Hey everyone! Isaiah here with a redefined Single Strike list ready to take on this format. If you read ChannelFireball articles, you know I am a huge Single Strike fan, so it should be no surprise it was one of the first decks I built!
Without a doubt, the best deck in the format with Brilliant Stars is Mew VMAX. So, for me to consider any deck, I have to know it has a good Mew VMAX matchup. I can assure you this deck does. Weakness, one-prize attackers and additional consistency make Mew a walk in the park!
Additionally, I love that this deck can out-trade pretty much every deck in the game. One-prize Pokemon that can one-shot things have always been exceptional (looking at you, Night March), and this deck is no different. Finally, this deck is super consistent! Four Research, four Bruno, four Capture Energy and 12 Ball cards? With this deck, you know you’re opening a good hand.
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ****** ##Pokémon - 20 * 2 Bidoof BRS 120 * 2 Bibarel BRS 121 * 4 Houndour BST 95 * 2 Morpeko FST 179 * 2 Seviper CRE 102 * 4 Houndoom BST 96 * 1 Single Strike Urshifu V BST 85 * 1 Single Strike Urshifu VMAX BST 86 * 1 Lumineon V BRS 40 * 1 Manaphy BRS 41 ##Trainer Cards - 32 * 4 Ultra Ball FLF 99 * 4 Quick Ball SSH 179 * 4 Bruno BST 121 * 2 Air Balloon SSH 156 * 1 Rescue Carrier EVS 154 * 4 Professor's Research SSH 178 * 4 Battle VIP Pass FST 225 * 4 Urn of Vitality BST 139 * 3 Level Ball NXD 89 * 2 Boss's Orders RCL 154 ##Energy - 8 * 4 Capture Energy RCL 171 * 4 Single Strike Energy BST 141 Total Cards - 60 ****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
Four – Four Houndoom
Houndoom is undoubtedly the most important Pokemon in this deck, and you want to get out at least two (and usually three) every game. Because you want to set up as many Houndoom as possible, a four-four Houndoom is essential.
Two – Two Bibarel
Bibarel completely transforms this deck. Without it, you will almost certainly dead draw at some point in the game. Thanks to four Ultra Balls and four Quick Balls, you will be able to draw cards nearly every single turn effectively. Bibarel singlehandedly turns this deck from an inconsistent mess that prays it can draw a Supporter every turn into a consistent machine. Best of all, your opponent will rarely ever have the time to use Boss’s Orders to KO Bibarel because then they’ll leave your attacker alive and well! This line has blown me away in testing, and I am positive it is worth it.
One – One Urshifu VMAX
Urshifu V and VMAX are good for almost every matchup, but for varying reasons. First, Urshifu V is important vs. Mew VMAX to KO Genesect V if they try to attack with it and get a guaranteed KO in the Suicune V and Entei V matchups. Urshifu VMAX is excellent vs. all VMAX decks (Ice Rider, Duraludon, you name it!).
However, where this line really shines is the Jolteon VMAX matchup. If you can get your Urshifu VMAX powered up, there is nothing your opponent can do to stop it. With three Single Strike Energy, Beatdown does 320 damage to Jolteon VMAX, all while forcing them to three-shot you. Finally, Urshifu VMAX is huge! At 330 HP, nothing is one-shotting this bad boy, so you’re almost guaranteed to go ahead in the prize trade when you use him.
Morpeko is probably the “main” attacker of this deck, and this small rat packs a big punch. With only two “Single Strike Roar” abilities, Morpeko KOs Mew VMAX! In addition, it slams any Pokemon for 160, which comfortably two-shots the entire format. But the best thing about Morpeko isn’t the damage; it’s the consistency. A 90 HP main attacker that you can Level Ball for is fantastic and makes it simple to string attacks together. Morpeko is efficient, powerful, and very deserving to be the main attacker of this deck.
Coming in right behind Morpeko, Seviper is more difficult to use but has a higher damage ceiling. While Morpeko caps at 160 damage, if you have played Bruno this turn, Seviper hits for 180 damage and 20 more for each Single Strike Energy attached. Notably, Seviper can OHKO Genesect V, which gives you a way to without using Urshifu V. Finally, this is obvious, but make sure that you remember to play Bruno if you need to attack with Seviper! I have had games where I’ve accidentally Researched and then realized that my Seviper would only do 90 damage at the end of the turn.
Manaphy is another game-changer for this deck! Before Brilliant Stars, Jolteon VMAX and Urshifu VMAX would almost always destroy this style of Single Strike. However, with Manaphy in the format, everything becomes more manageable for Single Strike. Now that spread decks can’t put on as much early pressure or take multiple KOs in a turn, you have a good chance of coming back to win.
One Lumineon V
Along with Bibarel, Lumineon V has drastically improved this deck’s drawing problems. Nine more outs to a Supporter (Lumineon V, four Ultra Ball, four Quick Ball) dramatically improves the odds you have of drawing a good opening hand. Additionally, Lumineon V makes Seviper more effective by searching out Bruno and allows you to find Boss’s Orders whenever you need it. Tapu Lele-GX is one of the best cards ever printed, and while I don’t think Lumineon holds a candle to its predecessor, I’m glad it is seeing some success.
Four Research/Four Bruno
Research is simply the best supporter in format, so of course you want to play four. On the other hand, Bruno is a more confusing choice because the “shuffle and draw four” effect is barely even a draw supporter in your opening hand. However, Seviper doesn’t care how good the card is; he needs you to play a Single Strike supporter from your hand to do 180 damage. So, unfortunately… it’s time for your boy Bruno to shine! Thankfully, Bruno is a decent Supporter in this deck, as it draws seven cards when a Pokemon has been KO’d the previous turn. In a single-prize deck where you are getting KO’d almost every turn, this effect is excellent.
