Single Strike Urshifu VMAX – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Single Strike Urshifu VMAX (SW – Battle Styles 086/163, 167/163, 168/163) is our 13th-Place Pick for the latest set. It has quite the mouthful of a name, one that calls for some explaining as it references two game mechanics. Let us start by me pointing out that, from the game’s point of view, Single Strike Urshifu VMAX is a totally separate, unrelated entity from Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. Not unlike with the Galarian or Alolan forms of Pokémon that do not share the same lower Stage(s). It is possible some future card effect could reference both of them, or all cards with “Urshifu” in their name. Until or unless that happens, though, they’re just two Pokémon VMAX with the same Pokémon type, nothing more.
Single Strike Urshifu VMAX has a Battle Style in its name. Technically, this does not make it a Single Strike Pokémon; it is the “Single Strike” label in the upper-right corner of its card art (just below its HP and type). Most Single Strike cards don’t have “Single Strike” in their names, but they all have the label. What being a Single Strike Pokémon actually entails is access to a new family of cards and their support. They do not have Rule Boxes: they are worth however many Prizes when KO’d as their other game mechanics dictate, you put them into play the normal way, etc. You can get a general idea and list of the relevant cards here.
Single Strike Urshifu VMAX being a VMAX covers familiar territory. As a Pokémon-VMAX, it counts as as Rule Box Pokémon, it gives up three Prizes when KO’d, can access VMAX support, and has to deal with anti-VMAX effects. Pokémon VMAX are the evolved form of Pokémon V, and evolve only from Basic Pokémon V. This makes them about as demanding as Stage 1 Pokémon, but they don’t actually count as Stage 1 Pokémon for the purposes of card effects. They do still count as Pokémon V, though, so any support that excludes Pokémon V won’t work for it, while any counters that specify Pokémon V still apply. Single Strike Urshifu VMAX is a Gigantamax Pokémon, but this term currently has no game mechanics or effects that reference it.
Urshifu VMAX is a Fighting type, which is great for exploiting Weakness, though it does crash into Resistance a little often. There’s some good Fighting support in Standard and some great examples in Expanded. 330 HP is just 10 shy of the printed max, and should be very hard to OHKO outside of Weakness. Psychic Weakness could be an issue, but mostly due to Mewtwo & Mew-GX. No Resistance is the worst, but also the norm. A Retreat Cost of [CCC] is high enough you’ll need to work around it, but not quite high enough to qualify for support like Buff Padding.
Single Strike Urshifu VMAX knows two attacks. For [CCC] it can use “Beatdown” to do 100 damage, while [FFFC] pays for “G-Max One Blow” to do 270 damage, with the attack’s damage ignoring effects on your opponent’s Active but it also requires you discard all Energy attached to Urshifu VMAX. 100 for three is decent, and being an Evolution you could cover the entire cost for Beatdown with a Triple Acceleration Energy. I don’t know if you should, but at least it is an option. Beatdown, without any other buffs, is only good for a 3HKO against most Pokémon V, which isn’t good… but Fighting Weakness is found on most Lightning types, as well as many Colorless and Darkness types. There are even high profile targets such as Crobat V, Dedenne-GX and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX!
Beatdown is also good for easily OHKOing or 2HKOing smaller Pokémon, which becomes more important, given the drawback of G-Max One Blow. Not just because it is four Energy versus three, but because most of those Energy need to be Fighting and the effect of G-Max One Blow discards all Energy attached to Single Strike Urshifu VMAX. You just cannot afford to use G-Max One Blow unless it is doing something important. Even on a small, single Prize target it may be worth it if you need to cut through a protective effect. Ideally, though, you’re using this on something like a Zacian V that has Metal Goggles and the effects of Lucario & Melmetal-GX’s “Full Metal Wall-GX” attack protecting it.
Without protective effects, only Pokémon VMAX and the larger TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX have the raw HP to survive it. There are things that G-Max One Blow does not ignore, and one of them is in your favor: Weakness still applies. So yes, with this attack your Single Strike Urshifu VMAX can one-shot an Eternatus VMAX. Resistance also still applies; in the vernacular of the Pokémon TCG, Weakness and Resistance are “game mechanics”, not “effects”. The last thing G-Max One Blow doesn’t ignore is anything that does not directly change the damage being done, or which reside on Single Strike Urshifu VMAX. If you’re confused, the effect of G-Max One Blow doesn’t help with that. Nor does the attack’s effect “ignore” increases to HP; if you use this attack on something with Big Charm equipped, the Tool’s +30 HP can still save the target.
