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.
This article is written based on the Pokemon GO format.
Arceus VSTAR paired with Flying Pikachu VMAX is already a big hit since Azul win NAIC 2022 using it. But this time, the trend continues by tweaking the deck a little bit by adding Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR as the third attacker.
Arceus, known as "The Original One," the God of the Pokemon Universe, is currently represented by Pokemon VSTAR. Its attack, the "Trinity Nova," costs three colorless energy and can be used to easily attach for two turns with Double Turbo Energy or even accelerate for one turn with an energy acceleration engine. Then, using "Trinity Nova," you can accelerate 3 energy from your deck to your Pokemon V however you wish while dealing 200 damage. Given that you can easily charge another Arceus VSTAR or another Pokemon V with an attack cost of two or three energies, this is an extremely powerful attack.
Then, its VSTAR Power, 'Star Birth,' allows you to search your deck for two cards. It is now one of the most broken VSTAR Power since it allows you to have 2 Computer Search at the same time. It can quickly change the course of the game or assist you in setting up your board in the early game. Yes, you can't use it if Path to the Peak is in play, but because VSTAR Power can only be used once, Path to the Peak has no Pokemon to disrupt once you've used it (assuming you're not playing another Rule Box Pokemon with an ability or another Arceus VSTAR). 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.
You can play this card for a good two to three years before it rotates because Arceus VSTAR is in the rotation block with the letter "F." When playing the Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon version, most players—not just the top one—bring a 4-3 line of Arceus VSTAR in their deck. Other players who deploy a different deck version typically bring around 3-2 or a 4-2 line or even only a 1-1 line in order to make use of its VSTAR Power or even attempt an attack if their primary attacker is up against a weakness matchup.
I think you ought to have at least 3-3 lines even when you don’t play Arceus VSTAR because you never know when you'll need them and whether the price for the card will decrease in the future because this card is very versatile.
Flying Pikachu VMAX
Next up we have the Big Pik! Flying Pikachu VMAX suddenly become a very hot topic after Azul started to play it from the Milwaukee Regional and won the NAIC 2022 with Flying Pikachu VMAX. It has almost everything that you need to win against Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR because of its weakness. Let’s look closely at the card.
Starting from its HP, 310HP is a very solid HP if you are facing a VSTAR Pokemon because I believe there are only a few Pokemon VSTAR that can knock a Pokemon VMAX in one hit (not counting weakness) and they also need some damage booster such as Choice Belt or Radiant Hawlucha. This means that you can survive by playing Flying Pikachu VMAX in about 2-3 turns depending on your opponent’s Pokemon. It is very important these days because you can prolong your game while attacking your opponent rather than losing your Pokemon whereas in the worst case you haven’t attacked with it.
Then looking at its type and weakness, I think this can be a very conditional type because its type is Lightning-type where you can knock Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR in one attack but because its weakness is the same, you can meet a mirror match and hope your Flying Pikachu VMAX not getting knocked in a single hit by your opponent’s Flying Pikachu VMAX. But because Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR is still more popular (I can’t say the same thing next month), you may rarely meet Flying Pikachu VMAX or another Lightning-type Pokemon such as Boltund VMAX, Vikavolt V, or Tapu Koko VMAX.
Now we look at its attack. Max Balloon has a cost of 3 energy where it cost 1 Lightning energy and 2 Colorless energy. In my opinion, it is a very cheap attack if you play with Arceus VSTAR because it means that you want to bring a full copy of Double Turbo Energy. With Double Turbo Energy, you can easily fill up all of your attacker's costs while using Trinity Nova to fill up the rest of the costs. This attack also deals 160 damage which is an easy knockout to all Pokemon with a Lightning-type weakness, especially Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. Even with the damage reduction that you get from Double Turbo Energy, you can still knock out any Pokemon VSTAR in 2 turns or in a single hit when they are weak to Lightning-type.
Flying Pikachu VMAX turns out to be a very solid attacker in the current format. It also has a free retreat cost which means that you can use it as a pivot. This is a very great time to play Flying Pikachu VMAX because the format is filled with Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR and you can take an easy knockout by playing Flying Pikachu VMAX. Even if you meet a mirror match, because your attacker is not only Flying Pikachu VMAX, you can still have some chances to attack with another attacker and take the win.
The amount of Flying Pikachu VMAX line that you need to bring in the deck is actually not that fixed. Some decks even only play a 1-1 line while the others play a 3-2 line. But I think the safe route is still a 2-2 line because you never know when you prized some of it.
Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR
The next Pokemon that we have will be Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR. I actually not that surprised to see Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR winning some tournaments. Why? Because in my experience it is better to bring Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR rather than Crobat VMAX in this current format where Mew VMAX is getting countered really hard by people who usually bring Galarian Moltres in their deck. Also, both Hisuian Decidueye V and Decidueye VSTAR can do many things rather than using Crobat VMAX whereas Crobat V doesn’t do many things other than drawing cards where you can get that from using Bibarel. Yes, in some cases where your area is playing a lot of Mew VMAX, you may want to use Crobat VMAX, but I think for the average matchup, I think it is better to bring Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR in your deck. Let me explain it in this section.
First, let’s see Hisuian Decidueye V. Its first attack is a good way to start your early turn because you can search for any cards from your deck which can help you set up. I think this kind of attack is getting easier to pull because we are seeing fewer Marnie. But I don’t recommend playing it in the late part of the game because not only you can get knocked easily, your opponent may play Roxanne if you are not careful.
Then its next attack is where this card shines. You can get through Miltank’s and Duraludon VMAX’s abilities because the second attack ignores any effects on the opponent’s Active Pokemon. This can be a great attacker if you are facing Miltank, but I somehow doubt it if you face Duraludon VMAX because its attack can knock you out in a single attack. But still, it is a very useful attack in some scenarios.
Then we go into Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR. Its first attack has 3 energy costs with 1 Fighting-type energy and 2 Colorless energy. I think this is a very good attack cost because like I said before, you can use Double Turbo Energy to fill up its attack cost. Then, even with 140 damage, you can still do an OHKO to Arceus VSTAR which is a very efficient way to do it. You can also increase its damage by fulfilling the attack’s effect up to 250(230) damage where you can use Choice Belt to increase your damage so you can knock any Pokemon VSTAR. But, its attack effect is quite hard to meet if you want to do maximum damage because you will rarely have 3 energy cards in your hand unless you use Arceus VSTAR’s VSTAR Power to find those energy cards.
Talking about VSTAR Power, Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR’s VSTAR Power is actually a good one. It is a great one if you have very few cards in your hand and I think in that scenario, you are better off using this VSTAR Power rather than using Star Birth. But things may go very bad if your draw is horrendous. However, I still prefer having more cards in my hand rather than having an exact search especially when I still have Bibarel to play (in case I bring Bibarel).
In some decks, people try to bring only Hisuian Decidueye V to face a Miltank deck. However, some decks also try to bring a 2-2 line of Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR because its attack can easily knock Arceus VSTAR. I think you can try to experiment starting with a 1-1 line of Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR if you are interested in playing it and react accordingly.
Other Things to Consider
Then we have Bibarel. Bibarel is a very powerful draw engine because you can have multiple Bibarel on your bench and use its ability like Genesect V. It is also only a stage-1 Pokemon so you will be having more deck space rather than the Inteleon line. However, the hard part here is if you play multiple evolution Pokemon, you may be having a hard time evolving all of them. But because we bring Arceus VSTAR, things can get much easier because its VSTAR Power can help us to search straight for an evolution Pokemon or a searcher.
As for how many cards you want to bring, I think it is safe to say if you play at least a 1-1 line up until a 2-2 line. If you want to have at least some sense of safety, you may want to bring the 2-2 line as that line is the most used right now.
Ah, Jolteon, this card has been through quite some ups and downs in the format starting with Gyarados VMAX until now. Its ability is very deadly to the Inteleon line because it shuts down any Water-type Pokemon’s ability. However there’s a catch, you need to attach Memory Capsule in order to make your ability work. This seems hard to achieve especially when you need to make space for Memory Capsule and find it at the same time as evolving it. However, you may achieve this by having Arceus VSTAR and a bunch of draw supporters. Yes, you may think this is hard to achieve, but as long as you strategize carefully on what to pick from Star Birth and draw nicely on the draw supporter, I think you can pull this off quite cleanly.
As far as how many cards you want to bring in the deck, I think people start off with having a 1-1 line and they improve it along the way. Some decks also bring a 2-2 line because they can bring Jolteon back in case it is knocked out or prized.
