Rule the Format – The Dawn of Palkia in the Standard Format

Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here with yet another Standard format article! Last time, I talked about the power of the new Miltank from Astral Radiance and its various applications, including a Blissey V deck that used it as a powerful tech for various matchups. At the time of writing that article, the Melbourne Regional Championships were on the horizon, which have since concluded, resulting in a victory for my good friend Christian Hasbani with his Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR deck. Not just that, though, Christian was one of eight Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR decks in the Top 8 of Melbourne Regional Championships. As we head toward the back-to-back tournament weekends for the Milwaukee Regional Championships and the North America International Championships, how about we take a look at this new powerhouse and what makes Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR so great.

Introduction to Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR

There is a lot to be said about Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR, but the best starting point is that it is easily one of the best attackers in the Standard format and is only gatekept from being number one by how absurdly good Arceus VSTAR is as a card. However, while Arceus VSTAR is made strong by its Starbirth VSTAR Power, which has a strong claim to being the best Ability of all time, and access to Double Turbo Energy to power up its attack that accelerates even more Energy, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR is much more powerful and Energy efficient than Arceus VSTAR is. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR’s Subspace Swell is an incredible power spike on Suicune V‘s Blizzard Rondo, reaching the ever critical 220 damage mark at just eight total benched Pokemon, or less with various damage modifiers like Choice Belt. Not just that, but Subspace Swell also reaches a ceiling of a remarkable 260 damage with the full ten benched Pokemon on both sides, reaching 290 with Choice Belt and being capable of going further with cards like Leon or Quick Shooting from Inteleon. Did I forget to mention that this also only costs two Water Energy? Yeah, this attack is incredible. Despite the attack being so inexpensive, you also can still play the plethora of Water-type support cards in the Standard format, most importantly Capacious Bucket to search Energy for your attachment each turn and Melony for some Energy acceleration if needed. Unbelievably, this card still gets better.

Much like every other Pokemon VSTAR, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR has a VSTAR Power, and an incredible one at that. Star Portal allows you attach three basic Water Energy from your discard pile to your Water-type Pokemon in any way you like. A costless Energy acceleration tool like this is borderline unprecedented, with Abilities of even remotely similar caliper being on a Stage-2 Pokemon with a mediocre attack. Star Portal guarantees that you will almost never whiff the turn 2 attack if you are willing to go for it, providing instant Energy acceleration to the deck’s attackers. Oftentimes, a Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR deck will just use Star Portal to power up multiple Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR at a time, sometimes with a surplus Energy going on something like an Inteleon so it can use Aqua Bullet down the road. Alternatively, though, they may decide to throw three Energy on Radiant Greninja so that it can swing with its incredibly powerful Moonlight Shuriken attack to two 90 to two Pokemon, which typically means that two Sobble or Drizzile are getting Knocked Out by a single Prize attacker, which is a massive momentum swing if you can pull it off.

At this point, the general strengths of Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR should be pretty clear, being an extremely powerful attacker with multiple attacking options during any particular game. Thanks to this versatility, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR decks were able to take up all eight of the Top 8 slots at the Melbourne Regional Championships. However, despite being the main attacker in all eight decks, there were two distinctly different variants of Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR, one with Inteleon and one with a far more aggressive engine that features Mew, Crobat V, and Trekking Shoes, a variant that many call “Turbo Palkia.” For the remainder of this article, I will be taking a look at both variants to see their respective pros and cons to determine which is the best variant going into the Milwaukee Regional Championships and the North America International Championships. With that, let’s start by looking at the more popular variant, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon, which took up five to the Top 8 spots in Melbourne.

The First Variant: Inteleon

The Inteleon variant of Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR is by far the more common variant, as it was pretty much the only variant until the Melbourne Regional Championship. The Inteleon build aims to make best use of all aspects of Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR, offering easy access to the various tools that the deck needs to function all while taking up space on your Bench, boosting Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR’s damage output solely by existing. The Inteleon version also can incorporate the Quick Shooting Inteleon as a means of further increasing its damage output to reach for important numbers such as the ever present 310 for Mew VMAX. Thanks to the existence of Quick Shooting and a ton of search cards, this deck can easily make massive plays with Radiant Greninja‘s Moonlight Shuriken throughout the game, whether it beat a crippling double Knock Out on Sobble or it is a huge four Prize Card cleanup play. Along with all of these pros, this variant is able to nicely round itself out with easy access to one of the most powerful combos in the Standard format, being Path to the Peak with the newly released Roxanne, which almost singlehandedly cripples many decks in the Standard format. A lot of the time you will hear people call the Inteleon version of Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR the “slow variant,” but this is misleading, as this variant is still easily capable of rushing the opponent with a massive turn 2 attack when needed.

