A Spark of Brilliance: Vivid Voltage and the Chonky Pikachu VMAX

After decades of waiting, and virtually on the eve of the Pokemon TCG’s 25th Anniversary, Pikachu, the iconic poster child of the highest grossing media franchise of all time, takes center stage in his very own mainline TCG expansion - Vivid Voltage. And while the brand new Charizard, Pikachu V, VMAX, and Rainbow Rare cards might have been more than enough on their own, TPCI has pulled out ALL the stops for their mascot by backing him up with six legendary pokemon arrayed in the stunning never-before-seen “Amazing Rare” format. Arriving at the tail end of a historic year to boot, rest assured that Vivid Voltage will be highly regarded for some time and is well worth holding onto. 

While no one can accuse this boy of being petite, Pikachu VMAX’s 310 HP does place him decidedly in the lower tier of VMAX Pokemon...at least healthwise. Similarly, the preceding Pikachu V’s 190 HP also makes it a bit of a lightweight in the V category as well. That being said, if you’re able to feed your hungry partner the lightning energy acceleration he needs, you’ll likely find yourself quite satisfied with the 270 max damage he can dish out in a single blow. This will be more than sufficient to dispatch the vast majority of V and GX pokemon, but will deny you a one hit KO of the most robust GX and VMAX pokemon, unless you’ve packed a Vitality Band or some other means of upping your attack. Lest his charm blind you, you’ll need to protect this chubby friend from the mortal threat of fighting types including, but certainly not limited to, the heavyweights like Coalossal VMAX and Stonjourner VMAX. 

While the original artwork of this card is formidable, I have my eye on the alternate art “hugging” Pikachu VMAX. Released as a bulk purchase promo in Japan, this edition surely ranks among the drop dead cutest Pokemon cards of all time. Look for it to hit US shelves in a box or tin perhaps as soon as 2021. As Vivid Voltage carries us through to the close of a truly awful year it’s worth reflecting on the fact that even the iconic Pikachu - who’s accompanied us from the very beginning - couldn’t escape 2020 without his fair share of quarantine weight gain, and for that we should love him all the more.


This article was contributed by Michael Harris. Michael is an educator and lifelong Pokémon enthusiast based in Fairfax, Virginia.