The Pokemon TCG Meta Snapshot is an article that aims to encapsulate the state of the meta for a given 1 month period.
The Pokemon TCG Meta Snapshot also aims to rank decks in a somewhat lesser tier system. The tiers that we will use are as follows:
Tier 1: Highly Competitive Meta Decks. 10% or more of tops based on Limitless Online Tournament Platform deck spread and/or at least WIN a big official event once (Regionals, Internationals, or Special Event).
Tier 2: Semi-Competitive Meta Decks. Less than 10% of tops are based on the Limitless Online Tournament Platform deck spread.
Tier 3: Semi-Competitive non-Meta/Rogue decks. 1-2 tops. Specifically includes decks that only top small events or get lower rankings at medium events. Can also include decks that can potentially top but have not yet in a given format.
Tier 4: Casually Competitive non-Meta decks. Decks that can compete at the local level, but cannot top an event.
Tops = 1st - 8th place.
With Brilliant Stars release in February, Arceus VSTAR is already considered the centre of the format alongside Mew VMAX. The deck is running the Inteleon engine which becomes a very strong engine with the release of ‘Quick Shooting’ Inteleon. It is considered to be the strongest engine where almost any deck can adapt it. Then, the goal here is to attack like usual but because you have Big Charm and Cheren’s Care, you can have some survivability options to your deck. Galarian Moltres was also introduced late into this deck as an option to counter Mew VMAX.
Table of Contents
The God of the Pokemon Universe, ‘The Original One’, Arceus now in the form of Pokemon VSTAR. Its attack, ‘Trinity Nova’ with 3 colourless energy as its attack cost, can make you do an easy 2-turn attachment using Double Turbo Energy or even do an easy 1 turn acceleration using Melony. Then, ‘Trinity Nova’ allows you to deal 200 damage while accelerating 3 energy from your deck to your Pokemon V in any way you like. This is a very strong attack considering that you can easily charge another Arceus VSTAR or another Pokemon V that has 2 or 3 energy as their attack cost.
Then, its VSTAR Power, ‘Star Birth’, allows you to search for 2 cards from your deck. It is currently the most broken VSTAR Power because you can have an easy 2 Computer Search at a time. It can easily turn the course of the game to your favour or help you set up your board in the early game. Yes, you can’t use it if the board have Path to the Peak in play, but because VSTAR Power can only be used once, Path to the Peak has no Pokemon to disrupt (in case you are not playing another Rule Box Pokemon with an ability or another Arceus VSTAR) after you already used it. You can also bump Path to the Peak with another stadium card or use Pumpkaboo so you can easily make your VSTAR Power back online.
This is a very solid card to have and because Arceus VSTAR is ‘F’ in the rotation block, you can have a pretty good 2-3 years' time playing it before it rotates. Most of the time, not only the top player, brings a 4-3 line of Arceus VSTAR in their deck if they play the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon variant. Then, if they play another deck variant, they usually bring at least a 1-1 line just to utilize its VSTAR Power or even try to attack with it if their main attacker is facing a weakness matchup. You should at least have 3-3 lines because you never know when you want to use it and if the price will go down.
In this deck, we are using the Inteleon engine. It serves as our exact searcher because Shady Dealings allows us to search for 1 (Drizzile) or 2 (Inteleon) Trainer cards from your deck. This is a very strong combo because most of the time we will be having at least 2 Sobble/Drizzile on our bench while we activate the Shady Dealings ability. You can pretty much search through all your deck and this scenario can actually be your winning condition. You can search from searchers (Ultra Ball, Level Ball, etc.) to supporters (Melony, Professor’s Research, Klara, etc.) or even stadiums (Path to the Peak, Training Court, etc.). This is a very strong engine if I must say and one of the most competitive engines besides the Genesect V engine for the Fusion Strike decks. But, not only 'Shady Dealings' Inteleon that we use here. 'Quick Shooting' Inteleon is sometimes being used because it can easily do a 20 damage snipe every turn and it can add up pretty nice because you can do a surprise knockout to some basic Pokemon V.
