Finding the Light

What’s up, PTCGO Store readers? Have you been enjoying the release of Evolving Skies on PTCGO? Well, I know that I have. We’re now about a week into our Post Rotation format, and it seems like things are shaping up. We’ve already had three large Pokemon events this week - my own Late Night on Monday, Chill TCG on Wednesday, and CelioStats on Friday - so we’re starting to see the best decks rise to the top. One of those decks happens to be Umbreon VMAX (Evolving Skies), and it just so happened to make finals at the most recent Chill TCG event. In this article, I will take you through a journey while showcasing all aspects of this new deck; there is plenty of ground to cover, so let’s jump in! If you haven’t picked up your copies of Umbreon VMAX yet, you should pick up some PTCGO codes right here at PTCGO Store. Ok, now let’s discover this deck!

Discovering Umbreon

Umbreon Vmax

Umbreon VMAX is definitely a card that most players thought would be a supporting Pokemon. This is because players have often compared it to Lycanroc-GX (Guardians Rising), having a similar Ability to Dark Signal. The thing is, Umbreon VMAX can be whatever you want it to be! A small 2-2 or 3-3 line in a Single Strike Urshifu VMAX (Battle Styles) deck, a way for Victini VMAX (Battle Styles) to gust up Pokemon, or as a full-fledged deck. I’ve actually never thought about running this Pokemon as a full deck until I saw Jake Pilch’s (@NagiiTCG) finalist run at the Chill TCG #46. With Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX (Chilling Reign) and Dragapult VMAX (Rebel Clash) hanging out at the top tables, I could only imagine the number of favorable matchups Pilch hit along the way. No shame at all there, as I always say it, “We take those!” While there might be an argument that playing a diversified Single Strike list is the better route, it is often best to look at all aspects of a deck before measuring success. Let’s take a look at Pilch’s finalist list.

Pilch's Deck list


Pokémon - 18 

2 Crobat V PR-SW 110
4 Houndour BST 95
4 Umbreon V EVS 189
4 Houndoom BST 179
4 Umbreon VMAX EVS 215

Trainer Cards - 33 

4 Marnie PR-SW 121
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163 
4 Tower of Darkness BST 137
2 Boss's Orders RCL 189 
4 Level Ball BST 181 
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
4 Quick Ball SSH 216 
4 Urn of Vitality CRE 229
3 Air Balloon SSH 213 

Energy - 9 

4 Capture Energy DAA 201
4 Single Strike Energy BST 183
1 Darkness Energy EVS 236

Total Cards - 60

Pilch's deck list

Strategy

ヘルガー

The strategy of this deck is effectively simple - you want to use Houndoom (Battle Styles) to accelerate Single Strike Energy (Battle Styles) onto Umbreon VMAX and gusting up whatever you want with Dark Signal. If you find yourself in a pinch, Houndoom subs in great as a single Prize Card attacker, and Umbreon V (Evolving Skies) has some niche uses too. Mean Look can stop decks in their tracks, especially since many decks are cutting Switch (Sword and Shield) entirely for Air Balloon (Sword and Shield), and it gets a nice buff from Single Strike Energy. Tower of Darkness (Battle Styles) allows you to get a bonus boost of drawing cards while thinning your deck out of unnecessary resources. My personal favorite card out of the entire deck is Urn of Vitality (Battle Styles) - it lets you play aggressively and come out the other side unscathed. It’s a relatively simple strategy, but it will remain effective as long as Darkness-weak decks continue to dominate this format.

Upgrading the List

Great Ball

Pilch has a great list, but I’m always a fan of making each list my own. It might be changing a card or two, adding additional layers of strategy, or something entirely different. I personally wasn’t a fan of Level Ball (Battle Styles) when I saw Pilch play it because it can only grab out Houndoor (Battle Styles). While that creates a strong fundamental base to Evolve into Houndoom, I prefer playing Great Ball (Champion’s Path) because it can grab any of the Pokemon in the deck. With 18 Pokemon, there are plenty of opportunities to grab something you might need. Let’s peep my list and see what’s happening.

