Charizard: Quick, Powerful, and AWESOME!

pokebeach.comHi there. My name is Travis and I am a huge Charizard fan. When I first saw the Charizard from Arceus and read his Poké-Body “Fire Formation,” I quickly figured he could do 80 base damage (100 with a Belt) for one energy, easily making him one of the best Charizards ever printed. With power like this for only one Fire Energy, and 140 HP, Charizard is no force to ignore. The Charizard builds I’ve been working with have proven to be powerful and consistant in both league and tournament play.

Before I reveal the decklist (slightly modified), I just want to say that I have considered a lot of input from other Charizard useres. Different players choose a different selection of fire type Pokémon to add to the bench. Some Pokémon that other players choose are not even fire type, which works for some people. I’ve seen, played, and analyzed many other Charizard decks, and I offten find the same problem: The player can get a Charizard out, but they focus only on the Charizard, completely ignoring the potential of their bench.

That’s not to say that no other player has thought of these strategies I will describe, but I feel I have found the perfect blend, and balance of fire type Pokémon to keep on the bench. I have play tested everything from Uxies and Azelfs, to Blaziken FB and Heartan LV.X, and I’ve found the following combination of Pokémon to be the most benificial to Charizard. Here’s the list:

Pokémon: 22

4 Charizard AR
2 Charmeleon AR
4 Charmander AR
2 Cyndaquil HS
1 Quilava HS
2 Typhlosion Prime
3 Vulpix PL (2 Shiny, 1 Regular)
2 Ninetales GS
1 Infernape 4 RR
1 Infernape 4 LV.X

T/S/S: 23

4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Communication
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Broken Time-Space
3 Pokémon Collector
1 Luxury Ball
2 Fisherman
3 Expert Belt
2 Stark Mountain

Energy : 15

15 R

Now because this deck is comprised entirely fire type Pokémon, there is no need to waste a turn to getting that Uxie under the deck to make room for a fire type guy to give Charizard that extra 10 damage he needs for the KO. Each card has synergy with all other cards in the deck and if used right, you’ll be able to play anyone and get 3 Fire Energy onto them in one turn. It’s basically built to get a full bench of really useful Pokémon. After that, they’ll pretty much take care of themselves. Now onto the individual Pokémon…

pokebeach.comVulpix: I have two of the shiny ones from Platinum that allow me to search for Fire Energy with “Find Wildfire” that everyone knows and suggests. I also have one that allows me to discard up to 2 Fire Energy from my hand and draw 2 cards per card I discarded. It’s from the same set and the attack is also free. I always hope to get a Vulpix in my starting hand because they’re just so helpful in pulling cards from your deck early game for no energy cost. They also set you up for a…

Ninetales: This is the deck’s standard draw engine. Besides that, Ninetales is also great for its “Will-o-the-Wisp” attack in a pinch. Ninetales also has a life saving Retreat Cost of one for when you started with a Vulpix and had to keep Ninetales up there an extra turn. In adition, Ninetales puts your energy exactly where you want it: In the discard. You always want a good amount of energy in your discard so you can use Fisherman to fill your hand with Fire Energy or let the next guy take care of it…

Typhlosion: When players think of this card, they offten see him as nothing more than a way to get energy up, but I also want to point out his attack “Flare Destroy”. While not the most impressive move, it does do a nice 70 damage. I’ve used it for multiple KOs when situations call for it, and it’s even won me a game or two. I have tried to run this deck without Typhlosion, only to find that I can almost never use Charizard’s second attack before Charizard is Knocked Out. Therefore I find him very necesarry and chose to keep a moderate line of him in the deck.

Typhlosion’s Poké-Power “Afterburner” has the downside of putting a damage counter on the Pokémon you want to attach the Fire Energy to. Most of the time it’s not a big deal, but in case it is, combo it with the next card…

pokebeach.comStark Mountain: Use Afterburner to pull a Fire Energy from the discard to Typhlosion, or another Pokémon that can take a damage counter. Then use Stark Mountain to move the Fire Energy to another Pokémon, thus removing the problem of having to put the damage counter on the Pokémon you wanted to attach the Energy to in the first place. I call this method “Typho-Stark” (So I don’t have to explain that entire process to my opponent after the first time.)

