Flashfire, Nationals, Worlds… there is a lot going on in the Pokémon TCG world right now! As things are heating up for the biggest tournaments of the season, we have a new set to digest and analyze. Also, it might just be me, but there is a lot of buzz going on about old formats.
Today, I will be talking about Flashfire from a different perspective. Basically, I see the set as a challenge to the competitive Pokémon TCG scene. There seems to be only one card out of the entire set that is definitely good (Druddigon). For any released set, that is quite a feat. Almost every other card fits into this category of “could be good, but we’ll see.”
With that in mind, Flashfire presents many questions with no easy answers, and it’s those questions I want to tackle today. Additionally, I want to bring you a new segment titled “Blast From The Past,” in which I cover a popular deck from an old format. For those who are wanting to get in on the old format action, this will be a welcome addition to my article.
Click on the link in the table of contents to go directly to that part of the article.
- Table of Contents
- INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE SET
- BLAST FROM THE PAST: INFERNAPE DP/DELCATTY PK (AKA “INFERNCATTY”)
- QUESTION 1: IS CHARIZARD-EX GOOD?
- QUESTION 2: WHAT ABOUT M-CHARIZARD-EX?
- QUESTION 3: HOW SHOULD I PLAY PYROAR?
- QUESTION 4: IS TORCHSMITH RELIABLE?
- QUESTION 5: WHAT’S UP WITH MILOTIC?
- QUESTION 6: ARE BLASTOISE AND EMBOAR DEAD BECAUSE OF DRUDDIGON?
- QUESTION 7: HOW SHOULD I PLAY THIS SET’S SUPPORTERS (AND PAL PAD)?
Table of Contents
- Initial Thoughts on the Set
- Blast from the Past: Infernape DP/Delcatty PK (aka “InfernCatty”)
- Question 1: Is Charizard-EX Good?
- Question 2: What About M-Charizard-EX?
- Question 3: How Should I Play Pyroar?
- Question 4: Is TorchSmith Reliable?
- Question 5: What’s Up with Milotic?
- Question 6: Are Blastoise and Emboar Dead Because of Druddigon?
- Question 7: How Should I Play This Set’s Supporters (And Pal Pad)?
INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE SET
When we received spoilers of the Japanese version of Flashfire, a few things ran through my head, the first of which had to do with the “theme” of the set – that of the Fire type. It instantly reminded me of Dark Explorers, which focused heavily on the Dark type and established a couple of plays – Night Spear and Junk Hunt – that would for years change the game. With the addition of Dark Claw and Dark Patch, Dark Explorers did what many years of the Pokémon TCG could not do. It provided a framework for what the Dark type was all about (sneaky Energy attachments, utilization of the discard pile, and high damage output).
I love sets with a theme, and so Flashfire initially got me really excited because it seemed like one more step in the direction of providing a common strategy for yet another type. Where the Dark type (thanks to Dark Explorers) got its makeover, the Fire type would be all about high-risk, high-reward plays. Outfitting one’s deck to use the Fiery Torch/Blacksmith combo is in itself a risk, while there’s literally a Charizard-EX whose attack can pull three basic Energy from the deck and attach them to itself. One can also argue the risk involved with playing Pyroar, though that is a separate discussion entirely.
After I calmed down, I realized the set is not as impressive as I once thought. For one, the whole “Fire-type theme” is mostly reserved to a handful of cards. There are more Water- and Colorless-type Pokémon in the set after all (not counting the full arts), and most of the Trainer cards have nothing to do with the Fire type. In retrospect, the whole “Flashfire” thing seems meant to highlight Charizard-EXs, quite possibly the easiest way to sell anything related to Pokémon ever.
After adopting a less biased perspective on this set, I am not that impressed. There are standouts (I am particularly in love with Milotic), but there is also a bunch of filler. I mean, three entire types – Lightning, Fighting, and Dark – have nothing to offer. Nothing! A look at the Trainer cards reveals trouble as well. Lysandre, Sacred Ash, and Startling Megaphone are all cards that perform similar functions to cards we already have (Pokémon Catcher, Super Rod, and Tool Scrapper, respectively). Of course, they are all great cards, but can we not get something new? Pokémon Fan Club and Magnetic Storm are both reprints of cards that never were that popular, and Pal Pad lets you use Supporter cards again. Again, nothing new.
