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 Paldea Evolved format.
One of the biggest comebacks of the year may fall to this deck, Giratina VSTAR. It has its ups and downs with most of them being downs where the deck cannot perform as intended because of the long-run issues. However, in the recent format especially Worlds 2023, Giratina VSTAR managed to surprise the whole scene with its Day 2 and Top 4 performance. Its VSTAR Power easily knock out any Pokemon and its attack deals an astonishing 280 damage which knocks almost all of the VSTAR Pokemon. Let’s take a look at what update Giratina VSTAR has this time around.
Table of Contents:
Now, we are back again with Giratina VSTAR. As you guys may already know, it has one heck of a punch. Its attack, Lost Impact, with 1 Grass Energy, 1 Psychic Energy, and 1 Colorless Energy does 280 damage which can easily knock Pokemon VSTAR even without the help of Choice Belt. This is a very powerful attack because knocking a Pokemon VSTAR in a single turn proves to be very effective because sometimes the opponent needs to have some time to set up their second attacker. You also get ahead of the prize trade faster if you manage to knock your opponent first. However, its attack effect requires you to put 2 Energy attached from your Pokemon to the Lost Zone. This seems very bad if you only have Energy attached to your main Giratina VSTAR, but if you have another energy attached to your other Pokemon, you can put that Energy instead so you can still have Energy when you attack in the following turn. You can also use Mirage Gate to fill up your Energy quickly so you can have a board full of Pokemon and Energy (I’ll explain Mirage Gate in another section).
Then comes Star Requiem, its VSTAR Power. Giratina VSTAR was created by Pokemon, but I have no idea what they were thinking. If you play your cards wisely, you can finish off your opponent in three turns when you have 10 cards in the Lost Zone. This attack won't force you to send energy into the Lost Zone, which makes it an extremely broken VSTAR Power in my opinion. You may use it to knock even a Pokemon VMAX while conserving energy.
We now examine Giratina V. Its first attack, Abyss Seek, is highly helpful because you can draw cards while adding more cards to the Lost Zone. I believe it is very likely that Abyss Seek will allow you to quickly accumulate 10 cards in the Lost Zone. Then, because it can pass through abilities like Mimikyu or Altaria, its second strike is both very straightforward and advantageous.
The Giratina VSTAR and V lineup, in my opinion, essentially has everything, starting with powerful attacks that can break through any effect or wall and deal significant damage. However, in my experience, if you don't have a strong early game, you will lose your momentum and if you don't respond quickly enough, you will lose the game. Even Mew VMAX has its own consistency issue if the board is not properly set up, therefore no card is perfect.
I believe that a 2-2 line of Giratina VSTAR is the absolute minimum that should be present in any deck that plays a "straight" Giratina VSTAR. Because if you go any lower than this, one of your Giratina may become prized. Additionally, by bringing at least a 2-2 line, you can focus more on single-prize attackers like Cramorant and Sableye, disrupting their prize exchange or possibly attempting to knock them out.
I highly recommend giving Giratina VSTAR and the Lost Zone mechanic a try even if you are not a fan because it is a ton of fun to play.
If you only play Giratina VSTAR by yourself, it won't work. Comfey will serve as your engine to gather cards in the Lost Zone and aid in setup by drawing cards. The only difference between its ability and that of Acro Bike is that you put the unpicked cards into the Lost Zone rather than discarding them. This can make it easier for you to play a certain number of cards into the Lost Zone each turn, allowing you to get at least 6 to 8 cards there in two or three turns.
Because this is a Basic Pokemon, you can easily 'abuse' this card by using Beach Court so you can freely retreat. You can also use Switch Cart to switch out Comfey while also healing them even though it will likely get knocked instantly.
Also, because this card is heavily used by not only the Giratina VSTAR deck, many people try to counter it. Empoleon V and Klefki are some of the examples where they can easily counter Comfey by disabling Comfey’s ability. However, this disabling effect only applies when those Pokemon are in the active spot. Hence, Escape Rope will be your savior of the day when you are facing them.
I think Comfey holds a lot of potential in deck building and it really shows in the Giratina VSTAR deck because it is the card that can make the deck work. Comfey can easily draw while also piling up cards into the Lost Zone which is a very crucial thing in order for the Lost Zone mechanic cards to work. I think you should try to invest 4 copies of Comfey even if you don't play the Giratina VSTAR deck because this card can be the core engine in almost any deck similar to Arceus VSTAR. Because it can help you to dig cards quickly while it can also be a ‘body’ if your main Pokemon is not set up yet as it only gives the opponent one prize card.
