Players Cup 4 Final Thoughts + Eternatus VMAX/Power Plant
Hello again Flipside readers! As I write this article, there are just three days left for players to use their Players Cup 4 event keys to attempt to qualify for the next phase of the tournament. However, I know a number of players--including some of the game’s best!--who have waited until the last minute and will be grinding for those last few rep over the next few days.
Last time I wrote, I touched on two decks I thought were good plays for keys: ADPZ and Welder Toolbox. This time, I’ll focus on another deck that has been working well for me recently: Eternatus VMAX. I’ll focus on how the metagame has shifted over the course of the qualification period, and how I believe Eternatus should be built to handle the current meta.
Back in Players Cup 3, I struggled with my first several keys, playing a mix of ADPZ and Decidueye/Galarian Obstagoon. However, I was able to promptly get back on the track to qualification by switching to a new deck: a consistent Eternatus VMAX list with a Power Plant/Reset Stamp package. That deck had a number of advantages in the Players Cup 3 meta:
- It was strong against ADPZ, PikaRom, and Welder Toolbox (the three most-played decks);
- Reset Stamp gave you significant comeback potential to counter the poor starts that Eternatus can sometimes experience; and
- Less experienced players, or simply ones who weren’t paying attention, often got heavily punished by attempting to use abilities such as Dedechange under Power Plant. This seems silly, but it happened an insane number of times during my keys and directly swung a number of games in my favor.
For Players Cup 4, I’m experiencing a similar trend: my early keys, with ADPZ and PikaRom, gave me mixed results, but I have seen an increase in rep earned since swapping to Eternatus in my more recent keys. Again, the meta has shifted to bring ADPZ and Welder Toolbox to the forefront (boosted, I think, by Azul Garcia Griego’s recent power rankings and tournament success with those archetypes). The way those lists have been constructed recently also helps Eternatus: Welder Toolbox almost never plays Marshadow UNB anymore, and ADPZ lists recently tend to not play Big Charm and only run one copy of Mawile-GX.
Another perk Eternatus has gained since the last Players Cup is the ability to turn one of its autolosses into an even matchup. This, of course, comes from Phoebe, which was released in Battle Styles and allows you to improve your LucMetal matchup by an incredible amount with just one card slot. LucMetal is pretty prevalent in keys from what I’ve been seeing, so the ability to go even (or better) against it while beating most of the other top decks makes Eternatus an incredibly appealing pick.
I’ll note that I have not decided to try to beat every matchup with this iteration of Eternatus. My list takes a pretty hard loss to Urshifu VMAX decks (both Rapid Strike and the less-played Single Strike). I have opted not to include Weakness Guard Energy because it decreases the consistency of the turn 1 Power Accelerator play (which is key in a few matchups) and makes you weaker against Fan of Waves, which has seen a recent spike in play in multiple archetypes. Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX has not been a tier 1 deck for at least a few weeks now, so it’s fine to lose to it as long as you’re beating everything else; however, keep an eye on the meta, as I anticipate an increase in Urshifu over the next week or two now that many lists are cutting techs for it.
Below is my current Eternatus list that I’ve been using for Players Cup 4. I’ll explain some of my card choices in the following section.
Some lists play as many as four copies of this card, but I find it less useful in most cases than the other Basic Pokemon in the deck. There are a few niche scenarios where a single extra damage counter can push you to a KO, but they don’t come up nearly often enough for me to want more than two copies of Zigzagoon during a game. The big one, of course, is against ADPZ, where you need one Zigzagoon “ping” to reach the 280 damage needed for an OHKO on ADP. However, you shouldn’t need Zigzagoon again outside of that, so the second copy just ensures against prizing. One other use I’ve found for Zigzagoon is to ping a Victini VMAX or Orbeetle VMAX so that a 270-damage Dread End leaves it with 30 HP remaining, enough for a Yveltal to KO it with Derail. However, that does not come up often.
If I could play 61 cards, I might play a fourth Yveltal. It is the best starter in the deck, giving you the option to Retreat into an Eternatus V to use Power Accelerator if the matchup dictates, or to simply pass and not leave your main attacker exposed in the Active Spot. Yveltal remains useful throughout the game as your “pivot” (free-Retreat Pokemon to promote after your opponent Knocks Out your Active Pokemon), and is especially useful against PikaRom, where it means you only need one Switch to escape from their frequent win con of Tandem Shock. Derail is also a solid attack that you can use in a number of scenarios, especially against counter decks like Altaria or Decidueye, but also against any deck that relies heavily on Special Energy.
My high count of Yveltal makes your Mad Party matchup incredible, as you can one-shot Polteageist with Derail, and KO Bunnelby with Derail as well if you ping it with a Zigzagoon first. This enables you to trade single-Prize Pokemon easily in the early game, then use Eternatus VMAX to take out their two-Prize Pokemon in the late game while you disrupt them with Power Plant and Reset Stamp.
