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!
With the release of Chilling Reign, the ever-changing Standard meta-game is already changing with the infusion of new cards and strategies. Chief among them is the mascot of the set – Calyrex VMAX. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is poised to be one of the top decks in this upcoming format. But that doesn’t mean that Eternatus VMAX is out either.
However, Calyrex VMAX has a rather inconvenient weakness – Darkness. This makes Eternatus VMAX a continued top meta-game choice for many players. In addition, Eternatus did not just gain a good match-up against a top deck, it also received its fair share of new cards and buffs. Let’s take a look at a list that I have found success with.
This is the most obvious count for any Eternatus VMAX build. The archetype is based on playing as many Dark-type Pokemon as possible to ensure that you are attacking for maximum damage. Eternatus is your main attacker and should be the focus of your set-up, so running a 4-4 line makes sense. Any extra copies can be used to populate your bench to ensure maximum damage.
Being restricted to just dark-type Pokemon is rather inconvenient. Therefore, it is necessary to run 4 copies of Crobat V. This used to make the archetype extremely inaccessible from a monetary point of view but with the number of reprints there have been, having 4 copies of Crobat V is much more common in people’s collections than before.
This is the area of the deck that truly defines the Chilling Reign era of Eternatus VMAX. Zigzagoon has effectively been used in the past to deliver extra damage while also serving as a body to populate your bench with. Most importantly, Zigzagoon was the primary tool which allowed players to fully knockout a fresh Arceus, Dialga & Palkia-GX. A single ping with Zigzagoon brought ADP’s HP down to 270 allowing for a clean one hit knockout by Eternatus VMAX and a fully loaded bench.
In some instances, ADP simply adapted by playing a few copies of Big Charm, increasing their HP by an additional 30HP. It was still possible to take that full knockout with Eternatus VMAX, but it required all 4 Zigzagoons to be played. Thus, many Eternatus builds included a Tool Scrapper or Dangerous Drill to remove Big Charm. This, however, was a non-searchable resource and your chances of seeing it at the precise moment it was needed was based purely upon chance.
Enter Liepard V. In many ways, Liepard V fixes the issue of dealing with tools in Eternatus VMAX decks. As a Basic and Dark-type Pokemon, it has the ability to remove a Pokemon Tool when it is played. This gives Eternatus searchable tool removal which can deal with annoying hindrances like Big Charm and even disrupt your opponent’s board state by removing Air Balloons.
Galarian Moltres V is another addition to the Eternatus VMAX archetype. Its ability allows it to attach a Basic Dark energy from your discard pile to it. This has the potential when combined with Energy Switch to completely nullify the effects of Crushing Hammer as well as being able to instantly load up a fresh Eternatus VMAX. This level of energy acceleration and resistance to energy removal allows Eternatus to not only set up both easier and faster, but also sustain it’s damage output each turn.
For readers of my previous articles, you may notice that I have not bothered to explain the trainer choice in this list. The honest reason is that the list is so simple, and the Trainers are incredibly straight forward both in their purpose and their counts. This archetype continues to be popular for this exact reason.
Eternatus VMAX was already a top deck prior to Chilling Reign but with the addition of tool removal and energy acceleration in the form of Liepard and Galarian Moltres V, this archetype gains both speed and consistency. Many of you might challenge this list and even the archetype with the mention of Galarian Zapdos V. This is an irrefutable threat to Eternatus VMAX. The energy cost and ease of inclusion into any deck can be a frustrating thing to deal with. After all, why build a deck that gets donked by a two-prize Pokemon with a single energy attack? To this, I offer several pieces of advice: Galarian Moltres V, Weakness Guard Energy, Big Charm and managing your bench.
Firstly, Galarian Moltres V is not weak to Fighting and can similarly deal one shot knockout to many Pokemon GX and even the new Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. Secondly, sacrificing 2 basic dark energy for 2 Weakness Guard Energy can provide the security necessary to survive against decks that tech Galarian Zapdos V; although it is not a searchable energy. To that end, Big Charm can also be used to compliment Weakness Guard Energy. Zapdos will hit exactly 340 HP after applying weakness and a Big Charm can prevent that knockout all the same. In the future, it may be necessary to find ways to include Big Charm if Galarian Zapdos proves to be too consistent of a threat.