The following is Cramorant. Playing with this Pokemon is a lot of fun. Why is it fun then? Because if you properly consider its ability, you can easily attack without using any energy, and its prerequisite is rather simple to satisfy. You can ignore its attack cost and it becomes a free attack if you have at least 4 cards in the Lost Zone. Comfey and Colress's Experiment makes it simple to pile 4 cards into the Lost Zone in a single turn, allowing you to attack right away if you're going second.
What about its damage, though? To be honest, I initially believed that this card was a little underpowered because 110 won't carry you very far. This move, however, can be incredibly lethal if you manage to hit every time because you have free reign to utilize it and you can use Sableye to end the game in the later stages. If you use Choice Belt while attacking twice, you additionally get a perfect hit of 280 damage. This attack can also get rid of small Pokemon such as Charmander or Pidgey from Obsidian Flames which can be very beneficial because they can't evolve into to go further with their setup. But you need to take note here that Cramorant's attack isn't affected by weakness. This means that you can't knock Radiant Charizard in a single attack.
Cramorant is also a single-prize Pokemon that can help you in terms of prize race. Then if you look at its retreat cost, it only costs 1 Energy so you can easily retreat your Cramorant in case you get stuck.
This Pokemon is a lot of fun to play around with, and Giratina VSTAR pairs nicely with it because you can use it as a single-prize attacker in your deck. In terms of card number, players typically bring 1-2 copies of Cramorant since they frequently switch to another attacker or use Super Rod to recycle their Pokemon, which I find to be acceptable alternatives to having 4 copies of the card. You should absolutely try this card!
Sableye will be the next Pokemon we have. This card resembles Blacephalon from Cosmic Eclipse at first glance, however, the prerequisite this time is 10 cards in the Lost Zone. This is an extremely entertaining and effective card to deploy because Sableye may quickly eliminate several Pokemon by spreading damage if we are low on damage. You cannot accumulate 10 cards in the Lost Zone in a single turn, thus the criteria are a little challenging. However, if you play this card late in the game, it can be really frightening.
If Giratina VSTAR and Sableye are paired together, Sableye can knock some of the Pokemon VMAX that Giratina VSTAR is unable to knock. The Cramorant attack can be followed up with Sableye to knock some of the single-prize Pokemon off the opponent's board. You do not need to worry about looking for a certain energy type because its attack cost is also very simple to satisfy and it corresponds with the Giratina VSTAR attack cost type. It is an extremely strong card to have because it is a Basic Pokemon that can be found with practically any searcher.
With regard to gameplay, this card's attack requirement makes it ideal for usage in decks that exploit the Lost Zone mechanic. Decks like Giratina VSTAR and Lost Zone Box are ideal in this regard. Due to the fact that you will be using another Pokemon to attack in the early to midgame, I believe you only need 1-2 copies of this card. To continue the game, you can also try to bring Ordinary Rod and recycle this Pokemon or another Pokemon.
Other Things to Consider
Not only Pokemon but there are 2 Trainer cards that make the Giratina VSTAR a very strong deck right now. Let's take a look!
You must be wondering if there is a card that will accelerate Energy quickly enough if I put my cards in the Lost Zone and it depends on the number of cards there. Say no more! That is an easy task for Mirage Gate. You can simply accelerate 2 Energy cards to any of your Pokemon if you have at least 7 cards in the Lost Zone, but keep in mind that they must be of a different type. Because a 3-Energy Pokemon can attack with this item, it greatly aids some decks. However, if you don't have 7 cards in the Lost Zone, this item may become a liability and become useless. But, if you manage to achieve it, it can be a very powerful Energy acceleration because this is an Item card so you can use it more than once in a single turn making it one of the best Energy acceleration items in the format.
As a result, this card is frequently used in decks that make advantage of the Lost Zone concept. Because Mirage Gate can quickly set up the board or even change the tide with just one copy, most decks at least attempt to bring two copies of this card and in the Giratina VSTAR deck, people tend to bring the maximum copy of 4 cards.
