Centiskorch VMAX is obviously a card receiving a lot of hype in post-rotation Standard format. Its high HP and adequate damage output is reminiscent of Reshiram & Charizard-GX, a card that has been a top tier archetype since its introduction—an archetype that I very much enjoyed playing. Many lists circulating—and this is just my opinion—are attempting to recapture the aggressive playstyle that was characteristic of ReshiZard, using Dedenne-GX, Crobat V, Jirachi TEU, Eldegoss V, and Heatran-GX. This approach, while it gives speed and power, leaves the player open to the strength of gusting available to every deck around, due to the existence of Boss’s Orders. ABZard never had that issue; the most it ever had to deal with was a lucky double Custom Catcher or an opposing Ninetales TEU. The ease with which these support Pokémon can be exploited defeats the purpose of having a bulky, 350+ HP VMAX, which is Centiskorch’s main appeal due to (1) the synergy it has with Heat R Energy and Big Charm to increase its health and (2) Hyper Potion being so good in tandem with G-Max Centiferno. In testing, all Eternatus VMAX had to do was play Boss’s twice then attack into a VMAX twice to win the game, and I never felt I could match that. I therefore looked for a different approach.
Anyone who played against me during my first year of Masters probably did so against Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX. I enjoyed it so much due to its incredibly reactive playstyle, with Green’s Exploration allowing you to find any Trainers required for the situation. GardEon itself also had many similarities with Centiskorch VMAX. Both had high pools of health (for their respective times), neither had a particularly debilitating Weakness, and both had inbuilt methods of Energy acceleration. Then the puzzle pieces started to fit together. Why not combine the two, bringing in elements of Green’s ReshiZard, the closest previous deck to what I was thinking of? Green’s Centiskorch was born. It took a while to come up with what I think is the optimum list but here we go.
10 R Energy
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon - 10
##Trainer Cards - 36
* 4 Green’s Exploration UNB 175
* 2 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Energy Spinner UNB 170
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 154
* 2 Hyper Potion SSH 166
* 1 Professor’s Research SSH 178
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206
* 1 Mallow & Lana CEC 198
* 1 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Big Charm SSH 158
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174
* 2 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 3 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Wondrous Labyrinth p TEU 158
##Energy - 14
Total Cards - 60
****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=82262 ******
I will only discuss any counts where there is an argument that they could be different.
Volcanion is a card used in both lists because of just how powerful it can be. Flare Starter is incredible at rapidly charging up Centiskorch, especially with its synergy with Green’s. Often this deck wants to go second, due to the power of 3 Energy instantly attached and how well Green’s can set you up for later turns. High-Heat Blast is also a strong attack, and its damage combines well with that of G-Max Centiferno. 110 twice Knocks Out Vikavolt V, and 110 t2 into 240 t3 with a Welder onto a 2-Energy Centiskorch Knocks Out any VMAX without HP modifiers. Furthermore, the knockouts onto Volcanion are useless when it comes to Prize trades, as the opponent still needs to KO 2 Centiskorch VMAX. 4 Volcanion are necessary as it is your strongest starter, so that you don’t have to find a switch to pivot into it.
Multiple lists run a 4-4 line of the archetype’s main attacker but, especially with Green’s, I’ve never felt that the deck needed it. Once two are benched and evolved, all other pieces become dead cards, and the risk of missing the Basic t1 is mitigated due to Green’s being able to find a Quick Ball. Often I’ve found myself using Giant Hearth just to burn these cards later on in the game, and I’ve never felt the need for a thicker line.
A 3rd copy of Boss’s would feel nice, but 2 has never felt that bad due to the ready availability of them with Pokégear 3.0 and Green’s, so it’s a consideration but 2 feels OK.
This may seem like an odd choice but hear me out. Centiskorch often doesn’t require a Welder to be played every turn, meaning that you can use another Supporter to better set you up for following turns. While Green’s may seem like the obvious choice, it only grants you 2 “new” cards, while Research can give 7 “new” cards. Admittedly, they’re not cherry-picked like they would be with Green’s, but it is possible to both thin the deck and gain access to new resources. It is also strong later on in the game, as an out to draw off of a Reset Stamp or Marnie, or in the early game if you can thin down your hand to a few unnecessary cards. Overall I think that the card pulls its weight.
The 1 copy of this card allows it to be there when most needed, without getting in the way. The effect of healing and switching into either a healthy Centiskorch VMAX or a Volcanion is very powerful, especially when you can discard an Energy to be accelerated by G-Max Centiferno.
