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 Astral Radiance format.
The deck revolves around Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR as the main attacker. Inteleon engine will be the exact searcher so it can search for Irida and so you can set up the board even further. Radiant Greninja will be the extra draw power and Starmie V can also be your attacker when facing Pokemon like Miltank.
Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR
The centre of the Astral Radiance set is none other than Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. First off, its HP is 280 which is the highest HP for Pokemon VSTAR alongside Arceus VSTAR. Then its attack, Subspace Swell, is similar to Suicune V where it relies on how many Pokemon are on each player’s board but is stronger because the base attack is 60. With that in mind, its attack can easily go up to 260 (20 x 10 = 200 + 60 = 260) which can knock any basic Pokemon V and any Pokemon VSTAR if you have Choice Belt attached. But what is the cost? Is it high so it is impossible to attack in the early turn? Not at all! With only 2 energy you can start attacking in the second turn with manual attachment only. You can also try to manually attach your energy to other Pokemon while using Melony to fill up your main Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. It is a relatively cheap attack although there’s no colourless energy in the attack cost.
Then we have the VSTAR Power, Star Portal. Its effect is that it can recycle up to 3 Water energy to any Water-type Pokemon you like. This is a very strong ability because you can recycle energy to Pokemon like Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX or even Palkia itself if you get disrupted. You can also use it to fill up to 2 Palkia in the early turn because you can use Capacious Bucket and Ultra Ball to discard the Water energy and then use Star Portal in the same turn or the next turn. It proves to be very good and efficient to save your energy attachment per turn. That’s why some people try to play the Turbo Palkia with the help of Mew so you can have a successful turn 2 Star Portal. The VSTAR Power itself is an ability so you won’t end your turn by using it. But you can get disrupted by Path to the Peak so you can’t use it.
Then we look at Origin Forme Palkia V. Its first attack, Rule the Region, is decent because sometimes I use it to search for a stadium to bump my opponent’s stadium although I rarely use it. But the important part is its second attack, Hydro Break. As you guys may know, Isaiah Bradner, use this attack to take a turn 2 win when facing Brian Kim. With the help of Choice Belt, he can easily knock Arceus V to take the win. You may not always use it, but because the base damage is already high, you are almost guaranteed a knockout to all basic Pokemon V (with/without Choice Belt).
Its weakness is also Lightning-type where not many Pokemon that are straight-up viable can face Palkia. Yes, Tapu Koko VMAX, Pikachu VMAX, and Flying/Surfing Pikachu VMAX are still a threat, but because those Pokemon need other Pokemon like Arceus VSTAR and Flaaffy you can still have some chance by attacking other Pokemon while preparing to face the Lightning-type Pokemon.
In the Inteleon build, people usually bring a 4-3 or 3-3 line of Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. But in the turbo build, they typically bring a 2-2 line or 3-3 line at max.
Ah… the ol’ reliable engine, Inteleon. Because Shady Dealings allows us to search for 1 (Drizzile) or 2 (Inteleon) Trainer cards from your deck, we use the Inteleon engine as our exact searcher. This is a highly powerful combo because we will almost always have at least two Sobble/Drizzile on our bench when we trigger the Shady Dealings ability. You can basically search through your whole deck, and this scenario could potentially be your victory condition. You can look for searchers (Ultra Ball, Level Ball, and so on) or supporters (Melony, Professor's Research, and so on) or even stadiums (Path to the Peak, Training Court, etc.). This is a really strong engine right now, and I believe it will remain so until it rotates out of the format.
Not only is Shady Dealings a powerful ability, but Sobble's attack, Keep Calling, is also regarded as a superb attack because it may greatly assist you in setting up your Sobble without the usage of Quick Ball or other searchers. It may also save some of your attackers in the event that you are not prepared to attack.
Right now, most decks use a 4-4-2 line, with the two Inteleon consisting of one 'Shady Dealings' Inteleon and one 'Quick Shooting' Inteleon. However, some decks now only bring two copies of the 'Shady Dealings' Inteleon, giving them more options for searching cards and making it a safe number in case one of them gets prized.
