Sylveon VMAX – Evolving Skies
Date Reviewed: October 1, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Looks like I made it just in time as I managed to find and purchase a couple Sylveon VMAX alternative art secret rare a week ago (Update: I currently have 2 alternate art Sylveon-V and 3 alternate art Sylveon VMAX).
Initially, I was going to make a “first impression” review about how this card seems underpowered, but something else happened; Limitless has data on how well Sylveon VMAX placed! I clicked on the link Otaku provided on his Jolteon VMAX review, and that’s how I was able to see it. Might as well analyze how Sylveon was used!
Based on the decklists that I saw, Sylveon VMAX is paired with a variety of Pokémon with different types, and even some of them are Rapid Strike Pokémon. Notable rapid strike members include Rapid Strike Urshifu, Blaziken, Octillery, Zeraora, and even Rayquaza. Other non-Rapid Strike members mostly contain generic staples such as Crobat-V and Eldegoss-V. Now, this might seem out of place for Sylveon VMAX, but because of one of its attack, it makes sense to be part of that group.
It’s not Cherish Touch, although it could be somewhat useful by accelerating any energy card and heal a moderate chunk of damage. The main star is Max Harmony, which costs three of any energy for 70 damage, plus 30 more damage for each different type of Pokémon you have in play. With a full bench of different type of Pokémon, you’re dealing 220 damage, or 310 damage in Expanded if Sky Field is in play and you managed to have eight different type of Pokémon in play.
So, I guess that’s how Sylveon VMAX is being used, being paired with a wide assortment of multi type Pokémon in Standard. As for support, Rapid Strike Energy is run at a full four, Tower of Waters is there for Sylveon to retreat for free, and Ribbon Badge is there to reduce the amount of prizes your opponent can take.
Time for a tardy review. Today we look at Sylveon VMAX (SW – Evolving Skies 075/203, 211/203, 212/203). Sylveon VMAX is a Rule Box Pokémon and… that doesn’t currently affect it, unless you wanted to fuel it with the Ability found on Cherrim (SW – Battle Styles 008/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH088). As the name makes obvious, Sylveon VMAX is a Pokémon VMAX, so:
- It gives up three Prizes when KO’d.
- It has to deal with certain anti-VMAX effects.
- It might benefit from Pokémon VMAX support.
- It should have a minimum of 300 HP.
- It might have more powerful effects.
- It is comparable to a Stage 1 Pokémon…
- …but its Stage is “VMAX” instead of “1”.
There’s also the baggage from also being a Pokémon V:
- Exclusion from certain beneficial effects.
- Inclusion in certain detrimental effects.
Sylveon VMAX is also a Dynamax Pokémon, but this currently doesn’t affect gameplay. Something that does matter is Sylveon VMAX’s status as a Rapid Strike Pokémon; they have some good support and there’s no drawbacks to being one!
Sylveon VMAX is a [P] type, which may or may not come in handy; we’ll come back to this after we discuss the rest of the card and how it is used. Sylveon VMAX’s 310 HP is a little small for a VMAX but is still beefy in terms of general gameplay. It most certainly can be OHKO’d, but it’ll take a pretty massive attack or exploiting Weakness. Sylveon VMAX does have a pretty bad Weakness, as Metal types have been competitive for a good while and rotation has – at worst – only partially blunted their former competitive edge. The lack of Resistance is to be expected, and is normal so I won’t hold it against Sylveon VMAX. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither high enough to be a problem nor low enough to be a real benefit.
Sylveon VMAX knows two attacks. For [P], it can use “Precious Touch”, an attack that attaches an Energy from your hand to one of your Benched Pokémon and healing 120 damage from that Pokémon. Neither effect is good enough separately, but together? It ain’t bad. Sylveon VMAX’s second attack is “Max Harmony”. [CCC] pays for 70 damage plus another 30 for each different type of Pokémon on your Bench. This means you can do as little as 70 (no Bench) or as high as 220 (five Pokémon Bench, each of a different type). In Expanded, you can get really crazy, with Sky Field allowing up to an 8 Pokémon Bench and thus up to 310 damage. Still not enough to OHKO the biggest targets, but nice.
Sylveon VMAX evolves from Sylveon V, which was our 4th-Place pick from this set! This Pokémon has a great Ability Turn 1, as it lets you search your deck for any Item card you want, but ends your turn immediately after. Yes, I was pretty critical of Sylveon V, but it is still a nice Pokémon from which to Evolve! We also reviewed Ribbon Badge, a Tool that may be equipped to anything but with an effect that only applies to Pokémon V with “Sylveon” in their name. That effect is a potent one: a Sylveon V with it equipped only gives up one Prize when KO’d, and a Sylveon VMAX only two. Put it all together and you have a few good aspects becoming great!
Not that I knew it. I wasn’t impressed by Sylveon VMAX when I first saw it. Thank goodness LimitlessTCG is a thing! While we haven’t seen a Players Cup V, or a return to the usual Championship series, there are other tournaments still happening. You can see for yourself here how things have been going. As of writing this, Sylveon VMAX decks are the 5th most played1 Well, “only” 7th most played if we combine archetypes that are variants of the same core concept together. This is great! Something I hadn’t considered is how most Rapid Strike Pokémon can combo reasonably well together but are various types. If you use the link and check out those lists, you’ll see a few different configurations for the concept, but the same general approach: a Bench with five different types of Pokémon, at least when your setup is good. This does mean that Psychic support probably isn’t much help with such diverse decks.
In Expanded, Sylveon VMAX actually still has potential. Triple Acceleration Energy lets you go from zero to Max Harmony in a turn, and that means you flush damage away between turns via Max Potion. You have Dimension Valley so that Max Harmony only costs [CC], or you can use Sky Field to go for bigger damage. Admittedly, this is pure speculation, as I have no information on what’s currently good in this Format, or how well this specific deck can do. It is both a good and a bad thing Sylveon VMAX didn’t make our countdown; it probably deserved to make the countdown but I would have had badly low-balled its scores in my ignorance.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
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