Okay, so picture yourself starting your first match in Top Cut. You win the coin flip, decide to go first, and your starting Pokemon is a lone Yveltal while your opponent starts with a Manaphy-EX. You attach your Energy and play your Supporter, but you can’t find any Pokemon to play to your bench, so you pass your turn. Your opponent starts his turn, and he puts a Seismitoad-EX on the bench and a single Water Energy on the Manaphy. You think you’ll be safe for one turn while he powers up his Pokemon, but then you see the Max Elixir get played. They play it once, and manage to find an Energy card and put it on the Seismitoad-EX. You still feel confident, thinking that you’re still safe, but then comes another Max Elixir. Once again, he gets another Energy for the Toad and now you’re getting scared and sweaty. He retreats freely and puts Seismitoad-EX into the active slot, and you’re thinking you’ll still have time if it’s only Quaking Punch you have to worry about, but then you see the Energy Switch. He moves the Water Energy from his Manaphy to the Seismitoad, he uses Grenade Hammer to KO your only Yveltal, and he does it all with the most obnoxious grin on his face while you just want to set the nearest Seismitoad-EX card on fire.
Hey, everyone. My name is Jerry Woods III. I started out as a regular VGC competitor in 2010 and started playing TCG in 2013. With 2016 Nationals over and each division having at least two decks in Top Cut using Max Elixir to some extent, it felt appropriate to talk about what’s basically the other version of Ether that everyone prefers to use.
When Ether Just Isn’t Enough
Max Elixir – Trainer
Look at the top 6 cards of your deck and attach a basic Energy card you find there to a Basic Pokemon on your Bench. Shuffle the other cards back into your deck.
Max Elixir was one of those Pokemon cards that didn’t really get that much attention when it first came out with the BREAKpoint expansion. It managed to help a few decks claim victory in some States tournament, but it had not established itself as an Item card as necessary as Battle Compressor or VS Seeker, but then with tournaments such as Ital Nationals and the Origins tournament, it easily became the card to look out for. While Max Elixir doesn’t guarantee Energy cards like Dark Patch ,it does well enough by letting you attach a Basic Energy card so long as it’s one of the top six cards of your deck when you play it. It may not seem that much better than Trainers' Mail in terms of how many cards you can search through, you start to remember that it isn’t a far stretch for most decks to run roughly 10 Energy cards at a time in a deck. Even if you’re only running eight or nine Basic energy, after you place your prizes and draw your opening hand, your odds of getting a Basic energy through Max Elixir are pretty good. With a full playset of Max Elixirs, attacks that would normally cost three or four Energy suddenly don’t seem as expensive as they were before.
Standard Users of Max Elixir
Seismitoad-EX – Water – HP180
[C][C] Quaking Punch: 30 damage. Your opponent can’t play any Item cards from his or her hand during his or her next turn
[W][W][C] Grenade Hammer: 130 damage. This attack does 30 damage to 2 of your Benched Pokemon (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon).
Long gone are the days in the Standard format where Seismitoad-EX could use Hypnotoxic Laser to poison its enemies, then Quaking Punch to strip away any hope for its target to escape, but while that strategy is no longer available in Standard, Seismitoad-EX managed to find a new strategy that’s just as annoying and possibly even more dangerous. With Manaphy-EX being released in the same set as Max Elixir, Seismitoad-EX now has the tools it needs to mount a strong offensive of its own. With a generous 180 HP that can be bolstered even more with Fighting Fury Belt and Rough Seas, Seismitoad-EX can easily become a very bulky Pokemon that is difficult to put down for good.
Darkrai-EX – Darkness – HP180
[C][C] Dark Pulse: 20+ damage. This attack does 20 more damage for each [D] Energy attached to all of your Pokemon.
[D][C][C] Dark Head: 80+ damage. If your opponent’s Active Pokemon is Asleep, this attack does 80 more damage.
While this Darkrai-EX may not offer the luxury of a free retreat like its Black and White variant, this version of Darkrai-EX still manages to be just as relevant in the Standard format. While doesn’t deal as much damage as Primal Clash M Gardevoir-EX, compatibility with Max Elixir and a more reasonable attack cost allows it to hit hard enough and just be better overall. While slightly harder to get onto the field, Double Dragon Energy also helps boost the power of Dark Pulse tremendously, so having a Dragon type partner may be in the best interest of decks running Darkrai-EX.
Giratina-EX – Dragon – HP170
Ability: Renegade Pulse
Prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to this Pokemon by your opponent’s Mega Evolution Pokemon
[G][P][C][C] Chaos Wheel: 100 damage. Your opponent can’t play any Pokemon Tool, Special Energy or Stadium cards from his or her hand during his or her next turn.