Ah, yes, what about Fiery Torch, Blacksmith, Pokémon Center Lady, Protect Cube, and Trick Shovel? Surely these present something new to the game. Well, Fiery Torch and Blacksmith definitely do inject something new into things, but more on that later. Pokémon Center Lady and Protection Cube are just lame. Seriously. The healing power of Pokémon Center Lady is minimal, while Protection Cube’s power is dictated primarily by the strength of Pokémon that do damage to themselves. Currently, with regard to this, there is nothing out there that impresses me.
Still, I think there are some cards in this set that represent greatness. Perhaps not right now, but I can see a lot of Flashfire stuff being used next season. Obviously, there is a lot here that helps with a rotation (Startling Megaphone and Sacred Ash), but I still see some cards here and there that seem destined to surprise many players in the future.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: INFERNAPE DP/DELCATTY PK (AKA “INFERNCATTY”)
More than ever before, this season has seen people taking an interest in the formats of years past. There is a growing number of individuals who are dedicating themselves to learning about the game as it existed back then. With this in mind, I will be doing a regular installment with each article that covers a deck from the past. For each deck, I will describe why it was effective, what it meant for the game, and possibly what we can learn from it today.
To celebrate the release of Flashfire, today’s “Blast from the Past” is Infernape DP/Delcatty PK, a deck that introduced players to a new era of simplicity in the Pokémon TCG. At a time when decks like Absolution (Absol ex/Eeveelution exs) and MetaNite (Metagross DS/Dragonite DS) held a firm hold on the game, “InfernCatty” landed on the scene with promises of first-turn wins and a glaringly simple strategy: set up with Delcatty PK, attack with Infernape DP.
Delcatty PK’s Poké-Power let players discard an Energy card in order to draw three cards. Infernape DP’s attack did 90 for two R Energy – a requirement that was fulfilled with Double Rainbow Energy. There were also Infernape LV.X and Delcatty ex… and that was basically it. Nevermind the complicated dances of strategy that took place before, the raw power of hitting for 80 on the first turn was too much for most decks. Add to that the threat of either Infernape LV.X or Delcatty ex cleaning up by doing loads of damage late-game, and you had a massive threat to nearly the entire format.
If you’re curious about this deck, try building it! Here’s a list to get you started:
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 29
Energy – 15
Like I said, the strategy here is very simple: discard Energy and draw with Delcatty, hit hard with Infernape. When it first hit the scene, this deck was everywhere and was quickly deemed the best deck in the format. It dominated Battle Roads, but was phased out almost completely by a direct counter: Empoleon DP. As other Diamond & Pearl sets were released, Blissey MT became big until Gardevoir SW/Gallade SW swept tournaments for the rest of the year. InfernCatty’s influence was big, but short-lived.
Be sure to look for more “Blast from the Past” segments in the future! Now, let’s get on to the perplexing questions Flashfire introduces.
QUESTION 1: IS CHARIZARD-EX GOOD?
Let me go ahead and say it: I know I am going to break some hearts out there with what I have to say concerning Charizard-EX. There are many of you who want nothing more than a playable Charizard, I totally get that. Yet, I have to look beyond favorability and simply call a spade a spade. Still, let’s at least break the cards down.
