Welcome back to another top 10!
The last tournament in the Lost Origin format finished last weekend, so it’s time to look forward to Silver Tempest and LAIC, which will be happening in just over a week. The set doesn’t seem to have as many interesting cards as some of the ones before, but I think it will shake up the metagame quite a bit anyway. Let’s get into the list!
My Top 10
10 – Radiant Jirachi
Silver Tempest introduces 3 new Radiant Pokémon. They might not be meta-warping cards like Greninja or Charizard, but all of them have interesting effects, and will surely see some amount of play eventually. The one I’d like to highlight is Radiant Jirachi.
Jirachi could be a good addition to a Twin Energy based single-prize deck like Zoroark Box, which also gains other good cards in this set. When not attacking on the first turn, and not needing a different Radiant Pokémon, might as well try to put a Jirachi in the Active at the start of the game. Its Astral Misfortune attack is unreliable, but still puts pressure on the opponent to deal with it. One lucky attack that ends in a KO could easily be game-winning! And when knocked out, Jirachi guarantees an incredible follow-up turn with its Entrusted Wishes Ability.
It’s important to note that since Jirachi is a Radiant Pokémon, its Ability does get blocked by Path to the Peak, which adds to its unreliability. Still, I think the card will have its uses and show up at tournament tables every now and then.
9 – Ariados
Many of the best decks in the format revolve around Pokémon VSTAR, which makes Ariados a very interesting card. Most decks probably don’t want to set up a Stage 1 Pokémon for this effect, but making the opponent pay 1 more Energy for all their attacks is good. The most obvious use for Ariados is some kind of Control deck, but I could also imagine it seeing play outside of them. Zoroark of course comes to mind immediately, and adding Ariados into the deck could maybe give it the much needed answer to the Palkia VSTAR matchup when combined with Raichu.
With Scarlet & Violet and the discontinuation of VSTAR Pokémon, Ariados will quickly lose a lot of its appeal, but for the next few months I think the card could have an impact on the metagame.
8 – Alolan Vulpix VSTAR
Alolan Vulpix has the lowest amount of HP of all the Pokémon VSTAR, but despite that, many decks will have trouble knocking it out! The Snow Mirage attack is quite good, making it immune to attacks from Pokémon with an Ability. I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point where this would wall out a majority of the top decks, but there could definitely be formats where it will be a very good option to have in a deck. Being unaffected by other effects is a nice added benefit, and guarantees that Vulpix can knock out about any Pokémon in two attacks.
Path to the Peak is a way for decks to work around Alolan Vulpix, since removing their own Abilities allows them to bypass the Snow Mirage, but keep in mind that they have different regulation marks, so Vulpix will eventually exist in a format without Path. Currently, I don’t think Vulpix will be played at all, but it’s a card that’s waiting on the right moment, and could end up being really good under the right circumstances.
7 – Regidrago VSTAR
Pokémon that can copy other attacks have frequently been very successful, and Regidrago VSTAR does have many good options for its Apex Dragon attack. Among the most important ones are Lost Impact for knocking out other VSTAR Pokémon, Rolling Iron to survive a turn, and Energy Hurricane to set up follow-up attackers. Other potential options include G-Max Pulverization for attacking through defensive effects, Sonic Strike to snipe the Bench, and Draconic Impulse to knock out Pokémon VMAX. Overall, Regidrago should have options for pretty much every situation! Its VSTAR Power is also pretty good for discarding Pokémon and getting into the game.
The big question is how to cover Regidrago’s awkward Energy cost to start attacking. Gardenia’s Vigor is an option, but a rather weak supporter. Rillaboom could be used, but is difficult to set up quickly. The Lost Zone engine with Mirage Gate is strong, but doesn’t synergize well with a deck that wants to put cards into the discard pile.
I don’t think it will be easy for multi-prize decks to survive in the Silver Tempest format, with how efficient the top decks are at prize trading, so Regidrago might have a tough time trying to compete. Still, it will likely be the second best standalone deck to come out of this set, and a very fun one as well!
6 – Regieleki VMAX
Adding 30 damage to attacks is really good, especially in the context of Vikavolt V. We already saw a few finishes from it in the prior format, and Regieleki might just be what’s needed to push the deck back into the meta. With two Regieleki and a Choice Belt, Vikavolt could be using Paralyzing Bolt for 140 damage, and Super Zap Cannon for 280. Both are very good numbers into VSTARs! The existence of an additional top tier Lightning weak deck in Lugia should also help its case.
Regieleki has an alright attack itself and a lot of HP, so also adds value as a solid secondary attacker. Free retreat is very convenient as well! Overall, Regieleki VMAX is a pretty good card that I’d expect to play a role in this upcoming format.
