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It’s Finally Back! Eternatus VMAX / Galarian Zigzagoon in BRS Standard

Hello again readers, I’m back with you today to talk about another deck that I’ve been spending a decent amount of time on with the Brilliant Stars format. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing a ton of this format ever since it dropped on PTCGO in preparation for Salt Lake City, so I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how the format is going to play out, barring the appearance of any incredibly good rogue decks. As the time of writing, Brisbane regionals has yet to occur, so any insight gained by that event won’t have been taken into account for this article. I don’t really expect to see anything too crazy come from the event, but there’s always a chance the Australians have come up with something crazy again. 

As for me, I’ve been trying to focus on decks that have a shot against Mew VMAX, Duraludon / Arceus, and Dark Box Inteleon. This isn’t an easy task, and I suspect I’ll have to compromise on that goal, but at least it was a good starting point. At best, I expect to end up with good matchups against two of these decks and then at least have a competitive chance against the third. For the past week and a half, I’ve been trying to make Eternatus VMAX as viable as it possible can be, and while it’s probably still not perfect, I’m confident in the list I have and think that it could easily stand up to the best decks in the format. Eternatus isn’t even close to a new concept, and I think there’s been attempts at playing it in every format since its release, but this is the first time since the first format it existed, I think it actually is viable. With that, let’s jump into the list!

 

 

PTCGO Code

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 18

* 4 Crobat V DAA 182
* 4 Eternatus V PR-SW 44
* 2 Galarian Moltres V CRE 177
* 4 Galarian Zigzagoon SSH 117
* 1 Hoopa DAA 111
* 3 Eternatus VMAX DAA 192

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 3 Marnie PR-SW 121
* 3 Great Ball SSH 164
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Tool Jammer BST 136
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 3 Boss's Orders RCL 189
* 3 Shopping Center EVS 157
* 2 Scoop Up Net RCL 207
* 2 Choice Belt BRS 135
* 2 Energy Switch HS 91
* 4 Professor's Research SSH 209
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 213

##Energy - 9

* 9 Darkness Energy Energy 7

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ******

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Ironically, Eternatus didn’t gain many cards from Brilliant Stars, much like Mew VMAX, but the cards that it did gain are incredibly impactful. Previously, Eternatus capped at 270 damage and then Galarian Zigzagoon or Galarian Slowbro V were the best ways to boost damage. While Galarian Zigzagoon is still quite important to this deck, Choice Belt is what makes this deck viable again, allowing it to hit 300 damage without counting Zigzagoon pings. Now, you only need to have two additional Zigzagoon pings in order to KO most VMAX Pokemon. In addition to that, Ultra Ball provides a level of consistency never before seen in Eternatus. While, much to my own chagrin, Great Ball is somehow still in the deck, the fact that you now have eight easy ways to find Crobat V makes the deck so much stronger than it used to be. 

The other thing that has changed since the last time Eternatus was tried is that there are now these 280 HP VSTAR Pokemon that Eternatus VMAX can deal with quite easily, and conveniently none of them are Fighting type. Arceus VSTAR is everywhere right now, and it’s really quite easy to KO them while remaining almost entirely safe from retribution, meaning Eternatus takes decent matchups into a decent portion of the format. To address the elephant in the room, yes, Collapsed Stadium is obnoxious, and Path to the Peak can be a problem, but there are more than enough ways to play around them without losing the game in the process.

 

Header - Card Choices

Four Eternatus V & Three Eternatus VMAX

Eternatus V (SV121/SV122)Eternatus VMAX (SV122/SV122)

Four Eternatus V is completely normal, and I would be surprised to see any list that played otherwise. If for whatever reason you feel compelled to do anything else, please just don’t. On the other hand, three Eternatus VMAX might look completely normal at this point, but before Ultra Ball was around, playing four copies was a relatively common practice, as you really needed to draw into them as early as possible in order to execute your game plan. Part of me has been wanting a fourth copy for a while now, but there has only been one or two games where I think it would have mattered.

One Hoopa DAA

Hoopa (111/189)

Initially, I was very skeptical of playing a Hoopa in my list, since you should rarely have the turn to attach an extra Energy card that you can safely assume will be discarded the following turn. However, after playing the Mew VMAX matchup quite a few times, I can say with certainty that Hoopa is a good card in this deck. It provides an easy way to KO Meloetta that doesn’t result in something more important being KOed without Boss’s Orders, and it also adds protection against Escape Rope when Mew goes second against you. In addition, matchups like Malamar become easier when you have a single prize attacker that you can use to force them into taking an additional KO.

