One Punch Bear’s Return — A Single Strike Deep Dive

One Punch Bear’s Return — A Single Strike Deep Dive

It is fair to say that of the two mechanics introduced in Battle Styles, Rapid Strike has been much more successful than Single Strike. Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX was one of the most dominant decks of last season, winning two Players Cups and Rapid Strike cards have generally been very interesting. Inteleon from Chilling Reign was a great addition to plenty of decks, not only Rapid Strike decks but also Ice Rider and Leafeon VMAX, among others. In a completely different style, Malamar could use some of the other Rapid Strike cards, such as Spiral Energy and Octillery, to become an effective attacking one-prizer. Meanwhile, Single Strike Pokemon have struggled to make an impact on the metagame, maybe because they don’t offer as much variety.

This is changing, thanks to Evolving Skies. The main new Single Strike card from that set is Umbreon VMAX, who is played both for its Dark Signal Ability and its status as an attacker. While its damage isn’t mind-blowing, a Darkness-type Pokemon hitting for 160 damage is fantastic against Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and that damage can be increased thanks to Single Strike Energy, letting Umbreon VMAX OHKO unevolved Pokemon V.

Rotation is also having an impact on Single Strike Pokemon’s viability. With the loss of Dedenne-GX and Pokemon Communication, setting up on turn one is not that easy for many decks and I believe that this is a strong cause of the decline of some decks such as Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX. Refer to my rotation guide for a complete discussion of this phenomenon!

Single Strike decks can use Capture Energy to set up and benefit from Tower of Darkness letting them draw a few more cards every turn. This effect is small but ends up having a noticeable impact over the course of a match. Plus, having a dedicated Stadium is useful in this metagame to counter Path to the Peak.

Last week, I won the CelioStats #2 event, which was attended by over 500 players, using a Single Strike deck, which put the archetype on the map as a serious contender. In the following days, multiple people played the same decklist (or close to it) with some success, including Senior World Champion Kaya Lichtleitner, Andrew Hedrick and CFB’s very own Tablemon. Most recently (at the time of writing), Limitless Invitational winner and POG 2021 finalist Haru Nishikawa made a couple of tweaks to the deck and placed Top 4 with it at Late Night Series #6. There’s no denying that Single Strike is now part of the metagame, and you should probably be prepared to play it and/or against it.

Here’s my 60:


##Pokémon - 20
4 Single Strike Urshifu V BST 85
2 Single Strike Urshifu VMAX BST 86
4 Houndour BST 95
4 Houndoom BST 96
3 Umbreon V EVS 94
2 Umbreon VMAX EVS 95
1 Crobat V DAA 104
##Trainer Cards - 30
4 Professor's Research SHF 60
4 Marnie SSH 169
2 Boss's Orders RCL 154
4 Urn of Vitality BST 139
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
2 Air Balloon SSH 156
1 Tool Jammer BST 136
1 Switch HS 102
4 Tower of Darkness BST 137
##Energy - 10
4 Single Strike Energy BST 141
4 Capture Energy RCL 171
2 Fighting Energy 6

Even if you’ve seen the list already, I hope you’ll keep reading! As the creator of the decklist, my aim in this guide is to provide the best advice possible on why I built the deck as it is, what could be changed and why and how to play the most popular matchups.

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