Exploring New Formats

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a sucker for our Standard PTCGO format, and I don’t necessarily enjoy exploring the many other ways to play this game. While my group of friends likes to dabble in Expanded or older formats, I’m always the one who plays the same format. I usually always answer with the same “Players Cup is only Standard, or I don’t have as much time as these other players.” However, that has been starting to change, and I’ve been enjoying Sword and Shield - on. I haven’t had the opportunity to play in any of the many available events, but I have been using some of my spare time to explore this format. It is the future of Standard, and I figured that I might as well attempt to follow along. This article will showcase some of my fave decks and explain how they work. Let’s check them out!

Zacian V / Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX Deck

While our current Standard metagame consists of a bunch of this card + that card decks, I found this particular combination of Zacian V (Sword and Shield) and Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (Battle Styles) to be wild. I like how this deck can become either a Metal-type deck or a Fighting-type deck instantly and how this deck is quite aggressive. I’ve seen a few different versions of this deck, but the list I like the most is Ju’s finalist list from a recent Tablemon event. Let’s look at this list.

Pokémon - 13

4 Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX BST 88
4 Zacian V SSH 138
1 Aegislash V VIV 126

Trainer Cards - 31

4 Marnie CPA 56
4 Professor's Research SHF 60
3 Boss's Orders SHF 58
2 Bird Keeper DAA 159
4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Crushing Hammer SSH 159
2 Fan of Waves BST 127
2 Air Balloon SSH 156
2 Tower of Waters BST 138

Energy - 16

12 Metal Energy 8
4 Rapid Strike Energy BST 140


Zacian VRapid Strike Urshifu VMAX

The strategy of this Pokémon deck is simple, but let’s check it out! The goal is to either go with a Zacian V or Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and determine which one is better to attack with. Depending on your choice, you either want to attach an Energy to one or the other and use Intrepid Sword to get more Energy in play + draw cards. You can use Crushing Hammer (Sword and Shield) to keep their Energy in play low, and Aegislash V (Vivid Voltage) is a great way to get around Decidueye (Darkness Ablaze). Attach your Energy to the right Pokémon and see how it goes.

Decidueye Deck

I know I might catch some flames for this one, but I like a good wall deck in the format, and Decidueye seems to be the best one now! After looking at all of the available lists for this deck, I really like this one from Alessio Festa from the recent Tablemon event. Let’s check it out.

Pokémon - 13

4 Rowlet SHF 6
2 Dartrix SHF 7
4 Decidueye SHF 8
3 Snorlax VIV 131

Trainer Cards - 37

4 Professor's Research SHF 60
3 Marnie CPA 56
3 Bird Keeper DAA 159
4 Rare Candy SSH 180
4 Crushing Hammer SSH 159
4 Level Ball BST 129
4 Switch SSH 183
3 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
2 Telescopic Sight VIV 160
1 Big Charm SSH 158
3 Turffield Stadium CPA 68

Energy - 10

4 Aromatic Grass Energy VIV 162
3 Grass Energy 1
3 Capture Energy RCL 171



The strategy is simple. You set up Decidueye to block their V Pokémon from damaging you. Your goal quickly becomes isolating attackers that can attack your Decidueye and try to draw as many Prize Cards in the process. It might be simple, but if your opponent doesn’t have many counters, they will likely lose before the game even begins.

Victini VMAX Deck

Victini VMAX (Battle Styles) has been tearing it up in Standard, but it has also been tearing it up in this unique format. SirSchnips recently won a Tablemon event with this exact list, and I love how Drizzile (Sword and Shield) / Inteleon (Sword and Shield) can search for whatever Trainer cards you need. Let’s check out this deck.

Pokémon - 16

4 Sobble SSH 55
3 Drizzile SSH 56
1 Inteleon SSH 58
2 Victini V SSH 25
2 Victini V BST 21
3 Victini VMAX BST 22
1 Crobat V SHF 44

Trainer Cards - 33

4 Professor's Research SHF 60
3 Marnie CPA 56
2 Sonia CPA 65
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
3 Level Ball BST 129
2 Fan of Waves BST 127
2 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
2 Energy Search SSH 161
1 Escape Rope BST 125
2 Air Balloon SSH 156

Energy - 11

10 Fire Energy 2
1 Water Energy 3


Victini VMAX

The goal here is to be a normal Victini VMAX Pokémon deck that focuses on attacking with Max Victory over and over again until you win! If you need any Trainer cards, use the Inteleon lineup to grab what you need throughout the game. This differs from the Cincinno (Sword and Shield) version that draws cards at random, but they are both great! Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of Victini VMAX, the Inteleon engine found within the deck is likely something to consider for your own creations!

The Future is Near

As much as I love preparing for Standard events, Sword and Shield - on is quickly becoming a format I look forward to. It simplifies the game to get rid of Tag Team Pokémon finally, and it allows for new concepts to have a chance at winning events. I’ve been flopping between plenty of different decks that are all super fun to play, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time playing in this format. If you need any cards to start building these decks or any other decks, use code zlesage5 to save 5% on your next order of codes. I highly recommend picking up these cards while they are valued relatively low and start testing these decks today! Thanks for reading!

About the Writer

Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for PTCGO Store. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokémon content as his full-time career. He creates YouTube content, coaches players to become better in-game, and provides hot takes on his Twitter. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and the 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside of the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokémon events and follow him on Twitter @ZachLesagePTCG.