Play one Fire Energy from your hand onto Charizard, use Stark Mountain to pull one Fire Energy from the bench onto Charizard, and then use Afterburner to put the third Fire Energy onto Charizard. Using this method you can have a Charizard out with three Energy, using Burning Tail and destroying everything with a max base damage of 130 (150 with a Belt). Speaking of Charizard…

Charizard: He seems simple enough. Get him out and attack. But I feel more needs to be said about how to play him. His first attack, “Fire Wing”, obviously performs best with a full bench, but sometimes all you really need to do is 60 or 70 damage. An important skill to have when playing this deck is to be aware of how much damage you are doing with your attack, and if you have enough to 1HKO the opponents active.

Also you need to know when it’s worth it to belt the Charizard (I lost a tournament match once because I had forgot that Charizard could hit for 100 and KO a Kyogre.) Late game, most Pokémon will take a Burning Tail attack to take down, but never forget to look for Pokémon with HP 100 or lower. You can use Stark Mountain to move an extra Energy off Charizard if he’s about to be KO’d and still draw a prize that turn. If you can’t KO the opponent’s active with Fire Wing, look at their bench. If all of them have 100 HP or lower maybe you can use…

Infernape 4 LV.X: I remember the first time I put this guy in my deck and realized just how insanely good he is. Not only have I used all of his attacks in a pinch when I was out of Charizards, but his Poké-Power “Intimidating Roar” is just too good. I get him out by choosing Infernape 4 to be sent up when my opponent knocks the active out. Then I level him up and FREE RETREAT him back to continue sniping benched Pokémon. Sorry for the caps, I just can’t stress how awesome it is to not have to waste a Fire Energy to retreat him.

Yet another reason he is an awesome choice for a Charizard deck. Your opponent will have a hard time walling unless they want to have multiple walls on the bench at once, taking up valuble bench space. I’ve used the Poké-Power against Spiritombs, Mr. Mimes, and the dreaded Umbreon with “Moonlight Fang”.

I’ve found the most effective way to use his power is this: If at all possible, use Intimidating Roar at the beginning of your turn, so your opponent doesn’t think much of it, and sends a low HP Pokémon up, or my favorite, their main attacker (works especially well after your opponent just KO’d a Charizard). Then drop a Charizard down and Knock it Out and completely mess them up.

After going through all the strategy of this deck, I feel I need to say one more thing about this deck and that is the setup. Here’s how I like my side to look at all times:

Two Charizards (at least 1, with the other being a Charmander that can easily be evolved the next turn or so via Rare Candy or Broken Time-Space), one Infernape 4 LV.X, two Ninetales, and one Typhlosion. You have enough of everyone that way to do what they’re supposed to do. (Three Ninetales works if you consistently have a way to drop a Charizard quickly)

That is my deck that I have been developing and will continue to develop as long as this Charizard remains in rotation. Let me know what you think, and feel free to use it and spread some Charizard out there!

Reader Interactions

63 replies

  1. Dakota Streck

    I love the AR Charizard, I really do. I think last rotation, when Claydol was in and stuff, the meta just wasn’t right for Charizard. Now, Claydol’s gone, so Charizard has the Ninetales advantage over other decks. Also, gyarados is much weaker and less popular, so that helps. Kingdra LA has seen a bit more play, but that’s not a huge problem for Charizard as it’s usually run with Machamp, another low threat for it. Also, Dialga G is much more popular, which has a Charizard weakness. However, it needs to be watched because it shuts off Charizard’s body. Lastly, I think that Charizard would do pretty well under trainer lock if the right list is built.

    However, the thing that you see with every charizard deck is that they make the entire list mono-fire, it’s usually something like

    4-3-4 Charizard
    2-2 or 3-3 Ninetales
    2-1-2 or 3-2-3 Typhlosion
    Some other fire stuff.

    Both your main attacker and secondary attacker are fire, with weakness to water, so if you’re a fire deck, I think a mono-water deck would kill this list.

