One-Hit Wonder — Two Single Strike Decks from Chilling Reign

Hello PokeBeach readers! I’m happy to be bringing you another article on the Standard Format! Shortly after my last article, we played the first part of the Regional Qualifiers for the Players Cup IV. Unfortunately, I didn’t do that well with my favorite deck in the Team Up to Battle Styles format, Pikachu and Zekrom-GX, but I have a few friends who were fortunate enough to make it into the Top 16 of their respective regions. In addition, the second week of Team Challenge Playoff matches have concluded, and my team was fortunate enough to win into the Top 128 mere hours before me writing this.

With the rest of the Team Challenge and the Players Cup IV left to finish, many players, myself included, have their eyes set on how Chilling Reign is going to impact the metagame. Preliminary non-official online events have shown that a lot of the expected new decks are doing quite well, such as Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX. However, the new format is not without its fair share of familiar faces, with decks like Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V (which I covered in this article) and Eternatus VMAXDecidueye also made a massive comeback recently thanks to numerous new decks omitting any form of an answer or counter.

However, the most interesting new additions to the metagame with Chilling Reign are the new non-top tier decks, like Blissey V and Malamar, and new adaptations of old archetypes, like Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX / Inteleon / Inteleon. On this note, we also can address the topics of today’s article: Tornadus VMAX and Single Strike Urshifu. These decks are both new additions to the already existent pool of Single Strike decks, joining Single Strike Urshifu VMAX and Stonjourner, but their presence certainly will not go unnoticed. In my opinion, both of these decks have strong potential to be massive threats in the metagame thanks to their effectiveness when it comes to taking one-hit Knock Outs, as the Single Strike moniker suggests.

With that, let’s take a look at the first of these decks, Tornadus VMAX!

Tornadus VMAX / Houndoom

When I first saw Tornadus VMAX, I immediately thought of Primal Groudon-EX as their attacks are nearly identical. Unlike Primal Groudon-EX, Tornadus VMAX has access to the incredibly powerful Single Strike engine. This includes Houndoom, which is one of the more interesting aspects of Single Strike, adding on a powerful form of Energy Acceleration and a great means of ramping up damage thanks to Single Strike Energy. The immediate concern for this deck is whether or not it is better than the already established Single Strike Urshifu VMAX, as their attacks and goals are similar. In my opinion, Tornadus VMAX has one massive selling point: Energy retention. Unlike Single Strike Urshifu VMAX, Tornadus VMAX is able to operate at the expense of Stadium Cards. This alternative cost alleviates a lot of pressure that would normally exist on the player to find one or more copies of Urn of Vitality on consecutive turns.


Pokemon (17)

3x Tornadus VMAX (SWSH6 #125)3x Tornadus V (SWSH6 #124)4x Houndoom (SWSH5 #96)4x Houndour (SWSH5 #95)2x Single Strike Urshifu V (SWSH5 #85)1x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)

Trainers (32)

4x Professor's Research (SWSH45 #60)3x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)2x Bruno (SWSH5 #121)1x Karen's Conviction (SWSH6 #144)4x Urn of Vitality (SWSH5 #139)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)4x Pokémon Communication (TEU #152)2x Welcoming Lantern (SWSH6 #156)2x Air Balloon (SWSH1 #156)1x Switch (SWSH1 #183)1x Escape Rope (SWSH5 #125)4x Tower of Darkness (SWSH5 #137)

Energy (11)

4x Single Strike Energy (SWSH5 #141)3x Capture Energy (SWSH2 #171)2x Powerful Colorless Energy (SWSH3 #176)2x Triple Acceleration Energy (UNB #190)

Three Tornadus VMAX and Three Tornadus V

As our main attacker, it is necessary to play a rather thick line of Tornadus VMAX. I have already covered a lot of the main strengths of Tornadus VMAX, especially in regards to Energy retention. This allows you to setup a backup Tornadus VMAX on your Bench while you are swinging with the one in your Active Spot. This takes this deck a step above Single Strike Urshifu VMAX. The go-to question that probably exists here is “Why play less than a 4-4 VMAX if it is your main attacker?”. That question is answered in two ways. The first of which is that you just do not need more. Since two Pokemon VMAX Knock Outs wins the game anyway, there is no reason to play more than the line that we play. The second reason is a little more complex, and we will get into it when I talk about Single Strike Urshifu V.

Four Houndoom and Four Houndour

The most important part of any Single Strike deck is Houndoom, without a doubt. Houndoom’s Single Strike Roar isn’t an uncommon Ability throughout the game’s history, being reminiscent of Abilities like Malamar‘s Psychic Recharge, but this is one of the extremely rare occasions that you get to search for an Energy card that boosts your damage output. Since this card is so important to our deck’s core strategy of not only powering up Tornadus VMAX’s G-Max Wind Spirit, but also making it do as much damage as possible, we want to max out at four Houndoom and four Houndour (the Single Strike version from Battle Styles for Tower of Darkness) so that we can find the pieces for it as soon as we can to ensure that we can pull off a turn 2 280 damage attack (or more).

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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