Not only the Shady Dealings is the strong part, but Sobble’s attack, Keep Calling, is also considered to be a great attack because it can really help you set up your Sobble without the help of using Quick Ball or other searchers.
Most of the decks bring a 4-4-3 line where the 3 Inteleon consist of 2 ‘Shady Dealings’ Inteleon and 1 ‘Quick Shooting’ Inteleon. But lately, some decks that play Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon variant only bring 2 copies of Inteleon where all of them can be the ‘Shady Dealings’ Inteleon or split equally between the ‘Quick Shooting’ one. I will give the example for this scenario in the “Winners’ Decklist” below.
Dunsparce, who would have thought that this card gain a lot of popularity because of Arceus VSTAR. Its ability allows our colourless Pokemon to not get hit by weakness. This is a very strong ability considering you are playing Arceus VSTAR as your main or only attacker. It is also a basic Pokemon so you can call it easily by using Quick Ball, Ultra Ball, or even Battle VIP Pass. However, because this is a single-prize Pokemon, Dunsparce may easily get sniped. If it managed to get knocked and you are facing a Fighting-type deck, you may want quickly find a recycle card so your Arceus VSTAR can be saved from getting hit for weakness.
Most of the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon decks only bring 1 or 2 copies of Dunsparce in their deck because not all the time they are facing a Fighting-type deck.
Next up we have the latest addition to the deck, Galarian Moltres. Be it the non-V or the V one, Galarian Moltres is one of the answers for the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon deck to deal with the Mew VMAX deck.
If we look at the Galarian Moltres, its ability allows us to accelerate up to 2 energy from our hand to itself if we place it on the bench. It looks pretty decent if you just look at its ability only. But if you look at the bigger picture, it can easily be combined with Klara where you can have easy recycling and acceleration in a single turn without the need to use up your energy attachment slot. Then, its attack is a pretty solid one if you are facing a Mew VMAX deck because it depends on your opponent’s prize cards count. Usually, the Mew VMAX deck try to do a quick knockout using Meloetta and that makes them take an easy 2 to 3 prize card early. If you count that prize cards with Galarian Moltres’s attack, you can deal an easy 240-340 damage (x2 weakness) to Mew V/VMAX or Meloetta so you can take an easy knockout. You can also try to knock Genesect because if you use Choice Belt, you can deal 200 damage to Genesect V (170+3). However, you need to remember that this card is played far off into the late game where your opponent already takes at least 2-3 prize cards because that’s where Galarian Moltres's attack starts to scale up pretty nicely. Arceus VSTAR also helps you in this kind of situation because it only gives the opponent 2 Prize Cards so you can have more time to set up and if they have already taken 4 Prize cards, you can do an easy 220 damage. It is usually enough for you to take a knockout because most of the time your opponent is already damaged. This is a very interesting and great card for you to have and most of the time, people who play Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon deck, only bring 1-2 copies of Galarian Moltres in their deck because they can utilize Klara to recycle.
Then we have Galarian Moltres V. Since its release, some Dark-type decks or even Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX decks try to put at least one Galarian Moltres V in their deck to counter any Pokemon that is weak to Dark-type. It is a very efficient way to counter because its ability is an easy acceleration to itself. However, you can only use it once per turn. That is not a bad thing because you can do an easy 2-turn energy attachment. Its attack is also in the range of OHKO any Pokemon that is weak to Dark-type. You can also knock Arceus V if you use Choice Belt so it is also a great attack to have. Then, since it is a Pokemon V, Arceus V/VSTAR can charge Galarian Moltres V so you don’t have to rely on its ability too often.
It is a very great card to have and most of the time, people who play Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon deck, only bring 1 copy or even do not bring it at all because sometimes they already rely on the non-V one.
Along with Arceus VSTAR, Inteleon, and Galarian Moltres, there are a bunch of Pokemon that can fit in with this deck quite comfortably. I’ll explain the card usage and the example of the decklist will be in the “Winners’ Decklist” section.
