Big Pikachu — A Review of Vivid Voltage

Hello PokeBeach readers, and welcome back to your favorite strategy article website!

I am back today with yet another article on the state of the Standard format, as I have been trying my absolute best to cover current events and happenings. This time, though, it is going to be a little bit different — and possibly more exciting — than some of my recent articles. In earlier articles, I have covered some of the strongest decks in the Standard format, most of which were surprises to come from events like the Players Cup II, that went on to see great success. If you haven’t checked those out already, I definitely recommend doing so, as you have the potential to gain interest in a deck or at least learn about the Standard format.

With that being said, this article is going to be different thanks to the newly released Pokemon set; Vivid Voltage! While the collectors hunt for the Pikachu VMAX secret rare, also known as “Big Pikachu”, players are scrambling to figure out all of the strong cards to come out of the set. There are a lot of interesting effects, new rarities, and some strong cards to come out of Vivid Voltage, but I am going to focus on the competitive value of the cards. Sorry to all of the Amazing Rare fans out there, since (spoiler!) they are not great for the most part. Despite that, I am confident this article will cover all of the strong cards in the set and bring something to the table for everyone. If you plan to play any Standard format games in the near future, this article is for you. It feels like it has been a while since I covered a newly released set, so I am excited to do so.

Best New Cards

While this set does have a lot of cards with interesting effects, even ones not seen before, I have focused on cards I feel have some level of immediate potential. Once more sets go on to release in the future, other cards could gain playability value or increase in popularity, however, I believe I have covered cards with immediate potential pretty well. I will also note that some older cards will become more playable immediately thanks to the release of Vivid Voltage, and I will try my best to touch on those below.

Charizard and Leon

I lumped these two together because Charizard‘s attack is fully based on Leon, meaning that Leon is an absolute requirement in Charizard decks. I will start off by saying that Leon is not a great card for most decks, as doing thirty extra damage is not a great effect for a Supporter to have these days. It does not draw you cards, and on average Boss's Orders is going to be a better option if you don’t need to find any cards for the turn.

With that being said, Leon still must be included in Charizard decks at the maximum count of four, but I highly doubt Leon will see play outside of Charizard. Charizard’s attack does fifty more damage for each Leon you have in your discard pile. Once you have all four in there, Charizard is hitting for a whopping three hundred damage!

Leon is not a Supporter you want to be using each turn simply to get it in the discard pile, but it does offer a way of doing some additional damage in the early game, where all of your Leon might not be in the discard pile yet. In the late game, an interesting combination is to put a Leon back on top of your deck with Mewtwo, and then use it immediately. This keeps all four Leon in the discard pile for your attack and also increases your damage output to three hundred and thirty damage, which one-shots many VMAX Pokemon. VMAX Pokemon such as Centiskorch VMAX will still be out of range, so if you find yourself struggling in that matchup you could include an additional damage boost options such as Vitality Band or Galarian Zigzagoon to give you OHKO potential.

In terms of the build of this deck, in my mind, you should be focusing on max consistency. The deck will have built-in ways to discard Leon, such as Giant Hearth and Quick Ball. Welder will be the main Supporter of the deck, as it sets up your attackers and draws you cards. beyond that, you can use utility Pokemon such as Jirachi or the new Snorlax to improve the deck’s speed.

Talonflame V

Talonflame V is a Fire Pokemon, which opens up the opportunities for it to be used as yet another tech attacker in decks that rely on Welder. While its second attack is not bad, dealing 160 damage for three Fire Energy (but being forced to discard a Fire Energy as a drawback), I think this card as the potential to shine in a different way.

I believe that Talonflame V has much greater potential to see play as a consistency card, and it can be splashed into any deck that deems it valuable enough. For only one Colorless Energy, you get to discard your hand and draw six cards, and the attack can be used even if you go first! This can bail you out of a terrible hand, or instead, dig through your deck and set you up for a strong turn two. This would be easiest to pull off in decks that play a large number of switching effects so that the Talonflame V can find its way into the Active position. Decks looking to burn through their hands and that don’t mind discarding cards have an even greater appeal for this bird.

In addition to the consistency and safety net that Talonflame V’s attack provides, it has the additional benefit of being a free retreater, which is never a bad thing to have.

Coalossal VMAX

Coalossal VMAX has got to be the most hyped card in the set, so I am excited to go over it.

I will start by saying that I believe it is a strong card that has a place in the metagame, but that can mainly be contributed to it’s typing. It hits some of the better decks for Weakness, and Grass Pokemon are pretty non-existent at the moment, which is a great place to be. Beyond that, it does have a solid attack — one that hits for 130 damage if the top card of your deck is an Energy card. This can easily be achieved with things such as Oranguru or Rotom Phone. I am not sure which is better, but one or both of those will end up being a necessary inclusion in the deck.

Oranguru is easy to get on the field but requires you find an Energy at a time in your turn where it is acceptable to use Primate Wisdom and then attack. Rotom Phone does not require you to have an Energy in your hand, and it has further reach than Oranguru, but it is not as easy to use since it is a Trainer card that you have to find. When it comes to discarding Energy, any Energy works, but I believe the deck should play Recycle Energy as well as Fighting Energy and Stone Fighting Energy. Recycle Energy is the ideal target to have on the top of your deck when you use Coalossal VMAX’s attack because it can eventually make it’s way back to your hand and then be placed on top of the deck for a future Eruption Shot. Stone Fighting Energy is discussed below, but in this deck, it is simply a free damage reduction. This can make a difference for a Pokemon with such high HP, especially because I believe the deck should play Hyper Potion, which can heal some of the damage that the opponent does do. This would also put the Recycle Energy into your hand, meaning you can get them back on top of the deck without having to retreat or get Knocked Out.

On top of the damage reduction and healing, Buff Padding is going to see the light of day as it further increases Coalossal VMAX’s already massive HP. Tool Scrapper has become more popular as of late, so tools such as Buff Padding have lost a little bit of value. The deck should aim to include as many consistency cards as possible, other than those I have already listed. Notice; I did not mention Coalossal V, as it is honestly terrible and only needed so that Coalossal VMAX can start doing its thing.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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