Hello everyone! I (and most other Pokemon players) am incredibly excited for the upcoming suite of Regional Championships scheduled to start off in Brisbane next week! However, when you are preparing for any large tournament, the metagame is especially important. With the Full Grip Games $2K Standard tournament having concluded a week ago, the Pokemon Standard metagame has been given some time to settle from the new developments. In this article, I will go over what are the top four decks in the current Standard format and provide deck lists for them too!
##Pokémon - 14 * 1 Oricorio FST 42 * 4 Genesect V FST 185 * 2 Meloetta FST 124 * 4 Mew V FST 113 * 3 Mew VMAX FST 114 ##Trainer Cards - 39 * 2 Training Court RCL 169 * 4 Battle VIP Pass FST 225 * 1 Rose Tower DAA 169 * 3 Elesa's Sparkle FST 233 * 3 Boss's Orders RCL 154 * 4 Ultra Ball PLB 90 * 4 Quick Ball SSH 179 * 4 Rotom Phone CPA 64 * 1 Big Charm SSH 158 * 2 Escape Rope BUS 114 * 2 Switch BCR 135 * 1 Choice Belt BRS 135 * 3 Fog Crystal CRE 140 * 4 Power Tablet FST 236 * 1 Shopping Center EVS 157 ##Energy - 7 * 4 Fusion Strike Energy FST 244 * 1 Double Turbo Energy BRS 151 * 2 Psychic Energy SMEnergy 5 Total Cards - 60
Even though Mew VMAX didn’t win the Full Grip tournament, there are no doubts that it is the current best deck in Standard. Mew VMAX gained the most out of Brilliant Stars, with Ultra Ball, Choice Belt and Double Turbo Energy being incredible inclusions into the current deck list.
However, obviously being the strongest deck in the format comes with its downsides. When choosing to play Mew VMAX at any given tournament you will have to accept that everybody will come in with a solid game plan against you. The deck which won Full Grip, Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX, was built to directly counter the strategy employed by Mew VMAX. However, one of the biggest strengths Mew VMAX possesses is its versatility. Mew VMAX can attack incredibly quickly, sometimes from it’s first turn with Meloetta FST!
Mew even has options to push through the Skyscraper ability on Duraludon VMAX by using Max Miracle or attaching both its Psychic Energy to a Mew VMAX to break through the Special Energy prevention of Skyscraper! One card I would specifically like to touch on in this list is the Big Charm.
While playing the mirror match, it would often come up where one player would use four damage modifier effects (Power Tablet or Choice Belt) to knock out an opposing Mew VMAX in one attack by copying a Techno Blast to do 330 damage. While the damage prevention of Oricorio FST doesn’t prevent this knockout, Big Charm does. Having Shopping Center as a stadium option helps facilitate Big Charm by allowing you to put it on a Genesect V if you draw it early, then attach it to the Mew VMAX later. It also allows you to place it on a Mew VMAX to prevent your opponent from attempting to take the four-damage modifier line then using Shopping Centre to replace it with Choice Belt and take the four-damage modifier line yourself!
Having a solid game plan for opposing Mew VMAX decks is important if you’re going to play it yourself, as you will face a mirror match when playing at a Regional Championships. Having four stadiums available also helps your matchup against any deck playing Path to the Peak, as Mew VMAX relies heavily on the Fusion Strike System ability on Genesect V. I would expect several decks to experiment with stadiums such as Path to the Peak and Collapsed Stadium.
Overall Mew VMAX earns its spot as the top deck in the format but if you are going to play it, I would expect a solid target to be on your head.
