Infernal Reign - Charizard ex is here! | Pokémon

The newest Pokémon TCG set, Obsidian Flames, is nearing release, and there are many new cards that players are excited about. One of the most playable Pokémon ex, and arguably the most coveted collectible card in years, is Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames]!

What makes it unique? Well, it's a Charizard, of course! The nostalgic factor of a first-gen Pokémon, a bad-ass dragon, and mix in a Tera Jewel that turns it Darkness-type - this card is wild! Terastallizing has been in our past few Scarlet and Violet sets. Still, Obsidian Flames is the first time we see Pokémon change their regular types to something unexpected, reminiscent of the Delta Species set from the mid-2000s. Well, what does Charizard ex even do? Let’s take a peek!

There are many aspects of a playable card here, so let's start with the obvious, the Darkness typing. In our current Standard format, both Mew VMAX [Fusion Strike] and Gardevoir ex [Scarlet and Violet] are Psychic-type Pokémon with a Weakness against Darkness-type Pokémon, so Charizard ex instantly has an edge in the competition. (You can make your new Ultra Rare Charizard pop by pairing it with some fiery-colored Red Cortex Sleeves!) 

Its Infernal Reign Ability can allow you to accelerate Fire Energy to any of your Pokémon in play, so we have a solid way to attack with its Burning Darkness attack. Burning Darkness hits for a moderate 180 damage, but it gets more exciting as the game progresses. As your opponent draws Prize Cards, it does an additional 30 damage for each Prize Card they’ve taken. If they only have one Prize Card left, you can do 150 damage to swing for a whopping 330 damage that would undoubtedly OHKO most Pokémon! The one question you might be wondering is, "Who do we pair Charizard ex with?" Don’t worry, I have you covered…

We aren’t only getting Obsidian Flames; we are also getting a special sub-series set called Pokémon 151, a set themed around Generation 1 Pokémon,  around the same time. With both releases being so close to each other, it is worthwhile to look at both sets at the same time.

In this case, a Charizard ex [Pokémon 151] also releases in that set. A dual-type deck gives you more coverage against the metagame and advantages in different matchups. In this case, this Charizard ex can attack for less Energy with its Brave Wing attack, but it comes at the cost of having damage counters on it. That might seem not easy at first, but it pairs wonderfully with Magma Basin [Brilliant Stars]. While it might seem counterintuitive to pair a Fire-type exclusive Stadium with a deck with Darkness-type and Fire-type Pokémon, I have a great way around that!

Charmander and Charmeleon are Fire-type Pokémon, so we can utilize Magma Basin before Evolve. That gives this deck early game acceleration, a path to using Brave Wing, and is a great counter Stadium card. Charizard ex’s other attack, Explosive Vortex, allows you to do 330 damage for four Fire Energy, but it comes at the cost of discarding three Energy from itself. With both Charizard ex having powerful attacks, you might want to know what a list might look like, so here is my early list that I have been theorizing.

Charizard ex Deck List

Pokémon (18)

2 Charizard ex OBF
2 Charizard ex MEW
1 Charizard PGO
4 Charmander MEW
2 Kirlia SIT
2 Ralts SVI
1 Radiant Charizard CRZ
1 Lumineon V BRS
1 Manaphy BRS
1 Moltres BRS
1 Mew CEL

Energy (10)

10 Fire Energy SVI

Trainer (32)

4 Magma Basin BRS
4 Iono PAL
3 Boss's Orders PAL
2 Zinnia's Resolve EVS
1 Raihan EVS
4 Ultra Ball SVI
4 Rare Candy SVI
3 Nest Ball SVI
1 Super Rod PAL
1 Escape Rope BST
1 Switch SVI

As you look through the above list, you might wonder how I got away with playing six different Charizard cards. You can only play up to four copies of a Pokémon with the same name. In this case, we play four combined copies of Charizard ex, one copy of Charizard [Pokémon Go], and one copy of Radiant Charizard [Crown Zenith]. Yeah, it really can get that thematic!

The primary strategy of this deck is to use Magma Basin to build up damage counters on Moltres [Brilliant Stars] and your Charizard ex [Pokémon 151] so that you can do extra damage. Of course, you can power up Charmander [Pokémon 151] too, and make sure you power it up before you Evolve into a Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames]. 

Kirlia [Silver Tempest] will be our main draw engine in this deck because we need to discard Fire Energy to retrieve back with Magma Basin. Drawing cards each turn will allow us to find our Rare Candy [Scarlet and Violet] necessary to Evolve Charmander into Charizard ex. As a bonus, Kirlia’s Refinement gives this deck the needed stability so that Iono [Paldea Evolved] won’t instantly "brick" our hand, allowing us to have a healthy number of cards to play.

The deck is a straight-forward Fire-type beat-down deck that aims to accelerate Energy efficiently, attack for high amounts of damage, and chase down Pokémon worth multiple Prize Cards that you can OHKO! Did I mention it's a Charizard deck? Once these sets release, I will be pairing it with my Sidewinder Black/Red Synergy Deck Box

Autor: Zach Lesage

Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for Ultimate Guard. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokémon content as his full time career. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside of the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokémon events and follow him on Twitter.