Hello, SixPrizes readers! It feels like it has been forever since the last time I have written anything, but I think that’s just because so much has happened in the last couple of months. Since my last time writing, State Championships have finished up, Spring Regionals are over, and a brand new set is on the horizon!
Flashfire’s release is this Wednesday, though many stores have decided to release it early, some even earlier than most prereleases! I took this as a sign that I should skip all the boring NXD-XY decks that have been talked about to death and move on to something new and exciting. I didn’t have to think too long about what might be new and exciting in the new set because there is just one obvious answer: Pyroar. This is a card that most everyone has been hyping mainly because I think it mixes up a pretty linear metagame, which I will discuss more in detail later. We’re at a really strange time in the season where big tournaments are coming up for most competitive players, but also where the season dies down for the other players not going to Nationals or Worlds.
So in today’s article, I wanted to show off the most hyped card of the new set in several decks, whether they be mainly fun, competitive, or both. It’s always exciting to look at new decks that emerge from the new set, so I’m here to give a few places to start. Let’s get right into it!
Table of Contents
Why the Hype?
Ahh, Pyroar. Such an interesting card that has rustled so many jimmies despite not even being officially released yet. Some people praise it, some despise it. I’ve even heard about some people potentially thinking about quitting the game because this one card will completely change the meta, eliminating all other viable decks besides Pyroar and Garbodor.
Now, I don’t think that it will be this game-changing, but I do believe it will have quite the impact on the metagame depending on what people’s perception of it are at the time of the tournament. If nobody expects Pyroar to be popular, then it will make a fantastic rogue deck that should beat most of the Basic-centered decks out there. However, if many people do expect it, it will be too heavily countered to actually be successful.
It reminds me of Gothitelle/Accelgor, or now Trevenant/Accelgor (though this deck will soon be a thing of the past with the introduction of Lysandre and Pokémon Center Lady.) At Nationals 2013, it was able to sweep past all other decks to take 1st place because no one really expected it to do that well. I don’t want to say that nobody expected it at all because it did have some success at Norwegian Nationals the week before ours. However, once Worlds came around, everyone teched against Gothitelle/Accelgor. It was such a harsh environment for the deck to thrive in that there was no way that it could do very well, though it did have some success in Seniors. You can see evidence of this by just taking a look at the decklists from the 2013 World Championship decks that included 2 Keldeo-EX.
As long as the environment is right, Pyroar can succeed.
Now, why are people so excited about Pyroar? I swear I see about 3-4 posts a day all having to do with Pyroar. I believe that it has to do a lot with how impactful it has the potential to be. And something so impactful is going to be new and exciting. What I mean by that is that most all of the decks that we use in today’s format have been used since the beginning of the start of last season. Darkrai decks were slightly modified to Yveltal decks, TDK was modified to Yeti, and Blastoise and Rayboar have fluctuated in popularity throughout the year, but ultimately stayed the same. A lot of the fluctuations in these decks were due to the Catcher errata, but it’s clear to see that all of them still remained top tier. They just had to adapt to the change.
Now we have a card that could singlehandedly cause all of those top tier decks to reevaluate their strategies. What isn’t exciting about that? It’s a nice change from the same old decks that we’ve have for the past season, so it makes sense that people are excited about it. Whether or not, Pyroar will actually have such an impactful change, well we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
It just seems like I’m always coming up with decks that have Archeops in them. Who can blame me? I think it would be an extremely broken card if it just wasn’t for the dreaded Fossil mechanic. If you haven’t already heard my long rant about Archeops, go check out my older article here. This concept sounds pretty gimmicky, but I think people are giving it less credit than its worth. There are a lot of holes in the deck, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t try it out. I’m definitely going to give it a shot once I get my hands on some Pyroars, but here is the list I’ve been starting with on PlayTCG:
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 34
Energy – 11
Now, this is just a starting point for the deck, and I feel that a lot more changes need to be put in place before it can be judged on how good it is. Of course, the Fossil mechanic kind of limits it to just being a League Challenge deck, but it’s fun to try out nonetheless!
4-3 Pyroar FLF
The real meat of the deck. As you all may know, Pyroar stops any damage done from attacks by Basic Pokémon, which is pretty much the whole metagame. I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s extremely good. Now of course, Basic Pokémon with the Shred attack can get through Pyroar, and you kind of just have to hope that you can trade Prizes with them more efficiently. Some of the most popular are Cobalion’s Steel Bullet with a Muscle Band, and Genesect-EX’s G Booster, both of which, Pyroar can easily 1HKO. The other Pokémon that can get through it are Evolved Pokémon, which brings us to…
3-2 Archeops DEX
I’ve heard people thinking about teching in Sharpedo or Glaceon in an attempt to beat Pyroar, but if you have an Archeops up, then good luck to them. One important thing to note is that Archeops also stops Mega Evolutions, so those won’t be able to touch Pyroar either. It can also shut down decks like Blastoise or Emboar if you win the race of who gets their Pokémon out first.
I would like to have space for 4 Archen, just to get it out as soon as possible, but right now, I only have space for 3. Archen is the hardest part to get out, so bumping it up to 4 would really improve the odds of drawing into it to be able to discard it with Ultra Ball. Archeops seeks to essentially lock your opponent out of the game by blocking damage from Basic Pokémon and also not allowing them to evolve. There are a lot of ways around this, which makes it not particularly reliable, so we’ll try our best to remedy that.
This card is just an awesome card, and one of the best, if not the best card to come out of Flashfire. It also helps to cover one of the deck’s weak spots. One of the many things that could go wrong with this deck is Latias-EX. To put it simply, Pyroar cannot do anything to it. Latias-EX’s attack can go through Pyroar’s Ability, but Pyroar can’t do anything to it in return. It’s a real pain, but Druddigon can 1HKO it with Revenge, which is just more of a reason to include Druddigon in here.
Mewtwo is pretty much just your big Pokémon-EX to attack with while you set up everything. It is just a very good, cheap attacker, which I feel that any deck running Double Colorless Energy should include.
If you don’t know already, Blacksmith attaches 2 R Energy from the discard pile to one of your Fire-type Pokémon. This is really nice when you’re trying to stream Pyroar late game without needing a DCE.
Catcher effects are always powerful, even in Supporter form. I think that we can warrant the one space for a guaranteed Catcher effect. This acts as a possible out to Garbodor and is still helpful in so many different situations.
Something you may be wondering is, “How in the world can we pair an Evolution card with a Pokémon that stops Evolutions?” We are able to do this simply because Evosoda evolves Pokémon from the deck, therefore, getting past Archeops’ Ability. We can evolve all the Pyroars that we want before Archeops comes out, but once it does, we need to rely on Evosoda. One of the biggest problems with this deck is that people can simply start playing more Evosoda in their deck, if they feel it’s necessary. They could even start playing Clefable PLS if they ever wanted to, though I doubt that anyone would ever be that desperate.
This deck was the very first one that caught my eye when Flashfire was first released, so I thought I would share it with you all. Countless things can cause problems with this deck like: Hypnotoxic Laser, Pokémon Catcher/Lysandre, its own inconsistency, opponent’s Evosoda, etc., but it’s definitely a cool concept that people have been talking about, so I thought I would give my starting point and ideas about it.
Pyroar and Friends
Getting into the more viable versions of Pyroar, this deck seeks to act as an upgrade to the Flareon/Stage 1s deck that saw some play this season and came second at Brazil’s National Championship. The goal of the Stage 1 Rush deck was to hit all of the main archetypes at their weak points. All the Pokémon are cheap attackers that can deal out a ton of damage in the right situations. Pyroar may not fit in here as a cheap attacker, but it definitely can hit most decks at their weak points, which is what merits its spot in this deck.
