What's up Po Town readers? I am new to writing for this site so I figured I would start off by introducing myself. I am Zach Lesage, I have been playing the game since 2005, and have been playing the game as my full-time profession since 2017. In the past few years, I have been able to win a 1000+ player Regional Championships, placed second at the 2020 Oceania International Championships, and recently won the Players Cup II. With all of this experience, my goal is to help you elevate your game and provide it in an easily digestible format.
In my article today, I will share how Eternatus VMAX (Darkness Ablaze) is amazing. There is a lot of ground to cover so let’s take a quick look at a brief history of Eternatus VMAX.


A Brief History of Eternatus


Upon its release, Eternatus VMAX, has been tearing up the competition. Most of the early lists started with Galarian Zigzagoon (Sword and Shield), Scoop Up Net (Rebel Clash), and no copies of Switch (Sword and Shield). As the metagame progressed with Pikachu & Zekrom (Team Up) becoming more and more of a threat, Eternatus VMAX had to innovate to stay relevant. During that “dark time” (no pun intended) of innovation, players relentlessly searched for new ways to play the deck. Quite a few players flocked to the “new” Poison variant of the deck that includes Galarian Slowbro V (Darkness Ablaze), Toxicroak (Sword and Shield), and Dark City (Unified Minds). While this variant of the deck can hit for large amounts of damage, it does suffer the issue of being inconsistent. My testing group was keen on fixing Eternatus VMAX after determining that it still had potential and got to work on the list. We added cards like Spiritomb (Unbroken Bonds), Crushing Hammer (Sword and Shield), and played with many other traditional counts within the deck. We saw some success, I even won a large online event with the deck, and we regularly work together to continuously take the deck to higher places. Recently we worked on this exact list for the large GGToor PTCGO Regional-styled event. Let’s check it out!


The List


The following list is a result of my group testing many matchups and cross analyzing it with the data available on the dino data.app website. This has led us to the most ideal Eternatus VMAX deck possible and it statistically should have the best win rate over any other discovered deck until the release of BattleStyles.

Pokémon (19)

Trainers (31)

Energy (10)

4x Crobat V4x Boss's Orders10x Darkness Energy
4x Eternatus V3x Crushing Hammer
2x Galarian Zigzagoon4x Quick Ball
1x Spiritomb3x Pokémon Communication
4x Yveltal4x Great Ball
4x Eternatus VMAX4x Professor's Research

4x Marnie

4x Switch

1x Dangerous Drill

The whole idea here is to have favorable matchups against the top decks in the format and those decks are:

  • Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX (Sword and Shield) / Zacian V (Sword and Shield)
  • Eternatus VMAX
  • Centiskorch VMAX (Darkness Ablaze)
  • Pikachu & Zekrom-GX
  • Blacephalon (Unbroken Bonds) / Cramorant V (Sword and Shield)

And we are totally fine to lose to a few decks which are:


Most of the counts in this deck reflect that, like the lower count than normal of Galarian Zigzagoon, and the inclusion of cards, such as Crushing Hammer and Dangerous Drill (Team Up). As the metagame evolves and/or remains stagnant, my group and I will continuously innovate with this deck until we determine that it isn’t of value for us to do so anymore. If you are a newer player to the game or you want to read my general strategy for the deck, let’s peep into it.


The Strategy


The strategy of this deck is exceptionally simple and it makes Eternatus VMAX an easier-to-play deck than most other archetypes available in the format. The goal of the deck is to abuse the Eternal Zone Ability on Eternatus VMAX to play down many different Dark-type Pokemon into play to hit hard with Dread End. The differing strategy typically falls within the individually different Pokemon in this deck that can be good in various different matchups. Yveltal (Team Up) is the best starter in the deck because it has free Retreat and it can allow you to quickly generate Energy into play with Eternatus V’s (Darkness Ablaze) Power Accelerator attack. Other cards, like Crushing Hammer, are meant to help out against popular decks, such as the Eternatus VMAX mirror match and decks that play Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX. The deck features the trio of playable Sword and Shield era Supporters that consists of Professor’s Research (Sword and Shield), Marnie (Sword and Shield), and Boss’s Orders (Rebel Clash) that make most archetypes work in this format. Overall, there isn’t anything crazy inventive in this list, it is a basic Eternatus VMAX list that is geared towards having a reliable turn one start. And as much as that might sound disheartening to some readers, that is ultimately the correct way to play this deck in the format. After compiling thousands of games worth of data and combing through spreadsheets, this is statistically the best way to play the deck. It’s easier to think about it like this, as long as Eternatus VMAX sets up against non-Coalossal VMAX and non-Lucario & Melmetal-GX decks, it should win. The deck does utilize different strategies in different matchups and it is important to understand.


The Matchups


These matchups are based on the testing done between my group, my personal testing, and my findings on the dino data website.