This card doesn’t always have a ton of value, but I have kept it in the list for best-of-1 events because of the ability to achieve donks. If your opponent opens anything with 90 HP or less and passes--a scenario I’ve encountered frequently--it’s not terribly difficult to instantly win the game with Hoopa. Hoopa can also finish VMAX KOs in some scenarios, since the 90 damage after a 270-damage Dread End (or a 240-damage Dread End plus a Zigzagoon ping) will finish off any VMAX.
1 Sableye V
Sableye V is actually intended as a partner for Phoebe, giving you a two-card tech package against LucMetal, Altaria, and Decidueye. With Lode Search, you can reuse Phoebe at least once more, and often more than that if you need to for some reason. This lets you win those matchups even if you need to discard Phoebe early or if you need to use Phoebe to take more than one Knock Out. Lode Search can also be used against Control decks to recover Switch, Boss’s Orders, or whatever resources you may need to close out the game. Crazy Claws is not an attack that comes up often, but you can sometimes Power Accelerator an Energy to Sableye V early in the game to give yourself the option to use it later.
4… of a lot of things
Consistency, consistency, consistency. Don’t go below four for your counts of Professor’s Research, Marnie, Boss’s Orders, Quick Ball, Switch, or your Eternatus V and VMAX line. Because of the nature of the deck, Eternatus can’t play Dedenne-GX, Jirachi, or other support Pokemon: you get one Supporter and one Crobat V to draw everything you need each turn. Therefore, you want to make sure you actually have access to at least one of those cards as often as possible. I have seen a lot of players complain about bricking with Eternatus, and then I see that they’re playing something like 3 Marnie, 3 Professor’s Research, and 2 each of Great Ball and Pokemon Communication. Don’t be like those players! (Also, a 3/3 split, or even 4/2 the other way, of Communication and Great Ball is acceptable. I think 4 Quick, 4 Great, 2 Communication feels best, but the matter is open to debate.)
As mentioned, Phoebe has been huge for Eternatus, changing the deck from a very powerful but meta-dependent archetype that took several autolosses, to a generalist deck that can deal with a number of unfavorable matchups with just one or two tech cards. Phoebe cleaves through Full Metal Wall, Metal Goggles, and Dauntless Shield against LucMetal, enabling a 270-damage Dread End to OHKO anything in their deck. Against Altaria, you can do most of the work with Yveltal and Hoopa, but Phoebe can come in handy if they swarm the field with Altaria, and you have plenty of time to use Lode Search to retrieve it if needed. Finally, you can deny Decidueye the “just one Decidueye and nothing else on the field” line of play, forcing them to Bench additional Pokemon that you can use Boss’s Orders on and Knock Out. If you use Lode Search against Decidueye, remember that Sableye V has Grass Weakness, so you may want to use Derail to take some Energy off Decidueye before pivoting to Sableye V.
3 Power Plant and 2 Reset Stamp
This package does take up a lot of space in the deck, but I think it’s extremely powerful and has better value than other packages I’ve seen in Eternatus, such as Crushing Hammer. There is a reason I specifically play three copies of Power Plant: it lets you go for an early Power Plant against decks with Chaotic Swell, have a second copy to bump their Swell, then be able to use your third copy in tandem with Reset Stamp in the late game. Because Eternatus plays four Marnie anyway, being able to pair Marnie’s disruptive power with an early Power Plant can often win you games right off the bat, similar to how Power Plant and Marshadow SHL were key to decks like Buzzwole/Garbodor a couple of years ago.
Two Reset Stamp feels like the correct number, giving you insurance against Prize Cards and early discards, plus giving you the option to use an early Reset Stamp if you know your opponent has important resources in hand, then still have a Stamp to a small hand size later.
9 Darkness Energy
This is the only count I’m not entirely sold on in my list; it usually feels like enough, but there have been a couple of games where I whiffed an Energy at a crucial moment and wished I had a tenth copy. You could also play one copy of Energy Spinner, which is the same as an Energy early on while giving you the option to thin a card for an extra Crobat V draw later. I don’t know what I would cut for a tenth Energy, and it hasn’t felt like a necessity (just a comfort), so I would suggest leaving the list as is for the time being.
A best-of-1, single-elimination tournament format is not the best way to judge the skill level of Pokemon TCG players, especially in a format as volatile as recent ones have been. With that said, picking a consistent deck that takes strong matchups and has both comeback potential and disruptive potential is a great way to start off on the right foot in a Players Cup. Eternatus VMAX/Power Plant fits this description, and certainly worked well for me in the last two Players Cups. I do expect an increase in Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX decks in the near future, in which case I would steer away from Eternatus, but I think it should be a fine pick for the last few days of Players Cup 4 keys.
More questions about my list, playing Eternatus, the Players Cup 4 meta, or just anything Pokemon-related? I’m always happy to chat--you can find me on Twitter @twhitesell42, my team is @UNDNTD, and if you’re interested in coaching, that’s here.
Until next time!
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