Standard’s Most Consistent Deck? Arceus VSTAR / Shadow Rider

What’s up everyone? It’s Isaiah, back today with a pet deck I’ve been terrorizing PTCGO ladder with: Arceus VSTAR / Shadow Rider. As crazy as that sounds, this deck is quite strong and boasts favorable matchups against the entire format except for Mew VMAX. So, let’s get straight into it!

Quickly, I want to shout out a past article I wrote on Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. This article went in-depth on playing the deck, sequencing, and matchups. While the lists and matchups are very different, there are a lot of great sequencing and gameplay tips in this article. Before you read this new article, I recommend giving the one below a review!



Header - Why This Deck?

This deck has the unique advantage of being good against single prize decks (because your Pokemon are too big for them to ever one-shot, you can rotate around your attackers, and you have Shadow Rider Calyrex V to take multiple kills in a turn) and also against most VMAX decks (Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX can reach OHKO numbers easily by turn two or three, and most VMAX decks won’t have any way to KO you in return). Add on the insane consistency of Arceus VSTAR and Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and you’ve got yourself a good deck.


Header - The Deck List


****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 16

* 4 Arceus V BRS 122
* 3 Arceus VSTAR BRS 184
* 1 Crobat V DAA 104
* 4 Shadow Rider Calyrex V CRE 172
* 4 Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX CRE 75

##Trainer Cards - 27

* 1 Escape Rope BST 125
* 3 Training Court RCL 169
* 4 Ultra Ball FLF 99
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 3 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Choice Belt BRS 135
* 4 Professor's Research SSH 178
* 2 Fog Crystal CRE 140
* 2 Marnie SSH 169
* 2 Boss's Orders RCL 154

##Energy - 17

* 4 Double Turbo Energy BRS 151
* 13 Psychic Energy SMEnergy 5

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******



Header - Pokemon

Four – Three Arceus VSTAR

Arceus V (166/172)Arceus VSTAR (184/172)

Arceus VSTAR is broken. Simply broken. This card is so good it brought Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX back from the grave! Not only does Arceus VSTAR give you the tempo that this deck lacked before, but it also accelerates three Energy onto your board! This means that you can take prize cards early and set up energy on board for a huge OHKO on turn three. If all of this wasn’t good enough, Starbirth allows you to set up multiple Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX on turn two every game! You play a maxed line of Arceus VSTAR because you need to attack with it on turn two, so you just want to have that option as consistently as possible.

Four – Four Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX

Shadow Rider Calyrex V (172/198)Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX (204/198)

You want to get as many Shadow Rider Calyrex in play as possible, so of course, you maximize the count! Not only is it your best attacker, but it also allows you to draw even more cards through Underworld Door! Without question, you want a four-four Calyrex line.


Header - Trainers

Four Professor’s Research, Two Marnie

Professor's Research (147/172)Marnie (056/073)

If you have read my articles, you know I love playing four Professor’s Research. I actually can’t remember the last time I played a Marnie over a Research in a deck. The same philosophy applies here: You want to draw as many cards as possible, and Research does that for you. Marnie is the second-best draw supporter in format and a significant disruption card against single-prize decks, so it is worth playing, but it can’t compare to Research.

Four Quick Ball, Four Ultra Ball, Two Fog Crystal

Quick Ball (237/264)Ultra Ball (186/172)Fog Crystal (227/198)

This deck wants a lot of basic Pokemon in play. You need Arceus V, Shadow Rider Calyrex V, a second Shadow Rider Calyrex V, a third Shadow Rider Calyrex V… you get the point. One glaring point in this ball count is Zero Evolution Incense. At first, I thought it would be a problem, but the more I played with the deck, the more I realized how little it mattered. While the older lists needed Evolution Incense to find Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, we have an ability called “Starbirth.” Most games with Arceus VSTAR, I’ll grab two Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX to evolve! Thanks to Underworld Door, Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX turns into even more cards, which turns into wins!

Three Training Court

Training Court (282/264)

Training Court isn’t exceptional in this deck, but you need a Stadium to counter Path to the Peak, and Court is by far the best one to use. Training Court allows you to Quick Ball and Ultra Ball away energy, helps you recover after one of your Pokemon is KO’d, and keeps the energy flowing in the mid-game. 


Header - Tips and Tricks

  • Always start and attach to Arceus V if you go first. Trinity Nova is one of the best turn-two attacks ever printed and the heart and soul of this deck. You should only consider attaching somewhere else if you are playing a matchup where you know you’ll want to use Astral Barrage to take early KOs.
  • Unless you need to play Boss’s Orders, you should play Professor’s Research or Marnie before using Starbirth. Using your draw supporter before gives you a more educated view of what you need this turn and increases your odds of being able to Starbirth for an additional card (if you draw a card you would have used Starbirth to grab, you can now Starbirth for a different card).
  • Underworld Door is a fantastic ability, but you should still grab all of the Energy out of your deck you can with Trinity Nova. It may be tempting to leave a few Energy in your deck to hopefully draw you additional cards, but it’s almost always better to put the energy on the board.
  • Against decks that play Path to the Peak, Shadow Mist is amazing! Not only do you prevent them from locking you out of your abilities, but you also slow down their attachments and poke them for 10 damage. That may seem like nothing, but against 320 HP VMAXs, the 10 damage can make the difference.


