Four Surprising Top Tier 2 Decks

Hello to all PokeBeach readers! Here is Gabriel Semedo once again with another Pokemon TCG article. This time, I’m going to continue my last article about my top four Standard format deck lists, but I’m going to go one step further and talk about decks that are not part of that little group of four decks that I wrote about. Every now and then, decks outside of the competitive metagame can pull off a huge surprise and win a major tournament like a Regional Championship.

Decks like Vikavolt V / Aerodactyl VSTAR, Arceus VSTAR / Flying Pikachu VMAX, and Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX are competitive decks that are not very popular, but in my opinion are very good against the rest of the Standard format metagame. It can be said that all of these decks have slightly more pronounced disadvantages and advantages against certain metagame decks today. For example, An Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX deck in theory has a competitive advantage when going up against Lugia VSTAR, but it can suffer a lot against an opponent playing Lost Box, especially if it is a Lost Box deck that includes Giratina VSTAR (thankfully this variant is not very popular in the current Standard format)

In today’s article, I’ve spotlighted four Tier 2 decks that may still be able to surprise your opponent in the current Standard format. These decks can take a shock win due a shift in the metagame or simply because they have the potential to excel given the right opportunity. The reason I believe all four decks can win a Regional or International Championships is because they have good or balanced matchups against the four best decks in the Standard format, which are Lugia VSTAR, Lost Box, Mew VMAX, and Regis.

Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX Deck List


Pokemon (12)

2x Arceus VSTAR (SWSH9 #123)4x Arceus V (SWSH9 #122)3x Duraludon VMAX (SWSH7 #123)3x Duraludon V (SWSH35 #47)

Trainers (34)

4x Professor's Research (CEL #24)2x Marnie (SWSH1 #169)2x Serena (SWSH12 #193)2x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)4x Pokégear 3.0 (UNB #182)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)3x Hyper Potion (SWSH35 #54)2x Evolution Incense (SWSH1 #163)1x Switch (BLW #104)1x Escape Rope (BUS #114)1x Big Parasol (SWSH3 #157)4x Crystal Cave (SWSH7 #144)

Energy (14)

6x Metal Energy (BLW #112)4x Fighting Energy (RS #105)4x Double Turbo Energy (SWSH9 #151)

Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX is a very good deck and I would say it is one of the easiest decks to play in the entire format. If you are a player who is out of time to train for a major tournament or you are not that into competitive play, then I highly recommend this deck for you. But if you are already an experienced player and you are able to train regularly, I would also recommend this deck for you! Just because Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX is an easy deck to play with a straightforward game plan, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad deck. The truth is that this deck works very well in the current metagame, has finished well in many major tournaments around the world, and ends up being underestimated by many good players. Duraludon VMAX’s Ability alone causes a lot of problems for three of the top four decks in the format, as Mew VMAX, Lugia VSTAR, and Regis crucially rely on Special Energy to power them up.

Against Lugia VSTAR, the only Pokemon that is able to easily take a Knock Out on your beefy Duraludon VMAX is the Amazing Rare Yveltal, and many times after you manage to get rid of Yveltal, the victory is yours. Attach a copy of Big Parasol to protect Duraludon VMAX from Yveltal’s Amazing Destruction attack — it is very important to get this Tool attached to Duraludon VMAX as soon as possible. If you try to setup two Duraludon VMAX on the board, the Lugia VSTAR player’s greatest chance of winning is if they can quickly take a Knock Out on two Pokemon V. This way, they only need to attack with Yveltal once to Knock Out Duraludon VMAX and win the match.

Against Regis, the opponent’s main threat is using Regigigas with Choice Belt to increase its attack to a whopping 330 damage, taking a one hit Knock Out on your Duraludon VMAX only if they are able to play Path to the Peak before announcing their attack. In fact, the Regis deck can only deal damage to your Duraludon as long they have Path to the Peak in play. All versions of the Regi deck pack four copies of that Stadium, so this matchup becomes very focused on the Stadium war. To disrupt your opponent, play Marnie whenever they play Professor's Research or after they take a Knock Out on any of your Pokemon. The idea is to always leave the opponent’s hand with as few cards as possible, and try to take away a possible Path to the Peak play next turn if they have it in their hand.

Against Mew VMAX, there are versions where the matchup is more relaxed and others where the game becomes more complicated. The traditional version with Meloetta is more easier to play against nowadays for Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX because it does not contain any Basic Energy cards, plus most Mew VMAX players have opted to remove Echoing Horn from their decks. The version of Mew VMAX without Meloetta will only cause problems if it includes plenty of Path to the Peak and Lost Vacuum, because if they manage to get that Stadium into play, Mew VMAX can deal tons of damage. Even in the worst case scenario however, this is still a winnable matchup.

Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX is a deck that depends on the metagame, there’s no other way around it. As you can see, this list is tight and most of the space is aimed at adding consistency to the deck. Because this deck doesn’t play any Crobat V, Bibarel, or any other type of Pokemon that offers draw power, the only way to improve consistency without offering easy Prizes for your opponent is to invest in Trainer cards. If you feel that the metagame has forgotten Duraludon VMAX a bit, then that is the best time to use this deck, but if you feel that the metagame is well prepared to face the big skyscraper, then you should consider another deck.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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