Four Galarian Zigzagoon

Galarian Zigzagoon (117/202)

If you told me a month ago that I would be considering Eternatus with four Galarian Zigzagoon for a regional in 2022, I would have called you a liar. This is a deck straight out of a format from over a year ago, and it’s incredibly powerful because of how the meta has changed. As mentioned previously, Galarian Zigzagoon is the method used in order to take KOs on VMAX Pokemon, and with access to four of them, you should be able to KO any VMAX you want, unless they have a Big Charm attached. Galarian Zigzagoon also provides you with an easy Pokemon to put in the Active Spot against Mew and then have an additional copy on the Bench to prevent Escape Rope from being dangerous. 

Two Scoop Up Net

Scoop Up Net (207/192)

Scoop Up Net does a couple of things for this deck. First it allows you to use Galarian Zigzagoon up to six times in a single game, the perfect number needed to KO a Duraludon VMAX with Big Charm, or even KO an Inkay or other low HP Pokemon within your first two turns with just a little bit of luck. Scoop Up Net also provides a way to get Hoopa or Zigzagoon out of the Active Spot, something you’ll find yourself having to do on occasion. In the same vein, it allows you to get Hoopa out of and then back into the Active Spot in the case that your opponent is unable to KO it.

Three Marnie & Three Boss’s Order

Marnie (169/202)Boss's Orders (132/172)

In a perfect world, you’re playing four copies of both of these in this deck. However, as a byproduct of needing a full Bench in order to reach the maximum damage potential of Eternatus, you need to play more Pokemon, and cards dedicated to finding Pokemon than you might like. I’ve opted to keep the fourth copy of Professor’s Research instead of either Marnie or Boss because of how important it is to see as many cards as possible in the early game. Marnie is great and all, but it sees two less cards, and when you’re trying to fill your Bench or even hit a second Energy card, you’re going to want to see as many cards as possible. 

Three Shopping Center & Two Air Balloon

Shopping Center (157/203)Air Balloon (213/202)

The number of times I’ve forgotten what this card is called so far is honestly starting to bother me. Ever since its release, I’ve been calling it “the Tool Stadium” whenever I don’t have it in front of me. It’s seen a very small amount of play in some fringe decks and as a fourth unique Stadium in Mew, but I think this is the first time it’s been in a deck as notable as Eternatus.

Due to the nature of the format with Collapsed Stadium and Path to the Peak, you have to play a decent number of Stadiums in your deck, and with the addition of Choice Belt, something had to make its way out of the deck for space. In this case, Switch was the card that was forced out. Normally, that would be a disaster, since Switch is really an essential card to decks like Eternatus, but since there was no objectively good Stadium for Eternatus anyways, Shopping Center was able to be slotted into the Stadium slots, while Air Balloons took up the remaining spots previously occupied by Switch.

The theory behind Air Balloon and Shopping Center actually plays out quite nicely once you’ve put games in with it. Your opponent usually can’t play Boss’s Orders and Marnie in the same turn, so as long as you pick up an Air Balloon at the end of your turn, you should theoretically be safe from Boss stalling, and if they Marnie you, they didn’t Boss, meaning you don’t have to worry about retreating.

Tool Jammer

Tool Jammer (136/163)

I tried really hard to sell myself on making this Tool Scrapper instead, as you can’t attack Choice Belt and Tool Jammer at the same time. However, being able to pick Tool Jammer back up after you were forced to play it down in the early game is incredibly good and made the decision easy in the end. This is mostly for the Duraludon matchup, but it really applies to anything that plays Big Charm, and sometimes matters against Choice Belt as well.

Tool Jammer lets you make cool plays against Duraludon where you can Boss up a Duraludon VMAX without enough Energy to attack, hit it for 300 damage and then three Zigzagoon pings, and then the next turn you can play down Tool Jammer to take the KO and force them to promote the other Duraludon without being able to attack in between your two turns. Knowing that they’ll be playing three switching cards most of the time enables plays like this, so make sure you’re keeping up with developments in the more common decks!

Two Energy Switch

Energy Switch (162/202)

I wish there were four copies in the deck. Energy Switch is a massively important part of beating the Mew VMAX matchup, as they can pretty easily target down wherever you attach an Energy on your first turn when they’ve gone first. In order to recover from that, you need to be able to Energy Switch from Galarian Moltres V (177/198) to another Eternatus VMAX, meaning you need to draw into Energy Switch to not lose the game. Obviously, that isn’t the only way the Mew matchup goes down, but it happens often enough there, and there are plenty of other times Energy Switch will be relevant to winning the game.

