Charizard VMAX and a Look at Vivid Voltage

Hello PokeBeach readers, today I’m going to be bringing you my takes on the new set Vivid Voltage along with a look at the Charizard VMAX deck I would be playing in the second portion of Players Cup II.  In my last article, I went over Gardevoir VMAX and how it is a deck that uses cards that are seemingly bad — when it comes to Charizard VMAX you can say the same thing. Charizard VMAX is not an amazing deck, but with the tools it currently has, it is able to outpace the rest of the format and force opponents to whiff Knock Outs because of its large amount of HP.

How to Play Charizard VMAX

Charizard VMAX is a simple deck and most matchups play out the same. To start, you want to get a Fire Energy on to a Charizard V — this will allow you to use Welder and then attach a Triple Acceleration Energy to your Charizard VMAX on the next turn to start dishing out damage. With that said, this deck would still actually prefer to go second. Going second allows for a more consistent start and the opportunity to attach some extra Energy with Volcanion. After these first two turns, you will need to maintain your pressure, you can do this by either using Welder to attach to your Active Charizard VMAX, or attach another Triple Acceleration Energy so it is ready to attack. If you are able to find another Triple Acceleration Energy after that, you’ll want to use subsequent Welder to instead attach Fire Energy to a Benched Charizard V. If you didn’t manage to find the Special Energy, you can attach a Fire Energy to the Benched Charizard V but you will need both a Welder and a Triple Acceleration Energy on the next turn to keep attacking.

As you can see, the goal of this deck is to stream three attacks one after another, taking three Knock Outs on two-Prize Pokémon to finish the game. Due to the high Energy requirement of Charizard VMAX’s attacks, any extra attachments you are able to find will be pivotal in the deck’s success.

With that general game plan in mind, there are some matchups that you have to play differently; specifically Eternatus VMAX. As Charizard VMAX is unable to one-shot an Eternatus VMAX your game plan has to change. In this matchup, it is crucial to go second and get an attack off with Volcanion on your first turn. This will allow you to use Welder to accelerate Energy and then one-shot the Eternatus VMAX with your Heatran-GX. Your Heatran-GX will likely get Knocked Out on the following turn, putting both players at three Prizes. On your next turn, you need to use Welder to charge up a Charizard VMAX and use its Claw Slash attack to set up for the win on the following turn. One thing you need to be careful about in this matchup is Galarian Zigzagoon; with most Eternatus VMAX lists running four copies of Galarian Zigzagoon and four copies of Scoop Up Net, the opponent can set up damage throughout the game if you bench your Charizard V too early, so when you eventually use Claw Slash they will have an opportunity to take the Knock Out.

Now that you know how to play the deck let’s get into the list:

The List

Pokemon (15)

3x Charizard VMAX (DAA #20)4x Charizard V (DAA #19)1x Volcanion (UNB #25)1x Victini V (SSH #25)1x Heatran-GX (UNM #25)1x Eldegoss V (RCL #19)1x Crobat V (DAA #104)3x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)

Trainers (31)

4x Welder (UNB #189)2x Boss's Orders (RCL #154)2x Professor's Research (SSH #178)4x Pokégear 3.0 (UNB #182)4x Quick Ball (SSH #179)4x Great Ball (SHL #60)4x Switch (BLW #104)1x Fire Crystal (UNB #173)1x Air Balloon (SSH #156)1x Vitality Band (SSH #185)4x Giant Hearth (UNM #197)

Energy (14)

10x Fire Energy (BLW #106)4x Triple Acceleration Energy (UNB #190)

Card Choices

Four Charizard V, Three Charizard VMAX

This deck runs a thick line of Charizard VMAX — normally I wouldn’t run this big of a line for a VMAX Pokémon but with Charizard VMAX you need to set up multiple in a game for the deck to function, therefore a large line is needed.  With a lack of good search options, this also acts as a consistency boost to the deck because it doesn’t have the luxury to run Evolution Incense. The fourth Charizard V is in the deck because of the addition of Great Ball; normally I would prefer to run a tech and maximize the utility of the deck but with Great Ball as the main search option, it is necessary to run a fourth Charizard V.

One Volcanion

As I explained earlier Volcanion is not needed in every game with this deck. With that said it does give you a massive lead that most decks can’t come back from. The extra three Energy allow you to set up your second Charizard VMAX earlier making any late game Reset Stamp or Marnie plays less impactful because you are already set up. Volcanion also gives you access to using Boss's Orders, with the additional Energy attachments, you won’t need to use Welder and can target down something on your opponent’s Bench. Volcanion also comes in as a good attacker against Zacian V — attacking with Volcanion allow you to attach an Energy to a Benched Charizard V and still take the Knock Out as it only costs two Energy.

One Heatran-GX

Heatran-GX is a backup attacker along with with a higher damage cap for the VMAX Pokémon Charizard VMAX can’t deal with. Heatran-GX is mostly utilized in the Eternatus VMAX matchup as I mentioned earlier, but it is also useful when you whiff your attack with Charizard VMAX. The downside to using Heatran-GX when you do whiff is that you cant get the Energy off it once you have committed. So it’s hard to set up another attacker after Heatran-GX is Knocked Out. Heatran-GX can also KO a Zacian V with its normal attack so it is also a good utility option in any matchup that uses Zacian V.

Three Dedenne-GX

This deck plays a higher count of Dedenne-GX due to the simple nature of Welder decks; Welder decks need multiple cards every turn without playing a draw Supporter so they have to run a higher count of Dedenne-GX to help them find these cards. The higher count of Dedenne-GX is also due to the inclusion of Great Ball making it easier to hit a Dedenne-GX off a Great Ball to keep the deck consistent.

Four Welder, Two Boss’s Orders, Two Professor’s Research

Most Welder decks don’t have the luxury of running Professor's Research, but Charizard VMAX does. With the potential acceleration from Volcanion along with the high HP of the Charizard VMAX this deck can miss a Welder and take a turn to use Professor’s Research when other Welder decks wouldn’t be able to. This deck does run a lower count of Boss’s Orders as even when you whiff Welder, you’re using Professor’s Research to set yourself up for the next turn. Boss’s Orders is in this deck almost strictly to end the game. Unlike the other decks in this format, you aren’t able to use Boss’s Orders every turn and still use your big attacks. As for Welder, it is the main draw Supporter of the deck along with the Energy acceleration. The biggest difference in this deck is the lack of either Mewtwo or Pal Pad to recycle these Welders, and that’s because the deck doesn’t use Welder more than two or three times a game.

Four Pokegear 3.0

Pokégear 3.0 smooths out the draw engine of this deck. Like any Welder deck, you need to find one of the four copies as soon as possible, so Pokegear 3.0 allows you to find them when you need them.  Pokegear 3.0 doesn’t see play in many other archetypes because they have access to Marnie and Professor’s Research which allows them to chain Supporters easier. Decks that have extra space and well-rounded matchups should look to Pokegear 3.0 as a potential boost in consistency, like we saw with Isaiah Bradner’s Eternatus VMAX list.

Four Quick Ball, Four Great Ball

Quick Ball has cemented itself as a four-of in every deck since its release, but Great Ball has been in and out of decks mostly seeing play in Eternatus VMAX. Great Ball works well in this deck because there aren’t enough Pokémon to justify Pokémon Communication, but Great Ball can usually find you a Pokémon you’re looking for. One consideration would be to make this a split — combining Pokémon Communication and Great Ball can work well as Great Ball can find you a Pokémon, and then Pokémon Communication can exchange it for the one you are looking for. If I were to make this a split, I would find room for three Pokémon Communication and keep two Great Ball, probably cutting the Vitality Band.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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