First off we have Pumpkaboo. Its ability is very useful because right now, the format is filled with Path to the Peak and it can easily disrupt your Arceus VSTAR from using its VSTAR Power. It is a single-prize Pokemon and you can easily search it using Level Ball or Quick Ball. You can also save it from getting sniped by using Scoop Up Net.
Then, Manaphy will be the second Pokemon that comes to mind. Its ability is similar to Mew from Unbroken Bonds because it can prevent any damage done to our benched Pokemon. It is a single-prize Pokemon that can be summoned with Level Ball or Quick Ball. It will sit comfortably on your bench while preventing you from getting sniped.
Some decks also play Galarian Zigzagoon. Its ability allows you to do 10 damage to any Pokemon. It is not much, but in the long run, 10 damage is all you need to make a knockout. It is also a single-prize Pokemon so you can use Scoop Up Net on Galarian Zigzagoon so you can use its ability the second time. You just need to beware of snipe decks because you can give an easy prize card to your opponent.
Other than that, there are many more Pokemon that can be used in Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon decks. But most of the time, these 3 are the most used in the decks other than Galarian Moltres.
Path to the Peak
Path to the Peak is one of the most important stadiums in the format right now. Its effect can easily shut down Arceus VSTAR, Crobat V, Genesect V, and another Rule Box Pokemon that has an ability. It is very disruptive and this deck plays it. Yes, you will be shutting down your VSTAR Power but once you already use it, this will be one of the most disruptive cards you have in the deck.
Most of the time, people bring 2-4 copies of Path to the Peak in the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon deck because other than Arceus VSTAR, there is no Rule Box Pokemon that has an ability. You also can utilize the Inteleon engine while you are playing Path to the Peak because it is not a Rule Box Pokemon.
Now, let’s jump into some of the winners’ decklist that play this variant.
First, we have Bruno Sermann who take 1st Place in São Paulo Regionals back on April 2-3 2022.
Looking at the Pokemon lineup, it is pretty straightforward because the deck fully utilize Arceus VSTAR and the Inteleon engine to play the Melony route. Then, Galarian Zigzagoon is an addition to increase the damage output. One thing that you may take note of here is that Bruno uses only 1 ‘Shady Dealings’ Inteleon and 1 ‘Quick Shooting’ Inteleon. I think this is due to deck space while he utilizes more on the Drizzile where Bruno brings 4 copies of Drizzile.
Then looking at the supporter cards lineup, most of them consist of 2 copies of supporters where Melony and Raihan are the only 1 copy in the deck. I think this is a pretty safe lineup of supporters because if you only bring 1 copy, the chance of being prized is quite high and if you bring 3 copies, it will make the deck imbalance in terms of drawing chance. This deck also plays Pal Pad so you can easily play your supporter card and then recycle it back using Pal Pad.
Now let’s take a look at the supporter cards one by one:
Professor’s Research: This is a pretty powerful drawing card where you can easily draw a fresh 7 cards from the deck. You can also safely discard your cards because you have 3 recycling cards (Pal Pad, Melony, Raihan).
Marnie: This is one of the must-have supporter cards if you want to play a bit of disruption in your deck. This card can also be used if you don’t want to play Professor’s Research because you can’t afford to discard all of your cards.
Boss’s Orders: The most straightforward gust card. This can be your easy winning condition card.
Cheren’s Care: The latest card from Brilliant Stars. This card’s effect is the same as Acerola but only for Colorless Pokemon. Arceus VSTAR is a Colorless Pokemon so it will be a great addition to the deck to help you survive more turns.
Melony: In this deck, Melony will be the energy accelerator from your Discard Pile. It also helps you to draw cards as well so it is a win-win condition although the 3 cards draw can be a very bad draw.
Raihan: It is another form of energy accelerator but instead of drawing cards, you can easily search for a card from your deck. This will be very helpful if you want to retaliate.
