BulbapediaHello there. My name is Travis. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m obsessed with Charizard. Seriously, what’s not to like about him? He flies around while on fire and never complains about it!
Anyway, because of this I refuse to play anything but Charizard. I have been tweaking various forms of competitive Charizard decks since I started playing the game again. Even with the rise of Gyarados, I stand strong by Charizard.
This article is a bit of deck analysis, but mostly it’s the story of Charizard and how well he and I did through 4 different City tournaments. I should have started writing this earlier, but because of my procrastination, I’ve forgotten a lot of details from my first 2 tournaments, so they will be hazy recollections for the first bit. The last 2 especially will have a lot more detail, as I remembered to take notes.
- December 4th Colorado Springs
- December 12th Longmont
- January 2nd Monument
- January 8th Westminster
December 4th Colorado Springs
Chapter 1: Locked, Loaded, And Ready To… Do Okay.
This was my first Cities of the season. I had been testing a more consistent Charizard build, maxing things like Rare Candies and Pokémon Communication over utility cards like Warp Point and Expert Belt like I had been doing. With this build in testing, I seemed to almost never mulligan, and was able to get a Charizard by turn 3 at the latest. I was happy with the consistency of the deck and was ready for cities. Here is the list I went with:
|Pokémon: 22||T/S/S: 25||Energy: 13|
I find that I can safely run only 10 Fire and still be able to use all three Rescue Energy. After the release of Rescue Energy, I have never run out of Charizards to use in the game. One R Energy is all that is needed for “Fire Wing.” That’s all Typhlosion’s job, or at the very least, there should be a Fire put onto Charmander on turn one.
The Rescues never get in the way, and you can throw one on just about anyone to prevent losing them if they’re in danger. Point is, they have not gotten in my way of attacking, or limited my draw power in any games I’ve played with them. Now that that part is done, on to the first tournament report.
Round 1: Sable Pop’N’Lock
pokebeach.comEh. To be honest I don’t like disruption decks. It may be fun, sometimes even practical to play as them, but it’s never any fun playing against them. Especially when they do what they were built to do; not let you play the game. I was basically “locked”, then “popped” into a 1st round loss before I got to play at all. There’s nothing too flashy about this match.
Round 2: Machamp
If I wasn’t running Charizard, I’d be running some kind of Machamp variant. I love how the deck plays with the addition of Machamp Prime, and the additional combo power he adds with Donphan Prime. Machamp is a scary deck, but unfortunately for them, Charizard has a -20 resistance to Fighting type.
This gives Charizard the edge he needs to pretty much survive 3 average hits from any Machamp, all the while taking the Champs out in 1 hit. It was a close game as my opponent set up quicker, but I pulled it back at the end.
Round 3: VileGar
I pretty much slammed my head on the table when I saw my opponent flip Gastly. Oh boy, another lock deck, I can’t wait to not play half the cards I have. Fortunately I am able to get a Charizard out early by manually evolving. I take a few prizes with one, including a Gengar who fails his “Fainting Spell.”
My Charizard is eventually taken out, but I had built up another one by the time it was. It was a really painful game for me. I kept having to use Oaks and Cynthias to shuffle my Trainers back into my deck, and eventually Charizard’s high HP, combined with the fact that I kept Trainers and such out of my hand won me the prize race.
Round 4: Machamp
pokebeach.comAlright, this match pretty much goes exactly like the last Machamp game. I was a very close game, but Charizard’s resistance kept him alive long enough to draw 2 Prizes each before being Knocked Out, winning me the prize race again.
Round 5: Regigigas
Oh boy, I’ve only played against this deck once before. He begins an early power lock with Mesprit, Seeker, and Super Scoop Up. He blocks my draw power for so long, I can’t prevent him from setting up a complete Regigigas. I played this game very wrong. I was able to get Charizards out (All of which taken out by one hit from that beast) and instead of stalling long enough to get a Burning Tail off, I kept using Fire Wing.
Regigigas could easily heal the 80-100 damage I kept doing to it. In fact the only prizes I drew in this game were the ones he made me draw through “Sacrifice.” It was really fun to see the deck in work. Unfortunately, the deck “worked” me right out of the final cut.
December 12th Longmont
Chapter 2: Re-Live the Mediocrity, But This Time, Way Farther Away.
Oh man, I hate sitting in a car for a long time. But Pokémon is just one of those things that makes you “deal with it”. Think about it. Most of us give up weekends to sleep in to make it to tournaments and league meetings. Sometimes we don’t even realize how much we miss the sleep until round 6 and concentrating becomes a challenge. It was a pretty fun ride up though. My Roomate and I car pooled with some friends from the League. It was a fun drive besides the sitting down for an hour and a half.
