By Ellis Longhurst, Contributing Writer
Storm into battle with cards from the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Silver Tempest expansion. This set includes a variety of powerful Trainer cards, Energy cards, and Pokémon (including six new Pokémon VSTAR and a new Pokémon VMAX) that are forecast to shake up the metagame. In particular, the introduction of VSTAR Powers on Trainer cards promises clear blue skies on the battlefield for some strategies and rough winds ahead for others. We may be approaching the end of the Sword & Shield Series, but Sword & Shield—Silver Tempest creates a range of new possibilities for Pokémon of all stages. Read on to find out which cards from the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Silver Tempest expansion will fly sky-high.
Lugia VSTAR Whips Up a Whirlwind of Excitement
Lugia VSTAR lives up to its Legendary status, but not for the reason you may think. Like most Pokémon VSTAR, Lugia VSTAR has high HP and an awesome attack. However, its Summoning Star VSTAR Power is what has caused quite a stir. This Ability enables Trainers to put two Colorless-type Pokémon that don’t have a Rule Box from the discard pile onto the Bench. The new Archeops is an ideal candidate: its Primal Turbo Ability accelerates Special Energy onto Pokémon in play, thereby making high-cost attacks go like the wind. Primal Turbo enables Lugia VSTAR to make good use of a range of Special Energy cards, including the new V Guard Energy to reduce damage taken from the attacks of opposing Pokémon V, and Powerful Colorless Energy to increase damage done by Tempest Dive.
The Lugia VSTAR and Archeops partnership has already been played to great success at Pokémon TCG tournaments in Japan. These decks have featured a variety of backup attackers and supporting Pokémon. Lugia VSTAR can use any Energy type to satisfy the attack cost of Tempest Dive, which makes it a breeze for Trainers to splash Pokémon of any type into the deck. Consider the new Magearna V, which has synergy with Archeops and can Knock Out a Kyurem VMAX in one hit. There are also powerful single-Prize Pokémon like Radiant Charizard, or the option to play Drapion V to deal with Mew VMAX. For those who prefer Water-type Pokémon, the new Alolan Vulpix VSTAR in combination with Wash Water Energy can cast a downpour on the winning hopes of many of the top competitive decks. The challenge for Trainers will be to identify the right combination of Pokémon to help Lugia VSTAR and Archeops blow away the competition.
Regidrago VSTAR Receives a Roar of Approval
Unleash the power of Dragon-type Pokémon through Regidrago VSTAR. This Pokémon has an attack called Apex Dragon, which copies the attack of any Dragon-type Pokémon in the discard pile. Just like the World Championships-winning Mewtwo & Mew-GX, Regidrago VSTAR seeks to find success by turning trash into treasure.
Fortunately, Dragon-type Pokémon have a wealth of attacks that are useful in competitive play. For example, Giratina VSTAR’s Lost Impact threatens a one-hit Knock Out on an opposing Pokémon VSTAR, while Flygon V’s Draconic Impulse is an efficient way to deal with Pokémon VMAX. Sometimes an opponent will make it tricky to take a Knock Out by moving their Pokémon to the Bench or by hiding behind an Ability like Miltank’s Miracle Body. That’s when it's handy to have Dragon-type friends like Garchomp V and Duraludon VMAX waiting in the wings. Trainers could also try to increase the longevity of Regidrago VSTAR in battle by copying Hisuian Goodra VSTAR’s Rolling Iron attack.
There are a couple of challenges that Regidrago VSTAR will need to overcome before it can be deemed a roaring success. For instance, powering up Dragon Apex is no easy feat. Trainers will need to make use of Supporter cards like Gardenia’s Vigor and Raihan, and attacks like the new Dragonite’s Energy Hurricane to set up multiple Regidrago VSTAR throughout the battle. There’s also the need to get Dragon-type Pokémon from the deck into the discard pile. Consider using the new Lance Supporter card and Regidrago VSTAR’s own Legacy Star VSTAR Power to help achieve this.
Ariados Causes a Disturbance
Ariados may not seem impressive at first glance, but this spooky Pokémon is sure to strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest of Pokémon VSTAR. Its Hidden Threads Ability increases the cost of the attacks of the opposing Pokémon VSTAR by 1 Colorless Energy, which could put them in a bind.