    I’ve been working on a Charizard deck myself and I must say, it’s a lot different.

    Well, good luck with your deck!

    • Travis Yeary  → Dakota

      I appreciate your input, and I’d like to see your version of the deck. I have indeed run into a water deck that made my face turn cold, it’s never fun, but my defense relies on one-hit-KOing their main attacker, because Charizard only has +30 so they still have to do an impressive 110 damage to knock Charizard out even with weakness. Trainer lock kills me, with the rare candies and communications and lux balls, It just shuts me down haha.

        • Dakota Streck  → Zackary

          Yeah, I know. Just remember that, they could use a squirtle that does 10 damage, but it’d be upped to 40, so if they’re a skilled player, they should be able to beat Charizard. Things like that can be done when you’re hitting +30 weakness.

        • venny kid  → Zackary

          Yeah, I’ve tested Blastoise/Gtr with a friend playing Charizard and I ran out of stuff to 100 dmg snipe every turn, while I was loosing my Blastioses left and right. Weakness is big, but not always game deciding.

        • Travis Yeary  → venny

          I get so sick of my ninetales being hydro pumped. All they wanna do is chill on the bench and keep your deck nice and toasty :(

      • Dakota Streck  → Travis

        Cool, I’ll be submitting an article on it somewhat soon, so you’ll get that. (Mine usually does ok/pretty good vs trainer lock)

        Also, I’d say your Charizard list isn’t the best list I’ve seen, but it is in the top 5, so good job with that.

    • Travis Yeary  → Ryan

      Sorry I don’t have 20 dollars to go blow on cards. They’d be in there if they weren’t so expensive.

      • Zackary Ayello  → Travis

        See, i’d say call energy isn’t entirely needed. Ruins the Scizor Prime match-up, and fire energy is where this deck shines. 20 bucks for something that won’t necessarily help you immensely, is just not worth it.

        • Dakota Streck  → Zackary

          Yeah. I think think this deck could work fine without Call energy. Also, I think the deck should lower it’s energy count to 14 and add in another Bebe’s to help a little bit via Trainer lock.

      • Shining Yue  → Travis

        Actually, if you feel the deck works without calls, you dont need them. It’s a dead card that’s only useful for burning tail, and you cant even discard it. Adn if you start with Vulpix, maybe you would prefer to use reheat or find wildfire.

      • venny kid  → Travis

        That’s the thing I absolutely don’t like about Pokemon. Every card that could be half-useful in any deck blows a hole in your wallet, which is why I don’t run any hugely amazing Tier 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, or 9 decks at the moment. :(

    • Alex Pike  → Ryan

      Ryan Vikander writing a comment? Fail.

      I’ve never ever used a call energy. And I’ve been in a situation where I wish I had one.
      Call energies look funny and they don’t smell good. If you draw a Call Energy on ANY turn other than your first turn it’s pretty much a dead draw. All the Pokemon and Poke-Powers use fire energy as their primary type. Yes you can use it as the last card for Flare Destroy or Burning Tail but really it’s just a pain to have.

    • Alex Pike  → Ryan

      Ryan Vikander writing a comment? Fail.

      I’ve never ever used a call energy. And I’ve been in a situation where I wish I had one.
      Call energies look funny and they don’t smell good. If you draw a Call Energy on ANY turn other than your first turn it’s pretty much a dead draw. All the Pokemon and Poke-Powers use fire energy as their primary type. Yes you can use it as the last card for Flare Destroy or Burning Tail but really it’s just a pain to have.

  2. Shining Yue

    I love this deck, though far from being a tier 1 deck (it’s just too slow), it’s the most good-looking deck in the format. And it has only a color, not 3 or 4 like most of the decks.
    Apart from that, it’s a really fun deck to play and can be extremely powerful after the setup.
    I used it at a tournament (an imperfect list, I didnt have all the cards), and I can clearly remember 3 things:

    -Beating a Luxchomp in top (granted, I was lucky)
    -Doing 300 to a Roselia.
    -Having 2 charizards, 2 Ninetales, and 2 Typhlosion on the field. I felt like God playing cards.

