Hey everybody! It’s Charlie and I’m excited to be back with another article. I recently attended the European International Championships in Frankfurt, Germany, and had an amazing time at my first foreign IC. While I ended up finishing 4-2-3 at the tournament and missing the CP I needed to get a stipend, I feel that the deck I played — Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX/Crobat VMAX — was an incredibly good choice for the tournament and is a strong deck going forward. My list was extremely different from the other lists out there; we ran a much more “standard” Supporter line powered by Professor's Research and Raihan instead of the one-ofs only engine we saw in all the Top 8 lists.
Below, I’ll give a quick tournament report, share my list, explain all the card counts, and discuss what I think of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX decks as a whole going forward.
I arrived in Frankfurt at around 11 am on Thursday, a day before the main event was set to begin. I knew I was cutting it close for adjusting to the 7-hour time difference, but I had so much schoolwork the week prior that going earlier was not an option. I quickly took a short nap, then woke up and checked into the event. After a night of light testing, I went to bed early and was excited for the day to come, little did I know, I would soon find myself awake at about 4 am the day of the event with no chance of falling back asleep. I chose to use this time testing the Mew VMAX matchup with my friend Aaron Friedman on Discord as people not in Europe were the only ones awake. I played games for about 3 hours, got breakfast, and headed over to the center for the event! I felt pretty good at this point in the morning, but that would decline as my lack of high-quality sleep set in later.
Here is a recap of each round:
Round One vs Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX
I didn’t expect to see nearly that much Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX at this event; I expected a few groups to play a list similar to the Robin Schulz/Limitless list from Liverpool, but most people had decided that the original list was inconsistent and I expected most groups to have something else. This was clearly a terrible assumption, as Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX dominated the event, and I had to be ready for a mirror match in round one.
Game 1 I went first and set up a turn-two Rapid Flow, which resulted in me getting ahead in the Prize trade and winning in a relatively dominant fashion. In Game 2, my opponent had a subpar start and got no Sobble down going first while I was able to use Keep Calling going second. He then got down two Sobble the next turn, but I was able to Rapid Flow both of them immediately for a KO. He was then able to get the last two Sobble out of the deck, which opened up the opportunity for me to play Rose and use Rapid Flow again — at this point, I had two Prizes remaining and he had no Sobble left; quickly afterward he conceded.
This was a pretty good win for me to get round one, as I wasn’t exactly confident in the mirror match, but a solid win boosted that confidence for me and I was feeling great about my deck.
Round Two vs Mew VMAX
This was the only matchup I did any real testing against, so I was at least confident in my strategy even though I knew it would still be extremely close.
Before I get into the match, I’ll quickly explain our main game plan vs Mew VMAX, as it’s different than other Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX decks. We choose second if we win the coin flip and intend to use Keep Calling on Sobble on turn one whilst also benching a Crobat V to evolve later. Our optimal board is three Sobble, two Rapid Strike Urshifu V, and a Crobat V. They then proceed to KO the Sobble, which we respond to with a Raihan-powered Rapid Flow for 180 damage (160 if Oricorio is in play, boosted with both Passimian and Telescopic Sight) onto a Genesect V and their benched Meloetta for a KO.
They then respond by OHKOing our Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, but we have a powerful play in mind that should win us the game — since they attacked with Mew VMAX in all likelihood for that KO, we can do the following:
- Use Medicham V‘s Yoga Loop to KO the Genesect V that we hit for 180 before; if there’s only 160 you can add damage with Galarian Zigzagoon or Inteleon as long as there’s no Fusion Strike Energy attached. If Oricorio was in play, you should have placed damage with Galarian Zigzagoon before hitting for 160 so they can’t put Fusion on it afterward.
- Make sure that during this turn, you either already had Crobat V on your Bench or you play one down.
- Retreat into your Crobat V, evolve it into Crobat VMAX, attach an Energy, play Rose to get the remaining two Energy, and use Max Cutter to OHKO the Mew VMAX. You win!
With the Inteleon engine, this is significantly less difficult than you might expect to pull off. I was able to do a similar line multiple times throughout the day, although I never actually got to do this exact line because I never used Yoga Loop all event!
In this round, I started off pretty slow, struggling to get all the Sobble I needed out early while my opponent opened double-Battle VIP Pass. They got quite far ahead, but I was able to stall up a Genesect V and get down to three Prize cards with Quick Shooting on another Genesect V and a KO on Meloetta with Rapid Flow.
My opponent knew nothing of my Crobat VMAX + Rose package and I was hoping to pull off the play after he killed my Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (he never KO’d it), but he got suspicious after playing down an Avery and watching me choose not to discard my Crobat V. I ended up in a situation the next turn where the only switching card I had to move my Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX was Escape Rope; this was extremely unfortunate as if I instead had regular Switch I would be able to pull off Crobat V + Rose and immediately win. I played down the Escape Rope hoping my opponent would choose to promote his other Mew VMAX; he chose Genesect V after deliberation but heavily considered promoting the Mew VMAX because he didn’t know about Rose. I promoted Crobat V, evolved to the VMAX, and played Rose to do 18o to the Genesect V.
I lost the next turn to a Boss's Orders on Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX for game, but it was close. Game 2 played out pretty similarly, but he missed a critical Boss’s Orders play on my Crobat V before it evolved into the VMAX, giving me an opportunity to win. He then chose to play Avery again, allowing me to discard all my Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX stuff, leaving me only with Crobat VMAX and a bunch of Sobble. Since he had two Prize cards, I forced him to KO a Sobble, then promoted my VMAX with four Prize cards remaining myself. I evolved my other Sobble into Drizzile to search out Boss’s Orders, then the other Drizzile into Inteleon to search out two Scoop Up Net and pick up both those Pokemon, leaving my board only with a lone Crobat VMAX that he could never OHKO.
