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What to Buy from Brilliant Stars

Hey everyone! We’re back in one of the most exciting times to play the Pokemon TCG, the release of a new set! Brilliant Stars is just on the horizon and is premiering a brand-new mechanic: VSTAR Pokemon! We’re also just on the cusp of large in-person tournaments returning, something which I and many others have been patiently looking forward to for the past two years. However, in-person tournaments mean we’ll be back to playing with paper cards and will have to buy them. Something that always comes up before a new set is which cards to buy and which cards not to buy, which is the purpose of my article today! I’m going to go over all the relevant cards from Brilliant Stars and sort them into how likely I am to buy them, whether the card appears to be a format staple or just has some potential.

 

 

Header - Format Staples

These are the cards I would look at acquiring first, they will see play and will immediately impact the Standard format.

2 Lumineon V

Lumineon V (156/172)

This ability on this card is what makes it so impactful. Variations of this ability have been seen in the past from Jirachi EX and Tapu Lele GX and they have always had their place in the top performing deck lists

Jirachi EX (98/101)Tapu Lele GX (155/145)

Right now, I’m only planning on picking up two copies of Lumineon V. A lot of the current decks in Standard don’t even use Crobat V, which has a similar ability, but Lumineon V will be played at some point in the future so it’s absolutely worth buying.

1 Manaphy

Manaphy (041/172)

When the format rotated to Sword & Shield on last September, one of the biggest losses was Mew UNB and its Bench Barrier ability

Mew (76/214)Jolteon VMAX (051/203)

Manaphy’s Wave Veil ability is the same as bench barrier and fills the role Mew used to fill of protecting benched Pokemon from sniping attacks such as the one on Jolteon VMAX. Only one Manaphy will be all that’s needed as its attack is next to useless, so I’m only buying one copy for now.

3-2 Bibarel

Bibarel (121/172)

Pokemon which draw cards have always seen success in Pokemon, and Bibarel will be no exception. Efficient Front Teeth is the same as the Abyssal Hand ability on Octillery BKT and will see play.

Octillery (33/162)

Being able to draw two or three cards once per turn with one evolved Pokemon is an incredible asset to one-prize decks and multi-prize decks alike. I would pick up a 3-2 line; cards like Bibarel only saw play as a 2-2 line, but I could see a 3-2 line being played at some point.

4-4 Arceus VSTAR

Arceus VSTAR (184/172)

Arceus VSTAR was the first VSTAR card revealed is the poster child for the new mechanic, and it does not disappoint. Starbirth is an incredible ability which helps any deck which can include Arcues VSTAR. Searching for any two cards makes Arceus VSTAR even worth it as a bench sitter when you don’t intend to attack with it! The attack is nothing to scoff at either, reminiscent of Ultimate Ray on Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX, Trinity Nova will be used to power up Pokemon V in several different decks.

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX (258/236)

The attack on the basic Arceus V has the same text as Trinity Nova as well, making Arceus VSTAR an incredible lead for any deck which chooses to play it! While there isn’t an obvious deck to include Arceus VSTAR in, it is such a powerful card that it is bound to be useful at some point and worth picking up a full 4-4 line.

4 Ultra Ball

Ultra Ball (186/172)

This will arguably be the most impactful card released with this set, and you might already have it! Ultra Ball is being reintroduced to Standard after rotating in 2019 and it will have a major impact right away. Being able to search out any Pokemon is an incredible asset to any deck. While discarding two cards seems like a downside at first, it can be a benefit when paired with cards that synergize with the discard pile such as Metal Saucer or Flaaffy EVS.

Metal Saucer (214/202)Flaaffy (055/203)Genesect V (255/264)

In Standard, lowering your hand size with Ultra Ball also synergizes well with the Mew VMAX / Genesect V deck as their game plan is to constantly lower and refresh their hand with Fusion Strike System. Ultra Ball is a card I would immediately buy four if you don’t already have older copies.

4 Choice Belt

Choice Belt (135/172)

This is like an older card, Choice Band, and is going to immediately be played.

Choice Band (121/145)

Adding 30 damage to all attacks done to Pokemon V is huge and pushes several attacks into different knockout ranges. A lot of older Pokemon which were discarded because their attacks didn’t hit enough damage can be re-examined now with the release of Choice Belt. Overall, Choice Belt will have a heavy impact on the metagame and increases the potential of a ton of older cards, it is worth picking up four copies.

4 Double Turbo Energy

Double Turbo Energy (151/172)

Last for this section, we have another card which is like an older card. Double Turbo Energy calls back to Double Colorless Energy and like Twin Energy, is a slightly weaker alternative to the older card.

Twin Energy (209/192)Double Colorless Energy (111/119)

However, the downside on Double Turbo Energy means it still can be used on Pokemon V, which allows for a ton of older Pokemon V to be re-examined. The first card which comes to mind is Arceus VTSAR with it’s attack costing three colorless energy to use. The downside of your Pokemon doing 20 less damage can be negated using Choice Belt and is overall a fair downside to having instant access to two colorless energy. Double Turbo Energy will see play somewhere and is worth grabbing four copies of.

 

Header - Has Potential

These cards are less impactful than the format staples but still have serious potential to see high-level play, these have a slightly lower priority but are still worth looking into.

4 Collapsed Stadium

Collapsed Stadium (137/172)

Collapsed Stadium is a card with potential. Reducing the bench size to four has been seen before with Sudowoodo GRI but was never a staple in any Standard deck.

