Lugia VSTAR in the Twilight Masquerade Format

Hello everyone! Lugia VSTAR started off strong in the Temporal Forces format, winning the Champion’s League in Fukuoka but fell off ever since then. I believe that this was due to a combination of lining up poorly into the Iron Hands ex decks and having some consistency problems. However, Lugia VSTAR was one of the few decks that actually had a strong matchup into Charizard ex during the Temporal Forces format, and this was thanks to the incredible Prize trade provided by Cinccino . This positive Charizard matchup wasn’t enough to make Lugia VSTAR a good deck though and it struggled to succeed for most of the Temporal Forces format, only earning a few Top 16 and Top 8 placements here and there.

Twilight Masquerade seems to breathe new life into Lugia VSTAR thanks to two massive factors. The main one is the presence of Dragapult ex. Lugia VSTAR has a solid matchup into Dragapult ex thanks to the high HP of your Pokemon and the fact that you are able to play a high count of Mist Energy , meaning you can nullify the 60 damage spread from Phantom Dive on your key Pokemon. Dragapult ex decks actually struggle against chained multiple Cinccino taking one-hit Knock Outs on Dragapult ex, as they rely heavily on tanking hits with the Dragapult ex itself and don’t typically have easy ways of chaining Phantom Dive. If Dragapult ex manages to become a top-tier deck in the format, it will also push down Chien-Pao ex decks from existing. The damage spread from Phantom Dive is incredibly disruptive against Chien-Pao ex, as they rely heavily on Basic Pokemon such as Frigibax and Bidoof to execute their strategy. While they can play the 70 HP versions of their Basic Pokemon, these cards all have a two Retreat Cost and if the Chien-Pao player starts one of them, they are unlikely to play the game either, as the two Retreat Cost makes them very difficult to move. Chien-Pao ex was a very difficult matchup for Lugia, thanks to Chien-Pao’s ability to attack with a fast Iron Hands ex. The snipe damage from Radiant Greninja was also very relevant in the Chien-Pao matchup, as it could threaten two Minccino at once.

The other big gain Lugia VSTAR enjoyers get from Twilight Masquerade is access to Legacy Energy. Lugia VSTAR decks have been looking for any way to play attackers with colored Energy costs since the rotation of Aurora Energy, and while Legacy Energy takes up your ACE SPEC in your deck it gives you several new options. The two new Pokemon you get to attack with are Iron Hands ex and Wellspring Mask Ogerpon ex, both of which allow you to take multiple Prize cards from only a single Prize board from your opponent. Legacy Energy lets you use Iron Hands ex’s Amp You Very Much attack, which significantly improves your game plan against Gardevoir ex and the various Lost Zone decks, as both decks often struggle to respond to an Iron Hands ex. Wellspring Mask Ogerpon ex provides a similar effect to an older card that Lugia VSTAR decks enjoyed; Raikou. Wellspring Mask Ogerpon’s Torrential Pump attack provides a similar effect to Iron Hands ex’s Amp You Very Much attack in that it takes two Prize cards against an entirely single-Prize board, but being able to KO two Pokemon at once gives the deck a massive boost in power. While your opponent can bench Manaphy to nullify its effect, a lot of the Stage 2 decks in the current format struggle to get multiple Pokemon out on turn 1. Even playing Wellspring Mask in your deck gives you a small bonus in the game, without actually having to even put it down, as many opponents will choose to forego an important Basic Pokemon to grab Manaphy, out of fear of a Torrential Pump. At this point, Wellspring Mask has done its job by denying your opponent a Benched setup Pokemon one way or another. Another minor bonus Lugia VSTAR decks gain from Legacy Energy is being able to attack with Lumineon V‘s Aqua Return. Aqua Return is a solid attack that removes the liability of Lumineon from your Bench and gives you access to future Luminous Sign plays throughout the game. Legacy Energy also comes with a Life Dew-esque effect as it allows the Pokemon holding it to give up one fewer Prize card when it gets Knocked Out. While this effect doesn’t come up much thanks to Wellspring Mask and Lumineon shuffling their Energy cards back into the deck, it is still useful to have on an Iron Hands ex or even a Cinccino. Enhanced Hammer and Temple of Sinnoh do prevent its effect though, but Legacy Energy is still worth it even as just a single copy of Rainbow Energy.

With all the bonuses Lugia VSTAR gets from Twilight Masquerade, it still has its original problem of a lack of consistency. Ever since the rotation of Quick Ball and Evolution Incense, Lugia VSTAR players have been struggling to discard the two copies of Archeops and get the Lugia VSTAR into play to use Summoning Star on turn 2. The introduction of Carmine does help somewhat, as it is a discard Supporter that you can play going first, but you still significantly struggle to find your Pokemon. Only seeing five new cards with Carmine makes it great on turn 1 but a significantly worse option than Professor's Research later on in the game. I still believe that it is worth playing as you can find it early with Lumineon V, plus Lugia VSTAR decks always appreciate extra ways of discarding cards, but I don’t believe that it will entirely replace Professor’s Research. I have tried to mitigate the consistency issues the deck has as much as possible in my Lugia VSTAR deck list, so let’s get right into the deck itself.

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