I blamed my losses in the last tournament on a bad start and a matchup I had no idea how to play. It was for those reasons I chose to keep the exact same decklist for this tournament.
Round 1: DialgaChomp
I knew what I was in for when I saw my opponent flip a Garchomp C and a Dialga G. I managed to swoop in and take the first prize, but that was all my opponent needed to get Dialga G active to level up. It was all downhill from there. For those of you who don’t know, Dialga G stops bodies. Specifically “Fire Formation”, making the max damage Charizard can do 100 even with an Expert Belt.
That’s 10 damage away from Knocking Out any Garchomp C who feels like sniping whatever he wants. It was a challenge for me to take any prizes after the first one because of this. It doesn’t matter that Dialga G is weak to fire if there’s no way to make him active.
It came down to the last prize. I thought I had it on my last turn. Garchomp was active with nothing but support Pokémon and Dialga G on the bench. I have a fully built up Charizard on my bench and a Warp Point in my hand. He sends up Bronzong G with the Warp. Did anyone know that Bronzong G has his weakness and resistance backwards? Neither did I, but it lost me the game.
I could only do 100-20 to its 90 HP preventing me from drawing my last prize. The next turn my opponent Warped and Garchomped me. Actually that’s not true. He would have Garchomped me, but I actually used “Roast Reveal” to draw the last 3 cards in my deck. I forgot to use the PONT in my hand at the end of my turn. My opponent would have beat me regardless, but technically I lost by decking myself with Ninetales. My bad.
Round 2: Tyranitar Prime (Singular Noun)
My opponent starts with a Larvitar, and gets it to a Tyranitar Prime. I think he even attacks with it a few times. Unfortunately that’s all the Pokémon he gets down before I’m able to use Fire Wing twice for the Knock Out.
Round 3: Machamp
Really, this is just an overall good matchup for me. I use the same strategy every time. Step 1: Get a Charizard out. Step 2: Keep using Burning Tail and working on another Charizard. This game moves pretty quickly and smoothly. My opponent has 2 Prizes left when the game ends.
Round 4: Tyranitar/Other Dark Pokémon
pokebeach.comOkay I don’t know what this deck was about. It had some crazy dark Pokémon and two different kinds of Tyranitar. I honestly thought I had this match in the bag quite a few times, but I didn’t realize how strong “Darkness Howl” is. Using it once puts everyone on my side in 1HKO range. I lose the prize race on this match, and I can’t really remember what happened. The deck was so rogue and random I was shocked by the loss for a bit. I guess competitive rouge decks are possible.
Round 5: POWER LOCKING GYARADOS
Oooooh No! My worst nightmare. I’ve play tested against Gyarados; it’s kinda tricky. I’ve play tested against POWER LOCKING Gyarados. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE! I don’t see how any deck can compete with a deck that won’t let you use any powers, and sets up completely by turn 2. It’s just insane! I really lucked out on this match though.
My opponent starts with lone Sableye, and Impersonates Pokémon Collector for some Karps and a Regice. I begin my turn by using a Rare Candy to get a Charizard. I top decked Infernape 4, and I had a Vulpix down. I used a PONT and the 6th card was a Lux Ball. I used it to grab Cyndaquil, and donked the Sableye with a 60 damage Fire Wing. My nightmare matchup was taken care of by a donk. I felt bad, but I wasn’t going to have to actually fight that deck if I had the chance to just skip it. 3-2
Round 6: Machamp
I start with lone Charmander. Also I “Win” the coin flip. Let’s just say I was “Taken Out” of the top cut. 3-3
January 2nd Monument
Chapter 3: Moving Forward: A Change of Pace.
I like Monument. It’s close by, and the tournament was right off the highway and close to all sorts of food places and gas stations. The bathroom was really nice and the building was cozy. Anyway.
I was disappointed in my decks performance. It was just lacking something. A way to get cards quickly that worked early game. A searchable tool or something that could help me get what I needed before my Ninetales were set up. An extra boost of cards to help me set up a Charizard quickly… yea, I had to put someone in my deck I swore I’d never use.
|Pokémon: 21||T/S/S: 26
4 Rare Candy
I hated the idea of putting Uxie in my deck again. I had play tested it in earlier stages of the deck with almost no success. Sadly, in testing, it moved my consistency to averaging turn 1 or 2 Charizards almost every time. To be honest, I haven’t noticed a huge reduction in damage output.
If I’m 10 damage away from a KO, it’s usually not Uxie’s fault, as I usually have free bench space in those situations. I added 2 Seekers to allow myself to pick the Uxies back up, but as everyone knows, there are just so many things Seeker can do. I don’t regret adding them in at all. It was a bittersweet conclusion to my testing, but I ended up adding one Uxie.
pokebeach.comOh boy. A deck I’m happy to fight in a tournament. As my opponent was shuffling, he revealed a Metal and a G Energy. Just happened to be the cards that got flashed as he shuffled, so right away I knew I had at least one weakness on him (I was hoping the grass would be for Jumpluff or something haha). I start with a 5 Prize lead. I’m feeling like I have the game.