Colress' Experiment is the next important card that needs to be taken into account. Along with Comfey, this card is one that makes it easy to pile cards into the Lost Zone. If you already have several Comfey on the board, this card is so strong because you can easily attack with Cramorant in the first turn just by using it as you can use it to look at 5 cards from your top deck and select 3 of them to place in your hand while the remaining cards are placed in the Lost Zone. As a result, using it makes it simple to add 2 cards to the Lost Zone.
The majority of decks attempt to carry four copies of this card in order to maximize their draw potential while also quickly piling cards to the Lost Zone. This is by far one of the greatest Lost Zone supporters that I've seen. Unless you really have a stroke of terrible luck and draw five cards that are all your core cards, I believe you can't go wrong playing this card if your goal is to stack cards into the Lost Zone.
First, we will look at the 3rd place of the 2023 World Championship, Michael Pramawat. Here is the decklist:
First, we look at the Pokemon list. Michael decides to bring a solid 3-3 line of Giratina VSTAR which I think is the ‘sweet spot’ because you want to have Giratina VSTAR as fast as possible. Then, Michael brings 4 copies of Comfey because it is the Pokemon engine here and I think if you bring less you will be having a hard time hitting 10 cards in the Lost Zone quickly. You also minimize the chance of having only 1-2 Comfey being played because the other Comfey are prized. Then, Michael brings 1 copy of Cramorant and 2 copies of Sableye I think this is a reasonable amount because you already have a thick 3-3 line of Giratina VSTAR and you don’t want to always attack with your single prizer. Then, Radiant Greninja is played by Michael as it becomes the second draw power on the board beside Comfey while it can also target small Pokemon using Moonlight Shuriken. As for the other Pokemon, Michael brings 1 copy of Manaphy and Snorlax. Manaphy is pretty obvious here because it helps you from getting sniped while Snorlax is quite a unique choice but because its attack cost is 3 Colorless Energy, you basically can fill it with any energy you have. As far as Pokemon selection, the choice is beyond reasonable and aims for consistency.
As for Supporter cards, Michael brings Colress’s Experiment, Boss' Orders, and Iono. Colress’s Experiment is a solid supporter to use if you want to play the Lost Zone mechanic because it helps you draw cards while also piling cards into the Lost Zone. I think this is a go-to supporter if you want to rely on the Lost Zone mechanic because right now, it is the only supporter card that can help you pile up cards in the Lost Zone. In this deck, Michael decides to bring 4 copies of Colress’s Experiment and I think that’s a great choice because you can use it almost every single turn to pile up cards in the Lost Zone quickly. Then we have Boss's Orders. I believe this card is quite simple because gusting is still required in this deck. Michael brings 2 copies of Boss’s Orders and I think this is quite a thin line but it still works because, in the current format, most of the attacker still relies on a Pokemon VSTAR or Pokemon VMAX so the opponent has to bring up at least one big attacker hence Giratina VSTAR can easily knock them out without having to gust them. Lastly, Michael plays Iono. This is a very simple card and I think it can bring a nightmare to some people. Michael only brings 1 copy of Iono in the deck because its purpose is to disrupt the opponent’s hand by reducing their hand size to a certain number. This may be a bit weird because Michael has a thin line of Supporter cards but I think this is reasonable because you already play Comfey and Radiant Greninja which is more than enough. Michael also plays a great combination of Item cards to support those Pokemon, let’s dive deeper into what Item cards Michael brings.
Now we look at the searcher cards that Michael brings. For searchers, Michael brings 4 copies of Battle VIP Pass, followed by 3 copies of Nest Ball. Michael decides to bring Battle VIP Pass and I think it is a great choice because you already play a thin line of Supporter cards hence you need to bring most of your Pokemon engine on the board to support your draw. Then, Nest Ball is a very simple searcher as this deck only plays Basic Pokemon besides Giratina VSTAR. This deck only runs 2 Evolution Pokemon so I think you will find most of the Pokemon using Nest Ball or Battle VIP Pass. I think these are very important cards because these two can easily help set up the board nicely.
Then for switching cards, Michael plays Switch Cart and Escape Rope. I think this is reasonable because you want to maximize Comfey's ability and Giratina VSTAR has a high retreat cost. But mostly, these switch cards will come in handy switching out used Comfey or switching out Giratina VSTAR to bring out Comfey to find more cards and pile up more cards into the Lost Zone. Also, sometimes Escape Rope really helps in some matchups so it is still recommended to bring Escape Rope so you can either escape the opponent lock or disrupt your opponent's momentum.
