Pyromaniac Jack’s Burning Desire/Hellfire (Charizard Decklist and Analysis)

pokebeach.comHey y’all, Jack here, I hope you are all well, and welcome to my article on my favorite deck in the Modified Format – Charizard.

Indeed those who know me better will know Charizard is, in my view at least, the greatest Pokémon ever created, and I’m sure many fanboys from the Red/Blue era will agree. Fire Pokémon will incinerate, cremate, and decimate the competition.

Anyway, after that somewhat irrelevant prelude, let’s analyse this underrated and overlooked deck.

To begin with, I will explain the advantages Charizard has over other Stage 1/2 swarm decks like Kingdra and Donphan, because otherwise there is no reason to run it at a tournament.

Kingdra and Donphan are known to have a very strong early game and a high chance of donking, each dealing 60 damage for 1 energy with minor drawbacks. Charizard can match or even better this damage for the same cost courtesy of its Poké-Body “Fire Formation” which increases its damage output by 10 for each Fire type Pokémon on your bench.

Without this asset Charizard is nothing more than a sub-par Stage 2.

Charizard also has a far better late game than either of the two decks I mentioned, with a damage potential of a colossal 130 or 150 with “Burning Wing,” given a full bench of Fire type Pokémon.

The other main advantage of Charizard is its impressive matchups against the main archetypes in the Modified Format.

pokebeach.comGyarados and Kingdra which exploit Charizard’s water type weakness are far from auto-losses. Facing Gyarados for example, presuming both Charizard and Gyarados are unbelted, Charizard has the ability to 1HKO ‘Dos and avoids the 1HKO from it.

Conversely the only popular grass decks around, Jumpluff and perhaps some Vespiquen variants are incinerated/destroyed by Charizard, and even the vanilla damage of Quilava and Ninetales is enough to deal with them if you are unable to get Charizard set up.

Charizard’s most difficult matchup is arguably Vilegar or any deck that utilises Power Lock, such as Regigigas. DialgaChomp could go either way, because Dialga G LV.X does have a 2× weakness to Fire, although “Time Crystal” shuts off Fire Formation. If they can Warp or retreat it to the bench before you KO it then they have the advantage. Garchomp C LV.X will also be targeting your benched Ninetales which is your main draw source. However, on balance I would put the matchup in Charizard’s favor because it can one shot everything in their deck, if Time Crystal isnt in play, rendering “Healing Breath” useless.

Anyway let’s check out my build of this deck:

Pokémon – 25

4 Charmander AR
3 Charmeleon AR
3 Charizard AR
2 Shiny Vulpix PL
1 Vulpix PL
2 Ninetales HS
2 Cyndaquil HS
2 Quilava HS
2 Typhlosion Prime
1 Infernape 4 RR/Ponyta AR
1 Infernape 4 LV.X RR/Rapidash AR
2 Uxie LA

Trainers – 22

4 Pokémon Communication
3 Bebe’s Search
3 Broken Time-Space
3 Rare Candy
3 Pokémon Collector
2 Interviewer’s Questions
1 Fisherman
1 Expert Belt/Junk Arm
1 Palmer’s Contribution
1 Luxury Ball

Energy – 13

11 R
2 Rescue

I have been running this deck since early last season and the list has barely changed over time. Consistency is crucial in Charizard, so there is very little space for techs.

My decklist isn’t standard, nor definitively the best Charizard list you can run, but hopefully it gives you guys an idea how the deck functions.

Now for an overview of the main components of the deck and optional cards you could include:

Shiny Vulpix
Ordinarily I wouldn’t analyse an evolving basic because the objective is to evolve as soon as possible, but this Vulpix serves a crucial purpose in times of energy shortage. For no cost its attack “Find Wildfire” allows you to search your deck for two Fire energy and put them into your hand. This allows you to attach an energy the following turn that you wouldn’t be able to do unless you topdecked one, and provides fodder for Roast Reveal. 60 HP also means that you are unlikely to get donked and means this Vulpix is probably the best starter in the deck

Vulpix PL
The 3-2 line of Ninetales in my list is not standard in Charizard, usually you will see 2-2 or 3-3 as the pyramid lines of the RS era and before have phased out in the current format, however my reasoning behind it is that you shouldn’t underestimate how useful these Vulpix’s attacks are. Reheat, again for free allows you to discard up to 2 energy from your hand and draw two cards for each card you discarded. This can instantly save a terrible hand that will cause you to lose in a few turns, and convert it into something workable.

Ninetales HS
Essential draw support and without this card Charizard would not be a viable competitive deck. “Roast Reveal” allows you to discard a Fire energy from your hand to draw three cards, which vastly increases set up speed and this built in draw power is the primary advantage Charizard holds over other Stage 2 decks.

Also combines with Typhlosion Prime for energy acceleration.

