Centiskorch VMAX – Darkness Ablaze
Date Reviewed: January 8, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Today we’re looking at Centiskorch VMAX (SW – Darkness Ablaze 034/189, 191/189). It would have been our 17th-Place finisher, if we’d gone with a top 20 for 2020, instead of a top 10. In our original review, Centiskorch VMAX was our 11th best card of SW – Darkness Ablaze. It is a Pokémon VMAX, which means we get a Pokémon with massive HP and possibly potent effects, but worth three Prizes when KO’d. It also means dealing with counters like Zamazenta V, being excluded from support like Scoop Up Net, but being able to access VMAX-specific support (which doesn’t have a relevant example). Pokémon VMAX is also the card’s Stage, so it is slower and more demanding than a Basic, but faster and less demanding than a Stage 2. Almost exactly like a Stage 1 Pokémon except not counting as a Stage 1 for card effects or mechanics. This is also a Gigantamax card, and that means… nothing, at the moment.
Centiskorch VMAX is a [R] Type, which is pretty good right now. Though Welder works for everything, it tends to work best with Pokémon that require [R] Energy to attack, and that means a natural synergy with the vast majority of Fire types. In turn, that can help actual Fire support work more effectively. Just as important is exploiting Weakness; Zacian V decks are among the best right now, Zacian V (and almost all other Metal types) are Fire Weak, so Centiskorch VMAX has an easier time scoring OHKOs against them. Nothing in Standard or Expanded being naturally [R] Resistant is merely a perk, and you do have to worry about some anti-Fire effects; Bronzong (SM – Team Up 101/181) has seen some competitive success.
320 HP is about what I expect for a Pokémon VMAX, seeing as the largest of them sport 340 while the “smallest” Pokémon VMAX (so far) still has 300 HP. 320 is hard to OHKO without Weakness, and even with it, still far from automatic. A deck needs to average 160 per turn to reliably score a 2HKO against an unaugmented Centiskorch VMAX. Weakness is sometimes an issue, as Centiskorch VMAX is [W] Weak. It isn’t too bad, though; even after last year’s rotation, Water decks just weren’t as strong as expected. No Resistance is the worst, but also the norm, so moving on. That Retreat Cost of [CCC] may be the worst. Past [CC], you should really rely on switching effects. Retreat Costs of [CCCC] come with access to cards like Poké Maniac and Buff Padding; Retreat Costs of [CCC] do not.
Centiskorch VMAX knows only one attack, but it is a doozy: [CC] pays for “G-Max Centiferno”. This attack let’s Centiskorch VMAX do 40 damage plus 40 more for each [R] Energy attached to itself, then lets you attach a [R] Energy from your discard pile to itself. The newly attached Energy happens after damage calculation, but it will be there for next turn. Only basic Fire Energy count as [R] in the discard pile, though various Special Energy cards can feed the damage for G-Max Centiferno if they count as [R] while attached… such as Heat [R] Energy. You can build a Centiskorch VMAX into a OHKO machine if you can keep it alive to attack again and again… and decks built around it tend to do just that.
Centiskorch VMAX did well in 2020. There weren’t a lot of major events, so there’s no dramatic 1st-place finish (to my knowledge), but in a tough field, even things like finishing 5th at the Players Cup (the first, not the second) is still impressive. Which means it probably deserved a higher placing in our SW – Darkness Ablaze countdown. I don’t know how well Centiskorch VMAX performs in Expanded. I’m optimistic it will prove at least decent, given that the added competition and counters comes alongside added combo opportunities. As for the Limited Format, if you’re fortunate enough to pull both Centiskorch V and Centiskorch VMAX, it is pretty much a given you ought to run them in a Mulligan build.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
- Limited: 4/5
I had Centiskorch VMAX as my 13th-Place pick, and it was only that low because there were so many general use cards, or even more influential deck-specific cards, released this year. This is a beast of an attacker once it gets going, and it doesn’t take too much to light that fire.
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