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Determined to Make Pikachu VMAX Work?

Hello everyone! I’m back to tell you about my testing with the new Pikachu VMAX. I know that this card isn’t amazing in the current metagame, but I still decided to create the most competitive  list possible.

From time to time I like to do this type of exercise, which is taking a Pokemon that is not good or popular in the metagame and trying to make a deck around it as competitive as possible. It’s a fun way to exercise your deck-building skills – in the case of Pikachu VMAX, for some reason I sympathized with the card, I just think Pikachu Gigantamax is wonderful.

Building a Competitive Pikachu VMAX List

Pikachu VMAX is not a bad card, but neither is it a good card. The damage caused by the attack is quite high and the Energy cost is relatively low. The problem is that the damage done is not enough to Knock Out a Pokemon VMAX and all Energy is discarded in the effect of the attack. That is, for Pikachu VMAX to be competitive, you need to find some way to complete Knock Outs on Pokemon VMAX as well as a consistent way to power up new attacks. In addition to these two challenges mentioned above, other challenges appeared as I worked to arrive at a list that I really liked. To start my tests, I put together a very simple and consistent list, focusing only on evolving and energizing Pikachu VMAX quickly. To better understand the strengths and weaknesses of a Pokemon card, you need to know how it behaves in the competitive metagame.

Starting Point

PTCGO Code

##Pokémon - 21
4 Pikachu V VIV 43
3 Pikachu VMAX VIV 44
3 Voltorb VIV 45
2 Electrode VIV 46
2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
2 Crobat V DAA 104
2 Boltund V RCL 67
1 Tapu Koko {*} TEU 51
1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
1 Eldegoss V CPA 5
##Trainer Cards - 26
4 Professor's Research SSH 178
3 Marnie SSH 169
3 Boss's Orders RCL 154
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
3 Switch EVO 88
3 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
2 Evolution Incense SSH 163
2 Air Balloon SSH 156
1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
##Energy - 13
9 Lightning Energy 4
4 Speed Lightning Energy RCL 173

Pikachu VMAX has an attack capable of Knocking Out virtually any Pokemon TAG TEAM of the format, which makes matchups against Mewtwo & Mew-GX, Pikarom, and ADP / Zacian naturally balanced. Against Pokemon VMAX decks, Pikachu’s G-Max Volt Tackle attack is not enough and needs some way to complete the damage.

Another problem that I started to notice is that Pokemon like Dedenne-GX, Crobat V, and Boltund V end up harming the deck a lot in prize trade due to Electrode VIV. Normally in a competitive TCG Pokemon game you need to Knock Out an average of three opponent’s Pokemon to win the game, but in the case of this deck, if the opponent knocks out Pikachu VMAX and Boltund V, he will already be able to draw the six Prizes because Electrode VIV already offers a prize to the opponent.

Thinking about these problems I decided to try to make a Pikachu VMAX deck with Green’s Exploration, trying to explore the benefits of offering one or two Prizes to the opponent with Electrode VIV with Reset Stamp.

Green’s Version

PTCGO Code

##Pokémon - 15
4 Voltorb VIV 45
3 Electrode VIV 46
4 Pikachu V VIV 43
3 Pikachu VMAX VIV 44
1 Tapu Koko {*} TEU 51
##Trainer Cards - 33
4 Professor's Research SSH 178
4 Green's Exploration UNB 175
2 Rose DAA 168
2 Boss's Orders RCL 154
1 Lt. Surge's Strategy HIF 60
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
4 Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174
3 Evolution Incense SSH 163
2 Switch SSH 183
2 Reset Stamp UNM 206
1 Vitality Band SSH 185
1 Tool Scrapper RCL 168
1 Giant Bomb UNM 196
2 Rose Tower DAA 169
##Energy - 12
8 Lightning Energy 4
4 Speed Lightning Energy RCL 173

This version started to make a lot more sense to me, mainly because Electrode VIV stopped being a problem and became just a benefit. The Prizes offered to the opponent by Electrode VIV end up making no difference because they’ll still need to Knock Out two Pikachu VMAX to win and your Reset Stamp is now much stronger, accurate, and effective.

