From August 18th to 21st, the 2022 Pokémon World Championships will take place in London, and players from around the globe are gearing up.
The event plays host to tournaments across a number of Pokémon titles, including Pokémon Sword and Shield, Pokémon Go, Pokémon Unite, and Pokkén Tournament. It’s also the stage for the largest tournament of the year for the Pokémon Trading Card Game, and you can bet those lucky enough to snag an invitation are currently in full-blown training mode.
Best Pokémon Standard decks at Worlds 2022
- Arceus VSTAR
- Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR
- Mewtwo V-UNION and Miltank
- Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR
- Mew VMAX and Genesect V
Tweaking decklists, taking stock of the current meta for the Standard format and predicting the impact of newly-released sets are all part of the preparation stage. The most recent expansion launched for the Pokémon Trading Card Game was a set based on mobile mega-hit Pokémon Go but, as a miniature novelty set, it did admittedly little to alter the meta in any meaningful way.
However, May’s release of Astral Radiance shook up the tournament scene a great deal. Both Origin Forme Palkia and Origin Forme Dialga have established a foothold in Standard decks. A surprise decklist featuring Regigigas has also emerged in the shadow of Astral Radiance.
In the months leading up to the World Championships, many tournament players were anticipating a rotation of Standard-legal cards, meaning cards that are acceptable for tournament play. This annual cycling of legal cards is what Pokémon Standard decks are built around, but The Pokémon Company was slow to announce this year’s rotation, leaving prospective tournament-goers hesitant to finalise their lists.
Historically, rotation occurred in August or September, which is what many were anticipating for 2022. However, after a delayed response, The Pokémon Company revealed in June that rotation wouldn’t take place until Spring 2023. The result of this later rotation is that many older Standard Pokémon cards will be legal to use in this month’s World Championships. As such, we’ll be seeing a lot of Pokémon Standard decks that have been popular for the last year mingling with lists boasting newer cards. Popular engines like Shading Dealings Inteleon will go toe-to-toe with Palkia, which should make for some interesting matchups.
The later rotation also means that the card pool for Worlds is wider than it has been in recent years, which is likely to result in a larger variety of decks rather than the same tried-and-true handful. We won’t know until the event officially begins, but below are some of the best Pokémon Standard decks we are likely to see at Pokémon World Championships 2022.
1. Arceus VSTAR
In February, the Brilliant Stars expansion gave us Arceus VSTAR, and the meta hasn’t been the same ever since. Between Trinity Nova’s ability to accelerate energy onto Pokémon on the bench and Starbirth’s efficient card search, Arceus VSTAR has come to dominate both local and regional tournaments. In most cases, it’s paired with popular support Pokémon like Dark Asset Crobat V and the Bidoof/Bibarel line. It’s also not uncommon to see the Inteleon engine assisting Arceus as well.
One unconventional list comes from the North America International Championships (NAIC), which took place in June. There, winner Azul Garcia Griego piloted a deck featuring Arceus VSTAR and Flying Pikachu VMAX. Because of this recent win, there’s a high chance we’ll see copycat decklists at Worlds. There’s also a variant of the list that slots in Radiant Charizard from the Pokémon Go expansion, which may or may not show up.
2. Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR
Probably the most significant contribution from the Pokémon TCG’s Astral Radiance set, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR has come into its own over the last couple months. A list pairing it with the Inteleon engine, Radiant Greninja and Galarian Zigzagoon took second at the Pokémon North America International Championships, right behind Arceus/Flying Pikachu.
Palkia’s Subspace Swell attack does more damage the more benched Pokémon are in play. This includes your bench and your opponent’s. Playing around Palkia can be something of a mind game as you balance what Pokémon you want to bench with the fact that you’ll be powering up your opponent’s primary attacker. As such, Palkia is definitely set to make a splash at Worlds.
3. Mewtwo V-UNION and Miltank
One of the more surprising hit cards to come out of the Astral Radiance expansion is Miltank. Its ability to just turn off your opponent’s Pokémon V is formidable on its own, but when paired with the right attackers it’s the ultimate roadblock. Because of this, Miltank makes a perfect support for Pokémon that take a while to get rolling, such as V-UNION Pokémon.
Among V-UNION Pokémon, which require four different cards to exist in the discard pile at the same time, Mewtwo V-UNION is by far the most popular. Boasting a suite of useful attacks and abilities, it has made its mark on the tournament scene. The Miltank/Mewtwo V-UNION teamup works well because, while Miltank is stalling your opponent’s Pokémon V, you can get all the V-UNION pieces into the discard with Trainers like Professor’s Research, Ultra Ball or, more recently, Cyllene. It will be interesting to see how this list fares at Worlds.
4. Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR
Not to be outdone by its counterpart Palkia, Origin Forme Dialga from Astral Radiance is also a force to be reckoned with in the Standard format. The ability to take two turns in a row can be outright game-winning (not to mention the hefty 220 damage Star Chronos comes with), so it’s perhaps unsurprising to see it pop up on this list.
One popular pairing for Dialga is Mew from the Celebrations set. You see, Dialga is a more complex, combo-oriented Standard deck than many other Standard lists at the moment. It relies on building up a large hand size and accelerating a great deal of Metal energy into play.
Here’s the way it works: Mew is perfect for seeking out item cards, and the Trainer cards that Dialga thrives on are those that retrieve energy from the discard pile. In the format, the cards that synergise well with Dialga are Trekking Shoes, Scoop Up Net and the like. The idea is to have Mew seek out stuff like Trekking Shoes or use Radiant Greninja to get energy into your discard. Then, you can use cards like Metal Saucer and Raihan to accelerate from the discard pile and power up Dialga for a surprise Star Chronos as early as turn two.
5. Mew VMAX and Genesect V
When the Fusion Strike expansion was released for the Pokémon TCG back in November of 2021, Mew VMAX and Genesect V almost immediately took over the Standard metagame. Today, it’s still bouncing around the tournament scene - and for good reason!
By flooding your bench with Genesect V cards, you can utilise its Fusion Strike System ability, which lets you draw until you have cards in your hand equal to the number of Fusion Strike Pokémon in play. The twist here is that you can use this ability multiple times in a turn as long as you have the requisite Genesect V in play. So, on a turn, you can use one Fusion Strike System, empty your hand by playing cards or discarding them via Ultra Ball and Quick Ball, use a secdong Fusion Strike System, and so on.
One of the best support Pokémon you can use in this deck is Fusion Strike Meloetta, whose Melodious Echo attack does 70 damage for each Fusion Strike Energy attached to your Pokémon, up to a total of 280 damage. However, Meloetta is a weak 70 HP Pokémon, which is a risky prospect for placing in the attack position. Enter Mew VMAX, whose Fross Fusion Strike lets you use the attack of a benched Fusion Strike Pokémon.
This Standard deck thrives on the synergy of the Fusion Strike mechanic, which is why most of the cards are from the Fusion Strike set. Lists like this are one of the older archetypes in the current meta, but there’s a reason it’s still around - and you can be sure it will be prominent at Worlds this month.