Victini VMAX – Battle Styles
March 26, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Victini VMAX (SW – Battle Styles 022/163, 165/163) is our 8th-Place finisher. Pokémon VMAX are the evolved forms of Basic Pokémon V, worth three Prizes when KO’d with at least 300 HP and potentially having improved effects. They are still Pokémon V, so certain beneficial card effects exclude them while certain detrimental ones include them for that reason. VMAX is also their Stage. They’re on par with Stage 1 Pokémon in terms of requirements, but do not count as them. “VMAX” is their Stage, and while general Evolution support and counters still apply, they also have their own VMAX-exclusive Stage support and counters. Victini VMAX is a Dynamax card and… that currently means nothing in the TCG, even though it is clearly listed on its card. Perhaps a future effect will use it?
Victini VMAX is a Fire type, and that’s fairly good. The best Fire-support is actually for Fire Energy, not caring about Pokémon type, but what actually is restricted to [R] Pokémon is decent. What elevates the type, though, is how Metal Pokémon are almost all Fire Weak, including Zacian V. Grass types are also almost all Fire Weak, but that usually doesn’t matter in competitive play. Victini VMAX has 310 HP, just barely above the minimum seen printed on Pokémon VMAX. Fortunately, this is still tricky to OHKO, and should serve it well. [W] Weakness does hurt a little, but it isn’t the same as being Weak to one of the heavily used types. No Resistance is the worst, but is typical. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is also normal, neither easy nor difficult to pay.
Victini VMAX knows two attacks. For [C], it can use “Spreading Flames” to attach up to three [R] Energy from your discard pile to your Pokémon. Any of your Pokémon, and it can all go to the same target, or be split between up to three recipients. Victini VMAX has the HP to survive using this attack, though running a VMAX line just to power-up something else seems like overkill. What about it’s second attack? “Max Victory” costs [RC] and does 100 damage, or 120 if used against a Pokémon V. Let that sink in; for just two Energy, Victini VMAX does 220 damage to any Pokémon V! That is nuts! When I first saw it, I honestly wasn’t too impressed, but OHKOing most Basic Pokémon V while 2HKOing any Pokémon VMAX offsets whiffing on the OHKO against something like Blacephalon (SM – Unbroken Bonds 32/214).
Victini VMAX has to evolve from Victini V. We have two options here. Both are 190 HP Basic Pokémon V with [W] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks. Victini V (Sword & Shield 025/202) has the same Spreading Flames attack as Victini VMAX, but it doesn’t have the same sturdy HP to back it up. [RR] pays for its “Energy Burst” attack to do 30 damage times the amount of Energy attached to both Active Pokémon. Not great unless you risk attaching a lot of extra Energy to Victini V, and/or your opponent’s Active is an Energy hog. Victini V (SW – Battle Styles 021/163, 144/163) can use “V Bullet” for [R]. This attack does only 10 damage, or 60 if your opponent’s Active is a Basic. For [RC], it can use “Flare Shot” to do 120 damage and discarding all of its attached Energy. Spreading Flames is probably the most useful of these attacks, just to lead into better attackers.
Victini VMAX can easily go from zero to Max Victory with just Welder. If you need your Supporter for something else, manually powering up may sometimes work. As long as you remember to use it before evolving, Turbo Patch could also help. Just using Welder to immediately ready one Victini VMAX, while attaching manually to the next also seems like a sound tactic. Turns when you’re not using Welder might let you change out to a spare attacker, then heal the previous Victini VMAX with Cheryl. Almost every Basic Pokémon V goes down to Victini VMAX’s Max Victory in a single shot. Where Victini VMAX runs into trouble is against those single-Prize attackers that have 110+ HP, and Pokémon-GX. Which is why Victini VMAX needs a partner.
Exactly who to run with Victini VMAX isn’t clear. Lu Pincheng used a Victini VMAX/Mewtwo & Mew-GX deck to take 11th at the Taiwan Regional League Kaohsiung not quite two weeks ago. Their Format isn’t quite the same as ours, let alone their metagame, but it seems like a solid lead. Other Fire attackers make sense as well. The fact that only one Victini VMAX cracked the top Top 16 of an event with 1995 players is a bit of a surprise, but a lot of Pokémon VMAX hit as hard as Victini VMAX, and against anything (as opposed to just Pokémon V). Six of those 16 decks were Zacian V based, but most were packing something to help deal with Fire types and/or Pokémon VMAX: Wishiwashi (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 62/236, 240/236) or Zamazenta V. Apparently, this was enough.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Victini VMAX should have at least a small but significant presence in Standard, and seems plausible for Expanded Format play. Expanded scores lower because there are more non-Pokémon V to complicate things. I did have Victini VMAX on my list, and almost this high. It took me a while to come around, but it really is a great card.
Our 8th best card of Battle Styles is Victini VMAX! A VMAX Fire type with 310 HP, Water weakness, and a retreat cost of 2, it has 2 attacks. Spreading Flames costs C and lets you attach up to 3 Fire energies from your discard pile to any of your Pokémon. Max Victory costs RC for 100 damage, plus 120 more damage if the Defending Pokémon is a Pokémon-V.
To get to Victini VMAX, it has to evolve from Victini-V, and there are two version to evolve from. The Sword & Shield version is a Basic Fire type with 190 HP, water weakness, and retreat cost of CC. The Spreading Flames attack does the exact same thing as Victini VMAX does. Energy Burst costs RR and is another “X-Ball” variant that it does 30 damage times the number of energy attached to both Active Pokemon. The second Victini-V is from Battle Styles. Sporting the same stats as the previous version except it’s retreat cost is C. V Bullet is a weaker version of Max Victory, costing R for 10 damage plus 50 more if the Defending Pokémon is a Pokémon-V. Flare Shot costs RC for 120 damage while discarding all energy attached to it.
Looking at Victini, both are solid stepping stones to get to Victini VMAX. The turn spent using Spreading Flames should be from only the Sword & Shield version, but I guess Victini VMAX retains that attack if you didn’t have the opportunity to. Players should be focusing on spamming Max Victory as often, however. Pokémon-V and Pokémon VMAX counts as being Pokémon-V, and dealing 220 damage for just two energies (that can be fueled up by Welder) is a huge bargain; Fire weakness – found on Grass and Metal types – will cause Victini to even OHKO them for three prizes! The unfortunate thing would be that it won’t damage Zamazenta-V at all due to its Dauntless Shield ability and that its damage output is unimpressive against existing leftover Pokémon-GX like Tag Teams.
I don’t think Victini would be the star in its own deck due to being meta dependent. It might serve as an secondary attacker against decks using Pokémon-V. If they’re not using Pokémon-V, then you might need to look elsewhere. Maybe the next rotation where there’s no longer Pokémon-GX that Victini might actually improve and just needs to worry about Zamazenta-V and a plethora of single prize Pokemon. But then it would lose Welder as well.
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