Galarian Darmanitan VMAX – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: January 29, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
As you probably expected, Galarian Darmanitan VMAX (SW – Vivid Voltage 037/185, 187/185) is our Friday selection. Currently, the “Galarian” forms of Pokémon don’t have any special TCG support, but since it is mentioned in the card name, they could receive a tiny bit, similar to the Alolan Pokémon released during the Sun & Moon era. In terms of Evolution lines, there is zero connection between Darmanitan, Galarian Darmanitan, and (should they ever release) a hypothetical Darmanitan V and Darmanitan VMAX. Being a Water type is so-so. The Fire type has a solid competitive presence, so [W] typing can be handy for exploiting Weakness. Water type support exists, but hasn’t lived up to the hype. Anti-Water effects aren’t worthwhile (so far), and [W] Resistance is only available in the Unlimited Format (not worried about that) or on BW-era Grass types (probably shouldn’t worry about that).
Galarian Darmanitan VMAX is, of course, a Pokémon VMAX. This is both a
gimmick specialty mechanic and a Stage of evolution. With respect to the former, that means this Pokémon gives up three Prizes when KO’d, cannot make use of certain beneficial effects, and is targeted by certain detrimental ones. This includes those specific to Pokémon VMAX, or Pokémon V in general. It comes with some perks, though; improved HP and potentially better effects, relative to the Basic Pokémon V from which they evolve. Also, access to some Pokémon VMAX-specific support. As for the latter, Pokémon VMAX are like Stage 1 Pokémon except not counting as Stage 1 Pokémon. This means they are slower and more demanding than Basics, but as good or better than most other Stages. Galarian Darmanitan VMAX is a Dynamax Pokémon and… that doesn’t actually mean anything in the TCG, though it is printed on the card.
Galarian Darmanitan VMAX has 320HP. This seems more or less normal for Pokémon VMAX, with the smaller ones only having 300 or 310 and the bigger ones having 330 or 340. All of these scores are large enough to be difficult to OHKO outside of Weakness, and even exploiting Weakness isn’t a guarantee. Galarian Darmanitan VMAX has [M] Weakness, one of the worst to have right now; Zacian V will happily OHKO it thanks to this trait. No Resistance is the worst, but probably doesn’t change things; -30 Resistance in a single matchup is somewhat easily countered by having an alternate, off-type attacker, or just hitting really hard. That Retreat Cost of [CCC] is unfortunately; one larger would barely be any more difficult to deal with, but grant access to cards like Buff Padding.
Galarian Darmanitan VMAX knows one attack, and it is a pricey one! [WWWW] pays for “Max Whiteout”, which does 200 damage to your opponent’s Active and 30 to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. You’re not scoring OHKO’s against most Pokémon V (Basic or VMAX), nor against TAG TEAM Pokémon, nor most evolved Pokémon-EX/GX… but you are against almost everything else. Only cards with defensive buffs are going to survive two uses of Whiteout, and everything else your opponent had in play (for both turns) will have 60 damage on itself. Which means a third Max Whiteout can now take out targets with up to 260 HP as pseudo-OHKO’s. Or you can try damage counter moving effects, or damage bonuses like the one from Telescopic Sight. The Energy cost is a real concern; without something like Frosmoth fueling this Pokémon, you’ve got a good wait to use Max Whiteout, or replace it should your current attacker be KO’d.
Galarian Darmanitan VMAX might have some potential for a Frosmoth/damage spread deck. A major concern is its Weakness, as well as Mew (SM – Unbroken Bonds 76/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM215). Mew’s “Bench Barrier” Ability denies Galarian Darmanitan VMAX its Bench damage. Decks with smaller Benches are also a problem, because you’re badly overpaying if you’re only getting the base 200 damage against your opponent’s Active, or even if you’re only doing that plus one 30 to one or two Benched Pokémon. This may make Galarian Darmanitan VMAX more a specialist than one would expect: a 1-1 line in a Frosmoth deck going to an Eternatus VMAX heavy metagame?
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
Galarian Darmanitan VMAX has a high Energy cost and bad Weakness, but does deliver solid hits against your opponent’s Active combined with a decent amount of damage spread, with a good amount of HP. If Mew wasn’t such an obvious counter to it or Frosmoth decks were already big, I’d be more impressed. As is, Galarian Darmanitan VMAX is yet another card to remember, as a shifting metagame could one day favor it.
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