The deck list that I will be focusing on is the one that 2019 World Champion Henry Brand played to a Top 8 finish in Australia, succumbing to eventual Regional Champion Christian Hasbani. This list is an absolutely excellent baseline list and I would most likely play something similar if I was playing this deck at the Milwaukee Regional Championships or to the North America International Championships.

Deck List

Pokemon (18)

3x Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR (ASR #40)4x Origin Forme Palkia V (ASR #39)1x Inteleon (SSH #58)1x Inteleon (CRE #43)3x Drizzile (SSH #56)4x Sobble (CRE #41)1x Radiant Greninja (ASR #46)1x Manaphy (BRS #41)

Trainers (35)

2x Boss's Orders (RCL #154)2x Irida (ASR #147)2x Melony (CRE #146)1x Marnie (SSH #169)1x Professor's Research (SHF #60)1x Roxanne (ASR #150)4x Level Ball (BST #129)4x Quick Ball (SSH #179)3x Capacious Bucket (RCL #156)3x Evolution Incense (SSH #163)2x Choice Belt (BRS #135)2x Scoop Up Net (RCL #165)2x Ultra Ball (BRS #150)1x Escape Rope (BST #125)1x Ordinary Rod (SSH #171)1x Pal Pad (SSH #172)1x Tool Jammer (BST #136)1x Path to the Peak (CRE #148)1x Training Court (RCL #169)

Energy (7)

7x Water Energy (HS #117)

Card Inclusions

Inteleon Split

The correct Inteleon count in Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon decks is a pretty contentious discussion. Many players prefer two copies of the Shady Dealings Inteleon because the value of its Ability. Its attack is also way too good to pass up, and knowing that you may have to discard it at some point is enough to want to make sure you have two. However, I tend to agree more with Henry Brand’s choice to play one of each Inteleon in his deck. By doing this he gives himself more options, which I am always a fan of. In addition, Quick Shooting is just an incredible powerful Ability in decks with attacks similar to Subspace Swell, as the two Damage Counters are effectively identical to having an extra Pokemon on the Bench, which turns critical numbers like eight Pokemon for 220 damage into just seven Pokemon, which can be further reduced by Scoop Up Net or Choice Belt if needed. The split of one of each is also further justified by the inclusion of Ordinary Rod as a way to recover either Inteleon if necessary.

Pal Pad

Since its debut in Flashfire, I have always been a major fan of Pal Pad. In this deck, it is no different, with three different one-of Supporter cards and multiple two-ofs that you also would want to recover. Most notably, the inclusion of Pal Pad opens up the possibility of recycling Roxanne for use on consecutive turns in the late game, which for a card that is crippling when used once, using it twice is even more devastating. Pal Pad recovery also gives you access to up to four Boss's Orders in a game, which is an incredibly powerful option to have, regardless of the deck.

Tool Jammer

To keep it simple, Tool Jammer is just a really good card. In this deck, it is not super common that you will get a one-hit Knock Out if the opponent is carefully managing their Bench size. As a result, you may be forced to play for more two-hit Knock Outs, and Tool Jammer is an excellent defensive tool to help you in this process. Tool Jammer notably shuts off the effect of Choice Belt, which means that it effectively says “if I cannot take a Knock Out in one hit, you are not allowed to either.” This is especially important in the Regigigas matchup, as turning off Choice Belt means that Regieleki is unable to take a one-hit Knock Out on a fresh Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR. In addition to being a defensive tool, it is a small piece of disruption in some situations, turning off Air Balloon as a pivot option. It can also be used as a pseudo Choice Belt in situations that it is shutting off Big Charm or Cape of Toughness, making it an all around incredible card to include in this deck.

Stadium Lineup

The Stadium lineup in this build is a little non-standard. In many deck lists you will see two copies of Path to the Peak, but Henry Brand opted to only play one copy, presumably due to space constraints, as well as the card not being super powerful outside of being paired with Roxanne or Marnie. One less common Stadium choice that we see in Henry Brand’s build, however, is Training Court. Training Court is an all around great utility Stadium card for any deck, but in this deck it has a nice multifaceted use of being an Energy recovery option, a way to instantly use Radiant Greninja‘s Concealed Cards, and a Stadium to replace Path to the Peak to enable use of Star Portal.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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Hello everyone! Can someone link me to where Isaiah talked about the miltank and blissey v?
Hey there! It's a written article, but there was a slight shift in the order they released and the line about that wasn't changed. It should be around soon!