An Eternal Force: Eternatus VMAX from Darkness Ablaze

Hey guys! I’m Daniel Altavilla and this is my debut article for Tier-X Gaming. I’m a 23-year-old out of Central Florida and I’ve been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 2004. Over the span of 16 long and wild years in the game, I’ve written for other sites, I offer coaching, I’ve created video content, and I have been involved in a variety of sponsored teams. I’ve played in plenty of formats that have had so many different card interactions; formats going from slow and methodical, to each deck having their own strategy to inhibit the opponent’s options, to decks capable of taking six prizes in one turn.

Format Overview

This format, in particular, is pretty interesting! My early thoughts on the format are that the all-encompassing theme is multiple-attachment attackers coming in strong with little room for single attachment and single prize attackers to have room. Thus, there are three major archetypes: heavy-hitting VMAX Pokémon tanks with a ton of HP, ADP in its own class (only able to survive because of the extra prize it takes), and decks that take more of a controlling standpoint like Vikavolt V and Decidueye. I want to mention that Baby Blacephalon is still around as a solid single-prize option, but with ADP capable of pulling off a turn-one GX attack even easier with Crobat V and Vikavolt locking Blacephalon out of attacks by preventing Fire Crystal and Energy Retrieval, I definitely see Baby Blacephalon falling out of favor. With multiple energy attachments being extremely prevalent at the moment, it seems decks are going to want some form of energy removal, the easiest option being Crushing Hammer, as even buying a single turn would ultimately make a huge difference. This sets up sort of a tier list in itself, with Eternatus VMAX being the top-dog due to its damage output capabilities, Centiskortch VMAX being a close second because it rivals Eternatus in that way but is less susceptible to the energy removal pressure, energy removal decks like Vikavolt V, and potentially some kind of Control archetype sitting somewhere near the top but not S tier because they can be heavily reliant on combos and especially early Crushing Hammers. Everything else teeters around the A tier, with no decks really falling below the rest besides the single-prize attackers. Lastly, there are some fringe options starting to pick up a fair bit of hype, namely the Sableye V spread deck which utilizes Turbo Patch and Decidueye (which acts as a wall against a solid chunk of the format). However, it will likely not see too much immediate play because there are enough strong non-GX/V attackers that could be added to or are already played in decks to counter Decidueye. That isn’t to say the meta won’t eventually allow Decidueye to shine, but as of right now I can’t see the card being amazing.

With that established, I’d like to introduce the deck I’m covering in this article. You guessed it! It’s Eternatus VMAX. I have two ways of running the deck; the first is more spread-based with a slighter focus on Eternatus itself and the other is a more in-your-face aggressive approach centered around taking advantage of all of the strong points offered by Eternatus VMAX. I’ll give a solid explanation of both lists and explain some key card choices, but I can’t offer too thorough of a matchup spread because decks are not well-developed enough for that to matter. Instead, I will go over how I would approach certain matchups from a strategy viewpoint to give you an idea of key plays and concerns. I would imagine five different testing circles could easily have five different lists for each deck, so trying to solidify a matchup spread when there isn’t an actual basis to work off of yet would be trivial. First off, let’s hop into the barebones, straightforward Eternatus VMAX deck. I’ll start with a skeleton list, which includes the key cards I think every Eternatus VMAX deck should start with before veering off into left field:

2x Raise Dead
2x Draconic Studies
2x Holy Smite
2x Renew
2x Condemn (Rank 1)
2x Insight
2x Sethekk Veilweaver
2x Shadow Word: Death
2x Apotheosis
2x Hysteria
1x Mindrender Illucia
2x Palm Reading
1x Xyrella
2x Wandmaker
2x Venomous Scorpid
1x Blademaster Samuro
1x Ysera the Dreamer
2x First Day of School
2x Conviction (Rank 1)
2x Knight of Anointment
2x Righteous Protector
2x Hand of A'dal
2x Goody Two-Shields
2x Underlight Angling Rod
2x Blessing of Kings
1x Cariel Roame
2x Blessing of Authority
2x Hammer of the Naaru
2x Crabrider
2x Cult Neophyte
1x Nerubian Egg
1x Blademaster Samuro
1x Moonfang
1x Ogremancer
1x Alexstrasza the Life-Binder
2x Brain Freeze
2x Devolving Missiles
2x Lab Partner
2x Primordial Studies
2x Shooting Star
2x Wand Thief
2x Cram Session
2x Imprisoned Phoenix
2x Incanter's Flow
2x Runed Orb
2x Arcane Intellect
2x Fireball
2x Refreshing Spring Water
1x Aegwynn, the Guardian
1x Ras Frostwhisper
2x Mask of C'Thun

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