Lastly, managing your bench can be an easy way to avoid Galarian Zapdos attacks. Its energy reduction is based on the number of Pokemon V that you have in play. If managed correctly, you can deprive your opponent of a discounted attack by controlling the number of Pokemon V you play.
Consider this – against Shadow Rider decks, you only need to deal 180 damage with Eternatus VMAX to secure a one hit knockout. You can try to fill your bench with non-V Pokemon to both secure that damage total and prevent your opponent from returning with a Galarian Zapdos V. The list I provide admittedly only runs 3 non-V Pokemon but as we’ve seen in the past, Eternatus builds are very diverse and have included Pokemon like Spiritomb, Yveltal, and Hoopa. One thing remains the same though – Eternatus continues to be a top tier deck and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.
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It’s no secret that the brand-new Shining Fates set packs some serious collector’s value. It will be introducing never-before-seen shiny forms of our favourite Pokemon that we love in our current meta game. This set also brings new powerful additions to the TCG that we can expect to see in upcoming tournament play. Here’s our top 10 picks for the most competitively viable cards you can find in Shining Fates:
Rusted Shield is a sure gift to any metal deck users looking to strengthen their iron defenses. When you attach this Tool card to your Zamazenta V, its maximum HP is increased by 70. Combining this card with Lucario & Melmetal-GX and its Full Metal Wall GX attack, you get a massive 300HP Zamazenta V. Zamazenta V will also take 30 less damage from your opponent’s attacks and will be completely invulnerable from your opponent’s Pokémon-VMax. Zamazenta V and its trusty Rusted Shield could prove to be the future of the defensive Metal archetype in the meta game.
Rotom presents a niche engine that is welcome in any deck. It plans to utilize the powerful Rotom Item cards introduced throughout recent sets. For decks using the Rotom Phone, Rotom Bike, or Drone Rotom, this adorable Lightning-type Basic Pokemon gives you complete access to these cards, allowing you to search your deck for up to 2 of them and adding them to your hand when it hits the bench. This strategy can help speed up early plays in decks such as Coalossal VMAX which may depend on Rotom Phone to set up its Eruption Shot attack.
This card also has great potential in decks that do not already use Zacian V. We could see Rotom Bike as a potential alternative to fill up your hand on the first turn. Rotom is a great card that provides a lot of utility, consistency and early game options.
Ball Guy is a Trainer card which lets you search your deck for up to 3 different Item cards that have the word “Ball” in their name and adds them to your hand. This is very useful for decks using Quick Ball, Pokeball, Great Ball, or Cherish Ball. This will only get better with the release of Level Ball in the Battle Styles set.
Unfortunately, this is a very early game card and focuses primarily on building up your bench with Basic Pokemon and not evolutions. As a result, we are left with a Trainer that cannot be used on turn 1 if you are going first, and is incapable of advancing our game state later. Ball Guy may yet be redeemed however, with the rotation of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX and its powerful Altered Creation-GX move.
It is very possible that with this notorious prize-stealer, the meta may just shift toward a strategy that is more centered around smaller, single-prize Pokemon. Ball Guy is a Trainer card that may shape up to be a powerful resource in the future.
Yveltal is a brand new Amazing Rare legendary Pokémon introduced in the Shining Fates set. It comes equipped with the Amazing Destruction attack, which knocks out any opponent’s active Pokémon upon use. The only drawback of this move is the relatively high energy cost that it takes to use it. The Amazing Rare Pokémon series all require multiple energy of different colours, making it difficult to set up special attacks. Combining it with powerful energy accelerators such as Turbo Patch and Welder will allow you to mitigate this problem so that you can begin knocking out those bulky Tag Team-GX Pokémon and high-HP Pokémon-Vmax. Since Yveltal is a single-prize Pokémon capable of knocking out the beefiest Pokémon in the meta, it makes for a great addition to the Amazing Rare archetype.
