Umbreon VMAX
Umbreon VMAX

Umbreon VMAX – Evolving Skies

Date Reviewed:  December 27, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 4.00
Expanded: 3.00

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

Reviews Below:

Otaku Avatar

That’s right!  5th-Place in our countdown goes to another Eeveelution: Umbreon VMAX!  We originally reviewed it as the 7th best card of SW – Evolving Skies.  Wait, how can it be the 5th best card of the year when it was only the 7th best card of its expansion?  Shouldn’t that mean there are at least six cards that are better than Umbreon VMAX?  Yeah, ol’ Otaku low-balled this one bad.  If you don’t care to read the original review, I only gave it a three-out-of-five.  I also only had it as the 10th best card from SW – Evolving skies, the site list thankfully bumping it up three spots.  So… let’s try reviewing this card again and see if I can get it right!

Umbreon VMAX is a Darkness type, handy for punishing the Psychic types that punish Fighting types like Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Single Strike Urshifu VMAX.  Speaking of Battle Styles, this is a Single Strike Pokémon, letting it access their shared support, though this does mean Huntail (SW – Fusion Strike 066/264) can raise its attack cost via Huntail’s Ability.  Being a VMAX means giving up three prizes when KO’d, dealing with some VMAX-specific counters, but comes with far better HP and potentially better effects and access to VMAX support.  VMAX is also the card’s Stage, which basically means it works like a Stage 1 that doesn’t actually count as a Stage 1.  Being a Pokémon VMAX means this is also a Pokémon V; while this means anti-Pokémon V effects apply, it might be exclusion from Scoop Up Net that “hurts” Umbreon VMAX most of all (more on that later).  Having a Rule Box also hurts, because Umbreon VMAX has an Ability we’d like to use (again, more on that later).  Its 310 HP is just barely over the minimum for a Pokémon VMAX, but still isn’t easy to OHKO.  Though, Grass types will have it a bit easier thanks to the card’s Weakness.  No Resistance is the worst, but lacking it is typical so we move onto the Retreat Cost of [CC]: not low enough to be an advantage, nor high enough to really be a detriment.

Umbreon VMAX has the Ability “Dark Signal”.  It may only be activated during your turn, when you play Umbreon VMAX from your hand to evolve something of yours in play.  Dark Signal then lets you force the opposing Benched Pokémon of your choice into the Active position.  That’s right, this is Boss’s Orders but without using your Supporter for the turn.  I mean, unless you used one to get Umbreon VMAX into your hand in the first place.  Assuming you didn’t, this lets you use your Supporter for something else, whatever that might be.  You are out a spot on your Bench and and two in your deck (more if you aren’t running a minimum 1-1 line).  How is Umbreon VMAX at attacking?  Not great; [DCC] is nice and open to more forms of Energy acceleration than a more particular three Energy requirement, but it is still a three Energy requirement.  Which still wouldn’t be awful but it only does 160 damage.  Umbreon VMAX can force a Crobat V into the Active position, but you’ll need something else to deliver the OHKO.  Fortunately, as a Single Strike Pokémon, there are multiple tricks to boost Umbreon VMAX’s damage output.  While pushing it to OHKO Basic Pokémon V is asking too much, just a single Single Strike Energy brings small fry like Crobat V into OHKO range and everything else (barring defensive buffs) into 2HKO range.

Well, that is what I thought when we first reviewed Umbreon VMAX.  The main thing is missed is… this was apparently the final major piece Single Strike decks needed to really excel.  Yes, Single Strike Urshifu VMAX decks managed a 2.80% share of the metagame shortly after it released, and before SW – Chilling Reign became tournament legal, according to LimitlessTCG.  That put that deck in 12th-Place; not bad, but not what I was expecting from it.  Now, me being wrong for the Nth time isn’t a surprise, but I’m going somewhere with this.  During the period where SW – Chilling Reign was the latest Standard-legal expansion, Single Strike Urshifu VMAX decks dropped down to 27th, with only a 0.70% share.  It got even worse for this deck after SW – Evolving Skies, plummeting down to 63rd with a share of 0.14… wait, how does that make Umbreon VMAX good?  Well, that is for the version that did not add Umbreon VMAX.  Single Strike Urshifu VMAX with Umbreon VMAX clocked in at 17th-Place (1.38% share).  Post-rotation, that jumped up to 2nd-Place, with a share of 9.53%!  As of now, post-Fusion Strike, Umbreon VMAX backing Single Strike Urshifu VMAX is… still in 2nd-Place but the first place deck is something totally new (Mew VMAX/Genesect V)… and Single Strike Urshifu VMAX with Umbreon VMAX has a slightly higher share than before (9.94%).  That’s progress, and there’s more!

There are actually multiple that use Umbreon VMAX as support but most haven’t ranked that high.  The exception involves Gengar VMAX.  Now, it is slightly more common to see Gengar VMAX without Umbreon VMAX as to see it with it, both have cracked the top 20 for shares so… yeah, good enough for me!  Maybe the deck will die off by the end of the year, but this is a year’s end countdown.  Umbreon VMAX started out solid, dipped a bit, but then finished the year strong in Standard… and it acts as our representative of the Single Strike Battle Style.  Yes, there are other Single Strike decks.  Yes, there are other vital bits of Single Strike support… but it is with Umbreon VMAX that they’ve climbed so high!  How about the Expanded Format?  Not a lot of activity there, and the only recent example I saw (at a glance) of Umbreon VMAX was someone trying (and failing with) their Standard Format deck.  Gusting is such a powerful effect, and while Ability denial is better here, you gain access to better bounce effects.  They’ll require a lucky coin toss (Super Scoop Up), a Supporter (AZ, Acerola), or your Ace Spec (Scoop Up Cyclone) but if your deck can already make good use of those cards… maybe this will work.  Oh, I almost forgot that Devolution Spray would be an option as well, and that is simply an Item.  At the risk of low-balling Umbreon VMAX for a second time, I’m awarding it a four-out-of-five for Standard and a three-out-of-five for Expanded.  Yes, Umbreon VMAX is part of the current #2 deck, a deck that has not done anywhere near that well without it, but it is still reliant on those other cards.  Umbreon VMAX focused decks are nowhere near as good.

Just so it doesn’t look like I’ve forgotten it again, I am aware that Moon & Sun Badge can be equipped to Umbreon VMAX, and doing so protects it from the effects of your opponent’s Supporters.  I was unable to look through most of the decklists, but the few high-performing decklists I did check did not run even a single copy.  Yet again, in hindsight this makes some degree of sense.  All Pokémon VMAX are bulky and tricky to OHKO.  The main thing to protect Umbreon VMAX against with Moon & Sun Badge would be Boss’s Orders… but if your opponent doesn’t score a OHKO, you’re a Switch or similar card away from Umbreon VMAX being back and safely on your Bench.  If you’re staring down a Single Strike Urshifu VMAX, decent odds you can’t ignore Single Strike Urshifu VMAX that long, even in the Standard Format.


  • Standard: 4/5
  • Expanded: 3/5

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