Dogs with Swords — A Closer Look at Zacian V

In my most recent article, there was one new archetype from Sword & Shield that I identified as having top-tier potential right out of the gate: Zacian V. When it comes to the Pokemon of Sword and Shield, none can quite match its strength and versatility. When facing the other new decks I wrote about in my last article—Morpeko V, Torkoal V, Lapras VMAX / Frosmoth, Snorlax VMAX / Cinccino, Stonjourner VMAX, and Sableye V—both of the Zacian V variants have a positive matchup against all of them! What’s more, against existing archetypes, Zacian V rarely struggles; even if I were to consider only decks that were around from Cosmic Eclipse and before, Zacian V would still be one of the best decks in the format. The deck has already had incredible success in Japanese tournaments. At Champions League Aichi, Zacian V variants finished 2nd, 5th, 8th, and were common throughout Day Two—a clear accomplishment for the deck, given that this was at an event with over 1,300 participants. In smaller Japanese events, it is common to see Zacian V at or near the top of the results, even as their metagame reacts to the large meta share that Zacian V now holds. If there is one new deck from Sword & Shield that deserves consideration, it is Zacian V.

There are two principal builds of Zacian V: with Lucario and Melmetal-GX, and with Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX. The former is more defensive-focused, while the latter takes a more balanced approach, with a slightly heavier tilt toward the offensive aspects of the deck. Both are incredibly solid decks; as for which is better, that will depend on the eventual Standard metagame. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but for the most part, the two variants tend to be rather similar, both in terms of matchups and their gameplan.

Updated Decklists

Defensive: Zacian V / Lucario & Melmetal-GX

In my previous article, I showed you all the Zacian V / Lucario and Melmetal-GX list that got second place in Champions League Aichi. This variant of Zacian V focuses more on the defensive aspect of the Pokemon, while still maintaining a high level of offensive power. After thorough testing, I’ve made a few changes to that list, in order to better adapt it for competition against the other potential decks from the post-Sword & Shield meta. Here is my updated list:

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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