Striking the Flint

On Unbroken Bonds, Fire, and Two Early ReshiZard Decklists (One Straightforward/T1 Kiawe, One Flexible/Support)
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A rogue Meowth darting from Unbroken Bonds testing.

Hello 6P! It’s been a hot minute since my last article, and we’re in the final stretch of the season with Hartford in the books. There are only two North American Regionals left, alongside a handful of SPEs and other Regionals around the world. We’re finally done with Expanded until next season though, which makes me quite happy.

So far this season, I’ve accumulated over 1,000 CP from Standard events. However, I’ve only gained 40 CP from three Expanded Regionals. I’m not sure why the format doesn’t click with me, but I guess it’s something for me to work on moving forward to next season.

In the meantime, however, I have a busy May with Cancun SPE, São Paulo Regionals, and Madison Regionals. Two of those three will be played with SUM–UNB, and I’m really looking forward to that. The new set feels amazing in the early testing I’ve done with it over on my Twitch/YouTube and in my own personal time.

On Fire

Fire decks are as good as they’re hyped up to be, kind of like Pikachu & Zekrom-GX which did live up to the hype, culminating in it winning European Internationals two weeks ago. I didn’t do so hot at the tournament, as I lost two win-and-in’s to Day 2 with a list that was four or five cards different from Gustavo Wada’s winning list.

The Glue: Welder

The immense amount of support available for Fire-type Pokémon is what makes Reshiram & Charizard-GX decks so good. They can also be built in a variety of ways, ranging from hyper offensive to more teched out with various support Pokémon. The one thing they all have in common, though, is the newest Supporter, Welder. Not only does it provide Energy acceleration from hand, but also extra draw power. There has never been such an effect on a Supporter before, and it’s no surprise why Fire is now poised to be the dominant force in the metagame. Of course, Kiawe is another option to use; however, it doesn’t provide the draw aspect that Welder does, hence making it arguably a little worse.

Getting the Energy in hand can be the tricky part to using Welder effectively, as you have to strike a balance between the amount of Energy you play in the deck, the Supporters such as Welder or Kiawe, and the right Pokémon. That is where both Fiery Flint and Fire Crystal come in, as they allow deck thinning and Energy recovery. To top it all off, Heat Factory p helps out as an extra way to draw cards, and takes advantage of the fact that these decks will play a high amount of basic Energy either way.

The Muscle: ReshiZard

Sitting at 270 HP, Reshiram & Charizard-GX is really, really difficult to take down. Off the top of my head, I can barely name three Pokémon that are playable and could potentially take it down in one hit: Tapu Koko-GX w/ Tapu Thunder GX, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX w/ Tag Bolt GX (w/ three damage modifiers), and Slowking LOT w/ Psychic.

Outside of those, and gimmicky Water-type Pokémon like Blastoise-GX or Blastoise TEU, nothing else can contend with that high HP. This means Outrage is dangerous and has to be actively played around, or you could be severely punished for blindly attacking into it.

Flare Strike dealing 230 damage means that, with a Choice Band, pretty much every relevant Pokémon in the metagame can be OHKOed, except, of course, another ReshiZard. 260 damage is enough to take down Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, however, and that means this Pokémon has a natural advantage over it.

Finally, we have Double Blaze GX which deals a solid 200 damage for 3 Energy, but at 6 Energy we gain the + bonus. This means you’re dealing 300 damage and getting past any effects on the opposing Pokémon.

The card on its own is extremely good, and we’ve already discussed the Trainers that help it out, so now, let’s take a look at the best Pokémon supporting cast, which range between Energy accelerators and back-up attackers!

The Supporting Cast

Volcanion UNB
Going second is usually a big disadvantage, but Volcanion’s Flare Starter can get you back on track quickly by attaching 3 Energy from your deck to one of your Pokémon. Volcanion is number 1 because High-Heat Blast also provides a nice option to pressure an opponent, and 110 damage coincidentally is enough to KO a Zapdos TEU.

Turtonator DRM
As far as non-GX attackers go, having no damage cap on Explosive Jet makes Turtonator a good choice for this deck. With HPs going so high, and cards like Fairy Charms of different types and Choice Helmets seeing play, having a “no damage cap” attack is great, especially when you can choose to discard Energy from a damaged Reshiram & Charizard-GX which you don’t want to expose anymore to be KOed. The fact that Welder allows you to power up this guy in one turn makes it just that much better.

Flareon-GX
Thanks to Energy Evolution Eevee, Flareon-GX is a great support Pokémon for ReshiZard since Heat Stage can almost fully power one up, while the 30 damage it deals can be relevant to set up KOs against opposing high-HP TAG TEAMs that would otherwise require a Choice Band or other damage modifiers.

