Palkia Vstar – Astral Radiance
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2023
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Looks like it’s been a long while since I’ve reviewed a Pokemon VSTAR card. Before my hiatus, I’ve looked through VSTAR versions of Leafeon, Glaceon, and Lucario when that mechanic was new at the time. But like many bygone mechanics, they don’t last long. I guess it lasts for around five expansions, a similar length of ACE SPEC, BREAK Evolutions, Prism Star, and TAG TEAM Pokemon. Still, a mechanic being used at all is kind of impressive, and Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR has not only been featured in a League Battle Deck, but it also has been piloted and won the 2022 Pokemon TCG World Championships Junior Division, Rikuto Ohashi.
Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR has two things going for it once it evolves from Origin Forme Palkia-V. Before going to Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR, Origin Forme Palkia-V is used as a stepping stone and its attacks aren’t something to write home about. Rule the Region might be useful to use for fetching Stadium cards when it can’t evolve right away. Hydro Break might do more damage than Subspace Swell consistently, but not being able to attack forces you to run some switch-based cards to bypass the clause. Back to the VSTAR: Its Subspace Swell attack does 60 damage plus 20 more damage for each Benched Pokemon in play by both players. This could range between 60 to 260 damage. With your full bench, it will do at least 160 damage at a bare minimum, and you’ve got several Pokemon that can easily fill in the bench spot. According to that World Championship deck, it has the 3-3 Palkia line as the main attacker, 4-3-2 Inteleon line as the searcher for Trainers, 1-1 Ice Rider Calyrex line as a secondary attacker in case Subspace Swell isn’t doing enough, Radiant Greninja for drawing cards, and Manaphy to protect damage on Benched Pokemon. That’s actually more than enough to completely fill up your Bench.
It also has a VSTAR Power, which can be used once per game. Its Star Portal ability states that you may attach up to 3 Water energies from your discard pile to your Water Pokemon in any way you like. Due to using Water energies as fodder via Radiant Greninja, Max Lance, and Ultra Ball, getting those energies from the discard pile is much easier than before. And since Star Portal is an ability rather than an attack, that means Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR can actually use both the ability and its attack on the same turn. That once-per-game ability can also enable Palkia to attack right away!
Overall, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR showed various aspects of how the deck functions such as consistency, recovery, and power. The difference now is that the World Championship Deck was under Sword & Shield-on and the League Battle Deck was under the “E” Regulation block and above, so that League Battle Deck didn’t contain the Inteleon cards. However, it was replaced with Bibarel, which is a nice alternative as it has an ability that draws cards. Not as awesome as Shady Dealings, but good enough that you can get some things from your deck. Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX could still remain to be a secondary attacker, but eventually some of my friends recommended Kyurem VMAX as its Max Frost attack pumps out unlimited damage output. Ice Frost needs to discard five water energies from Kyurem VMAX (or four energies plus Defiance Band) to OHKO anything in the game, and Star Portal can almost help reach that amount of energy needed.
If you want to use Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR, both the World Championship Deck (can’t be used in tournaments however) and the League Battle Deck (might get either at least two of that for a complete playset or one deck plus 1-1 Palkia VSTAR online) is a great place to start. Despite Scarlet & Violet bringing up some changes in game mechanics, Palkia can still hold its own and can even benefit from newer cards there. It might even support Gyarados-ex that can OHKO anything without discarding energies (just needs five energies on it) and Inteleon’s Quick Shooting ensures that some damage counters will be placed on your opponent’s Active Pokemon so that Tyrannical Tail can deal the full 360 damage. Unfortunately, you might have to give up Bibarel for deck space. You’ll no longer need something that gives up three prizes nowadays. Expanded has more type-based support (Aqua Patch, Rough Seas, and Dive Ball), but more counters than I can list on any review (present day Miraidon-ex or Zeraora-GX), so I guess it balances out. Highly unlikely in Limited to pull both the Basic Pokemon-V and the VSTAR, but if you manage to do so, then it’s a must run.
If I was reviewing Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR during the time Astral Radiance was released, I’d probably score it just as high as I did now due to some hype surrounding this card as players have wild imaginations of how this card would be used with. Thankfully in Limitless, Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR has been used by many players and has been highly placed, so the hype has definitely been delivered. We’ll just see what the 2023 and the 2024 season brings that might help or hurt Palkia.
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