All of the Charizard-EXs have a tremendous number of things going against them, and yet there are still some advantages. Let’s look at a pros and cons list right quick to cover some of these characteristics:
- Can make use of “TorchSmith,” the new Fiery Torch/Blacksmith combo
- Because of TorchSmith, any Charizard-EX can attack very quickly
- The Charizard-EX with Stoke can pull an incredible amount of Energy onto the field and can totally be used in the same way Ho-Oh-EX decks were used in the past
- Fire type is good against Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX
- Two M-Charizard-EXs exist in case we find a use for them
- Water Weakness is awful. Blastoise BCR/Keldeo-EX is still a huge threat, and Plasma decks can always switch to using Kyurem PLF without any issue
- The Fiery Torch/Blacksmith combo – as I will show later in this article – is not always reliable
- Using attacks with a high Energy cost is basically suicide against Yveltal-EX decks
- Charging up a Charizard-EX after one has gone down is not easy to do, lending to issues with tempo
- With Charizard-EX being a main focus of the new set, many players will be ready to find counters to the Fire type
In my mind, a great deal of potential in Charizard-EX went right out the window with the release of Yveltal-EX. To put it simply, the interaction between Yveltal-EX and all other cards in the format is a replay of Mewtwo-EX. I once made a goofy assertion that Mewtwo-EX was not a good card. That claim was made when the main attackers in the game were cards like Yanmega Prime, Reshiram BLW, and Magnezone Prime – cards that kept the damage output of X Ball very low by not requiring a lot of Energy or being able to discard them.
Within no time, however, attack costs went sky high; decks like Zekrom BLW/Eelektrik NVI (“RayEels”) and Celebi Prime/Mewtwo-EX/Tornadus EPO (CMT) used Energy acceleration to power up Pokémon that needed three Energy in order to hit for big damage. In a format where Pokémon need a lot of Energy to be effective, cards like Mewtwo-EX thrive.
This, of course, brings me back to Charizard-EX. No matter which one we are talking about, they all require lots of Energy in order to pile on the damage, which is absolute trouble if you are facing a deck that runs Yveltal-EX.
In my opinion, the Charizards from this set will not shine. In the future, I think they will definitely find a solid place in the format, but that’s dependent on what support it gets with future sets.
QUESTION 2: WHAT ABOUT M-CHARIZARD-EX?
Here’s the issue I have with M-Charizard-EX (aside from the fact that it Mega Evolves from an EX that has some issues). While both M-Charizard-EXs hit for an incredible 300 damage, this amount is largely irrelevant when we are trying to land 1HKOs with Charizard-EX. Since both Charizard-EXs are about nothing more than doing damage, this seems to me the only reason to run Charizard-EX (aside from possibly using Stoke in the same fashion as Ho-Oh-EX’s Ability has been used).
I have recently seen lists that throw in a single M-Charizard-EX, almost as if to say, “Why not?” I partly agree with this play, but let’s understand why this works. Currently, Charizard-EX decks are boxed into being speed-based. If you decide to play Charizard-EX with Emboar LTR, for instance, you might as well replace Charizard-EX with Rayquaza-EX since getting four Energy on a Rayquaza-EX (one Lightning, three Fire) automatically means you can hit for 180 damage – no Hypnotoxic Laser or Muscle Band needed.
Since Emboar LTR/Charizard-EX is not an option (unless you just like playing subpar decks), most Charizard-EX decks will be about powering up Charizard-EX as soon as possible and hitting certain “magical numbers.” With the presence of Fiery Torch and Blacksmith, there exists a great deal of instability in Charizard-EX decks. In my testing, there are lots of wasted turns, in which I play a draw Supporter in place of Blacksmith. The draw power of Fiery Torch is nice, but it rarely gets me where I need to be.
In order to get four Energy on a Charizard-EX to attack as soon as possible, there’s a handsome string of plays we must make that falls apart quickly if even one piece of the puzzle is absent. The Charizard-EX with Stoke has to land a heads on the coin flip, meaning that Victini LTR usually has to hit the field as insurance to flipping tails. Even still, there’s the chance you miss the flip. And even if you do flip heads, you’re still looking at using an attack that has a long ways to go before getting 1HKOs on other Pokémon-EX. The other play is to get two R Energy in the discard pile with Fiery Torch, then play a Blacksmith to attach those R Energy to Charizard-EX while attaching a Double Colorless Energy to attack.
I say all of this because it actually presents a reason to play M-Charizard-EX. With such variability in how Charizard-EX decks play out, having something to do when you completely miss your combos is a good thing. Being able to Mega Evolve to avoid 1HKOs while giving yourself an attack that will Knock Out nearly anything is a refreshing play, especially after missing out on those aforementioned combos. As far as M-Charizard-EXs go, I prefer the Dragon type with an altered Energy lineup. Otherwise, you have to run something like Protection Cube to avoid putting yourself in KO range.
