VMAX is the Future — A First Look at Rebel Clash

Hello everyone! Hopefully, all of you are doing well and staying safe! Despite the ending of the 2020 season, Pokemon is still pressing on with the release of new cards. Luckily for us, there are now more ways than ever to play against each other, even without being able to actually go and sit at a table with your opponent. PTCGO tournaments, for example, are firing and thriving! Plus, you can always beat up on your family members; if any of them don’t know how to play, now is as good a time as any to teach them! We’re also about to get a brand new set, so even if you’re a bit bored from the Sword and Shield meta, not to worry, as things are about to become a lot more interesting.

Sword and Shield may have been the set to introduce Pokemon VMAX, but Rebel Clash is the first time that they’ll fully get to shine. This set has seven new ones, and with the possible exception of Inteleon VMAX, all of them are potentially viable for competitive use. Dragapult VMAX and Toxtricity VMAX, in particular, have received plenty of hype. In addition, Rebel Clash brings with it a format warping Supporter with the arrival of the super original Boss’s Orders. Eldegoss V is our newest staple V card, and there are plenty of other new additions to make existing decks function even better.

This set may not have as much as far as pure consistency cards as Sword and Shield, but it has many more utility cards that may end up being equally as important. Overall, Rebel Clash is shaping up to be yet another solid set, and it has been one that I’ve enjoyed testing with. In this article, I’ll be sharing with you my lists for my top four deck choices from Rebel Clash. In addition, I’ll be going over the staple cards from Rebel Clash that you’ll want to have for the future – after all, we won’t be stuck inside forever! 

New Staples

Like Sword & Shield, Rebel Clash is chock full of must-have staple cards. There aren’t quite as many that you’ll need, but I wouldn’t want to be without any of the following in my collection:

Each of these cards is likely to see play at some point or another. The top four: Boss’s Orders, Eldegoss V, Tool Scrapper, and Scoop Up Net will likely see widespread use from now until they rotate out. If you’re looking to prioritize which ones to acquire, I would start with those. The other cards are all useful, though they are more limited; I imagine each will have times where they are quite prevalent, and others where they will see little play. 

The first card, Boss’s Orders, will go into pretty much every deck in Standard. Likewise, Boss’s Orders will more than likely also be the card from this set that has the highest impact on our Standard format. Gone are the days of awkwardly trying to fit in four Custom Catcher or desperately hoping to flip heads on Pokémon Catcher! Instead, you can plop in this Lysandre reprint, and be on your way. The ease of using a card such as Boss’s Orders means that you can now assume that your opponent will have a gust effect when they need it. This is a huge boon to aggressive decks such as Pikachu and Zekrom-GX or Zacian V / Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX, and a major hindrance to any Stall decks that relied on the lack of easy gusting. In particular, I would expect decks that relied upon Lillie's Poké Doll, such as Cinccino Mill, to all but vanish from the format, now that the Doll strategy is much easier to work around. I would also be somewhat wary of using decks that rely on an established board state, such as Malamar or Rillaboom, since those decks also tend to be hit hard by gusting effects. The impact from this Supporter wouldn’t be as large, except for the fact that Boss’s Orders is now also recoverable, thanks to the second card in this list, Eldegoss V. I would put Boss’s Orders at a two-of in most lists, though it wouldn’t surprise me to see aggressive decks increase that to three or even four. 

 

Eldegoss V is an incredible utility Pokemon, one that I would put into pretty much everything. This card is the Tapu Lele-GX of 2020, and while I wouldn’t consider it as necessary right now, it is likely to have the same impact whereas players that have it will be at a distinct advantage compared to players that do not. A big reason for this is late-game utility. Once you get a Supporter into your discard, then play Eldegoss V, as well as all of the search cards that can find you an Eldegoss V, effectively turn into outs to a Supporter. When facing something like a late Reset Stamp, having an Eldegoss V in your deck drastically reduces the odds that you’ll be stuck with a useless hand. Given that the Happy March Ability is a recovery effect and not a search effect, Eldegoss V also opens up new possibilities for deck construction. Specifically, Eldegoss V allows for a more robust usage of one-of Supporters, which might allow decks to develop more complex strategies against specific matchups. Mallow and Lana, for instance, could be reused repeatedly against a deck that aims for 2HKOs. I don’t think that Happy March will warp deck construction quite to the extent that VS Seeker did, if only because you’ll rarely be able to use the effect more than once, but even that one time should greatly increase the viability, and thus the prevalence of tech Supporter cards.

Tool Scrapper is the one other card from this set that belongs in nearly every deck, though I likely wouldn’t play more than one. Annoying defensive tools such as Metal Frying Pan, Big Charm, and Fairy Charms can now be easily dealt with once again, and the ubiquitousness of Jirachi and Escape Board provides a justification for including Tool Scrapper as a card that will be valid against most of the format. 

Scoop Up Net is easily the other best card from this set. In Expanded, this card is broken, since it works on Pokemon-EX such as Shaymin-EX; it would not surprise me if it ended up seeing a ban in that format, due to the absurd amount of draw power that it allows for. There may not be a specific combo yet that exploits Scoop Up Net, but I imagine it will only be a matter of time before such a combo comes to light.

In Standard, Scoop Up Net is incredibly solid, especially now given the number of utility non-Pokemon-GXs that we have. The strongest interaction I’ve found with it is with Mewtwo from Unbroken Bonds. This Mewtwo paired with Oranguru can effectively combine for the same effect as Eldegoss V, but with Scoop Up Net, you can repeat the effect over and over. For a deck that can easily include Scoop Up Net, I would consider this a must-play combo – it’s a lot like having a playset of VS Seeker in your deck again! You can also use it to reset any non-Pokemon-GX that has a “When this Pokemon enters play” effect, such as Galarian Zigzagoon. In addition, for a deck that runs Jirachi, Scoop Up Net can function as an emergency copy of Switch. In practice, Scoop Up Net is a bit better, as it allows you to reuse the bounced Jirachi’s Stellar Wish if you need to. Finally, for most decks, Scoop Up Net always gives you a solid way to free up a Bench space, or to reset Ditto Prism Star, or, in more niche scenarios, a way to remove your own field disrupting effects such as Mimikyu or Alolan Muk. All in all, Scoop Up Net might end up as a major factor in our future formats, particularly if Pokemon decides to print more powerful coming into play effects on non-Pokemon-GXs. 

The other cards on this list all have potential, though they are more limited in what decks I would include them in. Skyla is a great card, though I have had trouble finding a deck that wants to use it instead of, say, Rosa. Twin Energy could allow for the return of more non-Pokemon-GX/V decks, such as Lost March, or enable new ones, such as Palossand Mill. Similarly, Horror Psychic Energy and Speed Lightning Energy are a must-include in decks that focus around those specific Energy types. Capture Energy is likely to be a huge boon to Evolution decks that require a decent amount of setup, particularly if those decks can justify having Colorless Energy as part of the attack cost. I would love this card in an Inteleon deck, for instance. I’m not actually sure what I would play Training Court in at the moment, but I do believe this card could eventually be a useful replacement for Viridian Forest, particularly in any deck which is more inclined to run Energy recovery as opposed to Energy search. Baby Blacephalon, for example, could use this as an additional Energy recovery option. Finally, Galar Mine will likely end up as a must-include in various disruption decks, not to mention with Milotic V

All four of these decks are refreshingly new, fun to play, and competitive, even against existing decks like Zacian V. They represent my top picks so far from Rebel Clash, and they are what I would be focusing on had the Regional Championships gone on as planned. If you see me playing in an online event, it’ll probably be with one of these!


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