First, we will look at our 2022 World Championship Winner, Ond?ej Škubal. Here is the decklist:
First, we look at the Pokemon list. Ond?ej is playing an Arceus VSTAR/Flying Pikachu VMAX/Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR deck with Bibarel as the draw engine. I think this is a pretty straightforward build where you have Arceus VSTAR and the other Pokemon as the secondary/third attacker. Flying Pikachu VMAX helps the deck to face the Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR deck and other Basic Pokemon because its attack can prevent any damage done to Flying Pikachu VMAX. On the other hand, Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR helps the deck to face Arceus VSTAR and decks like Miltank because Hisuian Decidueye V’s attack can get through Miltank’s ability. You can also use Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR’s VSTAR Power to draw cards although I recommend using Star Birth. As for the other Pokemon, Crobat V and Lumineon V help the deck to draw and find specific cards while Pumpkaboo helps you in case you want to discard a stadium on the board. Ond?ej also brings a 2-2 line of Bibarel which I think is a great number for a Bibarel line. As for the number of cards for each Pokemon, I think this is the perfect number although I still prefer a 2–2 line of Flying Pikachu VMAX. But both of them can be used as a pivot so they can be very useful in some scenarios. Also, the deck list won the 2022 World Championship so I can’t say much.
Ond?ej brings Professor's Research, Boss' Orders, Marnie, and Raihan as supporter cards. Professor's Research is an excellent card because it allows you to draw 7 new cards while discarding your hand. This is a simple yet effective draw supporter because it allows you to draw 7 new cards from your deck. However, you must exercise caution when using Professor's Research since occasionally your hand is too essential to discard all of them. If this occurs, Ond?ej may play Marnie. Because you can shuffle your hand without having to discard it, Marnie is a fantastic supporter of this deck, in my opinion. Marnie also serves as the opponent's hand disruptor because you forced them to shuffle their hand as well. I believe Marnie is still essential in this format because we don't have many early-game hand disruption cards, unlike Roxanne, which you can only play when you are at least in the middle of the game and your opponent has already taken some of the Prize cards. In terms of Boss's Orders, I believe this card is quite simple. Gusting is still required in this deck because you lack gusting cards other than Boss's Orders. Lastly, Ond?ej plays Raihan. This seems acceptable to me because Raihan can assist you in recycling your energy for your Pokemon and you can locate one more card from your deck, which might be anything from another energy card to a searcher card. Regarding the number of these cards, I believe it is appropriate because Ond?ej chose to maximize on Marnie, where you can at least have a reasonable hand size in order to play Bibarel efficiently while disturbing the opponent. If you are more interested in pure draw strength, you can aim to expand the supporter count, particularly Professor's Research, to 4 copies.
Now we look at the searcher cards that Ond?ej brings. For searchers, Ond?ej brings 4 copies of Quick Ball and Ultra Ball, followed by 1 copy of Evolution Incense. Quick Ball is a very simple searcher as this deck only plays Basic Pokemon, but the effect requires you to discard a card in order to find the Basic Pokemon. I think the discarding part is not that risky because this deck only plays a few 1-of cards so you can just discard the other cards that have a high count. As for Ultra Ball, I think this is your second main searcher besides Quick Ball as you need to set up your board as fast as you can so you can quickly do some damage to the opponent. But you need to remember that Ultra Ball needs you to discard 2 cards instead of 1 although you can search more freely you may want to calculate a bit more carefully when using Ultra Ball. Then, Evolution Incense will be your secondary searcher because you can only search Evolution Pokemon using this card. But the great part is that you can use Evolution Incense without having to discard any cards. As for the number of cards, I think this is pretty okay for me because the main searcher will be Quick Ball and Ultra Ball. You may want to try to bring 2 copies of Evolution Incense if needed.
Then for switching cards, Ond?ej plays only 1 Switch. This is very risky but it turns out okay for Ond?ej. Next, Ond?ej doesn’t play any Choice Belt or other cards like that because it seems that Ond?ej is targeting the weakness matchup so a damage booster is not quite needed. As for stadium cards, Ond?ej plays Path to the Peak. I think this is quite an obvious choice because Arceus VSTAR is quite popular with Path to the Peak as its stadium cards besides Training Court as the second choice. Although I’m quite surprised Ond?ej brings 4 copies of Path to the Peak in the deck considering the risk. But hey, it works, so I won’t complain about it too much.
Next, we have Daichi Shimada who got 2nd in the 2022 World Championship.