Header - Matchups

Mew VMAX: 40-60

Unfortunately, this deck can’t boast a favorable Mew VMAX matchup, but it does compete. The way you win this matchup is by taking the first two-prize KO or making them miss an attack. This happens most often if you go first and get an attachment onto Arceus V. On turn two, you can evolve into Arceus VSTAR, KO a Mew V and you’re off! If your opponent takes a KO with Meloetta on turn one, the game is more challenging, but not unwinnable. All of your attackers have over 210 HP, so Mew VMAX has to work hard to get KOs. If you can remove a single Fusion Energy and evolve all of your Vs, you can often run Mew VMAX out of Power Tablets and force them to two-shot one of your Pokemon. Thanks to Arceus VSTAR’s insane energy acceleration that allows Shadow Rider Calyrex to start one-shotting Mew VMAX, you can flip the prize trade in your favor.

Going second, however, this matchup is almost unwinnable. They will almost always get a turn two attack off, and you’ll just be too far behind to keep up. I have found success in this matchup by going all-in on a turn-three Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX OHKO. You should try to use Trinity Charge on turn one to accelerate three Psychic Energy onto your benched Shadow Rider Calyrex Vs (make sure you split the energy between two, even though the Mew player should always KO your Arceus V, it’s a good precaution to take). If you take a KO on Meloetta on turn two and then respond KO their Mew VMAX on turn three, they can whiff a KO and allow you back in the game.

Arceus Duraludon: 70-30

This is what this deck wants to see! A slow VMAX deck that doesn’t put on a ton of pressure and revolves around not getting one shot? Sign me up! You should be able to win this matchup almost every time through vomiting 11 Energy on board and slicing through your opponent’s Arceus VSTAR and Duraludon VMAX. You should lead with two Arceus VSTAR in this matchup and trade hits into their Arceus until you have enough energy on board to OHKO Duraludon VMAX. Whenever you get to that point, don’t worry about anything else. Just go in! Duraludon has no way to punish this gameplay at all, and once you get the energy you need in play, you can start retreating between various attackers to force them to find Boss’s Orders. Finally, make sure to play around Collapsed Stadium and only put Energy on four of your benched Pokemon.

Rapid Strike Malamar: 70-30

Rapid Strike Malamar and other low-HP decks are a walk in the park for this deck, specifically for this card! Shadow Rider Calyrex V owns Malamar. Did you know that Inkay only has 50 HP? And did you know that Double Turbo Energy doesn’t reduce the damage Shadow Rider Calyrex V places? That means that on turn two, almost every game, you have the option of either KOing two Inkay or KOing one Inkay and setting up damage on a Cinccino – and because Shadow Rider Calyrex V places damage counters, not even Manaphy can stop you! 

I would start this game by using Shadow Rider Calyrex V to KO Inkay and set up damage on something else. Your first Calyrex will almost certainly get three prize cards, which sets you up perfectly for the rest of the game. From here, you should focus on rotating attacks between Arceus VSTAR and Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. Whenever Malamar doesn’t do enough damage to KO, you just retreat that attacker to the bench! When you can use Boss’s Orders, focusing on KOing Cincinno is almost always right – Octillery can guarantee them one additional card, but Cincinno allows them to dig deeper into their deck and builds their hand size. Finally, on the turns where you go in to attack with Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX or Arceus VSTAR you should try to Marnie to limit their hand size and make it harder for them to get the KO.

Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX: 70-30

Yet another VMAX deck that can’t ever one-shot you, yet another good matchup. The main thing to remember in this matchup is that they can KO your Arceus V on turn two. If you can, use Trinity Charge on turn one and attach a Psychic Energy to a benched Arceus V. This will allow you to use Arceus VSTAR the next turn. From here, you can two-shot the first Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX and then use Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX to take a one-shot on the final one! Another path you can take is KOing a two prize Pokemon (Ice Rider Calyrex V, Crobat V, Lumineon V) and a one prize Pokemon (Sobble or Drizzile) and then one-shotting an Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX. This game plan can be risky because you only run two Boss’s Orders, but it is generally fine because your opponent doesn’t have any other attackers other than Ice Rider, so they’ll always leave a three prize Pokemon in the active spot.

If you go first, then the matchup is almost unlosable. You can attack with Arceus VSTAR on turn two (remember that a Choice Belted Arceus VSTAR one-shots Ice Rider Calyrex V) and set up enough energy to one-shot an Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX by turn four.

Gengar VMAX: 40-60

And here is the unfortunate result of sharing a weakness with the best deck in the format – you’ll get caught in the crossfire. Gengar VMAX is the worst matchup for our deck. They were almost built to beat you! They hit you for weakness, OHKO Shadow Rider for two Energy and have high counts of Path to the Peak. The matchup is almost unwinnable if they get set up and rolling with Gengar VMAX.

However, don’t forget that you play Arceus VSTAR in your deck, and Arceus VSTAR is very good at winning games when going first. Once again, thanks to Choice Belt, you can take a KO on their Gengar V with Trinity Nova and set up energy on the bench. If you can get this KO on turn two (which happens almost every game thanks to Starbirth), then your opponent will have a hard time responding. Your Arceus VSTAR should be able to take another prize card, and from there, you can finish off the game by attacking with Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX.


Header - Conclusion

That’s all for today! Thank you for reading this article, and I hope that this deck excites you as much as it excites me. It hasn’t had much popularity lately, but I’m optimistic it will show its strength as the meta develops. This deck has heaps of consistency, the power to OHKO and Arceus VSTAR; What else could you want? As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment here or message me on Twitter @IsaiahBradner

1 thought on “Standard’s Most Consistent Deck? Arceus VSTAR / Shadow Rider”

  1. When is the air balloon needed because you are already attaching a choice belt to the arceus so how do you use the air balloon to switch into shadow rider.

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