Shining Fates introduces VMax evolutions for Pokemon-V that were released in previous sets. Cramorant VMAX is an all-new boss monster with enough power to be its very own archetype. Its Max Jet attack allows you to flip a coin for each Energy attached to it, dealing 80 damage for each heads. Combining it with a Triple Acceleration Energy provides 3 energy, letting you dish out up to 240 damage with a single attachment!
Afraid of a bad coin flip? The Glimwood Tangle Stadium card allows you to redo your coin flips to make sure you’re hitting consistently. You can even throw in the Memory Capsule Item card from Vivid Voltage to allow this Pokemon-Vmax to learn the Spit Shot attack from its pre-evolution. With this item attached you’re sure to stay ahead of the game, being able to take multiple-prize knockouts from your opponents Pokemon-V and Pokemon-GX.
Finally, with the release of Battle Styles in March, we are expecting Lightning decks to be less prevalent in the format, with the inevitable rise of Urshifu VMAX. This means that Cramorant VMax’s Lightning weakness will be even less of a liability in tournament play.
Nothing says infinite possibilities like a Pokémon notorious for shapeshifting into the entirety of the Pokedex. Ditto V looks like a serious contender that is sure to transform the meta game. Its powerful Transformation V ability allows you to switch Ditto V with any Pokémon-V in your discard pile. With its colorless typing and all-around utility, Ditto V could prove to be a viable addition to a creative deck to maximize on the opponent’s type weaknesses. Ditto V not only provides a wide variety of coverage but can also be used to expand your options and further your game state.
Celebi’s Woodland Stroll ability is sure to improve any deck with a low energy count. This unique ability allows you to scout the top 6 cards of your deck, adding an energy to your hand. Since you aren’t limited to basic energies, this also gives you access to the powerful Twin Energy or Aurora Energy. You could even add Rapid Strike and Single Strike energy cards coming in the Battle Styles set.
You can also easily retreat Celebi using popular item cards such as the Air Balloon tool card or Switch so that your Celebi isn’t stuck in the active spot. Or use Scoop-Up Net to put it back in your hand so that you can reuse this ability in the same turn!
Like Celebi, Manaphy also has an ability t0 look at the top 6 cards of your deck. Instead of adding an energy, Manaphy’s Ocean Search allows you to add a Pokemon to your hand. Not only is this useful for Stage 1 and Stage 2 oriented decks, but this is also useful in decks built around Basic Pokemon. Manaphy is super flexible since you can choose which Pokemon is best for a given situation.
Running low on resources? Manaphy can find you a Crobat V or Dedenne-GX to recover your hand. Feeling more aggressive? Grab Eldegoss V instead and use to it to pick up a Boss’ Orders from your discard pile. Win-win.
Imagine being able to one-hit-knockout any Tag Team GX Pokemon in the game with a Basic, single-prize Pokémon. With Reshiram and its new Amazing Blaze attack this is now a possibility! This move deals a whopping 270 damage to your opponent’s active Pokemon. Attaching a Vitality Band tool card to this Pokemon or using the Leon Trainer card will boost this Pokemon’s damage output to a total of 280 and 300 damage respectively. This will let you dish out enough damage to knockout any Tag Team GX Pokemon in the game, including Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX. This Amazing Rare powerhouse is a great addition to the archetype.
Zamazenta V isn’t the only legendary dog who got their own designated Tool Card in the Shining Fates set. In fact, Zacian V’s Rusted Sword Item card is the most powerful card in Shining Fates. In combination with the Metal-Type Galarian Perrserker, your Zacian V’s Brave Blade attack will deal 280 damage. Zacian V consistently proves itself to be the most dangerous attacker in the meta. Its massive damage output is utilized by both Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, which can further boost its damage dealt by 30 points with the Altered Creation GX move. It also allows it to steal additional prize cards, as well as the Lucario & Melmetal-GX deck which prioritizes Metal-Type support such as Metal Goggles.