The next Pokemon we have is Starmie V. Its first attack is quite useful if you are facing wall cards like Miltank. But because it only gives 50 damage, you may want to beware of your bench as well because suddenly Miltank can out damage you.
Then we move to its second attack, Energy Spiral, where you can do 50 damage for each energy on all of your opponent's Pokémon. This is a very strong attack if you face decks like Blissey, Arceus VSTAR variants, and other decks that rely on energy. But some decks don’t bring Starmie V because you can just hit your opponent hard enough using Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR and if you are facing Miltank, you can just use our next card in this article, Radiant Greninja!
Next, we have the Radiant Pokémon in this deck, Radiant Greninja. Its ability, Concealed Cards, is similar to Cinccino's 'Make Do' but because what you need to discard is an energy card, it synergizes well with Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. The draw 2 cards is always a good effect and you can try to abuse it by using Scoop Up Net so you can have a big hand to use.
Then its attack, Moonlight Shuriken, with 2 Water and 1 Colourless, can do 90 damage to 2 Pokémon which is very good because you can get through Miltank and you can also deal damage to other Pokémon which can be another Miltank. But because Radiant Greninja is a single prize card, its HP is on the low side which can be hard if you want to attack with it continuously.
As the rule says, you can only bring 1 Radiant Pokémon in your deck so you can only have 1 Radiant Greninja in the deck.
Next, we have the important supporter that keeps the deck going, Irida. Its effect is really great if you combine it with the Inteleon engine. You can find a Water-type Pokémon which can be any Pokemon in your deck because most of the Pokémon in the Palkia deck is a Water-type and 1 item card which can be a searcher, switching cards, or a damage booster. This means that you can instantly evolve Drizzile multiple times while also keeping your searched card without having the need to search for a searcher to continue to evolve another Drizzile. That's why some decks try to play Cross Switcher because basically you can evolve Drizzile, search for Irida, use Irida, find Drizzile and Cross Switcher, and then evolve another Drizzile to search for another Cross Switcher to gust your opponent. That's one of the examples of how you can utilize Irida. Oh and also the full art card is great because some of you may consider Irida as a 'waifu' so playing with your 'waifu' may boost your luck.
Some decks may utilize Irida by bringing 4 copies of Irida into their deck because I also think that is the way to play. But some decks only bring 2-3 Irida and try to put another card because the exact search of the Inteleon engine does not require any luck on drawing so having fewer copies can be done because you will be doing an exact search.
Other Things to Consider
In the current format, a difference in one copy of a card may bring a successful or failed game plan. So, there are many cards that you can consider playing in this deck.
Battle VIP Pass is one of the cards that may have been quite controversial in this deck. Many people try to bring only one copy of Battle VIP Pass and yet some people also try to bring 3-4 copies of Battle VIP Pass into their deck. This card is very good because you can easily set up your board in a single turn and optimize your attack because Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR is relying on how many Pokemon you have on the board. But in the late part of the game, this card seems to be a bit of a hurdle because you can’t use it anymore and sometimes you can’t fully utilize your hand just because your hand is filled with Battle VIP Pass. If that happens, you can use Quick Ball and Ultra Ball to make Battle VIP Pass as your fodder so you won’t have to discard your important card. This is a very unique card and even if you don’t fully use it, there’s no harm in having 4 copies of it just in case for the future.
Then you also have Capacious Bucket. This card is very important if you want to have a successful Star Portal. Because Capacious Bucket can help you to search for 2 Water energy, it can help you in terms of energy attachment and discarding energy to fill up your discard pile so you can maximize Star Portal. Then because it is an Item card, you can use it freely rather than as a supporter card. In many decks, people tend to bring 2-3 copies of Capacious Bucket because you want to maximize your drawing chance and decks like Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR only bring a limited number of energy where usually they only bring energy not more than 10 energy. So in order to cover that limited energy, Capacious Bucket is here so you can automatically search for 2 energy from your deck.
