Editor’s Note: This article was written before Baltimore Regionals but was unable to be edited and posted until now.
Hey everyone, it’s Charlie, and I’m so excited to be back with another article! After a long 2022 season, I enjoyed watching Worlds from home, and was so happy to see both my students and friends succeed at the highest level. However, part of me was upset that I wasn’t playing in Worlds myself; with the way invites shook out, getting an invite without 2019 finishes was extremely difficult, and I wasn’t able to hit the mark last season. This year, however, I’m ready for an incredible season, and fully committed to putting myself back on top of the game. Luckily for me, this season starts right at home in Baltimore! For the first time in my career, we had a Regionals in my home city, and was just as awesome an experience as I had hoped!
I played my Charizard list that you’ll find at the end of the article and on my Twitter (this article was written prior to Baltimore) to a 9-3-3 record and top 64; Nicholas Moffit also made top 8 with it and fellow PokeBeach writer Isaiah Cheville took it to top 32. Piper Lepine also won the event with a very similar list!
When it comes to Baltimore, we first have to look back at what did well during Worlds, as the format is identical. Of course we first look to our World Champion Ondrej Skubal’s Arceus VSTAR / Flying Pikachu VMAX/ Bibarel deck, which is an incredibly consistent and potent combination that takes a great matchup against Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR decks. However, as we look a bit down the standings, the deck that interests me the most from Worlds is Ross Cawthon’s Radiant Charizard deck. After watching him play it on stream, I was amazed by its consistency, raw damage output, and ability to deal with pretty much every multi-Prize deck that showed up. While he didn’t end up making Top 8, I think his deck was an amazing choice, and it’s what I would like to cover today. Let’s take a look at the list Ross played at Worlds:
One Radiant Charizard
This is obviously the star of the deck. Radiant Charizard is an incredible one-Prize attacker that can hit for up to 280 damage with a Choice Belt! The thing that makes this card so good is its Ability Excited Heart: for every Prize card your opponent has taken, its attack costs 1 less Colorless Energy. This means that if your opponent has two Prize cards remaining, Radiant Charizard’s attack only costs 1 Fire Energy to use! This damage efficiency is ridiculous and completely unprecedented in Pokemon TCG history, so even though you can only play one copy of Radiant Charizard in your deck, there exist plenty of recovery cards for you to reuse the same Charizard over and over in a game.
In order to support our Charizard, we choose to run the Inteleon engine here, but in this deck it’s for much more than just the Trainer search. While the Trainer search is amazing and enables us to reuse Radiant Charizard almost every turn in the late game, Inteleon is also a really good attacker in its own right. In the early game before we can efficiently power up Charizard, attacking with Inteleon’s Aqua Bullet is a great way to get damage on the board and draw a few Prize cards, while our opponent takes a few Prize cards themself and lowers Charizard’s attack cost. Using Rare Candy even allows us to attack with Inteleon as early as turn two, which is extremely good for applying early pressure before setting up Charizard gets easy. Ross chose not to run a copy of the Quick Shooting Inteleon in this deck, which I agree with because it’s a much worse attacker and Quick Shooting’s damage boost rarely matters when you almost never need to deal more than 280 damage. I would possibly consider a fourth Drizzile here, but with plenty of recovery cards this line feels perfect.
Ross chose to play a Snorlax to help establish board presence in the early game when the deck isn’t planning on attacking. Since Charizard is naturally a comeback-oriented card, this deck can afford to get behind and take a bit of time to set up, which is where Snorlax shines. Its Gormandize Ability can help you refill your hand in the early game and prepare for a strong turn afterwards, which is very good when you need to execute large combos in order to attack. I like this inclusion and while I’ve considered cutting it for space, its value in the early game (especially going first) can’t be understated.
Ross also chose to play Mew as another support option, but Mew is here more for the mid- and late game than the early game. Being able to promote Mew after your opponent plays a Roxanne or Marnie and find an extra Item card is extremely good, and in combination with Air Balloon it also gives you a nice, easy pivot to promote every turn after your Charizard is Knocked Out. I think this card is necessary in a good Charizard list, and while it doesn’t provide value every game, it is so good when you use it well that you can’t cut it.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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