– Champion’s Path
October 2, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
For those only now joining us, we’re handling this countdown of the best cards from Champion’s Path a little differently. Cards related to the actual picks are getting their own lead-in review, instead of being glossed over or crammed into the ranked card’s article. There will also be some honorable mentions; cards that didn’t make the official countdown but seemed worth a look. That is mostly extra information today as we’re looking at Gardevoir VMAX (Champion’s Path 017/073, 076/073), our 5th-Place pick.
“Pokémon VMAX” is both a subset of the Pokémon V mechanic, as well as the card’s Stage. Gardevoir VMAX is worth two extra Prizes when KO’d. Its VMAX nature means it cannot make use of certain beneficial card effects, while also being vulnerable to some which are deleterious. Pokémon VMAX act like Stage 1 Pokémon but they are not Stage 1 Pokémon, and we already have Pokémon VMAX-specific counters in the game. This is still an improvement over a Gardevoir card’s normal status as a Stage 2. It is also a Dynamax card, but that is currently a distinction without a difference in the TCG; we’ve seen Gigantamax, Dynamax, and Eternamax cards, but no game mechanic nor card effect references these things. Maybe in the future. Its Psychic typing isn’t very useful for type-matching right now but comes with some useful support. 320 HP is difficult to OHKO outside of Weakness, one of the positives from being a Pokémon VMAX. The card’s Metal Weakness is, to be blunt, awful. Zacian V-based Metal decks were half of the Top 16 from the Players Cup Finals! Lack of Resistance is the worst, but we’re used to it. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is functionally average but appreciated on something so large.
Gardevoir VMAX has just one attack, “Max Cure”. For [PPC], this lets Gardevoir VMAX do 180 damage to your opponent’s Active while healing 50 from itself. For the Energy being invested, it is a decent amount of damage; it won’t OHKO most Basic Pokémon V (and larger) cards, but it should easily 2HKO most while scoring OHKO’s against the bottom half of the cardpool. Healing itself only matters if it is enough to delay it being KO’d by at least a turn, or to trigger an effect. Faking an extra 50 HP against 2HKO’s isn’t brilliant, but it is decent. In the Standard Format, once Gardevoir VMAX is up and running, you can use the healing from Max Cure to supplement other healing tactics, tanking hits while taking steady 2HKO’s. If you can spare the Energy – perhaps risking the Rose/Rose Tower combo – Hyper Potion and/or Mysterious Food Tin are options. Weakness Guard Energy or Jirachi-GX are musts because you cannot afford OHKO’s by Zacian V; I’d favor the former.
In the Expanded Format, you can attempt much the same, but with the added bonus of Dimension Valley and Mysterious Treasure. Ultra Ball already helps with searching, but Mysterious Treasure is still a welcome addition. Dimension Valley means Max Cure drops from [PPC] to [PP]! There were no Pre-Releases for Champion’s Path, and there are no Pre-Release kits for purchase. You cannot even easily buy packs for a Limited Format event but if you do, and if you also pull Gardevoir V, then Gardevoir VMAX should help you easily win. There is only one Metal-type this set, and it is Duraludon V. If you’re unfortunate enough to face that match-up with a Mulligan build, you’re just out of luck. Same for some of the other Pokémon V/MAX in this set… but that’s still great for the Limited Format.
Gardevoir VMAX is one of the best cards we’ve looked at so far but its Metal Weakness is a serious, serious concern. When your strategy is tanking, being OHKO’d in half your matchups hurts. You can try and counter that Weakness, but there are counters for counters, and the usual issue of your counters being deadweight the half of the time you’re not facing Weakness.
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