Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Vivid Voltage Deck Strategy: Orbeetle VMAX
By Ellis Longhurst, Contributing Writer
The recent Sword & Shield—Vivid Voltage expansion introduces some exciting new Pokémon to the Pokémon Trading Card Game. In particular, Orbeetle VMAX has generated quite a buzz! Like other Pokémon VMAX, Orbeetle VMAX has a powerful attack and a mammoth number of Hit Points. But its seemingly innocuous Eerie Beam Ability is what really sets this Pokémon apart. Trainers have identified numerous ways to capitalize on the damage counters placed by Eerie Beam—often to devastating effects. Some decks focus on Orbeetle VMAX, while others include it alongside Pokémon with complementary attacks and Abilities. Read on to find out how you can make the best use of Orbeetle VMAX in battle.
Switch Up Your Gameplay
Pokémon VMAX are usually lauded for their powerful attacks, and the celebration doesn’t stop with Orbeetle VMAX. Its G-Max Wave attack does 50 damage plus 50 more for each Energy attached to the opponent’s Active Pokémon. Most Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V require at least two or three Energy to perform their most powerful attacks, which means G-Max Wave can pack a serious punch for fewer resources than its peers. However, this isn’t the only reason Orbeetle VMAX has caught everyone’s attention.
The special thing about Orbeetle VMAX is that it can weaken the opponent’s Pokémon without using an attack. Its Eerie Beam Ability puts one damage counter on each of the opponent’s Pokémon. Eerie Beam can be used up to four times in the same turn if you have enough Orbeetle VMAX in play. It won’t take long before those damage counters put the opponent’s Pokémon in range of a one-hit Knock Out with G-Max Wave…or add up to a Knock Out on their own!
The caveat with Eerie Beam is that each Orbeetle VMAX can use this Ability only once per turn, and only when it’s in the Active Spot. This means any deck that includes Orbeetle VMAX should also include lots of cards that enable the player to switch or retreat their Pokémon. Don’t be surprised to see an Orbeetle VMAX deck list with multiple copies of Item cards such as U-Turn Board, Air Balloon, and Switch, as well as Supporter cards like Bird Keeper and Mallow & Lana.
Bird Keeper has a special interaction with Rowlet. When a Bird Keeper is played from the hand, Rowlet can use its Wind Shard attack even if it doesn’t have the right Energy attached. Rowlet’s synergy with Bird Keeper, and its capacity to deal the finishing blow to Pokémon that have been weakened by Eerie Beam, make it the perfect partner for Orbeetle VMAX.
Let’s take a look at a deck list that focuses on Orbeetle VMAX:
The core strategy of this variation of the Orbeetle VMAX deck is to significantly weaken the opponent’s Pokémon by using Eerie Beam as often as possible, then take Knock Outs using G-Max Wave.
Searching the deck for Orbeetle V and Orbeetle VMAX is made easy by the inclusion of Capture Energy, Turffield Stadium, Quick Ball, and Evolution Incense. The deck also features Snorlax from the Sword & Shield—Vivid Voltage expansion, whose Gormandize Ability allows the player to draw until they have seven cards in their hand, and then ends their turn. This Ability is a great way to draw the cards required to set up multiple Orbeetle VMAX.
The longer the battle takes, the more damage counters can be placed by Eerie Beam, and the easier it will be to take Knock Outs. This means any player using Orbeetle VMAX will want to extend the game for as long as possible, and this deck employs a range of strategies to ensure the longevity of Orbeetle VMAX in battle. For example, Mallow & Lana enables Orbeetle VMAX to switch out of the Active Spot and heal 120 damage. In fact, there are several cards that serve a dual purpose in this deck. Weakness Guard Energy keeps Orbeetle VMAX from taking double damage from Fire-type Pokémon, while Aromatic Grass Energy protects it from Special Conditions. These pair perfectly with Orbeetle VMAX, which requires one Grass and one Colorless Energy to attack with G-Max Wave. Even more protection comes from hiding behind Lillie’s Poké Doll, allowing Orbeetle VMAX to avoid taking any damage from attacks at all.
