Posted by Elena from Gaia Storm on 7/23/2021 to
Hello everyone! This is Elena from Gaia Storm TCG and, I’d like to cover one of the most aggressive and popular Pokemon decks in recent TCG history: Eternatus VMAX. Sure, everyone has already faced or played Eternatus, but the deck is about to acquire a completely new dimension with the release of Chilling Reing. And yes, it might not be the best deck of the entire format, but it will remain one of the top contenders until we have a major new set. So, let’s analyze what this Legendary Pokémon can do!
Eternatus new friends: Dancing Shadows from Behind
The reason why Eternatus is as solid as a deck can be has a name (and maybe a surname?): Galarian Moltres V. This card, apart from having stunning artwork in every rarity, seems to have been designed with Eternatus in mind. Each turn, Moltres can use Direflame Wings to attach itself basic darkness energy from the discard pile and then attack for a solid 190 damage.
Moltres solves, single-handedly, two of the biggest problems Eternatus had: energy recycling and a good non-VMAX attacker. If you have played Eternatus in the past, you know how hard it was to survive Crushing Hammer in the early turns of the game. In fact, one head could directly make the difference between winning or losing. With Moltres, however, this is a situation of the past. Energy Switch and a manual attachment mean that Eternatus is ready to attack even if you had no energy on the field!
The second big problem Eternatus had was that it lacked a good 2-prizes attacker, so the opponent only needed to concentrate on taking down 2 Eternatus VMAX to win the game. Moltres offers a fantastic attacking alternative, taking down Dedenne GX and Crobat V in one hit. It can also deal pretty well with Zamazenta V, one of the biggest stoppers Eternatus could face.
Moltres is, therefore, a fantastic and instant addition to Eternatus decks. If you’ve played Eternatus before and after Moltres, you will soon see the huge difference it makes. But is Moltres enough to make Eternatus a top-tier deck after all the changes that we’ve seen in Chilling Reign?
When the light begins to change
The release of Chilling Reign has caused an earthquake in the metage, and Eternatus is precisely part of these waves.
On the other hand, one of the most powerful new decks of the set, Shadow Rider Calyrex, is weak to Dark. That means that Eternatus has a favorable matchup because of its typing (we will see more on the Calyrex matchup below). However, on the other hand, there are new enemies that Eternatus needs to be extremely careful with. One is precisely Galarian Zapdos V, one of the other members of the Bird Trio. Zapdos can deal 170 for one single Fighting energy, which is more than enough to take Eternatus VMAX down in one hit. With Aurora Energy in the format, basically, every deck can abuse Zapdos.
The other problem Eternatus faces one of the best Stadiums recently released, Path to the Peak. It shuts down Eternatus ability, prevents Crobat V from being used, and forces the player to discard many valuable Pokémon.
With these two big menaces in mind, it is clear that Eternatus has to adapt to remain a contender in the game. Let's see how.
Building the perfect Eternatus Deck
No matter which Eternatus version you want to build, I would dare to share that the base below is the structure, the backbone if you wish, of 90% of any Eternatus deck. We will always ideally start with the following:
Pokémon - 15
4 Crobat V DAA 182
4 Eternatus V PR-SW 44
2 Galarian Moltres V CRE 176
2 Galarian Zigzagoon SHF 151
3 Eternatus VMAX PR-SW 45
Trainer Cards - 31
2 Energy Switch ROS 109
2 Big Charm RCL 206
4 Switch PRC 163
4 Marnie SSH 200
2 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
3 Boss's Orders RCL 189
3 Pokémon Communication TEU 196
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
4 Quick Ball SSH 216
3 Great Ball SUM 119
Energy - 9
9 Darkness Energy BUS 168
Total Cards - 55
As you probably notice, the biggest additions compared to the last format are Big Charm and Chaotic Swell. Chaotic is a must, as it is a defensive Stadium against Path to the Peak and Big Charm allows a VMAX to survive Zapdos’ deadly hit.
Another thing that stands out is that we are no longer running Weakness Guard energies. Now, it might seem that this makes no sense, but to be honest, when you face a Fighting match-up (Urshifu), the chances of you being able to win are almost non-existent. Furthermore, in my experience, even if you run and consistently draw your Weakness Guard Energies, there are a lot of possibilities of you losing the game, so it is no surprise that many players have directly opted to assume the auto loss and focus on consistency.