Switch is an underrated card in this deck. It allows you to pivot into a Volcanion turn 1, or move a damaged Centiskorch from the Active, and there are so many other uses for it. It essentially gives even more control over your board in a small but meaningful way. The only reason why 4 have not been included is that Mallow & Lana can functionally act as a “4th Switch,” so 3 has felt good so far.
Why wouldn’t you want Mallow & Lana as an Item? I know they’re not identical, but the synergy between Centiferno and the discard effect is obvious, and often the Centiskorch has sufficient Energy such that losing 2 is OK. Again, due to the availability of it via Green’s I’ve never felt the need for a higher count.
Despite the fact that Centiskorch VMAX can recover Energy on its own, occasionally it needs a little help. Having the ability to instantly obtain 3 Energy from discard for 1 Item is strong, especially in combination with Welder, but 1 is plenty to tide the deck over.
These two come as a package. Stamp is obviously a very strong card in any Green’s deck, as proven by past results. However, as this list isn’t disruption-based I didn’t feel as if a 2nd copy was necessary. The Wondrous Labyrinth p is in here due to the fact the Centiskorch VMAX is very rarely playing at its minimum Energy cost. If you don’t have 3 or 4 Energy on it then the game isn’t going too well. This therefore means that you can increase an opponent’s attack cost at no detriment to yourself. One of the most interesting things I have noticed, particularly in this format, is the reliance of the tempo of the best decks on their Energy costs. Eternatus VMAX is a good example of this, where the opening turns have to go attach-attach-attack, and the late turns are very similar. If an opponent in any way disrupts this, then the whole deck has to change tack, a difficult thing to do rapidly. If, when your opponent is at low Prize cards, you can execute the Stamp–Labyrinth combo, this forces your opponent to play in a completely different way. Another trick the deck has up its sleeve.
A large part of Centiskorch VMAX’s appeal is the way in which it can rapidly ramp up its HP, with the card regularly reaching 390 HP with 2 Heat R Energy and a Big Charm. This, in combination with the large amount of healing, can be too much for some decks to overcome, so running max counts of Heat R Energy is very good. Big Charm doesn’t require as large of a quantity, due to the fact that Green’s can easily get them from the deck.
This card is extremely strong in this deck for three reasons. One is obvious—that it gives ready access to R Energy whenever required. The next is that they can discard cards from your hand, whether those cards be dead Centiskorch lines, or R Energy to be accelerated with G-Max Centiferno. The third reason is that you can remove as many outs that the opponent has to a late-game Wondrous Labyrinth as possible, potentially meaning that they can’t bump it, and so miss a crucial attack. 3 would be the count but the 3rd Stadium slot is the Labyrinth, and I’ve felt in testing that 2 is not too few.
Most Centiskorch lists run 9 basic R Energy, but I have gone for the philosophy of better to have too many than not enough. I’ve tested 8, 9, and 10 Energy, and 10 has felt the best by far, allowing some to be discarded, while also allowing enough in the deck and hand to make plays with Welder.
Another copy of Boss’s Orders could be strong, as discussed earlier, but I’ve never felt myself needing it, so personally I am comfortable with 2.
Big Charm, +1 Reset Stamp-1
This change would be meta-dependent. If VMAXs were to go down in play, then lower HP would overall be needed, and so the 2nd Stamp would possibly be stronger. However, as of right now I don’t believe it to be required, so I would leave it at 2 Charm, 1 Stamp.
Eternatus VMAX: Favorable
Many people going into the post-rotation format likely would have believed Eternatus to be the best deck, due to its high damage output, and its fast tempo. However, further testing has revealed multiple weaknesses, which Centiskorch can exploit. The game plan is as follows: turn 1 use Flare Starter for 3 Energy, 2 onto a Centiskorch V and 1 onto a Benched Volcanion. Then, on turn 2, you attach an Energy onto the Volcanion and attack for 110. Turn 3, you can then use G-Max Centiferno to Knock Out, having used Welder for 2 Energy and attached another. They will respond by attacking into your Centiskorch, at which point you attack again with a Benched Centiskorch V, being charged up in the meantime. They Knock you Out, and then you finish the game using a final G-Max Centiferno. This should be how every match goes, provided you adequately set up. Furthermore, you disrupt their Zigzagoon combos using Big Charm and Heat R Energy, which would otherwise allow them to Knock you Out while only attacking once. Late game you also have access to the Stamp–Labyrinth play, which can completely shut them out of the game. This is the matchup I have tested the most due to the deck’s inevitable popularity, and is one of the best matchups for the Green’s build of the deck.