Rare Candy sometimes is also seen in some decks. I myself do not use it in the deck but I can see its use case. You can try to go for Irida and search for Inteleon and Rare Candy so you can instantly get 2 trainer cards from Shady Dealings and from there you can search for Drizzile to get more trainer cards. You can also use Rare Candy to save your Sobble because sometimes snipe decks choose to snipe your Sobble instead of your Palkia so you can’t have your engine especially if you don’t have many Sobble on your bench.
Scoop Up Net is also very impactful in the Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR deck. It can be used on Pokemon like the Inteleon engine so you can recycle the Shady Dealings ability or Radiant Greninja so you can use Concealed Cards more. It can also be your substitute card for switching cards because you can scoop your Pokemon in front. For the amount, there’s no fixed amount for this card because some decks may only use 1 copy but other decks also use up to 4 copies of Scoop Up Net. It goes back to your playstyle with the deck.
Other than that, there will be a personal preference card like Pal Pad where you can recycle your supporters, Ordinary Rod where you can recycle both your Pokemon and your energy, or even Echoing Horn where it can help you to maximize your Origin Forme Palkia damage output. To explain it further, let’s hop on to the Winners’ Decklist!
First, we have James Simms’s deck who won Late Night #44.
Here you can see that James decided to play a 4-3-2(1-1) line of Inteleon engine. I think this is a very acceptable lineup because the engine itself already took so much deck space. Then, Starmie V and Radiant Greninja are also being played by James while also playing Lumineon V. Lumineon V is a great card because its ability is similar to Tapu Lele-GX where you can search for a supporter from the deck and its attack can return itself to the deck. I myself don’t quite like Lumineon V in this deck because you are playing a 2 prize deck and a single gust can easily knock Lumineon V where you can have that 2 prize slot for another Origin Palkia VSTAR to attack. I think I’m more comfortable swapping Lumineon V for another Drizzile. But hey, the list won so I can’t complain too much about it. James also plays Manaphy in this deck which is reasonable because, in a format that is filled with Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR, a deck like Regigigas or Jolteon VMAX can easily obliterate this deck because of weakness advantage.
Now we move on to the supporter choice:
Irida: This supporter is highly recommended in the Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR deck because of its synergy with the Inteleon engine. I myself already explain it earlier, so having 2-4 copies in the deck is already good.
Melony: This card is also a great card for recycling your energy in the mid to late game if you already use Star Portal in the early game. You also get a 3 card draw which is great because you get to draw cards while accelerating energy from the discard pile. This is a great supporter to bring but because its use is being shadowed by Irida, many people bring fewer copies of Melony just to play it once or twice.
Nessa: Nessa is also a great card for recycling your Pokemon so you don’t have to bring Ordinary Rod. James decided to bring one copy of Nessa so recycling Pokemon straight to the hand is possible. This can be used to maximize Radiant Greninja’s ability in the late game if you are running low on energy as you need some cards to draw. You can also safely discard some of your Pokemon just to have them back later rather than getting disrupted over and over.
Cheryl: This is a very unique card choice by James. You can actually have a pretty good combo using this card because you can heal using Cheryl and then use Star Portal just to get your energy back. I think I like this card and will try to implement it.
Roxanne: This card is just pure disruption. Because people utilize the Inteleon engine more, using Roxanne may bring great disruption to the opponent unless they play the Bibarel engine. I do recommend having Roxanne at least 1 copy in your arsenal even if you don’t play it because you never know when you need it. Also, the full-art one looks good and there’s no harm to invest in a single secret rare card.
Boss’s Orders: Pure gusting card, no other effect just pure gust. But you need to experiment with it yourself to make sure you have the right amount. I think the proper amount is between 2-3 copies.
