Optimal Dragapult VMAX — Keeping It Simple

It’s been almost two months since I last talked about Dragapult VMAX, so it’s that time again! The Standard format gatekeeper, the slayer of Mewtwo and Mew-GX, the purple peril. Dragapult VMAX has taken many different forms since it came onto the scene in mid-May. Let’s start with what I introduced during my last time talking about it—my previous list played many single Prize techs: Phione, Oranguru, Mewtwo, and Mew, all alongside Galarian Zigzagoon. Each might have merit but, after many games played and analysis of other top lists, it’s best to keep this deck simple. Aside from the cast of Pokemon, the list I introduced ran Team Yell Grunt and Giant Bomb, techs which have also quickly fallen out of favor. Team Yell Grunt still has merit in mirror matches but it’s unlikely that you’ll find the time to use it when you still need to dig for Energy. I was impressed by the inclusion at first but no so much anymore. Giant Bomb also found its way into lists from the start but now you won’t see a Dragapult VMAX list coming anywhere near the Trainer card. Folks have found that this deck operates best when it’s just attacking, especially when that’s as soon as possible! Energy Spinner, four Mysterious Treasure and Quick Ballcounts, as well as thick Supporter lines are preferable. I’d skip techs for the most part, but know that you could choose to add them in if you really need to. Galarian Zigzagoon is really the only Single Prize Pokemon you should have outside of Jirachi in a skeleton list.

Some Dragapult VMAX have played Crushing Hammer. I was a proponent to this for a while but I am steadfast in believing that consistency is superior at this juncture. The numbers and typing are there, Dragapult VMAX dons 320 HP, and virtually nothing can one-shot it easily in this format. You’ll have ample time to set up another, provided you achieve the first, and from there, you can very easily map your Prizes with the damage counter manipulation. If you remember M Pokemon-EX decks, more streamlined ones like M Manectric-EX, often you’d see those decks built in a very reserved fashion, simply playing a four-four line of both the Pokemon-EX and the M Pokemon-EX, four of the “Spirit Link” cards, then padding the rest out with consistency measures. M Pokemon-EX decks were overlooked at first because they were assumed to be cripplingly inconsistent, and while not the case with Dragapult VMAX (it was hyped from the beginning), the archetype is at a crossroads at this time where the competitive player base needs to form a consensus on this deck. Is the best route just consistency, or is it with Crushing Hammer or other disruption?

For me the answer is clear, the consistent approach is something that Tord Reklev has made a staple of any deck he runs. He recently brought his own Dragapult VMAX recipe to the official Pokemon Players Cup Invitational tournament where he won, taking down some of the game’s best players. I’ve made a few changes to his list, but the skeleton is there. Acro Bike was a nice addition and I enjoy the space saved by cutting Switch in favor of more Escape Board. Skip Crushing Hammer, skip the disruption, skip Malamar; Dragapult VMAX is at its best with a consistency-based list!

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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