Hey everyone! It has been a while, but I am happy to be bringing you another article! Since last time, quite a bit has happened in the Pokemon world. We have received more information on what will be our August Set, Evolving Skies, which I am especially excited for because of its inclusion of the eight Evolutions of Eevee, all of which have unique and interesting effects.
In addition, we are currently wrapping up the final days of the qualification phase of Players Cup IV. I was able to finish with a relatively solid 95 Tournament Rep, which I expect to be right on the edge of qualification for the second phase. Across my 50 Qualification Tournaments, I mostly used the exact Pikachu and Zekrom-GX list that I covered in my previous article for 41 events to acquire 78 Rep. I also played Orbeetle VMAX for eight Events to gain 16 Rep. Lastly, I used a Mewtwo and Mew-GX Toolbox deck similar to the one that I covered in this article for one event to gain one Rep. If I were just getting into my Keys, I would recommend all three of these decks, as they felt strong in the meta that qualification events provided.
Last on the list of major things that are happening in the Pokemon world is the one that is currently shaking up the Standard format meta the most, that being the release of Galarian Rapidash V. While it has only been legal for two days by official Promo legality rules, some online events have been allowing it for the past week. Across this week, Galarian Rapidash V has been taking events by storm. It made an impact in two of the largest Standard Events since its release, and one of the first events that it was officially legal for. Galarian Rapidash V also happens to be a huge part of the topic of today’s article, so let’s take a look at what exactly makes Galarian Rapidash V so strong.
Why is Galarian Rapidash V so strong?
Boasting a respectable 210 HP and two reasonably cheap attacks, Galarian Rapidash V looks like a good card. Looking first at its second attack, it is capable of a moderate amount of damage. But with less Psychic-type players, it does not have a ton of usability as of now (but this could change with Chilling Reign). Where Galarian Rapidash V really shines is its first attack, Libra Horn. Libra Horn has an effect that I have never really seen on a Pokemon Card in my nearly ten years playing the game. Sure, attacks like Raticate‘s Super Fang exist to leave the opponent with 10 HP remaining have existed for quite some time, but Galarian Rapidash V instead leaves the opponent’s Pokemon at exactly 100 HP. However, it makes up for this by allowing you to choose any of your opponent’s Pokemon in play, not just their Active Pokemon. This allows you to set up Knock Outs extremely early.
Now, the biggest issue with Galarian Rapidash V is obviously how do you make it work? Well, there are a lot of Pokemon that can hit for 100 damage, so that part is not very difficult. The real issues arise when you have to deal with putting a Pokemon V, such as Eternatus V, at 100 HP remaining, then it evolves into Eternatus VMAX to put them back up to a higher number, 220 HP in this example. Various people have suggested different ways to finish these Knock Outs with methods such as the Caturday Combo of Persian and Espurr to instantly Knock Out some things like Crobat V, but they will whiff the Knock Out on the big Pokemon VMAX. Well, that is where Victini VMAX comes in.
In my time playing the Pokemon TCG, I have rarely seen synergy between two Pokemon like Victini VMAX and Galarian Rapidash V, only being passed by the instances of glaringly obvious synergy like Keldeo-EX and Blastoise in Boundaries Crossed. First off, since Galarian Rapidash V attacks for two Colorless Energy, it gets to benefit from Welder, which is an excellent way to open up attacking with Libra Horn from turn 1. However, their synergy really opens up when we take a look at their attacks. Remember, Libra Horn leaves Pokemon at exactly 100 HP. When we look at Max Victory, we see that it has a base damage of exactly 100, just enough to finish up those Knock Outs on a variety of Pokemon that previously gave Victini VMAX issues, such as Mewtwo and Mew-GX or Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX. Going a step further, we revisit the issue that we presented with Pokemon VMAX like Eternatus VMAX earlier, and Max Victory solves this issue perfectly, dealing 220 damage to Pokemon V (remember, Pokemon VMAX are considered Pokemon V), allowing you to bridge that HP gap created by evolving Pokemon V. Currently, there are exactly three Pokemon VMAX that are not Knocked Out by this combo, which are Alcremie VMAX, Ditto VMAX, and Drednaw VMAX (thanks to its Solid Shell Ability), but none of these are currently competitively relevant.
Now that we better understand the strength of Galarian Rapidash V especially when used alongside Victini VMAX, let’s take a look at a deck list featuring this powerful combo.
Victini VMAX / Galarian Rapidash V
With this archetype being pretty fresh to the metagame, I admittedly have not had a ton of time to explore ways to make it the best it can be. As such, this deck list replicates a list piloted by a player named Vitor Lugon to win a 75-person tournament, who heavily based their list off of a player named Koichi Kimura (the inventor the archetype), who won an event that was a whopping 308 people in size. Both of these lists opt for a “Fire Box” approach, using Welder as their source of Energy acceleration to build momentum throughout a game and use this force to win games. At each of these deck’s core, however, they hold true to the logic carried by Victini VMAX lists of the past, carrying unconventional counts of various cards when compared to other Welder-focused decks.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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