Welcome back PoTown Store readers! Hope all has been well and that everyone is enjoying the new Sword and Shield set! The first tournament Sword and Shield will be legal in is OCIC (aka Oceania International Championships) coming up later this month. This event will be streamed by Pokemon so be sure to check it out if you want to see what all the games top players think are the best decks in this format. When thinking of the new standard format with Sword & Shield, a lot of new things change in the meta because of powerful new Pokemon and Trainer cards that were released in the set. The turn one no supporter rule also comes into effect, which will cause some decks to be built a little differently. Keeping this in mind, there are a lot of new decks making it into the Top 5 decks in the format! Here is my current predicted Top 5 decks to look out for in OCIC!

#5 Obstagoon/Lillie’s Poke Doll

That's right, a Stage 2 is good again in the Pokemon TCG! What Obstagoon does is quite remarkable, and has a lot of moving pieces that make it great. First off the basic evolution for Obstagoon is Zigzagoon, which has an ability that is reminiscent of the old Crobat from a while back that when benched from your hand, places one damage counter anywhere onto the field. The Stage one evolution Linoone doesn’t do anything special, but the main Pokemon you are working so hard to build up in Obstagoon, has an ability that when evolved, you can place 3 damage counter to any Pokemon on your opponent's field. With Zigzagoon’s and Obstagoon’s abilities coming into effect a lot, you can easily rack up good damage and make your attacks with Obstagoon be a lot more impactful. Speaking of Obstagoon’s attack, it can for a Dark and Colorless energy, deal 90 damage and prevent all damage from Basic Pokemon to Obstagoon. 90 damage isn’t all that impressive anymore, but it is the effect we are mainly playing this card for. The standard format for the entire season so far has been dominated by powerful Basic Pokemon, and that will not change heading into Sword & Shield. Sure we get a couple VMAX Pokemon, but  none are really that good and you would rather be playing other stronger basic attackers. So if you are able to get Obstagoon up and  running, it is quite difficult for any popular deck in the meta to beat it. But, because it is a stage 2 evolution deck that requires 2 energy to attack, it can be somewhat difficult to get it set up. This is why 4 copies of Lillie’s Poke Doll is played as you need to have something to hide behind while you set up your Obstagoon pieces. Overall this deck has insane potential, and I cannot wait to see its presence on the meta at OCIC coming up soon. 

#4 Pikachu & Zekrom GX

Yes that's right, Pikachu & Zekrom is back into the top tier thanks to the new Tapu Koko V, Professor’s Research, and Quick Ball cards released in Sword & Shield. Pikachu & Zekrom struggled last format with Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff GX, Keldeo GX, and not having reliable search for Tapu Koko Prism Star, the main energy accelerator in the deck. The deck often relied on multiple Dedenne GX to dig through the deck to set up, and had to put cards such as Marshadow and Power Plant into the deck in order to have a shot against Keldeo GX. A lot of things had to happen in order for Pikarom to come back into the top tier, and they all just so happened to come true. Decks with the exception of Mewtwo & Mew GX with a Welder engine will not be playing Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff anymore as there will be a decline in benched Pokemon GX thanks to Pokemon V, and less Dedenne GX will be on the field thanks to Professor’s Research. Keldeo GX is also easily counterable thanks to Tapu Koko V which can get an OHKO on a Keldeo GX because it is a V card. And finally, Pikarom got Quick Ball. A direct search for Tapu Koko Prism Star makes the deck hit turn one Full Blitz a lot more often and can help overwhelm the opponent early on. Pikarom also has many ways to draw cards thanks to its insane search cards and easy attacks, so it's not as affected if you happen to be going first with Pikarom and can’t play a supporter. Pikarom will be a deck to beat coming next format, and I cannot wait to watch the deck explode at OCIC. 

#3 Cinccino/Pidgeotto/Oranguru Control

Despite new cards such as Zacian V and Oranguru being recently released in Sword and Shield, control decks are still very strong. With new cards such as Cinccino and Evolution Incense, control has an added consistency and draw power, as well as being able to deny more resources thanks to the updated draw potential. The deck still works around the same as it did last format with just Pidgeotto as you can still hand lock and discard all of their energy. This deck is still something to look out for and should warrant some respect despite the format now having more basic ability Pokemon that can get out of the hand lock control decks put on the opponent. 

#2 Mewtwo & Mew GX & Malamar

A more unlikely Mewtwo partner in Malamar is quickly becoming one of the best decks in Japan with the same cards legal as our standard format. When paired with the new supporter Marnie and Trevenant & Dusknoir GX’s attack, you can leave your opponent with just two cards in their hand. This has been a devastating combo so far and with the support of Malamar, you can easily get it off. The deck being a Mewtwo & Mew deck, also has a ton of other attacking options such as Latios GX, Gengar & Mimikyu GX, Ultra Necrozma GX, and of course the one prize pals Giratina & Blacephalon. Overall the deck is very strong due to its early game disruptive nature, and I expect it to be one of the most popular decks to come out of Sword & Shield. 

#1 ADP & Zacian V

The most hyped deck to come out of Sword and Shield has to no surprise, the most powerful V card in the set in Zacian V. Zacian V has some incredible support with cards like Metal Saucer and its amazing ability, allowing you to draw extra cards before ending your turn. When paired with the already known to be powerful ADP, Zacian can hit relevant Tag Team numbers and take a lot of extra prize cards. ADP was powerful before last format, but it lost to decks being able to one shot the ADP before ADP could use Ultimate Ray and get an additional attacker set up, but now with Zacian V and Metal Saucer, you can easily set up a more powerful attacker with item based energy acceleration. I expect this deck to do very well in this format, and should be a deck to think about when building your first decks with Sword and Shield legal.

Thank you all for reading this article on the Po Town Store! I hope everyone finds this article useful when thinking of decks they want to play in tournaments, and the Pokemon TCG Online! Please enjoy Sword and Shield, and have a great day!