Then we have the item choice, for searchers, Quick Ball, Level Ball, Evolution Incense, Ultra Ball, and Hisuian Heavy Ball is quite a searcher that James brought. Hisuian Heavy Ball is a great card because if your basic Pokemon is prized, you can take it out quickly so you can have a second attacker because in some weird cases, you can prize 2-3 Origin Forme Palkia V or Sobble which is very hard for you to set up the board properly without making your opponent realize. As for Ultra Ball, I think Ultra Ball is rarely seen in decks that utilize the Inteleon engine, but because you want to maximize your Star Portal, you can play Ultra Ball if you don’t have your Radiant Greninja in time.
As for the other items, Battle VIP Pass is also being played but only at one copy. I think Battle VIP Pass is just there for a safe method of setting up not for the mandatory card for setting up unless you play 4 copies of it. Then, Scoop Up Net is also being played so you can at least abuse your Inteleon engine or Radiant Greninja to your liking. Pal Pad is also being played because this item can make your life easier if you happen to accidentally discard your supporter without knowing how many supporters you prized. You can also use Pal Pad in the late part of the game so you can reuse supporters like Cheryl or Boss’s Orders. As for the tool cards, Choice Belt is for damage booster while Tool Jammer is purely for the tool disruption. Tool Jammer can help you in some matches if you need to shut down the opponent's Air Balloon or Choice Belt so you can at least have more survivability. Then, Capacious Bucket will be your energy searcher. Because the deck only play basic Water energy, a Capacious Bucket will be a great item to have while using Radiant Greninja so you can have energy while discarding and drawing cards so you can have a quicker set-up. Most of the time, people will try to bring at least 2 - 4 copies of Capacious Bucket in their deck.
Lastly, James plays Path to the Peak and Temple of Sinnoh. I think this is a very reasonable choice because Path to the Peak can disrupt the opponent while Temple of Sinnoh can easily disrupt decks like Regigigas and Arceus VSTAR. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR is also not too reliant on stadium cards so having not too many stadiums is no problem at all. But you still need to play some stadium for disrupting your opponent.
Then for the next deck, we have Math Liu who won YOS-EFI ‘Thursday Madness’ Season 7 Week 1.
The most visible difference from James’s deck that you can see right away is Empoleon V. I think Empoleon V is a great card to have because you can put it in the active spot and make your opponent’s Pokemon for example Ditto from Pokemon GO or Oranguru don’t have any abilities. I still don’t quite the idea of having Empoleon V by swapping Starmie V because I think Starmie V is way better. Maybe you guys can comment down below on the advantage of having Empoleon V. Then another difference that you can see is that Liu plays 2 ‘Shady Dealings’ Inteleon while also playing 1 ‘Quick Shooting’ Inteleon. I think this is still acceptable and more consistent because sometimes you prized your ‘Shady Dealing’ Inteleon. Then, the rest of the Pokemon lineup is pretty much the same because you still have Radiant Greninja as your draw power and Manaphy as your bench barrier. But this time, Liu doesn’t play any Lumineon V, I think this is acceptable because Liu decided to add one more ‘Shady Dealings’ Inteleon.
Then we move to the supporter cards. Liu plays quite a similar list to James but with a bit of a twist. Liu decides to cut down Irida to 3 copies, Boss’s Orders to 1 copy, and Melony to 1 copy. I think this move is quite risky because having 1 copy of the card may get you stuck if your card is prized. Then, Liu decides to add 1 Marnie to the deck which is quite a good move in my opinion. Marnie can help you to draw new cards while also disrupting your opponent. You also constantly shuffle your deck because of Shady Dealings, so having cards on the bottom of your deck can be solved.
Then moving on to the searchers, Liu plays quite a similar list to James but Liu is cutting HIsuian Heavy Ball and playing only 3 copies of Quick Ball. Liu also decides to play only 1 copy of Battle VIP Pass in the deck which I think becoming quite popular in the recent build. Liu also decides to play Capture Energy which can be very helpful for setting up your board. But you need to be careful because Capture Energy is a colourless energy so you can’t use it to attack with Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR.
Liu also decides to play Rare Candy on their deck. This is also quite a good move because Liu brings 3 copies of Inteleon which can be very helpful in terms of how quick Liu can set up.
