How to Play with Fire

An In-Depth Guide on ReshiZard’s Matchups (from PikaRom to QuagNag to Stall), and the 2nd Place Santa Clara List Updated for Madison
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Without careful handling of your ReshiZard, you could get burnt. (Matchups below…)

Hello again readers. I’m back with you after my 2nd place finish in Santa Clara with my ReshiZard list. I was unsure of what I was going to play for the event up until the night before, and my choice to play ReshiZard came down to me strongly disliking everything else in the format. Today, I’m going to be talking about how to make the list even better and then go through the different matchups that we are likely to play against with the deck.

The Santa Clara List

Pokémon (14)

3 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Growlithe UNB

1 Arcanine UNB

1 Shining Lugia

1 Turtonator DRM

2 Jirachi TEU

2 Marshadow SLG

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (33)

4 Welder

3 Guzma

3 Kiawe

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Switch

4 Ultra Ball

3 Fire Crystal

2 Nest Ball

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 - 14

* 3 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 1 Growlithe UNB 21
* 1 Arcanine UNB 22
* 1 Shining Lugia PR-SM SM82
* 1 Turtonator DRM 50
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 3 Kiawe BUS 116
* 3 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Acro Bike PRC 122
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 4 Switch SUM 132
* 3 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 2 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178

##Energy - 13

* 13 Fire Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73449 ******

Santa Clara Round Breakdown

R1: ZoroControl…WW (1-0-0)
R2: ZapBeasts…WLW (2-0-0)
R3: Turbo WW (3-0-0)
R4: NagaQuag…WW (4-0-0)
R5: Turbo PikaRom…WW (5-0-0)
R6: ZapBeastsRoc…LW ID (5-0-1)
R7: ZapBuzz…LL (5-1-1)
R8: PlumeStall…WW (6-1-1)
R9: RegiStall…WW (7-1-1)
R10: ZapBeasts…WW (8-1-1)
R11: ZapBuzz…LWW (9-1-1)
R12: PlumeStall…WW (10-1-1)
R13: PikaRom…ID (10-1-2)
R14: Green’s ReshiZard…ID (10-1-3)
T8: PikaRom…WW (11-1-3)
T4: ZapBeasts…WW (12-1-3)
T2: Green’s ReshiZard…LWL (12-2-3)

I lost two Best-of-3 matches and seven individual games throughout the entire event, after testing zero games with the final list. I believe that this is a testament to how inherently strong the deck is. When looking through my matchups, you’ll notice a few things that don’t make sense. For instance, in Round 4 I manage to 2-0 a Quagsire/ player. Going into the event, everyone expected that matchup to be extremely favored for the Quagsire/Naganadel, but I found that cards like Shining Lugia and Arcanine are extremely strong attackers for the matchup. Another irregularity in my matchups can be found in Round 6. I lost Game 1, managed to steal Game 2, and then after a bit of internal debate, decided to offer the intentional draw. My opponent took it, citing that we would not have enough time to finish Game 3.

Throughout the event, I found myself in positions where had my opponent drawn what they needed, I would not have won some of my games. ReshiZard sort of tries to run over its opponent and hope they can’t get out of the way fast enough. Had I known how close many of my games would end up being, I doubt I would have decided to play ReshiZard, but thankfully I cannot see the future.

This list was adapted from our very own Pablo Meza’s article on ReshiZard a while back. Some of the choices I made regarding the list may not make a whole lot of sense, but it was a last-minute decision to play, which means I put minimal thought into the list.

Card Choices

1 Shining Lugia

Pablo’s list played a Reshiram SLG, mine did not. Why you ask? Because I did not own one. In retrospect, I think that Shining Lugia was a better choice anyway. Shining Lugia provides us with an attacker that is not weak to Water. This is instrumental in beating matchups such as Quagsire/Naganadel.

1 Turtonator DRM

This was in Pablo’s list, so I just accepted it as good. I regret that decision because in all but three individual games it was dead weight. In theory, it allows us to remove Energy from play to prevent Tapu Thunder GX, and still deal a lot of damage.

1-1 Arcanine (RK9) UNB

In my last article, I made the bold proclamation that I would not lose to Vileplume. Anyone who talked to me before the event knows that I was adamant about playing some form of Stage 1 Pokémon that could make Vileplume as close to a 100-0 matchup as possible. I toyed with Salazzle-GX, but then it was brought to my attention that it cannot KO a Hoopa SLG. This lead me to decide upon Arcanine UNB as my Vileplume counter. Arcanine, unlike Salazzle-GX, can KO Hoopa, provides a form of Energy acceleration, and does not give up 2 Prize cards. When I first picked Arcanine, I did not realize that it also had a massive impact on the ZapBeasts matchup. Having a 140-HP single-Prize attacker that can simultaneously set up another attacker on the Bench is incredibly strong against Zapdos.

