watch your opponent heal all damage – Mew VMAX’s Psychic Leap or Arceus VSTAR’s “Cheren’s Care” Supporter card are good examples. That’s why some cards are mainly here to help you get this sacred KO or help you retaliate a heal with more defence-based options in return.
Starmie V is a new Pokémon V from Astral Radiance – It can do 50 damage times the amount of Energy on your opponent’s board. Great against decks that piles a lot of Energy for it’s game-plan like Arceus VSTAR based decks or Darkrai VSTAR. If Arceus just did Trinity Nova, it would have needed 3 Energy on it and the opponent would probably use the full effect of the attack and charge 3 more Energy on their Pokémon. In that case, you can respond with a sudden Starmie V and do 300 damage just for 2 Water Energy. Enough to end Arceus VSTAR and just 10 damage short of the KO if it has a Big Charm. Starmie V also has 0 in its Retreat Cost, so it’s a great pivot!
Quick Shooting Inteleon does a 20 damage snipe so if you were doing 290 with Palkia VSTAR (Maximum 260 of the attack + 30 from Choice Belt), you could now use Quick Shooting to end a beefy VSTAR with a Big Charm and can go even higher with good Scoop Up Net usage.
Greninja is your Radiant Pokémon of choice here for 2 main reasons – Its Ability can help you get your Water Energy in your Discard pile for Star Portal – Palkia’s VSTAR POWER and Melony. The 2 cards draw is also a nice bonus to use the Ability. The other great aspect of Radiant Greninja is its attack. For 3 Energy it can snipe 90 damage to 2 opposing Pokémon at the cost of discarding 2 of its Energy. It’s a mini GMAX Rapid Flow! Palkia VSTAR’s Ability can charge it up and then Greninja can set up two 2-hit-KOs at the same time or it could even Knock Out two frail one-prizers. Great support and side-attacker for the deck.
These are gonna be your main draw Supporter cards for the deck. The 2 count of Professor’s Research is just to help against odds of it being prized when you really want a new big hand. Contrary to other Water Decks, like Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX, Arceus Water, or Suicune V, Palkia doesn’t need a high count of Melony. It’s good when you need it, and the draw 3 is nice, but you could go with only attachment-for-turns and Star Portal without being behind.
Marnie and Roxanne are disruptive draw supporters. Roxanne is a new Astral Radiance card that can only be used when your opponent has 3 or less Prizes remaining, but it has the game-changing effect of being a shuffle draw for both players – the player who used Roxanne get to draw 6 while the opponent draws only 2. Devastating when used on the perfect turn!
If you are not gonna draw or use Boss’s Orders, here are some good miscellaneous supporters – Irida is also a new Supporter that can search for a Water Pokémon in combination to an Item card. Cheryl is a weird situational tech in this deck, but can be a great defensive play to put the game in your favour. It acts as a pseudo-Cheren’s Care for Palkia VSTAR to imitate how Arceus VSTAR plays. After receiving a first half of a 2-hit-KO’s worth of damage on one of your Palkia VSTAR, you can use Cheryl and then, right after, use Star Portal to charge Palkia with the Energy you just discarded with Cheryl and act as if nothing happened besides the massive healing. You can even heal a benched damaged Palkia VSTAR at the same time and charge it back up with manual attachment gradually. It’s something Ice Rider VMAX or Suicune V cannot do.
When you’re just short on damage with Palkia’s attack because your opponent under-bench their board, you can use Echoing Horn to force a Pokémon from the discard pile to their Bench. Free 20 damage in some scenarios and can even make a small loop of you killing their frail 2-Prizers like Crobat V or Lumineon V in combination with Boss’s Orders. Escape Rope is your main switch-out option without Starmie V retreating or using Scoop Up Net on a non-V Pokémon.
Like I say in all articles on VSTAR Pokémon, I like to have either a 1-1, 1-2 or 2-1 split of Choice Belt and Big Charm in all my VSTAR decks. I think Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR really like to hit these 1-hit-KOs that I’ve been talking about so much, so 2 of Choice Belt in the deck helps you do that with 2 different Palkia during the game. Big Charm still has it uses and if it saves you from giving a Knock-Out even one time, I think its worth it.
Temple of Sinnoh is your main stadium of choice here. Again, a new card from Astral Radiance – It makes all Special Energy only give 1 Colorless (so not colors and no multiple energy at the same time) and removes all effects from them. Temple of Sinnoh eases the Arceus, Single Strike and Wormadam matchups for you while removing the effect of Fusion Strike Energy. If Fusion Strike Energy has no effect, then you can use Quick Shooting on Pokémon with those Energy attached to them, helping you get a KO on Mew VMAX in 1 turn.
Path to the Peak also is a great combo card to make a defensive and disruptiuve play alongside Marnie or Roxanne to put your opponent in a lock while having a small hand.
As proven in the Japanese meta, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR has what it takes to dethrone the big top tier decks of our current format. It can do a lot of damage, it can accelerate Energy from the discard pile, it goes well with the Inteleon engine and it plays good secondary attackers in the form of Radiant Greninja, Starmie V, and Shady Dealing Inteleon.
For a “Just swing for damage” deck, playing Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR can be really tricky with your sequencing with Shady Dealing and with controlling the amount of Pokémon on both benches. Even if your opponent doesn’t bench Pokémon to minimize your damage, you can play in a way to punish them for not using their bench space. The ditto matchup is interesting as well, both players will need to use their brain and deal with the fact that benching Pokémon can advantage both sides. Overall, Palkia VSTAR looks a lot of fun to play and seems to be a top contender for the king of this format. Test the deck and don’t be afraid to test things out. It’s a fresh format so it’s cool to test fresh ideas.
Thanks for reading!