Pokémon TCG Triple Play: Inteleon VMAX Decks Aim for Victory
Three Pokémon TCG experts have their sights set on a new Pokémon VMAX in Sword & Shield—Fusion Strike.
The new Fusion Strike Pokémon in the new Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield—Fusion Strike expansion might be getting the headlines, but there’s one Water-type Pokémon that keeps bubbling up. Its high HP, Bench-targeting Double Gunner Ability, and strong attack have been drawing attention from deck builders. So we asked three Pokémon TCG experts for their ideas on how to build a deck around this powerful Pokémon VMAX—Inteleon VMAX.
Read on to explore different ways to unleash the might of Inteleon VMAX.
If you’re looking to build an Inteleon VMAX deck, here’s a simple but effective idea—pair it with more Inteleon!
A family of Stage 2 Inteleon lines provides a powerful engine for Standard decks. Drizzile‘s Shady Dealings, for example, allows players to find their Trainer cards easily. This provides a clear advantage—Evolution Incense helps to find Pokémon VMAX, and Boss’s Orders can Knock Out a damaged Pokémon on the opponent’s Bench. Later in the game, Drizzile can evolve into Inteleon from Sword & Shield—Chilling Reign or Inteleon from Sword & Shield—the latter allows for searches for even more Trainer cards and big swing turns.
Inteleon can also be paired with other favorite Pokémon like Dragapult VMAX, Suicune V, and Jolteon VMAX; but it especially shines when it joins forces with Rapid Strike Pokémon such as Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX thanks to the additional synergies it gains. For example, Sobble‘s Keep Calling attack can fill a Bench with Basic Rapid Strike attackers.
Inteleon VMAX’s Double Gunner Ability works well with Inteleon’s Quick Shooting. Double Gunner provides an additional way to put damage counters on the opponent’s Benched Pokémon, and it can also Knock Out a low-HP Pokémon (like an opposing Sobble or Houndour). It can even put a Pokémon VMAX in range of a G-Max Spiral KO!
As a Rapid Strike Pokémon, Inteleon VMAX benefits from Rapid Strike Energy. This Energy can be used to power up its attack, added back to hands to do more damage, attached again on the next turn, and then so on. This method will never fill our Bench with Energy, but we don’t need to do so!
What about if the opponent plays Marnie, though? That problem is easily solved. Simply add the Rapid Strike Energy in hand back to the deck, and then no Energy will be in play. Thankfully, we can use Octillery‘s Rapid Strike Search to get 1 Rapid Strike Energy from the deck when it’s needed. Octillery can also search out plenty of other cards in the deck, including Inteleon and Inteleon VMAX.
In addition to Inteleon VMAX, I’ve included another Rapid Strike attacker: Medicham V. Thanks to its Yoga Loop attack, Medicham V can get you an extra turn if you manage to Knock Out one of your opponent’s Pokémon. The catch: it only puts 2 damage counters on 1 Pokémon. Obviously, that’s far from enough to deal with most of the format’s attackers, but when combined with Quick Shooting and Double Gunner, it becomes possible to KO a 60-HP Basic Pokémon like Sobble on the opponent’s Bench. No Boss’s Orders required! This gives you an extra turn, which means another attack as well as additional uses of Quick Shooting and Double Gunner.
But what if the opponent sees the attack coming and avoids putting low-HP Pokémon on their Bench? In that case, just bring a Pokémon back from their discard pile yourself with Echoing Horn! Echoing Horn is often considered to be hard to play because it’s not easy to draw it on demand. This deck solves that problem by running both Octillery and Drizzile. With them, we can easily retrieve Echoing Horn when we want to make a Yoga Loop play.
Water Energy are only used in this deck to activate Double Gunner (and to use Keep Calling on turn 1, if needed). Unlike similar decks that play Melony, this deck list doesn’t need the Energy acceleration because both Inteleon VMAX’s and Medicham V’s attack costs are paid by Rapid Strike Energy. Because of this, make sure to keep Water Energy handy to do damage to the Bench! Search for Capacious Bucket in the early game with Drizzile’s Shady Dealings to get Water Energy out of your deck, and then use Training Court to get them back from the discard pile. Each Training Court will get you at least 1 Energy back—more if it sticks in play for more than one turn.
