Is It Finally Time? — How Silver Tempest Transforms the Stage 1 Archetype

Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here, and I am happy to be writing another article for you all! Last time, I talked about the ending Lost Origin format and how to use then-current events to prepare for the upcoming Silver Tempest format. Fittingly, this article is releasing right as we start the Silver Tempest format, with the Latin America International Championship on the horizon. Silver Tempest has been out for a few weeks now, and while no official events have occurred yet with Silver Tempest legal (as it is not legal for competitive play until November 25), the the set has been used for unofficial in-person events and online tournaments for most of that time. In general, most of the metagame has been developing in the way many players expected, with very few surprises. With that in mind, how about we take a look at the current state of the metagame before getting too deep into focusing on a particular deck?

The State of Silver Tempest

As I said, the current state of the metagame has few surprises. As many players expected, Lugia VSTAR paired with Archeops has proved itself a top tier threat. As of writing this article, Lugia VSTAR has the highest win rate of decks with over 30 plays in online tournaments, sitting at 53.64%. Most of Lugia VSTAR’s strength comes from the combination of its own raw power and the absurdity of Archeops’s Primal Turbo. Thanks to the incredibly diverse pool of Special Energy cards in Standard, and Aurora Energy in particular, two uses of Primal Turbo can power up pretty much any Pokemon in the game. As a result, many players have started including cards like Yveltal and Raikou, cards that were pretty much universally recognized as powerful, but that never got to demonstrate their strength due to their bizarre attack costs.

Primal Turbo also allows you to shove several Powerful Colorless Energy and perhaps also a V Guard Energy on a Lugia VSTAR to make an effectively 310-HP menace that does 280 damage, or 310 with a Choice Belt, trading favorably with pretty much every Pokemon VSTAR in the format. Lugia VSTAR can also take advantage of Dunsparce to remove its Weakness and make itself even more bulky, as well as Cheren's Care to heal up if needed.

The deck has access to pretty much every single thing a deck could want, and it has the potential to maintain dominance in the in-person play space in ways that we rarely see. As a result, Lugia has become the deck to beat in the Silver Tempest format. Still, in my opinion, it’s not even that far ahead of the second-best deck in format.

As is typical with the release of new expansions, many players seemed to forget about the strength of the best decks in the previous format. Leading up to the release of Silver Tempest, the biggest victims of this, at least to me, were the Lost Zone decks from Lost Origin. Both Giratina VSTAR and the more toolbox-style builds, such as with Radiant Charizard, saw significant success in the Lost Origin format, with the latter winning not one but two Regional Championships (Peoria and Poland). However, as Silver Tempest was coming out, nobody seemed to be talking about them anymore. Perhaps this was because the decks didn’t change much with the new set: there were exactly zero cards in Silver Tempest that referenced the Lost Zone in any capacity, and even most of the strong new Trainers like Serena or Forest Seal Stone are not particularly beneficial to either of these decks, at least not in any game-breaking fashion.

With that being said, both of these decks have continued to see success in the new format. Giratina VSTAR has maintained a stable level of play and still continues to be one of the strongest decks right now. On the other hand, Lost Zone Toolbox decks have been seeing an incredible amount of success, winning multiple massive tournaments and maintaining one of the highest win rates in the format, at 51.21%. While the Radiant Charizard version is still the most popular build, interesting new lists have emerged with a variety of new late-game attackers. Two lists that I have grown especially interested in use Kyogre and Rayquaza, but I do not plan on including these lists in this article. However, I think these builds emerging on a grand scale is starting to make players more aware of how far they can take the Lost Zone engine, so it is worth keeping an eye on in the future, as more builds may emerge.

The final deck that has been making waves in the new format is the tried-and-true Mew VMAX. Over the last few months, Mew VMAX has quickly become one of my favorite decks in the Standard format, largely thanks to the development of the Double Turbo Energy–focused version of the deck, as I was never a huge fan of the Fusion Strike Energy build to begin with.

With the introduction of Silver Tempest, not much changes for Mew VMAX. The deck does reasonably well against Lugia VSTAR, having the second-best win rate against it of any deck with more than 30 plays, so its matchups do not change dramatically at all. Forest Seal Stone, while a significant addition, does not change that much for the Double Turbo Energy version in the grand scheme of things, though it does represent a dramatic change for the Fusion Strike Energy version. With a card to effectively guarantee the “missing piece” for a turn-one (going second, of course) Meloetta for 210 damage or more, this build got considerably better. Still, I do not think that build is superior to the Double Turbo Energy build, so I would not recommend switching over to it.

Regardless of the build, Mew VMAX is in a great meta position, as the aggression of early Knock Outs and carrying that tempo throughout the game simply cannot be ignored. As of right now, Mew VMAX does not have an exceptionally good win rate in online tournaments, but its generally good matchup spread and powerful game plan make it easily one of the strongest decks in the game.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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