Reshiram SLG
This Pokémon doesn’t support Reshiram & Charizard-GX with Energy acceleration like Volcanion or Flareon-GX do, and its damage is capped unlike Turtonator’s. However, Scorching Breath deals a solid 130 damage which makes this a viable option to deal with annoying Pokémon like Hoopa SLG and its Scoundrel Guard Ability. Having access to Outrage also means opponents will think twice before attacking into it.

Two ReshiZard Decklists

As is the trend with me, I’ve taken a good look at Japanese lists since they receive all of these cards before us. Between examining those results and my own testing since the set came out on PTCGO, I’ve narrowed down two Fire lists that have been my main ones up until now, and I can’t seem to decide which I prefer.

  • One is flexible and has various support Pokémon to go along with Reshiram & Charizard-GX, in order to have different approaches to different matchups.
  • The other one is more straightforward with a Turn 1 Kiawe game plan and not much else.

These two approaches remind me of the Turbo PikaRom and Jirachi PikaRom builds from the Team Up metagame, and there’s no reason this approach won’t work for Reshiram & Charizard-GX as well.

List 1: Straightforward Approach

Here’s the first variant—a straightforward, linear ReshiZard deck:

Pokémon (12)

3 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Turtonator DRM

1 Reshiram SLG

1 Mew UNB

2 Jirachi TEU

2 Marshadow SM85

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (35)

4 Kiawe

4 Welder

3 Guzma

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Switch

4 Ultra Ball

3 Fire Crystal

2 Nest Ball

1 Field Blower

2 Choice Band

2 Escape Board

 

1 Heat Factory p

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (13)

13 Fire

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 12

* 3 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 194
* 1 Turtonator DRM 50
* 1 Reshiram SLG 14
* 1 Mew UNB 76
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Marshadow PR-SM 85
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 137

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 4 Welder UNB 214
* 4 Switch SUM 160
* 4 Kiawe BUS 144
* 3 Fire Crystal UNB 231
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 2 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 4 Acro Bike CES 178
* 3 Guzma BUS 143
* 2 Choice Band BUS 162
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156

##Energy - 13

* 13 Fire Energy BUS 167

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73290 ******

Pokémon

3 Reshiram & Charizard-GX
We have 3 Reshiram & Charizard-GX to make sure prizing one still allows for 2 to be set up properly throughout the course of the game.

1 Turtonator DRM, 1 Reshiram SLG
Turtonator and Reshiram are the back-up attackers and help you try to force a 7- or even 8-Prize game, but their main purpose will probably be to deal with pesky Hoopa SLGs in Mill or Hoopa/Umbreon decks.

2 Jirachi TEU, 2 Marshadow SLG, 1 Tapu Lele-GX, 1 Dedenne-GX
These all serve to help find that coveted Turn 1 Kiawe into Reshiram & Charizard-GX, while providing further support (and disruption in Marshadow’s case) to make sure you keep finding Welder + Energy in the mid to late game.

1 Mew UNB
Mew helps protect the Bench against Spread decks, Dewgong UNB’s Dual Blizzard, and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s Tag Bolt GX as well.

Trainers

4 Kiawe, 4 Welder, 3 Fire Crystal
4 Kiawe and 4 Welder maximize the chance of pulling off either one on Turn 1 to power up a Reshiram & Charizard-GX on your first turn of the game, with Kiawe being the preferred option since it loses strength as the game goes on. Welder on the other hand, is useful at any point in a match, and will allow you to power up a secondary attacker, be it ReshiZard, Turtonator, or Reshiram. The 3 Fire Crystal also help out in making sure you get full value out of Welder any time you use it.

1 Heat Factory p, 1 Viridian Forest
Heat Factory and Viridian Forest are the Stadiums of choice, and unless Shrine of Punishment decks become very popular all of a sudden, I don’t foresee the need to increase the count.

4 Ultra Ball, 2 Nest Ball
These help in searching for the right Pokémon at the right time, but 4 Ultra Ball is preferred as we run a lot of Pokémon that have “come into play” Abilities.

4 Switch, 2 Escape Board, 3 Guzma
These help in resetting Flare Strike in case you need to, while also providing extra resources if you switch into a Jirachi in the meantime.

4 Acro Bike
These help speed up the deck, but if the discard is a worry, they could be replaced for 4 Judge Whistle, which obviously don’t thin as much but provide the same net +1 card advantage that Acro Bike does after the discard.

2 Choice Band
Finally, these help in hitting the right numbers versus two relevant TAG TEAMs: Pikachu & Zekrom-GX at 240 HP and Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX at 260 HP. The latter, however, usually runs Choice Helmet, so if it becomes popular, it might be necessary to run a 2nd Field Blower to remove it consistently.

Energy

13 Fire Energy
13 is a healthy number to make sure that even after you Kiawe on Turn 1, you are able to consistently power up other attackers and draw cards through the use of Welder.