    Although you seem to have tested a lot and it’s just my opinion, I would suggest a few things:

    -A fourth Collector. I never liked having 4 collectors, 4 rosseannes, or 4 bebes, but i feel this deck needs it. 4 collector and 4 communications can guarantee a good start and any pokemon you need in any turn.

    -I found that with the awesome draw engine this deck has, Poke Blower+ is a great card for this deck. It can be cery useful to get rid of that ugly Dialga G lvX hiding on the bench. Finding 4 spaces may be hard, but it’s worth enough.

    -I used 1 Spiritomb, it was useful on bad starts where I had nothing to get a Ninetales and to stop SP for at least 1 turn.

    -1 Unown Q. Dont waste the turn’s energy to retreat something and bring charizard active, use a searchable unown Q.

    • Dakota Streck  → Shining

      I agree with the Collector and Unown Q. However, not with most of the other stuff because this list already has a tough time via trainer lock, Pokeblower and spiritomb would guaruntee the autoloss.

  3. Rocket Prof

    This deck is lots of fun to play (I also run mine a bit differently) but I use 1 Uxie and it made it lightning fast, I opted for no Typhlosion for the sake of consistency and for the room for a 2-2 Blaziken FB Lv. X (great disruption and Jet Shoot is good for a quick kill on smaller Poke) and the tournament I played it in saw me win 2 rounds with Donks… that’s right… Charizard Donks…

    • Travis Yeary  → Rocket

      Uxies are too good for words, but it seemed every time I played one I was automatically 10 damage short for all the kills I needed lol. I used blaziken FB for a while, and he was especially good for “Clay-Stalling”. No one ever expected their claydols to be put active. I remember one time specifically.
      “Hey man you have any switches in here?”
      “No everything in the deck has free retreat.”
      “Not claydol!”

        • Travis Yeary  → Martin

          Oh yea, not only was he stuck out there but, he couldn’t cosmic either XD I forgot about that part. Man I loved watching players have to painfully attach energy because I would just use the time to build up. I’d let burn take care of it. The best part is if heatran Lv.X was out, then the claydol would die in transition into my turn and I’d basically draw 2 prizes before he got to attack me once… I miss claydol! T~T

  4. Zackary Ayello

    Yes, yes, yes! I wasn’t alone in thinking that Infernape4 was a great tech in this deck! Another tech that works great in this deck is the Rapidash AR-28, thanks to free retreat, and walling SP decks somewhat. I’ve been testing this deck out, and i think I’ll be building it (but not for myself).

    • Travis Yeary  → Zackary

      The only thing about the Rapidash is, a good sp player will look at it and go “okay… dragon rush charmeleon, your turn… okay bright look charmander” sp decks could easily snipe and move around him. It would be funny if he was the only guy left though XD

      • Zackary Ayello  → Travis

        Yeah, that’s true. But like i said, the main thing is the free retreat, in case you can’t get the Infernape4 out or it is prize locked. Being able to run warp point, and then free retreat back or not, gives you a few more options. I actually run BlastGatr, and the Floatzel GL is the same way.

        • Travis Yeary  → Zackary

          My roommate runs a blastgatr with a floatzel gl tech as well. Really fun to play against but we usually don’t play with weakness to keep the game fair.

    • Shining Yue  → Anthony

      he has 15 fire energy+2 fisherman, even discarding with roast reveal, there will be an energy in the hand pretty much always. Also, Charizard can live enough for charging it with 3 energys even without typhlo. The typhlo spray hurts indeed, but it’s not the end.

      • Martin Garcia  → Austin

        You would be surprised to hear this is not the case at all. I played against charizard decks a lot, and ended up spraying more times the typhlo than the ninetales. If they wanna discard energies to draw, fine by me, if they wanna attach more of those energies per turn to deal 120 damage, hell no=spray typhlo.Any sp deck can handle 80 damage per turn, even 100. But you cant handle 120 damage per turn.

      • Travis Yeary  → Austin

        XD I made someone waste 3 power sprays on ninetails, then rare candied to typho, used his power and it got me the KO. Really it’s situational over which one you spray. Intimidating roar is also a good choice.