Zach's Deck list

Pokémon - 18 

2 Crobat V PR-SW 110
4 Houndour BST 95
4 Umbreon V EVS 189
4 Houndoom BST 179
4 Umbreon VMAX EVS 215

Trainer Cards - 33 

4 Marnie PR-SW 121
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163 
4 Tower of Darkness BST 137
2 Boss's Orders RCL 189 
4 Great Ball CPA 52
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
4 Quick Ball SSH 216 
4 Urn of Vitality CRE 229
3 Air Balloon SSH 213 

Energy - 9 

4 Capture Energy DAA 201
4 Single Strike Energy BST 183
1 Darkness Energy EVS 236

Total Cards - 60

Zach's deck list

Matchups

Shadow Rider Calyrex Vmax

While Umbreon VMAX might seem simple to play, it does play out slightly differently in some matchups. I look at this deck like a new-age Lucario & Melmetal-GX (Unbroken Bonds) because it usually has a defined path in each matchup and ends up finding success with the right strategy. While the below decks aren’t every single archetype in the format, it does give you an idea of how to play against the best decks. Let’s check them out.

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX

Since Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX has a Darkness-type Weakness, this matchup is relatively easy. Focus on using Dark Signal to isolate Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX with Psychic Energy attached to them or maybe even take out Alcremie V (Champions Path) before it Evolves into Alcremie VMAX (Champions Path). The double Weakness to Darkness type Pokemon and the lack of return OHKO potential make it favorable.

ドラパルトVMAX

This is the same matchup as Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, except Dragapult VMAX has a lower damage output and can’t accelerate Energy as quickly. It does have Path to the Peak (Chilling Reign) to slow down Dark Signal, but that doesn’t stop Houndoom’s Single Strike Roar from getting an Umbreon VMAX setup. If anything this matchup is more favorable because Dragapult VMAX is slower than Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX.

Turbo Zacian

This deck is tough to beat because Zacian V (Sword and Shield) can slap on a Cape of Toughness (Darkness Ablaze) and it's impossible to OHKO with Umbreon VMAX. We might want to add Tool Scrapper (Rebel Clash) to get over this issue, but maybe they won’t ever get them? In all seriousness Zamazenta V (Sword and Shield) probably is the last straw in this matchup which should make it unfavorable, but try to go aggressive with Umbreon VMAX early to Bench this deck out.

Suicune Ludicolo

As seen in the Chill TCG finals, this was a super close matchup that was defined by Suicune V (Evolving Skies) having access to Cape of Toughness and Ludicolo (Evolving Skies) supplying OHKO potential. What you can do is get set up early and start isolating Suicune V that don’t have a Cape of Toughness attached - you can OHKO them with three Single Strike Energy attached to an Umbreon VMAX. Continuously focus on their two Prize Card attackers and look for opportunities to isolate their Drizzile (Sword and Shield) / Lotad (Evolving Skies). It's a close match, but it's totally winnable.

Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX

Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (Battle Styles) is a poor matchup because G Max Rapid Flow can Knock Out multiple Houndour and Houndoom before you get setup. You can win this game by going first, getting out two or three Houndour, power up Umbreon VMAX, Dark Signal Rapid Strike Urshifu V (Battle Styles), and Knock them Out before they do it to you. It might be a bit of a long shot, but at least you know your path to winning.

Signal the Way

What a great journey this article has been! We’ve discovered where Umbreon VMAX got its first successful event, I shared my updated list, the strategy, and how to play against some popular matchups. Umbreon VMAX is a great choice in a Darkness-weak metagame, but the Single Strike Urshifu VMAX version might have better coverage in a more diverse metagame. Either way, this article should give you the kickstart needed to start playing this deck and help you on your Pokemon journey. I’m going to continuously test decks in our Sword and Shield to Evolving Skies metagame and keep our community updated with my findings along the way. As always, feel free to pick up some PTCGL codes from the PTCGO store to boost your collection today! Happy testing!

筆者について

Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for PTCGO Store. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokemon content as his full time career. As Zach Lesage PTCG, he creates YouTube content, streams on Twitch, and provides hot takes on his Twitter. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside of the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokemon events and follow him on Twitter @ZachLesagePTCG.