Read on to see how this deck works so you can try it out for yourself at your next match.
Overall Game Plan
What the Victory
Star deck aims to do is use Welder every turn to charge up your attackers, and
Nine Temptations Ability to drag up the preferred target from your opponent's Bench
for a Knock Out. Since our goal is to use Welder all the time, it is the only Supporter
card we want to play. On the surface it's a pretty simple and effective strategy,
but the deck has more depth to it than first appears. To execute this game plan,
it is important to prioritize and map out your turns correctly to give you the highest
probability of getting where you want.
One of the key
cards to ensuring this deck functions is Jirachi with the Stellar Wish Ability. It gives
you easier access to the right cards at the right time, with the most important
one being Welder. In addition, Jirachi makes it easier to find the newly released Giant Hearth
Stadium card that can help you find Energy every turn to fuel Nine Temptations and
Welder. To make sure we get maximum value out of our Jirachi, this deck plays four
copies of Switch
and two copies of Escape Board so we can take advantage of two uses of Stellar Wish per turn quite
often. This whole package of Jirachi and its supporting cards makes up 10 cards
in the deck.
It is important
to know that in the early game with this deck, you should prioritize getting Jirachi
on the board immediately—if you don't already have it, get it with your first Pokémon Communication.
Searching out the heavy main attackers is much easier thanks to the newly released Cherish Ball
from Sun & Moon—Unified Minds, so don't worry about them as much. Next
on your priority list for Pokémon Communication should be Vulpix. With Ninetales being
a Stage 1 Pokémon, you need Vulpix on the board right away to take control of the
Give Yourself a Hand
This deck also
uses Dedenne-GX as the main way to draw a fresh
hand of cards. One of the most important in-game decisions is when to use its
Dedechange Ability, as discarding your hand can be quite costly. Ask yourself the
question, “Do I need a specific card this turn to be in a good spot?” If the answer
is yes, you should probably use it. If the answer is no, you should probably save
it for later and keep your options open.
On the first
turn of the game, you are unlikely to find everything you need in your starting
hand, so using Dedenne-GX's Ability early is usually the correct
decision. After that, try to save it for when you really need it.
Now We're Cooking
As for attackers,
we have two TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX in Reshiram & Charizard-GX, a
and three single-Prize Pokémon (that is, Pokémon that your opponent will earn
only one Prize card for Knocking Out) at our disposal.
Charizard-GX is a very powerful card—its GX attack can Knock Out any Pokémon in the
game. Plus, it's very resource-effective: all it takes is one Welder, and this card
can not only do massive amounts of damage but also endure a hit or two. This
gives you more breathing room, because it means you don't have to find another
Welder while Reshiram & Charizard-GX
is still on the field.
Heatran-GX is a flexible card from the recently
released Sun & Moon—Unified Minds expansion that gives you access to
some cool plays. Say you don't really have a good Welder target yet, but you have
Cherish Ball in hand. With Heatran-GX's Burning Road Ability, you can play
Welder to power up any Pokémon, even Dedenne-GX
or Jirachi, before you use the Cherish Ball. That means you can hold onto your Cherish
Ball and find out what three cards you drew from Welder before making a decision
on what to search for. Heatran-GX also
lets you Knock Out an opposing Jirachi with your first attack, even if you are unable
to find Welder, thanks to its Hot Burn-GX attack. With 190 HP, it is usually
sturdy enough to withstand a hit from a non-GX
attacker, making it a good option against those.
non-GX Pokémon in this deck are Turtonator, Tapu Fini, and Victini . All of
them require a specific condition on the board state to be effective, but they are
all very capable of swinging the game in your favor. And because they're single-Prize
attackers, they can quickly skew the Prize card trade in your favor if they
manage to score a one-hit Knock Out on an opposing Pokémon-GX.
a lot of Energy on the board to land big Knock Outs, but you can discard Energy
from any of your Pokémon to boost its Explosive Jet attack. This means that, similarly
to Heatran-GX, it can take advantage of
misplaced Energy from poor openings, or excess Energy after Reshiram & Charizard-GX's Double Blaze-GX attack.
Tapu Fini is
another newly released card that is included mainly to give you an advantage against Blacephalon-GX. But its attack gets cheaper when
your opponent has any Ultra Beast in play, so it can also come in handy against
decks that use other Ultra Beasts. Naganadel, for example, is popular right now as a
way to accelerate Energy in Darkness-type decks, so Tapu Fini can be useful in
is the most powerful card in this deck, taking advantage of every Energy you have
discarded over the course of the game. Its primary role in this deck is keeping
the other cards attacking. But not only is this card perfect to get back your most
important resource, which is Fire Energy—it also has the ability to Knock Out a
TAG TEAM in a single two-Energy attack! And it's incredibly versatile—this card
is great going up against any deck. When facing single-Prize decks like Malamar and Giratina, you want
to use Ninetales to Knock Out Malamar as fast as you can. And against any Pokémon-GX deck, you want to get a big Knock Out
with a low-cost attack from one of your single-Prize Pokémon. Control variants usually
have the goal of knocking off Energy as well, which Victini also completely
denies. It's definitely my favorite card in this deck, and it's the reason for the
deck name (despite being a Victini that does not have the Victory Star
Prizes while only giving up one of your own will give you the upper hand in the
Prize card race with this trio of attackers.
it's important with this deck to try to think ahead and make sure you use the right
balance of single-Prize Pokémon and big
Pokémon-GX according to the strength
of your hand. A stronger hand allows you to use more single-Prize attackers. As
for what to target with Ninetales, you'll usually go after important support Pokémon
or the Pokémon that have Energy attached and are threatening you. Try to have the
overall game plan in mind while playing.