Now, what about Single Strike Urshifu V? There’s no good way to field Single Strike Urshifu VMAX without it. Yes, I know there is Single Strike Style Mustard, but past experience with Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick leads me to believe that it won’t be worth it for a VMAX or Stage 1 Pokémon. There are actually two versions of Single Strike Urshifu V available: SW – Battle Styles 085/163 (also released as SW – Battle Styles 150/163 and 151/163) and SW – Black Star Promos SWSH106. We’ll probably look at them later, so just a quick run-through now. Both have the same stats, so it comes down to their attacks. Both have attacks for [F]; the version from SW – Battle Styles can attach two [F] Energy from the deck to itself, while the Black Star Promo just does 30. The version from the set can do 180 for [FFC], but can’t use that attack again the next turn. The Black Star Promos needs [FFFF] to also do 180, and ignores Resistance.
I actually like both, at least, on paper. Energy acceleration is good, but Energy acceleration to one’s self while attack is less valuable. If your opponent can’t land a solid hit on Single Strike Urshifu VMAX after using it, go for it. If they can, be careful not to lose the Prize trade, and that you’ve already sunk one attack into the deal. You also likely need other Energy acceleration, because of G-Max One Blow. As such, the simple 30 damage from the promo version, combined with the damage bonuses available to Single Strike Urshifu VMAX, may be more valuable. Neither big attack is great, but the version from SW – Battle Styles better; its drawback is easy to shake, and won’t matter if it evolves or is KO’d. Which means the promo version is really just paying extra to ignore Resistance, and it just isn’t worth it. Still, I’d probably run both, so you can adjust accordingly.
Single Strike decks tend to hit hard, relatively fast. This is because of a very specific combo to which they have access, as well as commonly shared design elements. Single Strike Energy is a Special Energy card can only be attached to Single Strike Pokémon, and discards itself if it ends up attached to anything else. Single Strike Energy provides one unit of Energy, but that Energy counts as both [D] and [F]. It also increases the damage done to your opponent’s Active by 20 from the attacks of the Pokémon with it attached. Yeah, it is like a Strong Energy for Single Strike Pokémon! Each copy attached to Single Strike Urshifu VMAX brings more and more Pokémon into range… and there’s more.
Houndoom (SW – Battle Styles 096/163, 179/163, SW – Black Star Promos SWSH090) has an Ability named “Single Strike Roar”. This Ability attaches a Single Strike Energy from your deck to one of your Single Strike Pokémon. This Ability also places two damage counters on the Pokémon receiving the Energy. Meanwhile Urn of Vitality allows you to shuffle up to two Single Strike Energy cards from your discard pile into your deck. While you shouldn’t expect to cover the full cost of either attack with this combo, multiple instances of Single Strike Roar can be used in the same turn, and Single Strike Urshifu VMAX enough HP it often won’t matter that you’re dropping it by 20 or even 40.
The preceding combo, or Triple Acceleration Energy, make me consider Cheryl a serious option. Cheryl is a new Supporter that heals all damage from your Evolutions, but then forces you to discard all Energy from whatever you healed. You don’t get the choice of “opting in”; if an Evolution on your side of the field has damage on it, it gets healed and its Energy gets discarded. However, if it has no Energy attached, an Evolution is still healed. Triple Accelertion Energy discards itself at the end of your turn, so there’s no drawback if you used only it to attack with beatdown the last turn. G-Max One Blow always discards all Energy attached, so once again, you can fully heal Single Strike Urshifu VMAX. Either way, you’ll need Energy acceleration to attack with the same Single Strike Urshifu VMAX that turn. If you’re using Houndoom, don’t accidentally use it before Cheryl.
Earlier, I mentioned Single Strike Style Mustard. It is a Supporter that lets you Bench a Single Strike Pokémon from your deck directly to your Bench, then draw five cards. You may only use Single Strike Mustard if it is the last card in your hand. When Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick did something similar, they had access to Battle Compressor, Ultra Ball, and VS Seeker. Why worry about Ultra Ball? More hand thinning. So I don’t believe Single Strike Style Mustard will be as easy to use as those older Supporters, and I already pointed out they probably aren’t worth using on Single Strike Urshifu VMAX… but I have a different target in mind: Emboar (SW – Battle Styles 025/163).
Emboar’s “Fighting Fury Stance” Ability lets the attacks of your Single Strike Pokémon do another 30 to your opponent’s Active. Fighting Fury Stance is worded so that only one instance of it can boost your Pokémon but it can stack with other damage bonuses, like from Single Strike Energy. There’s one last piece of Single Strike support worth discussing, and that is Single Strike Scroll of Scorn. It is a Tool that only your Single Strike Pokémon can use, and it gives them access to the attack “Furious Anger”, priced at [F]. This is a Rage-like attack, doing 10 damage plus 10 per damage counter on the attacking Pokémon. The risk-reward element may be more obvious here; the more injured Single Strike Urshifu VMAX is, the harder it hits, but the easier it will be for your opponent to KO the following turn. If you cannot heal, though, there’s a good chance it lets your Single Strike Urshifu VMAX go down swinging while taking at least one more Prize.
