Revisiting Arceus VSTAR/Duraludon VMAX: Still Strong?

Published 6 months ago by arelios Article Views 1,943 Comments 0 Estimated Reading Time 9 minutes Article

Hello guys, I think it is a great time to revisit one of the first popular VSTAR decks, Arceus VSTAR featuring Duraludon VMAX. With so many sets coming in, does the deck still hold the ground well? I’ll try to discuss it in this article so enjoy!


Here’s an example of the deck:

This is just an example, if the deck didn’t work for you, you can try to experiment with it yourself and get comfortable with it.

Deck Overview

You will be following the same game plan as the original Arceus VSTAR/Duraludon VMAX deck. However, Trekking Shoes will increase your draw power because you can try to dig for more cards so you can do much more.


Arceus VSTAR




Ah, Arceus VSTAR, this Pokemon is still considered to be a strong Pokemon because of its attack and VSTAR Power. Its attack allows us to do a 2-turn KO and charge 3 basic energy to our Pokemon V in any way we like. The energy acceleration is very strong because it can help us safely prepare our second attacker without the need to use up our energy attachment slot. Then its damage is just perfect because we can ensure a 2-turn KO even when Arceus VSTAR is having Double Turbo Energy attached. 


However, its attack cost may be a problem. 3 energy seems a bit high because we need to attack as fast as possible so we can accelerate energy to our second attacker. But because Arceus VSTAR is a colourless Pokemon, things get easier because we can use almost any engine to accelerate energy to our Arceus VSTAR. Melony and Gardenia’s Vigor can be a great example of this. You can also use Flaafy or even the upcoming Mirage Gate. 


Then, you can also use its VSTAR Power to find any cards that can help you accelerate energy. Even though you can only use VSTAR Power once, being able to attack the first or second turn is very crucial because if you manage to do that, most of the time, you will have easy energy management. Why? Because you already accelerate to your second or even third attacker, so you usually don’t have to worry about having no energy when you want to attack. 


This is one of the reasons why Arceus VSTAR is still popular nowadays because its versability is very high. I mean, Arceus is technically the God of Pokemon so I think that’s where the versatility comes from.


In this deck, I bring a 4-2 line of Arceus VSTAR because most of the time, all I need is only 1 Arceus VSTAR so I can get my Duraludon VMAX running. But you can consider the 3rd Arceus VSTAR if you have quite bad luck and often prized your Duraludon VMAX line. 

Duraludon VMAX




Then we have Duraludon VMAX. Duraludon VMAX has its ups and downs in the format. Its ability is very annoying because you can be immune to all Pokemon who have special energy attached. But on the other hand, the new BDIF, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR, don’t bring any special energy most of the time. The usage of Path to the Peak also become the number two problem for Duraludon VMAX. This creates an environment where Duraludon VMAX can’t fully utilise its ability and makes Duraludon VMAX an easy hit for the opponent. 


However, its attack is actually pretty good. Despite its damage not going to knock any Pokemon VSTAR in one go, its effect can get through any wall mechanism and it really helps if you face Miltank. Also, even though its attack cost is a bit weird because it is a Dragon-type, Arceus VSTAR can easily use its attack to charge energy the way you want. That’s why Duraludon VMAX and other Pokemon VMAX can still be viable if you pair it up with Arceus VSTAR.


Duraludon VMAX also has no weakness and resistance so it will only be OHKO by big damage. This can give you some gain if you don’t face a big hitter Pokemon where you can utilize your healing mechanism.


Then if you see at the top right corner under the HP, you can see that Duraludon VMAX is a Single Strike Pokemon. This means that you can use Single Strike Mustard to call Duraludon VMAX without having to out Duraludon V first. Yes, you need to have only Single Strike Mustard in your hand in order to use it, but because Arceus VSTAR’s VSTAR Power can help you to find Quick Ball or Ultra Ball to thin your hand, I think this gameplay is quite easy to pull depending on your hand. 


In this deck, I play a 2-3 line of Duraludon VMAX. Yes, I have more Duraludon VMAX because I want to at least utilize my Single Strike Mustard so I can set up my board quicker. 

New Cards to Add?




There are actually not a lot of new cards in Arceus VSTAR/Duraludon VMAX deck after the Astral Radiance release. Even there’s actually only one card that I think fits perfectly for Arceus VSTAR/Duraludon deck which is, Trekking Shoes.


Trekking Shoes really adds consistency to the deck because it can help you to dig for cards. You can combine it with Pokegear which can make very good combinations. Because even with Pokegear alone, the deck is quite consistent despite some drawbacks. Also, Trekking Shoes is an Item card, so you can use it continuously to dig for cards. Even when you discard some cards, you can basically recycle them be it Supporter cards using Pal Pad or Pokemon and Energy cards using Ordinary Rod.