  5. Austin Mitchell

    I think I’d run the trainer line like this so as not to give vilegar as many trainers to damage you with.4 collector3 bebes2 fisherman2 copycat/pont/lookers/judge (I’d probably go with copycat or lookers, but testing would be necessary)3 candy2 belt1 lux ball1 comm.3 bts2 stark mountainAlso, this deck’ll pretty much auto loss to gyarados. Just sayin.

    • venny kid  → Austin

      Not necessarily an auto-loss to Gyarados. Charizard can deal 150 with a Belt every turn, enough to OHKO a belted Gyarados. With superior draw power (Thanks Ninetails), you can recover from a KO faster too. So yeah, G-Dos would be one of the toughest match-ups for this deck, but its still 30-70 match-up (G-Dos Favour).

      • Martin Garcia  → venny

        I disagree in the 30-70. Gyarados cant OKHO charizard unless it is belted and the charizard isnt.
        Revenge tail normally deals 90 damage + 20 for belt(occasionally) +30 for weakness=140 as i said, enough to kill only an un-belted charizard, while charizard can OHKO even the belted gyarados.
        Sure, gyarados might be hitting faster, but i would say the match up is only 40-60 in gyarados favor, and thats nothing a tech cant turn around.

    • Travis Yeary  → Austin

      I’ve tried almost that exact same build before. It usually takes me about 6-10 turns to set up when I put that many supporters in as opposed to my 2-3 turn set ups I usually get. I can’t build my deck around only 1 matchup, I do my best against trainer lock, but really trainers tend to speed a deck up significantly.

    • Travis Yeary  → Austin

      I’ve tried almost that exact same build before. It usually takes me about 6-10 turns to set up when I put that many supporters in as opposed to my 2-3 turn set ups I usually get. I can’t build my deck around only 1 matchup, I do my best against trainer lock, but really trainers tend to speed a deck up significantly.

      • Dakota Streck  → Travis

        You’re going to need a balance, enough trainers to be consistent, but not too many so you loose to trainer lock. Yes, it will require a lot of work and playtesting.

  6. Tony

    Great article! Charizard is a cool idea and I really like some of the techs you put in especially infernape 4.

    I had one of my best matches this battle roads with my playing a jumpluff/vileplume and my opponent playing Charizard. I barely pulled out the win, but it was a nail-biter. I really didn’t care who won because it was a great match- trading prizes, making cool plays, etc.

    Do u see any cards in the triumphant release that might help this deck?

  7. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Deck shouldn’t really have a massive problem with Trainer Lock. It now has the best draw Support left in the Format sitting on the Bench. List can be altered to give it a better match up (eg: less Comm, more Bebe, +1 Charmeleon).

    Agree that 15 Energy is too much, especially with 2 Fisherman. Deck can easily run less Fire or add Call.

    • Travis Yeary  → Jak

      It’s important to realize that I modified the list before putting it up. I don’t want to give away my actual tournament list right now because I’m having so much success with it, but I do run a little less energy and some hand refresh. This list is what I had about 2 weeks ago and I’ve still been working on it.

      • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Travis

        Eh . . . there’s something I don’t like when people do that.

        Submitting a sub-standard list is short-changing readers. I understand if people want to keep lists secret but deliberately putting out an inferior one could mislead players (especially new ones) who come here for deck advice/info even if you do say it’s ‘slightly modified’.

        The whole ‘my actual list is better’ thing is a bit of a cop-out too imo.

        • Dakota Streck  → Jak

          Yeah, you need to do one of two things

          1. Be your actual deck list looking for help
          2. Be a deck analysis, so you could just post the standard list.

          Otherwise, it’s very misleading for new players and can still be pretty confusing even for a little more advanced players.

        • Travis Yeary  → Dakota

          Not really, this decklist is a skeleton of a charizard deck. Players each have their own preferances about how to build it. New players can just read the comments for suggestions. Also, I constantly change my deck, and it took about 3 days from when I submitted it to when it was posted. This was my deck list at one point and it played very well. The point of the article is to suggest this deck to other players who wanted to play charizard but just couldn’t figure out a decklist. Will this win you tournaments? …actually maybe. I went 4-2 with a deck almost exactly like this.

