Pokémon VMAX – How Does It Stack Up?

Last time, I analyzed what we knew about Pokémon V to try and predict a few ways The Pokémon Company could spice up the game with the new Pokémon VMAX mechanic. TPC took their sweet time announcing the gimmick in full, but our new mechanic for the Sword and Shield era has finally been revealed. It’s time to see just how far off I was.

Looking back, I was dead set on VMAX simply being a new card that was placed over an existing Pokémon V, much like the Mega Evolution cards of the XY era. I was also fairly certain that VMAX would be restricted to once per game, or one card per deck to emulate the fact that you can only Dynamax or Gigantimax once per battle. While I nailed the first part, TPC decided to take a simple way out for the VMAX gimmick.

Much like Mega Evolution Pokémon, Pokémon VMAX are considered Evolution Pokémon that evolve from their respective Pokémon V. For instance, the newly revealed Snorlax VMAX evolves from Snorlax V. However, unlike Mega Evolution that ended your turn unless you had the associated Spirit Link Tool Card attached, there seems to be no drawback or necessary card that has to be played to evolve into a Pokémon VMAX. In the words of the great Shia LaBeouf: “Just do it!” It’s also worth noting that Pokémon VMAX are following in the footsteps of Tag Team GX in surrendering three Prize Cards upon knockout, which makes sense given the HP counts on these bad boys.

At the end of the day, Pokémon VMAX are just oddly…plain? There’s no associated card required to evolve them, there’s no special attack like Sun & Moon era’s GX Attacks, the cards aren’t bigger, there isn’t anything setting these apart from your normal run-of-the-mill cards. Don’t get me wrong: the card templates are beautiful, as it appears all Pokémon VMAX will be presented as “full art” cards. I suppose after two eras of gimmick-based cards, TPC decided to start this era off on the simpler side and return to the roots of the game.

To be honest, I’m okay with this. One of my biggest complaints about the current Tag Team GX cards is that they have incredibly high HP and attack numbers on Basic Pokémon. While Pokémon VMAX have even higher HP numbers, we now have to consider that these are Evolved Pokémon. They won’t be hitting the board and attacking on turn one! 

The attacks of the currently revealed Pokémon VMAX aren’t anything to be writing home about either. While stronger than Pokémon V, most of the Pokémon VMAX hit for numbers that still fall into the two-hit KO area on both current Tag Team GX and the new Pokémon V. Coming out of a format that was very focused on one-shotting the Defending Pokémon, the game returning to a more two-shot atmosphere is a refreshing change of pace.

The fact that Pokémon VMAX are considered Evolution Pokémon opens up a lot of possibilities for the future of the game. TPC tends to want to strengthen and rely on their big new gimmick. With newly announced cards like Quick Ball requiring a discard to search for a Basic Pokémon compared to Evolution Incense that freely searches for a Evolution Pokémon, this era is already appearing to cater more towards the art of evolution, something I’ve been wanting to return to the game since it started to decline when Crimson Invasion came out. It’s also worth remembering that Evolution Pokémon have existing tools like Triple Acceleration Energy that will help some of these Pokémon VMAX attack even faster. Providing TPC doesn’t directly support VMAX, and instead supports Evolution Pokémon as a whole, we could be seeing a resurgence on evolution being viable competitors in the upper tiers of the meta.

As I’ve said many times throughout my articles, there’s nothing I’d rather have then the game to slow down, return viability to Evolution Pokémon, and stop focusing so much on these intense one-hit knockouts. With Pokémon V giving up two Prize Cards, and Pokémon VMAX giving up three Prize Cards, the game can still rely on two-hit knockouts and still be relatively speedy. 

Time will tell if Pokémon VMAX will continue to grow stronger, but for now, this more laid back approach by TPC could be just what the game needed to allow these gigantic Pokémon to bring the power and add a fresh change of pace to the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Are you satisfying with the VMAX mechanic, or do you believe they could be something bigger? Let us know in the comments below, or sound off on our Discord server for more Pokémon TCG discussion!