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The Other VSTAR – Building with Lucario VSTAR

Hello again readers, I’m back with you today to talk about a card that some of you potentially don’t even know is going to be legal for upcoming tournaments like EUIC. So far, from what we’ve seen of this format, VSTAR cards are inherently more powerful than almost every VMAX printed. We saw Whimsicott VSTAR of all things make top 8 at a regional. That placement made me question just how powerful VSTAR Pokemon actually are in this format. With VMAXs giving up three Prize Cards and not having anything equivalent to the powerful VSTAR Powers, I think that cards such as Lucario VSTAR and Whimsicott VSTAR have a very real chance at going far in this format, solely because the VSTAR mechanic is so much better than the VMAX mechanic. With this in mind, I set out to see where the new Lucario VSTAR fit and if it could stand up to the rest of the format, even without the plethora of Fighting-type support that is coming in our next set. 

Lucario VSTAR (SWSH214)

There were a couple of different things that immediately jumped to mind when I saw Lucario was going to be legal for EUIC, and today I’m going to be going into detail about three of them. I think the most important thing I took out of my testing is that Lucario VSTAR cannot stand on its own like we’ve recently seen Whimsicott do outside of the one result it got with Arceus. Lucario doesn’t have any special gimmicks that prevent your opponent from playing the game; it only exists to do a large amount of damage for a relatively low cost. The biggest thing that Lucario VSTAR has going for it when compared to all of the other Fighting type Pokemon V is that unlike all of the VMAXs, Lucario doesn’t give up a third Prize card when your opponent takes a KO on it. With that said, let’s jump into the first of the lists I have today.

 

 

Header - Inteleon / Moltres

PTCGO Code

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

##Pokémon - 19

* 1 Snorlax VIV 131
* 2 Galarian Moltres PR-SW 125
* 1 Galarian Moltres V CRE 177
* 1 Hoopa DAA 111
* 2 Lucario V PR-SW 213
* 1 Lucario V CPA 27
* 2 Lucario VSTAR PR-SW 214
* 4 Sobble CRE 41
* 3 Drizzile SSH 56
* 2 Inteleon SSH 58

##Trainer Cards - 31

* 1 Marnie PR-SW 121
* 4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 1 Training Court RCL 169
* 1 Switch PRC 163
* 1 Zinnia's Resolve EVS 203
* 1 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 4 Quick Ball FST 237
* 1 Cynthia's Ambition BRS 138
* 2 Raihan EVS 152
* 1 Boss's Orders RCL 189
* 2 Klara CRE 145
* 4 Level Ball BST 129
* 4 Scoop Up Net RCL 207
* 1 Pal Pad FLF 92
* 1 Professor's Research SSH 201
* 2 Energy Search BLW 93

##Energy - 10

* 5 Darkness Energy XYEnergy 1
* 3 Double Turbo Energy BRS 151
* 2 Fighting Energy BLWEnergy 3

Total Cards - 60

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

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Obviously, this deck resembles the Urshifu list that Robin won Liverpool with. This was the first thing that came to mind when I saw Lucario, and I think that it’s probably one of the best combinations of Fighting and Dark Pokemon possible right now. This version of the list plays even more like the classic Dark Box Inteleon than the Limitless deck, and Lucario makes playing down a Fighting type V even less risky than Urshifu does since there isn’t a three Prize card price tag on Lucario. Another thing that I really like about changing the Urshifu into a Lucario engine is that you don’t have to play the Rapid Strike cards like Octillery in order for your deck to function. In addition to that small change, both Medicham and Inteleon CRE have made their way out of this list, and while Inteleon is likely to make a comeback at some point for this deck, Medicham almost certainly is gone for good. 

My biggest issues with the version of the deck that Robin won with were that it wasn’t exactly the most consistent thing ever and is honestly a bit too complicated to play, even with a ton of practice. While it’s not by much, the Lucario VSTAR version takes a bit of the difficulty out from playing the deck and makes it have a more set game plan into more of the format.

