The Unsung Heroes of Standard
Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here, and I am happy to be writing another article for you all! Last time, I covered the Fusion Strike Energy variant of Mew VMAX, which saw disappointing results at the San Diego Regional Championship. While I still think the deck is strong, I think the meta was in a more unfavorable spot for it than I had predicted. But what is life without a few incorrect predictions?
San Diego was filled to the brim with unpredictable results, from the composition of Top 8 to the deck that ultimately won the event. In the Top 8, we saw just a single Lugia VSTAR deck, which is a record low since the deck became legal at the beginning of December. Instead, the Top 8 of the San Diego Regional Championship consisted of an astounding seven unique decks, which is a record high since the release of Lugia VSTAR. There were a lot of well-known threats, such as Lost Zone Rayquaza and Mew VMAX, but also a fair share of surprises. Makani Tran’s unique Arceus VSTAR Toolbox deck was one of the bigger ones, as many players have generally written off Arceus VSTAR at this point, aside from in Arceus VSTAR / Duraludon VMAX, but Makani was able to prove that toolbox strategies still have a lot of potential.
The final surprising deck to make it to the Top 8 was the deck that ended up winning the whole event, Vikavolt V / Aerodactyl VSTAR. Despite its surprising second-place finish at the Arlington Regional Championship, I did not have particularly high expectations for this deck going into the San Diego Regional Championship. The deck was pretty much rolled by Lugia VSTAR in the finals of the first event, so I figured the second event would have a similar outcome. To my surprise, the opposite ended up happening, and Gibson Archer-Tang won the event in convincing fashion.
With the conclusion of the San Diego Regional Championship, the format is left in a confusing state. Will Vikavolt V’s massive success at two consecutive events lead to the deck finally becoming popular? Or will people continue to write the deck off as mediocre? Will Rayquaza continue to be the most popular of the Lost Zone variants? Or will Kyogre resurface as a powerhouse? These questions and more will likely remain unanswered in North America until the Orlando Regional Championship at the beginning of February, but that event will also have Crown Zenith legal for play, which is bound to shake up the meta. Until then, there is a lot to practice that will likely remain relevant when Crown Zenith releases, as the set is generally pretty non-impactful. Pretty much everything that is currently good in the Standard format will continue to be good, but now some new strategies will also emerge. With that, I want to take a look at some of the format’s more underappreciated strategies before we get into the new expansion, as, if Vikavolt V’s success is any indication, these strategies could easily become Regional Championship–winning strategies in the right circumstances.
Since its debut in the Astral Radiance expansion, the Regi archetype, centered around Regigigas and its Ancient Wisdom Ability, has been a mainstay of the Standard format. At first, the deck was deemed not very good and largely a joke, but over the last few months, it has become increasingly respected, largely thanks to Gift Energy. Now the deck has a way to refill its hand after a well-timed Marnie or Roxanne, which was one of its biggest problems. Additionally, the meta in general has shifted in a much more favorable direction, with the deck having a generally positive matchup into Lugia VSTAR, Lost Zone Box (all variants), and Mew VMAX. These three decks alone have made up more than 50% of the room at recent Regional Championships. With so many favorable matchups and with the deck being as popular as it is, it is honestly astonishing that it has not yet won a Regional Championship in its own right.
With these things being said, the deck has two pretty big problems. The first is, of course, consistency. The deck needs a lot of things to go favorably for it to be in a winning position in most matchups, needing to at least find all six of the Regis before it’s too late, but also needing to get the Energy cards in the discard pile, and find cards like Path to the Peak and Choice Belt. With as many moving parts as this deck has, it is honestly a wonder that it is even as consistent as it is, but something about the deck just allows it to work.
At the current point in the Standard format, one could claim that Regis does not fit with the idea of this article, which is to highlight some of the more underappreciated decks in the Standard format, but with the deck lacking a Regional Championship win and with many people still dismissing it as unplayable, it feels like it fits the bill. In all likelihood, the deck will probably never get the respect that it deserves, but one can hope that it can take down a major tournament soon to finally put some respect to its name.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.
Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!