For Pokemon choices, Daichi goes for a more unique route where the deck plays a 2-2 line of Jolteon instead of Bibarel. Jolteon helps Daichi to shut down the Inteleon line while also shutting down all abilities of the Water-type Pokemon that everyone on the board plays. This seems to be a very creative move from Daichi resulting in the Final of the 2022 World Championship. However, unlike Ond?ej, as you guys may saw on the live stream or on-site, Daichi seems a bit struggling because this deck are quite lacking in draw power because Daichi was not playing any draw power besides Crobat V and the draw supporter. This results in Daichi being in an awkward position sometimes and the inability to dig for cards unless you play a draw supporter. However, because the deck still play Arceus VSTAR, early game setup should not be a big problem. It’s just sometimes the hand can be quite awkward and you don’t have a way out of it. Daichi also decides to bring Galarian Moltres V. I think this quite makes sense because Galarian Moltres V can be used to face Mew VMAX. However, I think the Pokemon composition is a bit risky because there are not that many dedicated Pokemon besides the Arceus VSTAR line, Flying Pikachu VMAX line, and Jolteon line. But still, the deck comes out as the finalist in the 2022 World Championship so I guess the deck works and I’m pretty sure practice makes perfect.
As for searchers, Daichi brings almost the same composition as Ond?ej whereas Daichi doesn’t bring any Evolution Incense. I think this is still reasonable because some decks can still hold the ground pretty well with only 4 copies of Quick Ball and Ultra Ball.
As for supporters, the only difference in what Daichi bring with Ond?ej is Raihan. Daichi plays a more straightforward supporter where Daichi only bring Professor’s Research, Marnie, and Boss’s Orders. I also think this is still reasonable because the amount of supporter that Daichi bring is actually the same as Ond?ej. The only differences are that Ond?ej play 4 copies of Boss’s Orders while only having 2 Professor’s Research and Ond?ej swapped 1 supporter slot for Raihan. I think the amount is already a perfect amount looking at how many Pokemon that the deck brings. You just need to find your comfortable amount so you can have a smoother game experience for yourself.
Then for the other cards, Daichi plays Switch, Ordinary Rod, and Memory Capsule. For Switch, I think this is pretty straightforward so you can switch your Pokemon. As for Ordinary Rod, I think this card is used to mitigate the risk of having so many Pokemon and low counts on some of them. Last but not least, 2 copies of Memory Capsule are brought so you can activate Jolteon’s ability. I think the number for each card in this deck will be a bit strict because you are bringing quite a lot of Pokemon cards. But, as far as I’m seeing the deck list, I think this is the best outcome that you can get. You may also want to try reducing the Pokemon count so you can fit more Trainer cards.
Last but not least, Daichi also relies on Path to the Peak as their stadium card. But Daichi reduces the amount to 3 copies. I think this is okay because 3 copies of stadium cards are still a great number to have
The last example will be from GoRush who won on YOS-EFI ‘Thursday Madness’ Season 7 Week 10.
There’s a slightly different Pokemon composition here. GoRush is playing a 1-1 line of Crobat VMAX and Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR. I think this is still a good composition because you can at least try to ‘save’ your Crobat V into Crobat VMAX while having the chance to attack too. GoRush also playing the Bibarel engine so I think drawing cards is not too big of a problem here. I actually like this composition where you can hit 3 top-tier decks all in one deck.
For searchers' composition, GoRush adds Evolution Incense to the deck and I think this is a good move because the deck is quite filled with Evolution Pokemon. It also costs nothing to discard when playing it so I think this is a great addition to the deck.
Then, for supporter cards, Ond?ej plays Professor’s Research, Marnie, Boss’s Orders, and Raihan. I think this composition is more than enough like the other 2 decks above. GoRush also puts quite a heavy amount to the supporter count so I think it will be easy to find.
As for the other cards, the only difference is the amount for each card. I think this goes back to each player on how you are comfortable piloting the deck. That’s it for the winners’ decklist and we are now onto the tier conclusion.
Now we come to the tier conclusion. Based on limitless, the Arceus VSTAR/Flying Pikachu deck spread is below the 10% mark. However, the decks are taking up 3 spots in the Top 4 and winning the 2022 World Championship. The deck variant also won the NAIC in June so I think the deck variant already has enough achievements to cement its spot as one of the top-tier decks.
As a result of its achievements this month, I will award this deck a Tier 1 rating. I simply hope that this deck continues to perform well in the new format.
This deck is very fun to play and Arceus VSTAR opens up a lot of possibilities for deck building. I really hope there are new cards that can be ‘revived’ by having Arceus VSTAR in the deck.
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.
Life is too short to be anything but happy! - Arelios
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.