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ****** ##Pokémon - 14 * 4 Arceus V BRS 122 * 4 Arceus VSTAR BRS 123 * 3 Duraludon VMAX EVS 123 * 3 Duraludon V CPA 47 ##Trainer Cards - 32 * 4 Boss's Orders RCL 154 * 4 Marnie SSH 169 * 4 Professor's Research SSH 178 * 1 Escape Rope PLS 120 * 2 Switch BLW 104 * 4 Ultra Ball PLB 90 * 4 Quick Ball SSH 179 * 4 Collapsed Stadium BRS 137 * 1 Single Strike Style Mustard BST 134 * 3 Big Charm SSH 158 * 1 Raihan EVS 152 ##Energy - 14 * 4 Double Turbo Energy BRS 151 * 6 Metal Energy SMEnergy 8 * 4 Fighting Energy SMEnergy 6 Total Cards - 60 ****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX won the Full Grip tournament which happened last weekend, so it has had eyes on it this week. Riley Hulbert played an interesting list using Collapsed Stadium and Big Charm to try and answer the threat of Mew VMAX and managed to win the tournament with it!
While playing Crystal Cave in this deck might seem like a no-brainer, Riley realized that once you have your Duraludon VMAX set up, you can usually steamroll the whole game with it and denying Mew VMAX the extra bench spot was more important than the healing which you gain through Crystal Cave. Big Charm forces Mew VMAX to draw into another damage modifier to take a knockout on either Arceus V or Duraludon V, which can be critical when trying to survive a first turn Melodious Echo from Meloetta FST. While Riley only played twi Big Charm in his list, I increased it to the three count to try and see it earlier.
One card which Riley did use which I thought was very interesting was the Single Strike Style Mustard.
While it seems outlandish to pull it off, if you manage to hit its condition, Single Strike Mustard could force your opponent to have to go through two Duraludon VMAX to win the game, which some decks are unable to do! I have not managed to successfully pull off a Single Strike Style Mustard in testing yet, but in the ideal scenario this card could completely swing a game.
Another card which Riley did not play which I like is Raihan.
I’ve found that being able to skip ahead on a single energy attachment can be crucial to pulling yourself back into certain board positions and being able to search this one of out through Starbirth has been critical to its inclusion. Overall, Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon is here to stay, and it has made its stance on the format as a deck which can take down Mew VMAX.
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ****** ##Pokémon - 22 * 1 Snorlax VIV 131 * 2 Galarian Moltres EVS 93 * 1 Hoopa DAA 111 * 3 Koffing SHF 41 * 1 Sableye V SSH 120 * 2 Galarian Weezing RCL 113 * 1 Castform Snowy Form CRE 34 * 4 Sobble CRE 41 * 4 Drizzile SSH 56 * 1 Inteleon SSH 58 * 2 Inteleon CRE 43 ##Trainer Cards - 31 * 4 Professor's Research SSH 178 * 4 Evolution Incense SSH 163 * 2 Training Court RCL 169 * 4 Quick Ball SSH 179 * 2 Raihan EVS 152 * 1 Boss's Orders RCL 189 * 2 Klara CRE 145 * 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 165 * 2 Marnie SSH 169 * 2 Energy Search BCR 128 * 4 Level Ball NXD 89 ##Energy - 7 * 7 Darkness Energy SMEnergy 7 Total Cards - 60 ****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******
While this deck did not win Full Grip, it had a very strong performance, placing both second and fourth! Galarian Weezing / Galarian Moltres / Sableye V, also known as Dark Box, came about last format as a response to the dominance of Mew VMAX and has been putting up good performances since then.
Galarian Weezing is incredibly strong against the current format, locking down abilities has always seen success in Pokemon through other cards like Garbodor DRX and Hex Maniac .
Having access to one-sided ability lock from potentially the first turn through Koffing SHF can be devastating for multiple decks, especially Mew VMAX. Galarian Weezing’s attack also synergizes well with Sableye V by setting up for a massive Crazy Claws knockout on difficult to deal with Pokemon. The Galarian Moltres is usually used as a finisher, especially against Mew VMAX. Being able to chain attacks through Klara, which often takes one hit knockouts against the Darkness-weak Mew VMAX, is often too much to deal with.
