– Sword & Shield
March 23, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Stonjourner VMAX (Sword & Shield 116/202, 205/202) is a [F] Type Pokémon. This is promising in terms of exploiting Weakness, even if it also means crashing into Resistance somewhat often. [F] Type support is great, while the few anti-[F] Type cards are obscure for a reason. However, I’m not seeing any [F] Type decks in recent tournament results, or at least, not what LimitlesslessTCG can offer.
Stonjourner VMAX evolves from Stonjourner V, which we reviewed yesterday. Both are Pokémon V; you can get a more detailed explanation of what that means here, or keep reading for an overview. They’re both multi-Prize Pokémon, with Stonjourner V being worth two Prizes while Stonjourner VMAX is worth three. There are no special rules about evolving into a VMAX, so they’re kind of like Stage 1 Pokémon without access to Stage 1 support, but having to deal with both anti-Pokémon V and anti-Pokémon VMAX effects. Currently, being a Gigantamax card means nothing.
330 HP is the second highest printed at the moment, so it should be difficult – if not impossible – for many decks to OHKO. Even [G] decks taking advantage of Stonjourner VMAX’s Weakness still need to deal 170 damage before Weakness to do the deed. Any Resistance is better than none, but it might be justified given the card’s massive HP and first attack (more on that in a bit). A Retreat Cost of [CCC] is probably the worst right now; [CCCC] is harder to pay, but lets you utilize cards like Poké Maniac.
Stonjourner VMAX knows two attacks, and the only VMAX that does from this set. [F] pays for “Stone Gift”, which let’s you attach a [F] Energy from your hand to one of your Pokémon. You also heal 120 damage from the Pokémon receiving the Energy. “Max Rockfall” is the second attack, and it costs [FFF]. There is no effect text for it; it simply does 200 damage. Only basic Fighting Energy counts as [F] while in hand, so between that and the Energy costs, either Stonjourner VMAX requires you run a good chunk of basic Fighting Energy or you’re running it only as a meatshield.
In terms of Energy acceleration, Stone Gift isn’t great. One use merely lets you break even in the sense you could just attach [F] and attack with something else. Energy acceleration from your hand is also middle-of-the-pack; all other things being equal, from the deck or discard pile is better and from the field (moving Energy around) is worse. Stonjourner VMAX’s bulk and the healing effect make a big difference; with the right damage versus HP matchup, you can delay a KO one, maybe even two turns!
Max Rockfall has good damage for the Energy, even though the cost is a bit of a pain. On its own, it falls a bit short of OHKOing most Basic Pokémon V, but the [F] Type is great about stacking damage bonuses, in addition to exploiting Weakness. Barring something like Zamazenta V (due to its Ability), or actual combos (like healing between hits), you should OHKO or 2HKO most of the metagame. So, how do you use this card?
There’s the video (and list) I linked to yesterday. Simply put, it is a tank deck, where you backup Stonjourner VMAX’s impressive HP and built-in healing with additional healing. Some of it comes from Indeedee V, and as the deck includes Aurora Energy, it also serves as an alternate attacker that can exploit [P] Weakness. If you’re not familiar with “tank” decks, the idea is that they can absorb or heal damage – like wall decks – but can still go on the offensive.
Besides what the video mentions, I haven’t really heard much about this deck, nor seen Stonjourner VMAX popping up in tournament results. There’s enough [F] Weakness in the metagame for both Standard and Expanded, you’d think there’d be more decks already exploiting it. Maybe the proven [G] decks in Expanded or the rumored ones in Standard are taking it out early? On paper, a Stonjourner VMAX deck seems competent, so I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt.
In the Limited Format, running Stonjourner VMAX means not only pulling it, a “Ultra Rare” card (if Pokémon used that term), but at least one copy of Stonjourner VMAX… which is of a similar (if not the same) rarity. No, I don’t quite understand the rarity system in this game anymore. Anyway, if you do pull both, go ahead and run them, either in a mostly or mono-Fighting Energy deck, or in a mulligan build on their own. Stonjourner V is good enough to do so on its own; having the option to evolve and either hit harder or heal just becomes obscene.
I’m going out on a limb here, given the lack of evidence for this card’s potency in the international metagame, but I think it does have potential… enough that it might avoid being forgotten after we have more and newer Pokémon VMAX. Stonjourner VMAX would have been our 30th-place card, if our countdown had started higher. It didn’t make my top 20, but I can see why it made someone else’s list.
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