I will note that if you’re playing the “Ho-Oh-EX” version of Charizard-EX, I would not recommend an M-Charizard-EX. With a more consistent structure to the deck that does not rely on the “TorchSmith” combo, you should not have any empty turns. Giving up a turn just to Mega Evolve something is still a big deal, especially when you can be doing other things.
To recap, M-Charizard-EXs might see play someday, but Charizard-EX itself has to perform well first. Since I do not see that happening initially, you might want to work on those Yveltal-EX decks just a little bit more.
QUESTION 3: HOW SHOULD I PLAY PYROAR?
Perhaps the most talked about card in this set, Pyroar shows up like someone late for their own birthday party – everyone’s happy to see you, but it would have been better had you shown up earlier.
Pyroar is essentially a repeat of Mewtwo LV.X (or Rapidash AR, to be fair). Both had Poké-Bodies that completely shut out certain decks… except, they didn’t really. Mewtwo LV.X was nice if you could get it into play, but it often got Knocked Out before one could level it up. Rapidash AR, on the other hand, rarely got the chance to evolve. More often, both of these cards were Knocked Out by Garchomp C LV.X’s attack, by a properly played Bright Look, or by the presence of Dialga G LV.X’s Poké-Body. To compound the issue, players really felt the strain on consistency when they tried to incorporate these cards into their deck.
So what’s different now? Well, for one, we have a less reliable system of bringing an opponent’s Benched Pokémon to the Active Spot (or otherwise doing Bench damage). Options exist – Genesect-EX’s Ability, Lysandre, Pokémon Catcher, and so on – but not every deck can utilize these cards, meaning that when you play your Litleo to the Bench, there’s a good chance it will survive until the next turn. Another point to make – these days, Basic Pokémon still seem to run the show. Evolved Pokémon exist as a support system for Basic Pokémon (think Blastoise PLB, Emboar LTR, Aromatisse XY). When Mewtwo LV.X was around, there were plenty of decks that commonly attacked with Evolved Pokémon.
Okay, with all of those things out the way, let’s talk about how to play Pyroar. It might pay to first think about how people are going play against Pyroar, though, right? As Pyoar hype has grown, so have the “answers” to beating Pyroar. Here’s a quick list of how people plan on beating Pyroar:
- Garbodor LTR. Its Ability renders Pyroar useless.
- Chandelure-EX. Cursed Drop applies damage counters, not damage, so it gets through Pyroar’s Ability.
- Toxicroak-EX. Again, Toxicroak-EX’s first attack is an effect rather than just damage, so it gets through the Ability. This is a more effective option than Hypnotoxic Laser, but harder to get going.
- Hypnotoxic Laser “swarm.” This might seem like a good idea, but opponents will more than likely be prepared with Switch cards, Virizion-EX, and so on.
- Attacking the Bench. By using cards that either pull up or attack the Bench, many players will plan on playing around Pyroar FF. Unfortunately, this only works if the opponent is foolish enough to bench enough stuff to allow the opponent to win.
- Stage 1s. So far, players have mentioned using Abomasnow PLB and Glaceon PLF, among others. These seem like specific techs for Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX and Plasma decks.
- Stage 2s. Players that utilize Stage 2s in order to power up a Basic Pokémon will simply switch to attacking with the Stage 2 instead.
Looking at this list of “solutions” to Pyroar FF, we have to ask whether or not players will actually use them. Some of these options are relatively easy to adopt. Yveltal-EX decks, for instance, are absolutely fine with including Garbodor LTR, so this will be an even more popular play. Stage 2 decks do not have to change anything up, and tossing in a single Chandelure-EX or Toxicroak-EX should not be devastating to the integrity of the decklist. Many decks are also running options to bring out the bench, and with the release of Lysandre we have yet another way to play around Pyroar FF.