Disrupting the opponent is another way to buy the turns necessary for Orbeetle VMAX to stack up damage counters via Eerie Beam. The deck includes Crushing Hammer to delay the opponent’s attacks by discarding their Energy, and Reset Stamp to reduce their resources after an Orbeetle VMAX is Knocked Out. Players could also include a Wondrous Labyrinth Prism Star to encourage the opponent to attach more Energy to their Pokémon. This will add more firepower to G-Max Wave, but the universal effect means Orbeetle VMAX will also require an extra Energy to attack.
Orbeetle VMAX and Rowlet don’t have to be your only attackers—there are a plethora of Pokémon that fit in with the deck’s core strategy. For example, Blacephalon‘s Fireworks Bomb attack puts up to 12 damage counters on the opponent’s Pokémon, and Barraskewda‘s Targeted Skewer attack does damage to one of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon for each damage counter already on it. If you choose to add these Pokémon to the deck, make sure you also include the Energy that they require to attack!
Rescued by an Eerie Beam
Trainers have also explored strategies that use Orbeetle VMAX in a more supportive role. One such deck is Weezing, a previously successful archetype that Orbeetle VMAX has revitalized. Previous iterations of the Weezing deck were slow to begin spreading damage counters and relied on the opponent having Basic Pokémon. By proactively spreading damage counters with Eerie Beam, Orbeetle VMAX enables Weezing to use its Splattering Sludge attack to maximum effect. If you want to try playing Weezing with Orbeetle VMAX, you should definitely include the new Telescopic Sight Item card in your deck to further increase the damage that Splattering Sludge does to the opponent’s more powerful Benched Pokémon.
Orbeetle VMAX also makes the perfect partner for Ampharos V. Ordinarily, it would be difficult to use Damaging Spark to its full effect. However, the damage counters placed by an Eerie Beam enable Ampharos V to take aim at the opponent’s Active Pokémon and all of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon, too. Even more sparks fly when Ampharos V has a Telescopic Sight attached to it. All three of these cards are from the Sword & Shield—Vivid Voltage expansion, so expect to feel amped up when they are combined!
Prepare for Battle
It sounds simple, but it’s important when building a deck to remember that a Pokémon TCG battle involves two players! If an opponent’s deck includes cards that block Eerie Beam or remove damage counters from their Pokémon, this could make the path to victory difficult for Orbeetle VMAX. Take a look at a few examples and how you can work past them.
Scoop Up Net is a common inclusion in the current metagame. Eternatus VMAX decks use Scoop Up Net to maximize the damage counters placed on the opponent’s Pokémon by Galarian Zigzagoon‘s Headbutt Tantrum Ability. Centiskorch VMAX decks use Scoop Up Net to switch their Centiskorch VMAX into the Active Spot and to remove Pokémon like Jirachi and Volcanion from danger. Disrupt your opponent’s strategy and prevent them from removing damage counters by including a Mr. Mime in the Orbeetle VMAX deck. Mr. Mime’s Scoop-Up Block Ability is tailor-made to work as a counter here.
The Metal Goggles Item card also causes problems for Orbeetle VMAX. When Metal Goggles is attached to a Metal-type Pokémon, the opponent’s attacks and Abilities can’t put damage counters on that Pokémon. When you’re battling against Metal-type Pokémon that have a huge number of Hit Points, like Lucario & Melmetal-GX or Zacian V, every damage counter is important. To remove Metal Goggles from the equation, every Orbeetle VMAX deck should include at least one Tool Scrapper.
Orbeetle VMAX is my favorite Pokémon from the Sword & Shield—Vivid Voltage expansion because it encourages an unconventional style of gameplay and can be useful in almost every deck. If you’re looking to build your own Orbeetle VMAX deck, check out the new Pokémon TCG: Orbeetle V Box, which includes a foil promo card featuring Orbeetle V.
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Ellis Longhurst is a contributing writer covering Play! Pokémon events for Pokemon.com. She has been competing in high-level Pokémon TCG tournaments since 2006, and creating written content for the Pokémon community since 2011. Ellis now brings an Australian flavour to the Play! Pokémon broadcasting and stream teams at the International and World Championship competitions.