You’ll quickly find that a game against this deck uses up a ton of resources, and if you can stick an attacking Pyroar right when your opponent is low on resources, you may be able to come out on top. Here is a list for you guys to start testing:
Pokémon – 21
Trainers – 30
Energy – 9
For all of you Flareon-lovers out there, I feel like this list is a really good stepping stone to a deck that could really shine with a few more tweaks. It is a really fun deck to play and also competitive.
Rather than go over all of the Pokémon individually, I’ll just do a quick run through of what Pokémon serve as the counter to which archetype:
- Flareon – Overall great attacker and hits Virizion/Genesect for weakness.
- Leafeon – A very underrated card in my opinion. It can deal a ton of damage for just 1 Energy and counters Blastoise/Keldeo-EX.
- Pyroar – Counters Basic Pokémon.
- Druddigon – Hard counter to both Black Kyurem-EX, Rayquaza-EX, Latias-EX, and basically all Dragon-types. Can score 1HKOs for just a DCE.
- Raichu – Counters Yveltal-EX and Lugia-EX.
- Terrakion – Counters Thundurus-EX and Darkrai-EX.
So now, moving onto the Trainers.
You know how Dark decks like to use Professor’s Letter and then Ultra Ball away the Energies into the discard? Well, now pretend that Pokémon Fan Club is a Supporter form of doing that, but with Pokémon. Flareon likes Pokémon to be in the discard pile to fuel its Vengeance attack, so being able to Fan Club for 2 Pokémon and then discard them with Ultra Ball seems pretty useful in a deck like this.
Of course, you could also use it to search out your Pokémon to put on the Bench.
When discarding Pokémon and streaming low-HP attackers are your two main priorities, 4 Ultra Ball is a must.
I prefer Silver Bangle in this deck over Muscle Band, simply because with a Muscle Band, Pyroar hits for 80 damage, which is just shy of getting a 2HKO. With a deck so tight on Energy, we don’t really want to be discarding any of it with its attack, so I believe that the switch to Silver Bangle is one with more pros than cons. Of course, we still have 1 Muscle Band included for those weird situations where something might just need that extra “oomph” against non-EX attackers.
Overall, this deck doesn’t change much from the original Flareon list that we all know. The addition of Pyroar simply adds an extra level of annoyance for the opponent to deal with in trying to take all 6 Prize cards. Trevenant could be another inclusion in this type of a deck, but I feel like the disruption from Pyroar is something that the opponent has to think about and prepare for all game, rather than just a temporary Item lock at some points in the game. Pyroar really changes the opponent’s course of action, and in doing so, usually causes them to use up more resources which is what we seek to accomplish.
Now this is another deck that I believe to be a little bit more viable in terms of overall consistency. I feel like Pyroar and Ninetales are two cards that go pretty well together, forming a pseudo-Quad Pyroar kind of deck. Pyroar is going to be hard for a lot of decks to deal with, especially if you are pumping out a steady stream of them. Even just 1 Pyroar is often enough to trip the opponent up, just like a Sigilyph LTR or Latias-EX would, but imagine having to take down at least 4 of them.
Blastoise decks can of course attack with Blastoise against your Pyroars, but in the end, they’ll be trading Stage 2 Pokémon with Stage 1s, which is not going to be favorable for them. Another good luck to those people wanting to tech in a couple Sharpedo PLS into their Plasma lists because it is definitely not going to help against a swarm of Pyroar. Here is another sample list to start with:
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 37
Energy – 10
I feel like this version and the Stage 1 version of Pyroar both probably have the most promise in the upcoming format. I really like this version over the rest because with Ninetales, you get much more control over the overall game position. Pyroar already is trouble for them to deal with, and Ninetales giving an automatic Catcher effect is just icing on the cake.
4-4 Pyroar FLF
The star of the deck. We all already know about Pyroar’s Ability, so let’s talk about its attack. Scorching Fang deals 60 damage plus 30 if you discard a R Energy attached to Pyroar. This may not seem like the best attack in the world, but it can actually hit some pretty important numbers. If a Blastoise tries to come out against your Pyroars, you can attach a Muscle Band and use Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym to get a clean knockout on it. If Pyroar has a Silver Bangle, it can max out at 150 damage against a Pokémon-EX, Knocking them Out coming back into your turn if they have no way to switch out.