Sudowoodo (66/145)

In the current Standard format, Collapsed Stadium could be played as an answer to the Mew VMAX / Genesect V deck by reducing their bench size. However, Path to the Peak already exists and is a better answer to Mew VMAX / Genesect V since it shuts off their ability entirely instead of just weakening it.

Path to the Peak (148/198)

Maybe Collapsed Stadium could see play in something like Duraludon VMAX which wants to keep its own ability, but Duraludon VMAX already uses Crystal Cave so it wouldn’t be a great fit there. Overall, Collapsed Stadium has some potential, enough that I would pick up four if I had a specific idea of where to use it.

4 Cynthia’s Ambition

Cynthia's Ambition (178/172)

Cynthia’s Ambition is a throwback to an older card, Cynthia’s Feelings.

Cynthia's Feelings (131/146)Bruno (121/163)

However, there is currently a card in Standard which fills a similar role, Bruno. Bruno is a shuffle draw supporter while Cynthia’s Ambition just adds to your hand size, making Bruno slightly more effective at seeing new cards. Cynthia’s Ambition could see play in addition to Bruno in a one-prize deck or start seeing more play once Bruno rotates out of Standard, so it may be worth buying for a one-prize deck in the future.

2 Moltres, 4 Entei V, 4 Magma Basin

Moltres (021/173)Entei V (022/172)Magma Basin (185/172)

These three cards combine to fill an engine which could see play in the Standard format. Entei V echoes Sylveon V in it’s design but has 20 more HP and one more retreat cost. However, unlike Suicune V, Entei V doesn’t have to be powered up through a supporter card like Melony, it gets to use its stadium to do that: Magma Basin.

Suicune V (173/203)Melony (218/198)

This makes Entei V fill a similar role to Suicune V but with the freedom to play more powerful supporter cards such as Boss’s Orders and Professor’s Research. There is also Moltres, which can supplement Entei V’s attacks as a one-prize attacker, and its attack condition is also easily filled by Magma Basin. One issue I have found with using Entei V is that it’s tough to constantly switch your attacker from the bench to the active as Magma Basin only attaches to benched Pokemon.

Overall, there is a change this Fire engine could become a deck of its own, but with the increased amount of space in your taken up by Magma Basin and switching cards, it is possible that Suicune V stays the primary two-prize attacker in the format. I would buy these cards if you wanted to be safe in case a powerful fire deck is discovered, or you liked playing Suicune V and want to try a different version of that card.

4-3 Floatzel

Floatzel (039/172)

Floatzel has an attack which has seen a high amount of play and was even banned at one point, Junk Hunt from Sableye DEX.

Sableye (62/108)Darkrai EX (107/108)

During its heyday, Sableye was paired with Darkrai EX and formed a midrange attacking deck. However, Sableye got banned for its ability to loop Junk Hunt in a control deck, which is where Floatzel would see its home. Control decks haven’t been played very often since the rotation to Sword & Shield on, but the existence of Floatzel may re-ignite control in Standard. I would pick up a full line of Floatzel if you are looking to play control in the new format, but it is likely a card you could skip over. 

4 Gloria

Gloria (TG26/TG30)

Gloria is a much-needed support card for decks which use single prize Pokemon. It’s effect of searching out multiple basic Pokemon and putting them into play is like several older cards, and synergizes well with one of the most anticipated cards of this set; Lumineon V.

However, the current rules of Pokemon TCG prevent supporter cards from being used on the first turn of the game which hurts setup cards such as Gloria immensely. Having to wait until your second turn to use Gloria puts you at a disadvantage against this extremely fast Standard format and is another reason to just stick to using a plethora of Ball search cards rather than setup supporters. If you’re thinking of playing slower, more setup-oriented single-prize decks, then Gloria is an incredible card to pick up, but the first turn rule makes it difficult to break through against the top Standard decks.

4 Pot Helmet

Pot Helmet (146/172)

This card supports defensive single prize Pokemon, which haven’t had much of a place in Standard lately. Taking 30 less damage isn’t insignificant though, which makes Pot Helmet have definite potential to see play. However, the metagame would need to be in a very specific place for this to happen. Right now, most decks are trying to build up to take one-hit knockouts on Pokemon VMAX which have over 300 HP and Pot Helmet wouldn’t be able to save any of the current single prize Pokemon. Potentially an older card could be found which is revitalized by Pot Helmet, but this seems unlikely given the power of multi prize Pokemon. 

4 Roseanne’s Backup

Roseanne's Backup (180/172)

Roseanne’s Backup has a ton of potential as a card which can recover almost any resource. Being able to recover Stadiums and Special Energy is very rare, so a card which has the option to recover both, as well as Tools and Pokemon, should always be given a second look. However, Roseanne’s Backup is a supporter card and shuffles the cards into your deck, which make it weaker than the current options we have of Ordinary Rod and Klara.

Ordinary Rod (215/202)Klara (217/198)

I could see Roseanne’s Backup being utilized for recovering Special Energy or Stadium cards as options to recover those tend to be very slim but outside of that it is just outclassed by the current options we have in Standard.

 

Header - Wrapping Up

Overall, Brilliant Stars is shaping up to be a set which impacts the metagame in many small ways. While there isn’t an immediately obvious new deck which stands out, the current decks all must adapt to play with or against the new cards releasing in Brilliant Stars. I’m looking forward to practicing this new format and eventually playing it at the upcoming Regional Championships, hopefully I’ll see some of you there!

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