Scoop Up Net is a savvy addition to Inteleon decks because it’s a way to retreat one of your non-attacking Pokémon. For example, if you start the game with Sobble, on the second turn you can evolve Sobble into Drizzile. Next, search for a Trainer card and play Scoop Up Net on Drizzile to free your Active Spot and send in an Inteleon VMAX in its place. Finally, use the Drizzile card you got back to evolve another Sobble on your Bench and get a second Trainer card. You can use a similar trick to get an additional use of Inteleon’s Quick Shooting or the other Inteleon’s Shady Dealings.
Scoop Up Net, however, isn’t a cure-all—it doesn’t work on Pokémon V and VMAX. This is fine because we don’t need to play it on Inteleon VMAX. If we happen to start the game with Medicham V, it’s awkward to get that Pokémon back to the Bench. Because of this, Training Court may be the perfect Stadium for this deck, but I also added one copy of Tower of Waters just in case.
As for Supporters, this deck strays away from the classic core of Professor’s Research, Marnie, and Boss’s Orders. These perennial favorites are still featured, but I also chose to run two less-traditional Supporter cards as well. First off, Cheryl is a fantastic fit for this deck. Inteleon VMAX has no Energy left after attacking, so there’s no downside to using Cheryl to heal all the damage it took. Simply attach a Rapid Strike Energy afterward to keep attacking. In general, Inteleon decks make it easier to play utility Supporters because we can use Drizzile’s Ability to search for them when needed instead of trying to draw into them with Professor’s Research. The second unusual Supporter is Korrina’s Focus. It’s a Rapid Strike card, so it can be found with Octillery’s Rapid Strike Search. Not only is this card solid on its own, but it also increases the versatility of Octillery’s Ability. It gives us more options in every game.
One last tip for this deck—don’t underestimate Keep Calling! It’s a very solid attack to use on your first turn if you go second. You won’t need to attach Energy elsewhere, and can’t use a good damaging attack on your first turn anyway, so take the opportunity to build your board instead. This will pay dividends when you get to evolve into two Drizzile and an Octillery on turn 2 and can search all the cards you want!
Inteleon VMAX is a very promising Pokémon even at first glance—it has both a good Ability and a good attack. Placing damage counters with an Ability has historically been a positive, and Inteleon VMAX’s Double Gunner is no exception.
The focus of this deck, however, will be Inteleon VMAX’s G-Max Spiral attack. Inteleon VMAX is a Rapid Strike Pokémon with an Energy cost that can be fulfilled by 1 Rapid Strike Energy, which means we can do 140 damage every turn. Having to return the Energy to hand after every attack normally would be a drawback, but not in this case. Doing so allows us to use the game-changing Cheryl card without a downside.
Using Cheryl turn after turn will make it difficult for opponents to take any Prize cards at all thanks to Inteleon VMAX’s high HP. However, Cheryl also takes up our Supporter for the turn, which decks usually rely on to draw cards. Without a steady flow of new cards, it’s not realistic to expect to find a desired card with every draw.
To fix this issue, I’ve decided to pair Inteleon VMAX with Cinccino, an old favorite of mine. Its Make Do Ability is the perfect substitute for a Supporter-based draw engine. Make Do makes it easy to repeatedly use utility Supporters like Cheryl or the always popular Boss’s Orders. Since we want to set up as many of them as possible, I’ve included the maximum amount of both Minccino and Cinccino. It’s worth noting that even though Cinccino is our draw engine of choice, it’s still important to include some regular draw Supporters in the deck. So both Marnie and Professor’s Research made the deck list!
To round out my strategy, I added two Pal Pad in addition to the four Cheryl. Healing Inteleon VMAX four times throughout the game is great, but having the option to do it up to eight times is even better! Returning used copies of Cheryl back into the deck also improves the odds of drawing it again, even if we don’t usually need the maximum number of activations.
