Eternatus VMAX
Eternatus VMAX

Eternatus VMAX
– Darkness Ablaze

Date Reviewed:
August 26, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.75
Expanded: 3.50
Limited: 3.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:


Our 3rd best Card of Darkness Ablaze is none other than the face of the expansion: Eternatus V-MAX! This is the only VMAX that is in a much higher league than Dynamax or Gigantamax, being Eternmax, which isn’t much different in the TCG. I thought it be something like 500+ HP considering their in-game stats showed 250+ base HP and Defenses across the board, but nope, instead it takes the highest printed HP which is 340 while being worth three prizes. Still, that’s enough for Eternatus to be on the field, and based on the effects, Eternatus would have to be on the Active because it’s Dread End attack costs DC and does 30 damage times the number of Darkness type Pokémon you have in play. With Eternatus itself, that’s 30 damage, which is underpowered, but with a full bench of 5 dark Pokémon makes it 180 damage. This seems average to what other VMAX Pokémon can do, but we’re not done here.

Eternatus VMAX has an ability called Eternal Zone stating that if all of your Pokemon in play are Darkness types, then you can have up to 8 Pokémon in your Bench, but then you can’t put any non-Darkness type Pokémon in your Bench. If this ability stops working, you discard your Benched Pokemon until you have 5 Benched Pokemon remaining. This ability seemed like a one-sided, but nerfed Sky Field due to restricting to a specific type, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t take advantage of it. There’s no shortage of Darkness type Pokemon you can use in a Eternatus deck. Hydreigon Dark Squall (redundant due to Rose), Crobat-V (definitely a full four), Hoopa (maybe), and even Expanded options like Zoroark’s Rush In ability and Darkrai-EX Dark Cloak ability (definitely, maybe at least two copies)! When the ability stops working, you can send Crobat-V as fodder as they already serve it’s purpose and keep your opponent from getting easy prizes.

With that ability that makes you have a full Bench of Darkness types, including the Active Eternatus itself, Dread’s End attack can do 270 damage, not enough to OHKO VMAX cards, but enough to KO some of the TAG TEAMs that sees competitive play, albeit against ADP you would need a little help from Vitality Band to secure the KO. It’s a functional deck as long as you can capitalize the ability.


  • Standard: 3.5/5
  • Expanded: 4/5
  • Limited: 4/5


I believe Eternatus VMAX will become another one of the archetypes that the format would watch out for, as well as Charizard VMAX. Maybe if there was a Darkness type Pokemon that can boost damage output, then Eternatus can finally reach OHKO levels.


A bit of Expanded inquiry. There are very few Pokémon that are dual typed. Bisharp and Shiftry from XY Steam Siege are dual typed: Bisharp is Metal/Dark while Shiftry is Grass/Dark. They do count towards Eternatus’s ability, but there is a catch. While there are Darkness type Pawniard, Seedot cards are always grass type. You you have to evolve into a Dark Type Nuzleaf before you play Eternatus VMAX. Same thing happens with Eevee; you have to evolve into Umbreon first before evolving Eternatus. Now, if your opponent somehow devolves your Pokémon and they’re no longer dark types, I believe the ability is shut off as well. Not that these cards amount to much, but it’d be an interesting scenario IRL and PTCGO.


Note: Unless otherwise stated, assume that this review refers to the 2021 (TEU-On) Standard Format or 2021 (…still BW-On) Expanded Format.

Eternatus VMAX (SSH – Darkness Ablaze 117/189, 192/189) is our 3rd-place pick.  As a Pokémon VMAX, it is worth three Prizes when KO’d, and has to not only deal with some effects being anti-Pokémon V, but a few specifically being anti-VMAX.  These drawbacks do come with benefits; so far, all Pokémon VMAX have had substantially more HP than even their Pokémon V counterparts, and – relative to costs – better effects.  Eternatus VMAX is the first (and so far, only) Eternamax Pokémon.  As with the Dynamax and Gigantamax classifications, in the TCG these currently aren’t game relevant.

VMAX is also the card’s Stage, and except where an effect specifically cites being a Stage 1 or being a VMAX, they’re functionally the same.  Of course, that is still a big distinction; general Evolution support works for Eternatus VMAX, but not Stage 1 support.  Eternatus VMAX is a Darkness type Pokémon, and that’s very good right now.  As of the Sword & Shield series, now VG Ghost and Psychic types – both represented as Psychic types in the TCG – are usually [D] Weak.  There also are no new [D] Resistant Pokémon being released, now that the Fairy type has been merged into the TCG Psychic type.  You may still encounter it in Expanded, or on the remaining SM-era Fairy types that are still Standard-legal.  The Darkness type enjoys good support in both Standard and Expanded, but we’ll detail that later.

Eternatus VMAX has 340 HP; that’s the current printed maximum, and while it can be OHKO’d, it ain’t easy; even some competitive decks will struggle with rapidly, reliably, and/or repeatedly 2HKOing Eternatus VMAX.  [F] Weakness is iffy.  Excadrill (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 115/236/246/236) decks are finally, regularly finishing high enough even I cannot ignore them… but with the available support, and memories of Formats past, I’d expect a metagame where there is so much [F] Weakness to see even more than that.  Now Resistance is the worst, but having it would only be a small benefit, if even that.  A Retreat Cost of [CCC] is currently the worst; you need to work around it as much as with higher Retreat Costs, but cannot make use of cards like Buff Padding.

