New Cards and New Decks — The Impact of Champion’s Path

We’re halfway through the Pokemon Players Cup II qualification period. But outside of the Players Cup II, unofficial events are happening at a feverish pace, giving everyone plenty of opportunities to play competitive Pokemon. If you’re of the opinion that the Standard format has become somewhat stale, you aren’t alone — but worry not, as some changes are coming! On October 9th, Champion’s Path will be legal for tournament play and will add an assortment of new cards to our card pool. While we have been able to play with these cards since the set’s release, it is only from October 9th that Champion’s Path will be able to affect the Players Cup II. For any participant that has entry keys, this means that Champion’s Path may end up affecting the decks that they run into, not to mention that there are a few new decks that can be made specifically with some of the new cards. Given that it is a smaller set, Champion’s Path doesn’t have many cards that you’ll have to look out for, but there are a few that can make a difference.

There are four cards in this set that I believe are worth building a deck around, as well as a few others that I could easily see being included in existing archetypes. All in all, Champion’s Path may end up being a surprisingly strong set for its size — if nothing else, its potential to shake up the meta makes it a set worth looking into. In this article, I’ll be going over the cards from Champion’s Path that I think have the most potential to make an impact right away. I’ve also got a few decklists for if you want to try out these new cards yourself! 

The New Decks

The four cards that I think have the most potential out of Champion’s Path to become their own deck archetype are Altaria, Galarian Obstagoon, Wailord V, and Alcremie VMAX. All four of these have some advantage that they can leverage against the existing meta, be it defensive (in the case of Wailord V and Altaria) or offensive (Alcremie VMAX). The other Pokemon VMAX in the set (Gardevoir VMAX and Drednaw VMAX) don’t appear to be as favorable; while there are ways you can build around them, I’m not convinced that the high bulk-low damage output strategy that they would utilize will work in our current format. Likewise, while the other Pokemon V in the set aren’t awful as a few of them can fit well into existing archetypes, they aren’t strong enough to build a deck around like you could with the above cards.

Altaria

The newest in a long line of “Safeguard” Pokemon, Altaria and its Miraculous Charm Ability are almost certain to have an impact, if not on the meta specifically then at least on deck building. The ease of which Altaria can get into play, as well as the variety of decks that it can be played in will likely necessitate Pokemon-GX and Pokemon V focused decks to include at least one non Pokemon-GX / Pokemon V attacker. Altaria can be built around similarly to current Decidueye decks. Since it’s a Stage 1, it will be easier to develop a board of multiple Altaria, but it is easier to Knock Out and it doesn’t hit as hard. But the fact that it is considerably easier to set up and takes up fewer spots in the deck should make it an easy replacement for Decidueye in most Decidueye-focused decks. The strategy and anti-meta aspects of the deck would be the same, but with more consistency. Here is an example of such a Altaria / Galarian Obstagoon deck:

Altaria Deck List

Pokemon (16)

3x Altaria (CPA #49)4x Swablu (CPA #48)4x Jirachi (TEU #99)2x Galarian Obstagoon (SWSH1 #119)2x Galarian Zigzagoon (SWSH1 #117)1x Oranguru (SWSH1 #148)

Trainers (34)

4x Professor's Research (SWSH1 #178)4x Marnie (SWSH1 #169)2x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)2x Rosa (COE #204)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)4x Pokémon Communication (TEU #152)4x Scoop Up Net (SWSH2 #165)3x Rare Candy (SWSH1 #180)3x Switch (SWSH1 #183)2x Big Charm (SWSH1 #158)1x Ordinary Rod (SWSH1 #171)1x Viridian Forest (TEU #156)

Energy (10)

4x Darkness Energy (CL #94)4x Twin Energy (SWSH2 #174)2x Powerful Colorless Energy (SWSH3 #176)

In addition to this deck, there are plenty of other cards that you could choose to pair with Altaria. Since it uses Colorless Energy, it can be splashed into anything that might want a safeguard Pokemon or be paired with anything regardless of the secondary Pokemon’s Energy requirements. I definitely recommend experimenting with this card as well! Likewise, if Altaria does become popular, you should evaluate your current decks to make sure that you have a way to damage it if you run into it.