One of the main ways opponents will try to deal with our healing strategy is to not even try to attack the Pokémon VMAX. Instead, they’ll target Benched Inteleon V before they evolve. Knocking Out a 320-HP Pokémon is very difficult, but the 200 HP of a regular Inteleon V makes it much more vulnerable. To prevent this, set up two of the four Inteleon VMAX as soon as possible and do not leave any two-Prize liabilities in play.
Quick Ball, Evolution Incense, and Capture Energy (four of each are on the deck list) will come in handy when searching for Pokémon, especially during the first few turns. Simply discard them with Cinccino later in the game.
Lastly, to round out the deck’s consistency and draw engine, I’ve added a Snorlax. Cinccino is great, but it takes a few turns to establish more than one, and the deck doesn’t draw Supporters reliably enough to guarantee Cinccino will be drawn early. Snorlax is easily searchable, and its Gormandize Ability can completely replenish a hand. This will mostly be the case on the first or second turn, but it can also be useful later in the game—for example, after the opponent played a Marnie.
Since our strategy makes the games go long, it synergizes very nicely with Inteleon VMAX’s Double Gunner Ability. Placing two damage counters might not seem like that much, but it adds up when done over many turns. Against decks with Benched support Pokémon like Houndoom or Octillery, the typical use would be to repeatedly target the same two Pokémon for eventual Knock Outs with just the Ability! Training Court is a perfect fit for this deck as it can recover Water Energy for continued Double Gunner use and also deals with a potential Path to the Peak.
One issue that you might encounter with this deck is that the damage math against other Pokémon VMAX can be a bit awkward. Two G-Max Spiral attacks add up to 280 damage, which is just a bit short of a Knock Out against these 300+ HP Pokémon. Double Gunner helps to some extent, but that Ability can’t target the Active Pokémon.
To circumvent this issue somewhat, I’ve added a copy of Basculin into the deck. Its Swarm the Wound attack does 170 damage for a Rapid Strike Energy after the opposing Pokémon has already been attacked by Inteleon VMAX. If we put even just 20 damage onto a Pokémon while it’s still on the Bench, the combination of G-Max Spiral and Swarm the Wound will be enough to Knock Out even the popular Mew VMAX or Umbreon VMAX!
Last but not least, let’s take a look at Air Balloon. When it’s attached to Inteleon VMAX, it provides the mobility needed to retreat into Snorlax or Basculin. Air Balloon can also be useful when you fail to draw Cheryl. Retreating into a fresh Inteleon VMAX and making your opponent have to find a Boss’s Orders is much better than having a damaged Pokémon in the Active Spot.
This Inteleon VMAX-focused deck might not be invincible, but it can certainly be incredibly effective! If you want to draw multiple cards every turn and have plenty of time to watch your opponent slowly lose hope of a victory, give it a try!
For my Inteleon VMAX deck, I’ve decided to include Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, a Pokémon that can damage the opponent’s Benched Pokémon. These two Pokémon VMAX have great synergy, and not only because of their shared Rapid Strike Battle Style. Inteleon VMAX’s Double Gunner Ability can achieve Knock Outs on the opponent’s Benched Pokémon with G-Max Rapid Flow. Moreover, its discarded Water Energy can be put to good use with Melony, fueling G-Max Rapid Flow! And here’s the cherry on top—this allows Octillery to provide immediate access to any Pokémon, niche Trainer cards, and Rapid Strike Energy.
The general strategy is to set up one or two Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Inteleon VMAX each, and to keep an Octillery and Passimian on board. This setup makes it possible to use Double Gunner twice per turn, have a backup attacker if the first Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX is Knocked Out, and utilize key support Pokémon. Also, G-Max Rapid Flow can Knock Out an opposing threat before it reaches the Active Spot, plus it makes use of Melony and discarded Water Energy. Cheryl to is on hand to fully heal two or more Pokémon VMAX. Don’t get too greedy though—a Boss’s Orders may put a wrench in that plan!
Rapid Strike Rundown
The deck list includes a healthy mix of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Inteleon VMAX because both are equally important. Without the added damage from Double Gunner, Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX is unlikely to close out the game on its own. Conversely, Inteleon VMAX would need additional focus on healing with Cheryl (as seen in Robin and Stéphane’s lists) to win a long game without a separate attacker. By playing four copies of each Basic Pokémon V, you maximize the probability of drawing into them on the first turn of the game, setting up for an attack on the following turn.