The hardest inclusion might be Stage 1s, but my guess is that people will even go this route rather than lose to Pyroar FF. All in all, it looks like teching against Pyroar FF is not at all a chore, it’s just a simple adaptation. This leads me to believe Pyroar FF may go the way of Sigilyph LTR and Suicune PLB, with people playing these cards only until others change a couple of cards here and there to deal with them.
Yet, I still see a place for Pyroar FF. I have not started testing this idea, but what if we go all out and make Pyroar FF such a nuisance that other decks will simply have to lose to it? Let me explain…
Many players will mold their deck to deal with the occasional Pyroar FF, but how would they deal with a 4-4 line? Also, what if we max out our count of Startling Megaphone and maybe throw in a Tool Scrapper for good measure to deal with Garbodor LTR? Finally, since Pyroar FF’s attack carries a pretty hefty cost, many players will reason that once one goes down, they are in the clear. To solve that, why don’t we just not attack with Pyoar FF at all? Instead, let’s just use its Ability as a wall. To string all of this together, I propose using Accelgor DEX to put pressure on anything that attempts to do damage to Pyroar FF.
Just a thought…
QUESTION 4: IS TORCHSMITH RELIABLE?
The Fiery Torch/Blacksmith combo has all kinds of problems. What I initially thought was a wonderful new way to draw cards and accelerate Energy has in testing become a hassle. Not, of course, that there is no place for these cards, it’s just that they carry with them a high degree of variability. In testing, the combo at times works wonderfully, with Fiery Torch giving me a consistency boost and Blacksmith powering up my Pokémon at the right times. In other games, the combo seems a distant wish, with nothing seeming to match up effectively.
This is hardly a surprise. While Fiery Torch presents itself is a very strong card, Blacksmith is actually the true culprit, as it takes up one’s Supporter for the turn. As strong as Blacksmith’s effect is, there are far too many moments in which playing a Professor Juniper or N is the better option, and this creates for some very frustrating moments.
Honestly, the clever joke behind all of this is that it brings new meaning to the term “running hot.” When “TorchSmith” works, it works very well, providing both drawpower and Energy acceleration in a single engine we have never seen before. When it does not work, though, it can be unbelievably agitating. In testing, there have been too many moments in which I found myself choosing between attacking (after playing Blacksmith) and playing a draw Supporter to continue setting up. Not an ideal situation.
Perhaps the biggest thing going against this combo, however, has nothing to do with whether or not it actually works. In our current format, Yveltal-EX-based decks are an enormous threat, and I can almost hear Evil Ball getting more powerful with every Blacksmith played. So, even if it works magnificently, it still suffers from the game’s current environment. Having what amounts to an auto-loss against Yveltal-EX/Garbodor LTR is the true knife in the heart to this combo (and yes, I am considering the presence of counters like Raichu XY and Pyroar FF).
Still, I can see this combo working in the future with the right build and different format trendsk. With a reduced emphasis on draw Supporters, decks that run Blacksmith might consider Trainer cards likes Bicycle and Roller Skates to boost draw power. Admittedly, these seem just as inconsistent, but it is a start. My gut tells me that the moment we get a good support Pokémon (think Claydol GE or Uxie LA), the TorchSmith combo may explode onto the scene.
QUESTION 5: WHAT’S UP WITH MILOTIC?
Okay, so Milotic is easily one of my favorite cards from this set, and I absolutely wish the card creators would consider making more cards like this. I like this this card not only for its Ability, but for the fact that it seems to be a difficult card to play correctly. For those who might not know, Electrode ex was a card that was popular in its day that functioned much like Milotic. It was not an easy card to play, as it could be an integral part of so many different concepts.