This brand new deck takes the classic offensive elements of the Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX deck, removing the Tag Team GX Pokemon and reinforces it with Metal-Type support in the form of Galarian Perrserker, Metal Saucer and the ever disruptive Mawile-GX. What we end up with is a Turbo Zacian archetype, focused on switching Zacian V in-and-out of the Active Position. Add in the brand-new Rusted Sword Tool card to amplify Zacian’s Brave Blade power, and you will be swinging for the fences.
Thanks for tuning in for today’s top 10! Shining Fates is definitely a very big set for collectors and competitors alike. These are some of the very powerful cards that we can expect seeing play in any upcoming tournaments.
Keep on digging fossil lovers!
Shining Fates gets released on March 5th, 2021!
Know any other cards that you think deserve to be in the top ten? Let us know in the comments below!
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Looking to get involved into the Pokemon TCG? Not sure where to start as far as competitive decks go? There is only one who can find you the information you so desire…
But search no further! With Sword & Shield – Battle Styles coming out in March, our secret informant Meta-Man has let us in on the current competitive meta-game leading into the release.
The PikaRom deck has been on the top of the meta list for a while now. With a solid energy collection engine, as well as the ability to deal damage to your opponents Pokemon in the back row, PikaRom has proven again and again that it is the deck to beat at most competitive events. If you’re looking for a combo deck that can pack a lot of punch, then you know where to go.
Just a heads up about these two rascals – while very powerful, they do have a big weakness to ground type Pokemon, so be careful when going up against Coalossal V.
There is only one meta deck that out performs PikaRom in all out damage, and that is Centiskorch VMAX. If you are able to get Centiskorch out from Volcanion in the first turn, as well as get a hold of some fire energy, there is nothing Centiskorch can’t do. There is no ceiling on the damage amount, so equip as many fire energies as your heart desires.
Centiskorch is a very powerful set-up to have, but do keep in mind how you are going to protect your Volcanion in your first few turns. If Volcanion gets blown away by your opponent before you can evolve it, then I’m afraid you’re back to square one.
The most versatile and adaptable of all the recent meta decks, the Mew3 deck has shown to be a great contender if you want to be able to customize your play style. Want something to compliment your Charizard damage output? Then a Welder Mewtwo deck is your ticket. More attached to water type Pokemon? Then a Blastoise Mewtwo deck it is. You can even keep it classic with just psychic type Pokemon if you want.
The only thing to remember with a Mewtwo deck, regardless if it’s Welder, Blastoise, or psychic, is that the deck requires a lot of other GX Pokemon. Make sure you have an appropriate balance of both basic and GX so you aren’t going to flood your deck with too powerful Pokemon right at the start.
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Hey Trainers! Professor Bamboo here. Man… what a crazy past few months this has been. After months in self-isolation, the cancellation of the 2020 Championship series, Rebel clash prerelease at-home and being on the tail end of the current meta, I’m sure I’m not the only one itching for some new cards! Thankfully, Pokémon isn’t holding back and we’re about to dive into their latest set – Rebel Clash.
Rebel Clash is the second installment in the Sword and Shield block and it’s packed with exciting new Pokémon and trainers. One of the joys of reading through a new set is the opportunity to craft new deck ideas and improve older ones. While some ideas are better than others, the sheer depth of possibility is what I think makes Pokémon so fun. Of course, with this much new content, the task of reading every card can be daunting. For those of you out there that are just tuning in to Rebel Clash, I’ve gone ahead and done the research for you (That’s what a Professor does right?).
There are a lot of cards being hyped out of Rebel Clash and for many it’s well deserved. One of the biggest changes Rebel Clash brings to the standard metagame is the return of reliable gust effects. Gusting is arguably the most powerful mechanic in the game. The ability to bring up an opponent’s benched Pokémon into the Active Spot adds another dimension of gameplay that demands that players pay extra attention to how they manage their bench. Back in the Sun and Moon era, Guzma absolutely defined the standard metagame. In fact, the best decks in each format were often the ones that could abuse Guzma or other gust effects the most (Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX, Golisopod-GX variants, Zapdos/Jirachi… Ahh, the memories).
