Blaziken VMAX – Chilling Reigns
June 22, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
11th-Place goes to… Blaziken VMAX (SW – Chilling Reign 021/198, 200/198, 201/198)! So why? Well, it’s a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure reference, obviously. Oh, there is also the actual card. Blaziken VMAX brings a lot to the table, though it can be easy to overlook, and there are a few downsides to it as well. Being a Pokémon VMAX means it isn’t as easy to run as a Basic, but it is no worse than your typical Stage 1 in terms of card/time investment. You give up three Prizes when KO’d, and have to deal with not only anti-V effects (counters and exclusions), but also even more that are specific to Pokémon VMAX. We’ve seen a little VMAX-specific support, but it hasn’t been that impressive. What has been is that all Pokémon VMAX have at least 300 HP, and some have really great effects.
Blaziken VMAX is a [R] type, great for smacking the Weakness of most Metal and nearly all [G] types. Not sure how useful the latter will prove, but for now a favorable match up with Zacian V is most welcome. Being a Rapid Strike should at least be a nice perk and might be clutch with this card (more on that later). 320 HP the middle for the Pokémon VMAX we’ve seen, and while not as sturdy as 330 and 340, it’s still a hard OHKO outside of Weakness. Speaking of which, [W] Weakness is bad, but not the worst right now. No Resistance is the worst, but that’s a relative thing; Resistance just isn’t the game changer that weakness is. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither good nor bad.
Blaziken VMAX’s first attack is “Clutch”, priced at [R] and doing 60 damage to the Defending Pokémon while also preventing it from manually retreating during your opponent’s next turn. [CC] pays for the second attack, “Max Blaze”. This attack lets Blaziken VMAX do 130 damage to your opponent’s Active while attaching an Energy card from your discard pile to up to two of your Benched Rapid Strike Pokémon. Clutch is decent, especially if you can combine it with a Special Condition or similarly debilitating effect. The real treat is Max Blaze. While it only can accelerate Energy to Rapid Strike Pokémon, it can be basic or Special Energy, and of any type. 130 damage isn’t great overall, but for just two Energy while prepping your next attacker (or two)? Seems solid.
Oh, and the Energy cost. If this was priced at [RR], Welder would be there to jump start Blaziken VMAX, but then everything needs to run on (or mostly on) basic Fire Energy. Blaziken VMAX can use Rapid Strike Energy to cover Max Blaze’s entire cost. It can also attach Rapid Strike Energy, Rainbow Energy, and Spiral Energy to cover a variety of Rapid Strike attackers. Or you can try other forms of Energy acceleration, maybe even just manual Energy attachments, and try to rely on basic Energy cards. So, why am I excited about all of this? One of the top decks in the game, at least for a time, was M Manectric-EX. Even with the hassle of being a Mega Evolution, its HP and its “Turbo Bolt” attack proved good… and Max Blaze is an easier to use Turbo Bolt. Well, with a few other tweaks.
While it might get a review later, it might not so let’s glance at Blaziken V (SW – Chilling Reign 020/198, 161/198). It is… okay. 210 HP and capable of doing 210 for [RRCC], with with a two Energy discard cost. Though, if you’re not running a Welder version (and in a few months, you won’t be able to), it takes a hit. Even now, it is mostly just a “spare attacker”. I wish I had a better idea of what partners to run with Blaziken VMAX, but even if it just is used with itself, that’s a solid start. Attack with Blaziken VMAX to half power up a Benched Blaziken V or VMAX. Next turn, evolve if the spare wasn’t already a Blaziken VMAX, manually retreat your active and injured Blaziken VMAX, promoting the next one.
Why manually retreat instead of using a switching effect? Go ahead and use a switching effect if you’d like, but the goal is to use Cheryl to heal the injured, formerly Active Blaziken VMAX, then attack and re-Energize with the fresh one up front. In Expanded, you can use Max Potion instead, or use VS Seeker to recycle Cheryl. You also have more Special Energy cards, including Double Colorless Energy, so I like Blaziken VMAX’s chances even better there. Blaziken VMAX was my 7th-Place pick, but once again, I can understand it clocking in this much lower. After all, I’m trying to predict the future based on the past and present.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 4/5
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