As for the other items, Liu also brings Choice Belt, Capacious Bucket, Echoing Horn, and Pal Pad. I think this will soon be a staple in the Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR deck because of how strong these cards are. But this time, Liu add some spices to the deck by playing 2 copies of Cross Switcher. I do think having 2 copies is a bit low but if you are playing the Inteleon line and Irida, I think this is easily searchable and can be used quickly. Liu also reduces the number of Scoop Up Net and added 1 copy of Escape Rope. I think this is still acceptable because Escape Rope is somewhat a great gusting and switching card.
Lastly, for the stadium cards, Liu play the same amount of Path to the Peak and Sinnoh Temple as James did.
Then for the last deck list maybe he’s not a winner but a finalist from the recent International, Isaiah Bradner.
For the Pokemon choice, Isaiah decides to run a 3-3 Palkia VSTAR line. This is completely standard and deck space is quite hard in this deck because of the Inteleon engine. As for the Inteleon engine, Isaiah plays a 3-3-1 line. I think this is purely to fit in the 4 copies of Battle VIP Pass. Isaiah also plays Galarian Zigzagoon here for additional damage. I think Galarian Zigzagoon is a bit unique in this deck because Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR itself is already dealing a significant amount of damage. But I think Galarian Zigzagoon can be a good play here because you can scale up to 300 damage by using it while also increasing the damage output with Scoop Up Net.
As for supporter cards, Isaiah brings 4 copies of Irida which is very good. However, instead of having multiple copies of other supporters, Isaiah choose to have 1 copies of Melony, Marnie, Roxanne, and Boss’s Orders like how Liu did. I think this is quite reasonable because Isaiah is using the deck space for Battle VIP Pass and Cross Switcher.
For item cards, Isaiah chose to play 4 Battle VIP Pass for the searchers along with Quick Ball, Evolution Incense, Level Ball and Hisuian Heavy Ball. Isaiah doesn’t play any Ultra Ball because I think that Radiant Greninja and Quick Ball are already enough to pile up energy in the discard pile so that Star Portal can be maximized. Isaiah also plays Scoop Up Net in the deck but the amount is quite a lot because Isaiah decides to play 3 Scoop Up Net. Isaiah also plays 1 copy of Tool Scrapper which is very crucial in my opinion because almost every deck plays Tool cards right now. Then Isaiah also brings Choice Belt, Echoing Horn, and Pal Pad into the deck. As I already said, I think those cards will be a staple for the Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. Lastly, Isaiah decides to go for a full copy of Cross Switcher. I think this is a great decision because Isaiah only plays 1 copy of Boss’s Orders in the deck.
As for the stadium card, Isaiah decides to play Path to the Peak but no Sinnoh Temple. Instead, Isaiah decides to bring Training Court to the deck. I think Training Court is still a great stadium for Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR because energy recycling is never a bad thing. But I do think that the usage of Training Court is a bit excessive because you already have Star Portal and Melony for recycling your energy.
That’s it for the winners’ decklist. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR is a very strong card, to begin with, and with the help of the Inteleon engine, it can soar even higher. The deck itself have no fixed card combination so you may experiment with it and find your most comfortable combo. Remember, even one card difference is all it takes to win the game.
Now we come to the tier conclusion. Based on limitless, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR’s deck spread is already above the 10% mark. So it is by no mean a great feat to accomplish. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR also won a big tournament which is Melbourne Regional but the winner played a Turbo build rather than the Inteleon build. But by looking at its performance in the recent tournament, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR always gets a Top 8 or Top 4 placing. This means that the deck itself is very consistent and powerful in the format.
So, I will give this deck an easy Tier 1 because of its accomplishment across every big tournament right from the start of its release. I just hope that this trend will keep continuing in the upcoming format. I am 90% sure that this deck will dominate the upcoming format, 10% is for the upcoming Giratina VSTAR having a big impact on the format (fingers crossed).
Even almost all Youtubers praise Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR and some even call it the new Best Deck in Format (BDIF). So what do you guys think? Is Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR the new BDIF? Comment down below!
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.