– Rebel Clash
May 25, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
So while Dragapult-V specializes in maneuver in order to deal more damage, Dragapult V-Max specializes in bonus controlled damage. Shred does a nice 60 damage for 1 Energy, and also bypasses effects such as actually hitting Zamazenta-C even though Dauntless Shield normally makes it immune to any attacks from V-Max, but Shred ignores it. Max Phantom, however, does 130 damage for 2 energy and also lets you put 5 damage counters to your opponent’s Benched Pokemon in any way you like. If there was no Benched Pokemon, then this attack is underwhelming, and great otherwise.
Dragapult VMAX (SSH – Rebel Clash 093/192, 197/192), as promised in yesterday’s Dragapult V review, is our subject today. Pokémon VMAX are a sub-classification of Pokémon V, as well as their own Stage of evolution, and represent the Dynamax or – as with this card – Gingantamax forms of a Pokémon. Anything that applies to Pokémon V applies to them, except Pokémon VMAX give up three Prizes when KO’d, instead of two like Pokémon V. As far as Stages of Evolution go, think of them as Stage 1 Pokémon that are not actually considered Stage 1 Pokémon, or as Mega Evolutions without all the clunky special extra rules for “Mega” Evolving.
Dragapult VMAX’s Psychic Typing lets it strike the Weakness found on many [F] Types and (pre-Sword & Shield) [P] Types, while also granting access to support such as Mysterious Treasure. The bad news is that many pre-Sword & Shield Darkness and Metal Types are naturally Resistant. It’s 320 HP is difficult – but not impossible – to OHKO, and seems mid-range for Pokémon VMAX, which (so far) have had 300 to 340 HP. [D] Weakness is somewhat dangerous; there’s worse to have right now but also better. The only reason [F] Resistance isn’t more impressive is that I haven’t seen any recent, successful Fighting decks. The Retreat Cost of [C] is very affordable, and so very good.
Dragapult VMAX knows two attacks. The first is familiar; “Shred” attacks have been around for many years, and that means we almost understand them now. They let you ignore any effects on your opponent’s Active Pokémon that would alter the damage being done. This does not include Weakness or Resistance; they’re considered separate game mechanics, not “effects”. What it does include are effects that not only originate from your opponent’s Active, but which are “on it”, which includes blanket effects on your opponent’s side of the field. It would also ignore the rare effect on your opponent’s Active that increases the damage it takes! Effects on the Pokémon using Shred still apply, as do those like Confusion, which “rewrites” what the attack does (as opposed to technically lowering the damage).
This version of Shred is fast and affordable at [P], and does a solid 60 damage. Your opponent may have a Zamazenta V in the Active, but Shred can go right through its “Dauntless Shield” Ability, that would normally protect it from the damage done by Pokémon VMAX. Shred would also cut through the damage reduction offered by Metal Frying Pan or Metal Goggles, and even the damage reduction provided through the “Full Metal Wall-GX” attack of Lucario & Melmetal-GX. At the same time, though, its only 60 damage; you can use effects on Dragapult VMAX to boost it, but it would take a lot to get it into even 2HKO range for something like Zamazenta V. Without any offensive buffs, Shred needs four turns for the KO in this situation!
[PP] pays for Dragapult VMAX’s second attack, “Max Phantom”. This does 130 damage and has you place five damage counters on your opponent’s Benched Pokémon in anyway you like. For just two Energy, and backed up by Dragapult VMAX’s bulk, its a good. There is room for concern, as it will not 2HKO medium-to-large TAG TEAM Pokémon, or any Pokémon VMAX, and even misses the OHKO against the top half of single Prize Pokémon. Intelligent use of those bonus damage counters can go a long way; prepping the next attacker for a faster KO, taking out supporting or evolving Pokémon, etc.
As I explained yesterday, Dragapult V is a solid attacker in its own right, though you have to promote it from Bench to the Active Spot during your turn so that it triggers the bonus damage for the card’s “Jet Assault” attack. In fact, Jet Assault does 10 more to your opponent’s Active than Max Phantom when that happens, though less than Max Phantom when we add the damage done to the damage counters placed. Normally, I’d have to guess at how to use this,but we’ve got tournaments results.
Or tournament “result” if you want to treat a single event as one detailed data point. 1158 Masters Division Players participating in Limitless TCG’s Online Series #3 tournament, and we have decklists for the top 149. Of those, there are 22 Dragapult VMAX decks, with the highest having taken third place, and the lowest 148th. The strategies do vary, but I’m seeing decks that know they don’t hit quite hard enough, so they’ve got tricks to place more damage counters, disrupt the opponent, or both. One thing which caught me off guard was Giant Bomb; it isn’t fullproof, but it is a good way to soften up any heavy hitters to ensure they’re in OHKO or 2HKO range… or even to finish them off if they’re small or already injured. (100 or less HP).
Which means yeah, Dragapult VMAX is a very good card in the Standard Format. I think it should be pretty good in Expanded as well, where you’ll have smaller targets to hit with your damage counter placement, and sometimes even your actual attack. There are more counters to it here, though, including healing or bounce plus massive HP scores on the opposite end of the spectrum. While Dragapult VMAX doesn’t have any Abilities, and while it doesn’t require any Trainers to hit the field, likely support for it includes Abilities from other Pokémon and many Item cards, so the strong disruption or even outright control decks could be a real issue.
If you are fortunate enough to pull both Dragapult V and Dragapult VMAX at a Limited Format, event, go ahead and run them, but probably not as a Mulligan build, unless you have such a ridiculous amount of search that you’re confident you can Evolve to Dragapult VMAX in only a few turns. This is because Dragapult V needs a Bench in order to make its Jet Assault worthwhile. Any other deck that can run with a decent chunk of [P] Energy in it should otherwise include the duo.
Dragapult VMAX didn’t make my Top 15, but it ought to have. For our site’s countdown, it took 27th-place. I’m glad at least one of us saw some of its potential, but this was a pretty bad mistake on my part. It is possible it has already peaked, and won’t perform as well in future events, but even then, it should still remain a presence in the metagame. For the next few months, expect to see it a lot.
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