Ditto VMAX – Shining Fates
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our runner-up card in Shining Fates is Ditto VMAX! It’s only feature is to copy your opponent’s Active Pokémon’s attacks, via MAX Transform, for the price of three energy, which Triple Acceleration Energy can swiftly cover (even though this Special Energy lasts until the end of your turn). This kind of attack actually debuted way back in the days of Base Set with Clefairy! Whether this attack would be competitive or not largely depends on the card pool in several formats, and several factors have to be taken into account.
1-Ditto is always a Colorless type, so it will NEVER exploit weaknesses for double damage!
2-Because MAX Transform costs three energy, some attacks may or may not be worth copying.
3-If Ditto decides to copy a GX attack, then it uses up your GX attack for the rest of the game, even if that GX attack didn’t come out from your own.
4-When Ditto copies an attack, it must follow rules from that original attack. Some drawbacks of certain attacks can be bypassed by “doing as much as you can”. I.E. If it were to copy G-Max Wildfire and you don’t have fire energies to discard, the attack still goes through for 300 damage! One makes me wonder what would happen if MAX Transform were to copy various Zoroark’s Foul Play attack (which does the same thing); it would either fail or cause an infinite loop which can never end your turn, let alone the match (PTCGO concern).
5-Some Pokémon has certain amount of HP and base damage of certain attacks, so Ditto may OHKO something or do little to no damage.
5.1——I.E if Ditto copies Zacian-V’s Brave Blade, it will always OHKO Zacian-V unless backed with a defensive item.
5.2——I.E.2 if Ditto copies Eternatus VMAX’s Dread End attack and you don’t have any Benched Darkness Pokemon, then it does no damage.
And 6–It will NEVER damage Zamazenta-V, Altaria, or Decidueye!!!
Yeah, I’m just putting bullet points because I couldn’t think of any more to address. Ditto VMAX is a useful card under the right circumstances, but most of the time, Ditto can be extremely underwhelming. After all, Zoroark BW may have 15 minutes of fame when it debuted, but as the format evolved, Zoroark couldn’t keep up with it. Not many cards can give you an opportunity to copy and OHKO something. I don’t know if Ditto is going to be any different apart from its 320 HP and giving up THREE prizes when it’s Knocked Out.
Ditto can copy anything, but depending on what kind of deck you’re building, it can’t fulfill everything. As such, it’s competitive use will continue to fluctuate over time. One time it may be earn a 2 out of 5, and other times it could be a 4 out of 5.
Our 2nd-Place finisher is Ditto VMAX (Shining Fates 051/072, SV119/SV122)! Being a Pokémon VMAX comes with some big benefits, but also a lot of big drawbacks. They count as Pokémon V, but are worth three Prizes when KO’d, instead of two. Ditto VMAX has to deal with not only anti-VMAX effects, but also anti-Pokémon V effects. Beneficial effects that exclude Pokémon V also won’t work for Ditto VMAX. Unlike Pokémon V, though, Pokémon VMAX do have their own form of support. Another benefit is that their HP scores are the largest in the game; Ditto VMAX has 320 HP, a mid-range score for Pokémon VMAX. This is only 20 shy of the printed max of 340, and makes Ditto VMAX fairly durable.
VMAX is a Stage of evolution as well as a specialty mechanic; Ditto VMAX needs a turn to evolve, and has to evolve from Ditto V. We’ll actually be reviewing Ditto V on Saturday, so I’ll just say it isn’t the best Pokémon from which to evolve, but it does have a few perks. The time and resource investment is the same as for a Stage 1, though Pokémon VMAX do not count as Stage 1 Pokémon. So, while general Evolution support and counters apply to both, effects that specifically refer to Stage 1 Pokémon don’t apply to Pokémon VMAX, and vice versa. Ditto VMAX is a Dynamax Pokémon; currently, nothing in the game’s rules or other cards’ text reference this.
