Giratina VSTAR For Knoxville

Today I’m going to be talking about one of the most powerful decks in the format—Giratina VSTAR! This deck has been very wishy-washy for me; very much a love-hate relationship. The deck either performs very well for me, or absolutely bricks and falls apart. However, I have started playing a list that I’ve found to be very versatile and able to handle a lot of threats in the meta. Keep in mind that Mew VMAX continues to be a challenge for Giratina VSTAR if you do not tech for it.

Going into Charlotte, I did not tech for any matchup and decided to try to play the most consistent list possible. This means I did not play Jirachi, Spiritomb, Manaphy, Drapion V, or anything along those lines. However, I took a couple hard losses to Mew VMAX which knocked me out of contention for day 2. With Mew VMAX beating Giratina VSTAR in the finals of Liverpool Regional, I know that if I want to play this deck to Knoxville coming up, I will need to tech for Mew VMAX. Below is the exact list I’m considering for the event and is the one I actually used to win Dark Fox TCG’s own January League Challenge.

 

4 Comfey

3 Giratina V

3 Giratina VSTAR

1 Cramorant

1 Radiant Greninja

1 Sableye

1 Spiritomb

4 Colress’s Experiment

2 Boss’s Orders

2 Roxanne

1 Avery

4 Battle VIP Pass

4 Mirage Gate

2 Nest Ball

2 Pokégear 3.0

2 Super Rod

2 Switch

2 Switch Cart

1 Counter Catcher

1 Ultra Ball

3 Path to the Peak

4 Psychic Energy

3 Grass Energy

3 Water Energy

4 Jet Energy

 

               The notable change to this list from most other Giratina lists is the addition of Avery. After seeing this card in the Charlotte Regional winning list piloted by Vinícius Fernandez, I was initially skeptical of its actual practicality. After initial testing, I came to two conclusions: 1, I never actually had a chance to use the card and won without it; and 2, I was very glad it was in the deck as an option if I ever needed it. Most of the games where I could have used it, the opponent whiffed their crucial turn and didn’t apply any pressure, so I was able to pull ahead too fast; or the card just never turned up when I needed it. However, many games versus Gardevoir ex saw them benching Jirachi and Manaphy, effectively locking their Bench from any shenanigans I could abuse to my advantage. Knowing that I even *could* have had that play where I play Avery and force them to either wipe their Bench blockers or their Kirlia was a strong enough incentive for me to want to keep it included in the list. While I certainly feel the card is more along the lines of a “win-more” card, I also feel like it can open up games to be winnable when I would otherwise be in an unwinnable situation.

               After Charlotte, I felt like the deck took a massive loss to Mew. However, I constantly felt like if I had Spiritomb at any point during that game, it would have made a significant impact. Yes, Mew decks play Fusion Strike Energy to use Genesect V’s ability, but they have to find it. This can be more difficult than you might think. Using Elesa’s Sparkle in order to not take up your attach for turn means they cannot Boss up your Giratina V/VSTAR to take a 2-prize knockout which can buy you enough time to set up the board you need to win. As well, they are usually only drawing with one Genesect while Spiritomb is in play. As well, the constant use of Path coupled with their inability to churn through their deck can mean that a Path can stick much easier. This essentially locks up their board where you can easily deal with their threats at your leisure. It also stops their one draw Pokémon from doing anything. For Knoxville, I feel like Mew may have a target on its back, but I really think more people will lean into playing it, as people want to give it a few final runs before rotation in April and they are empowered to believe it can take them the farthest in the tournament. Spiritomb also tends to have the secondary ability to be able to slow Charizard ex decks way down. Without being able to use Lumineon V or Rotom V’s abilities, they usually have a tough time to set up, especially coupled with having to fight out through our Paths, it can cause even the best Charizard hands to fold.

               Since Giratina VSTAR was released, I have been a huge proponent of having 3 recovery cards. Last season, it was Ordinary Rod and Energy Recycler. This year, we just want Super Rod. I have been a staunch believer that 3 recovery cards offer the most flexibility with your Flower Selecting and Colress’s Experiment, and the most late-game maneuverability in your energy discards. However, since trying this list, I have found that while, yes, the 2 recovery cards can be quite binding, it also offers your deck slightly more early game aggression and consistency which is what this current metagame requires. The only caveat with this, is that you absolutely cannot send a Super Rod to the Lost Zone early. It is basically impossible to win with only 1 recovery card in most scenarios where your opponent is putting up a clean and even fight. With only 1 recovery card, you will also never draw it when you need to, so ensuring you basically keep both throughout the game is tantamount to winning.

               The other change I’ve since moved to from Charlotte is playing 4 Jet Energy. Previously, I never really felt like 3 Jet was a problem, and 4 sometimes felt like too much of a liability, since you can’t recover them for Mirage Gate. The only cut for it was usually the 3rd Water, but I heavily disagree with playing only 2 Water, and is greatly reduces your ability to use Mirage Gate effectively enough, and it also greatly reduces the ability to actually use Radiant Greninja consistently enough. The 4th Jet Energy, however, has felt like a certain consistency boost, and being able to fit those with the 3rd Water feels like just what the deck needs to win.

               The Miraidon matchup has felt a little tricky from my experience, however, I have felt like as long as they do not get turn 1 or 2 Iron Hands, it’s a pretty winnable matchup. If they force you to go first, being able to get a Path down before they can respond can be devastating to their setup as they often rely on Squawkabilly ex and Miraidon’s Tandem Unit to get set up. Also, their inability to sustain any hits from Giratina VSTAR means they cannot hide behind anything except Mareep, Zapdos, or sometimes their own Spiritomb to buy some time. The matchup can also suddenly become unwinnable if they have a high number of Electric Generators land. This is one of the most RNG matchups I’ve encountered, as it can really go either way at any time. They can Research their hand away and hit no Generators then lose, but they could also play that exact same hand and hit 2 Generators and win. This matchup is mostly based on the luck of your opponent which can feel very frustrating at times, but it’s important to remember that you can go against another Miraidon, and the Generators can go in your favour at any point.

               All-in-all, I still feel like Miraidon ex and Mew VMAX are going to be the toughest matchups. However, I’m hoping that, armed with this knowledge and the use of a couple techs, these matchups can be shored up well enough. I think Giratina VSTAR will be the strongest contender for this weekend, and I will be piloting this list. Best of luck to all players this weekend!