 

Header - Matchups

Mew VMAX: Slightly Favored

As I’ve made a point in saying every time I talk about Mew VMAX, I believe slightly favored to be the best you’re going to get against it. Eternatus is fully Darkness and doesn’t have a high attack cost, and even it could easily lose a set to Mew if they draw perfectly, and it draws a bit poorly.

This matchup generally comes down to the first few turns, but you can optimize your chances of winning by getting multiple Eternatus V into play on your first turn, attaching to one of them, and then hopefully getting an Energy onto Galarian Moltres V on your first turn with Direflame Wings. If you’re going first, and your opponent isn’t playing Pokemon Catcher, you should prioritize getting two non-V Pokemon in play with one in the Active Spot to prevent Escape Rope from turning into two Prize Cards. However, getting an Eternatus V with an Energy attached really supersedes anything else in this matchup. If they swing with Meloetta on their first turn, you can easily take a KO with Hoopa rather than put an Eternatus VMAX at risk. That only works if they don’t also have Oricorio in play, so make sure you’re aware of that possibility.

Gengar VMAX: Slightly Unfavored

On paper, this matchup sounds like it should be a lot harder than it actually is. Yes, it’s not something you can expect to win all that often, but I personally have won more series against it than I’ve lost, and that was with a list that played Single Strike Urshifu.

Simply put, Gengar is an inconsistent mess most of the time, and if for every time they’re able to take a KO with Gengar, you’re just as likely to take a KO back with Eternatus. Ironically, they’re unable to abuse Path to the Peak too much, as it can easily allow you to remove excess Pokemon V from play, limiting their damage potential. Since they’re usually unable to play Path down, you should have no trouble hitting for 320 damage into the Gengar VMAX. I’ve actually found myself winning the games where they were forced to attack with a VMAX before I was, which indicates there’s value in either leading with Hoopa or Galarian Moltres V. If you can take a KO with something that isn’t a VMAX, you can force them to take more than two KOs while you only need to take two more to win the game. Generally, you should be a bit faster on the uptake, but there will be times where they simply outpace you and you lose the game. 

Duraludon / Arceus: Slightly Favored

You would think that Collapsed Stadium is a huge problem for this matchup. While you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, you also wouldn’t be entirely correct. While it certainly has an impact, if you’re able to bump it on the turns where it matters, then you’ll be having a pretty good time. Winning the coinflip also turns this matchup from “close” to incredibly easy as long as you draw even half decently.

If you can KO something before it is able to evolve, you’ll be in a pretty good place, since you’ll only need to take two more KOs, while they may be forced to still find Energy cards for their attackers. If it was a Duraludon that you KOed, then you’ll have an easy enough time KOing an Arceus VSTAR for your second KO. You should be saving your Stadiums and Basic Pokemon for when you can do big turns like that, and if your opponent doesn’t get Big Charm on their Duraludon VMAX fast enough, it’s actually not very hard to deal 330 damage in one turn. I mentioned it earlier but playing towards the Tool Jammer KO after having dealt damage on the previous turn is incredibly powerful in this matchup since it forces your opponent to take damage before dealing their own damage. 

Dark Box Inteleon: Even-Unfavored (Galarian Zapdos or Not)

This matchup is winnable if your opponent isn’t playing Galarian Zapdos V. If they are, then well, you’re in for a wild ride of pain and misery. Assuming they don’t, all you really have to do is rotate between attackers, using whatever is going to be the best for the KO you’re taking that turn. For the most part, your opponent won’t be able to take KOs in the early game without resorting to Sableye V, so if you can use Hoopa and Scoop Up Net to take some easy Prize Cards without giving up any of your own, that would be optimal.

Your goal is to make them use as many resources as possible for the least amount of gain. In the last two turns of the game, they’re usually locked into play Klara as long as you’ve been taking out the threat, so if you can use a fresh Eternatus VMAX to take your fifth Prize Card, your opponent usually has no good way to KO it and can’t Boss around it. Overall, I wouldn’t expect to win this matchup all of the time, but without Zapdos it’s not bad, and I wouldn’t be surprised to beat it in a Bo3 series. 

 

Header - Final Thoughts

This is my final word before the first couple of regionals are played, so the next time I’m writing, hopefully it has something to do with winning Salt Lake City or something. Eternatus is on my radar as a potential play, and I wouldn’t be surprised to it do better than most people would expect at events. I’m really looking forward to attending Salt Lake City, and I’m excited to see a ton of people I haven’t seen in years, so feel free to come and say “hi” if you feel like it!

That’s all I have for today. As always, if you have any questions about today’s article or anything else, my DMs are open, and I’ll try to get you some answers. Until next time!

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