With the rotation of Uxie LA looming at the end of this season I can foresee a playset of Ninetales becoming sought after for any Fire type deck next season.

pokebeach.comUxie LA
Now you may be wondering why I run a heavy 2 Uxie LA in a Charizard build because it will be detrimental to Charizard’s Fire Formation and therefore its damage output.

The reason I run 2 is because without Azelf to obtain a Pokémon from your prizes, for Uxie to be useful you, you need one in your deck or hand and 2 almost ensures this.

Also there is no obligation to play it down if it prevents Charizard 1HKOing one of their Pokémon.

Finally, a good combo is to use Typhlosion Prime’s “Afterburner” to bring a R Energy from the discard onto Uxie, placing a damage counter on it in the process. The damage counter is negligible because you then use Restore to send Uxie to the bottom of the deck, achieving three things:

1. It recycles discarded energy back into the deck
2. It allows for another use of “Set Up
and most importantly 3. It allows you to place another Fire Pokémon on the bench to add 10 more damage to Charizard’s attacks.

Typhlosion Prime
A really important card in the deck for energy acceleration and with 2 Typhlosion Prime in play you are effectively able to attach 3 energy cards per turn. It allows for consecutive uses of Charizard’s devastating Burning Tail attack, as well as its own attack – “Flare Destroy.”

Flare Destroy is often overlooked with Charizard’s potential for huge damage, but it can really help in matches like DialgaChomp and Gyarados, discarding special energy like Double Colorless, Special Metal, Warp, and Rescue

Charizard AR
A truly monstrous card. Severely undertested and very powerful.

140 HP is high even for a Stage 2 outperforming Kingdra, Garchomp and other Stage 2 archetypes. Fire Formation is one of the greatest Poké-Bodies in the Modified Format right now, the equivalent of a continuous built in 5 PlusPowers.

I was so excited for this card when Platinum: Arceus was released because there hasn’t been a playable Charizard since the Base Set and we were due one.

30-80 for a single Fire energy gives it as much donk potential as Kingdra or Donphan Prime.

“Burning Tail” is the main attack of the deck and has good synergy with Typhlosion Prime’s Afterburner.

Also the 3 Retreat Cost is not of concern which is why Warp Point/Warp Energy isn’t present in the list, and it could be advantageous because you can Afterburner the discarded energy onto the new active Pokémon you promote.

Lastly, the handy Fighting resistance makes Donphan Prime and Machamp relatively easy matchups.

Infernape 4 LV.X RR/Rapidash AR
This is the only tech in the list and which you include really depends on your metagame. Some people may choose to omit both and add extra Charizard, Ninetales, R Energy, or Rare Candy for consistency.

Infernape 4 LV.X is highly disruptive and improves your matchup against decks like Vilegar and Gyarados. The concept of Gyarados as you should know is to get 3 Magikarp in the discard and swing for 90 every turn. For this reason Gyarados players will only have one attacker on the field at any one time.

“Intimidating Roar” forces them to switch their active Gyarados with one of their benched Pokémon, which tend to be weak Bench-sitters like Uxie, Regice, Combee and Sableye, allowing you to score a KO every turn.

It also prevents Umbreon Prime from walling every fully evolved Pokémon in your deck by cycling it out of the Active Spot.

Infernape 4 LV.X isnt a weak attacker either, Split Bomb for RC deals 20 damage to two of your opponents benched Pokémon, bringing anything strong enough into KO range of Charizard. Also “Fire Spin” for RRC deals 100 damage, with the drawback of discarding two energy. However with a full compliment of Typhlosion Prime you can Fire Spin on consecutive turns.

Rapidash AR on the other hand is a good play if SP is dominating in your area. Its Poké-Body prevents Pokémon SP from damaging it. This sounds incredible, but to gauge how useful the Body is you need to think of the most popular Pokémon SP. Almost every SP deck in existence runs one or a combination of the following cards:

pokebeach.comLuxray GL LV.X, Dialga G LV.X, Blaziken FB LV.X, Garchomp C LV.X, all of which can play around Rapidash.

Luxray GL LV.X can drag something up from the bench with Bright Look and damage it, Dialga G LV.X shuts down the defense completely with Time Crystal, Blaziken FB LV.X can pull something up with Luring Flame, and Garchomp C LV.X can snipe around it.

Regarding Trainers, Supporters and Stadiums the list may look inconsistent due to running 5 individual cards, however my philosophy with Charizard is that as long as you run a high count of staple search and acceleration cards like Broken Time-Space, Rare Candy, Pokémon Collector, Bebe’s Search and Pokémon Communication, you can afford to run only 1-of situational cards like Expert Belt and Fisherman.

In fact including more than 1/2 of these cards will harm your consistency.