Of course, the problem that we might face isn’t whether the attack is good enough or not, but whether we can stream Pyroars, so we have many cards to help us do that.
2-2 Ninetales DRX
I think this card fits perfectly in the deck because not only does it allow us to bring up and potentially Knock Out any tech cards that are a threat to Pyroar, but it can also act as a secondary attack when need be. With a Muscle Band or Silver Bangle, and a heads on Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym, Ninetales can 1HKO 170 HP and 180 HP EXs respectively. It seems like a lot to ask for, but when all of these things come together, it is a thing of beauty. This was the center of a deck used by Mike Canaves to place Top 4 at Florida Winter Regionals, so now we can have that same strategy as a secondary to Pyroar.
One of the problems that the Ninetales deck faced was against Virizion/Genesect. Now, I don’t see Virizion/Genesect fading away completely, but I do think it is only hurt from the new set, unless you want to consider Floette FLF 64 as a new part of their arsenal. Anyway, Pyroar is now a clear answer to Virizion/Genesect, 1-shotting most of their Pokémon with ease.
After more testing, I would try to find the space for perhaps a Munna and a Keldeo-EX, along with some Float Stones, but I would be careful about whether you want this to be focused on Quad Pyroar or Ninetales.
Jirachi is just a great card to have in this sort of deck, particularly because it runs Blacksmith. Blacksmith is a key card to have in situations where you need to power up a Pyroar in one turn to continue streaming them. Since Blacksmith is a Supporter card, we can’t Skyla for it in the same turn. We can always plan ahead with our Skylas, or we can use Jirachi-EX as an out to it. A Level Ball turns into grabbing a Blacksmith from the deck without having to use our Supporter for the turn.
I wasn’t sure exactly how to split these, but I think that this is the safest bet. Silver Bangle allows Pyroar to hit that magic 90 damage without having to discard an Energy, and it also allows Ninetales to hit for 180 in the right situations. On the other hand, Muscle Band allows Pyroar to trade evenly with Blastoises, which I feel is extremely important. But feel free to play around with these numbers as you feel necessary.
I was and still am debating playing 2, and I think that would be an overall good change to the deck. If this card is ever prized, you are definitely going to have a bad time. So I think 2 would be the right way to go, possibly cutting a Silver Bangle or Muscle Band. If you want, you can even do a 1-1 Super Rod/Sacred Ash split, which I feel might be useful in this type of a deck where you use so little Pokémon.
This allows you do more damage, and more damage is always good. I have 3 in here so that way you can win the Stadium war most of the time. Virbank is just so important for both Pyroar and Ninetales to hit magic numbers, so I felt like 3 was the right number.
Pyroar/Ninetales is an extremely fun deck to play that I really haven’t seen anyone mention at all. I feel like these two cards are really good partners and can make for a really nice deck that can be competitive. Feel free to try it out at a League Challenge or something, and let me know how it went!
The goal of my article today was to provide you all with some new insights and starting places for the new set, which will officially hit stores tomorrow! I think that the hype that Pyroar is receiving right now is certainly justified because it is a brand new card with a bunch of options for new decks, which of course gets people excited. I’m sure the hype will die down at some point, but I think that all depends on how good people see Pyroar to be after they start testing. Hopefully, I gave you guys some nice starting places with your testing with Pyroar, and I’m curious to see which version will see the most play, if any at all.
We’ve still got a pretty long ways to go until Nationals, but I know that it’s going to come sooner than everyone expects. Time flies when you’re testing Pokémon! But in the meantime until the big tournament, I hope you all enjoyed this fun article offering some different ways to go with a newly hyped up card. If you enjoyed the article, please let me know by rating it a +1 and feel free to leave any comments in the discussion forum linked below; I would love to answer any questions!
Thanks to Adam for letting me continue to write so often, as it really is one of my passions. Thanks to all of you, and I’ll see you next time!
– Andrew Zavala
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