Teaching New Dogs Old Tricks — Orbeetle VMAX / Sableye V and ADPZ

Hello everyone! With the end of the Team UpDarkness Ablaze format nearing, I wanted to write about some initial testing I’ve been doing for our Standard format with Vivid Voltage. Vivid Voltage as a whole has lots of powerful combinations, boosting a few notable powerhouses, but has a few gems that have the power to stand up to the likes of Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (ADP), Eternatus VMAX, and more. One of these is Orbeetle VMAX, which has one of the most exciting Abilities in the set. Today, I am going to talk about both Orbeetle VMAX and Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Zacian V (affectionately abbreviated as ADPZ) in the new Standard format.

At first blush, Orbeetle V and Orbeetle VMAX don’t stand out. With 180 HP and 310 HP respectively, this pair isn’t on par with Eternatus V and Eternatus VMAX that have 210 HP and 340 HP. Plus, the damage it can deal isn’t something to write home about. Orbeetle V’s Mysterious Wave does 50 + 30 damage for each Energy on the opponent’s Active Pokemon, while Orbeetle VMAX does 50 + 50 damage. Yet, the reason I believe this card stands a chance in the Standard format is due to Orbeetle VMAX’s Ability Eerie Beam. The current format has limited damage modifiers, and we are stuck with Vitality Band as the best option for the time being. While Vivid Voltage has Leon, Eerie Beam’s option to place upwards of six damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon each turn, per each Orbeetle VMAX in play without attacking, is one of the strongest Abilities in the game and joins the rank of Zacian V’s Intrepid Sword and Dedenne-GX’s Dedechange. We saw this effect see huge success in the combination of Roxie and Weezing / Koffing CEC, even winning the last American Regional Championship in the hands of Hunter Butler in the Expanded format. Being able to have a high HP, Stage-1 Pokemon that has this effect is extremely strong as it can be added to any deck with lots of switching cards and an extra four slots. If your deck needs a few extra damage counters to be viable, I would consider Orbeetle VMAX as a solution. 

And if any deck needs a few extra damage counters, it would be Sableye V. Sableye V was a card that caught my eye upon its release in the inaugural Sword & Shield set. With the not-too-bad Lode Search and powerful Crazy Claws attacks, Sableye V didn’t see much success other than being paired with Galarian Zigzagoon in a Galarian Obstagoon deck. It’s a rather maladroit strategy as Crazy Claws was often unable to hit hard. Sableye V needed a stronger partner and Orbeetle VMAX is here to fulfill that role. With my friends on a non-PTCGO tabletop simulator, I tested Sableye V / Orbeetle VMAX to see what the most consistent and powerful deck list would look like; here it is:

Sableye V / Orbeetle VMAX Deck List

 

Pokemon (19)

4x Orbeetle VMAX (SWSH4 #21)4x Orbeetle V (SWSH4 #20)3x Sableye V (SWSH1 #120)2x Jirachi (TEU #99)2x Jirachi (SWSH4 #119)2x Galarian Zigzagoon (SWSH1 #117)1x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)1x Pheromosa and Buzzwole-GX (UNB #1)

Trainers (31)

4x Professor's Research (SWSH1 #178)3x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)2x Marnie (SWSH1 #169)2x Bird Keeper (SWSH3 #159)4x Switch (SWSH1 #183)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)4x Scoop Up Net (SWSH2 #165)3x Pokémon Communication (TEU #152)2x U-Turn Board (UNM #211)2x Turffield Stadium (SWSH2 #170)1x Black Market Prism Star (TEU #134)

Energy (10)

6x Darkness Energy (DP #129)4x Aurora Energy (SWSH1 #186)

Three Sableye V, Four Orbeetle V, and Four Orbeetle VMAX

If you had asked me what the number one piece of advice I would give regarding deck building, I would say that obtaining high consistency in achieving your strategy should come first and foremost, rather than any awesome combinations. To get a high consistency in a deck, one must include as many copies as possible of cards that are essential. But it is up to you to decide what is essential. A great example of this is the question of why I have not included the fourth copy of Sableye V. It is because my strategy does not fully rely on Sableye V, but instead on dealing consistent damage every turn with Eerie Beam. 

One Pheromosa and Buzzwole-GX

My second piece of advice would be to rethink your strategy and take it from obvious to nuanced as this will help you decide what cards are essential. This deck’s strategy is not to simply Knock Out everything with Crazy Claws, but to take six Prize cards before the opponent. This is why I’ve included Pheromosa and Buzzwole-GX. Beast Game GX finishes off a heavily damaged Pokemon, allowing us to play more strategically and plan what Pokemon we will be taking Knock Outs on. Oftentimes in the world of two and three Prize Pokemon, the opponent will make us take our last Prize card on one of these, forcing us to take seven or eight Prize cards in total. Beast Game GX allows us to avoid this and take the fewest Knock Outs needed to win. 

Two Jirachi TEU and Two Jirachi VIV

I do like the new Amazing Rare Jirachi. It not only looks extremely pretty but can be used to set up in the initial turns. Since it does not put itself to sleep with its Dream Oracle Ability, it can be paired with U-Turn Board to retreat, not to mention Scoop Up Net will fetch both cards to your hand thanks to its secondary effect. Yet, the older Jirachi‘s Stellar Wish is a great Ability too. It can be more effective when digging for a Trainer card as it checks the top five cards. I have made a split of Jirachi since it lets me use either where necessary.

Two Galarian Zigzagoon

Although I have ditched the Galarian Obstagoon strategy, Galarian Zigzagoon’s Headbutt Tantrum Ability is the right boost for this deck when we have Eerie Beam. With 2-3 Eerie Beams and 1-2 Headbutt Tantrums, a Sableye V can do 190 – 310 damage, which is possible to pull off in a turn. 

Four Professor’s Research, Three Boss’s Orders, Two Marnie, and Two Bird Keeper

Being able to draw a hefty amount of cards is necessary to use Eerie Beam over and over. The Supporter count isn’t surprising and does its job well. The extra Boss's Orders helps to close out games on a Dedenne-GX or Crobat V that has been damaged a ton throughout the course of the game by Eerie Beam. Bird Keeper, though it seems it fulfills what we want each turn in a Supporter (switching our Orbeetle VMAX and Jirachi around as well as drawing some cards), it doesn’t do enough. I’m currently using only two copies, but down the road I could see myself adding a third.

Four Switch and Four Scoop Up Net

These cards can do nothing other than shine in this deck; they allow Jirachi and Galarian Zigzagoon to be reused and switched and Orbeetle VMAXs to be rotated. If I could play eight copies of each, I would.

Four Quick Ball, Three Pokemon Communication, and Two Turffield Stadium

Fetching Pokemon is a minor issue for this deck as there are 19 Pokemon and only nine Pokemon search options. Jirachi VIV does help with this since it can get any card from the top two, but it doesn’t fully patch the hole. There isn’t room for more than these cards, but I don’t feel the need to cut anything to add more search options.

One Black Market Prism Star

This is the only card I am unsure of in the list. “Passive” Stadiums are on the decline with lots of decks running more and more Stadium cards and Chaotic Swell on the rise. Yet, I can’t resist the allure of Black Market Prism Star’s effect. The power to reduce the opponent from taking an extra Prize card is huge and can force the opponent into a seven or eight Prize card game. Yet, Black Market Prism Star only kicks into gear if the opponent cannot place a Stadium card of their own into play before they take a Knock Out, which is looking more likely with each extra Stadium card in others’ decks. I may replace this card with one of the few tech cards below.

Six Darkness Energy and Four Aurora Energy

Since we do not have a heavy inclusion of Dedenne-GX and Crobat V, a high amount of Energy is needed to get an attachment every single turn. I’ve included Aurora Energy as a way to attack with Orbeetle VMAX’s G-Max Wave, which is nothing to scoff at. 


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