Then for the searcher cards, it is a very standard searcher for Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon deck because Quick Ball, Evolution Incense, and Level Ball are pretty much all you need to set up your board. But with Brilliant Stars release, you will get Ultra Ball that can boost your consistency. These 4 searchers are all you need in this deck to run consistently. As for Ultra Ball and Evolution Incense, some decks like Bruno’s, don’t play a full copy of these cards because not only you can get your evolution cards from your draw but when you use Shady Dealings, you can exactly search for this card so you don’t need to maximize your chance to have a full copy of the cards. As for Quick Ball and Level Ball, it is mandatory to have as much as you can because you want to set up Sobble and Arceus VSTAR on your board.
Bruno also plays Big Charm. Big Charm suddenly becomes a very hot topic in the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon variant because it can increase Arceus VSTAR’s survivability. It is a very great card because it can probably make Arceus VSTAR survive 3 turns. But, it's not all about defending. Bruno also brings a 1 Choice belt into the deck to increase damage output for Arceus VSTAR. I think this is a pretty standard and safe composition because right now Mew VMAX can easily do an OHKO to your Arceus VSTAR, having Big Charm is becoming a priority than having additional damage from Choice Belt. But, Choice Belt is still included in the deck in case you are not facing any big damager deck or you are sure that you cannot survive even if you already attach Big Charm so you go for the attack mode and Choice Belt is surely a big help in this case.
Now let’s talk about the stadium cards. Bruno plays 2 copies of Path to the Peak, this is a very low count if you only look at Path to the Peak. But, Bruno plays another stadium card which is Collapsed Stadium. This card can be very powerful because not only you can limit your opponent’s bench Pokemon, but you can also save your Pokemon as well. If your bench is full and your Arceus VSTAR or Inteleon is already damaged on the bench and you can’t afford to give any more Prize Cards, playing Collapsed Stadium can be a way to save your Pokemon. Playing that sequence can help your board to clear up damaged Pokemon (although only 1) so you can have a solid board with a healthy Pokemon while ready to attack.
Last but not least, energy. Because Bruno plays Melony, Water energy is the way to go here. Double Turbo Energy is also being played here because you can easily have a manual 2-turn attachment to Arceus VSTAR and you can also attack with Inteleon.
This is a very solid Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon deck by Bruno Sermann and it’s not a stroke of mere luck that Bruno won the São Paulo Regionals with this deck.
Next up we have Kashvinder Singh who won 1st place in Rambo’s Rumble on April 18, 2022.
Kashvinder’s approach to the deck is quite different from Bruno’s deck. This time, Kashvinder use Dark energy and adds Crobat VMAX & Galarian Moltres. Also, Manaphy is being integrated into the deck as well. Kashvinder also replaces Melony with Klara while reducing Choice Belt and Big Charm. Then looking at the supporter count, Kashvinder reduces Cheren’s Care but still keeps Pal Pad and Raihan. You guys can also see that Kashvinder decides to play Training Court instead of Collapsed Stadium. I think this is a reasonable option because you can use Training Court to help you fuel up Galarian Moltres or even to do an easy energy attachment without the need to dig your deck for an energy card.
Then, you can also see that Kashvinder decided to cut down the Drizzile count and go for only 1 Inteleon. It is a pretty bold move if I must say but looking at Kashvinder's perspective, I think that the deck flow is not pushing the Inteleon line to go evolve all the way to Inteleon and Inteleon is being an option that you can choose to evolve. It also comes down to deck space because you can only bring 60 cards to the deck and the deck is already filled with many useful cards. I kind of like it because you will be relying on Drizzile more while recycling it over and over using Scoop Up Net.
In my opinion, this deck is also very solid when compared to Bruno’s deck. But I think the hard part in this deck is charging Crobat VMAX. Yes, you can easily do that if you are using Arceus VSTAR. But still, without Dark Patch, accelerating 3 energies can sometimes prove to be hard. However, if you look at its first attack, it can be a very good attack if you decide to play a hide-and-seek mechanism. Then, having only 1 copy of Big Charm and Choice Belt is very risky because you will have to bear the risk of those 2 getting prized.
