– Darkness Ablaze
October 28, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Grimmsnarl VMAX looks pretty cool, but as far as it’s competitive viability, I think it faces competition with another Dark type VMAX Pokemon, Eternatus! Let’s see what Grimmsnarl can do.
So far, it has no ability and only one attack, and it doesn’t look promising. It’s only attack is G-Max Drill, which does 170 damage for 3 Darkness energies. It does 50 more damage for each extra dark energy but can’t add more than 100 damage in this way. If it has 3 energies attached to it, then it does 170. If it has 4 energies attached to it, then it does 220. And if it has 5 energies attached to it, then it does 270. Any energy beyond the fifth attachment is wasted.
I don’t think it is worth having five energies on a Pokémon to deal damage that’s not even close to OHKOing other VMAX cards, and even if you’re not aiming for those targets, there’s a efficient way to deal 270….for 2 energies. Again, still using Eternatus as an example. Dread’s End can potentially deal 270 damage if your entire field is filled with 8 Dark Pokemon. Probably not the most efficient, but energy wise, you’re not losing out as much resources unlike Grimmsnarl.
I guess that’s why it’s one of the worst VMAX cards out there. Too much investment but not as much payoff.
Grimmsnarl VMAX (SW – Darkness Ablaze 115/189) is our natural follow-up to yesterday’s Grimmsnarl V. Pokémon VMAX are the evolved form of Pokémon V; the counters and exclusions (from beneficial effects) which apply to Pokémon V all apply to Pokémon VMAX, however Pokémon VMAX are worth two extra Prizes when KO’d, instead of just one extra. There are also counters specific to Pokémon VMAX, but unlike Pokémon V, there’s at least one piece of support just for Pokémon VMAX: Rose. Pokémon VMAX is a Stage and not just a classification; they are basically Stage 1 Pokémon that do not count as Stage 1 Pokémon, and that is a lot easier to run than a Stage 2 (the Stage of a baseline Grimmsnarl card). It is also worth noting that this is the Gigantimax form of Grimmsnarl VMAX; that doesn’t mean anything currently in the TCG, but I doubt they’ll never do anything with it.
Grimmsnarl VMAX is a Darkness type; useful for punishing many Psychic types, and avoiding natural Resistance except for the Fairy types from the XY and SM series. They also have some decent type-based tricks, though their best trick (Dark Patch) is Expanded-only. Grimmsnarl VMAX’s 330 HP is just 10 under the max printed HP score, so quite durable. Its [G] Weakness does create a chink in its armor, allowing something like Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH035) to score a 2HKO, instead of a 4HKO. That… isn’t actually bad when it comes to Weakness. No Resistance is the worst, but is so common it doesn’t actually detract from Grimmsnarl VMAX. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is also the worst; while a higher Retreat Cost exists, past two they’re similar in their difficulty to pay but Retreat Costs of four let you access additional support, such as Buff Padding.
Grimmsnarl VMAX knows only one attack. Priced at [DDD], “G-Max Drill” allows Grimmsnarl VMAX to do 170 damage to your opponent’s Active, plus another 50 per [D] Energy attached to itself but not used to pay for the attack’s cost. The effect has a built in cap for its bonus as well, clearly stating you cannot add more than 100 damage through G-Max Drill’s own effect. 170 for three Energy – even three of a specific type – is solid, even fora Pokémon VMAX. The effect means Grimmsnarl VMAX can do 220 for [DDDD] or 270 for [DDDDD]. At base power, smaller Basic Pokémon-EX, and the smallest Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V are OHKO’s. Most single Prize targets are also gone in one. Exceptions stem from protective effects, including Resistance.
Just one extra Energy brings most Basic Pokémon V, Pokémon-GX, and Pokémon-EX into OHKO range, as well as all single-Prize Pokémon. Exceptions are those with defensive buffs, Resistance, or all TAG TEAM Pokémon. If you go for the full damage bonus, only your fellow Pokémon VMAX cards, as well as larger TAG TEAM Pokémon, are naturally surviving a hit from G-Max Drill. The 170 or 270 seem decent, but that 220-for-four is probably the best bang for your buck… or rather, for the attached Energy. Which is not to say that 220-for-four is great, either, but it OHKO’s enough stuff and 2HKO’s the rest – excluding those with protective effects, as usual. In pure isolation, that wouldn’t be as impressive, but remember it is on a body with 330 HP.
While not recommended, Grimmsnarl VMAX could theoretically be played on its own, or at least, without some massive Stage 2 behind it. Besides using tricks like Turbo Patch on a Basic Grimmsnarl V, then evolving, there is also Rose. Rose is a Trainer-Supporter which can attach up to two basic Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon VMAX, with the major drawback of forcing you to discard your entire hand afterward. There are combos to help alleviate this, such as running Rose Tower. If you’d rather have a different Stadium card in play – and I would – you might also consider just including Sawsbuck (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 16/236). Speed through your hand, burn your Supporter usage on Rose, but use Sawsbuck to easily draw a card… preferably two or three Sawsbuck to rebuild your hand.
If you do risk a Stage 2 Bench-sitter, the obvious choice is Hydreigon (SW – Darkness Ablaze 110/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH037). I mentioned it when reviewing Grimmsnarl V, and it is just as important to Grimmsnarl VMAX. Besides helping you reach the three-to-five Darkness Energy you need attached, through using its Dark Squall Ability, it means you can take advantage of Hyper Potion to heal Grimmsnarl VMAX between turns. Yes, that is still taking advantage of Dark Squall, but the point is you’ll have a 330 HP Pokémon using an Item to heal 120 damage up to four times in your deck. Speaking of Grimmsnarl V, it remains a solid attacker in its own right for such a deck. Unless you’re crashing into something like Zamazenta V, however, you’ll want to evolve ASAP.
So, are Grimmsnarl VMAX decks tearing it up in Standard or Expanded? No. If you want a big, Darkness-type attacker we have Eternatus VMAX, and it doesn’t need a risky Energy acceleration strategy driving it, whether we’re talking about Rose or Hydreigon. Stressing my point from earlier, this combo only yields good damage, not great damage; a Pokémon VMAX backed by a Stage 2 really needs big OHKO’s available. Even though such a deck could accommodate some interesting additional attackers, like Darkrai & Umbreon-GX, Greninja & Zoroark-GX, and/or MegaSableye & Tyrannitar-GX. None provide the exact kind of offense as Grimmsnarl VMAX, and all are smaller than Grimmsnarl VMAX, but they each pack a punch in their own way.
If you pull both Grimmsnarl V and Grimmsnarl VMAX at a Limited Format event, count yourself lucky. Limited Format events are already uncommon, rare if we don’t include Pre-Releases, and that was before recent restrictions made it harder to organize such things. Also because you might have a good Mulligan deck you can build. The high presence of Grass types is a concern, as well as Grimmsnarl V’s big attack bouncing its Energy when you have no Energy acceleration to help it… but if your opponent doesn’t have a great attacker, great blocker, and/or Grimmsnarl VMAX isn’t already severely injured, its going to quickly sweep.
Grimmsnarl VMAX pales in comparison to Eternatus VMAX, as well as many of the other strong, popular decks dominating Standard at present… but it is not actually a bad card. I nearly awarded it another point in both Standard and Expanded, but I couldn’t quite justify it at present. Scoring OHKO’s or 2HKO’s with a hard-to-OHKO Pokémon VMAX should let you win the Prize trade pretty handily… and Grimmsnarl VMAX does not wreck its own setup with its attacks, so if your opponent goes after Hydreigon instead, it may actually be to Grimmsnarl VMAX’s benefit.
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