There are lots of different webs you can weave to trap the opponent with Hidden Threads. Prevent opposing Pokémon VSTAR from launching an attack by combining Ariados with a Stadium card like Temple of Sinnoh and Item cards like Crushing Hammer and Fan of Waves. Alternatively, watch the opponent attach extra Energy to the affected Pokémon VSTAR, then take Knock Outs using Starmie V or the new Delphox.
Even without the assistance of Trainer cards, Ariados can create a sticky situation for Trainers whose strategies rely on the attacks of Pokémon VSTAR. They may be forced to attach Energy cards in an unusual way or attack using Pokémon that they would ordinarily choose to keep out of battle. In some cases, the opponent may be unable to attack for the turn! This is devastating for decks that rely on attacks like Arceus VSTAR’s Trinity Nova or Regidrago VSTAR’s Apex Dragon (copying Dragonite’s Energy Hurricane) to accelerate Energy onto the battlefield and prepare the rest of their Pokémon for battle. Inject some disruption into your gameplay with Ariados.
Empower Pokémon V with Forest Seal Stone
Success is not always written in the stars; sometimes it’s etched on a stone instead. When attached to a Pokémon V, Forest Seal Stone enables that Pokémon to use a powerful new VSTAR Power called Star Alchemy. If you often feel like you’re a stone’s throw away from victory, Star Alchemy is the VSTAR Power for you. Searching out a specific card from the deck at the right time can guarantee the execution of a combination play, disrupt an opponent’s strategy, or even help to take the last Prize card. It’s no wonder Trainers have previously used cards that offer similar effects, such as Arceus VSTAR and the old-school Computer Search, to great success in competitive play.
Most decks that feature Pokémon VSTAR are already designed to take advantage of a specific VSTAR Power. This means that the natural home for Forest Seal Stone is in decks that feature Pokémon V and Pokémon VMAX alone or alongside single-Prize Pokémon. Any deck that uses Pokémon such as Lumineon V and Crobat V, which have single-use Abilities, could include Forest Seal Stone to enhance their value on the battlefield.
Excitement surrounds the inclusion of this Item card in the popular Mew VMAX / Genesect V Fusion Strike deck. The usual strategy for this deck is to put multiple Genesect V into play, which means there’s almost always going to be a Pokémon that can use Forest Seal Stone. One of the strengths of this deck is its ability to draw loads of cards every turn using Fusion Strike System. However, players are often forced to discard key resources as they dig through the deck to unearth the specific cards they require. Star Alchemy mitigates this risk. Unlike Fusion Strike System, it can even be used when a Path to the Peak is in play!
Serena Is More than a Fair-Weather Friend
Serena is destined to become a top performer. This Supporter card enables Trainers to choose between two actions that are very different, but equally worthy of applause. The first option is to discard up to 3 cards from your hand, then draw until you have 5. This complements strategies that rely on having specific cards in the discard pile. For example, Regidrago VSTAR needs Dragon-type Pokémon in the discard pile to be able to use Apex Dragon, and Lugia VSTAR needs Archeops in the discard pile to commence the Summoning Star + Primal Turbo combination play discussed above. Regigigas decks can also combine the effects of Serena and the Ancient Wisdom Ability to put multiple Special Energy cards into the discard pile and then attach them to Pokémon in play.
Serena gives Trainers the option to change up their style throughout the game. Instead of putting cards in the discard pile and drawing new cards, Trainers can choose to switch one of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon V with the Pokémon in the Active Spot. In this way, Serena is like Boss’s Orders. Expect to see Serena in a variety of decks, because its versatility makes it a useful card at all stages of the game.
The new Primordial Altar Stadium card provides another method to put specific cards into the discard pile. Remember to use Oranguru’s Primate Wisdom Ability or the Rotom Phone Item card to guarantee that the right card will be discarded, or simply activate Primordial Altar to gain knowledge of the top card.
These are just some of the awesome cards you’ll find in the new Sword & Shield—Silver Tempest expansion. With over 190 new cards to collect—including six brand-new Pokémon VSTAR, 15 Pokémon V, and a Pokémon VMAX—there are plenty of other exciting combinations and strategies to explore. Do you have what it takes to harness the power of the storm?
Look for more Pokémon TCG strategy and analysis at Pokemon.com/Strategy.