Expert Belt is not as necessary in Charizard as most metagame decks because you have the flexibility to play down up to 5 Fire Pokémon on your bench to increase your base damage as necessary. Also there are very few Pokémon in the 140-150 HP bracket that you desperately need a 1HKO on.

Fisherman is a Supporter which enables you to retrieve 4 basic energy cards from your discard pile to your hand. This gives you ammunition to attach and a 6 card draw with Roast Reveal

Interviewer’s Questions is the only way of obtaining Rescue Energy from the deck, and gets R Energy which are crucial to the dump draw and recycle engine of Ninetales and Typhlosion Prime.

A lone Junk Arm is a personal choice to reuse a Pokémon Communication, Expert Belt, or best of all Luxury Ball. It also gives you an alternate way of discarding Fire energy.

All of the remaining Supporters, Stadiums and Trainers are standard.

pokebeach.comThe final card to explain is Rescue Energy.

Rescue Energy is the card from Truimphant that benefits Charizard more than any other, in combination with Broken Time Space you can play down a KOd Charizard straight after it is Knocked Out, and charge it up fully with an energy attachment and 2 Afterburners. Of course this is the ideal situation, but even if you cant achieve this, Rescue Energy is necessary for recovery.

In summary Charizard is a very underrated deck, with huge damage potential and a themed draw and acceleration engine. The beauty of a Charizard deck is its simplicity, but undeniable effectiveness.

I’m going to make a bold prediction that Charizard will become tier 1 next season, with the rotation causing some decks to lose their main attacker(s) and others to lose their Trainer/Supporter engine.

SP will be completely dead with the rotation of the SP engine, Gyarados, Machamp, Kingdra and many other decks will all be ruined as their main attacker is rotated. The rotation of Broken Time Space will mean you will have to run a Charizard Spiritomb variant, although this should still work.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading my masterful article and that you learnt something about the amazing deck that is Charizard. I’m taking requests for my next Front Page article so I appreciate any suggestions.

Also I’m thinking about creating my own YouTube show with deck analyses, set analyses, and format predictions, with no intention of copying J-Wittz or PokémanDan, both of whom I have the utmost respect for, and enjoy watching their videos myself.


Jack Snell

Reader Interactions

12 replies

  1. Peter Bae

    Yes Charizard has the ability to OHKO Gyarados while Gyarados can’t unless it’s belted. Let’s not forget that Charizard will have to have a full bench of fire Pokemon, which means you will be cut off from using Uxie unless you find a way to pick it up, or get rid of it (via attacking, wasting a turn). I wouldn’t go far as saying Charizard auto loses to Gyarados, but definately one of the harder match ups as Gyarados has a faster set up, faster recovery, and more damage potential and disruption with added Mesprits, Crobat G, Dialga G Lv.X (turning off that crucial Poke-Body that Chrizard has). However, good article, and pretty good decklist.

  2. Nicholas Mousel

    I find I.Q. is not so good in the build…. It doesn’t seem to do much for the deck…. I would run 4 shiny vulpixs…. :-) and one uxie….. 4 rare candy…. A couple seeker …. Fisherman isn’t needed with a 2-2-2 Typhlosion line. You can run zard at 3-2-3…. Thats better but, to each his own… Great article!

    • Anonymous  → Nicholas

      I disagree with your statement on no Fisherman. The card is vital when hitting an energy deficiency, though it may only occur with my bad luck, or when it is necessary to gain extra draw power with a Ninetails discard. It’s pulled me out of multiple bad situations, even if I’m only retriving one or two energies at the time.

  3. venny kid

    Next format, Charizard will be BOSS. It loses like NOT very many cards:
    Luxury Ball
    Shiny/Other Vulpix (HGSS one isn’t too bad.)
    Infernape 4 LV. X ??? (assuming RR is rotated, which is unlikely)

    Best draw power in the format
    Best energy recovery in the format
    Best energy Acceleration in format
    Massive damage attacker!!!

    Overall, next year, this Charizard will be BOSS!!!

    • Jack Snell  → venny

      Dude if you read the article fully I already mentioned that I foresee Charizard being tier 1 next season, because it loses very little in comparison to other decks in the metagame. I think Spiritomb may be the way to go next year.
      Testing against Vilegar has proved that this is probably Charizard’s hardest matchup, and the rotation of Gyarados and Vilegar will improve Charizard’s potential next season.
      Expect to see me at a lot of BRs and Cities next season running this build guys.
      I appreciate the props y’all, and can anyone say for sure that they will watch the Pokemon TCG strategy and deck videos I intend to make on Youtube, just to get an idea whether they are worth creating

  4. Adam Capriola

    I’m interested to see your vids… Any idea when you might start doing them?