Eternatus VMAX has the Ability “Eternal Zone”.  This Ability starts working as soon as Eternatus VMAX hits the field so long as you meet its condition: you must not have any non-Darkness Pokémon in play.  Assuming that is the case, you are now allowed to have up to 8 Pokémon on your Bench, but they must all still be Darkness types.  In fact, once Eternal Zone is in effect, you cannot put any non-Darkness Pokémon into play; not from your hand, and not even through effects that play them from elsewhere!  If Eternal Zone stops working, you have to discard Pokémon from your Bench until you have no more than five Pokémon on your Bench.

If you use like Devolution Spray Z to devolve a Weavile-GX into the Water type Sneasel (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 43/236), that will work but Eternal Zone’s parenthetical clause will kick in.  Eternal Zone should start working again if/when conditions are met, but unlike my previous statements, it is not explicitly stated in the text or the FAQ for this set.  Given that maximum Bench-size reducing effects such as the “Road Block” Ability of Sudowoodo (SM – Guardians Rising 66/145; Shiny Vault SV20/SV94) take precedence over the effects of the Stadium Sky Field, I am assuming such effects will also override the increased Bench-size from Eternatus VMAX.  It won’t shut the Ability off, however; so you’d be stuck with a smaller Bench and still be unable to Bench non-Darkness types.

With all that said, Eternal Zone is a great Ability even with all of its conditions.  Part of this is because the Darkness type is in good shape right now.  It is still a bit early to get into that, so let us cover this card’s attack, “Dread End”.  It requires [DC] to use, and that is a pretty reasonable cost.  You probably should not rely purely on manual Energy attachments, but if your opponent cannot discard the Energy or quickly KO an Eternatus V you attached to the turn before, then you can just evolve and attach attach again the next turn to start swinging.  Dread End does 30 damage per Darkness Pokémon on your Bench, giving it a range of zero to 150 before other effects… and even 120 for two ain’t bad.  When combined with the Ability, Dread End can reach 240 damage, enough to OHKO the “smaller” TAG Team Pokémon, most other Pokémon-GX, nearly all Pokémon-EX, and all single Prize Pokémon… excluding those with defensive buffs, of course.

Eternatus VMAX not only has mostly good stats, a good Ability, and a good attack, but they all work well together.  If it has good support, we should have a great deck, and it does!  Let’s start by looking at Eternatus V (SSH – Darkness Ablaze 116/189).  It may get a full review later, but the short version is that it is a Darkness type Basic Pokémon with 220 HP, [F] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], and two attacks.  [C] pays for “Power Accelerator” to do 30 damage, plus you attach a [D] Energy from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon.  [DCCC] covers “Dynamax Cannon”, which does 120 damage, plus another 120 (so 240) when attacking an opponent’s Pokémon VMAX.  Pretty solid.  So, what else is there?  Just considering Bench-sitters:

  • Absol (SM – Team Up 88/181)
  • Alolan Muk (SM – Team Up 84/181)
  • Alolan Persian-GX (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 129/236, 219/236, 257/236)
  • Ariados (SSH – Darkness Ablaze 103/189)
  • Crobat V
  • Galarian Slowbro
  • Galarian Zigzagoon
  • Garbodor (SSH – Rebel Clash 118/192, SSH – Black Star Promos SWSH025)
  • Hydreigon (SSH – Darkness Ablaze 110/189; SSH – Black Star Promos SWSH037)
  • Toxicroak (Sword & Shield 124/202)
  • Weavile-GX

This is not a list of proven partners!  Just some of the cards which cause my eye, and hypothetically could prove useful.  I’m pretty doubtful of Hydreigon, because Eternatus VMAX itself doesn’t need it; it can use it, but there are better alternatives.  If we get an attacker which needs a bigger Bench and a three or four Energy attack, though, the three could partner up.

Thanks to the Pokémon Online Global Championships, an unofficial “World Championship” held because of the real thing being cancelled due to the pandemic, we actually have some serious tournament results to consider.  Out of 256 players, one Eternatus VMAX deck took 7th-place, while another took 28th, which seems like a promising showing.  It comes as no surprise that Absol, Crobat V and Galarian Zigzagoon are in both decks.  One list ran Dark City, the other Piers and Hiding [D] Energy.  I am guessing Eternatus VMAX is the only thing with [D] Energy attached, and rarely gets KO’d, as there is no Black Market {*}.  Both lists do appear to rely simply on manually attaching to Eternatus VMAX.

So… how about Expanded?  Take what we have above, but add Dark Patch.  There are other cards that matter, but for the Darkness type, this is probably the main one.  You also have to worry about Ability counters, plus the Sudowoodo I mentioned above.  Exploiting [F] Weakness seems easier with Marshadow-GX.  If your opponent cannot OHKO Eternatus VMAX, though, you have Acerola and/or AZ to bounce an injured Eternatus VMAX back into your hand.  Seems promising to me.  This is not a Pokémon to run in a Mulligan build, but if you can pull enough Darkness Pokémon to run as support, go for it!


  • Standard: 4/5
  • Expanded: 3/5
  • Limited: 3/5

Eternatus VMAX is a good example of power at a price.  The powers-that-be took old M Rayquaza-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) and combined it with the Sky Field that supported it.  There are significant differences: no “Δ Evolution” Ancient Trait, enforced mono-type field, etc.  Still, it is a familiar strategy, and a proven one.  Eternatus VMAX was my 4th-place pick, so it taking 3rd-place is just fine: at least one of the cards I had above it is negotiable.


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