Then he gets Yanmega and Judges away my awesome hand. At this point he gains board control somehow. He Knocks Out my Charizard, and my limited resources prevent me from getting another Charizard. My opponent just keeps Judging me and using Looker’s Investigation and manages to draw 4 Prizes before I can draw my last one. Eventually he judges me into a BTS and a Charmeleon/Charizard.
I use it to quickly build a Charizard. I force him to switch into Scizor Prime at the end with Infernape 4 LV.X and take my last prize from him with a simple Fire Wing.
Round 2: Dusknoir, Mewtwo, Gengar
I don’t know what this deck is, but I know what it was about. I took care of the Mewtwo early so he wasn’t a real issue. I happen to Knock Out the Dusknoir LV.X early, meaning all of my Pokémon become basically poisoned. Right before my opponent was about to draw multiple prizes on me because of it, I used BTS to remove the effect.
A similar thing happened to me in this game where my opponent kept Judging me, and eventually Judged me into a bomb hand. It’s actually kind of hard to Judge a Charizard deck when they have Ninetales set up. Just one R Energy, plus your draw will bring the hand to 7 with a “Roast Reveal.”
Two R Energy make it an easy 9, refreshing your hand as soon as you’re judged. After I took out his main Pokémon, I just kinda KO’d some Uxies and such til I won.
Round 3: Eevolution Deck
My opponent was a friend from the league. I had played his deck before, and knew to watch out for the Umbreon. Unfortunately I didn’t know he had added Espeon Prime, giving me even more Moonlight Fangs to deal with. I warped the Espeon into the Umbreon and hit it for 70 with Fire Wing. He retreated to Espeon and Moonlight Fanged again. I switched to Infernape 4 and used “Split Bomb” to KO the Umbreon, making it impossible to Moonlight Fang again. I sweeped him at this point as he had no defense against a raging Charizard.
Round 4: Scizor Prime
pokebeach.comIronically this is the same guy that beat me with DialgaChomp. He is no pushover, as he makes top cut at just about every tournament he goes to. As he’s shuffling, a lone Scyther fell out of his deck. He already knew what deck I was playing so he wasn’t too happy when he saw the postings. Like I said, this guy is good. Regardless of weakness he put up an excellent fight and drew quite a few prizes.
Somewhere along the line I thought it would be an excellent idea to put a Rescue Energy on Charizard. For those who don’t know, Scizor Prime can’t be hurt with Pokémon equipped with special energy. Once I did this, my opponent judged away my hand, complete with my Warp Point and Seeker. I drew into Warp Point, and used “Roast Reveal” twice to draw six cards. The fifth card was the Seeker.
Round 5: Gyarados
I kind of jinxed myself the previous round. I claimed that I would fight a Gyarados next because I had such great luck in previous rounds. That said I wasn’t just going to give up. We both get slow starts. My opponent has to resort to using “Sea Spray” to draw cards.
Eventually I get a Charizard and claim the first prize. All I really did though was add a Karp to the discard, and we all know how much Gyarados decks hate Karps in the discard. He revenge KOs me with a belted Gyarados. Then I revenge KO him with a belted Charizard. I keep a one card prize lead in this way, combined with “Intimidating Roar” on my trusty Infernape 4 LV.X.
On the last turn I am only able to get a Charizard with one R Energy because I had been power locked. I use Intimidating Roar again, and he switches to Regice. I have two Belts in my deck, one of which is in my discard. I need the Belt to KO the Regice for my last prize. I rely on the PONT in my hand for the Belt because of the power lock. Luckily I draw the Belt and get the last KO.
I really hope everyone who told me Charizard takes an auto-loss from Gyarados reads this: IN YOUR FACE! I TOLD YOU SO!
Round 6: LuxChomp
pokebeach.comI was flipping out at this point. I have never gone 5-0 at a tournament before. I know my opponent is running LuxChomp, I know he is really good, and I know that win or lose, I’m going to the final cut. I’m excited for another heated battle with a tier 1 deck as my last match.
Unfortunately my deck didn’t want me to have a good match. My hand was so bad, my opponent remarked on how bad it was in a YouTube video. My hand was so bad, the guy three seats down from me scooped his game. My hand was SO BAD I can remember every single card I drew in the game. Opening hand: Charmander, Infernape 4, Stark Mountain, Rescue Energy, three R Energy.