Over time, Electrode ex found itself in a number of decks, primarily because of its Poké-Power. I do not see Milotic becoming as popular as Electrode ex, but I do believe it to be a card many are overlooking. Let’s break this card down:
- Strong Energy acceleration
- Accelerates Energy of any type
- Can enable Pokémon with heavy Energy attack costs to attack
- Stage 1; easier to get in play than a Stage 2
- Even a 1-1 line can make a significant difference
- Life Dew can be used in conjunction with Milotic
- Energy can only be attached to one Pokémon
- Energy cannot be attached to Pokémon-EX
- Opponent gets to draw a Prize card
- Stage 1; not as efficient as a Basic Pokémon
- Evolves from Feebas, a 30 HP Pokémon that can be KO’d by a Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo
- Energy pulled from the discard pile have to be Basic Energy, not Special Energy
- Using resources to set Milotic up can detract from what the deck is trying to do otherwise
Looking at this list, it is clear Milotic is at least a balanced card. For me, the fact that Milotic draws three Energy cards from the discard pile is the deciding factor. I can see this card paired with Energy Switch to power up not one single Pokémon, but a field of Pokémon. This is a particularly strong play that I think might finally solve the “Crushing Hammer/Sableye DEX issue” – that is, the fact that cycling Crushing Hammers by using Junk Hunt could silence practically any deck that needed more than one Energy to attack but lacked Energy acceleration.
As I take a step back, I recognize that more realistically, Milotic fits perfectly in decks that feature Energy manipulation (think Hydreigon LTR or Aromatisse XY). The ability to dump three Energy into play is tremendous, especially when it can be moved around at will.
Finally, I want to look at Milotic with one last bit of speculation. When Ho-Oh-EX was used a long time ago, players commonly described how helpful it was to have access to attacks requiring 2-3 Energy at nearly any time in the game. I often heard players talk about the strength of getting a Ho-Oh-EX with multiple Energy on it out of nowhere. It really goes back to the idea of tempo, in which falling behind a little in the give and take that is the Pokémon TCG spells disaster for many players.
Perhaps Milotic will one day fill this gap by allowing players to keep up with the tempo. I can totally see a player using Milotic’s Ability to put three basic F Energy on a Terrakion LTR, then playing an Energy Switch to move an Energy to a Benched Yveltal-EX.
QUESTION 6: ARE BLASTOISE AND EMBOAR DEAD BECAUSE OF DRUDDIGON?
Druddigon is a card many have deemed “best card” from this set. For some, the reason might not be apparent, but for anyone who has ever lost a game against a second turn Blastoise BCR, it is crystal clear. The ability to keep up with Blastoise BCR decks by landing 1HKOs against Black Kyurem-EXs is incredible, and completely changes the way matchups against Blastoise BCR decks go. Not only that, Druddigon is also great against Rayquaza-EX, which is featured prominently in Rayquaza-EX/Emboar LTR decks.
Here’s the thing about Druddigon. For a long time, I have heard complaints from players about how “autopilot” both Blastoise BCR and Emboar LTR decks are. In many cases, setting up the Stage 2 on the second turn seals the game, and players struggle to keep up with the overwhelming damage these decks do. Druddigon interrupts this entire progression, creating an unequal Prize card trade that benefits the player using Druddigon.
In response, players who play Blastoise BCR and Emboar LTR decks are forced to consider their options carefully. The trusty old strategy of dumping tons of Energy on Black Kyurem-EX and Rayquaza-EX in order to obliterate everything just won’t work anymore. Players have to get smart and play the situation, not just the deck.
This is where I think both Blastoise BCR and Emboar LTR decks can perform well in the format, so long as the players piloting those decks know what they are doing. And for me, this is a welcome change. I like it when pressure is put on “autopilot” decks, because it means that skilled players are rewarded on a more consistent basis.
Druddigon… such a good card…
QUESTION 7: HOW SHOULD I PLAY THIS SET’S SUPPORTERS (AND PAL PAD)?
Perhaps more than any set in recent memory, Flashfire pushes the boundaries of what we all think we should be doing with our Supporters. In fact, every Supporter in this set is a stand-in for other cards that already exist. Blacksmith, Lysandre, Pokémon Fan Club, Pokémon Center Lady – they all look wonderful on the surface, but become problematic the moment you put them in a deck. The reason is simple: players need that one Supporter per turn to set their deck up.
While Blacksmith has an amazing effect, for instance, anybody who has tested this card out even a little has had to make the tough choice of bringing Energy on board with Blacksmith or getting cards with Professor Juniper. These are make-or-break plays that even casual players can recognize as trouble. The danger of playing Supporter cards from this set is that these moments will happen when you least want them to.
