I Almost Played Vaporeon VMAX for Regionals

Hello to all PokeBeach readers! Here’s Gabriel again with another Pokémon TCG article, and this time, I’m going to talk about Vaporeon VMAX, an unpopular deck that caught my attention so much that I almost played it at Joinville Regionals, here in Brazil.

Before I start talking about Vaporeon VMAX, I want to tell you a little about my run at that tournament, which happened a few days ago. Despite having a lot of cool ideas and deck options to use, I decided to stick with Arceus VSTAR / Bibarel / Crobat VMAX, but now with an innovative tech I found quite suitable for the current metagame: Psychic Zacian V from Celebrations.

In my previous article I presented the list I used to win a paid trip to Joinville Regionals, but after the great success of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX at the European International Championship, I realized that I needed to increase my defense options if I wanted to have a good chance against it. The most obvious inclusion was Hoopa V from Fusion Strike, as it only requires one spot in a deck list, but then I realized I would also probably have to tech for another strong new threat in Whimsicott VSTAR. This matchup tends to be difficult for Arceus VSTAR as most lists only play six or seven basic Energy. Theoretically, you can power up two Arceus VSTAR, but in practice this is basically impossible: some Energy might be lost in the Prizes, or discarded by one of Whimsicott’s four copies of Crushing Hammer. The simplest solution is to add more basic Energy or Item cards like Energy Retrieval or Ordinary Rod, but even then the matchup will only be even, and you will have to take other important cards out of the list in order to do so.

My New Tech in Arceus / Crobat for Joinville

With these two new matchups in mind, I decided to do some research to see if I could find something more interesting for my Arceus VTAR / Crobat VMAX list, and that’s when I found Psychic Zacian V. I fell completely in love with this Pokémon, because in addition to easily Knocking Out Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, its Roar of the Sword Ability is a great tech against Whimsicott VSTAR. It lets you attach an additional basic Energy card every turn, making it much more difficult for your opponent to stop you from attacking.


Pokemon (18)

3x Arceus VSTAR (BRS #123)4x Arceus V (BRS #122)2x Bibarel (BRS #121)2x Bidoof (BRS #120)1x Dunsparce (FST #207)1x Pumpkaboo (EVS #76)1x Galarian Zigzagoon (SSH #117)1x Manaphy (BRS #41)1x Crobat VMAX (SHF #45)1x Crobat V (DAA #104)1x Zacian V (CEL #16)

Trainers (30)

3x Marnie (CPA #56)1x Professor's Research (BRS #147)1x Avery (CRE #130)2x Cheren's Care (BRS #134)2x Boss's Orders (BRS #132)1x Pal Pad (SSH #172)4x Quick Ball (SSH #179)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)3x Great Ball (CPA #52)2x Switch (EVO #88)1x Scoop Up Net (RCL #165)2x Big Charm (SSH #158)1x Choice Belt (BRS #135)3x Path to the Peak (CRE #148)

Energy (12)

5x Psychic Energy (CRE #232)3x Darkness Energy (HS #121)4x Double Turbo Energy (BRS #151)
In the end I ended up placing Top 64, which is not a bad result, but far from the result I would like. The gameplay of this deck is practically the same as the list I presented in my previous article, but with the addition of Psychic Zacian V for the necessary matchups. In addition to Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, Lucario VSTAR could become another big target for Zacian, as the eventual Joinville champion Pedro Pertusi used an innovative combination of Arceus and Lucario VSTAR to win the day.

On the subject of Zacian V’s Ability, I didn’t end up facing any Whimsicott VSTAR, which was one of the main points of including the card in the first place. However, the Ability was the part of the card I used the most in the whole tournament, especially on the first turns of my games. If you’ve played with Arceus VSTAR, then you know how bad it is not to be able to attach an Energy card on the first turn. With Zacian V, the likelihood of this happening becomes much lower. Even if you do get to attach an Energy card from your hand on the first turn, it’s still worthwhile to use Zacian V’s Ability to attach the second, because that way on the next turn you won’t need to use Starbirth to find a Double Turbo Energy. You can much more easily Knock Out an opposing Arceus V with three basic Energy, since you don’t need the whole Galarian Zigzagoon–plus–Choice Belt combo to reach 220 damage. Another advantage is against Arceus / Beedrill, because without having to use Double Turbo Energy at all, Beedrill becomes mostly harmless.

The Ability can also be important if you don’t start the game, because it lets you put two Arceus V on the field with one Energy each, so that even if the opponent manages to take the Knock Out on one of them, you’ll still have another to evolve and attack the following turn without the need to use Raihan. I even cut Raihan from the deck precisely because I was adding Zacian V. Despite being a very strong and interesting card, I couldn’t have easy access to it without Drizzile‘s Shady Dealings, so for me, it is not a card worth including in the Bibarel version.

In general, Arceus / Crobat is a deck with more or less even games against everything, and I personally like a deck like that. The problem is that no game is easy, and any mistake can be fatal. I still intend to use this deck until the end of the SSH-BRS format, and then take stock of my new options when the new sets arrive.

My Secret Deck for Regionals … Almost

But without any new sets to speak of yet, I want to reveal a deck that I almost played at Joinville Regionals: Vaporeon VMAX. My tests with Vaporeon started after exhaustively testing Arceus VSTAR / Inteleon, a successful archetype that has even won Regionals. I was never 100% satisfied with the deck, though, mainly because of the first turns of play. As I said in my previous article, my switch from Arceus / Inteleon to Arceus / Bibarel came from my desire to attack with Arceus VSTAR on the second turn with greater consistency, something I wasn’t getting with Arceus / Inteleon. I worked extensively on the list, but in the end I found that the deck structure just doesn’t allow for such consistency. The Inteleon line is wonderful, but it takes up a lot of space and doesn’t favor the deck’s first turn.

If Arceus V could be brought out by Sobble‘s Keep Calling attack, I’d probably stop complaining, but that would be too good to be true. With that in mind, however, my idea was to search for strong Rapid Strike Pokémon VMAX to bring out with Keep Calling, and in the end I came up with two options. One is the well-known Inteleon VMAX, and the other, the unpopular Vaporeon VMAX. Inteleon VMAX has already been explored by many people, and I tried to do some more testing with it myself, but the best result I got was a reasonably good deck — nothing spectacular, and nothing that could win a Regional Championship. As for Vaporeon VMAX, I was already seeing great potential in it from the beginning, mainly because the gameplay is so reminiscent of Arceus / Inteleon, a deck I was already used to. The impression I get when playing Vaporeon VMAX is that I’m playing an improved version of Arceus / Inteleon, which was enough to get me really excited about the idea.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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