          Point is, it doesn’t matter. I have gotten quite a few nice ideas from reading and responding, and anyone else can too. If people want to take the lazy way and just copy and paste a deck list and run to a tournament, they should really think twice about it.

  8. Jona Jeffords

    My daughter has been playing this deck so far this season (she used to play Kingdra – lol) and we play test against each other quite often. Her list is very similar to yours with a few minor tweaks, but very close.

    2 issues she has had during battle roads are multiple muligans per game and starting with only one pokemon. She has actually lost twice so far to donks when starting with with only a Vulpix or Charmander.

    Oh, and with the correct starting hand, going second, without trainer lock, it can be fairly routine to get a Charizard active with an energy swinging for 70 – 100. So, yes, Charizard donks too!

    Anyway, nice list and well written article.

    • Jona Jeffords  → Jona

      Just thought I would add that we are running an Unown R draw engine too. This is great because Unown R can use its power (Retire) to discard itself and then draw a new card. It is searchable because it is a pokemon card and since it gets off the bench by discarding, it doesn’t hurt Charizard’s damage bonus.

  9. eli moses

    im sorry but my charizard deck will be better i run 4-4 line of ninetails, and a 4-2-4 line of charizard

  10. Shi-ke Villanueva

    whoa! travis! you got a nice article on Charizard! the article really helped me out on which to bring out and which is not but for me, Palmer’s might also save those important fire basics like Infernape 4 for Czard’s Pokebody. Also, with this build, you can get out those all important pokemon for the situation (Infernape 4 then send him on active slot then intimidating roar a spiritomb to stop a vileplume from getting out for a while) then snipe out oddish and ‘tomb! terrific!

  11. Anonymous

    infernape 4 lvlx is totally wicked!!!!!!! but I have never seen it.Y? I go to multiple tournaments weekly. how much is the card if you just buy it single?

  12. Michelle Davis

    I’ve been playing Charizard for a long time and have always had problems with consistency. Sometimes I’d have terrible openings and just have a bunch of Vulpixes falling over one after the other and other times I’d have two Charizards on turn 2, burninating everything in sight. Unfortunately, since I don’t live near a League, I only get to playtest against a few friends, so I never knew how to find a consistent model. I found that I never got Typhlosion out, and Quilavas were dead draws, so I relegated him to a tech, and somehow that made the deck even slower than before.

    But now I’m testing a variant based on the decklist you’ve given here and having amazing success with it. =D Infernape is beast (after testing with a proxy, I was more than willing to buy, and snagged it for $10), and I almost always get Typhlosion out, usually before Ninetales in fact. Not only that, but my primary playtesting opponent always plays Rain Dance, and I do even better than I used to. (She used to run a slower variant of it using Blastoise, but nixed it for a faster version that relies exclusively on Gatr and Lanturn, and uses Bat drops to make Hydro Crunch do more damage.) If get even 2 damage counters on a Char, I can be OHKO’d, so Stark is really nice to have (wish there were a more reliable way to get it out, though.) ^^; Our last game was epic: every time a Zard was killed, I got another one out the very next turn.

    I agree with the lack of Call Energy. People need to look at the big picture. If you don’t get it on turn one or two, it’s a dead draw. Can’t Roast Reveal or Reheat it (I love Reheat Vulpix, it’s saved me from a couple terrible openings). I’m running four Collector right now and love it.

    I also run Tyranitar, and I want to test my new Zard deck against it, since I got murdered by it at Battle Roads. Trainer lock is one thing, and those guys just have too darn much HP to kill. *_*

    • Travis Yeary  → Michelle

      Really glad you’ve been having success with it. The changes I’ve made since I posted this article have been minor but very noticeable. I’ve added hand refresh and some rescue energy. It’s nice to oaks for 6 new cards, then roast reveal for 3 more, and getting charizards returned to your hand make it so you constantly have another charizard to strike back with.

      I went to cities, and beat both machamp and vilegar with with a few prizes to spare. I’d say charizard might be starting to get the support it needs to be a top 3 tier deck.

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