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Today’s topic of discussion will involve Single Strike Urshifu VMAX/Umbreon VMAX, also known as Single Strike Box! Upon the release of Umbreon from Evolving Skies, some changes were made to previously inconsistent Single Strike Urshifu lists: apart from adding Umbreon, lists shifted their focus to setting-up multiple Houndours turn 1, a strategy that has given this deck massive success in today’s meta. With the release of Fusion Strike, this deck has gained some cards such as Battle VIP Pass, which I will go into further detail later. Without further ado, here’s a sample decklist!
Zach Cohen, 1st Place, Late Night #20
General Deck Strategy
This deck aims to set up 2-3 Houndooms for energy acceleration as quickly as possible, as well as 1-2 attackers. These attackers include Urshifu V, Urshifu VMAX, Umbreon V and Umbreon VMAX; all of which have different uses in different situations.
Where possible, this deck can take OHKOs on opposing V and VMAX Pokemon, thanks to the damage boost from Single Strike Energy. Additionally, it can hit for weakness against numerous decks in the tier, including Jolteon VMAX, Eternatus VMAX, Mew VMAX and Shadow Rider Calyrex.
Single Strike Urshifu VMAX has two attacks, Beatdown and G-Max One Blow. On average, G-Max One Blow can hit between 310-330 with the damage boost from Single Strike Energy, enough to OHKO every VMAX in the meta. The OHKO potential of Urshifu VMAX provides much needed muscle in this deck, allowing it to get ahead on prizes and gain tempo.
The issue with Urshifu VMAX however, is that it lacks a consistent form of damage output. G-Max One Blow discards all energy from Urshifu after every use, meaning that the attack is nearly impossible to chain consecutively. On the other hand, Urshifu’s second attack, Beatdown, deals a measly 100 damage, insufficient to OHKO most Pokemon (even with Single Strike Energy attached).
Here’s when basic Urshifu V comes into the picture: Urshifu V can hit around 220 on average (with Single Strike Energy), enough to OHKO most basic Pokemon V. It’s attack cost of 3 energy is also lower than the VMAX, necessitating fewer Houndooms in play to attack. One extra Houndoom may not seem significant, but needing to find 3 extra cards, namely Urshifu VMAX, Houndour and Houndoom can really cause this deck to whiff on attacking.
To summarise, Urshifu V and VMAX play complementary roles in the deck: Urshifu V focuses on OHKOing basic Pokemon V such as Suicune V and Ice Rider Calyrex V; while Urshifu VMAX provides a nuke against opposing Pokemon VMAX.
For a start, Umbreon VMAX’s ability Dark Signal provides additional gusting options for the deck. Upon evolution, Dark Signal activates, allowing the player to gust out one of the opponent’s Benched Pokemon in a similar fashion to Boss’s Orders. Most decks have trouble finding a Boss’s Orders to take the final KO; but with Umbreon VMAX in the deck, every Evolution Incense and Umbreon VMAX can turn into the equivalent of Boss’s Orders. I would recommend having a spare Umbreon V on the Bench throughout the game, so that Dark Signal can be activated whenever required.
Umbreon V is an excellent attacker itself: If there are any damage counters on Umbreon V, Moonlight Blade deals 160 damage. Thanks to Houndoom’s Single Strike Roar ability, placing damage counters on Umbreon is not an issue. As a two-prize attacker, Umbreon V can trade favourably against the multiple VMAX Pokemon in the tier thanks to its decent damage.
4-4 Houndoom + 4 Battle VIP Pass + 4 Capture Energy
Houndoom’s role in this deck is to accelerate energy to the attackers via its ability Single Strike Roar. Unfortunately, Single Strike Roar can only be used once per turn per Houndoom, so it’s best to have multiple Houndoom in play for acceleration. In order to have Houndoom in play in the first place, there needs to be Houndours in play from the previous turn (preferably turn 1).
To accomplish this task, Battle VIP Pass and Capture Energy are here to quickly put multiple Houndours on the Bench as soon as possible. Battle VIP Pass is the more controversial selection of the two: while its effect is undoubtedly strong, it becomes useless after turn 1. The question thus arises: Does the advantage of potentially setting up multiple Houndours turn 1 overcome the drawback of 3-4 dead cards late-game? Most players seem to think so. A turbo version of the deck is probably the best way to keep up in such a speedy meta, where games are over in 5 turns, and setting up early can keep one at a significant advantage throughout the game.
1 Darkness Energy
4 Single Strike Energy might not always be enough to meet the Fighting/Darkness energy requirements for Urshifu and Umbreon respectively. To provide additional energy options, an extra copy of basic Darkness Energy is added to the list. Older lists used to play Fighting Energy, but the increased importance of Umbreon in this Mew-dominated format means that Darkness Energy is played instead.
Morpeko FST: With two Single Strike Energy attached to Morpeko via Single Strike Roar, Morpeko can hit 160 damage. After weakness, it can OHKO Mew VMAX, all for a single prize card! In other matchups, it can serve as a cheap 1 prize attacker.
