After a bit of a rocky start in its first few days in the Standard format, the Mew VMAX / Genesect V archetype has picked up some steam. In fact, that’s a bit of an understatement: Mew VMAX is the dominant force in the meta right now. I wasn’t too keen on the deck initially, but after several top players tested it more and pushed the deck to its limits, it became clear that Mew is quite good, to say the least. At the time of writing, Mew VMAX is everywhere on the PTCGO Standard ladder, and it’s also taken first place at the past five large online events.
To many players, this is a reason to play the deck to pick up some wins. To me, this is an incentive to counter the deck — I would much rather beat the dominant deck than play it. That, and the deck is quite expensive, at least by online standards. To be sure, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, but Mew is certainly beatable.
Today I’ll be talking about one of the decks that has a positive Mew matchup — Victini VMAX. If nothing else, Victini is an interesting deck, and I have quite a bit to say about it. It’s also a bit controversial, but it’s definitely competitively viable. Let’s take a look at the list, one that recently won two online events (post-Fusion Strike, just before Mew’s win streak began).
Deck ListVictini VMAX is a powerful attacker capable of crushing opponents’ setups with its 220-damage attack as early as turn two. This deck attempts to overwhelm the opponent completely by complementing Victini’s early aggression with a wide variety of disruption cards. You’ll notice high counts of stuff like Crushing Hammer, Fan of Waves, and Path to the Peak. These are all annoying cards to play against, and they aim to slow or shut down the opponent altogether while Victini wins the game as fast as possible with high-powered Max Victory attacks starting on turn two.
Basically, the deck aims to end the game before it even begins. However, the disruption cards also offer something not often found in this format — a means to a comeback. This is Victini’s backup plan, and it actually works. The disruption cards allow you to slow down opponents not only at the beginning, but also throughout the entire game. Thanks to Victini’s low-cost and high-damage attack, the disruption allows you to jump right back into games that other decks would be too far behind to compete in.
One of the selling points of the deck is also one of its controversies: it’s rather brainless, and relies a lot on luck. This is especially true when considering literal coin-flip cards like Crushing Hammer and Pokemon Catcher, but the luck also comes into play when you need to draw into specific disruption cards. The only draw power of the deck comes from Supporters — no Shady Dealings, no Intrepid Sword, just one draw Supporter per turn. That said, the deck obviously works because we’ve designed it to work. Victini doesn’t get luckier than other decks; it’s just built to be as consistent as possible with four copies of everything and tons of Supporters.
Another luck aspect of the deck comes into play before the game even begins. I’m not referring to deck construction, but rather the opening coin flip. For Victini, the difference between going first and second is monumental. Victini going first with average draws feels unstoppable. You can decimate opponents’ boards and quite easily shut most decks out of the game. But Victini going second feels slow, and can easily get punished by fast KOs or opposing Energy disruption. Basically, Victini is susceptible to getting a taste of its own medicine. The backup plan, relying on comeback cards, most often comes up when Victini is forced to go second.
The Sword and Shield Victini V undoubtedly has better attacks. Energy Burst is no joke, especially considering that you can attack with one Victini V essentially for free, and opponents still have to fight through two VMAX. However, the Battle Styles Victini V is possibly even more important. Why? Because it has one retreat, as opposed to the other one’s two. The deck has no switching cards, so you don’t want the two-retreat one on your Bench at the beginning of the game. If that happens and you start attacking with Victini VMAX, you’re susceptible to stalling tactics from a Boss's Orders or Escape Rope for at least a turn. You always want any non-energized Victini V on your Bench to be the one-retreat one. This is a seemingly minor but very important detail.
Four Boss’s Orders, Four Pokemon Catcher
These cards allow you to aggressively select your targets for each attack. By getting full Prize value from each Max Victory, you can win the game as quickly and efficiently as possible. For example, if you KO a two-Prize Pokemon on turn two against Mew, attacking into any Mew VMAX from that point on is a waste of time. Ideally, you can just KO two Genesect V off the Bench over the next two turns. Things don’t always go that well, but it’s an example that can loosely apply to several matchups.
These gust cards also function as disruption. With the option to remove key Pokemon off of your opponent’s board, you further restrict their set up and press your advantage. These cards are particularly brutal when going first, as the fast pressure combined with gust cards easily shuts most opponents out of the game. Boss's Orders is obviously better and more reliable than Pokémon Catcher, and it can even be grabbed off Pokégear 3.0, but Catcher is a cheeky backup option. If your current hand doesn’t happen to have Boss’s Orders, you can at least play a draw Supporter and possibly draw into a Pokemon Catcher.
This deck plays a lot of draw Supporters. There are no support Pokemon, so it’s imperative that you always have a draw Supporter in your hand. Bricking is common, especially with Marnie being so prevalent, so high draw-Supporter counts decrease your risk of losing from a bad hand.
Sometimes you stagger your extra Victini, not only as a countermeasure to Boss stall, but also to prolong the window in which Kabu is useful. Of course, this is assuming you have the luxury of playing down Pokemon when you want to, and some games don’t afford you that opportunity.
Four Path to the Peak
It’s become standard for decks without Rule Box Abilities to utilize Path to the Peak. It’s useful to harass Mew and to counter Zamazenta V. It also has some utility in niche situations, or as a counter-Stadium in general. Marnie plus Path always has the potential to brick opponents as well, especially if they rely on Genesect V or Crobat V for draw power.
No Heat Fire Energy
Heat Fire Energy was in the original list. While some extra HP is nice, though, the increased vulnerability to Fan of Waves isn’t worth it. This deck relies on early Energy attachments, and any disruption like that can set it quite far behind.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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