I top deck a Fisherman, and Call for a Vulpix. I proceed to draw cards in this order: Expert Belt, Charmeleon (Charmander is gone by this point), and another Seeker. By this point my opponent had time to “Lux” and “Chomp” me to the point where there was just no recovery. I’m sad the game wasn’t really that great but I was happy to still be going to the top 8.
Top 8: Scizor Prime
Really? Yea, really. Having never fought a Scizor Prime deck before, I hit three in one day. This happens to be the same guy I beat in round 4. Again, he manages to take multiple prizes through the games, but it ends the same way both times. x2 weakness is just too much to deal with for any deck.
Top 4: VileGar
It would have been nice to have a good rematch with the guy running LuxChomp again, as he also made the top four but no, I get to play VileGar. My opponent was really cool, but I don’t like VileGar. I hate VileGar. I dislike it so much that I try and repress the idea that it even exists as a playable deck. When almost half my deck is unplayable, I can’t really play the game at all.
Most of my turns were; draw, pass. The only Charizard I got out was KOd by “Fainting Spell.” Again, I really really really don’t like VileGar.
I got 4 booster packs. Just about all of them had great pulls. One had Yanmega Prime, Twins, and Seeker. The only other interesting point of this tournament is that my car broke down at a traffic light on the way back home.
January 8th Westminster
Chapter 4: The Last Cities, And The Least Original Chapter Title
Because of my success with the deck, I decided to keep it the same. The Meta in Westminster is really tough. And by tough I mean every other deck was VileGar or Gyarados. I didn’t like the decks I was seeing around. It looked like I had a lot of bad matchups/
Round 1: Kingdra Prime
pokebeach.comI thought I had got the worst start I could possibly get in my last tournament, but no this one takes the cake. 2 Fire, 1 CYNDAQUIL, 2 Charmeleon, Charizard, Warp Point, Seeker, Stark Mountain, Fisherman. If you count those, you’ll count 10 cards. I went first, and got a mulligan card. I dare anyone to put those cards together in any combination and find a way out of two Kingdra Primes and a belted Azelf.
Round 2: Houndoom/Zubat/Tyranitar
There’s really not much to say here. My opponent almost gets out a Tyranitar, and manages to get a Houndoom Prime and burn me, but that was it. I got a turn 1 Charizard and sweeped with him alone.
Round 3: Dusknoir/Gengar
My opponent starts with a Gastly and uses “Pitch Dark”. I just collector and set up Vulpix for the Ninetales I have, and Set Up with Uxie. My opponent uses Rare Candy to get to Gengar Prime, and removes my Infernape 4 LV.X. That was just fine by me because I also had a Charizard and a Ninetales in my hand.
The next turn I am able to almost completely set up and it’s just downhill from my opponent from there. I Knock Out Gengar Prime, and proceed to Knock Out Azelf, Uxies, Dusknoir, and a Gengar that fails “Fainting Spell.”
Round 4: Dusknoir/Flygon
This match didn’t go my opponents way. I had a Charizard hitting for 140 on my second turn, and KOd Dusknoir before my opponent was able to level up so I avoided that minefield. From there I sweeped random pixies, and Slowpoke for the remaining prizes.
Round 5: Gyarados
pokebeach.comMy opponent starts with Combee. No, it gets worse. My opponent uses “Time Walk” and grabs Regice, and uses “Regi-Move” to discard the only 2 Magikarps I see. I “Fire Wing” and “Burning Tail” through some Pixies, the Regice, and finally the Sableye that my opponent should have started with. I felt bad, but my opponent understood bad hands happen.
Round 6: Luxchomp
I can’t say I got a bad hand here. I had a Charizard, and a Ninetales, but my opponent Power Sprayed my Ninetales three turns in a row. That means I missed out on drawing 9 cards I could have drawn. Also, this is the first game since I put Uxie in my deck that he was prized. I just couldn’t draw anything I needed to get anything. I kept topdecking Fisherman, Charmeleon, things like that. He eventually LuxChomped my bench for six turns. 4-2
I got 11th place, missing the top cut by 3 spaces. It was all good, I wanted to go home anyway. It seemed like everyone did at that point. There were two other Charizard decks at the tournament. It was awesome to see that and to discuss strategies with other players who actually played the same deck as me. It was the first time I had ever seen another Charizard deck at a tournament, and I hope I see more in the future. I know one of the other Charizards went 3-3 at this one.
Also I won a hat. Sweet!
I feel that cities has brought me closer to a Charizard deck that can actually win. With any luck, Charizard will gain a boost with the new set coming out. These were actually my first Cities, and I think I did pretty well considering I was playing a tier two deck. (I don’t care what anyone says, this deck is tier two in my book.) I hope you all enjoyed my article, and think more of this deck.
For the record, I played 3 Gyarados decks total. Charizard 3, Gyarados 0. Boo Yah.