The Updated (Madison) List

Pokémon (14)

2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Growlithe UNB

1 Arcanine UNB

2 Shining Lugia

1 Eevee & Snorlax-GX

2 Jirachi TEU

2 Marshadow SLG

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew UNB

Trainer (33)

4 Guzma

4 Welder

3 Kiawe

 

4 Ultra Ball

3 Acro Bike

3 Fire Crystal

3 Switch

2 Nest Ball

1 Escape Rope

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 - 14

* 2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 194
* 1 Growlithe UNB 21
* 1 Arcanine UNB 22
* 2 Shining Lugia PR-SM 82
* 1 Eevee & Snorlax-GX TEU 191
* 2 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Mew UNB 76

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 3 Kiawe BUS 116
* 4 Guzma BUS 143
* 3 Acro Bike CES 123
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 3 Switch SUM 160
* 1 Escape Rope BUS 163
* 3 Fire Crystal UNB 231
* 2 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 2 Choice Band BUS 162
* 2 Escape Board UPR 167
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178

##Energy - 13

* 13 Fire Energy Energy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=73449 ******

Changes

2 Shining Lugia

I’m still deciding between playing the 2nd Shining Lugia or a Reshiram SLG, but for now I’m sticking with Shining Lugia because of its utility in the Quagsire/Naganadel matchup.

1 Eevee & Snorlax-GX

Eevee & Snorlax-GX provides us with an attacker that is not weak to Water, which has become an increasing threat with the rise in Zoroark play that I fully expect to see in Madison this weekend.

1 Escape Rope

In Santa Clara, I intentionally played with a 4th Switch art that did not match the other three. Every time I played that specific Switch, I would think about if it would have been better as an Escape Rope. As it turns out, around 75% of the time, an Escape Rope would have been preferable, so here we are with the 3-1 split in our switching cards. The number of Escape Rope could go up in the future, but as of now I’m comfortable with one.

Potential Inclusions

Multiple Volcanion UNB

I have been mentally debating whether or not Kiawe is better than using Volcanion to accelerate Energy in the early game. Kiawe has the drawback of being a Supporter that you have to play right away rather than potentially use Let Loose first. Volcanion does not have that drawback, but it does have a few major ones. For instance, you cannot use it going first, and you also have to get it into the Active position for it to help. I personally do not have the time or will to test this idea right now, but maybe you will. It may or not be good, but it seems worth testing at some point.

Field Blower

I had cut the Field Blower from my list because I did not think it was necessary. I got very lucky in Santa Clara to avoid both Weezing and Blacephalon UNB. After further testing, I have decided that if you think those matchups are a problem then it is definitely worth a slot in your list.

Rescue Stretcher

I’ve been toying with the idea of being able to use five consecutive 1-Prize attackers. However, I have yet to find a matchup where this would be relevant, so I have not included Rescue Stretcher in my list.

The Matchup Spread

PikaRom: Favored

After playing with ReshiZard, I have no idea how anyone can think that this matchup is even close to 50-50. This is because PikaRom lacks the ability to easily hit for 270 damage in one turn. This means that they will be unable to OHKO a ReshiZard and almost never Prize-trading very well. Yes, they may be able to hit it with Tag Bolt GX, but that it one time and does not accelerate Energy into play. If they are not accelerating Energy, then when we take a KO on that PikaRom, they are left crippled and cannot come back. Mew has multiple functions in this matchup. It prevents Tag Bolt GX from stealing games and it can also set up a PikaRom for an easy KO with Flare Strike. Unlike PikaRom, ReshiZard has the ability to accelerate Energies the entire game with Welder and doesn’t suffer overly much if our opponent manages to take a big KO. It is important to conserve your Choice Bands in this matchup and avoid playing into Tapu Thunder GX.

Zoroark-GX/Stage 1s: Favored

Zoroark-GX always tries to find a way to survive the new formats, and this one is no different. However, I personally believe that it has finally met its match with ReshiZard being the king on the format. People have been using Slowking LOT and Dewgong UNB in attempts to deal with ReshiZard, but I have seen little to no proof that it makes the matchup winnable for them. Between being able to spam 1-Prize attackers like Shining Lugia and Arcanine, and Eevee & Snorlax-GX, the matchup is very difficult for the Zoroark player to win. Our strategy here is to bench our Eevee & Snorlax-GX and Kiawe to it when going first, and even when going second, depending on our opponent’s board position. Eevee & Snorlax-GX should be able to take 4 Prize cards before our opponent is able to deal with it, which makes taking the last 2 Prizes easy enough to achieve. Arcanine is a great attacker here because it accelerates Energy onto our Bench and cannot be OHKOed without a Professor Kukui or a Slowking.

