Battle Styles

7 ways Battle Styles will change Standard Format

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Bath TCG blog. Happy Battle Styles week! To celebrate, here are 7 ways I think the set will change our Standard Format. Do you think my predictions are bang on, or will I be proved to be hilariously wrong? Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the set down below!

Single and Rapid Strike Pokémon are here to stay…

No doubt, the biggest change that Battle Styles brings is the introduction of Single and Rapid-Strike Cards. These new cards can combine with those of the same style for some powerful effects. The most prominent of these cards are of course the Urshifu VMAX cards, which both help show off the distinctive style of Single and Rapid Strike. Single Strike Urshifu hits hard and hits fast, with the regular V being able to accelerate 2 additional energy on turn 1, ready for the VMAX to hit for 270 damage on turn two(!) Along with Houndoom and Urn of Vitality to help accelerate and recover the new Single Strike Energy, and a new Single Strike Scroll of Scorn tool which can allow for 300+ damage turns for one a single energy, SS Urshifu XMAX is an attacker that can be rolling from turn two, and has the momentum to tear through any deck in the format if left unchecked.

In comparison, Rapid Strike Urshifu specialises in manipulating the board to your advantage, whether that relates to the movement of Pokémon or damage placement. Gale Thrust synchronises perfectly with the new Tower of Waters Stadium to allow for switching in and out of the active, meaning that you can pull off the insanely efficient 150 for 1 energy turn repeatedly in the opening turns. However, what’s more impressive is the fact that its G-Max Rapid Flow attack can also be chained despite requiring you to discard all energy attached to RS Urshifu VMAX. The new Rapid Strike Energy, along with an Octillery that can tutor out any Rapid Strike card, means that this attack can be used in successive turns if played with cards such as Welder or Tapu Koko Prism Star. With Boss’ Orders and now Escape Rope also in format thanks to a new reprint, RS Urshifu VMAX has the ability to force opponents into very tricky spots… ending in some potentially devastating multiple prize turns.

…are the Mew3 wars on their way?

With such a sizeable meta shift on the way, it is only natural that existing decks in the Standard Format change and adapt to these powerful new VMAX cards. The release of Colossal VMAX in Vivid Voltage saw PikaRom turn to Mewtwo & Mew GX in an attempt to swing a difficult matchup on paper in its favour. It could be fair to say that this worked a treat, as PikaRom was arguably the BDIF in the TEU-VIV format. With both Urshifu’s being weak to Psychic, it is fair to assume that other GX decks will start to take advantage of Mew3 not only for its versatility, but because of its advantageous typing.

We have seen Welder, Water and Psychic Mewtwo all have a place in past metas, while Mew3 has also seen inclusions in EggRow Rillaboom and MewChu. Although not all of these decks will piggyback off the success of the psychic typing going forwards, having a look at some Japanese deck lists will tell us that ADP isn’t impartial to some purple, and that the core of Welder Mewtwo can be played with… Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX? Wait, really?! Yes, that’s right, ‘MewFu’ is real and is as bonkers as it sounds. This recent video from Omnipoke does an excellent job of exploring the concept if you would like to find out more.

Although it is unlikely that all of these decks will take off the ground upon Battle Styles release, it is clear that Mew3 is an easy include for a lot of decks that can very easily take care of both Urshifu VMAX’s. These includes are likely to be countered by Jirachi GX, but it is unlikely that any Urshifu player will include more than one of these in their decks, and there are plenty of gusting options in the current Standard Format.

Dedenne GX and Crobat V become even more of a liability

As if there weren’t already enough of a burden on your board, Dedenne GX and Crobat have a new predator waiting in the wings of the Battle Styles meta. Not only does Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX hits both Pokémon for weakness, it can also target two at once with its G-Max Rapid Flow attack. Although you cannot hit bench Pokémon for weakness (at least not in Standard Format), there are plenty of damage modifiers that can achieve a lustrous four-prize turn.

With the help of Telescopic Sight and a Galarian Zigzagoon, Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX can OHKO a Dedenne on the bench. Combine this with a Boss’ Orders or Escape Rope to bring up a Crobat V, it is possible to take the majority of your prizes whilst completely ignoring your opponent’s main threat. Whilst this gameplan is unlikely to come off in every game or matchup (especially when Bench Barrier Mew still legal), it just goes to show the potential power of RS Urshifu and the threat it poses to these two-prize bench sitters.

Single Prize decks will be more consistent

Let’s be honest, it’s tough being a single prize deck at the moment. As if ADP wasn’t bad enough with its ability to win with only three (and occasionally two!) knockouts, Dedenne GX and Crobat V are must includes if you want to keep up the pace set by other decks. It’s not uncommon to have six prizes worth of support Pokémon sat on your bench, leaving your opponent to gust around your threat and also win the game in only three knockouts. Well, all that stops* with the reprint of Level Ball.

