In a strange twist of fate, Czech Republic player Ondrej Sikbal won the Pokémon TCG 2022 Masters Division World Championship using a card widely regarded as complete trash, the Flying Pikachu VMAX. When released in his Pokémon Celebrations expansion in 2021, the card was dismissed as almost unplayable. format.
of Pokémon Celebrations Mini Set Mostly collectibles with few competitive cards, Flying Pikachu The fan-favorite Flying Pikachu card was first released in English as a promo in 2001.which is why fans are so tickled by the fact that they literally won the Pokémon TCG World Championship.
Cards previously considered the bulk of collector’s sets are poised to become the key to winning Worlds decks.i love this game
— Patrick Wall (@TeamAbra87) August 20, 2022
All things considered, Flying Pikachu’s 160-damage max balloon attack prevents him from being attacked by a basic Pokemon on his opponent’s next turn. Mediocre damage and the fact that most decks don’t attack with a basic Pokemon. Players just use Palkia V Star as it’s the most popular deck in the format and weak against Lightning. Palkia’s attack doubles and knocks them out in one hit. For that alone, Flying Pikachu was a silver bullet for the Worlds meta.
“It should just be a fun card. It’s good just because Lightning Pokemon cards are really bad and you have to dig deeper to find the good ones. Flying Pikachu is it. Without Palkia, Tier 1 would be I wouldn’t have,” Sikbal told IGN in a post-fight interview.
Flying Pikachu is considered a terrible card overall, but it has a few other advantages as well. Its 310 HP is low by his VMAX standards, and when knocked out he gives up three prizes, but that’s usually just enough to stay outside his OHKO range on Palkia. Max Balloon’s effect is useless against most fields, but it does wall off weird decks that only use basic attackers like Regigigas and Brissy/Miltank. , it’s always welcome to have a Pokémon with a free Retreat.
I love how Flying Pikachu, a very moderate and overall underwhelming card wins both the World Championship and the NAIC lol I think the Lightning type will do well now pic.twitter.com/rUrt0VZRS3
— Little Dark Fury (@littledarkfury) August 20, 2022
The Top 8 cut of the Pokemon TCG Masters division included four Palkia decks and three Arceus V-Star/Desiduai V-Star/Flying Pikachu VMAX decks designed specifically to counter them. And counter those they did. The final match became a mirror match between the two Palkia Busters as all Palkia decks were eliminated from the playoffs. Flying Pikachu is weak to Lightning, so if Pikachu duel each other in a mirror match, they can be knocked out with a single blow.
The main difference between the two decks was that Shimada contained the Jolteon Package, which is used to cut off the abilities of Water Pokémon. Unfortunately, it was 6 dead cards in this matchup, while Skubal’s deck used those slots for his Bibarel draw his engine. (Yes, as if flying Pikachu wasn’t enough, Bidoof was also in the winner’s deck!)
The final was determined by a best of three contest. In Game 1, Shimada interfered with his opponent’s hand with his first-turn Marnie, and Sikbal’s unspun flying 2 prizes, including his Pikachu V, which he knocked out early on twice. took the lead at Benched his damaged Decidueye and won the game on the orders of the boss with Shimada’s fragile Crobat V.
Game 2 was a fairer affair with both players having solid setups and trading knockouts at Arceus VStars. After a bit of back and forth, the turning point came when Shimada blew the energy he needed to finish off Shukbal’s damaged Flying Pikachu. was only able to disrupt his opponent’s hand by sending Pumpkaboo to stall him, but Sikbal, on Boss’ behest, ended the damaged Desiduai and won the World Championship title—and a $25,000 prize. .
Basically Flying Pikachu VMAX was considered a bulk card when it came out, but many players have played Palkia. So that field is hugely favorable for Pikachu and is now guaranteed to win in the world. pic.twitter.com/IWq1JN1PBb
— Even JW is tired 😴😴😴 (@RealJohnWalter) August 21, 2022
Seven of Śkubal’s 11 tournament rounds were Palkia, so he was able to exploit their Lightning weaknesses for much of the competition and take full advantage of Flying Pikachu’s Lightning typing.
That’s not to say that Flying Pikachu’s big win was a complete surprise to players.Arceus and flying Pikachu decks also won Pokemon North America International Championships in June, so the power of this card was well known by participating in Worlds. Still, what a wonderful execution of cards that many initially thought were just binder trash.
— American Appa (@Appa_AG) August 20, 2022
For more on Worlds, check out how I got into my first big tournament (spoiler: it doesn’t work). Also, if you’re new to Pokemon TCG or just getting back into the game, try playing the old game in this video. Decks and Modern Cards: