The Spark We Needed – Vivid Voltage Competitive Set Review

Hey guys!  It’s Charlie and I’m super happy to be back with another article.  Recently, I’ve been focusing on school and chose not to use any of my keys for Players Cup II – a decision I’m very happy I made given the current state of the format.  I’m not a fan of the direction Darkness Ablaze took the game and am not exactly optimistic for the future, but Vivid Voltage is going to drop extremely soon and is sure to shake up the format.  While I still expect Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX to remain the best deck for the foreseeable future, the new set gives us tons of fun things to play with in upcoming online tournaments.

In this article, I’ll give you my opinions on the standouts of Vivid Voltage; I’ll be sure to touch on both the obviously good cards and many cards I think have serious rogue potential.  I love a good rogue deck and will jump at any opportunity to innovate in the current format, so new sets always make me happy.  With that, let’s jump into some of the new cards!

Set list: https://www.pokebeach.com/2020/10/vivid-voltage-english-set-list

Beedrill

The new Beedrill has the Elusive Master Ability found on Greninja-GX, but that Ability never got all too much usage anyways.  Getting down to one card in hand is hard enough, then continuing a strong turn from only three cards is even harder.  Plus, the 120 for GC attack isn’t exactly anything special.  This card’s most redeeming quality is its free retreat.  I don’t expect this Beedrill to see too much play, but it could pop up in a future rogue deck for its Ability.

Celebi (Amazing Rare)

Here’s our first Amazing Rare of the new set.  Amazing Rares are a new type of Pokemon that only give up one Prize card but have extremely powerful attacks/Abilities; however, their attack costs tend to require all colors of the rainbow, making them much less splashable than other one-Prizers.  Celebi has two strong attacks; the first of which can punish high-cost attackers for the low price of only one Grass Energy.  The second attack, which costs a Lightning and a Psychic Energy, is a copy of Leafeon-GX‘s Grand Bloom GX – an extremely powerful effect.  This could be powered up easily with the assistance of Tapu Koko Prism Star and might enable an Evolution deck to see a lot of success in the near future.  Keep an eye on this little guy and pick up some physical copies for cheap while you can.

Shiftry

This is one of the coolest new cards I have seen in a long time and makes me optimistic for the future of the game.  Tengu’s Proxy is an insane Ability, turning all of your opponent’s Supporter cards into the forever-memeable HopHau, Tierno, or Cheren (pick your favorite).  Removing unique Supporter effects from your opponent’s game plan is legitimately crazy and this card is the perfect core to build a new style of control deck around.  I love this card and I want to see more like it.

Shaymin

I know we have seen similar “Flip a coin, if heads shuffle your opponent’s Active back into their deck” cards before, but this one costs only two Energy and we now have Will, so I would not be surprised if someone found a way to make this work.  Cool card that could shine in a rogue deck or as a spiritual successor to Tapu Fini-GX in something cool.

Orbeetle VMAX

This card has all the ingredients necessary for dominance and could be a major feature in a tier 1 deck.  Wonder Beam allows you to spread one damage counter to all of your opponent’s Pokemon during your turn, which in combination with Galarian Zigzagoon and a plethora of switching cards could do a lot of damage in one turn.  G-Max Wave can absolutely dump out damage on high-Energy attackers, letting Orbeetle cut through Zacian V pretty easily with a few Wonder Beams (assuming no Metal Goggles).  Expect this card to see play and do well at some point in its lifespan.

Zarude V

Here it is, M Sceptile-EX‘s spiritual successor in a Basic Pokemon.  Zarude V features a cheap and powerful Retreat-locking attack, but also carries Jungle Rise – a word for word reprint of Sceptile’s Jagged Saber that costs only two Grass Energy.  Accelerating Energy and healing are both hard things to do in this current format, and Zarude does them both in one attack, so I expect Zarude to be very powerful, especially in combination with a card that can take hits from just about anything (including boosted Brave Blade).  In a world of 2HKOs, this card will be broken; if the format shifts in that direction Zarude will be in a great position to dominate.

Hero’s Medal

This is just Island Challenge Amulet for VMAXes.  I think it could be really strong, especially with the cheap attacking VMAXes like Eternatus VMAX, but nothing format-defining.  Grab a few of these and test them in every VMAX deck, but don’t expect them to be the missing piece to make your favorite VMAX work.

Leon

The triple PlusPower supporter is finally here!  I expect Leon to be teched into a lot of things (especially Zacian after Rusted Sword is released) so more decks can reach 2HKOs and even OHKOs on VMAXes.  However, the lack of Professor Kukui‘s draw power makes Leon even less attractive to play in decks struggling with consistency.  Make sure to grab a playset for your Charizard deck and a few extras to tech into other things that might need that extra damage boost.

Charizard

I feel like I’m legally obligated to review every new Charizard card, but this one might actually have potential.  For only two Fire Energy, Royal Blaze deals 100 damage plus 50 for each Leon in your discard pile, maxing your damage output out at 300.  Charizard also features a discard/draw Ability in Battle Sense, helping you to set up and get more Leon in your discard.  I think someone will find a way to make this deck work, but it might take a shift to a slower format for it to find its place.  Buy as many of this card as possible, however, both due to its viability and the current market for Charizard.

Flareon, Vaporeon, Jolteon

I feel like I should review these as a group because of their similarity.  I love how Creatures decided to rethink Ability lock by making it type-specific with these new cards; another Garbotoxin reprint would have been really annoying and I like how they searched deeper for something new.  All three of these will be meta-relevant depending on how many good Fire, Water, and Grass Abilities are in format.  Stock up on these guys and get excited for the first Tool-based Ability lock that isn’t on Garbodor.

Talonflame V

This card is a candidate for being a legitimate “starter” Pokemon; its attack Fast Flight can be used on the first turn of the game and dumps your hand for a fresh six cards.  It also has free Retreat and a nice Fire attack that could come in clutch in Welder-based decks.  I’d grab a few of these guys since they could really fit in anything and help any deck speed up its set up.

Wailord

I only mention this Wailord because there’s a small chance it could see play if Archie’s Blastoise ever comes back in Expanded, but it’s unlikely.  Otherwise, I doubt anyone could make this card work too well, even with Frosmoth in format.  I’ll give it a shot, but I don’t see the potential for this deck with so many other fast and powerful decks in format.

Galarian Darmanitan VMAX

Speaking of Frosmoth, I think it’s significantly more likely it gets paired with this guy.  Galarian Darmanitan can dish out 200 damage to the opponent’s Active and spread 30 damage to their Bench as well; the only real downside is its gargantuan attack cost.  If players can find a good way to consistently power up Darmanitan, it could wreak some havoc, but otherwise expect it to stay in your binder.

Cramorant

The new Cramorant looks like a prime candidate to be a force in a new one-Prize attacking deck.  In combination with Twin Energy and plenty of Arrokuda, Cramorant can consistently take huge KOs for extremely little cost.  I expect this deck to be good at some point in its lifetime with so many strong cards in the format there to enable its success.  The only real issue will be ADP…

Pikachu VMAX

Pikachu’s long-awaited VMAX incarnation does not disappoint; it can hit for 270 damage for only three Lightning Energy, although it does have to discard them to do that.  The massive damage output cannot be overlooked and I expect Pikachu VMAX to be tried by many players.  I don’t exactly expect Pikachu to be the next BDIF, but with Tapu Koko Prism Star and Pikachu and Zekrom-GX still in format, it cannot be overlooked.  Stock up on a few of these if you can.

Electrode

Speaking of Pikachu VMAX, Electrode could be an extremely good partner for it.  Buzzap Generator allows you to KO your Electrode and search for two Lighting Energy to attach anywhere; a powerful effect that could enable G-Max Volt Tackles turn after turn.  Even outside of Pikachu decks, I expect this Electrode to see fringe play and possibly be a major piece of a winning deck’s engine in the near future.  The biggest roadblock, once again, is ADP…

Zapdos

Nice to have a Lightning-exclusive one-Prize version of Cramorant V, but I think this Zapdos is worse in basically every other way.  Save one or two on the off-chance we get even more Lightning acceleration, but for now I don’t see too much success coming from this card.

Ampharos V

Another mediocre Lightning attacker that can hit the Bench enters.  I don’t see much coming from this Ampharos except maybe some cameo appearances in a few PikaRom lists.  The second attack can be powerful to finish off stuff you’ve already hit, but the 30 damage isn’t exactly enough in this day and age.  Maybe grab one and hang onto it, but I doubt it’ll see much use.

Raikou (Amazing Rare)


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