To help you
adopt the right game plan, here are some quick pointers and tricks to use against
the more commonly played decks in the current format.
Victory Star Mirror Match
playing against this same deck, being the first to establish field control with
Ninetales is really important. That's why you should try to target your opponent's
Vulpix (or Ninetales) with your own Ninetales as quickly as possible. Additionally,
it's important that you get a Knock Out with one of your single-Prize attackers,
which will limit your opponent to only one Prize card per turn. Then you can
eventually finish the game by going for a big Knock Out on your opponent's Reshiram
& Charizard-GX. If you're the
only one who has Ninetales in play, your Pokémon-GX will be safe on the Bench
while you pick off any high-value target you want.
Malamar with Spell Tag
This deck didn't
make the Top Cut at Worlds, but it's still formidable. It tries to spread damage
around on your field and take multiple Knock Outs using Spell Tag Tool cards, Giratina's
Distortion Door Ability, and Espeon & Deoxys-GX.
To avoid this, you'll want to target the Pokémon that don't have Spell Tag attached,
preferably Malamar. This deck isn't quite as problematic now that Rescue Stretcher has rotated
out of the Standard format, since there's no good way to cycle Malamar anymore.
That means you can just Knock Out Malamar turn after turn, so when you enter
the later stages of your game, there won't be any Malamar left to charge Espeon
& Deoxys-GX. Here you should open
with Heatran-GX as your attacker, followed
by Turtonator and Victini . After using these Pokémon against your opponent's
Malamar, come in with Reshiram & Charizard-GX to clean up the game.
Pidgeotto and Oranguru
The game plan
here is pretty straightforward: Go after the Pidgey line always. When you chase
them, you make it difficult for your opponent to establish their combo before you
have picked up all six Prize cards. If they can find every piece needed to lock
you down, the game will be over, but that will be harder than it looks if you
stay aggressive. Take note of Power Plant, and try to preserve your own Stadiums.
Heatran-GX, Victini , and Ninetales
are your preferred attackers in this matchup.
Mewtwo & Mew-GX Toolbox
is a close one. Your opponent will have a lot of attacks at their disposal, and
trying to deal with all of them can be a headache. Your overall plan should be to
take down two Mewtwo & Mew-GX. The easiest way to
do this is by going for a pair of big one-hit Knock Outs, using a six-Energy Double
Blaze-GX, followed up by either Victini
if your Reshiram & Charizard-GX
gets Knocked Out, or Turtonator if the TAG TEAM withstands a hit. In this matchup,
Ninetales is not really all that important because the Pokémon you want to get rid
of is usually the one in the Active position anyway. Still, having at least Vulpix
in play makes it so your opponent can't try to build up a scary attacker on the
Reshiram & Charizard-GX with Volcanion and Green's Exploration
this popular deck, try to ignore the Volcanion and target only the Reshiram & Charizard-GX. This will give you more protection against
(because you've taken fewer Prize cards) and apply much more pressure on your
opponent. A six-Energy Double Blaze-GX
and a Turtonator/Victini follow-up is your go-to plan against any TAG TEAM matchup,
including this one.
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
Expect a very
fast-paced match against this deck. You'll find that the same strategy as above
is the best path to victory: use Double Blaze-GX followed by Turtonator/Victini on two TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX
to play around Reset Stamp. Pay close attention to the number of Custom Catcher and Electropower cards
your opponent has played, as this will affect whether you target Alolan Raichu & Raichu-GX or Pikachu & Zekrom-GX for your first Knock Out. Our
deck runs plenty of Switch cards, so being paralyzed from Tandem Shock shouldn't
be a problem, either.
Dark Box Weavile
on the board forces this deck to get an extremely good setup to be able to keep
up with you. They will need a backup Weavile-GX
at all times, plus multiple Naganadel. Try to go for the usual TAG TEAM plan with
Double Blaze-GX followed by Turtonator/Victini
for a quick game, or take advantage of a weak setup and snipe the support Pokémon
Weavile-GX or Naganadel. Also, keep in
mind that Tapu Fini will be activated in this matchup because your opponent
will have Naganadel and Poipole in play, so it can do some solid damage for only
one Energy with Nature Wave.
Blacephalon-GX and Naganadel-GX
against this deck that our Tapu Fini gets to shine the most. You can immediately
get a two-Prize lead with your first attack using that Pokémon, while also subsequently
forcing your opponent to Knock it Out. You can then come in with either Turtonator
or Victini to take another Knock Out and get out of Beast Ring range. As long
as you make sure to give your opponent only one turn with access to Beast Ring,
you should be able to come out on top. Plus, if you can use your single-Prize
Pokémon to inflict these Knock Outs, you will have a lot of breathing room to find
your last two Prize cards.
I hope this
article has given you a little more insight into what is currently my favorite deck
of the season. Best of luck in your next tournament! And be sure to check
Pokemon.com/Strategy for more news and analysis on the Pokémon TCG.
Tord Reklev is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. He is a longtime player from Norway, playing the game since he was 6 years old. He is notable for being the only Masters Division player to win the North America, Europe, and Oceania Internationals, and he recently made Top 4 at the World Championships. Outside of the game, he is a student and enjoys playing tennis. You can find him at most big events, and can follow him on Twitter at @TordReklev.