But in the end, this deck is proved to be winning in the event and Kashvinder is by no means having a lucky streak in this tournament. It all comes down to training and perfecting this deck.
Last, we have a very unique variation of the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon deck that is played by kitneras y who got 2nd place in Late Night #36 on April 26, 2022.
As you guys can see, kitneras decide to play Beedrill! The deck approach is quite similar to Bruno’s deck but the different thing here is that you can also utilize Single Strike Mustard to call Beedrill. Beedrill can easily knockout any Pokemon that has Special Energy attached and that can be Arceus VSTAR, Mew VMAX, or even Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. However, pulling things off can be quite hard because you need to have zero cards in hand in order to play Single Strike Mustard. But because you can combine Arceus VSTAR’s VSTAR Power and Shady Dealings from Drizzile or Inteleon, things can be easier because you can try to thin your hand by playing cards or even search for Single Strike Mustard. Talking about Shady Dealings, kitneras also decides to go with the 1-1 route of Inteleon like Bruno did. But the only thing different here is that kitneras cut down the Drizzile number to 3. I think the reason is almost the same with Kashvinder and also the deck space is quite limited.
Then looking at its supporter lineup, you can see that it is quite unique in terms of card count. Marnie is reduced to 1 copy while kitneras decides to play Avery. kitneras also reduce Cheren’s Care because, in this deck, you can also attack with Beedrill so you are not always attacking with Arceus VSTAR. Then, we go back to Avery, it is a very strong card if you are facing a full-bench deck like Mew VMAX because it can easily shrink their bench size and most of the time, Mew VMAX deck has no Pokemon recovery cards in the deck. Besides limiting the bench space you also get to draw 3 cards, it is not much but combines it with the bench limit effect, you guys definitely should try it.
kitneras also decides to play Ordinary Rod as some sort of his recycling method. Then kitneras also have 1 copy of Capture Energy because the composition is quite heavy on evolution Pokemon. The deck also play with Grass energy while leaving 1 Water energy so you can still attack with Inteleon. This is a very great deck if you manage to pull off Beedrill and attack with it because most of the decks right now play Special Energy (Arceus VSTAR, Mew VMAX, Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, Rapid Strike Malamar).
Those 3 are some of the examples of what the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon variant has. You can try to play it around those 3 variants and come up with a stronger combo. You should definitely experiment with the deck because playing Arceus VSTAR is very fun.
Then we come up to the tier conclusion. As you guys can see from the “Winners’ Decklist” above, this deck is definitely always hanging in the Tier 1 area. But if you look at the Limitless Online Tournament Platform’s deck spread, it is still below the 10% threshold to be called Tier 1 area. Yes, this is mainly because people tend to play Mew VMAX who is more consistent in terms of draw power and can hit bigger than Arceus VSTAR. Then because people always try to come up with how to counter the Mew VMAX deck, Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon seems to be the best choice to face it.
The deck also proves its position in the format by winning São Paulo Regionals. Yes, the meta is more diverse because Brilliant Stars really shape the format quite well and Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon can be considered to be the best option to play if you don’t want to play Mew VMAX. It all comes down to how the deck composition works and with a little bit of luck so you can make this deck a very solid winning deck.
I will give the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon deck a solid Tier 1 although sometimes consistency wise, I still think this deck is a little bit struggling if you have a late set-up.
What do you guys think about Arceus VSTAR and Inteleon? Going through the DEF rotation block, this deck will definitely have some issues in the upcoming years. But to overcome that, I think people will try to play with Bibarel. Yes, you will lose a lot of momentum and damage because you cannot utilize ‘Quick Shooting’ anymore. But that’s the part of the game because every card comes and goes. The important part is how you manage to seize the moment.
This is a very new project on Pokemoncard.io and I really appreciate all the feedback. I plan to do this on a monthly basis so you can at least grasp what is happening over the month and I think it is a very safe cycle time considering that our set is not released once a month so you guys can still see how the format goes.
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There may be some mistakes and missing points of review in this writing. Please kindly comment to share your correction and point of view too.