Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX – Battle Styles
March 31, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
3rd-Place in our countdown falls on the third day of the business week: Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (SW – Battle Styles 088/136, 169/163, 170/163)! As a Rapid Strike Pokémon, it has access to Rapid Strike support; so far, there are no counters to a particular Battle Style, so this is purely advantageous. As a Pokémon VMAX, this Pokémon can make use of VMAX support, will have at least 300 HP, will likely have improved effects, and will be a VMAX instead of its usual Stage. The drawbacks to these are that it gives up three Prizes when KO’d, has to deal with anti-VMAX effects, and is still a Pokémon V and Rule Box Pokémon, sharing all their drawbacks except where being a VMAX is worse (like in how many Prizes are given up).
VMAX is a Stage of evolution as well as a multi-Prize, Rule Box Pokémon mechanic. While not as fast or easy as running a Basic, they’re nowhere near the hassle of a Stage 2 or Mega Evolution. Instead, they’re like a Stage 1 that does not count as a Stage 1. General evolution support and counters apply, as well as those specific to being a VMAX. It is a Gigantamax Pokémon which… doesn’t mean anything in the TCG, at least, not yet. It is clearly labeled as such, so perhaps something will release in the future? Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX is a [F] type, which should be great for exploiting Weakness: Crobat V, Dedenne-GX, Eternatus VMAX, and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX are a short list of prominent, [F] Weak Pokémon. [F] support may come in handy as well; if not in Standard, then in Expanded.
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX has 330 HP, just 10 shy of the printed max. This should be difficult to OHKO, though less so if your opponent can exploit the card’s [P] Weakness. Mewtwo & Mew-GX is a good, competitive deck in the metagame, and there is speculation Dragapult VMAX. No Resistance is typical, so even though it is technically the worst, it actually isn’t a problem. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is more nuanced than it looks. For reasons that are about to become clear, retreating Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX is actually going to be important. As such, a lower Retreat Cost would be better, but [CC] is low enough for Air Balloon or Tower of Waters to zero out.
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX knows two attacks. Up first is “Gale Thrust”, priced at [F]. It does 30 damage, plus another 120 if this Pokémon moved from your Bench to your Active position this turn. This style of attack isn’t new, and Golisopod-GX showed us how effective something like this could be. We don’t have Guzma as the perfect partner, but we do still have cards like Escape Rope and Switch, as well as Boss’s Orders. If you don’t trigger the effect, Gale Thrust is a poor attack; 30-for-one just doesn’t cut it on a Pokémon VMAX, though at least it is still some damage for a single Energy… and there are ways to build on it.
If you can do the 150, you’re in 2HKO range for anything except those with defensive buffs, or most Pokémon VMAX (the smallest one’s are still in range). Resistance can put a damper on things, but Weakness shifts it to OHKO range instead of 2HKO. If you can afford to use basic Fighting Energy and run Martial Arts Dojo, you can expand the range a little… or a lot if your opponent has more Prizes remaining than you. In Expanded, you don’t have to be that fancy; you can just us Strong Energy and Muscle Band to do 190. Plus you have access to Guzma. Another benefit to an attack with this low of a cost on an Evolved Pokémon with 330 HP, is that Cheryl might be a legitimate option. In Expanded, same story but replace Cheryl with Max Potion.
“G-Max Rapid Flow” is the name of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX’s second attack. It is priced at [FFC], but it is more expensive than that because its effect discards all Energy attached to Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. It does do a lot of damage though; 120 to two opposing Pokémon of your choice. Weakness/Resistance applies to your opponent’s Active if you pick it, otherwise it doesn’t. If your opponent has two, unprotected targets, that is 240 damage for three Energy, even though you’ve got to discard it all. Though it can be pricey, Rapid Strike Energy is a big help here. It cannot cover the price entirely on its own, but it makes it quite plausible to follow up a Gale Thrust with a G-Max Rapid Flow. Two 120 hits is enough to take out many smaller, supporting Pokémon. If you can force something like Dedenne-GX or Crobat V active, you can score a OHKO while softening up the former Active for your next turn.
I’ve said before that Rapid Strike Style Mustard is probably not the best way to field anything Rapid Strike cards that aren’t Stage 2. Maybe Pokémon VMAX will prove worth, but you should probably just run Rapid Strike Urshifu V. You have two options. Both are Rapid Strike, [F] Type, Basic Pokémon V with 220 HP, [P] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], and two attacks. Rapid Strike Urshifu V (SW – Battle Styles 087/163,152/163, 153/163) can use “Strafe” for [F] to do 30 damage and optionally switch itself with one of your Benched Pokémon, while its “Hundred Furious Blows” is priced at [FFC] and simply does 150 damage. Rapid Strike Urshifu V (SW – Black Star Promos SWSH107) can do 40 for [FC] with its “Spiral Kick”. [FFC] lets it use “Sonic Legs” to do 90 to your opponent’s Active and 20 to two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.
Neither Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX is thrilling, though the 220 HP is solid. Each has an attack I like, though. If you’re stuck attacking with Rapid Strike Urshifu V, I’d rather have a single-attachment attack. Rapid Strike Energy means Spiral Kick technically qualifies, but Strafe is more reliable and lets you setup to evolve next turn, promote your now Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, and use Gale Thrust. Hundred Furious Blows has reasonably good damage for the Energy, and does more than Sonic Legs (even if you add all the damage the latter does together)… but I still prefer Sonic Legs. At least, on paper: it isn’t a lot, but it is a tiny bit more damage spread to lead into G-Max Rapid Flow. Perhaps that means a mix of the two is appropriate? If you’re only going with one, use the Strafe version.
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX has a lot going for it, but it hasn’t made a strong, early showing in the few events we’ve seen with it. It wasn’t totally absent, so I still expect it to at least become another fringe Fighting deck, and will be surprised if it isn’t at least one of the really good (just not great) decks in Standard. Given the options available to Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX in Expanded, I think it has a real shot here as well. Your opponent has to more or less sabotage your everything to really shut the deck down. Your opponent will have to stop Abilities, Items, Tools in play, and Supporters to prevent Gale Thrust from doing its thing. In either Format, G-Max Rapid Flow takes a massive hit if your opponent includes sufficient Bench protection, like Mew (SM – Unbroken Bonds 76/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM215).
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
I’ve gone back and forth over what to expect from Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. Sometimes thrilled by its prospects due to exploiting its typing, its HP, etc. to worrying its a 2HKO, slightly technical attacker in a metagame where you need OHKO’s. Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX was only my 7th-Place pick but it was one of those cards that did reasonably well on our individual lists, greatly elevating it.
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX may be Golisopod 2.0, but with a better typing to exploit weakness as well has higher damage output. I don’t know any card in standard that can put itself in the Active and retreat, but Expanded has Keldeo-EX or even Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX to do that with Float Stone, so that it can keep reaping the bonus damage, on top of all the Fighting support both formats offered. This will be the next new archetypes existing decks would have to worry about.
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