Rayquaza VMAX is here and boy does it look strong! [Max Burst] is Rayquaza's attack, which deals 20 damage plus 80 more for each Lightning or Fire Energy you discard from your Active Pokémon. For veterans of the game, this is reminiscent of Rayquaza EX from Dragons Exalted when Dragons had only just been introduced into the game. This powerful attack can KO any other VMAX Pokémon, which is going to be important moving forward. And the Ability [Sky High Wave] allows you to discard your hand and draw three cards. Normally, it may seem like discarding your hand would be a downside, but there is huge synergy with the supporter card Rose, as well as the new Flaaffy.
Rose requires you to discard your hand as well, letting you attach two Energy from your Discard Pile to one of your VMAX Pokémon, perfectly synergizing with both the discarding part of Rayquaza's attack as well as allowing you to draw three cards for free with Rayquaza's Ability! Similarly, Flaaffy has the [Dynamotor] Ability (a throwback to Eelektrik from Noble Victories), which lets you attach a Lightning Energy card from your Discard Pile to one of your Benched Pokémon. The whole package is similar to the infamous RayEels deck from years prior – will it be just as successful in the new age of the Pokémon TCG?
Each of the Pokémon that evolves from Eevee received a VMAX print in this set, and some look to be very strong – each doing something slightly different. Leafeon VMAX deals more damage to your opponent's Active Pokémon based on how much Energy they have in their retreat cost with [Max Leaf], which can easily be padded out with Galar Mine. Flareon VMAX's [Max Explosion] attack deals 100 damage for each Energy you discard from discarding the top 5 cards of your deck, as well as being a Single Strike Pokémon. Vaporeon VMAX is a Rapid Strike Pokémon that can use [Bubble Pod] to put a Water Pokémon from your Discard Pile onto your Bench and attach up to three Water Energy to that Pokémon, which could also be an Evolved Pokémon!
[Crystal Veil] is Glaceon VMAX's Ability. It prevents all damage from VMAX Pokémon that aren't Glaceon VMAX itself. You could build a deck around this ability. Jolteon VMAX specializes in spread damage, with [Max Thunderclap] dealing 100 plus 100 more to a Pokémon with damage counters on it already. Espeon VMAX's [Sun Notification] Ability prevents your Pokemon with Energy attached from on-attack effects from your opponent. Sylveon VMAX has the [Max Harmony] attack which is very reminiscent of Xerneas' [Rainbow Force] attack from back in XY Breakthrough, which needs Pokémon of many different types to do even more damage to the opponent. Finally, arguably the best of the bunch, Umbreon VMAX has the [Dark Signal] Ability that lets you bring up one of your opponent's benched Pokémon into the Active. This is like using a Boss's Orders, while still being able to use things like Marnie or Professor's Research too!
Each of these has some unique uses, and everyone will be able to build a deck around their favorite Eeveelution when the set drops!
On top of all of this, we have the new Medicham V, which lets you take an extra turn if you knock out a Pokémon with its [Yoga Loop] attack. Suicune V lets you draw a card if it's in the Active Spot, and it can deal huge damage with its [Blizzard Rondo] attack. There are also the one-prize versions of the Galarian Bird Trio, which let you attach two Energy of their respective type when you drop them down on the Bench.
Evolving Skies was released on 27 August, and with some beautiful alternate artwork to go alongside these incredibly powerful cards, this set is a big one!