Trash or Treasure? Temporal Forces Format Update

The Temporal Forces format kicked things off with a bang here in the west, coupled with our annual rotation to F block onwards. There has been a flurry of tournaments across all continents in rapid succession, giving us plenty of results and data to look at. The format’s progression only loosely followed the results of Japan’s Champions League Fukuoka, showing that there was lots of room for the format to grow and develop, as well as warning us that a sample size of one large tournament doesn’t necessarily indicate hard-set rules for our format.

Champions League Fukuoka

When Japan’s Fukuoka tournament took place about a month and a half before our rotation, we paid much more attention to it than usual because it was the only major tournament data for us. Lugia VSTAR won that event and proceeded to flop massively at all subsequent western tournaments. Lugia VSTAR earned not a single Top 16 at EUIC or Orlando Regionals despite being a popular deck, though it did make Top 8 at Regionals in Perth and Sao Paulo. I’ll pat myself on the back for calling out Lugia VSTAR as mid at the format’s inception; the deck is strong, but a bit inconsistent. Its Weakness to Iron Hands ex worried me at first, but I’m starting to think this might be acceptable going forward. Arceus VSTAR / Alolan Vulpix VSTAR placed second in Japan, but we all know that deck is not real, and the same goes for the Japan-dominating Snorlax stall deck. These decks were great plays for Japan’s early-stage meta at the time, but our format outgrew them pretty quickly.

Charizard ex did alright in Japan, and lists for it have evolved quickly. We knew Charizard ex was going to be the best deck in the format, and it’s exceeding even those expectations despite the bar being so high. Arceus VSTAR / Giratina VSTAR also did well in Japan, following this up with few major results — it did terribly at EUIC, though somehow got two Top 16s at Orlando and a Top 8 in Sao Paulo. Lost Zone box was one of the most played decks in Japan, and it was somewhat successful but has remained similarly mid to Arceus VSTAR / Giratina VSTAR. With a single Top 16 at both EUIC and Orlando, it surprisingly got second at Sao Paulo. All things considered though, it’s still not a top-tier deck in the format.

The main thing that remained consistent is the format’s diversity; Japan’s Top 16 had a smattering of different decks, and we’ve continued to see a wide variety of decks perform well here and there. Due to how many decks are viable, it’s possible for some to be overlooked simply because nobody good is playing them. Lost Zone box, for example, has a few isolated performances despite low overall numbers.


EUIC further demonstrated Charizard ex’s dominance in terms of placements and list innovation. The disruptive version saw a lot of play, but ultimately Tord’s version came out on top, setting the standard going forward. Isaiah Bradner debuted Banette ex in Giratina VSTAR, though this did not gain a lot of traction despite its second-place finish. Another introduction was Pidgeot ex control, an interesting deck that many were unsure about — it took two Top 8 placements despite low representation, showing off the deck’s power.

Iron Hands ex overperformed as well, also taking two Top 8 spots. This has been hard to replicate going forward, as the deck struggles against Charizard ex. Roaring Moon ex / Dudunsparce snuck into the Top 8 out of absolutely nowhere, again demonstrating the format’s diversity. If these performances weren’t enough of a surprise for everyone, we also saw Gardevoir ex bubble at ninth. These results were completely all over the place, with plenty of unexpected decks doing well. What’s interesting is that most of these decks simply lose to Charizard ex, making them questionable plays going forward due to that deck’s dominance, however, at EUIC, players and lists were still in the early stages of the format, giving the edge to practiced players with refined lists more than matchups. Continuing the trend that Japan started, there was a wide variety of decks in the Top 16.

The Regionals

EUIC was immediately followed by Orlando and Perth Regionals on the same weekend, with Sao Paulo Regionals most recently after that. Charizard ex won every single one of these tournaments and put up solid results overall. With that, Charizard ex won four majors in a row and cemented itself as the king of the format. Sao Paulo and Orlando had some diversity, with five other decks in the Top 8. Perth was mostly Charizard ex though.

Chien-Pao ex performed exceptionally well in Orlando, taking several top spots, and interestingly, Ancient box preyed upon them and managed to take second place. Just when everyone thought Lost Zone box was down for the count, it took second at Sao Paulo. Aside from these, there were a wide variety of decks occupying the top spots, solidifying this format as a diverse and interesting one.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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