Making a Splash – Lapras VMAX as a Metagame Call
Hello to all PokeBeach readers! Here’s Gabriel again, and this time I’ll bring you a full review of Lapras VMAX — already one of my favorite decks to play for fun, but now, in the right metagame, possibly quite a viable deck for competitive play as well.
I’ve been playing Lapras VMAX / Frosmoth since its first release, mainly for fun. It has a gameplan we’ve seen plenty of times before, all the way back to the classic “Rain Dance” Blastoise from Base Set: using an Energy acceleration Ability like Frosmoth’s to power up an attacker, and using the strength of Lapras VMAX with all the Energy attached to it to win most matchups. With each new set, I like to revisit some decks that are comparatively unpopular — as is the case with Lapras VMAX — and I realized that there may be a possible metagame where this deck can stand out.
Rather than Lapras VMAX, though, Victini VMAX is the deck that I have been using the most for competitive play recently. I think it’s one of the best-positioned decks in the metagame, and recently gained Galarian Rapidash V to further improve the deck’s strategy. One of the most likely developments of the metagame moving forward would be an increase in Victini VMAX and other Fire decks — which would make room for a deck with good matchups against them, like Lapras VMAX, to stand out.
Other positive matchups that have emerged for Lapras VMAX are decks focused on Mewtwo and Mew-GX, such as Psychic MewBox and Rillaboom MewBox, in addition to Decidueye and Altaria, which have seen a resurgence because they can benefit from a metagame with many Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V decks. All of these metagame changes are likely to be favorable for Lapras VMAX, and might even make my favorite fun deck into a competitive option. Because of that, here’s my review of the Lapras VMAX list that I’ve been playing — so let’s go right to the deck analysis.
Lapras VMAX / Frosmoth
One of the first Pokémon VMAX to be printed, Lapras VMAX from Sword & Shield has always failed to stand out in the competitive landscape. I’ve always found the combination of Frosmoth and Lapras VMAX very strong, as it can Knock Out virtually any Pokémon in the game with the same strategy, but there are two problems that always hinder it from really standing out.
First, there’s a metagame problem, known as PikaRom. PikaRom has been present in the metagame since its launch in early 2019, and in the current format it is still a great and popular deck. With Lapras VMAX’s Weakness to Lightning, this is a big problem! However, a wide assortment of threats and counters mean that PikaRom currently faces an increasingly difficult metagame with many bad or disputed matchups, meaning its popularity is likely to decrease going forward.
The other problem with Lapras VMAX is about reconciling strength and consistency in the same list. For Lapras VMAX to be really strong, consistency needs to be compromised a little. With each new set, however, one card or another is released to improve this problem. Capacious Bucket, when it arrived, improved the consistency of the deck a lot, and now with Battle Styles, we have Level Ball to help with evolving Frosmoth and Kricketune V to take advantage of the fact that the deck tends to have low hand sizes, as well as to help against Marnie and Reset Stamp.
With a possibly favorable change in the metagame and the arrival of new cards to improve consistency, I see the potential for Lapras VMAX to start seeing good results. If you want a different option to play the tournament keys of Players Cup IV or make a surprise showing in a tournament, perhaps Lapras VMAX is the choice for you.
Pokemon (18)3x Lapras VMAX (SWSH1 #50)4x Lapras V (SWSH1 #49)2x Frosmoth (SWSH2 #204)3x CARD NOT FOUND1x Lapras (TEU #31)1x Mew (UNB #76)2x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)1x Crobat V (SWSH45 #44)1x Kricketune V (SWSH5 #6)
Trainers (29)4x Professor's Research (SWSH1 #178)3x Marnie (SWSH35 #56)3x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #216)4x Capacious Bucket (SWSH2 #156)3x Pokémon Communication (TEU #152)2 x Level Ball (AOR #76)2x Switch (RG #102)2x Air Balloon (SWSH1 #156)1x Ordinary Rod (SWSH1 #171)1x Training Court (SWSH2 #169)
Energy (13)13x Water Energy (RS #106)
Four Lapras V, Three Lapras VMAX
The main Pokémon in the deck is Lapras VMAX, but it’s very good to have a Pokémon like Lapras V as backup to deal with various situations that may arise in the game. Both attacks are useful, and the 210 HP and two Retreat Cost make Lapras V a solid Pokémon even when it’s not attacking. The Body Surf attack is important to use when you think your opponent will be able to Knock Out your Benched Snom — that way you can attack with at least 180 damage with Lapras VMAX the following turn, Frosmoth or no Frosmoth.
The Ocean Loop attack has the main function of damaging Zamazenta V, but in practice this attack ends up being useful for several situations, since 210 damage is enough to Knock Out several Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V. In general, though, Lapras V and Lapras VMAX complement each other in the sense that Lapras V is good to deal with Zamazenta V, while Lapras VMAX is good to deal with everything that is not Zamazenta V.
Lapras VMAX manages to deal with any Pokémon in the game except Decidueye, Altaria, and Zamazenta V — you just have to invest the amount of Energy needed. The attack G-Max Pump starts at 90 damage and increases by 30 damage for each Water Energy attached; that is, with five Energy it Knocks Out Pikachu & Zekrom GX, with six it Knocks Out Mewtwo & Mew GX, with seven it Knocks Out Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX, with eight it Knocks Out Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, and with nine it Knocks Out Eternatus VMAX. One Energy can make a lot of difference.
Three Snom, Two Frosmoth
Frosmoth is a fundamental Pokémon for the deck, but we see that in many cases we need its Ability only once in the game. During one turn we manage to put most of the deck’s Energy on the field, and usually that’s enough to get us through the rest of the game.
Avoid dropping two Snom on the field if you notice that the opponent’s chances of Knocking Out your Snom are low. The Bench slots in Lapras VMAX are valuable for benching Dedenne-GX and Crobat V to draw cards, so you can’t waste any on an additional Frosmoth. Many Lapras VMAX players end up wanting to play too safe, Snom and Frosmoth end up taking up too many Bench slots, and at the end of the game we run out of Bench and can’t play the important Pokémon we need in order to end the game.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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