For the other cards, Michael brings 4 copies of Mirage Gate, 3 copies of Ordinary Rod, and 1 copy of Choice Belt, while also bringing 2 copies of Path to the Peak. Mirage Gate is pretty straightforward because it helps to fill out Giratina VSTAR attack cost, you can also discard or put this card into the Lost Zone if you don’t need it anymore. Ordinary Rod helps you to recycle your Pokemon or Basic Energy so you can have a late-game energy acceleration. As for Choice Belt, it can be a great damage enhancer because you can knock out big HP Pokemon such as Mew VMAX. Lastly is Path to the Peak which can easily shut down Rule Box Pokemon with abilities. This Stadium card can easily disrupt Genesect V, Lugia VSTAR, and Lumineon V which may hinder your opponent set up. However, you need to remember that it also shuts down your Radiant Greninja too.
That’s it for Michael's decks. I think this is a very solid deck and Giratina VSTAR turns out to be a very powerful card and the cards revolving around it are fairly consistent. Michael manages to bring the best out of this card and get to the Top 4 of the 2023 World Championship.
Next, we have Tan Yong Siang who got 4th in the Asia EN Open 2023 Summer.
For Pokemon choices, Tan goes for the same amount of Giratina VSTAR. I think this is really the ‘sweet’ spot as you can still use Cramorant, Sableye, or even Radiant Greninja to attack. The only difference here is that Tan decides to bring Spiritomb. I think this is a very great card because Spiritomb can easily shut down cards like Lumineon V and Genesect V which easily hinders your opponent from setting up.
As for supporters, Tan uses a different approach although still bringing Colress’s Experiment and Boss’s Orders. The first card will be Raihan. Raihan can easily recycle and accelerate energy to any Pokemon on the board if your own Pokemon is knocked out while also searching for a card from your deck. This can be a great way to accelerate energy while also searching for cards like Mirage Gate if you want to accelerate more energy. Then, the second card is Roxanne. Roxanne will be your disruption card where you will try to disrupt your opponent’s hand by making them only have 2 cards in their hand. This is a very strong disruption because you will leave your opponent with small hands while you have a bigger hand. However, you need to know the requirement very well as this card won’t be playable in the early part of the game. I think these additions are more of a stable lineup because you have recycling options and more disruption cards.
As for searchers, Tan brings exactly the same card as Michael which I think is already the optimum line here. Then for the other cards, Tan plays quite a similar amount of cards with Michael but Tan decides to bring something interesting. Cross Switcher seems to be played by Tan and I think this is a great card because you can gust your opponent while switching out your own Pokemon. This can help you to rotate Pokemon like Comfey and switch to Giratina VSTAR to attack. Then, you can easily dig for Cross Switcher using Colress and Comfey where I think it is very possible to have 2 copies of Cross Switcher quickly.
This is actually quite the same lineup with Michael but the addition of Cross Switcher can easily surprise the opponent. I think this deck has some surprise factors when you are looking at the Cross Switcher. You also get more recycling options using Raihan. Other than that, the deck has the same game flow as the regular Giratina VSTAR deck.
Now we come to the tier conclusion. Based on limitless, the Giratina VSTAR deck share is below 10% and I think its resurgence is just recently so people still sleeping on it. The deck still hasn’t won any big tournaments even though managed to get several Top 8 which is a good sign. The deck also managed to get to the Top 4 of the 2023 World Championship which I think signalling the deck is still a strong top-tier contender. However, looking at the other decks, Giratina VSTAR seems to lack something such as long-term consistency or a way out when you cannot knock out the opponent in one hit. You sometimes can’t rely on your Cramorant or Sableye because you only bring 1 or 2 copies of it and sometimes those Pokemon are already knocked out or prized.
Hence, I will award this deck a Tier 2 rating. I simply hope that this deck continues to perform well in the new format. But I guess, Pokemon ex is starting to enter the format quite aggressively with Chien-Pao ex, Gardevoir ex, and the newly released Charizard ex. Let’s just wait and see!
What do you guys think of Giratina VSTAR? It has the potential to quickly finish the game with its high damage and knock out the opponent instantly. You also have the option to use single-prize attackers in case you are facing a relatively lower HP opponent. Do you think you can handle or defeat this 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.
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There may be some mistakes and missing points of review in this writing. Please kindly comment to share your corrections and point of view too.