From here… which cards should we consider adding? Here are some excellent possibilities you can pick from:
Which cards to add?
- More consistency: A 4-4 Line of Eternatus VMAX and additional searching items (Pokémon communication or Great Ball) helps the deck become more robust.
- Cards to deal with tools: Liepard V CRE, Tool Scrapper, or Tool Jammer all fall in this category: Each of them has a different advantage over the other (Liepard is searchable, for example, with your Quick Balls and Communication), so you can pick the one you like best.
- One prize Pokémon: Hoopa UNM 140 and Spiritomb UNB 112 fit well if you want to have more attacking options. Yveltal TEU 95 is an amazing lead and pivot with its free retreat cost.
- Phoebe + Pal Pad: This small combo got very popular in the previous format as it allowed Eternatust to deal with Altaria and Decidueye safely. While these decks are not very popular in the format, it could be an alternative to not rely on Hoopa or Yveltal.
- Weavile GX UNM 132: With Moltres being a force, Weavile lets you effectively redistribute your energies across the field without the need for Energy Switch.
- Galarian Weezing RLC 113: Weezing offers a different alternative to the classical “aggro” Eternatus style. While it kind of forces you to change the structure of the deck, Weezing shuts down opponent abilities on the field and buys you turns to set up your field.
- Special energies: Some versions have opted to run Hiding and Weakness Guard energies. As I mentioned before, running special energies impacts the deck's consistency, but both Hiding and Weakness Guard can help in some situations, so it is up to you to decide if they will be a good addition against the metagame you expect.
So, after all these details about the deck, it’s truly time to analyze how Eternatus performs in the current environment:
- Dragapult: With the recycling power of Moltres and being able to hit for weakness, Eternatus is the ultimate Dragapult nightmare
- Pikachu Zekrom: With Moltres, Pikachu Zekrom loses their main weapon against Eternatus, which was Crushing Hammer, so dealing with this deck, even if they run Path to the Peak, should not be an issue if you draw well.
- Shadow Rider Calyrex: Because of weakness, Eternatus has the theoretical advantage here, but the inclusion of Galarian Zapdos and the consistency of Shadow Rider Clayrex can sometimes make the match up much closer than it looks.
- ADP: ADP is tricky. If they don’t run Galarian Zapdos V, I would say the match is good for Eternatus. Still, if they do (and most of the new APD versions now include Zapdos + Aurora Energies) and hit, Eternatus has a difficult time against them.
- Ice Rider Calyrex: It is complex to evaluate this pairing because many different Ice Rider versions run tech cards capable of turning the match up upside down. It pretty even depends on who goes first, the number of Boss Orders played, and which VMAX is damaged first.
- Blaziken / Zeraora: I think the match up here depends more on how they draw than any other factor. If they can set up the field quickly and chain two big Zearora attacks with Passimian and Boss, you might be in trouble. I think that in general terms, and if both decks draw well, the match-up is slightly favorable for Eternatus.
- Rapid Strike Urshifu: Even with Weakness Guard energies on your list, Urshifu is close to an auto loss. Being able to bench snipe your Crobat V and being such a fast and hard-hitting deck is by far your worst match-up in the format. Unless they brick hard, I don’t think there is a way to beat them.
- Lucario Melmetal: Moltres has really helped the match-up become a bit more closely, but it is still not great for Eternatus. Zamacenta V puts a lot of pressure from the beginning of the game, and Boss + Zacian can easily get rid of Moltres during the first turns. This is definitely a more winnable pairing than Urshifu, but Lucario is something you don’t really want to face.
As we’ve seen, Eternatus is for sure one strong candidate in the format, so if you already had the deck and didn’t want to spend a lot on new cards, I would suggest you give it a try in this Chilling Reign environment. It is exciting to see how this triangle between Eternatus – Shadow Rider Calyrex – Urshifu (each has a weakness to the other) is taking a central place in the metagame, so I would expect Eternatus to be played a lot, at least during the first weeks of Chilling Reign.
I hope this article was of help, and don’t forget that you can get your PTCGO codes to build Eternatus and many more Pokemon Online decks here at the PoTown Store. Thanks for reading!
About the author
Elena has been playing Pokémon TCG for years and leads one of the biggest TCG-dedicated channels in the world. You can find her on Youtube & Twitch (@gaiastormtcg) as well as on other social media channels. Drop and say hi!