Galarian Obstagoon

One of the most noxious cards to come out of Champion’s Path, Galarian Obstagoon can be an absolute headache to deal with. At its gentlest, its Wicked Ruler Ability will constantly force your opponent to use and discard resources, which can be both annoying and detrimental. At its most destructive however, Wicked Ruler is the centerpiece of a devastating combo which can force a player to discard every card they have in their hand. Here’s how it works. First, you use Wicked Ruler to bring your opponent’s hand down to four cards. Then, you use the Supporter Jessie and James, which makes your opponent discard two more cards. Finally, you attack them with Pangoro’s Tighten Up, which makes your opponent discard the final two cards in their hand, leaving them with nothing. It’s worth noting that this combo is repeatable as it doesn’t rely on a GX attack or one-time Ability. It works against any opposing hand size, be it small or large. On top of that, both Pangoro and Galarian Obstagoon can deal a fair amount of damage with their attacks, so a deck built around this strategy can win via taking Prizes as opposed to requiring a hand-lock to be in place throughout the game. This combo can be pulled off as early as turn 2 and it can be used in conjunction with other control cards to completely lock down an opponent. 

Where this deck can falter is if the opponent manages to get set up prior to the hand destruction combo or if they can draw out of the combo and set up anyway. To solve those problems, a Galarian Obstagoon / Pangoro deck will want to play plenty of other control cards to keep in check anything the opponent might be able to pull off. The tricky thing here is to be able to do so while being able to quickly set up the Stage 2 Galarian Obstagoon, as well as the attacking Pangoro. Chip-Chip Ice Axe can be used to control the opponent’s top card; this can be done with Orbeetle or Hiker too. As for controlling the field, Crushing Hammer and Team Yell Grunt are the best options for removing an opponent’s Energy. You can also include a small line of Clefable in the deck. With Prankish, Clefable can simultaneously prevent the opponent from attacking and ensure that they draw into a useless card on the following turn. 

This is admittedly an early build of Galarian Obstagoon, so I wouldn’t recommend playing this as anything other than a starting point for exploring the Galarian Obstagoon / Pangoro combo. There is no doubt that it has some consistency issues as-is, but it is a potential look at what the deck can accomplish. Try it out and adjust it as needed. With any luck, you’ll make your opponent’s life miserable!

Galarian Obstagoon Deck List

Pokemon (22)

2x Galarian Obstagoon (CPA #37)3x Galarian Zigzagoon (CPA #35)3x Pangoro (TEU #94)3x Pancham (COE #119)2x Pidgeotto (TEU #123)3x Pidgey (TEU #122)2x Magneton (COE #69)2x Magnemite (UNM #58)1x Orbeetle (SWSH1 #19)1x Blipbug (SWSH1 #17)

Trainers (27)

3x Green's Exploration (UNB #175)2x Lt. Surge's Strategy (UNB #178)2x Jessie and James (HIF #58)2x Cynthia and Caitlin (COE #189)1x Piers (SWSH3 #165)1x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)1x Team Yell Grunt (SWSH1 #184)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)4x Crushing Hammer (SWSH1 #159)3x Rare Candy (SWSH1 #180)2x Evolution Incense (SWSH1 #163)2x Pokémon Communication (TEU #152)

Energy (11)

4x Darkness Energy (CL #94)4x Twin Energy (SWSH2 #174)3x Hiding Darkness Energy (SWSH3 #175)

To help smooth everything out, I’ve chosen to utilize Magneton as a way to guarantee that I have the needed Supporter cards when I’m ready to pull off the combo. Call Signal can easily grab Lt. Surge's Strategy, Green's Exploration, and Jessie and James, and gives us all of the pieces we need for the non-Pangoro part of the combo. The early game plan is then to find all three of the Basic Pokemon we need (Galarian Zigzagoon, Pancham, and Magnemite), and attach Energy to the Pancham. On the following turn, you’ll want to evolve to Pangoro and Magneton, then use Call Signal to find the three aforementioned Supporter cards. After that, play the Lt. Surge’s Strategy and the Green’s Exploration, finding Rare Candy and an Evolution Incense. Finally, you’ll want to use any control cards you have that might be useful, then hit them with the Galarian Obstagoon, Jessie and James, and Pangoro combo. Of course, this is easier said than done. Without using Jirachi, Crobat V or Dedenne-GX, it’s a bit more difficult to get those necessary Pokemon into play, along with the necessary Energy attachments. I’ve included Pidgeotto to give the deck some additional consistency for after the initial set up. Again, this list is a work in progress, but the underlying concept is incredibly difficult to counter. This deck is one that I would be on the lookout for, even if the list itself isn’t up to an acceptable standard yet. I’d like to try this deck with a Jirachi engine, which may end up being the more efficient route. 


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