Posted by Elena from Gaia Storm on 8/31/2022 to Articles
Hello everyone! This is Elena from Gaia Storm TCG, and it is a pleasure to be here again with another article. And this is a very special occasion because we will be covering none other than the deck crowned in the Pokémon Worlds Championship from 2022: Arceus with Flying Pikachu. Today, we will discuss the build, strengths and weaknesses of this strategy and the reasons why it became the best deck of the season. Let's go!
Understanding the context: the impact of Palkia VSTAR
Arceus VSTAR with Flying Pikachu is not a new deck we are seeing now. In fact, remember how Azul Garcia Griego won the North America International Championships earlier this year with a very similar build. This deck became popular as a direct response to Palkia VSTAR and its dominance in the metagame. Arceus variants are, typically, the safest choices to bring to a tournament because of how easy it is to teach them to counter certain match-ups. The problem is that if you stick to a regular Arceus build -like those that run Inteleon- chances are that you will have a tough time against Palkia, especially if they go first. And it was very clear that the majority of players competing in Worlds Championship 2022 were going to pick Palkia for its consistency and aggression. So, at some point, many competitors thought: "I either play Palkia, or I go directly against it".
Pikachu VMAX (Celebrations) is a very strong Palkia counter. It has a lot of HP and has free retreat and attack for Double Turbo Energy and Lightning energy. Once you evolve it, the Palkia player is in a very difficult spot and can easily lose the game. Of course, this does not mean Pikachu VMAX is the only Palkia counter available. Some additional attackers like Raikou, Vikavolt or even Mewtwo V-Union have a favourable match-up against the legendary water Pokémon. But I would argue that Arceus Pikachu is the most solid of the Palkia counters and the one that has a higher probability of performing well in other situations. In other words, Arceus Pikachu is a good deck but wouldn't have made it to the top if Palkia VSTAR had not had such a strong impact in the game. It is not a surprise that the three best-placed Pokemon TCG decks in the competition were very prepared against Palkia.
This is the list that Czech player Ondrej Škubal piloted to become world champions:
|4x Arceus V BRS 122||4x Marnie CPA 56||4x Double Turbo Energy BRS 151|
|3x Arceus VSTAR BRS 123||4x Boss's Orders BRS 132||4x Lightning Energy 4|
|3x Flying Pikachu V CEL 6||2x Professor's Research BRS 147||3x Fighting Energy 6|
|2x Flying Pikachu VMAX CEL 7||1x Raihan EVS 152||1x Capture Energy RCL 171|
|2x Hisuian Decidueye V ASR 83||4x Quick Ball FST 237|
|2x Hisuian Decidueye VSTAR ASR 84||4x Ultra Ball BRS 150|
|2x Bidoof BRS 120||1x Evolution Incense SSH 163|
|2x Bibarel BRS 121||1x Switch SSH 183|
|1x Crobat V SHF 44||4x Path to the Peak CRE 148|
|1x Lumineon V BRS 40|
|1x Pumpkaboo EVS 76|
I like this list as it provides you with many outs during a tournament.
The main star of the deck and the Pokémon you always want to open with is Arceus VSTAR from Brilliant Stars. Arceus is an excellent attacker that can also accelerate energies onto your benched Pokémon, which is ideal for powering up Pikachu or another Arceus. On top of that, Arceus has a very strong ability that can help you set up your field once that has been used. You can safely start playing down Path to the Peak to disrupt your opponent's moves.
Apart from Arceus, the other two attackers are Flying Pikachu VMAX from Celebrations and Decidueye from Astral Radiance. We've already covered Flying Pikachu VMAX and how good it is against Palkia and decks that rely purely on basic Pokémon like Regigigas and Solrock/Lunatone. Ondrej decided to include Decidueye to deal with the mirror match and get an early KO on the opponent Arceus VSTAR. Right now, many Arceus decks have stopped running Dunsparce, which is what protected them from the fighting weakness, and that's why Decidueye V can be your ace card if you expect to play against other Arceus VSTAR. Oh, and one last thing: Decidueye can effectively attack over Miltank as its attack cancels the annoying Miltank's shielding ability.
We can't forget to discuss Bibarel and its importance in this deck. Bibarel is the main drawing engine and what will get you the resources you need in the mid and late-game. Consider that most of the time, you will be using Marnie + Path to the Peak to limit your opponent's actions, but this can sometimes backfire. Bibarel will make sure that you have continuity after Marnie.
Moving into the Trainers line, something that can be surprising is the lack of any healing cards like the popular Cheren's Care from Brilliant Stars. But the deck does not need it that much as its route to victory is using Marnie to disrupt and rely on aggression.
Palkia VSTAR: Favorable
Having lightning weakness, it is clear that Palkia suffers against Pikachu VMAX. All Arceus must attack first, evolve 2 Pikachu VMAX, and find some early Boss Orders to seal the game. Even with all that, it is true that Palkia can still win because, well, it is Palkia, but the odds are in your favour.
Regigigas and Solrock/Lunatone: Very favourable.
Against these one-prizer decks, Pikachu VMAX is the MVP. Once you attack with Pikachu, you lock them out of the game, and they need to find a tough combination of cards to deal with it (Escape Rope + Boss Orders), which proves to be a challenge.
Arceus Inteleon: Unfavorable
If they run Dunsparce, Arceus Inteleon is probably the deck that will give you more problems. You have no way of KOing one Arceus in one hit, and they run a lot of healing cards, making it almost impossible to win the prize race. On top of that, they are typically more consistent than you, and the Inteleon engine gets them all the cards they need.
Dialga VSTAR: Slightly Unfavorable
If the Dialga player is able to set up quickly, you are probably going to lose the game. They can hit very hard and are not affected by the attack of Flying Pikachu. However, the thing with Dialga is that it takes time to gather all the energies they need, so you need to take the chance and disrupt them with Marnie & Path to the Peak as much as you can.
Mew VMAX: Even/Favorable
Playing against Mew is very unpredictable because of their speed, especially when they go first. On the one hand, they can easily KO your Arceus because you don't run Big Charms, but, on the other, four copies of Marnie and 4 Path to the Peak are a nightmare for them. If they can consistently draw their stadium cards, you will lose the game, but there is nothing you can do against it.
Arceus with Flying Pikachu has earned a well-deserved spot in the Worlds Championship this year because of the versatility and the favourable pairings it had across the board. It will surely remain one of the top decks to consider, at least until Lost Origin becomes legal and changes the metagame upside down. For the time being, I will heavily suggest you build this deck if you are unsure of what to play in the following weeks. Remember, you can get all the PTCGO codes you need for your POkemon TCG online deck here at PoTown Store! Thanks for reading!
About the writer
Elena has been playing Pokémon TCG for years and leads one of the biggest TCG-dedicated channels in the world. You can find her on Youtube & Twitch (@gaiastormtcg) as well as on other social media channels. Don't forget to check them out!