There is still more! I haven’t even touched upon Fighting Pokémon or Fighting Energy support. She can be a risky, expensive play, but Bea lets you discard the top five cards of your deck, attaching any Energy you find there to your Benched [F] Pokémon. You can even divide that Energy between multiple targets, and it works with both basic Energy and Special Energy cards. Whether you’re prepping fresh or injured attackers, this may further reduce the issue of G-Max One Blow discarding all attached Energy. While you probably don’t want to hit a Triple Acceleration Energy with this, Single Strike Energy, Stone [F] Energy, and (in Expanded), Strong Energy are all happy attachments. If you attach a basic Fighting Energy, then Martial Arts Dojo becomes an option; get +10 damage, or +40 if your opponent has fewer Prize cards left in play. If your opponent does have that Prize lead and can spare your Tool Slot, Karate Belt won’t help with Beatdown, but it will let you use G-Max One Blow for [FFC].
Putting it all together is… misleading. I left out a few more pieces of [F] support in Expanded, but what I’m talking about is how your deck will only have room for so much. Technically, you could be down by one Prize, have a basic Fighting Energy attached to Single Strike Urshifu VMAX, have Martial Arts Dojo in play, have four Single Strike Energy attached as well, and have Emboar on your Bench, all in the Standard Format. Now Beatdown does 250 damage! Get even more ridiculous, and say you have four Stone [F] Energy attached, and now Single Strike Urshifu VMAX can tank 80 damage (after Weakness has been applied). You could also throw most of this setup away to use G-Max One Blow to do 420. At least, I think you still get the damage bonuses, and don’t technically discard the attached Energy until after damage calculation.
Realistically you’re not getting this setup. You’ll be doing good to get two Single Strike Energy attached while also having Emboar on the Bench, but that is still very good. Maybe even have a basic Fighting Energy attached as well while down at least one Prize and Martial Arts Dojo is in play. Beatdown would then be doing 210, one-shotting many Basic Pokémon V (and smaller) targets. Even if you can use Beatdown to OHKO a Crobat V, OHKO a Dedenne-GX, probably having to use Boss’s Orders twice to force them into the Active position on subsequent turns, going for broke and pulling of a single G-Max One Blow will likely win the game.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
All that hype and I’m only giving it a three-out-of-five in both Formats? What gives? There is a lot you can do with Single Strike Urshifu VMAX, but you’re paying for it. While there is a lot of support, much of it is unproven at this point, and it is hard finding room for all of it. Keepping it super simple and just focusing on Beatdown means decent attacks but from a Fighting type Pokémon VMAX with almost the maximum HP. G-Max Beatdown becomes a finishing blow. If you can build a reliable deck that juggles at least some of the support available, Single Strike Urshifu VMAX can become a beast with either of its attacks. Expanded really opens up what this card can do, but the same support can be used elsewhere, maybe for better effect… and I do not like that Psychic Weakness in a metagame that still has Night March and Lost March.
Our 13th place pick from SS Battle Styles is Single Strike Urshifu VMAX! This was a card that I first thought was unimpressive, but actually is far better than I thought when you put all the support together. This, along with Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, might impact the format due to newer archetypes competing in the fray.
Beatdown costs three energy for 100 damage, and while there isn’t any effects, having it colorless friendly makes it acceptable for the price and even makes it easy for Triple Acceleration Energy to rapidly fuel this attack up within a single attachment. G-Max One Blow is pretty costly, costing FFFC for 270 damage while discarding ALL energies attached to it and still damages your opponent’s Active Pokemon regardless of whatever effects it have. That means it can chiefly bypasses protective effects and such as Zamazenta-V and even Decideuye and OHKO them!
Of course, without the support based on the Single Strike mechanic, then this card would be underwhelming, but the mechanic brings in cards that’ll support this. Single Strike Stance Mustard lets you put a Single Strike Pokémon from the discard pile onto your Bench and draw 5 cards. Those juicy targets for that Supporter could be Emboar – whose ability can let your Single Strike Pokemon deal 30 extra damage (this ability stacks) – or Houndoom – which can grab a Single Strike Energy (similar to Strong Energy from the XY series) and attach it to your Pokémon – that can supplement today’s card!
With such support, Urshifu can suddenly achieve damage thresholds and be rapidly fueled to use any of its attacks! While Beatdown is a nice repeatable attack, I’d be pretty leery of G-Max One Blow because that isn’t something to repeatedly use with ease. I’m thinking Beatdown would be used against almost anything in any situation. G-Max one Blow should be reserved against targets with protective effects or against targets giving up multiple prizes. You could use Bea to try and get several Fighting energies onto it, but you could also lose crucial cards in the process.
This is yet another new toy that existing decks should prepare for. Seems like the Fighting Weakness found on some Colorless, Lightning, and Darkness Pokemon is going to be troublesome once again and may drive certain decks to be unplayable.
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