Chien-Pao Freezes Out the Competition

Chien-Pao Freezes Out the Competition

, by Anastazja Clappison, 8 min reading time


     Paldea Evolved just dropped and with it comes the best new deck and tons of support: Chien-Pao ex. This deck has it all: Energy acceleration, one-prize attackers, one-hit KO potential and even free retreating! I haven’t loved a deck this much since Palkia VSTAR took over the meta last year. We finally have a deck that actually sets up, hits for huge numbers, doesn’t lose the prize trade and is incredibly fun to play with tons of outs & options. I’ve gone through 3 iterations of this deck before landing on this list that I feel super comfortable with:


3 Chien-Pao ex (PDE 061)
3 Frigibax (PDE 058)
3 Baxcalibur (PDE 060)
2 Bidoof (CZE 111)
2 Bibarel (BRS 121)
1 Kyogre (CZE 036)
1 Manaphy (BRS 041)
1 Radiant Greninja (ASR 046)
1 Lumineon V (BRS 040)

4 Irida
2 Boss’s Orders
2 Iono
4 Trekking Shoes
4 Ultra Ball
4 Superior Energy Retrieval
3 Battle VIP Pass
3 Rare Candy
1 Super Rod
1 Hisuian Heavy Ball
1 Switch
1 Lost Vacuum
1 Nest Ball
2 Skater’s Park

10 Water Energy

     Your ideal starter in this deck is Chien-Pao. His ability “Shivery Chill” is essentially a Capacious Bucket and is incredibly useful for setting up, thinning your deck and getting your momentum going. It says that as long as Chien-Pao is your active Pokemon, you can search your deck for 2 water energy and add them to your hand. This works in combination with Baxcalibur’s ability “Super Cold” which is a callback to Deluge Blastoise- as often as you’d like during your turn, you can attach a water energy from your hand to one of your Pokemon. Then, swinging back to the Chien-Pao, we load up energies on our board and take huge knock-outs with “Hail Blade”, which does 60 damage times the number of energies discarded off your Pokemon. The spicy part here is that the discarded energy doesn’t even have to be on Chien-Pao- you can spread that energy to multiple Pokemon on your bench and discard it off them to boost Chien-Pao’s damage output. For 6 energy anywhere on your field and no limitations on how many energy you can play per turn, you can take one hit knock outs on Mew VMAXs and Gardevoir exs as early as turn 2.

Baxcalibur - Pokemon | TrollAndToad

     Figuring out the right Supporter and item count for this deck was the most difficult part of deck building- there’s so much support for water decks in format that I had to test so many different variations to get to where we are now. My only cuts from the Pokemon line were a 2-2 Palkia V/VSTAR line, which got reduced to a 1-1 line, then removed completely as I found I was only using the Palkia when I was losing anyways. Some other cards we tried were Cancelling Cologne and Cross Switcher, but I decided to take those out for Trekking Shoes to increase consistency. There are a lot of cute plays you can do with those cards, but I found they clogged up my hand and prevented me from drawing deeper off Bibarel, and I really just wanted to create the most consistent version of this deck. On the supporter side, I knew I wanted Iono in this deck as she lets both you and your opponent shuffle your hand, put it at the bottom of your deck then draw cards equal the number of prize cards you have remaining.

Iono - 269/193-0
     “But Ana,” you say, with a handful of supporters and Battle VIPs, “how do I stop bricking?” And that is a wonderful question, hypothetical friend! This deck’s playstyle is a lot different from others we’ve seen recently, and I don’t just mean in the abilities and attacks being used. This is the only deck in format right now which actively wants to go second. Yes, Fusion Mew has Meloetta, but it’s just a nice bonus if you happen to get it set up that way. If you’re playing Chien Pao and choosing to go first, you’re already putting yourself in a losing position. You can’t evolve on your first turn regardless, but going second gives you access to Irida and Battle VIP Pass, which you *need* to ensure you can actually play the rest of the game. Additionally, in many other decks it’s an obvious choice to bring up the Greninja or Bibarel as a sacrifice if your opponent uses Escape Rope to force one of your Pokemon up.. While this is highly situational, I would stress to keep your draw support Pokemon, even if it means losing a Frigibax. The games I’ve lost with this deck have been because I lost my draw support Pokemon and couldn’t dig through my deck for what I needed. With Iono as your only draw support, you rely heavily on Concealed Cards and Industrious Incisors to get you the cards you need each turn. You need to get 2 Frigibax down turn 1 and be okay with sacrificing one if it needed. Keeping your draw support safe is not just a nice luxury, it’s essential to this deck’s operation, even if it costs you a delay in getting Baxcalibur down.


     Along those same lines, a huge benefit to this deck is that you have a lot of opportunities to burn dead cards if you play correctly. Make sure you’re using Ultra Ball or Superior Energy Retrieval to get rid of Battle VIP Passes after turn 1, Greninja to get rid of energies and draw through your deck, and Trekking Shoes to dig deeper and discard dead cards late game.  The first thing you should be doing each turn is Chien Pao’s Shivery Cold ability- get those energies out of your deck and onto a Pokemon before using Greninja or Bibarel, and you’ll be more likely to draw into cards you actually need. This is also super useful if your opponent used Iono last turn and you know key pieces of your set up got sent to the bottom of your deck- a Shivery Cold lets you shuffle those back up and gives you the opportunity to draw back into them.

      This deck also has a variety of winning attackers- Chien-Pao isn't your only option!  Baxcalibur hits for a respectable 130 damage, which is enough to take down common active sitters like Cramorant, Ralts, Greninja and other one-prizers. Kyogre is an amazing late-game attacker that can hit anything for 180 damage. You can set up some fun math with both of these one-prizers and Greninja, hitting something for 130-180 damage then coming up and sniping two things for 90- potentially taking 3 prizes in a turn against decks like Gardevoir or Mew. With so many lower-HP Pokemon running around now there are plenty of opportunities to take prizes with a one prizer, saving yourself the liability of Chien Pao staying in the active with his relatively low HP and giving away two prizes. Plus, taking out 2 Comfeys or 2 Kirlias early in the match can really turn the tide in your favour as your opponent struggles to set up their board. Of course, opposing Manaphy’s throw a huge wrench in this plan, but not to the point where it defeats your game plan with this deck. You can still win by just hitting the active and using Boss’s Orders to bring up what you need, but the option to take knock outs on your opponent’s benched is just a huge benefit of this deck. 

Radiant Greninja (046/189) [Sword & Shield: Astral Radiance]

     Altogether, this is an amazingly powerful deck that can wreak some serious havoc on your opponents. The only changes I would make to the list are possibly another Boss’s Orders, or potentially a Pal Pad. There are some times that you’d like another Boss to close out the game, or another Iono to prevent your opponent from winning the game, and it is sometimes difficult to find those cards when you need them. Unfortunately this list is very tight on space and I really don’t know what I would get rid of for either of those cards. If you’re going into a meta you know has minimal bench sniping, you could cut the Manaphy, but with so many decks running Radiant Greninja you would have to be very confident in your opponent’s deck lists before making that cut. Overall, the list above is what I’m currently playing and very happy with. If I was going to NAIC this would be my top choice!


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