One matchup which Dark Box struggles with is the Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX matchup. This is because it is difficult for Dark Box to deal with multiple high HP Pokemon which aren’t weak to Darkness. Often, you only have the resources to pull off a single knockout with Sableye V because of it being only a single copy as well as having to set up the damage counters in the first place. Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX just contains multiple Pokemon which all require Sableye V to be knocked out easily, so Dark Box struggles. Dark Box also started struggling a little against Mew VMAX when the Mew players started including Oricorio FST to prevent Hoopa DAA from being able to knock out Meloetta FST in one attack.
When in this scenario as the Dark Box player, I have found that attacking with Hoopa, then using Marnie and attacking with Galarian Weezing to finish off the Meloetta and try and strand the Mew VMAX deck under ability lock tended to work. One card which I found increased the consistency of Dark Box a ton was Castform CRE.
The inclusion of Tapu Koko DAA in some Dark Box decks at first was a bit puzzling. The value from having a Pokemon with free retreat available in a deck which wants to be constantly rotating between attackers was extremely high. Castform CRE is a card which I and several others have included over Tapu Koko DAA because it is HP is low enough that it can be searched out with a Level Ball. Being able to Level Ball for a Pokemon with free retreat has come up enough that I would play Castform over Tapu Koko.
On a side note, there are four different Castforms to choose from, each having a different weakness. I went for Castform Snowy Form because Metal Pokemon, which hit for 40 damage, are almost nonexistent in Standard, but I could see a different Castform be chosen if the format moves in a different direction. While games with Dark Box can have a ton of different directions in which they go, ability lock has been such a powerhouse of the Pokemon TCG in the past that I would keep expecting to see Dark Box at the top tables from now on.
** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ** ##Pokémon - 20 * 4 Minccino BRS 124 * 3 Cinccino SSH 147 * 4 Inkay CRE 69 * 4 Malamar CRE 70 * 3 Remoraid BST 36 * 2 Octillery BST 37 ##Trainer Cards - 34 * 3 Evolution Incense SSH 163 * 1 Tower of Waters BST 138 * 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171 * 4 Quick Ball SSH 179 * 3 Cynthia's Ambition BRS 138 * 2 Scoop Up Net RCL 165 * 1 Rescue Carrier EVS 154 * 4 Korrina's Focus BST 128 * 3 Professor's Research SSH 178 * 4 Fog Crystal CRE 140 * 3 Great Ball SUM 119 * 4 Level Ball NXD 89 ##Energy - 6 * 4 Spiral Energy CRE 159 * 2 Psychic Energy SMEnergy 5 Total Cards - 60 ** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO **
Rapid Strike Malamar is a deck which came out of nowhere at the beginning of this format, going straight from being a bit of a joke to a serious contender! With the introduction of Cynthia’s Ambition from Brilliant Stars, Malamar gains the longevity it needs to be able to take two VMAX knockouts in one game by attacking with Rapid Strike Tentacles.
The version of Rapid Strike Malamar is the one which uses Cinccino SSH over the Inteleon SSH engine.
Rapid Strike Malamar has started gaining traction due to its favorable matchup against an average Mew VMAX deck, which is a massive advantage to have going into any tournament. However, some Mew VMAX decks have started using Oricorio FST to require Malamar to shuffle away nine Rapid Strike cards instead of eight. While only adding one card might not seem like much of an issue, when I’ve played this matchup, the damage prevention of Oricorio has been massive and caused Mew VMAX to win several games it otherwise would have lost.
However, outside of Mew VMAX, Malamar still has a decent matchup spread. While you can struggle with Dark Box due to the ability lock of Galarian Weezing buy your Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX matchup should be safe, as you have enough time to built up to take massive one hit knockouts on Duraludon VMAX using your basic Psychic Energy. Thanks to the new recovery provided by Cynthia’s Ambition, Rapid Strike Malamar has become a serious contender in the Standard format and a deck I have on my radar heading into Brisbane Regionals.
The $2K which happened recently at Full Grip Games has influenced the Standard format in a big way heading into the first Regional Championships in over two years! I’m excited to be playing in the first event of the new season and have been preparing for the expected metagame. The decks which do well at Brisbane Regionals will influence the expected metagame for Utah and Liverpool Regionals, so keep an eye out for the results next week!