Galarian Moltres V (183/172)Raihan (224/203)Klara (217/198)Pal Pad (172/202)

In addition to the removal of the Rapid Strike package, I added Galarian Moltres V into the deck, as playing it can allow you to get into situations where a checkmate position on Mew is much easier to pull off. Between Raihan, Klara, and Pal Pad you should almost never be running out of resources into the Mew matchup. Lucario VSTAR also has something that very few decks have right now, in that it has an attack that can very easily KO anything in play as long as your opponent has put down enough Energy cards. This is the primary reason why I like Lucario VSTAR so much.

I’ve talked about the good things that this version of the deck brings to the table, so it’s only fair that I talk about the negatives. By far the biggest and most obnoxious thing I’ve found with this deck is that Keep Calling cannot grab Lucario V from the deck, making it much harder to set up a strong board position on your first turn when going second. The next big issue is that Lucario V only has 210 HP. This will be a common theme in every single one of the decks I built with Lucario. 210 HP means that it is relatively easy for Arceus VSTAR to Boss KO a Lucario VTSAR on their second turn. Not a great issue to have, but still combatable by playing down two Lucario V at once, since a single VSTAR can theoretically get you through many of your Prize Cards.

The third issue that I found with this version of the deck was that Lucario VSTAR has no real answer to Dunsparce, and while Medicham and Inteleon CRE could have fixed that to some extent, they’re not good enough without Rapid Strike Urshifu to follow up the Yoga Loop turn. Lucario mitigates this issue a bit by being able to Boss around the VSTAR and KO a V easily, and then use the VSTAR Power to take a second KO. The issue comes with trying to take a third VSTAR KO, but it’s not too difficult to use Moltres to get there.

 

Header - Arceus VSTAR / Beedrill

PTCGO Code

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

##Pokémon - 16

* 3 Arceus V BRS 122
* 1 Oranguru BRS 198
* 2 Arceus VSTAR BRS 176
* 1 Crobat V DAA 182
* 1 Galarian Zigzagoon SHF 151
* 1 Flygon V BRS 164
* 2 Lucario V CPA 27
* 1 Lucario VSTAR PR-SW 214
* 2 Beedrill CRE 3
* 2 Lumineon V BRS 40

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 3 Training Court RCL 169
* 3 Energy Search SSH 161
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 4 Quick Ball FST 237
* 3 Single Strike Style Mustard BRS 214
* 3 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Choice Belt BRS 135
* 2 Boss's Orders BRS 132
* 3 Professor's Research BRS 147
* 1 Raihan EVS 202
* 4 Cram-o-matic FST 229
* 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 215

##Energy - 10

* 3 Grass Energy BLWEnergy 5
* 4 Fighting Energy BLW 110
* 3 Double Turbo Energy BRS 151

Total Cards - 60

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

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This might be a side effect of me working with Charlie recently, but I really like how powerful the Mustard + Beedrill combo is in this format. This was my second idea with Lucario, and honestly, I think the deck is really strong.

Beedrill (003/198)

Similar to the previous deck, this deck can simply play as if Lucario doesn’t exist if it wants to in certain matchups. Beedrill is a card that has a ton of potential into matchups like Mew where you can easily get it down and KO a Mew in the same turn. In addition to that, they’re usually forced to deal with the Beedrill instead of Arceus or another threat since Beedrill can easily KO a second Mew VMAX if it needs to.

This deck really doesn’t play like any other Arceus deck I’ve played, and I think that’s what is able to set it apart from them. Rather than rely on Marnie and Path to the Peak to beat Mew, this deck aims to just KO them with a threatening enough Pokemon that they have to deal with it, and unlike Moltres builds, you don’t need to have given up three Prize Cards to even threaten a KO.

