Lapras VMAX
Lapras VMAX

Lapras VMAX
– Sword & Shield

Date Reviewed:
February 28, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 3.00
Limited: 3.00

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

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Lapras V-Max


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

Details: Gigantamax Lapras isn’t much different than a regular Lapras, except that it is extremely tall like the other Gigantamax Pokémon and that its shell got overgrown and is surrounded by an Icy Wind. Being this huge, it should be able to carry a lot of people with ease, no longer needing to board a ferry.

Anyhow, Lapras V-Max is the second biggest V-Max card, having 320 HP and one attack. G-Max Pump is another variation of Hydro Pump style attacks in the TCG. It costs CCC for 90 damage, plus 30 more for each water energies attached to it. Having a minimum of WWW means you’re already dealing 180 damage, and you can further attach more energies to reach crucial OHKOs. Yes, Lapras V-Max has limitless damage potential, if it want to OHKO Snorlax V-Max, it can get there by having 8 water energies and a Vitality Band attached to it to deal exactly 340. And even if Snorlax has Buff Padding attached to it, the Lapras user simply gets 10 energy on itself to deal that much damage.

So I’ve mentioned that you could load up tons of energy to it, but how do you do that?! There’s a new Pokémon by the name of Frosmoth, whose Ice Dance ability lets you attach as many water energies from your hand onto your Benched Water Pokemon. Suddenly, attaching this much energy seems far more realistic. You still need to do a little bit of work regarding maneuvers since you need to bring Lapras up front.

While Lapras can achieve OHKOs, it is also susceptible to being OHKOed back, even at 320 HP. Lightning weakness (and yes, PikaRom still sees successful competitive play) and/or being punished for having too many energies attached to it (Dedenne FFI’s Energy Short can OHKO Lapras even at full HP if it has 8 energies attached to it) are factors that made me feel leery about using Lapras as the main attacker. But it doesn’t have to be the only attacker. Keldeo-GX can come in as a secondary attacker while being immune to damage from EX/GX Pokemon, but not Pokemon-V.

It’s pretty shocking that Lapras V-Max didn’t make it into the Oceania International Championship, which happened just a few days ago. There are various decklist out there that’s based on the Top 48 decks of that tournament and Lapras isn’t in there. The Lapras V-Max/Frosmoth deck did have some hype in the early days, but seems like the deck to be hyped now is Zacian-V/ADP as 23 of the 48 top decks used it. Even then, just because Lapras didn’t make it to the top 48 doesn’t mean that this deck is weak. When set up correctly, Lapras can get KOs before your opponent gets to react.

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Lapras VMAX (Sword & Shield 50/202, 203/202) is the second VMAX we’ve looked at this week.  For a somewhat more detailed explanation of the mechanic, check out this article I wrote about it here.  The short version is that VMAX is a new Stage of Evolution, evolving from the corresponding Pokémon V (in this case, Lapras V).  “V” and “VMAX” are part of the card names in addition to being classifications, and all Pokémon VMAX also count as Pokémon V.  There are no special rules about evolving Pokémon V into Pokémon VMAX, but Pokémon VMAX are worth three Prizes when KO’d, but have higher HP scores and possibly better effects.  Some card effects already penalize a player for running Pokémon V or (specifically) for running Pokémon VMAX, but they may also benefit from the older cards that exlude Pokémon-EX/GX but predate (and thus work with) Pokémon V!

In terms of deck demands, VMAX are similar to Stage 1 Pokémon.  They are different for the purposes of card effects and other game mechanics; for example, you cannot use the Ability on Ditto {*} to evolve it into Lapras VMAX.  Larpas VMAX is a [W] Type, which seems decent enough for exploiting Weakness, and only has to concern itself with Type-based counters or Resistance in Expanded, and not a lot even there.  Actual [W] Type support is pretty good; unlike some of the other [W] Types we’ve looked at recently, Lapras VMAX should be able to capitalize on a significant chunk of it.  Lapras VMAX enjoys a massive 320 HP, making it very difficult to OHKO, outside of its Weakness.

[L] Weakness is a dangerous one to have right now; the Type may not be as prevalent as I expected going into Sword & Shield, but five decks in the top 48 at the Oceania International Championship were Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks (taking 15th, 21st, 25th, 29th, and 36th).  No Resistance is the worst, but also the norm, so it doesn’t hurt the card.  The Retreat Cost of [CCC] does hurt, but only a little.  It is high enough you’re going to need to include some tricks to deal with it, but not high enough to cash in on cards like Buff Padding in Standard… though Heavy Ball would work in Expanded.  Those are examples, though; not necessarily good deck inclusions.