  5. Dude Dudeson

    I used to be a big supporter of Fisherman in Charizard builds but unless you’re running at least two of them it can become difficult to draw into them. I also prefer fuller Charizard and Ninetales lines to rescue energy because rescuing KO’d pokemon is great but if 1 or 2 copies of your main attacker end up in the prizes you can be in trouble (as this deck has no space for Azelf, don’t try it, it won’t work).

    • Jack Snell  → Dude

      Hey dude, originally I ran 4-3-4 Charizard and 3-3 Ninetales without Rescue Energy, although persuasion from some other top players led to me running 2 Rescue Energy following the release of Truimphant.
      Rescue Energy is more versatile in that it can save benched Typhlosion Prime or Ninetales from being KOd by a Garchomp snipe or similar

  6. chrataxe

    These just sound like bad theorymon statements:

    “Facing Gyarados for example, presuming both Charizard and Gyarados are unbelted, Charizard has the ability to OHKO ‘Dos and avoids the OHKO from it.”

    To presume it isn’t a bad matchup because Gdos isn’t belted is stupid. Of course it is a bad match up. I wouldn’t say autoloss, though I would say it is a constant uphill battle. Gdos may not OHKO if unbelted (lets hope you are that lucky), but if Gdos swings first (or second), then Charizard gets 2HKO’ed and GDOS recovers faster and takes 2 prizes in 3 turns while Charizard hits 1 prize in those 3 turns….

    “If they can Warp or retreat it to the bench before you KO it then they have the advantage.”

    I don’t have a problem with the above statement near as much as the one that follows it: “However, on balance I would put the matchup in Charizard’s favour because it can one shot everything in their deck, if Time Crystal isnt in play, rendering “Healing Breath” useless.”

    So, IF Dialga doesn’t heal and IF DGX isn’t in play, the matchup is in Charizard’s favor? So, basically, what you are saying is, IF your opponent is running a Garchomp C deck with no Dialga tech, you win? Why wouldn’t DGX be in play? Why woudn’t Dialga be able to retreat to heal ALL GAME? Because, that is the two scenarios you say must happen for you to win. While I do agree, the matchup seems somewhat even on paper, I can’t imagine a scenario like you play out. And, not being a Charizard player (tried it once, failed) but being a bit of a Dialgachomp player, I’m pretty sure I would roll right over Charizard given the scenario you give.I’ve never had a match that didn’t get DGX out except one and that was because I Dragon Rushed 2 turns in a row FTW like T4. Come to find out, it was prized and I wasn’t running Azelf. Either way, your scenario is not plausible to bet the matchup on. A matchup analysis should assume both decks set up and class head to head on an even battle field, it should not assume that your decks does set up but your opponent’s deck doesn’t, unless you are playing an uber-speed/donk deck. Even then, the analysis should include an early game/late game scenario. I’ve never really considered Charizard a “speed” deck needing at least 2 stage 2’s and 1 stage 1 in play.

    Really enjoyed the article, I just don’t at all agree with the above statements and I wish you would have given more matchup analysis. Though, I feel your love for the ‘Zard skews your opinion and removes a lot of facts from your matchups.

    • Jack Snell  → chrataxe

      Perhaps the matchups arent completely accurate, however when running the deck I have never lost to a Gyarados build or a DialgaChomp build, therefore I class both of the matchups even if not slightly favourable.
      Gyarados and DialgaChomp are two of Charizard’s most difficult matchups when fully set up however youre right.
      Charizard should get knockouts early game though, with a skilled player reaching anywhere between 60-100 damage turn 1.

      • Travis Yeary  → Jack

        I ran a Charizard, and hit a DialgaChomp at my last cities. I got the easy first prize but after my opponent got Dialga X going, charizard maxed at 100 with a belt and 3 energy. Thats 10 damage away from dealing with the Garchomps, and Bronzong G, who for some reason has inverted weakness and Resistance. At that point, it turned into retreating or turning them to get the prize lead. Dialga may be weak to fire, but he’s invincible on the bench with no Blaziken against charizard.

  7. Shi-ke Villanueva

    Charizard is my ONLY DECK created when I started. From when I started ’til now, I play this deck on our meta here in my home, the Philippines. Well, our meta decks here are Lanturn prime (with some blend of Electivire FB), Gengar and an incomplete Arceus deck that is not fast enough. Well, I can say that when this Arceus deck is completed, it can OHKO my Charizard with some stuff. My rival here, (Lanturn Prime user) has some fast ways of evolving his pokemons without the use of draw engines but relying solely on supporters. I can post the Lanturn Prime deck of him so you can help him out. Our format here is DP-on so that everyone will be happy and will not be mumbling about about my.. and … and so whatever stuff but hey, I enjoyed the article and approved on many things like a 3-2 Ninetales line for ultimate speeding compared on most decks. BTW, Infernape 4 RR LV. X ROCKS!!!!

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