Water decks haven’t been doing that well in the last few years due to both a lack of powerful Water cards, and inadequate support for the Type in the Standard format. Fortunately, the recent expansions have given us some great cards like Frosmoth and Galarian Darmanitan VMAX, which have managed to revive Water decks in the meta. Galarian Darmanitan VMAX isn’t an S-Tier deck in Pokemon TCG Online and is outclassed by faster decks like Eternatus VMAX, but is still pretty great and is definitely one of the best Water decks in Standard right now.
This deck may not be as fast as ADP/Z or Eternatus, but it holds the best Type-advantage one can have in the current meta, that has a bunch of Fire decks going around.
In this guide, I’ll be taking you through the Galarian Darmanitan VMAX deck list for the Standard format of Pokemon TCG Online, some sample gameplay, and a thorough explanation of how the deck works.
Galarian Darmanitan VMAX deck list – Pokemon TCG Online
Here’s the Standard deck list for the Galarian Darmanitan VMAX deck:
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon – 16
* 2 Crobat V DAA 104
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 3 Galarian Darmanitan V VIV 169
* 3 Snom SSH 63
* 3 Frosmoth SSH 64
* 3 Galarian Darmanitan VMAX VIV 37
##Trainer Cards – 32
* 2 Energy Retrieval SSH 160
* 4 Professor’s Research CPA 62
* 4 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 2 Training Court RCL 169
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Telescopic Sight VIV 160
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Switch SSH 183
* 3 Marnie CPA 56
* 1 Nessa VIV 157
* 3 Capacious Bucket RCL 156
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
##Energy – 12
* 12 Water Energy Energy 3
Total Cards – 60
None of the cards except Reset Stamp are replaceable. You can also run a fourth copy of Galarian Darmanitan V if you want, to improve your chances of pulling the card on turn one. The deck is straightforward to use and the main cards are pretty cheap to obtain.
As always, some of the best card-drawing staples like Crobat V, Dedenne-GX, Marnie, and Professor’s Research are included in this deck
Spreading damage with Galarian Darmanitan VMAX
Galarian Darmanitan VMAX is one of the best Water-type attackers in the game. Introduced in Vivid Voltage, it deals a four-Energy 200+ attack.
Max Whiteout (200) – This attack also does 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.)
In itself, this attack is excellent. By the time your opponent is knocked out, their Benched Pokemon will have 30 (or 60 in most cases) damage. To make this even better, we add Telescopic Sight, an Item card that lets you do +30 damage to your opponent’s Benched Pokemon GX, V, or VMAX.
Now you’re doing 60 damage each turn to your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. That’s enough to knock out meta cards like Dedenne-GX and Crobat V. It’ll also easily bring down the tanky VMAX cards to a level where you can one-shot them with 200 damage.
The disadvantage of using Galarian Darmanitan VMAX is its Weakness. Somehow, it is weak against Steel rather than Grass, making it an easy target for the popular Zacian V.
Accelerating Energy with Frosmoth’s Ability
A 4-Energy attack on Galarian Darmanitan VMAX might seem like a lot. To make this easier, we have Frosmoth, with its Ice Dance ability.
(Ability) Ice Dance: As often as you like during your turn, you may attach a Water Energy card from your hand to 1 of your Benched Water Pokémon.
Putting Energy cards from your hand to your Benched Pokemon is an incredible advantage. Frosmoth is the best card you can have in any Water deck, and this is why.
On your first turn, you ideally want one Snom and one Galarian Darmanitan V in play. Air Balloon will help you cut down Frosmoth’s Retreat Cost entirely,
Fetching and recycling Water Energy
To use Frosmoth’s ability, you need a way to accelerate Energy quickly. You’ll be relying on Capacious Bucket for the first half of the game, since you likely won’t have any Energy in your discard pile.
Later, you can rely on the Training Court Stadium Card and Energy Retrieval to pull out Energy from your discard pile. This is why, in spite of having 4-Energy attackers, the deck only runs a total of 12 Energy.
Nessa is another great card for this deck. Like Rescue Stretcher in Expanded, this card makes it okay for you to discard some of your Pokemon early on if you need to refresh your hand with Professor’s Research.
Main strategy and sample gameplay
First, you need a Snom and Galarian Darmanitan V in play. If you win the Toss, go first. It’s okay to not have an Energy on the V on your first turn. Have Snom out in the Active Spot, and the V on your Bench. On your next turn, try to evolve both of them, accelerate Energy onto the VMAX using Frosmoth and Capacious Bucket, and retreat Frosmoth using Air Balloon. Try to get a Telescopic Sight to attach it to your VMAX as soon as possible.
You can also run a copy of Mallow & Lana to heal your VMAX. Set up your other VMAX on the Bench and repeat the process. Recycle Water Energy and control the game using Boss’s Orders to finish out Benched Pokemon you’ve already damaged.
Frosmoth is amazing, and lets you do a lot with Water decks. You can find more Water deck guides for Pokemon TCG Online in our PTCGO resource library.