Lapras VMAX has one attack, “G-Max Pump”.  The printed attack cost is [CCC], but G-Max Pump let’s Lapras VMAX do 90 damage plus 30 more for each [W] Energy attached to itself, so you’re rarely going to want to attach anything that doesn’t count as [W].  If you pay for G-Max Pump using [WWW], it does 180 damage, enough to OHKO most single-Prize Pokémon, most Basic Pokémon-EX/GX, small Basic Pokémon-V (before protective effects, of course).  Each additional [W] Energy beyond expands the OHKO range.  If you want to OHKO something like Snorlax VMAX, Lapras VMAX will need nine [W] Energy.  G-Max Pump is a poor attack if not supported by at least some [W] Energy, but if you can go crazy on it, only Pokémon with protective effects can survive.

Before we talk combos, though, let us quickly look at Lapras V (Sword & SHield 049/202,189/202).  You could Bench Lapras VMAX directly in Expanded, through Archie’s Ace in the Hole, but in Standard you’ve got no choice.  It is a 210 HP Basic Pokémon V with [L] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], and two attacks.  “Body Surf” costs [C] and lets you attach a [W] Energy from your hand to this Pokémon.  If you do, Body Surf also lets you switch Lapras V with one of your Benched Pokémon.  “Ocean Loop” requires [WWWC], does 210 damage, and says you have to return [WW] from Lapras V to your hand.  The HP is good for a Basic Pokémon V, Ocean Loop is a decent emergency option, accelerating a tiny amount of Energy and then letting Lapras V hide on your Bench.  Ocean Loop does solid damage for the Energy… at least, if you’ve got adequate Energy acceleration.

That’s the big concern with Lapras VMAX; it needs a lot of Energy acceleration to prove worthwhile.  Fortunately, you’ve got one great option, and one I’m just going to mention for the sake of being thorough.  Frosmoth’s “Ice Dance” Ability easily has Lapras VMAX covered, at least for a Benched Lapras VMAX.  If Active, you’ll need to get Lapras VMAX to the Bench or include Quagsire (Dragon Majesty 26/70; Shiny Vault SV10/SV94) so that its Ability can move the [W] Energy to your Active.  An alternative is to combine Quagsire with Naganadel (SM – Lost Thunder 108/214); Naganadel’s Ability lets it attach basic Energy cards from your discard pile, and pushing those onto an Active with Quagsire is nothing new.

Would you ever need to resort to the alternative?  Probably not.  Ultra Beast Type-support is good, but not that good… Okay, it almost is that good, and was that good (relative to the rest of the cardpool) for a short time.  Unless there is a Frozen City in play or something is making it hard to get Water Energy into your hand, Frosmoth is going to be the better choice.  Frosmoth/Lapras VMAX decks saw some success in Japan, but not yet over here.  Then again, the only major event – where Lapras VMAX has been legal – for which I’ve got results is the Oceania International Championship.  It could be we’re just a little early.

It could also be that Frosmoth, if/when it does show up, uses a different attacker.  That [L] Weakness is pretty scary on a Pokémon that desperately needs to avoid being OHKO’d.  There’s also a decent number of attackers that hit harder if the Defending Pokémon has a lot of Energy attached.  Such Pokémon aren’t even being run to counter Lapras VMAX, either; they’re already popular for punishing other attackers.  Based on its potential, though, I’m still awarding Lapras VMAX average marks… which is reasonably good for a Pokémon card.

That goes for the Expanded Format as well; like so many cards, it gains access to more combos, but also faces more competition and counters.  As long as you also pull Lapras V, Lapras VMAX is a must-run for the Limited Format.  You might even be able to get away running just Lapras V with Lapras VMAX, but you’re probably better off running it in a more fleshed out deck.  Plus, Lapras VMAX will rarely need to hit as hard, so running it in mixed company shouldn’t be a problem.


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

Lapras VMAX has good HP and great damage output, but the damage only comes with a tremendous amount of [W] Energy attached to itself.  You can use less Energy when you don’t need the big damage… but at that point, another attacker might be better.  This is not a problem for Frosmoth decks, but those decks seem elusive at the moment, even though so many were expecting them to be at least one of the next big things.  At least Lapras VMAX didn’t get saddled with [M] Weakness, which Lapras cards often have to reflect their Water/Ice-Typing in the video games.  Lapras VMAX didn’t make my personal Top 20, but it would have been our 15th-place pick on the site list!

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