Speaking of Dragons, with Max Elixir becoming more popular and tools such as Float Stone and Escape Rope, Giratina-EX is starting to have an easier time sneaking into deck builds as a reliable answer to Night March while still being a pretty decent EX Pokemon overall. With the power of Chaos Wheel, Giratina-EX has no problem OHKOing Night Marchers and, with the power of Fighting Fury Belt, Shaymin-EX. With the added bonus of removing the opponent’s ability to attach Special Energy and Tool cards from their hand or play Stadium cards, if Night March decks can’t find an opening to use promo Jirachi or play Enhanced Hammer or Xerosic and pray that Giratina-EX can’t find another Double Dragon Energy, Giratina-EX can easily win matches against Night March decks by itself. Immunity to damage and attack effects from Mega Evolutions via Regegade Pulse is also a nice bonus to have.
Genesect-EX – Metal – HP180
Ability: Drive Change
Once during your turn (before you attack), you may put a Pokemon Tool card attached to this Pokemon into your hand.
[M][M][M] Rapid Blaster: 100+ damage. Discard as many [M] Energy attached to this Pokemon as you like. This attack does 20 more damage for each Energy card discarded in this way.
Genesect-EXis one of my favorite users of Max Elixir in the Standard format to show up. Fates Collide already introduced several great cards into the meta such as Mew, Carbink, Carbink BREAK, Regirock-EX, Zygarde-EX, and even the new Bronzong, and by the end of Italy Nationals, Genesect-EX has cemented itself as another good card from the newest set. Its attack, Rapid Blaster, is rather similar to Landorus-EX and its 2nd attack, Land’s Judgment. Both moves become more powerful when the user discards type-specific Energy cards, though while Landorus-EX can deal more damage with Strong Energy and is more adept at sniping bench Pokemon with Hammerhead, Genesect-EX has more freedom regarding how much damage it can do with Rapid Blaster and is a more capable team player with its Drive Change ability. With Drive Change, it’s easier for Steel decks to hold on to important Tool cards for later and make sure they are distributed properly among the other Pokemon. It also allows Genesect-EX to retreat via AZ without losing its Tool card. This may be my personal bias speaking for itself, but I hope that Genesect-EX continues to do well throughout the rest of the season, and if Phantom Forces Bronzong really is rotated out with no reprints, then I hope that it can do well in Expanded.
Aromatisse – Fairy – HP90
Ability: Fairy Transfer
As often as you like during your turn (before you attack), you may move a [Y] Energy attached to 1 of your Pokemon to another of your Pokemon
[Y][Y][C] Fairy Wind: 60 damage.
While this build is a little lacking in raw power and major tournament wins, Fairy Box still deserves a mention since it started the whole “Box” naming scheme (at least as far as I know, anyway). While Max Elixir is good for streaming Energy, it doesn’t completely eclipse XY Base’s Xerneas and its ability to accelerate with Geomancy. With attackers like Sylveon-EX and Xerneas-EX, Fairy Box certainly isn’t completely useless offensively, but with a weakness to Metal and numbers that fall short of OHKOing most common EX Pokemon, Fairy Box struggles to gain any momentum for long. It could possibly see a change for the better upon the release of Xerneas BREAK with the future Steam Siege set, so that’s something to look out for in the future.
M Manectric-EX – Lightning – HP210
Mega Evolution Rule: When 1 of your Pokemon becomes a Mega Evolution Pokemon, your turn ends.
[L][C] Turbo Bolt: 110 Damage. Attach 2 basic Energy from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokemon.
If I had a pack for every time the word “Box” was mentioned in this blog…nah. I still wouldn’t pull what I want. Anyways, M-Manectric is another card that can get some mileage out of Max Elixir. While the Mega itself can’t use Max Elixir directly, its partners can still get some good mileage out of it. Raikou, Lugia-EX, Ho-Oh-EX, and so on can benefit from the Max Elixir acceleration, which can lighten the load on M Manectric-EX. Turbo Bolt deals a respectable 110 damage, and while the Fighting weakness can be a hindrance, it can be overlooked somewhat thanks to Flash Energy.
With Max Elixir now in the normal format, many decks now have a reliable means of streaming Energy quickly with few strings attached. From Darkness to Water to Fairy and beyond, Pokemon of all types can now enter the fray in full force, which lets players focus more on what they can do to renew resources and the moves and synergy of the Pokemon themselves and worry less about the actual Energy costs. It’s going to be interesting to see how the meta develops as Max Elixir becomes more commonplace, and I can’t wait to see where it all ends. Hope you all enjoyed this article.