Salamence VMAX: Favorable
This matchup is extremely similar to the Eternatus one. You employ the same setup technique, ensuring you always have more than 100 HP remaining, to avoid being stung by any Giant Bomb shenanigans. If they run type-specific techs, then have a Green’s in hand to be able to counter them, and attempt to have sufficient healing to force them to attack three times to take a knockout. It is also helpful that they have only 320 HP, as opposed to Eternatus’s more substantial 340, as you require 1 fewer Energy to take a knockout, and it turns 1HKOs from almost unattainable to unlikely but possible. Salamence’s reliance on having Benched support Pokémon presents another win condition, as Boss’s Orders can grant extra Prizes or a valuable knockout to stall out a Giant Bomb.
Centiskorch VMAX/Abilities: 50/50 to Favorable
This is one of the most horrible mirror matches in this format. Both decks can scale their health to absurd levels, and both have the availability of healing to keep their big VMAXs fit and healthy. The fact that Volcanion cannot 1HKO each other further adds to the unpleasantness of this matchup. The Ability variant possesses increased aggression, possibly giving it the lead in the early game. However, the more ready access to resources of the Green’s build can allow it to keep up. It’s all about who gets set up better. One point is that the Ability deck will likely have support 2-Prizers that can be gusted, whereas Green’s will not. And, if the Ability player benches Eldegoss V, where possible use Volcanion to take a 1HKO on it, as it will swing the momentum strongly into your favor.
Zacian V: 50/50ADP/
This matchup goes one of two ways. If they don’t run Milotic V, it should be a slam dunk, provided that you correctly play around Zamazenta V. However, if they do run Milotic V, things get much harder. The only way I can think to get around it would be a Guzma & Hala and 1 or 2 Weakness Guard Energy, but even that may not be enough. Testing may reveal another possible way around Milotic V, but only time will tell.
Vikavolt V: Extremely Favorable
Volcanion is they key here. High-Heat Blast cleanly 2-shots the Vikavolt, while Paralyzing Bolt must be used three times with any modifiers to take a Knock Out. If they do opt to Super Zap Cannon, they release the Item lock at which point you can set up even more bulky VMAXs. A final tip is to play all your Items when you can. Even if they play a Marnie or a Stamp, you’ve thinned those cards from your deck.
This is the closest matchup. While Hoopa DAA cannot 1HKO Volcanion, Volcanion cannot 1HKO it in return. The key thing in this matchup is who wins the Stadium war. If Wondrous Labyrinth p sticks, the Centiskorch player wins, but if Black Market p sticks, then Spiritomb will win. If you are particularly concerned about this matchup, then a Tool Scrapper could be a strong inclusion to remove Cape of Toughness and potentially even Knock Out some Spiritomb while you are at it.
Mad Party: 50/50 to Favorable
This matchup is very similar to Spiritomb, but slightly better for three reasons. Volcanion can actually trade with the Mad Party attackers due to their lower HP. Mad Party is also less consistent with its damage output, and will often scale its damage more slowly. Lastly, it has to bench Crobat V and Dedenne-GX to actually set up, leaving it vulnerable to Boss’s Orders. However, the power that Mad Party has on a 1-Prize attacker will always be a threat, so play with caution and it is very winnable.
Centiskorch is one of Decidueye’s worst overall matchups, due to Volcanion’s ability to 1HKO without receiving the same in return, but it is still close because of the existence of Weakness Guard Energy. While in every other matchup only 2 Volcanion should ever hit the board, in this one they all should, and provided you can stream them, the pressure applied should end up too much for your opponent. Centiskorch V’s Radiating Heat attack can remove the Weakness Guard Energy, leaving the Decidueye open to a 1-shot.
A Word on the Mirror
Whoever goes second wins. No, not really, but going second gives a huge advantage, as it allows you to accelerate more Energy and play Green’s before the opponent, which gives a huge setup boost. From then on it comes down to who gets the better usage out of healing and Reset Stamp. Volcanion shouldn’t attack into an opposing Volcanion but rather into an opposing Centiskorch VMAX, and you should overall avoid attacking into opposing Volcanion, as they are useless Prize cards, as explained earlier.
Overall, this deck is not wholly dissimilar to the Ability variant, and their strengths are overall the same. However, the increasing amount of gust has meant that the supporting Vs and GXs are all the more vulnerable. This Green’s variant offers an alternative path, and while it lacks some of the aggression of its counterpart, it makes up for this in its resilience and increased control over the game as a whole. The deck will also likely have a surprise factor due to the overwhelming majority of players opting for the ability version.