As I mentioned, this is a very linear build which has essentially one game plan, with very few other options or deviations. Turn 1 Kiawe followed by chasing attackers and powering up back-up attackers keeps this deck very straightforward and simple, but the raw damage output makes it a formidable deck. After playing with it, it was no surprise to me why this deck dominated in Japan.

List 2: Flexibility & Support

This next list is more flexible in terms of (A) its options for powering up Pokémon and (B) also the attackers:

Pokémon (13)

2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Eevee SUM

1 Flareon-GX

1 Salandit UPR

1 Salazzle UNB

2 Volcanion UNB

1 Turtonator DRM

2 Jirachi TEU

1 Marshadow SM85

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (32)

4 Lillie

4 Welder

3 Guzma

1 Acerola

 

4 Fiery Flint

4 Nest Ball

4 Ultra Ball

2 Fire Crystal

1 Rescue Stretcher

2 Choice Band

2 Escape Board

 

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (15)

15 Fire

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 13

* 2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 194
* 1 Eevee SUM 101
* 1 Flareon-GX PR-SM 171
* 1 Salandit UPR 25
* 1 Salazzle UNB 31
* 2 Volcanion UNB 25
* 1 Turtonator DRM 50
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 1 Marshadow PR-SM 85
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 137

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 1 Acerola BUS 142
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 4 Lillie SUM 147
* 4 Welder UNB 214
* 4 Fiery Flint DRM 76
* 2 Fire Crystal UNB 231
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 4 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 3 Guzma BUS 143
* 2 Choice Band BUS 162

##Energy - 15

* 15 Fire Energy BUS 167

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73290 ******

Pokémon

2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX
Only 2 ReshiZard in this version, as it’s not your main game plan to power it up immediately. There is room for deviation thanks to Flareon-GX and Volcanion, and it is much more forgiving than the “all-in on Turn 1” Kiawe variant.

1-1 Salazzle UNB
Salazzle is a useful Pokémon in the mid–late game, as it helps the deck flow and finds the Welders and Fire Crystals late game to make sure you’re streaming attackers consistently. Jirachi also helps in this regard but is less powerful than Salazzle by far.

2 Volcanion UNB, 1 Turtonator DRM
Turtonator and Volcanion fulfill the roles of non-GX attackers in this variant, and even though Volcanion doesn’t hit the magical 120–130 range with its High-Heat Blast, 110 is still enough for Zapdos and other attackers, while also fulfilling a support role with Flare Starter.

2 Jirachi TEU, 1 Marshadow SLG, 1 Tapu Lele-GX
These are purely there for support as usual, though in some fringe scenarios I have found myself attacking with Tapu Lele-GX’s Energy Drive on the 6-Energy TAG TEAMs for a lot of damage out of the blue thanks to Welder.

Trainers

4 Lillie, 4 Welder
4 Lillie and 4 Welder provide all of the draw for the deck, and Turn 1 Lillie has been the go-to strategy for the whole season pretty much. Having a 6–8 card hand to start your second turn, along with the heavy 15 Fire Energy count, pretty much ensures a Turn 2 Welder into a Flare Strike with Reshiram & Charizard-GX.

4 Fiery Flint, 2 Fire Crystal
The 4 Fiery Flint and 2 Fire Crystal help the deck’s Energy flow and ensure Welder is attaching 2 Energy every time. It also helps keep the Energy attachments from hand every turn, along with providing excess Energy for Salazzle’s Roast Reveal or Flareon-GX’s Heat Stage.

1 Heat Factory p
Heat Factory p is the only Stadium in this build, and with the lower focus on Reshiram & Charizard-GX, it makes sense to run only 1 total Stadium. Heat Factory provides another option to draw and will very easily be fueled by Fiery Flints and Fire Crystals.

2 Escape Board, 2 Choice Band
The 2 Escape Boards help Jirachi and also other Pokémon retreat for a lower cost, while the Choice Band serve the same purpose as the previous deck: hit the right numbers to deal with the ever popular TAG TEAMs other than Reshiram & Charizard-GX.

1 Acerola, 1 Rescue Stretcher
Finally, this deck has more recovery options with Acerola and Rescue Stretcher, and with the heavier focus on support Pokémon, Acerola makes sense to heal and repower up a previously damaged Reshiram & Charizard-GX.

Energy

15 Fire Energy
At 15 Energy, missing an Energy drop will be a myth and this should be enough to make sure Welders are taken full advantage of throughout the course of any game.


I can’t go into matchups too confidently with this, as the meta is undeveloped and I also am not an expert on either version, but both variants should be pretty good moving forward and great starting points to work off of.

Conclusion

Anyway, that will be all from me today! Cancun SPE and São Paulo Regionals are coming up for me, so keep tuned to my social media to see how I do! Until next time!


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