With the release of Chilling Reign, the ever-changing Standard meta-game is already changing with the infusion of new cards and strategies. Chief among them is the mascot of the set – Calyrex VMAX. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is poised to be one of the top decks in this upcoming format. But that doesn’t mean that Eternatus VMAX is out either.
However, Calyrex VMAX has a rather inconvenient weakness – Darkness. This makes Eternatus VMAX a continued top meta-game choice for many players. In addition, Eternatus did not just gain a good match-up against a top deck, it also received its fair share of new cards and buffs. Let’s take a look at a list that I have found success with.
This is the most obvious count for any Eternatus VMAX build. The archetype is based on playing as many Dark-type Pokemon as possible to ensure that you are attacking for maximum damage. Eternatus is your main attacker and should be the focus of your set-up, so running a 4-4 line makes sense. Any extra copies can be used to populate your bench to ensure maximum damage.
Being restricted to just dark-type Pokemon is rather inconvenient. Therefore, it is necessary to run 4 copies of Crobat V. This used to make the archetype extremely inaccessible from a monetary point of view but with the number of reprints there have been, having 4 copies of Crobat V is much more common in people’s collections than before.
This is the area of the deck that truly defines the Chilling Reign era of Eternatus VMAX. Zigzagoon has effectively been used in the past to deliver extra damage while also serving as a body to populate your bench with. Most importantly, Zigzagoon was the primary tool which allowed players to fully knockout a fresh Arceus, Dialga & Palkia-GX. A single ping with Zigzagoon brought ADP’s HP down to 270 allowing for a clean one hit knockout by Eternatus VMAX and a fully loaded bench.
In some instances, ADP simply adapted by playing a few copies of Big Charm, increasing their HP by an additional 30HP. It was still possible to take that full knockout with Eternatus VMAX, but it required all 4 Zigzagoons to be played. Thus, many Eternatus builds included a Tool Scrapper or Dangerous Drill to remove Big Charm. This, however, was a non-searchable resource and your chances of seeing it at the precise moment it was needed was based purely upon chance.
Enter Liepard V. In many ways, Liepard V fixes the issue of dealing with tools in Eternatus VMAX decks. As a Basic and Dark-type Pokemon, it has the ability to remove a Pokemon Tool when it is played. This gives Eternatus searchable tool removal which can deal with annoying hindrances like Big Charm and even disrupt your opponent’s board state by removing Air Balloons.
Galarian Moltres V is another addition to the Eternatus VMAX archetype. Its ability allows it to attach a Basic Dark energy from your discard pile to it. This has the potential when combined with Energy Switch to completely nullify the effects of Crushing Hammer as well as being able to instantly load up a fresh Eternatus VMAX. This level of energy acceleration and resistance to energy removal allows Eternatus to not only set up both easier and faster, but also sustain it’s damage output each turn.
For readers of my previous articles, you may notice that I have not bothered to explain the trainer choice in this list. The honest reason is that the list is so simple, and the Trainers are incredibly straight forward both in their purpose and their counts. This archetype continues to be popular for this exact reason.
Eternatus VMAX was already a top deck prior to Chilling Reign but with the addition of tool removal and energy acceleration in the form of Liepard and Galarian Moltres V, this archetype gains both speed and consistency. Many of you might challenge this list and even the archetype with the mention of Galarian Zapdos V. This is an irrefutable threat to Eternatus VMAX. The energy cost and ease of inclusion into any deck can be a frustrating thing to deal with. After all, why build a deck that gets donked by a two-prize Pokemon with a single energy attack? To this, I offer several pieces of advice: Galarian Moltres V, Weakness Guard Energy, Big Charm and managing your bench.
Firstly, Galarian Moltres V is not weak to Fighting and can similarly deal one shot knockout to many Pokemon GX and even the new Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. Secondly, sacrificing 2 basic dark energy for 2 Weakness Guard Energy can provide the security necessary to survive against decks that tech Galarian Zapdos V; although it is not a searchable energy. To that end, Big Charm can also be used to compliment Weakness Guard Energy. Zapdos will hit exactly 340 HP after applying weakness and a Big Charm can prevent that knockout all the same. In the future, it may be necessary to find ways to include Big Charm if Galarian Zapdos proves to be too consistent of a threat.
Lastly, managing your bench can be an easy way to avoid Galarian Zapdos attacks. Its energy reduction is based on the number of Pokemon V that you have in play. If managed correctly, you can deprive your opponent of a discounted attack by controlling the number of Pokemon V you play.
Consider this – against Shadow Rider decks, you only need to deal 180 damage with Eternatus VMAX to secure a one hit knockout. You can try to fill your bench with non-V Pokemon to both secure that damage total and prevent your opponent from returning with a Galarian Zapdos V. The list I provide admittedly only runs 3 non-V Pokemon but as we’ve seen in the past, Eternatus builds are very diverse and have included Pokemon like Spiritomb, Yveltal, and Hoopa. One thing remains the same though – Eternatus continues to be a top tier deck and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.
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