As a Colorless Pokémon, Ditto VMAX can make use of Powerful [C] Energy, with a handful of other type-based support and counters in Expanded. This is still something of a drawback, though; while nothing is naturally Colorless Resistance in Standard or Expanded, neither is anything naturally Colorless Weak. Speaking of Weakness, Ditto VMAX is [F] Weak, which isn’t good, but it also isn’t especially bad, at least at the moment. No Resistance is the worst, but is so common it isn’t really a problem. What might be a problem is Ditto VMAX’s Retreat Cost of [CCC]. Past [CC], you need to rely on switching effects or just accept that your Active is stuck Active, so there is almost no difference between Retreat Cost [CCC] and [CCCC]… except that the latter has access to a few handy tricks the former does not, like Buff Padding.
Ditto VMAX knows a single attack, and that is “Max Transform”. For [CCC], this attack lets you choose an attack from your opponent’s Active Pokémon, and use it. You don’t need to worry about things like the printed Energy cost of the copied attack, but you do need to worry about costs or conditions in the attack’s effect text, included added Energy requirements, such as when trying to access to “bonus” effect in the GX-attacks of TAG TEAM Pokémon. That’s right, Max Transform can copy GX-attacks! You can’t have used your own GX-attack already, but otherwise Ditto VMAX is good to go. As for other attacks, Ditto VMAX only needs to worry about costs and conditions it cannot meet. For example, there isn’t any use in copying the “Mad Party” attack when you have no Mad Party Pokémon in your discard pile (and probably none in your deck at all).
Let jump back to that Energy cost. While three Energy is quite a bit, as the costs are all Colorless, that leaves Ditto VMAX with some solid options. Triple Acceleration Energy may discard itself at the end of your turn, but it fuels Max Transform with a single attachment. In Welder decks, you can attach [RR] with Welder, and either before or after, use your manual Energy attachment to cover the final [C] of the Energy cost. Now, putting it all together, we have something that is as easy to run as your typical Stage 1 Pokémon, and can copy any attack for a (relatively) minimal cost. There can and will be attacks not worthy copying, either because your deck can meet all the conditions or requirements. That isn’t a new problem for attack copiers.
What is somewhat new is being able to copy attacks with something this big. Most of the time, you’re coming out ahead of your opponent in one of these areas:
So, even when you’re facing down a single Prize Pokémon with a fast attack, you can try to leverage your HP against it. That won’t always work. For example, it is a waste to try and copy either attack from Blacephalon (SM – Unbroken Bonds 32/214) unless you’re using Ditto VMAX in a Fire deck. The same for copying Centiskorch VMAX. You might have access to some Darkness Pokémon on your Bench, but not enough to bother attacking with Ditto VMAX against Eternatus VMAX. You can get the base damage but not the beneficial effects from Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s more technical attacks. Mewtwo & Mew-GX only has its GX-attack; Max Transform cannot copy the attacks that aren’t actually printed on your opponent’s Active.
Then there’s the Zacian V match-up. Defensive Zacian V decks, using Lucario & Melmetal-GX, are probably a problem. There’s a decent chance the Metal attackers can still power-up quickly, and also soak enough damage to be as or even more durable than Ditto VMAX! Zamazenta VMAX can just hide behind its Ability. When we get Phoebe (probably in SW – Battle Styles), Ditto VMAX will have an easy answer to all of these things. So, what about straight Zacian V decks, and Zacian ADP? Ditto VMAX can OHKO Zacian V, but Zacian V cannot return the favor. If you go first and Bench Ditto V, on your third turn you can try to copy Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX’s “Altered Creation-GX” attack. These things do not give Ditto VMAX an autowin against the deck, but it should be at least an “even” match up, if not favorable, give or take the rest of each deck.
Ditto VMAX almost, almost earned a four-out-of-five from me in both Formats. If Ditto V was stronger, I probably would have rounded up in its favor. As is, Ditto VMAX should be functional in many decks, good in quite a few, and great in at least one or two of the current, competitive decks. While I mentioned Phoebe earlier, I should add that the future isn’t guaranteed for this card; some of the other cards in SW – Battle Styles might be bad for Ditto VMAX. I’ve only glanced at the next set at this point.
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