Through the Fire and Flames — Charizard ex in the Paradox Rift Format

Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here and I am happy to be writing another article for you all. Last time, I discussed some of my favorite decks that feature single-Prize Pokemon, more specifically Lunatone, Regigigas, and Zoroark. In the time since that article has gone up, these decks have not exactly seen much success, but there also have not been many events since then. Shortly before that article was posted, however, there was a Regional Championship in Gdańsk, Poland, and another in Brisbane, Australia. None of my aforementioned decks did well in those events either, but there were w few unexpected results…

One of the biggest standouts was certainly the fact that Snorlax won in Gdańsk. While many players, myself included, expected this deck to do well in this format, especially after its Top 8 finish at the Latin America International Championship, I think a Regional Championship win so soon was certainly unexpected. After that event, I am unsure of what to expect for the future of the format; a lot of people have started talking about Minior as a potential answer for an otherwise difficult matchup in decks like Miraidon ex or Charizard ex, and other players have maintained that the deck is not worth teching for, saying that the matchup is fine for most of the top decks (see fellow writer Grant Manley’s recent article on this topic). I currently am more in the camp of being unwilling to commit a card like Minior, but instead, I would consider playing a Professor Turo's Scenario in Gardevoir ex to make the matchup a little better without sticking myself with a mostly useless card in other matchups. For those who remember it, I feel like Minior is comparable to Giratina back in 2018ish as a counter for Greninja BREAK where the card will be used to counter a deck if it is expected to do well and/or recently did well, but a lot of the time the best players will understand that the deck is such a small percentage of the meta anyway that it probably is not worth including a hard counter to it.

Another deck that did surprisingly well at the Gdańsk and Brisbane Regional Championships despite its mediocre run at the Latin America International Championship was Charizard ex. Charizard ex managed to get second at not one but BOTH of the Regional Championships and put up numerous other high-level finishes at both events, amassing five total Top 8 finishes at those two events, which was more than any other archetype. These results are, for lack of a better way of putting it, quite remarkable, and I think it is a testament to the fact that the deck is still quite good going forward. In fact, I would say that the deck is, without question, one of the best decks in Standard right now, notably falling behind Miraidon ex, but that deck is a good matchup for Charizard ex which is a nice perk. In this article, I am going to explain why I think that Charizard ex is so well positioned right now and then I am also going to dive into my current Charizard ex deck list.

Without further ado, how about we start by taking a look at Charizard ex’s position in the metagame?

Why Do I Think Charizard ex is So Good?

To best understand why I think Charizard ex is a great deck right now, we must first start by examining what makes the deck good individually before further examining its matchups. In my opinion, if you took every single deck in Standard and listed out its pros and cons without acknowledging their matchups, Charizard ex would easily be one of the best decks in Standard, if not the single best deck. This deck has a lot going for it. Infernal Reign is one of the most powerful Energy acceleration Abilities ever printed, Burning Darkness is an extremely powerful attack with a damage ceiling of 330 in the most favorable circumstances for only two Energy, and Pidgeot ex‘s Quick Search is the perfect Ability to tie together all of the deck’s powerful plays and tech cards. These strengths in addition to getting access to other generically powerful cards such as Radiant Charizard, Counter Catcher, Lost City, and more make this deck’s raw strength nearly unmatched.

These strengths, of course, are not the only thing that is a factor in this deck’s success. After all, a great deck with bad matchups is bound to not do well. Charizard ex, however, also has strong matchups pretty much across the board. As I mentioned previously, one of the deck’s stand-out best matchups is certainly Miraidon ex. Even though the Miraidon ex player will almost always take a lead, they struggle to take a one-hit Knock Out on one Charizard ex, let alone a second if it comes to that. Radiant Charizard is also problematic for Miraidon ex since it can take one-hit Knock Outs on every single Pokemon that Miraidon ex plays (as long as there is not a Bravery Charm attached). This coupled with Iono to keep it extremely difficult for the opponent to string together any sort of a series of consecutive Knock Outs is what makes the matchups so good. In fact, their only realistic ways of winning are either them drawing perfectly and never missing an Electric Generator for two, or you not drawing outs to Path to the Peak if they put it in play. Charizard ex is also strong against Mew VMAX, as one would expect — it’s simply too big for them to deal with and, at best, they can initiate a two-for-three exchange that they should lose anyway because Charizard ex only needs two attacks to win and Mew VMAX needs three. This matchup is so bad for Mew VMAX (or at least the Double Turbo Energy version) that a lot of them have even started to play Crushing Hammer to try and make it a little more playable.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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Aspiring Trainer
Fusion Mew can't win against zard at all. Only way to win is if the zard player bricks.

DTE Mew has a fighting chance, even though it's still a 65-35 matchup for zard IMO.


Evoshock, Devolution Spray, Pickup
Fusion Mew can't win against zard at all. Only way to win is if the zard player bricks.

DTE Mew has a fighting chance, even though it's still a 65-35 matchup for zard IMO.
I sort of agree, but not entirely.

Both gameplans are reliant on Judge Path to have a shot. DTE Mew is better at making this happen consistently, but Fusion can be a bit more resilient if the opponent gets lucky. It ultimately is just which of these options you prefer.