Eternatus VMAX

Most mirror matchups are difficult and this matchup isn’t any different. It is better to go second to try and use Eternatus V’s Power Accelerator attack to expedite Energy into play. This will allow you to gain control of the board because opposing Crushing Hammer can always hurt you when you least expect it. In most cases, you win the game by setting up two Eternatus VMAX, Knocking Out both of your opponent's Eternatus VMAX, and keeping your opponent's Energy at bay. Spiritomb can come in clutch if you can OHKO a damaged Eternatus VMAX, but make sure it won’t throw you off tempo in your game by missing a valuable Energy attachment. If there is any card to conserve while playing this match, be sure to value Boss’s Orders highly.

Centiskorch VMAX

This matchup is difficult, but it isn’t unfavorable by any means. You want to start second to stop their opportunity to use Volcanion (Unbroken Bonds) which means they will have less Energy in play and therefore have less opportunities to do damage. After using Power Accelerator, you want to focus on Knocking out either two Centiskorch VMAX or a Centiskorch VMAX, a Pokemon worth two Prize Cards, and a Pokemon worth one Prize Card. This matchup oddly plays out similarly to the Eternatus VMAX mirror match, except you usually don’t need to worry about your opponent playing Crushing Hammer. However, you do need to watch out for Radiating Heat in the early game so avoid leaving Eternatus V in the Active Spot without reason.

Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

This is actually one of the best matchups because Eternatus VMAX has so much HP and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX has a relatively low damage output. The key things to note are Team Yell Grunt (Sword and Shield) + Crushing Hammer can lead to rough situations, Reset Stamp (Unified Minds) and Marnie can disrupt your hand, and Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX can Paralyze your Eternatus VMAX. You can counter these strategies by going second, utilizing Power Accelerator, planning your Knock Outs, and conserving Switch throughout the game. Since all of their Tag Team Pokemon have much less HP than a VMAX, you want to focus on KOing two of them to easily win the game. If your opponent forces you to Knock Out other Pokemon, set up a Spiritomb on your Bench and use Building Spite so you can Boss’s Orders up a Dedenne-GX (Unbroken Bonds) to win the game.

Blacephalon

On paper, this matchup seems way more difficult than it actually plays out, but I have a great strategy for you to use. You want to start second to turn off their first turn Welder (Unbroken Bonds) play and you get the benefit of using Power Accelerator. In order for them to win, they need to use Cramorant V to snipe your Eternatus V and you can combat that by using Power Accelerator on a fresh Eternatus V or by OHKOing it with Eternatus VMAX. They will likely follow that up with a Reshiram & Charizard-GX (Unbroken Bonds) Knock Out and you need to follow that back up with an OHKO with another Eternatus VMAX and preferably a Marnie. Actually, if your hand allows for it, you can use Boss’s Orders to gust up their Oricorio-GX (Cosmic Eclipse) and OHKO it to stop their Ability. Either way, they will likely struggle to find a response to your Eternatus VMAX and will eventually fail to respond with a game-winning OHKO.

Lucario & Melmetal-GX

While this is a tough matchup (and I mean tough), there are glimmers of hope within this matchup. If your opponent Benches six or more Prize Cards worth of Pokemon that aren’t Zamazenta V (Sword and Shield), you can easily attack with Eternatus VMAX, use Boss’s Orders, and overcome a difficult matchup. If they don’t, you need to focus on using Spiritomb and Crobat V (Darkness Ablaze) to isolate their Zamazenta V. You can power them up by using Power Accelerator and disrupting their hand with Marnie. If they are able to overcome your army of Crobat V and Spiritomb or heal by using Mallow and Lana (Cosmic Eclipse). At the end of the day, each deck has a poor matchup and this one is rough.

Coalossal VMAX

Similar to Lucario & Melmetal-GX, this one is rough, but it is slightly more winnable. Even though the issue is the glaring Fighting-type Weakness, you can overcome this by focusing on Knocking Out either two copies of Coalossal VMAX or an Oranguru (Sword and Shield), a two Prize Card Pokemon, and a Coalossal VMAX. Try to keep their Energy at bay with Crushing Hammer, Marnie their resources away, and try to remain calm. Think of it this way, you two-shot them and they two-shot you - it can't be that terrible, right?


Until Next Time


I hope this article has you hyped up for Eternatus VMAX and that it has helped you understand why it’s so powerful in our current metagame. The deck has been absolutely tearing it up for me in the Players Cup III, online events, and in my own personal testing. If you have any other questions related to this deck that you couldn’t find in this article, feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Social Media. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this article and I hope to create more great content for Po Town. Best of luck on your Pokemon journey!


About the Writer


Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for PoTownStore.com. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokemon content as his full-time career. Under the moniker of theloneblown, 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.