I KO’d the Active Meloetta and he conceded knowing he had no way to take his last Prize card before I played Boss’s Orders on his Mew VMAX. There were only three minutes worth of time left on the clock, so I chose to offer an ID before Game 3, which he accepted. I was happy to come out of this round with a tie, but I think the matchup is favored when played well so I had room to improve here.
Round Three vs Arceus VSTAR / Darkness / Crushing Hammer
I was finally paired against an Arceus VSTAR deck, which was a big relief given how many I expected, but this one included both Dunsparce and Manaphy which made the matchup significantly harder. Luckily, my opponent had quite a slow start in Game 2 and I was able to take advantage and win quickly.
Game 2, they were able to get out both Dunsparce and Manaphy with Big Charm on both of them, so I quickly scooped.
In Game 3 Dunsparce was prized and I was able to overrun him quickly because of this. I was pleased to take a win against a list that had both the counter cards for Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX as I know that I can beat lists with only one counter, but lists with both are difficult. He also played a bunch of Crushing Hammer which was extremely annoying, but I’m 2-0-1 so not much to complain about.
Round Four vs Arceus VSTAR / Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX / Bibarel
My opponent this round didn’t surprise me by flipping over a Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, but he then immediately benched an Arceus VSTAR and I was intrigued. I’d seen lists for Arceus VSTAR / Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX do ok before; I tied against one on day two at SLC and knew that the deck was powerful.
In Game 1 I destroyed him by setting up quickly and KO’ing all his Arceus VSTAR (no Dunsparce or Manaphy to be seen); I was extremely confident in being able to take down this matchup. Game 2, however, was a different story: I wasn’t able to find enough Sobble in the early game and struggled to get my feet off the ground. Looking back, I should have scooped this game earlier, but I thought I had a chance and it ended up coming down to me whiffing an out to a Rapid Strike Energy on the last turn of the game.
Game 3 I also got a slow start, it was better than Game 2 and I thought I would be able to finish in time, but I ended up one turn short of being able to win. Tying this round was extremely disappointing given how favored the matchup was for me, but it happens sometimes when I get a slow start and I was not playing fast enough to finish three games.
We had a lunch break at this point, but waking up so early caught up to me during it and I got extraordinarily tired before the next round. I went into round five thinking I would fall asleep at the table, but I had to play to try and get the stipend.
Round Five 5 vs Arceus VSTAR / Inteleon
This Arceus VSTAR / Inteleon list didn’t have Dunsparce or Manaphy, so I was excited to get a favorable matchup when I needed it most. I won 2-0, but the round took almost all 50 minutes given how slow I was playing due to the fatigue. I almost missed a game-winning play in Game 2, but luckily put the pieces together to not throw this round. Happy to be 3-0-2 but still exhausted at this point.
Round Six vs Arceus VSTAR / Inteleon
This list, as I saw earlier in the day, did in fact include both Dunsparce and Manaphy, which was extremely disheartening as I believe only a tiny percentage of Arceus VSTAR players included both these cards. He was able to set up quickly both games and got both the Dunsparce and Manaphy in play early. My list is pretty much incapable of beating them when they set up both, so this round was kind of a wash. I have very few specific memories of exactly what happened other than I got beat pretty badly.
Round Seven vs Mew VMAX
This round was better in terms of fatigue, but I was still struggling to stay awake and my deck had an equally slow start in both games. I started Crobat V both times, which is not that bad in the Mew VMAX matchup, but the rest of my hand was not great. Luckily for me, my opponent’s start was also not that fast in either game, so I was able to compete both times. In Game 2 I was able to win by attacking with Crobat VMAX pretty much all game; I lost Game 2 after losing my Crobat VMAX and we ran out of time to play Game 3. I considered conceding here instead of tying to put me in a different bracket (smaller; opponents weren’t X-3), but decided to tie because I would still have a small chance at Top 128 if I went 1-0-1 instead of needing to go 2-0.
Round Eight vs Arceus VSTAR / Gardevoir VMAX
When my opponent flipped over Cresselia and Gardevoir V, I immediately regretted not choosing to scoop the last round. My deck had legitimately no answer for Gardevoir VMAX, which my opponent got in play on turn two in both games.
I got destroyed in about ten minutes, which was unfortunate because this loss took me out of the NAIC stipend race. I wish I didn’t have to play against a horrible matchup like this in such an important game, but sometimes that happens and I have to be able to handle it.
I stayed in the tournament and got ready to play in round nine with absolutely nothing on the line.
Round Nine vs Hoopa / Moltres / Inteleon
This round was against the Complexity Card Gaming deck with three Gossifleur in the deck to use Call for Family; it was a super cool deck and I wish I got to see more of it. Game 1 my opponent had a truly bad hand and I won quickly; Game 2 they prized Manaphy and were unable to compete with my onslaught of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. At this point, I got ready to leave the center and go back to my hotel for some much-needed sleep!
Overall this 4-2-3 finish was frankly disappointing, but I am happy with the deck I played and think it has some real potential going forward. It’s extremely consistent (much more so than other Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX lists with baby Darkness attackers), but it doesn’t beat decks with the Dunsparce and Manaphy package right now. Here’s the list I played this past weekend:
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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