5 – V Guard Energy
Now we’re getting into the absolute top cards of this expansion, the ones that will see play at every tournament. V Guard Energy is one of them. Reducing damage by 30 is a lot, there’s many different scenarios in which it could be the difference between a KO or not. Think about cards like Giratina VSTAR, Palkia VSTAR or Mew VMAX — when knocking out opposing Pokémon V, they usually do it with just about enough damage. Missing a single knockout can already be game-losing, so the potential impact of a V Guard Energy is huge. Compared to Big Charm, which is used for similar purposes, V Guard Energy is more difficult to counter, acts as an Energy attachment, and doesn’t conflict with other tool cards.
Of course not every deck will be able to effectively make use of a Colorless Energy, but those that can will benefit a lot.
4 – Forest Seal Stone
Up until now only VSTAR decks had access to that powerful once-per-game effect, but now VMAX and regular Vs can use a VSTAR Power as well! Forest Seal Stone essentially gives them half a Star Birth, which isn’t as crazy as the original, but a noticeable consistency boost nonetheless. There’s no reason for a deck like Mew VMAX, or Vikavolt V, to not play at least one Forest Seal Stone. In the case of Elesa’s Sparkle Mew, and Melony Vikavolt, searching a card from the deck greatly improves their chances to attack on the first turn, so we might even see multiple copies of Forest Seal Stone make it into decklists.
There’s a very important interaction between Forest Seal Stone and Path to the Peak. Since the Ability is on the tool card, not the Pokémon itself, you can use it even when Path is in play! This means by just keeping the card on one of your Pokémon without using it, you are basically safe against the Roxanne plus Path to the Peak combo. Good thing we still have Drapion V to protect us from Mew!
3 – Serena
Boss’s Orders is one of the strongest cards in the format, and for many decks, Serena is basically a better version of it! The draw effect is not particularly good, but it’s much better than nothing. Just think about how many times you lost a game to a brick hand with a Boss in it, that could have played out differently if it was a draw supporter instead. Especially decks with discard synergies will benefit from Serena’s alternative effect.
Being able to drag up only Pokémon V is a relevant dowside for sure, but for some decks it matters less than for others. The exact split between Serena and Boss will vary, but I’d expect Serena to be the slightly more popular card overall. At least until Scarlet & Violet, when the rise of Pokémon ex will make Boss more necessary again.
2 – Archeops
Archeops’ ranking is heavily influenced by the card after, but honestly I think it’s so good that it could be played even without Lugia. Attaching two Special Energy from the deck is unprecedented, and allows for so many strong plays that evolving into it through Rare Candy doesn’t seem crazy either. It’s certainly a contender for the title of best Ability of all time, and we can use not just one, but two every turn!
Amazing Rare Pokémon like Yveltal and Raikou are some of the greatest partners for Archeops. Usually they’d be very difficult to power up, but now you simply attach all the Energy you need from the deck, at no cost! Archeops itself is also a decent attacker, doing enough damage to knock out most other single-prize Pokémon. This means that even when played with Pokémon V, an Archeops deck can utilize pretty strong single-prize gameplans. Stoutland V is yet another card that is usually very difficult to utilize, but becomes almost too easy to use when you can freely attach as many Powerful Colorless Energy as you want. I can’t stress enough how strong of an Ability Primal Turbo really is!
1 – Lugia VSTAR
As great as Archeops is, the main reason it will be everywhere is the cover card of Silver Tempest, Lugia VSTAR. Its Summoning Star VSTAR Power allows you to put any two Colorless Pokémon from the discard pile onto the Bench, which is incredible! Even in past formats with Pokémon like Porygon-Z this would have been really good, but when paired with Archeops, you know the deck will be crazy.
Getting two Archeops into the discard pile and a Lugia VSTAR into play is not very difficult, and can be done by the second turn usually. After that, you can do whatever you want, like knocking out any opposing Pokémon with Lugia and multiple Powerful Colorless Energy. Due to the guaranteed V Guard Energy, it is also quite difficult to take down. Powering up a 2nd, 3rd and even 4th attacker afterwards is also not an issue!
I think the power level of this deck is the highest of any in the Sword & Shield era, which should have a noticeable impact on the metagame. Other multi-prize decks should have a hard time winning the price race against Lugia, which might make the single-prize decks like Regis and Lost Box more appealing.
Even if Lugia somehow doesn’t end up dominating the format, it will certainly be one of the top decks for a while.
Silver Tempest lacks a bit in quantity of viable cards, but is really high in power level. Lugia should comfortably take the spot as the best deck, and that alone will change which decks are played around it. Serena and Forest Seal Stone are very welcome additions to multiple already powerful decks and will further increase their consistency. Beyond those cards, Silver Tempest much improves a few previously underperforming decks like Vikavolt and Zoroark Box, and might maybe push them into meta territory.
What do you think, will Lugia live up to the hype at LAIC, or will the established decks be able to compete with it just fine? I’m looking forward to see what will happen!