The main problem with this version is that it is very slow and cannot keep up with the aggressiveness of the main decks of the format. There is no point in solving the main problems if the deck takes too long to perform the setup. Generally, Green’s Exploration decks are slow, but this deck still needs a more complex setup because it depends on two Evolution lines.

I realized that I needed to find a faster way to perform the setup but without the Electrode VIV being a serious problem for the deck regarding Prizes. I decided to invest in a version focused on non-GX/V Pokemon.

Final List

PTCGO Code

##Pokémon - 20
3 Pikachu V VIV 43
2 Pikachu VMAX VIV 44
3 Jirachi VIV 119
2 Zapdos TEU 40
2 Voltorb VIV 45
2 Electrode VIV 46
1 Tapu Koko {*} TEU 51
1 Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX UNM 54
1 Oranguru SSH 148
1 Mew UNB 76
1 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
##Trainer Cards - 29
4 Professor's Research SSH 178
3 Marnie SSH 169
2 Boss's Orders RCL 154
1 Rose DAA 168
4 Quick Ball SSH 179
3 Switch KSS 38
3 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
3 Pokémon Communication HS 98
2 Air Balloon SSH 156
1 Tool Scrapper RCL 168
1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
1 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
##Energy - 11
7 Lightning Energy 4
4 Speed Lightning Energy RCL 173

To explain my entire creative process and the choices of the cards that make up my list, I decided to explain the construction of the list in parts.

Main Attackers

Three Pikachu V, Two Pikachu VMAX, and One Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX

Pikachu VMAX is still the main attacker of the deck, but I also decided to include one Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX on the list. Now the deck has plenty of cards to retreat and Raichu’s Tandem Shock attack is still very good, especially with Marnie or Reset Stamp.

The idea is still to make the opponent must Knock Out two Pokemon VMAX or TAG TEAM, but the difference is that now you need to evolve only one Pokemon VMAX, since Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX is a Basic Pokemon.

Pikachu VPikachu VMAXRaichu & Alolan Raichu GX

Three Ways to Power Up the Rats

Two Voltorb, Two Electrode, One Tapu Koko Prism Star, and One Rose

Depending only on Electrode VIV does not work. There will come a time when you will not be able to use Electrode and will need to use something else to power up. Tapu Koko Prism Star is already an old acquaintance, but the Supporter Rose is still not very popular.

Rose gives you the ramp you need, but it comes with great cost. To solve this problem, cards like Oranguru SSH, Mewtwo UNB, and Jirachi VIV can help you find a Supporter on your next turn.

VoltorbElectrodeTapu Koko Prism StarRose

Zapdos and Zigzagoon to Adjust Some Math

Two Zapdos and One Galarian Zigzagoon

Zapdos TEU is the ideal Pokemon to close a Knock Out in Pokemon VMAX or Knock Out an opponent’s basic Pokemon of up to 80 HP. If Pikachu VMAX hits 270 on Eternatus VMAX, you will need exactly eighty damage on the next turn to reach Eternatus VMAX’s 340 HP.

Galarian Zigzagoon SSH is mainly for Pikachu VMAX to Knock Out Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX.

ZapdosGalarian Zigzagoon

Consistency and Techs With Single-Prizers

Three Jirachi, One Oranguru, and One Mewtwo

I believe this is one of the major differences in this list. The main decks of the format need Dedenne-GX and Crobat V to be aggressive, Pikachu VMAX does not.

While the Eternatus VMAX deck needs to draw a lot of cards to fill the Bench with eight Pokemon to beat 270 in the second turn, Pikachu VMAX needs only one Electrode VIV. When it comes to hitting 270 in the second turn, Pikachu VMAX is better, but the difference is that Eternatus VMAX can easily hit 270 after filling the Bench, whereas the Pikachu VMAX will have serious problems making new attacks.