Of course, this was the same argument I used when Skyla was released, a card that has since become a staple for most decks. Yet there is an enormous difference between the utility of Skyla and the other Supporter cards. Skyla is capable of grabbing you any Trainer card from the deck, while all of the Supporter cards from this set perform a single function. With the exception of Blacksmith, Skyla can help you achieve a partial Lysandre (Pokémon Catcher), Pokémon Fan Club (Level Ball/Ultra Ball), or Pokémon Center Lady (Potion cards/Switch).
In short, Skyla might not let you use the most powerful card available to perform an action, but it has a versatility that is much preferred to the singular options of this set’s Supporter cards. Of course, my two exceptions to that are Lysandre and Blacksmith. Lysandre because it can achieve a guaranteed – and extremely powerful – outcome, and Blacksmith for much the same reason.
So, to answer the question of how one should approach this set’s Supporter cards, here is what I honestly think:
Unless you are playing a deck with a high Random Receiver count and Dowsing Machine, I would highly recommend getting 2 copies of this card into your deck if you decide to play it (otherwise, you might get away with a single copy). In the grand tradeoff of cards here, consider Lysandre if you are already running Pokémon Catcher (or a card/combo much like it), and substitute consistency in for the change. If you take out 4 Pokémon Catcher, for instance, consider putting in 2 Lysandre and 2 other consistency cards (Bicycle if your deck can use it easily).
This Supporter card will likely be included in a Fire-type deck alongside Fiery Torch. Given the importance of leaning on Blacksmith for Energy acceleration, I would recommend no less than 3-4 copies of this card in your deck. There is an argument to be made here for running 3 copies – mainly that you will usually want to draw into a Blacksmith after playing a Professor Juniper on the first turn – but I would still recommend 4 until you get a good feel for what your deck can and cannot do.
So, when would playing this card be a smart move? I will be honest – I currently do not see much value in this card, given the tremendous draw power we rely on through Supporter cards. If you are relying on this card to get some Basic Pokémon in play to later evolve, you will likely struggle to get set up. If you have access to Tropical Beach, this changes things slightly, but I still prefer the method of using the Poké Ball engine to get things in play.
Also, I will note that I have a crazy prediction that our next set (or the one after) will feature “support Pokémon” not unlike Uxie LA. If this ends up being the case, I expect Pokémon Fan Club to be wildly popular.
This card is bad right now, but not because of what many may think. The effect is actually quite good, and it is something that gets around Trevenant XY should that become a threat. Combined with other Potion cards, this card could one day reinvent the idea of “tanking.” Unfortunately, though, healing is just not relevant when cards like Yveltal-EX, Rayquaza-EX, and Black Kyurem-EX exist. Moreover, if you were to play a healing deck, you would have to play something with extraordinary HP (M-Kangaskhan-EX, as an example). With this being the case, Max Potion and some Energy manipulator would be the best way to go.
I’m currently trying to get this card to be good. It’s tough, but I am having decent results. I have outfitted my Yveltal-EX deck with the following Supporter line to test around with: 4 Juniper, 2 N, 1 Lysandre, 4 Random Receiver, 2 Pal Pad, and 4 Bicycle. Honestly, this “engine” is remarkably fast. I normally run through my deck very quickly, though I still bank a lot on Random Receiver getting me Professor Juniper. If something like Pidgeot RG ever gets released, I can see Pal Pad being really good.
Hopefully, I have been able to answer some questions you have about Flashfire. There is a lot I did not cover, particularly with cards like Trick Shovel and Shiftry, but those cards I feel have a long way to go before being successful. As I mentioned before, there is a lot in this set that seems “almost good,” and I think they are just a set or two from getting the support they need to be great.
As always, feel free to discuss this article with me in the Underground Forums. I am always available for a conversation on old format decks too! There is a lot of talk on a 2006 and 2010 Worlds format tournament taking place at US Nationals this year, so be sure to get involved if you can – there is a great deal of fun to be had playing decks from the past.
If you liked this article, be sure to show that by clicking on the “Like” button. It helps me better understand what you as a reader want in terms of content.
…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.
After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.
Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!
Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.