Fast forward to 2020, we just saw Zach Lesage’s Fire Box deck do well at OCIC and lo and behold – it runs an amazing gust engine: Ninetales. It might not be so surprising then that a deck like Fire Box managed to make it all the way to the finals of OCIC.
Excitingly, Rebel Clash introduces reliable gusting effects that all types can now abuse. With that in mind, here are some cards that I think will make the biggest splash and a few that are – well – just plain fun.
The power creep in Pokémon these past few years has been anything but subtle. At the start of the Sun and Moon block, we were blown away by how Stage 2 Pokémon could have 230-250 HP and, for a while, these had to be two-shotted. By the end of Sun and Moon, we were slugging it out with Tag Team-GX Pokémon that not only rocked 250-300 HP, but were all basic. Just when we were getting comfortable with massively tanky basic Pokémon, the GX era concluded and a new wave of ginormous (literally) Pokémon was ushered in. With HP exceeding 300, Pokémon VMAX are the new kings in town and this time around (let’s be real, the VMAX from base set kinda sucked) are poised to re-mold the standard metagame.
In my opinion, this is one of the best VMAX Pokémon out of Rebel Clash set. Electropower does not seem like a powerful card but it has a lot going for it in terms of support and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a serious Tier 1 contender. Max Phantom has a very manageable energy cost and, if used repeatedly, can set up double Pokémon knockouts. Dealing 130 damage to the active Pokémon and then spreading 5 damage counters across your opponent’s bench can devastate boards. Especially if you pair this with Boss’s Orders, Team Yell Grunt, and Giant Bomb. This combo is great for many reasons. Dealing successive 130’s and spreading damage counters will make your opponent desperate to return a knockout but with Giant Bomb attached they’ll have to think twice. If they ever do manage to set up or get close to that, you can disrupt them by gusting in a Pokémon with no energies using Boss’s Orders or slow them down with Team Yell Grunt and spam them again with Max Phantom. Having 320 HP also makes Dragapult VMAX an extremely annoying Pokémon to take down, especially if your opponent is playing Mallow & Lana.
Note: Horror P Energy buffs this strategy greatly and will be discussed later.
Toxtricity VMAX is another beast of a Pokémon that has the potential to extend Lightning’s presence in the standard metagame. G-Max Riot is a powerful attack that can potentially end games quickly. 160 base damage is nothing to write home about but if your opponent’s Pokémon is poisoned, it’ll deal another 80 damage. Poison itself will deal 10 damage when you pass the turn. Already, you’re looking at 250 damage. Most lightning decks play Thunder Mountain and four copies of Electropower extending the damage ceiling to 370 – enough to knockout any Pokémon in the game for just 2 energies. If you’re looking to knockout an opposing Dragapult VMAX , inflicting poison with Koga’s Trap and two Electropower will deliver an OHKO once the turn passes back to you if they don’t recover from poison. If Giant Bomb is annoying you, luckily you have a base damage of 160 so you could adopt a two-shot strategy without heavy repercussions.
For many players, a common frustration is not having the best Pokémon attackers. These are often very expensive and hard to find. It doesn’t get worse than playing a mediocre deck into an opponent that clearly spent last month’s rent on their deck. Ninetales V is a clear and cheap solution where you can take advantage of your opponent and copy their Pokémon’s attacks. Simply attach fire energy and activate Welder to load up Nine-Tailed Shapeshifter and watch your opponent experience their own attacks. Oh, how the tables turn with Rebel Clash …
If you played during the XY era or have recently taken a dive into the Expanded format you should be familiar with VS Seeker. This card allowed you to get any supporter from the discard and place it back into your hand. This meant many things for players beyond just reusing supporters. In many ways, it gave a sense of security where you could reliably use a supporter at any time so long as you had one ready in the discard. This reliance on keeping supporters in the discard also made them the preferred targets for discarding cards with Ultra Ball or Mysterious Treasure, allowing you to conserve the rest of your hand. Eldegoss V is a carbon copy in this way and being a Pokémon, it can be searched using cards like Quick Ball, Net Ball, and Pokémon Communication. I can easily see this card being used to get that game-winning Boss’s Orders – 154/192 – Holo Rare – Reverse Holo or Welder or, if you’re in a pinch, give you a route to a draw supporter in a similar way to when Tapu Lele-GX was in the format.
