The Answer is VSTAR? Or Is It?

Published 2 weeks ago by arelios Article Views 482 Estimated Reading Time 7 minutes

Hello guys, in this article I’m trying to talk a bit about whether VSTAR is really the mechanic we need in this Sword and Shield era. Does it make the format healthier? Or does it make the format worse? Enjoy!

What is VSTAR?

As you guys may already know, VSTAR is the new form of Pokemon V. It is quite similar to Pokemon-GX where in this case you have a VSTAR Power. VSTAR Power allows you to have an attack that can only be used once. But the difference here is that you can have an ability too as a VSTAR Power. You also need to evolve your Pokemon V first onto the available VSTAR so it is similar to Pokemon VMAX. However, unlike Pokemon VMAX, you get smaller HP and your opponent only takes 2 Prize cards if your Pokemon VSTAR is knocked. 


The visual is also different from Pokemon VMAX. Unlike Pokemon VMAX, you still attain the original form of your Pokemon in Pokemon VSTAR. You also get a white border instead of a full-art Pokemon where some of the Pokemon art is cut to make space for the VSTAR Power’s description with a halo background.


VSTAR is also a Rule-Box Pokemon, so Path to the Peak will also be affecting Pokemon VSTAR. You are also allowed to have up to 4 copies of the same card name. 


Because it is an evolution Pokemon and a 2-prizers, a match using Pokemon VSTAR can make the game longer, unlike Pokemon VMAX where you can simply end the game in about 4 turns. With Pokemon VSTAR, you can have about 5 turns in a game for yourself. This means that you are having a longer game time and the chance where you can have a comeback is higher than in the previous Pokemon VMAX era. 


Also, you can only use VSTAR Power starting from turn 2 because you will be evolving your Pokemon V first. This means that you can try to disrupt your opponent if you are going second so your opponent can’t use their VSTAR Power. This means that you are not guaranteed a successful VSTAR Power in every game which can make the game more balanced. Why? Because usually, the viable VSTAR Power that we currently have can be a deciding factor in how you want to progress your game. Things were different if you are playing Pokemon VMAX. Yes, you still get some amazing perks in some of the Pokemon VMAX, but because it is a 3-prizers, the game can end faster by knocking out 2 VMAX in a row without you having a chance to retaliate.

Game Changer?

Is VSTAR really changing the game? I think yes, starting from Arceus VSTAR, Pokemon VSTAR really change the course of the game not just by making it longer, but in terms of consistency too. 


Let’s talk about the course of the game first. Just take an example from Arceus VSTAR and Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. Arceus VSTAR’s VSTAR Power can easily find 2 cards from your deck and it can be anything. This can be Boss’s Orders, searchers (Ultra Ball, Quick Ball, Evolution Incense, etc.) or even an energy card. This means that with only a single VSTAR Power, you can easily turn the tide to your favour because of how flexible Star Birth is. Then we look at its attack, 3 energy is somewhat hard if you don’t manage to find any Double Turbo Energy or another form of energy acceleration. This means that even with a 'God-tier' VSTAR Power, you can still have a hard time having the energy to attack. But once you pull it off, Arceus VSTAR will be a very hard Pokemon to deal with because it can accelerate energy to another Pokemon V. People may say it is broken like Mew VMAX, but because its VSTAR Power is an ability, you can still shut it down by playing Path to the Peak so the opponent’s Arceus VSTAR can’t use any VSTAR Power. But still, Arceus VSTAR is one of the most impactful cards right now.


Next, we have Origin Form Palkia VSTAR. Star Portal gives us the chance to retaliate when we are behind once we get disrupted. It also gives us the chance to have an instant turn 2 four energy attachment. That’s why turbo builds suddenly become famous and won in Melbourne regional. With that turbo build, you can make sure that you can have 2 Pokemon ready to attack because it is possible to have 4 energy attachments in a single turn. This really changes the pace of the game because it is quite similar to Mew VMAX build when you manage to have Elesa’s Sparkle. But the difference here is that you use basic energy instead of special energy. This can create a whole new strategy because Melony can play a big part in Palkia gameplay. Its attack is also a good one because it is similar to Suicune V but with bigger base damage where you maximize your damage by the amount of Pokemon you and your opponent have on the bench. Yes, you can try to face it with the Blissey V deck so you can take on less damage. But most of the time, this attack is one of the deadliest attacks because its damage potential can go up to 320 damage (Choice Belt and Radiant Hawlucha). Some people say that this is the new BDIF and yes, I also do think this is the new BDIF. But over time, I think people will try to counter this deck variant and new cards will also be available to at least hold this deck pace. 


As you can see in both examples, VSTAR really gives a new way of gameplay and makes the game a lot more challenging. Arceus VSTAR provides the format with a new way of consistency because people will try to evolve Arceus V into Arceus VSTAR so they can use Star Birth while also accelerating to another Pokemon V. Palkia VSTAR on the other hand, will try to make the format more inclined to VSTAR because the damage of Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR can be maximized to knock Pokemon VMAX which have higher HP and higher prize count. 


You also get the chance to incorporate Pokemon VSTAR with Pokemon VMAX because in this format some cards just state Pokemon V in their description which can be used on both Pokemon VSTAR and Pokemon VMAX. This can make the format filled with more VSTAR (Palkia itself or another Pokemon VSTAR) where Pokemon VMAX will be the secondary attacker which can be utilized as a tanker or have a combo with a Pokemon VSTAR. This way the game will take longer to progress where you need to take at least 3 Pokemon to win the game instead of 2 Pokemon in the Pokemon VMAX era.  


So does VSTAR counts as a successful mechanism? I think we are too early at this point, we are still yet to see Mewtwo VSTAR, Giratina VSTAR, and Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR bare their fangs. In Japan, Pokemon VMAX is getting less popularity because Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR is considered a tier-1 deck and many people try to play it to win some local tournaments. This is a similar thing to our Fusion Strike era where Mew VMAX is the dominant force of the format. But because in this format our card pool is very big, many people try to come up with their best deck combination and even 1 card difference in the deck can make a significant impact. But, as far as this format goes, I’m pretty sure that the majority of people like this format unlike the previous Fusion Strike format because of how diverse the card pool is. 


People also starting to win big tournaments using Pokemon VSTAR as well such as Whimsicott VSTAR, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR, or the Arceus VSTAR variant. This just shows you how diverse the format is and even a deck like Flying Pikachu VMAX paired with Arceus VSTAR won NAIC 2022 (Congrats Azul!). Let’s just hope the rest of the Pokemon V era will surprise us even more.


So what do you guys think? I think this V era is getting better. Mewtwo VSTAR from the Pokemon GO set and possibly Giratina VSTAR from the Lost Origin set can be a very fun card to play with. We will also be getting Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR which is another colourless Pokémon VSTAR. But I think this VSTAR era is a bit late because we will be getting the new Scarlet and Violet set around winter 2022 or early 2023. I do enjoy myself in this era because Arceus VSTAR can fit almost any Pokemon VMAX and somehow make it work although some of them are not tier-1. But still, it is a very fun time to brew any deck because of how fun the card pool is.


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