Duraladon VMAX – Evolving Skies
Date Reviewed: December 26, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Duraludon VMAX (SW – Evolving Skies 123/203, 219/203, 220/203) would have been our 13th-Place pick for cards released in 2021… if it had been a Top 15. We have not reviewed this card before, but probably should have. If you head on over to LimitlessTCG, you’ll see how the current metagame breaks down… but as I write this, Duraludon VMAX decks enjoy 2.94% of the (metagame?) share. That puts it in 9th-Place. When I made my year-end list, it was only in 13th-Place. Maybe it is just the sample size (178 tournaments, 10915 players, 30203 matches), but it seems Duraludon VMAX is well worth a full review!
Duraludon VMAX checks many boxes. It is a Pokémon with a Rule Box, and (peeking ahead), with an Ability so that matters thanks to Path to the Peak. It also counts as a Pokémon V in general, so have fun with the beneficial cards that exclude it and counters that affect it. Then there are the VMAX specific counters on top of all of that. Pokémon VMAX support exists, though I’m uncertain if it has ever proven worthwhile. Pokémon VMAX give up three Prizes when KO’d, but have at least 300 HP and are inclined to have better effects, or at least, better relative to costs. VMAX is also a Stage of Evolution; they’re like Stage 1 Pokémon that don’t actually count as Stage 1s. Duraludon VMAX evolves from Duraludon V and… it looks like filler to me.
Duraludon VMAX is a Dragon type; no good for exploiting Weakness, but you can tap support like Crystal Cave or Stormy Mountain. No Resistance to worry about either. 330 HP is the second highest printed HP score, so OHKOs are possible but unlikely. Duraludon VMAX has no Weakness, which is great. It also has no Resistance, which is technically the worst, but mostly just a missed opportunity with that HP. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is chunky; pack alternatives to manually retreating at full price, or be prepared to tank, or both.
Duraludon VMAX has one Ability and attack. The former is “Skyscraper”, which prevents all damage done to this Duraludon VMAX by the attacks of opposing Pokémon with Special Energy attached. The latter is “G-Max Pulverization”, priced at [FMM]. This attack lets Duraludon VMAX do 220 damage to your opponent’s Active, while ignoring any effects on your opponent’s Active. Skyscraper is magical if your opponent runs a Special Energy heavy deck, pointless if they run few or can otherwise get by just fine without their Special Energy cards. G0Max Pulverization is good; good damage for the Energy, and an effect that – like the Ability – may range from brilliant to useless. Which is why I badly underestimated this card!
Now, as I just said, Duraludon VMAX’s Ability varies in its value, as does its attack… so it needs good partners. No, not Inteleon! Well, not in the handful of decklists I sampled. Instead, Duraludon VMAX’s dance patner is Zacian V (Sword & Shield 138/202, 195/202, 211/202; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH018, SWSH076), sometimes with Zamazenta V (Sword & Shield 139/202, 196/202, 212/202; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH019, SWSH077) as well. Zacian V gives you a solid attacker that runs on similar Energy requirements, while Zamazenta V gives you an alternate wall. If your opponent’s main attackers rely on Special Energy or are Pokémon VMAX, you’ve got them covered.
When Duraludon VMAX first released, it was still the previous Standard Format, and its deck finished in 16th-Place (with respect to its Share). It went up slightly post-rotation to… 15th. It wasn’t until recently that it started climbing. Still, that’s worth a four-out-of-five from me. In Expanded, Duraludon VMAX is actually seeing some success as well. The sample size is much smaller (11 tournaments, 337 players, 826 matches), but this is a metagame where Special Energy cards are used much more extensively… like Double Colorless Energy. I’m actually going to take a risk and award if a four-out-of-five here as well.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 4/5
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