This deck has a couple of things that really draw me in, but there are also some that make me not want to touch the deck if I can avoid it. On one hand, it has passable Arceus and Mew matchups, but on the other hand, it can really struggle to beat decks like Rapid Strike Malamar, something I’m very uncomfortable losing to going into EUIC. In addition to the Malamar matchup being bad, its other matchups are more weird than anything else. It can beat almost anything with Special Energies, and that’s definitely a good thing, but when it comes to decks like Arceus / Inteleon that are able to avoid Double Turbo Energy after their first turn, things get more complicated. Lucario comes in here and needs to do enough damage to take KOs, but Dunsparce can cause problems, and you probably won’t be able to use Lucario’s VSTAR Power, as Starbirth is going to be necessary in the early game.

All in all, this deck is certainly very good into the right meta, and if you hit the right matchups, you’re definitely going to be able to go far in an event. Lucario VSTAR could end up being the wrong Fighting partner for the deck, but there are certainly many situations where being able to do 240 damage is far superior to doing 180. 

 

PTCGO Code

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

##Pokémon - 17

* 3 Arceus V BRS 122
* 2 Bidoof BRS 120
* 2 Bibarel BRS 121
* 2 Arceus VSTAR BRS 176
* 1 Lucario V PR-SW 213
* 1 Lucario V CPA 27
* 2 Lucario VSTAR PR-SW 214
* 2 Whimsicott V BRS 64
* 2 Whimsicott VSTAR BRS 65

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 4 Quick Ball FST 237
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 3 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 3 Marnie PR-SW 121
* 3 Professor's Research CEL 23
* 3 Boss's Orders RCL 189
* 2 Choice Belt BRS 135
* 1 Big Charm RCL 206
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 213
* 1 Escape Rope BUS 163
* 1 Switch PRC 163
* 2 Path to the Peak CRE 148
* 1 Training Court RCL 169
* 2 Raihan EVS 152

##Energy - 11

* 4 Double Turbo Energy BRS 151
* 4 Fighting Energy BLW 110
* 3 Psychic Energy HS 119

Total Cards - 60

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

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This one is probably the worst deck here, but at the same time has the most potential to beat the most decks. Between Whimsicott, Arcues and Lucario, you have answers to most of the decks in the format, while also not being too inconsistent.

Whimsicott VSTAR (175/172)

Admittedly, playing three different VSTAR lines isn’t the most comfortable thing ever, but they each serve their own purpose and can apply broadly to many different matchups. Whimsicott is the one that’s probably the least relevant, but it has the potential to completely run through any Rapid Strike Urshifu decks that you run across. Very few things are actually able to OHKO a Whimsicott VSTAR, and at worst, you should be able to trade evenly with any other VSTAR or VMAXs, while also disrupting what cards they’re able to play down. Whimsicott also has a rather interesting VSTAR Power that lest you snipe whatever you want as long as you have enough Energy attached. 

In a similar vein to the last deck, this one takes a rough matchup into Malamar, but there’s at least some hope for this one, as Whimsicott can potentially buy a turn or two depending on how well they draw and if they’re able to maximize the potential of their Psychic Energies. Mew is probably the matchup where this version struggles the most as well, since you don’t have anything that can OHKO a Mew, and you also don’t have any way to actually disrupt Energies once they’re in play. If your opponent gets greedy and attacks into an Arceus V on their first turn with Meloetta, there will be some games that you’re able to outright win if their fourth Fusion Energy is in their hand or their Prize cards, so it’s not like the matchup is entirely hopeless. If you’re able to get two Whimsicott VSTAR in play and attacking into the right targets, it is entirely possible to outright win the matchup. 

 

Header - Final Thoughts

All three of these decks have the potential to do well in the right circumstances, and while I might not be considering the Whimsicott version for EUIC, the first two lists are still well within range of being something I end up playing. I’m really excited to see where Lucario VSTAR ends up once it gets the extra support from the next set, and I think there’s a ton of potential for the card to be very good. I know this article was a bit different than what I usually write, but that was because for the most part, these decks have been sort of covered without Lucario VSTAR in them, and they play the same as they did beforehand, just with a different Fighting type Pokemon. 

As always, if you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to PM me with them and I’ll try and answer them. Good luck to everyone playing in EUIC this weekend, and I’ll see you next time!

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