With the release of this card, every single prize Pokémon with 90HP or less instantly becomes more viable and, in the case of evolving Pokémon such as Frosmoth, Cinccino, and Polteageist, become a lot easier to search out and set up. Whilst the only prominent single prize deck in the current Standard Format is Mad Party, Level Ball is certainly a card for the future once ADP has rotated and Cinccino draw engines become more viable. Level Ball is such a strong card that, any 90HP or below Pokémon that is printed between now and when it rotates can at the very least be considered for inclusion in either new or existing archetypes. The consistency it provides to these decks in an ADP-less meta holds real potential for the future of single prize decks.

*Gets slightly better

New tanking support lessens the need for LucMetal

If the Rusted Sword tool from Shining Fates hadn’t caused enough complications for LucMetal decks, then the release of Corviknight VMAX, Bronzong and Cheryl will surely see it off for good. Although we have had plenty of metal VMAX Pokémon released in the past, none of them have justified being included over Zacian V as an attacker in LucMetal. However, that all changes with Battle Styles, as a new package of cards enables Corviknight VMAX to become the face of tanky metal decks going forwards.

Corviknight’s G-Max Hurricane attack can knockout all relevant Pokémon V, and the fact that it has free retreat means that it is easy to switch in and out the active in order to chain attacks. Where Corviknight VMAX differentiates itself from LucMetal is how it heals. Whereas Lucmetal relied solely on Mallow & Lana for healing, Corviknight can be used in combination with the new Bronzong and Cheryl cards. Bronzong’s Metal Transfer ability allows you to move metal energies from a damaged Corviknight and onto a fresh one, using Cheryl to then heal all off the damage without having to discard the attached energy.

If this doesn’t already seem like a strong core, there is plenty of other support that this archetype can take advantage of. As well as the aforementioned LucMetal and Mallow & Lana, there are also Metal Goggles to ensure that it is even more difficult to knockout a Corviknight VMAX. In an offensive sense, Zacian V’s Intrepid Sword and Metal Saucer can help accelerate energy into play in the early turns, increasing the chances of being able to get off a G-Max Hurricane on turn two.

Don’t call it a comeback… call it Dragapult VMAX

Despite quickly becoming one of the tops decks after its release in Rebel Clash, Dragapult VMAX was completely banished from the meta by Eternatus VMAX come Darkness Ablaze, and has spent the last six months waiting in the wings ready to make its return. With the release of Battle Styles, both Urshifu VMAXs provide new counters to Eternatus, and new favourable matchups for Dragapult. Not only does Dragapult hit both Urshifu for weakness, the damage counters from its G-Max Phantom attack can be used to target Octillery, Houndoom or their evolving basics.

One tool that Dragapult VMAX gains from Battle Styles is the reprint of Exp. Share. Without any psychic specific acceleration, Dragapult relies on turn attachments and is thus very weak to Crushing Hammers. Thanks to Exp. Share, any attachment essentially doubles in value, ensuring that any missed attachment isn’t as big a blow to your tempo as it once was. However, not only can Dragapult be used on its own as a counter to Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, the two can also be paired together. Thanks to Dragapult’s dark weakness (which is covered mostly by RS Urshifu), it can be used to hit Mew3 for weakness without the risk of being OHKO’d in return. Thanks to Rapid Strike Energy, Exp. Share and the colourless energy in G-Max Rapid Flow’s attack cost, you can switch from Dragapult VMAX to RS Urshifu in successive turns, meaning that you can combine great type coverage with a fast tempo to easily overpower opponents if they are not prepared.

Victini VMAX is the hottest new fire deck… that doesn’t solely rely on Welder!

For the last two years, the main attraction of fire decks is that you have access to Welder to accelerate energy into play. Similarly, for the last two years the main deterrent of fire decks is that you are reliant of drawing into and a Welder and two energies almost every turn of the game. This is because it is typical of fire types to have high energy attack costs… until now. Victini VMAX’s Max Victory attack only has two energy in its attack cost, meaning that you can start swinging from turn two. The ability to deal 240 damage means that it can knockout all relevant Pokémon V, including ones that are launchpads for VMAXs such as Urshifu, Eternatus and Dragapult.

Whilst we also get a new Victini V as well in Battle Styles, the one from Sword and Shield base is the clear V of choice for multiple reasons. Firstly, like the VMAX, it has the Spreading Flames attack which can be used on the first turn if you’re opponent makes you go second. With this, you have the potential to accelerate additional energy into play, which can be searched out with Giant Hearth and discarded with Quick Ball, Professor’s Research or Dedenne GX. Meanwhile, Energy Burst can provide a counter to Zamazenta V, and can give Victini VMAX an additional attack if you decide to include Memory Capsule. Max Victory is the kind of attack that will only become more powerful as time goes on. As more V and VMAX Pokémon are released, and with the last of the GX Pokémon likely to rotate this year, Victini VMAX is shaping up to be one of the most powerful and efficient attackers in the meta.

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