Often, single prize Pokémon take a back seat in terms of the metagame. They usually either support higher tier Pokémon, serve niche uses, or, for the most part, are just plain awful (e.g. Unfezant). However, sometimes these little guys shine just as bright as their GX and VMAX counterparts.
Garbodor is an interesting (a bit underwhelming, in my opinion, but worth mentioning) print this time around. The name Garbodor used to strike fear into many hearts as it was notoriously known to either refer to the Garbotoxin print that completely locked abilities or the Trashalanche print that punished item-heavy decks. Garbodor makes a reappearance this set as a Dark-type Pokémon with a focus on poison. Poison itself has not been a very game-influencing status condition in the metagame leading up to Rebel Clash. Especially considering that the HP ceiling has crossed 300 and poison still does the same annoying little 10 damage in between turns, its effectiveness remains questionable. Rather than driving a poison focused win-con, this is likely going to be paired with Horror P Energy to reliably inflict poison for turns or builds where Koga’s Trap is not preferred.
Coalossal reminds me a lot of Vikavolt from Sun and Moon. The effect of loading 2 different basic energies onto a single Pokémon is not new but Coalossal maintains the whole mining theme in Galar by specifying the discard as the energy source. In my opinion, this has a few drawbacks – mainly the requirement for energies to be in the discard. Pitching energies off of Viridian Forest or Quick Ball is what comes to mind. You could also clear many from your hand using Professor’s Research or Dedenne-GX. I would be interested to see how many energies you can reliably bin to fully take advantage of Coalossal. There also is the question of who do you even load? And, even more interesting, is there a decent Pokémon that benefits from both Fighting and Fire energies? To add more salt to the wound, Coalossal is a Stage 2 Pokémon so part of your deck will have to include Rare Candy and enough trainers to search out the appropriate pieces. Despite all this, energy acceleration is never bad. As we saw with the old Tapu Bulu-GX deck – hate on stage 2 turbo decks all you want, it’s funny until you realize you’re being overwhelmed by their engine and attackers.
It’s not always that the basic Pokémon in an evolution line gets the spotlight over its evolved form, but Galarian Meowth is a neat little buff for metal type decks. Previously Zacian V dominated the metagame as it was able to comfortably OHKO many Tag Team-GX Pokémon with its 230 damage attack. With VMAX Pokémon becoming competitively relevant, Metal fans may appreciate a more reliable way of scaling their damage. Galarian Meowth has a built-in ability that will help it search out the Galarian Perrserker so you don’t have to run extra search cards – saving precious deck space.
The trainers in a set are often skimmed over by collectors are mostly paid attention to by people that play the game. Nonetheless, there are some amazing trainers and energies in this set and I think many of them will redefine how players build their decks in standard. Here are some of my favorites:
I’ve talked about this card a lot already so I’ll keep it short. I see a Pokémon I don’t like on opponent’s bench –> Boss’s Orders –> Bye-Bye.
When I first saw this card I didn’t immediately realize why it was good. I thought to myself, what’s the point of picking up a non-V, non-GX Pokémon? Later I realized this card creates some crazy combos that can actually alter the course of the game. I’ll highlight two examples.
Firstly, in Dragapult VMAX decks (or any deck really), you can extend the amount of damage counters you place by playing Galarian Zigzagoon. After using its effect, simply play Scoop Up Net and play it down again to ping another 10 damage to a Pokémon. Truly a fantastic way to secure or setup multiple knockouts.
