– Darkness Ablaze
August 18, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
If you’re seeing this, please note that this is technically a “rough draft”. I found myself in a bit of a time crunch, so I’m very quickly reviewing today’s card. I hope to have time to re-read what I wrote with a clearer head, and make any needed changes, if I have time before it goes live.
Our 11th-place pick is Centiskorch VMAX (SSH – Darkness Ablaze 034/189, 191/189). As a reminder, Pokémon VMAX are one form of Pokémon V, so effects that refer to either are applicable. It also means Centiskorch VMAX is worth three Prizes when KO’d, and its Stage of evolution is also “VMAX”. Note that as a Stage, VMAX are like Stage 1 Pokémon, except for not counting as Stage 1 Pokémon. It is a Gigantamax card, but that bit isn’t game relevant (yet). Centiskorch VMAX is a Fire type, handing for exploiting the Weakness on most Metal and Grass Pokémon, and making full use of support like Welder.
Centiskorch VMAX has 320 HP; while this is 20 shy of the maximum, it still isn’t easy for the average deck to OHKO, and some may have to settle for attempting a 2HKO. [W] Weakness won’t matter unless I missed an upcoming deck from this set, and a lack of Resistance is typical. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is chunky, one too high for something like Air Balloon to zero it out, but not high enough to grant access to Buff Padding.
Centiskorch VMAX knows just one attack, and it is “G-Max Centiferno”. For [CC], this attack let’s Centiskorch VMAX do 40 damage, plus another 40 for each [R] Energy attached to itself. After that, the attack states that if you did any damage, you get to attach a Fire Energy from your discard pile to this Pokémon. Special Energy cards that provide [R] still count towards damage, but aren’t legal to attach from the discard (because none of them count as [R] in the discard pile). While the attack is pretty pathetic if you’re not fueling it purely with [R] Energy, if you are, then you start out doing 120 damage for two Energy, and will just keep building from there. Attaching after doing damage means the new Energy won’t up the damage this turn, but it prepares for the next turn.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about Centiskorch V (SSH – Darkness Ablaze 033/189, 179), in case we decide to review it later… and it just might warrant one. So, the quick version is that it is a Basic, Fire type Pokémon V with 210 HP, [W] Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CCC], and two attacks. [R] pays for “Radiating Heat” to do 20 damage, and if you opt to discard an Energy from itself, Radiating Heat also discards an Energy from your opponent’s Active. [RRRR] covers “Burning Train”, which does 180 damage. The first may have some control applications, while the latter is decent damage, and only 20 less than G-Max Centiferno with the same amount of [R] Energy attached. At the very least, seems like a solid foundation.
Simply put, we have a nice, hefty Pokémon VMAX that can go from zero-to-attacking the turn it evolves, thanks to the various forms of compatible Energy acceleration, but mostly likely Welder and – if used immediately before evolving – Turbo Patch. Even just Welder plus your manual Energy attachment, assuming a total of three Fire Energy are attached, means 160 damage. If your opponent doesn’t KO it or strip it of Energy, you can try to repeat those tricks and be in range to OHKO anything without protective effects. There are two drawbacks to this, though:
These aren’t terrible, but they do matter. Still, I expect Centiskorch VMAX to be a new force in Standard. In Expanded, it faces steep competition, and control decks may be able to leave it high and dry… but it gains access to a lot of support, including Scoop Up Cyclone, Acerola,and AZ. In the Limited Format, you need to be quite lucky to pull both Centiskorch V and Centiskorch VMAX, but if you do, you should probably make a Mulligan build around them, and even though you’ll rarely (if ever) be able to attach Energy from the discard pile (because there won’t be any there), just manually attaching turn after turn should quickly result in a OHKO machine with the HP to endure.
Centiskorch VMAX make take a turn to build to insane OHKO-level, but it has the HP to (probably) survive a hit. The question may be whether or not to try an heal it (so that it isn’t getting KO’d), or to include alternate attackers for when the Prize trade doesn’t work out. This card is expected to be the core of its own archetype, so I’m afraid I may have low-balled it. It was my 10th-place pick, and and my bias for more general plays is why I didn’t have it higher. Fun fact: this card tied with the Mad Party crew, but won the tiebreaker.
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