Zapdos/Ultra Beasts: Even–Favored

Initially, I believed that this matchup was very hard for the ReshiZard player to win. But after playing the matchup six times in a tournament setting, I think I can reasonably say that I can sit down against the matchup and expect to win. Our strategy here is pretty simple: Lead with our Shining Lugia and Arcanine and clean up whatever is left by using a ReshiZard. Zapdos struggles to OHKO Shining Lugia and Arcanine, so they should be able to tank a hit, or deplete our opponent of a healthy number of Electropowers, which is just as good as tanking a hit. Between our three 130+ HP Pokémon, our opponent will almost surely resort to using one of their GX Pokémon to take a KO. This is where we have to be careful. Nihilego is the greatest threat to our ReshiZard, and going down to exactly 2 Prizes should be avoided if you’re being forced to use a ReshiZard to do so. If you’re using ReshiZard to go down to 1 Prize and you haven’t been damaged yet, then the match is pretty well sealed up. This is one of the matchups where a Reshiram SLG would be preferable to a Shining Lugia because it can KO a Zapdos for one less Energy.

Green’s ReshiZard: Slightly Unfavored

This is a matchup that you need to be aware of going into Madison because of how many players I expect to copy Kian’s list. It can be difficult for us to win because of Custom Catcher and Professor Kukui allowing our opponent to Gust up our ReshiZard and OHKO it. Our strategy here is quite simple really. We need to do some form of damage to their ReshiZard before we can KO it. There are two ways to do this: Use Mew to place a damage counter or two, or use Outrage to set up the KO. Mew is the safer strategy because our ReshiZard is not put at risk, but both accomplish the same goal. It is important that we time our Let Loose well because of how easy it is for our opponent to draw out of it in the early game. If they take a Professor Kukui or a Custom Catcher off of Green’s Exploration, and do not play them, you can fully expect the OHKO combo to hit you the following turn. It is vital that you Let Loose at this point, or else your game is pretty much over.

Blacephalon UNB: Unfavored–Even

Once again, this is a matchup where our Let Loose are vital. Our strategy is to force our opponent to take 8 Prize cards by using two 1-Prize attackers and then transitioning into two TAG TEAM GXs. The turn that you transition into a TAG TEAM, you will have to use a Let Loose in an attempt to prevent them from getting an OHKO on you the following turn. If you succeed, then the match is almost over and you should be nearly home free. If not, then you must do it again while transitioning to your last TAG TEAM. This is a matchup where Field Blower is very important and can help cripple your opponent on the Let Loose turns. If you are worried about this matchup as well as Weezing, then I would recommend finding a spot for the Field Blower.

Quagsire/Naganadel: Even–Favored

I’m going to be brutally honest here. I think Quagsire/Naganadel is a terrible deck that cannot even beat the matchup it is supposed to. Shining Lugia and Eevee & Snorlax-GX both cause the deck no end of problems because they are not easy to KO. It is this matchup that I feel justifies my decision to play Shining Lugia over Reshiram because Shining Lugia requires Quagsire to have 4 Energy attached for it to OHKO. With 2 Shining Lugia, it becomes very difficult for the Quagsire/Naganadel player to chain KOs. Arcanine is also a great attacker here because you can use it to take a KO and accelerate Energy onto your next attacker. It is essential that we bench Mew in this matchup because of Volcanion p. The spread damage can completely ruin our game plan of tanking through hits and should be avoided if possible.

Vileplume Stall: Extremely Favored

This matchup may seem free simply because we play Arcanine, but it is very important to play correctly or you may end up losing because of poor decision-making. The turn that we take our first Prize is extremely important to think about. If you’re using Outrage to take a KO on an Oddish, then you don’t have all that much to worry about, assuming Growlithe or Arcanine are not in play yet. If they are, it is vital that you play a Let Loose that turn, assuming a Steven’s Resolve was played the previous turn. Lugia-GX’s Lost Purge GX can completely swing the matchup against us because it doesn’t matter if we have taken 5 Prizes or not if our Arcanine is in the Lost Zone and there’s a lone Vileplume in play. You should only ever be using Arcanine to KO Vileplume, and not any other Pokémon. This minimizes the risk that Lost Purge GX presents. Guzma around the Vileplume for as long as possible and use the Arcanine to finish the game, rather than to start the game. After any Steven’s Resolve has been played, aside from maybe the first turn, it is vital that you use Let Loose to disrupt your opponent’s hand. Do not let them keep their hand when attacking with Arcanine.

Final Thoughts

I am actually not going to Madison this weekend because of my graduation, but if I were, then I would 100% be playing at least 58 of the cards in the updated list. Be ready for those pesky Stall players to show back up again, and also be prepared for Zoroark-GX to make a comeback. With as many people trying to make it good as there are, someone will probably sneak into Top 8 and maybe go a bit further.

Anyway, that’s all I have for you today. Good luck and have fun in Madison or playing in whatever local-level event you might be attending. I will not be seeing any of you this weekend, but look out for my next articles in the coming weeks!

As always, feel free to message me with any questions that you might have about anything related to Pokémon. I also now offer coaching! Either email me (alex.schemanske@gmail.com) or PM me if interested.

Until the next one.


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