Secondly, consider pairing this card with Oranguru and Mewtwo to establish a supporter recycle system. After using a supporter, use Mind Report to place it on top of your deck again and then follow that up with Primate Wisdom to bring it into your hand. Then use Scoop Up Net to recover your Mewtwo and repeat the process until you run out of Scoop Up Nets. Essentially, this achieves the same effect as running 4 VS Seeker.
Field Blower has been revived in a diet form. Tool Scrapper fulfills largely the same role as Field Blower. Tool attachments become less guaranteed and players may decide to opt-out of using them now that tool removal is back. Nonetheless, I would play at least 1 copy in most decks just in case.
I’m particularly fond of this stadium because it can truly lock Pokémon in the Active Spot. A well-timed Galar Mine can completely trap a Jirachi even if they have Escape Board attached. This card could pressure your opponent to use Switch and drain them of their copies towards the late game.
This card is basically a Nest Ball built into single colorless energy. Attaching energy and getting a Pokémon onto your bench – what’s not to like? This energy may be particularly useful to players that focus on evolution decks that need to setup up for a few turns. Capture Energy relieves the dependency of some decks on Quick Ball, perhaps saving it for a juicier target. This card has one caveat though: not many Pokémon benefit from a colorless attachment and, while getting the basic Pokémon onto your bench could be useful, it may come at the cost of a useless energy attachment.
It’s been a long time since colored special energy was printed. Horror P Energy likely marks the beginning of a new generation of these. In contrast to Mystery Energy which gave Psychic Pokémon two retreat cost-less, Horror P Energy focuses on placing damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon every time you take damage. Considering that cards like Dragapult VMAX are already donning Giant Bombs, recycling Galarian Zigzagoons, and spreading 5 damage counters from their attacks, Horror P Energy serves as an additional deterrent to a retaliating attack.
The lightning special energy offers some insane acceleration to an already fast archetype. Attaching and drawing 2 could let decks like Pikachu & Zekrom-GX dig a little further to guarantee that turn 1 Full Blitz attack. Toxtricity VMAX builds may use Speed L Energy to dig for combo pieces to secure a full knockout. Simple and effective, this card is definitely something to get your hands on.
Another diet card, this time of Double Colorless Energy. There’s a restriction that makes Twin Energy somewhat useless for GX and V Pokémon but for single-prize Pokémon, this could be a much-needed buff. I’m somewhat hesitant in saying this is an amazing card despite providing up to 2 energies because there aren’t that many single-prize attackers that can really take advantage of this. Gallade might be the best option since it could deal super effective damage. But with the new weakness adjustments, Psychic and Fighting weaknesses aren’t very relevant anymore.
The standard metagame is a bit controversial in terms of what that actually means. With the 2020 Championship Series canceled, there technically isn’t a sanctioned meta. Of course, local tournaments will eventually resume again and players may want to remain competitive. I’m no pro, so my talking points will be a bit broader. The introduction of actually competitive Pokémon VMAX furthers the transition from GX Pokémon. With that being said, the new HP ceiling is something to pay close attention to. 120 damage attacks may not be enough to survive in this new environment. 160-170 seems like a sweet spot for many since it can 2 shot most VMAX while simultaneously being under the threshold to trigger a Giant Bomb. Gust effects will also likely be present in virtually all decklists so players should be careful and mindful of this both when they play and build decks.
My last piece before I end this article is to introduce a wacky deck idea for those budget lovers and players that are looking to have a bit of fun. I’m really interested in the Butterfree evolution line from Rebel Clash as it reminds me a lot of Forest of Giant Plants. Both the Caterpie and Metapod can evolve as soon as you play them and the new Turffield Stadium can easily allow you to setup multiple evolution lines. The deck also benefits from Net Ball. This makes for a pretty easy-to-play Stage 2 deck that can apply 3 status conditions for a single energy. Not the most competitive idea, but it sure seems like a lot of fun.
That’s all for now, folks, thanks for reading, stay safe and train on!