Posted by Tablemon on 1/26/2022 to Articles
Alola Trainers! I’m back here at the PoTown Blog with an article about a very unique pokemon deck that can surprise quite a lot of players in the metagame: Duraludon VMAX! This is one of the few Pokemon online decks that have a different approach than the top decks' big damage Pokemon VMAX strategy.
How does the deck work?
Thanks to Duraludon VMAX’s Skyscraper Ability preventing damage from Pokemon that have Special Energy attached to them, we can put a big halt to decks that play Capture, Fusion Strike, Rapid Strike, Single Strike, Horror, Speed, and any other Special Energy out there. On top of that, we have healed with Crystal Cave and a further shield against big damage attacks from other Pokemon VMAX with Zamazenta V’s Dauntless Shield Ability.
This deck is slower than others as it takes up to three turns to have a Duraludon VMAX ready to attack. However, the Skyscraper and Dauntless Shield Abilities help in balancing that out, along with the four copies of Crushing Hammer. Once you’re ready to attack though, Duraludon VMAX fits the bill in the 2HKO other Pokemon VMAX and OHKO regular Pokemon V.
When we consider the current top decks in the metagame, the ones at the very top, Mew VMAX, Jolteon VMAX, and the Single and Rapid Strike archetypes all rely heavily on Special Energy, which has led Duraludon VMAX to catapult in popularity and do well in the online tournament scene. Something that I will admit I never expected to happen and meant that I had to spend quite a few PTCGO codes to trade for my copies of Duraludon VMAX.
As previously mentioned, Zamazenta V is in the deck to help further the damage prevention theme of it, giving your opponent headaches when it comes to figuring out a game-winning plan against you. Zacian V is in the deck to provide draw with the Intrepid Sword Ability and a bit of a higher damage threat than Zamazenta V in case you need to deal with a powerful Pokemon V like Suicune V or Galarian Moltres V. Adventurer’s Discovery is a great compliment to the deck so you can just search out for all the Pokemon you need at once, rather than slowly through the use of Quick Ball or Evolution Incense, saving space in the deck.
The deck also has other ‘annoying’ options at its disposal that help slow the pace of the game down. Avery is one prime example of this, forcing your opponent to discard Pokemon from their bench. Most current Standard pokemon online decks thrive off of supporting Pokemon, such as the Inteleon line or multiple Genesect V or Houndoom on the bench. A well-timed Avery can put your opponent in a big dilemma and can lead to suboptimal decision-making from them. Flannery is the other card that acts as a great disruptive measure, slowing down an opponent by discarding their valuable Energy, whilst also getting rid of pesky Path to the Peak. This is the only Stadium that allows an opponent to bypass your Abilities and while it’s only played in Jolteon VMAX at the moment, it’s very crucial for this deck to always win the Stadium war. Disruption, damage prevention, healing, and resource denial make for a very cool deck that plays completely different from the usual top-tier decks and this usually favors more skilled players in the long run.
This is the decklist that I’ve been playing to a good degree of success in the online ladder, and I’d be pretty comfortable with it as a cheap/accessible deck to grind the future ranked ladder in Pokemon TCG Live when it comes out:
|3x Duraludon VMAX EVS 123||4x Crushing Hammer SSH 159||8x Metal Energy SWSHEnergy 8|
|3x Duraludon V CPA 47||3x Avery CRE 130||4x Fighting Energy SWSHEnergy 6|
|2x Zacian V PR-SW 18||4x Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174|
|2x Zamazenta V SSH 139||4x Crystal Cave EVS 144|
|2x Big Charm SSH 158|
|2x Tool Scrapper RCL 168|
|1x Raihan EVS 152|
|4x Professor's Research SHF 60|
|4x Adventurer's Discovery FST 224|
|2x Flannery CRE 139|
|4x Boss's Orders RCL 154|
|4x Switch SSH 183|
The single Raihan here stands out as the card that could maybe be switched around, as having it at the right time isn’t exactly easy. So either I would cut it completely for an extra Avery, or I would actually consider cutting an Avery for a second Raihan as opponents won’t always expect you to power up any of your Pokemon out of the blue.
Mew VMAX: Even
This matchup is heavily dependent on how much you slow them down, especially with Crushing Hammer flips on their Basic Energy cards. I find that the higher-skilled players will recognize what they need in this matchup and not spend their resources overly aggressively. However, the average Mew VMAX player has a go big and hit hard focus which probably means they will have a hard time navigating between your Duraludon VMAX’s and Zamazenta.
Single Strike decks: Even or unfavorable
Single Strike Urshifu VMAX is this deck's worst nightmare as it can bypass both Duraludon VMAX and Zamazenta V with its G-Max One blow attack. However, the Umbreon or Gengar variants have an almost impossible path to victory as the decks don’t play any Basic Energy at all.
Jolteon VMAX: Even
This matchup can swing either way depending on how much pressure Jolteon VMAX can apply early on and how quickly they can find their Stadiums to nullify your damage prevention Abilities, versus how quickly you can counter them. Thanks to Flannery you should always win the Stadium war, the question is, can you do it quickly enough?
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX: Favorable
The pure Fighting Energy version of this deck is almost non-existent, and all we see are Melony or Galarian Moltres V variants. This means that one Duraludon VMAX is really hard to bypass for them and all you need to ever worry about is making sure Galarian Moltres V doesn’t run you over.
Suicune V: Even
This deck runs four Capture Energy, however, it can easily avoid having any on Suicune through retreating and smart Melony use. By keeping your bench low, you limit their damage output, possibly just enough to KO them before they KO you. The two Tool Scrapper is essential to make sure Suicune V doesn’t survive your G-Max Pulverization attack.
Zacian V / Zamazenta V: Unfavorable
This is the only top deck that relies solely on Basic Energy and is also way faster at powering up through Zacian V’s Intrepid Sword plus Oranguru and Rotom Dex combos. This means they’ll always be faster and we have no way to slow down their damage so this is as bad of a matchup as it gets.
Both in the Pokemon TCG Online ladder and the online tournament scene, Duraludon VMAX is considered a Tier 2 deck. The deck can easily run through a tournament though if you get the right matchups and you are able to slow down your opponent’s just enough to take over the game.
This deck is very accessible and budget-friendly, as you can find PTCGO codes / PTCGL codes for Zacian V and Zamazenta V at Po Town Store, and Duraludon V and VMAX, whilst increasing in price as of late, is still very accessible. If you've read my previous Jolteon VMAX or Leafeon VMAX articles, you’ll notice that I’m enjoying playing out of the norm decks that are perhaps not the best deck in the format, but that requires more thought and more decision making than the average VMAX strategy that is usually successful. I find that this benefits me as a player both in terms of making sure I practice in weirder and uncommon settings, along with provoking more mistakes from an opponent and successfully taking advantage of possible bad decisions that they make. Duraludon VMAX is also a very cool-looking card and I was very happy when I pulled an Alternate art version of the card from one of the few Evolving Skies Pokemon TCG Online Codes that I opened up.