Jirachi, Oranguru and Mewtwo bring light, but constant consistency to the deck.

JirachiOranguruMewtwo

Tingly Return GX: This Deck’s GX Attack

One Dedenne-GX

Although the deck is built not to depend on Dedenne-GX, I realized that it is still worth having a copy of this Pokemon in the deck – this time it’s not just because of the Ability.

The idea is to use Dedenne-GX because of its Ability only in cases of extreme emergency, but depending on the situation, consider using Tingly Return GX. If you face a Centiskorch VMAX, you will need to hit at least 50 damage so that 270 damage from Pikachu VMAX is enough to Knock Out the next turn. Being paralyzed could keep them down for a turn, not really doing anything productive.

In the end, Dedenne-GX has a very useful attack for the strategy, while offering consistency and can leave the field not to hinder the progress of the game. It can be easily energized with Electrode VIV or Tapu Koko Prism Star, hits 50, paralyzes the opponent, and even returns to the hand so that it can be used the next turn to find the necessary resources for Pikachu VMAX to carry out its attack.

Dedenne GX

Just the Standard, Best Supporters

Four Professor’s Research, Three Marnie, and Two Boss’s Orders

Here you have nothing new. The difference is that Mewtwo UNB together with Scoop Up Net brings a greater power than Eldegoss V to use the Supporters of the discard pile. I feel comfortable playing with just two Boss’s Orders because of that.

Professor's ResearchMarnieBoss's Orders

Pokemon Search Engine

Four Quick Ball, Three Pokemon Communication, and One Evolution Incense

This count has been sufficient, but I would like to put one or two more cards in this part of the deck to boost its consistency further.

Quick BallPokemon CommunicationEvolution Incense

Mobility Is Power

Three Switch, Two Air Balloon, and Three Scoop Up Net

With plenty of switching cards, Jirachi VIV, Zapdos TEU, and Alolan Raichu & Raichu-GX are much better.

SwitchAir BalloonScoop Up Net

 

I Don’t Like Big Charm in ADP

One Tool Scrapper

Since Pikachu VMAX hits 270 and can Knock Out almost any Pokemon TAG TEAM, I believe it is necessary to use Tool Scrapper to make sure this advantage can be exploited. It is natural that decks focused on Pokemon TAG TEAMs see Big Charm as an interesting card to avoid Knock Outs, this combats that.

Tool Scrapper

Run It Back With a Clutch Stamp

One Reset Stamp

One of the advantages of Electrode VIV is that it can manipulate your opponent’s Prizes so that at the end of the game they can have only one remaining Prize. At this point Reset Stamp becomes incredibly strong!

It is a pity that the list is so tight and has only one Reset Stamp, but with Oranguru SSH and Marnie it is possible to preserve the Reset Stamp to be used only at the end of the game.

Reset Stamp

A Stadium to Prevent Stadiums

One Chaotic Swell

At least one Chaotic Swell is required on the deck to prevent extremely boring stadiums like Black Market or Wondrous Labyrinth.

Chaotic Swell

Just Eleven?

Seven Lightning Energy and Four Speed Lightning Energy

One of the reasons why this deck was able to be consistent without relying on Dedenne-GX or Crobat V is Speed Lighting Energy to add additional draw.

Lightning EnergySpeed L Energy

Conclusion

Playing Pikachu VMAX the last few days was fun and my final list arrived somewhere I didn’t expect. Only after many games was it possible to understand the true characteristics of Pikachu VMAX and how to properly build it. The introduction of Zapdos TEU to close Knock Outs on Pokemon VMAX and the idea that the deck could work playing only on single and triple-prizer Pokemon was completely unexpected. Now Electrode’s Knock Out isn’t as painful!

The result of this testing only made me realize that there are still a lot of cool strategies waiting to be discovered in the Pokemon TCG.

That’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed this article and see you next time!

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