Charizard ex for Charlotte Regionals

Charizard ex has been a mainstay in the format for the past few Regional Championships, and it seems that no matter what is thrown its way, it prevails. Arguably, Charizard ex is the best deck in format. In this vein, Charizard ex seems like the safest play for this tournament. The fact is, the deck is super consistent, has answers to most problems, and has the added benefit of its main attacker having a monstrous 330HP. In this article, I’ll mostly be going over the list, picking it apart, what the different options for techs are, and how to ensure you’re getting the most out of how you want to build the deck.

The following list I am currently working with has been updated since my Top 64 run at San Antonio regionals:

 

2 Charmander MEW 004

1 Charmander SVP 047

1 Charmander OBF 026

1 Charmeleon OBF 027

3 Charizard ex OBF 125

2 Pidgey MEW 016

2 Pidgeot ex OBF 164

1 Jirachi PAR 126

1 Manaphy BRS 041

1 Mew CRE 011

1 Lumineon V BRS 040

1 Rotom V CRZ 045 

4 Arven

3 Boss’s Orders

3 Iono

1 Professor’s Research 28

4 Battle VIP Pass

4 Rare Candy

4 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball

2 Lost Vacuum

2 Super Rod

1 Counter Catcher

1 Forest Seal Stone

1 Justified Gloves

1 Vitality Band

1 Artazon

1 Collapsed Stadium

1 Lost City

7 Fire

Firstly, I’d like to touch on one of the most important card choice decisions here: Justified Gloves or Technical Machine: Devolution? Right now, I would argue Justified Gloves is better with this current metagame. TM: Devo is a great option; however, Justified Gloves offers more versatility. In the current meta, Roaring Moon ex has been gaining a lot of popularity. Justified Gloves allows knockouts on Roaring Moon ex after your opponent has taken only a single prize, whereas neither TM: Devo nor Vitality Band allow that flexibility. Justified Gloves is also used in the mirror match, of course. It allows your opponent to never safely get to 2 prizes left without the threat of getting their Charizard ex KO’d by an opposing Charizard ex with Justified Gloves attached. TM: Devo may offer some versatility with being able to wipe your opponent’s board of Charizards, effectively wasting their Rare Candies. Most Charizard players will also save a Rare Candy or two, if they’re smart with their Candies. Some may argue it can also have options versus Gardevoir ex, where they load up a big Gardevoir CRE and take a KO, however TM: Devo puts the Gardevoir back to their hand, ready to KO your next Pokémon, so the efficacy of that play is diminished. I think TM: Devo can be a cute play, but it honestly just doesn’t hold up to the efficacy of Justified Gloves at this time.

In this same conversation, Vitality Band has tested to be much more useful than Defiance Band. Defiance Band can and has fulfilled a similar role as Justified Gloves, but Vitality Band does not require you to be behind on Prizes, so is much more aggressive. It rounds off numbers much better than Defiance Band, as most of the things you are looking to get KOs with Defiance Band also get KO’d by Vitality Band, while not having a restriction. This decision is one I have not looked back on.  

My concerns with Charizard ex going forward in this meta include threats such as Tapu Koko ex in Miraidon ex decks, opposing TM: Devolution, Giratina VSTAR variants, and Spiritomb.

Tapu Koko ex has been seeing a lot more play due to its ability to essentially allow Miraidon to “one-hit” KO Charizard exs. Tapu Koko ex is one of the biggest threats facing Charizard ex right now, and it is countered by one card entirely: Switch. I think if you are concerned about Tapu Koko ex in the slightest and are generally not optimistic about that matchup, playing 1 Switch card in your deck can mean the difference between winning and losing.