With this card, you can create whole new gameplay which can be more favourable to you. Because once you master it, I think you can still compete in the highest tier of the format. 



Now we look into the Trainer cards.



For the first part, let’s talk about the searchers. So far, there are no major changes to the searcher cards because this deck plays the standard searcher Quick Ball and Ultra Ball. But if you look at the example above, I try to play 1 Evolution Incense by reducing my Quick Ball. I think this is optional because you may lose your discarding power in order to achieve an early Single Strike Mustard. 


As for the other Item card, I play Hyper Potion as my main healing power. Then I play Pokegear and Trekking Shoes as my main digging cards. As for switching cards, I play Escape Rope and Switch. I think Escape Rope still holds some important role as a semi-gust card because we never know when Escape Rope can be the game changer, so I still bring it with me. Lastly, I play Pal Pad to recycle my supporter cards because this deck is quite heavy on the discarding side and an Ordinary rod to recycle my energy and Pokemon cards. 




For supporter cards, my main draw power will be Professor’s Research and Marnie. You may go for a full copy of Professor’s Research, but I choose 1 copy of Marnie just for a simple hand disruption. I also play Avery as my secondary draw power and also to be the bench disruptor. This really helps me when I’m facing Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR and Mew VMAX. Then, I play Boss’s Orders as my main gusting card. As for Karen’s Conviction, it will be my damage booster for my late-game and Single Strike Mustard to utilize the Single Strike mechanic so I can have Duraludon VMAX early as well it serves as a draw supporter too. 


As for stadium cards, I play Crystal Cave. I play this as my second healing power but you can swap it with Tower of Darkness to have more draw power. 


I think the list is quite the same as the original one but with the addition of Trekking Shoes to make it more consistent. You guys can try to experiment with some of the Item cards like Team Yell Towel or even try Lucky Ice Pop. The choice is yours to make.



Setting up the board is quite straightforward because you only have Arceus V and Duraludon V as your basic Pokemon. But, you want to always start with Arceus V because that’s where you want to start your strategy. You want to attack using Arceus VSTAR the next turn so you can accelerate to Duraludon V or the other Arceus V. You can also use its VSTAR Power if you are in need of cards or even try to do the Single Strike Mustard combo. This is the critical point because you want to at least have a fully charged Duraludon VMAX at the maximum of turn 3. 


As for weakness matchup, you want to be careful when facing a Fighting-type Pokemon because it can knock your Arceus VSTAR very easy. But if you already attacking using Duraludon VMAX, I think you want to focus more on healing because Duraludon VMAX doesn’t have any weakness so you’re good to go. 


The same thing applies if you are facing your opponent because there are no Pokemon that are weak to Colourless-type and Dragon-type (In TCG). In that case, you want to maximize your standard gameplay because I think you are getting less stressed from thinking of what way in order to deal the maximum weakness damage. However, you may want to look at Duraludon V. Because this time we are still using the Metal-type Duraludon V, there are some Pokemon that are weak to Metal-type. You can utilize this advantage especially when the upcoming set will include Kyurem VMAX which is weak to Metal-type. That way, you can try to do an OHKO using Duraludon V. However, it may be hard to do in reality because Duraludon V’s attack requires you to have at least 3 energy (plus Choice Belt) if you want to knock Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX and 4 energy if you want to knock out Kyurem VMAX. If you want to achieve this, you need to charge all Metal energy using Arceus VSTAR and have 1 more energy attachment to Duraludon V while praying that your Duraludon V won’t get gust. But still, this can be a pretty punishing attack on the opponent especially since Pokemon VMAX gives 3 Prize cards. 


Then we come to disruption. Both energy and hand disruption in this deck is quite hard to deal with. But because this deck brings Ordinary Rod, I think energy disruption can be taken care of somehow. The same thing with hand disruption, because you have Trekking Shoes, there are more ways to dig for cards so I think you are not that hard to get out of that situation unless your opponent using Roxanne. 


Overall, I think Arceus VSTAR/Duraludon VMAX is still a force to reckon with. Also with Trekking Shoes, you get more consistency and option for digging cards so you can find cards like Ordinary Rod or other cards so you can try to get out of hard spots. 



What do you guys think of Arceus VSTAR/Duraludon VMAX? Feeling to go back and play it again? I think this deck still has so much to offer. It's just because in the current format, decks like Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR can do an OHKO and people just go with it for an easier knockout. You also don’t have to worry about not setting up another attacker who is a different Pokemon. You can just set up another same Pokemon as your attacker. People also tend to get bored playing the same deck over and over unless they are training for a big tournament. I think that is some of the reasons why Arceus VSTAR variant decks are having a decline in popularity unless you play Arceus VSTAR/Inteleon. 


But still, I think the Arceus VSTAR variant still needs some respect it needs because you never know like the North America International Championship where the Arceus VSTAR variant win the tournament.


Comment down below to share your thoughts!


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.


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