Two Boss’s Orders
With this deck, you’ll have to play a draw Supporter almost every turn, so you won’t have much time to play Boss’s Orders. In addition, you don’t want a ton of Boss’s Orders clogging up your hand space and making it harder to draw cards with Bibarel. Two has been the perfect number for me to use the card without drawing it too often.
Four Ultra Ball/Quick Ball/Battle VIP Pass and Three Level Ball
The ball cards are the backbone of this deck and the reason you can set up so consistently. As I mentioned earlier, you want to set up two or three Houndoom as fast as you can, and a thick ball count is the best way to do that.
Battle VIP Pass wasn’t in my original list, but after trying it out, I realized that it adds enough consistency to be worth it. Drawing just one Battle VIP Pass in your opening hand sets you up for the entire game. Because we play four Quick Ball and four Ultra Ball, there’s barely any risk of Battle VIP Pass clogging our hands and slowing down Bibarel. Level Ball is the worst of these cards, but still outstanding to find basics early in the game and Morpeko throughout it.
One Rescue Carrier
This was originally a third Morpeko, but with Manaphy, the option to get a second copy back often makes a huge difference. Rescue Carrier still works as the third Morpeko (it’s not as easy to search out, but you draw so many cards you should have no problem finding it). The additional flexibility of getting Manaphy or Houndour killed early in the game makes it well worth it.
Now that I’ve been through the list let me talk through some essential tips for this deck.
- Prioritize getting down three Houndour and a Bidoof on turn one. You want to get at least two Houndoom out on turn two, and three Houndour ensures you can do that. If you have a dead hand, but you have an out to Bibarel, you should prioritize Bidoof on turn one over the third or even second Houndour. Energy acceleration is important, but getting yourself out of a dead hand is more important.
- Your ideal bench includes three Houndoom, two Bibarel, and one attacker. Realistically, in most games, you will need to replace the second Bibarel with either a Lumineon V or a second attacker. As long as you have multiple Houndoom and a Bibarel down, your game will go well.
- Don’t be afraid to Research away important pieces instead of using Bruno to get set up in the first few turns. Urn of Vitality, Single Strike Energy, Houndoom and Bruno are all cards you want in your deck. However, if you don’t set up, none of these cards can do anything. Discarding these resources to draw more basic Pokemon is almost always the best choice.
- While you would always like to take one-shots, there are plenty of matchups where you won’t be able to OHKO your opponent’s Pokemon each turn, so you’ll have to use Morpeko into Seviper to take the KO. I would start with Morpeko to push 160 damage. The next turn, you can either use Bruno to set up Seviper for a KO or use another Morpeko to finish off your opponent’s active. Thanks to your deck being almost entirely single-prize Pokemon, it’s more than okay to take this time to two-shot a few of your opponent’s Pokemon.
Mew VMAX: 70-30
You know that I love decks with good Mew VMAX matchups, and this deck has the best Mew matchup of any I’ve played so far. The thing that makes this matchup so good is that Single Strike puts a ton of pressure on Mew VMAX. They can’t afford to sit around and use Max Miracle until they take three prize cards (like they can against Moltres decks); as soon as turn two, you can use Morpeko to get an OHKO on Mew VMAX!
In addition, both Seviper and Urshifu V cleanly KO Genesect V. Best of all, almost your entire deck is made of single-prize attackers, so you can afford to miss a turn and still be far ahead in the prize trade. This matchup is even better now that Bibarel and Lumineon V are in the deck. Before, you could often lose by drawing a bad hand or missing Bruno on the turn you needed to attack with Seviper. These two cards completely solve those problems and ensure smooth draws throughout the game.
Arceus Decks: 60-40
Honestly, there are way too many Arceus decks to mention them all, but they should all be favorable. Urshifu VMAX is amazing against any Arceus deck. For just two Single Strike Energy, you can OHKO an Arceus VSTAR and then set up for an OHKO on any VMAX on the next turn. In addition, Arceus VSTAR can’t OHKO Urshifu V without a Zigzagoon ping, meaning you can almost certainly take a KO with it. If your opponent KOs your Urshifu VMAX before you can KO two Arceus VSTAR, then you can still win the game by simply out-trading your opponent with all of your one-prize Pokemon. Finally, by giving you a non-V ability that can draw cards, Bibarel ensures that Path to the Peak won’t lock you out of the game.
Jolteon VMAX: 60-40
This matchup is close and comes down to one thing: can you power up Urshifu VMAX? If you can get three energy onto Urshifu VMAX and KO their Jolteon VMAX with Beatdown, then there’s no way they can respond.
Last format, it was often a problem that they could KO two Houndour on turn two and run away with the game. Thankfully, we now have Manaphy to protect us! Manaphy limits your opponent to only one Houndour KO on turn two and guarantees you can get set up. While it isn’t difficult for them to KO your Manaphy, if they take the time to do that, then you’ve probably set up enough to win. After you take four or five prize cards through Urshifu VMAX, you should be able to finish off the game by either KOing two benched Pokemon or two-shotting a Jolteon VMAX.
I hope you all enjoyed this article! I’ve loved testing this deck, and it is looking to be positioned perfectly in this new Brilliant Stars format. As always, if you have any questions, please message me on Twitter @IsaiahBradner or leave a comment here.