TM: Devolution, while I don’t feel is particularly great in the mirror match can be a devastating blow coming from other decks that look to pressure your Charmanders and Charmeleons then use TM: Devo to leave you with no attackers and no Pidgeot ex to re-setup. These matchups can be tricky, and it is always something to be on the lookout for. To reduce the Tool’s ability to cripple your board state, consider attacking with only your damaged Pokémon and do not retreat or try to attack with other Pokémon that are not damaged. Versus Lost Box, you play down Jirachi so they can only attack your active Pokémon, usually with Cramorant or Sableye. They both do just enough damage that when the TM: Devo lands, whatever is underneath your Charizard is going to be KO’d, so it’s best to not let them spread their damage and get more than 1 KO at a time. You also do not want to aggressively use your Rare Candies- be conservative with them. Unfortunately, with the threats of TM: Devo, you must play with extra vigilance.

I not going to go into specifics regarding all your matchups, but I feel like Giratina VSTAR is one that needs to be talked about. This matchup is known to be a difficult one for Charizard ex. I think the only way to mitigate this is running as many outs to Path to the Peak as possible. Giratina VSTAR being able to use Star Requiem on a Charizard ex and OHKO it, paired with its ability to naturally OHKO Pidgeot ex makes this one of the toughest matchups. Generally, I try not to be too aggressive with evolving Charizard ex and try to keep my board small until they take a KO on one of the little guys. This is important as it allows us to be able to use Counter Catcher to at least hit a benched Giratina VSTAR or KO a Giratina V with a Vitality Band. This opens up Counter Catcher for them but keeps you on even Prize Cards so that you only really need to take 3 KOs on big Tinas, or KO 2 Tinas and 2 little guys. The combination of Jirachi and Manaphy usually is sufficient to lock up your Bench from being attacked by Radiant Greninja or Sableye, meaning they will almost always have to get through a big Charizard ex. Using Lost City to get rid of their Cramorant for good is also key to this matchup. If you see an opening for this play, take it. As Cramorant is commonly used to set up KO numbers so Tina doesn’t have to waste its Star Requiem super early. They want to save that for as late as possible. The good news is that once they get to 2 or 1 prize left, they’re under a lot of pressure to not be on the other side of turns where you will be able to KO a Tina for your last prize or two. They usually have to be on all 1 prize Pokémon by that point, and disrupting them with Iono is crucial to shoring up this matchup. To reiterate, this starts with playing heavy counts of Path outs. Being able to set up Pidgeot ex and having the out to their stadium as often as possible will ensure you can have the highest chance of success.

Spiritomb is one of the sneakiest tricks to deal with in this current meta. The amount of setback Spiritomb inflicts is monstrous. Not being able to draw the extra 3 cards off Rotom, nor using Lumineon V in the late game is extremely rough. There is not really much to say about what to do about it, it just kind of happens, and you have to hope your hand is good enough to overcome it. This is a matchup where Mew CEL really shines as it’s really your only way to get going, unfortunately. If there is ever an opportunity to get it KO’d, I would say to go for it, depending on the board state, but do not intentionally cripple your prize count just to get rid of it.

The energy count is probably the most controversial topic regarding the Charizard ex decks. Some people swear by 8, some 7, and, with Azul’s most recent top 8 placement at the Portland Regional Championships, even 6! Personally, after extensive testing, I’ve found that 6 energy is doable, especially with the 2nd Super Rod. The trick is, you need to be especially careful about your energy placements, your resource management, and what you decide to attack with/when. Typically, energy will be used to retreat your Mew CEL or whichever other Pokémon may have gotten Boss-stalled. With 2 Super Rod, you will run into them more often and can recur them just enough to squeak by and also have enough deck space to run your techs. Personally, I have found 6 energy to *just* be not enough, and have opted for 7. Seven energy feels much looser and flexible, and prizing up to 3 will feel much less bad, while 8, at times, felt like too many.

With all of this knowledge on the list for Charizard ex, you should be able to take this list and fine tune it to your own card choices that you enjoy and have found to work best. I will be playing at the Charlotte Regional Championships, and, at the time of writing, I have not found the deck I want to play for it just yet, but rest assured that Charizard ex is at the top of the list of considerations. Thanks so much for reading and keep practicing Pokémon!