World’s Best — Exploring the Future of Arceus / Flying Pikachu

Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here and I am happy to be bringing you all another article! Last time, I talked about the structure of the World Championship and how I suggest approaching the event as well as a deck that would have been one of my top picks for the event if I had gone, which was a unique Mew VMAX deck with no Fusion Strike Energy. While I do not know of anyone who played that particular build for the main event, I do know that World Championship Finalist and seven-time Regional Champion Michael Pramawat took a list like it to a Top Eight finish in the London Open, which is a large side event at the World Championship that awards Championship Points equal to a Regional Championship.

As for the main event itself, the results were a bit surprising. As expected, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR put up strong results, winning in the Juniors and Seniors divisions while also placing in the Top Four in Masters. However, to many players’ surprise, Arceus VSTAR / Flying Pikachu VMAX was the deck that took home the title in the hands of Ondřej Škubal. Unlike Azul Garcia Griego’s list that he used to take down the North America International Championship, Škubal’s list got a bit more complicated and included two Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR for the Arceus VSTAR mirror, which proved to be a powerful choice as he faced off against Daichi Shimada in the Arceus VSTAR / Flying Pikachu VMAX mirror match in the final match. As we approach the Baltimore Regional Championship in a few weeks, many players have their eyes set on taking down this deck after its dominant performance at the World Championship. In this article, I am gonna take a look at what makes this deck so good in the current format as well as how to approach playing it and/or beating it for upcoming Regional Championships.

What Makes the Deck So Strong?

Going into the World Championship, it seemed that a pretty good number of players had their eyes on Arceus VSTAR / Flying Pikachu VMAX as both a deck that they needed to be prepared to beat as well as a potential play for the event. After its victory at the North America International Championship, the deck clearly proved that it had the ability to stand up to the best decks in the game, such as Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR or Mew VMAX by taking advantage of their Weaknesses in order to create a powerful Arceus VSTAR toolbox. Arceus VSTAR toolboxes of this nature have been around pretty much since Brilliant Stars was released earlier this year, largely thanks to the absurd strength of both Trinity Nova and Starbirth. These Arceus VSTAR toolboxes, however, have not just seen a little play, they have won every single North American major event since the set’s release! This level of dominance is borderline unprecedented and would even be enough to result in an emergency ban in some other card games, but for now, Arceus VSTAR remains in the Pokémon TCG.

As I already mentioned, the main thing that makes these Arceus VSTAR toolboxes so strong is, well, Arceus VSTAR. Reminiscent of Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX‘s Ultimate Ray, Trinity Nova boasts one of the strongest forms of Energy acceleration in the game’s history. Attaching up to three Energy and dealing 200 damage is simply absurd. Not only that, but you can also power it up with just two attachments thanks to Double Turbo Energy, in exchange for reducing your damage by only 20, which is almost negligible since Trinity Nova is taking a two-hit Knock Out most of the time anyway — most Pokemon will still be Knocked Out by two hits of 180 damage, making the reduction mostly negligible. Arceus VSTAR’s biggest strength comes from Starbirth which lets you search any two cards and put them into your hand. Wait… what?! Any two cards get added to your hand for no cost? That is absurd! Historically, cards that put any card into your hand come with significant restrictions or drawbacks; cards like Computer Search can only be played as a one-of due to it being an ACE SPEC, or for a more recent example, Cram-o-matic requires you to discard an Item card and flip a heads. The only cards even remotely comparable to the power level of Starbirth are Teammates and Twins, but both of those require you to be at some form of a disadvantage before you can play them. Starbirth’s only drawback is that it can only be used once per game, but that is hardly a drawback when, at least most of the time, you would not even need to use it a second time if you could.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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