Pikachu VMAX
Pikachu VMAX

Pikachu VMAX – Vivid Voltage

Date Reviewed:  January 22, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.00
Expanded: 2.00

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

Reviews Below:

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We end the (business) week with Pikachu VMAX (SW – Vivid Voltage 044/185, 188/185).  As a Pokémon VMAX, it gives up two extra Prizes when KO’d, gains access to VMAX support but also has to deal with VMAX counters, as well as being excluded from certain beneficial effects.  The same also goes for all effects that reference Pokémon V, though (so far) there is no support specific to Pokémon V.  “VMAX” is also a Stage of evolution; think of them as Stage 1 Pokémon that don’t count as Stage 1 Pokémon.  Pikachu VMAX is also a Gigantamax, which explains its appearance in the art but does not currently mean anything in terms of game mechanics.  Pikachu VMAX is a [L] type; access to Speed [L] Energy and Tapu Koko {*}, plus more goodies in Expanded.  It might come in handy on occasion for striking Weakness, and should almost never have to worry about Resistance.

Pikachu VMAX has 310 HP, a gift from being a Pokémon VMAX.  While low for a Pokémon VMAX, it is still hard to OHKO for most decks.  Pikachu VMAX’s [F] Weakness is one of the chinks in its armor, but Fighting decks haven’t been doing all that hot, even after getting more support in SW – Vivid Voltage.  I’m nervous about it in the future, but for now it isn’t a concern.  No Resistance is the worst Resistance, but even at -30, it wouldn’t mean much since so many decks can just shift to an off-type attacker or still power through it.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is functionally average; neither high nor low, nor easy or difficult to pay.  It does mean Air Balloon can zero it out, though.  That just leaves its attack: [LLL] pays for “G-Max Volt Tackle” to do 120 damage.  That’s actually underwhelming for the that much Energy, but you have the option of discarding all Energy attached to Pikachu VMAX, and then the attack does 150 more damage.

This isn’t enough to OHKO even the smallest Pokémon VMAX, but it will wreck all but the largest Basic Pokémon V and TAG TEAM Pokémon… plus anything else sans protective effects.  If you have a good way to re-load Pikachu VMAX, this is great.  You still need to be wary even if you do, though; unless you use some of the normal VMAX tricks (like healing from time to time), Pikachu VMAX can still go down before you’ve taken enough Prizes.  I would expect Pikachu VMAX decks to struggle a bit against fellow Pokémon VMAX decks as well, because you really need to score a OHKO for all the effort involved.  We saw Pikachu VMAX doing well in Japan, before it released here… but in their Standard Format, that still includes cards like Electropower.  If you could use a double Electropower to OHKO anything (at least, just based on HP alone), then I’d be a lot more excited about this Pokémon.

Pikachu VMAX evolves from Pikachu V, which we covered Wednesday.  Yes, I did get my review up, though it was over 24 hours late; my appologies.  The short version is that I did not think much of Pikachu V (SW – Vivid Voltage 043/185, 170/180); it nearly works, but that isn’t nearly enough.  Both Vince and I also discussed Pikachu V (SW – Black Star Promos SW063), and that one actually has a little potential.  Mostly in Expanded, however, where Sky Field can feed its “Circle Circuit” attack.  Even the promo version isn’t great, but it is still good enough that I think it helps Pikachu VMAX, at least a little.  Not enough to make it a good card for Standard or Expanded, but still better than it would be without it.

Speaking of which, that is Pikachu VMAX’s problem; I don’t have Expanded Format results to know if regaining its “lost” Lightning support would help, but I do know that this is a cardpool with stuff like Marshadow-GX.  You know, a super-splashable Basic Fighting type.  Even though it is a two-Prize Pokémon with only 160 HP, as TecH to counter [L] decks, it looks tempting… at least, if other decks justify it.  I don’t hold out much hope for Pikachu VMAX decks being a thing, even there.


  • Standard: 2/5
  • Expanded: 2/5

Pikachu VMAX almost works, and actually did work – at least for a time – in a metagame where it had access to just a little bit more support.  Maybe even while facing its Weakness: Coalossal VMAX decks were pretty heavy at the one event for which I have results, and while only one Pikachu VMAX deck managed a 37th-place finish, look at the metagame for yourself.   In the end, though, Pikachu VMAX seems to have come up short, explaining its absence at the Players Cup Global Finals and Regional Finals.

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