Giratina VSTAR — Breaking Down Its Success

Hello PokeBeach readers, it’s me again! Giratina VSTAR has recently shown itself as the best deck in the current Standard format, winning the Portland, Charlotte, and Melbourne Regional Championships this year! It also came second at the Liverpool Regional Championships. Also, it made the Top 4 of the Knoxville Regional Championships, with a Giratina VSTAR player having made it to Top 4 or better at the past six Regionals to have taken place.

However, when we look at the end of the Obsidian Flames format and the beginning of the Paradox Rift format, Giratina VSTAR was struggling to perform, with only two Giratina VSTAR players making the Top 8 of LAIC, Brisbane Regionals, Gdansk Regionals, and Stuttgart Regionals. There are several factors for why I believe that Giratina VTSTAR rose to prominence, and the first one is the significant shifts that have happened in the metagame ever since LAIC.

At LAIC, Gardevoir ex was the most played deck on Day 1 and converted very well into Day 2, with it making up 25% of the Day 2 metagame. While I believe that this matchup is even, it often ends in a tie thanks to the typical length of a game in this matchup being over 20 minutes. This is also a matchup where neither player is really out of it until the very end, as Roxanne + Path to the Peak can sometimes swing a losing game back into your favor. Mew VMAX decks also converted well at LAIC, and these are a typically poor matchup for Giratina VSTAR without some kind of answer like Spiritomb. However, Gabriel Veloso still managed to make Top 4 of LAIC with Giratina VSTAR, but with a decklist that is significantly different from the current iterations of Giratina VSTAR.

Gabriel Veloso’s Giratina VSTAR Deck List

Pokemon (15)

4x Comfey (SWSH11 #79)3x Giratina VSTAR (SWSH11 #131)3x Giratina V (SWSH11 #130)2x Sableye (SWSH11 #70)1x Cramorant (SWSH11 #50)1x Manaphy (SWSH9 #41)1x Radiant Greninja (SWSH10 #46)

Trainers (31)

4x Colress's Experiment (SWSH11 #155)2x Roxanne (SWSH10 #150)1x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)4x Mirage Gate (SWSH11 #163)4x Battle VIP Pass (SWSH8 #225)3x Nest Ball (SM #123)2x Super Rod (BKT #149)2x Counter Catcher (CRI #91)2x Switch Cart (SWSH10 #154)1x Switch (BLW #104)1x Escape Rope (SWSH5 #125)1x Lost Vacuum (SWSH11 #162)1x Forest Seal Stone (SWSH12 #156)3x Path to the Peak (SWSH6 #148)

Energy (14)

4x Jet Energy (PEV #190)4x Psychic Energy (RS #107)3x Grass Energy (RS #104)3x Water Energy (RS #106)

Outside of the Forest Seal Stone, this is what Giratina VSTAR decklists typically looked like at LAIC. The biggest issue the deck had at the time was that it struggled with early game consistency, since you had no reliable way of finding Colress's Experiment in the early game. While you did have Abyss Seeking to tide you over for a bit, decks like Mew VMAX were able to punish you very heavily by aggressively taking a KO on Giratina V, as they hit 220 damage easily with Power Tablet. This is where the Forest Seal Stone came in, as with the Star Alchemy Ability it essentially acted as a 5th copy of Colress’s Experiment. However, using Star Alchemy prevents you from using Star Requiem, which is crucial against Charizard ex or Mew VMAX to take a massive OHKO. Using Star Alchemy in those matchups would effectively seal your fate, as your opponent would be safe for the rest of the game knowing that you had no way of taking a OHKO. Because of how important Star Alchemy is to so many of your matchups, Forest Seal Stone was quickly phased out of Giratina VSTAR decks.

Alberto Conti took a different approach to this deck at Stuttgart Regionals, making Top 4 with a list that included two copies of Iono. In theory, this solves the problems that Giratina VSTAR had by giving you access to extra draw Supporters in the early game while also acting as disruption in the late game. However, Iono is so much worse than Colress’s Experiment in the early game as it doesn’t add cards to the Lost Zone. In addition, Giratina VSTAR typically wants to accrue a large hand to increase their options, and having a Supporter which refreshes your hand instead of adding to it is antithetical to this game plan. Iono is also much worse than Roxanne in the late game. as you are drawing only three to four cards instead of six, significantly decreasing your odds of having a follow up play after the Iono. Alberto Conti’s list did have a big innovation though, with the inclusion of two Boss's Orders. Most Giratina VSTAR decks leading up to Stuttgart played two copies of Counter Catcher and one copy of Boss’s Orders, but this inclusion often required you to be behind in Prize cards to win the late game. Playing two copies of Boss’s Orders allows you to close out the game while being ahead, which was an important inclusion in this deck.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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