Battle Styles comes with plenty of new cards, new archetypes to explore and old ones to update – that’s a lot to do! Assuming you have the new cards, of course…
There are probably some of you reading this who don’t have Battle Styles cards. Maybe you’re waiting for the prices of codes (or the exchange rate of the cards themselves online) to lessen, maybe you’ve ordered a booster box but didn’t receive it yet or maybe you did open some Battle Styles packs but what you opened wasn’t helpful to build the deck of your dreams. No matter the reason, you’re stuck with the same old decks as before. I’ve been in this situation before myself, both in Pokemon and other TCGs. The good news is even if you’re playing the same cards, the game has changed. You’re likely to play against different archetypes, which means that your games will be different. Some old decks will still perform very well (or better) than before the new set, while some others won’t be so lucky. Many decks will just need some adjustments to adapt to the new format.
In this article, I’ll give some ideas and decklists that you can play while you start grinding for Battle Styles cards. I’ll avoid recommending any new cards, but I’ll make an exception for some old cards that got reprinted in Battle Styles (Escape Rope, Level Ball and Exp. Share). These cards have been on PTCGO for a long time, so it’s not unlikely that you already own some of them. Even if you don’t, they’re only uncommons, so you should be able to easily trade for them.
The first few days of a new set can be chaotic. Many players will be trying new decks, good and bad, while neglecting other archetypes (unless they don’t have any new cards themselves). It’s too early to say definitively what will catch on, especially before any major events have taken place; what’s more, it only takes one video on a unique new deck by a popular player to unleash a torrent of copycats. Remember how popular Whimsicott was briefly at the start of the Vivid Voltage format? The deck has been basically abandoned now as players figured it wasn’t good enough, but for a while, the combination of novelty and uniqueness (Whimsicott being a low HP, one-Prize, Stage 1 attacker) made it ubiquitous, after players such as AzulGG used it on stream and in videos.
That said, even if I can’t tell you with certainty what you’ll be facing, there are some obvious ideas. Single Strike and Rapid Strike cards are the big new thing in Battle Styles and there’s no doubt that players will build decks around them. Expect to play against both Urshifu VMAX, since they’re the only real attackers to build a Single Strike or Rapid Strike deck around.