Great Ball: Great Ball could serve as a substitute for Battle VIP Pass that can search out both Houndours and Houndooms (which VIP Pass cannot do). Unlike VIP Pass, it is also usable after turn 1. However, I find Great Ball unreliable and inconsistent: I often whiff on Pokemon early-game, or find evolution Pokemon when I don’t need them. VIP Pass’s effect is also much stronger and contributes more to the deck’s set-up than Great Ball.
Basic Fighting Energy: With 2 basic Fighting Energy, Urshifu V can still OHKO Jolteon VMAX with Impact Blow even if Dusknoir VIV is active. Additionally, basic Fighting Energy can be accelerated via Urshifu V’s first attack, Laser Focus.
From my experience, this deck is difficult to pilot. While this deck is consistent, it always feels only barely consistent; a series of small mistakes can easily lead to this deck whiffing attacks. To improve your chances of finding the necessary pieces, try to thin the deck and carry out better sequencing. For example, in the Mew VMAX matchup, the entire Urshifu line becomes dead cards. Don’t hesitate to search out and discard Urshifus if there are spare Quick Balls in your hand; this increases your chances of finding that necessary energy, Boss’s Orders or Umbreon VMAX to close out the game.
A mistake I made when I first started playing was to discard multiple Urn of Vitalitys early-game. As the game progressed, I found myself unable to recycle Single Strike Energy whenever my Pokemon were KOed and thus whiffed my attacks. From then on, I learnt to preserve the Urns as far as possible; while still discarding them in the event of emergencies. Finding the right balance between discarding and preserving such cards is a tough one that I myself am still learning.
Finally, with 4 attackers in the deck (Urshifu V, Urshifu VMAX, Umbreon V and Umbreon VMAX), I often didn’t know which attackers to set-up first. Umbreon or Urshifu? V or VMAX? Generally, I prefer attacking with Urshifu V due to its higher damage output; but if there’s an Umbreon V already available, attacking with Umbreon isn’t a bad choice either. In terms of VMAXes, I usually evolve Urshifu only when I can guarantee an OHKO with G-Max One Blow. Urshifu VMAX feels more of a situational nuke, rather than a necessity in every game. For Umbreon VMAX, I only activate it if Umbreon V needs a HP buff, or gusting is required, since both Umbreon V and VMAX deal the same damage for the same energy cost.
Mew VMAX: Even
Simply put, Umbreon OHKOs Mew VMAX after weakness; while Umbreon is also OHKOed by Mew thanks to chip damage from Houndoom’s Single Strike Roar and Power Tablet. In this matchup, the deck that goes first usually wins.
Urshifu-RS: Slightly Unfavourable
Honestly speaking, the HP size of Pokemon in this deck is not large. For example, while Urshifu V (SS) looks like it has 220 HP on paper, it is more likely to have 160-180 HP due to the chip damage from Single Strike Roar. With a little extra Quick Shooting damage from Inteleon CRE, Urshifu-RS can use G-Max Rapid Flow to soften up VMAXes, or attempt to take OHKOs on basic V Pokemon. Additionally, Urshifu-RS can snipe off Houndooms on the Bench, leaving the Single Strike player without energy acceleration for the game.
Jolteon VMAX: Favourable
Jolteon VMAX’s weakness to Urshifu means that it’s OHKOed by Urshifu V’s Impact Blow. Even though Jolteon may snipe off the Houndooms, Urshifu’s damage is often too much for Jolteon to keep up with. If Jolteon plays Dusknoir VIV however, the matchup becomes significantly harder. Using Umbreon V/VMAX is probably the best option here, as Umbreon can be fueled using the single copy of basic Darkness Energy. Alternatively, taking quick KOs on Jolteons before they can set up Dusknoir is also an option.
Suicune/Ludicolo: Heavily Unfavourable
Suicune plays Cape of Toughness, and the HP boost often brings it out of Urshifu V’s OHKO range. If we attack with the VMAXes, Suicune trades favourably with the deck; if we attack with the basic Vs, Suicune hits for OHKOs while we fail to OHKO in return (due to Suicune’s increased HP). Furthermore, Suicune can activate Ludicolo to OHKO any VMAX in this deck. Tool Scrapper/Tool Jammers are potential Tech options for this deck to deal with Suicune.
Duraludon VMAX’s ability, Skyscraper, makes it immune to Pokemon with Single Strike Energy attached. As such, it often walls off the deck’s various attackers. The exception is Urshifu VMAX, which can bypass Skyscraper with its G-Max One Blow attack. That being said, powering up G-Max One Blow twice to KO two Duraludons won’t be an easy feat.
If you want a deck with a high damage output without overly sacrificing consistency, this is the deck for you. Urshifu-SS/Umbreon offers consistent OHKOs on opposing basic Pokemon V, while being able to nuke VMAXes occasionally. This deck might be slightly difficult to pilot, and I would recommend proper sequencing and thinning when playing with it.
That’s it for this article, thank you for reading! I’ll see you in the next one.