Octillery’s importance in this deck cannot be understated. So on top of finding Basic Pokémon V to begin attacking on turn two, you should also prioritize putting Remoraid into play. Doing so is even more crucial than drawing the second Pokémon V, because you only need one Pokémon V in play to then attack with its Evolution on the following turn. Luckily, Octillery can find exactly what you need to guarantee that attack. If you draw into Rapid Strike Energy, you can grab the Pokémon VMAX or an additional Pokémon V to widen your board. And in the more likely scenario that you draw Pokémon but not Rapid Strike Energy, you can find the Energy needed to attack.
Octillery also has the benefit of searching for tech Trainer cards. In a pinch, Korrina’s Focus can be used to replenish a small hand. You can pivot between Rapid Strike Pokémon freely with Tower of Waters, either to reset Gale Thrust or hope for a Cheryl play. Lastly, Echoing Horn is a great way to close out a tight game. It can pull a weak Basic Pokémon from the opponent’s discard pile onto their Bench, making for easy picking with G-Max Rapid Flow.
The Water Cycle
It’s important to both find and reuse Water Energy to make full use of Double Gunner throughout the game. One copy of Capacious Bucket and 5 Water Energy should be enough to find them early in the game. Once they’ve been drawn into, there are a few ways of reusing them. Melony is used to empower Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. Training Court and Energy Retrieval, however, are purely for reuse with Double Gunner. Both cards bring the Water Energy directly back to your hand, meaning they are great for when you’re running low on Water Energy. Ordinary Rod is the final way to retrieve Water Energy, though they do go back into the deck. This is good when there are important Pokémon to retrieve, too, such as Passimian or any Pokémon VMAX you had to discard with Professor’s Research.
Why Go with Inteleon VMAX?
So what is it that makes Inteleon VMAX better than the traditional Shady Dealings engine of Drizzile and Inteleon in a Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX deck? For starters, you’ll do more damage with Double Gunner than Quick Shooting because there are two pings per Inteleon VMAX, and you can use Double Gunner as quickly as turn two. Another trade-off is deck list space—there is room for situationally strong cards like Cheryl and Echoing Horn. Try them both to see which one you prefer!
Final Tips and Tricks
There are some subtleties that are worth remembering when playing this deck. Double Gunner can only target Benched Pokémon, so be sure to damage the right target before it becomes Active. Likewise, the extra damage from Passimian’s Throwing Coach Ability applies only to Benched Pokémon. Use Escape Rope or Boss’s Orders to swap Pokémon when necessary. Don’t forget that Inteleon VMAX is a great attacker, too! You can hit for 140 damage with 1 Rapid Strike Energy and bounce it back to the hand for G-Max Rapid Flow or use it with another Inteleon VMAX. This may prove useful when you cannot find a Supporter card or are without Octillery.
I hope you’re intrigued by the combination of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Inteleon VMAX! This pairing maintains the traditional flavor of a Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX deck with a little extra spice from Fusion Strike. This is truly the perfect deck for those who want to take their 6 Prize cards by Knocking Out crucial targets anywhere on the opponent’s board.
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About the Writers
Stéphane Ivanoff is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. A longtime Pokémon fan, he has played the Pokémon TCG competitively since 2010 and is a former National Champion, seven-time Worlds competitor, and the 2018 and 2019 North America International Champion in the Masters Division. He studied mathematics and has a degree in probability and statistics, but he says that doesn’t help his game as much as you’d think! You can follow him on Twitter @lubyllule.
Robin Schulz is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. He has been competing in Pokémon tournaments for 10 years and was the Pokémon TCG Masters Division World Champion in 2018. He spends a lot of time traveling and competing, and he rarely misses a big event. Aside from playing Pokémon, he attends university, where he is studying mathematics.
Xander Pero is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. He was an avid Pokémon fan even before discovering sanctioned tournaments in 2009. He formerly traveled often for the Top 16 circuit, but now spends his time focusing on university, where he studies industrial engineering. You can find him at various tournaments, as well as on Twitter at @xanderpero.