Chien-Pao ex Quarterly Report and a Look Towards Twilight Masquerade

Hey PokeBeach readers and Chien-Pao Inc. Shareholders, Ciaran here to give you a shivery update on Chien-Pao ex! Last time I wrote about Chien-Pao ex was before EUIC, but a lot has happened since then for my favourite ice cat. I have a strong understanding of where the deck currently sits and want to share some more in-depth matchup guides, discuss how to build your ideal 60, and a look ahead to how the deck will fare once Twilight Masquerade comes out!

Chien-Pao ex got off to a shaky start in this format, failing to make Top 8 at EUIC, even though the deck was well represented on the second day of competition. Two did make top cut at the Orlando Regional Championships the following weekend, however, and at the Indianapolis Regional Championships, four made top cut! I think it is safe to say that Chien-Pao ex has proven itself as a contender for the best deck in the format. The deck has a fairly strong matchup spread, most notably a favourable matchup against the most popular deck (Charizard ex), and the unfavourable matchups are quite low in metashare (Snorlax, Ancient box, and decks with Banette ex).

The deck can also control the Prize trade better than any other in the format, between Chien-Pao ex to take Knock Outs on large two-Prize Pokemon, and Iron Hands ex which can turn any smaller-HP single-Prize Pokemon into two Prizes.

Chien-Pao ex also rewards well-practiced pilots who have studied and rehearsed the multiple lines available to the deck. One of the reasons I love playing the deck is that every game feels like a unique sequencing puzzle for me to solve. While there are common Prize maps in each matchup, how you can pull them off is always an adventure. To be a strong Chien-Pao ex player you need to be able to adapt on the fly and have your sequencing fundamentals down pat!

The Skeleton Deck List

Pokemon (13)

2x Chien-Pao ex (PAL #61)2x Baxcalibur (PAL #60)3x Frigibax (PAL #57)2x Bibarel (BRS #121)2x Bidoof (CRZ #111)1x Iron Hands ex (PAR #70)1x Radiant Greninja (ASR #46)

Trainers (33)

4x Irida (ASR #147)2x Ciphermaniac's Codebreaking (TEF #145)4x Buddy-Buddy Poffin (TEF #144)4x Nest Ball (SM #123)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Superior Energy Retrieval (PAL #189)3x Rare Candy (UL #82)3x Super Rod (BKT #149)1x Hisuian Heavy Ball (ASR #146)1x Earthen Vessel (PAR #163)1x Prime Catcher (TEF #157)2x PokéStop (PGO #68)

Energy (9)

8x Water Energy (EM #103)1x Lightning Energy (EM #104)

This, to me, is a skeleton list of cards and their counts that I think 100% should be in any build of the deck. When rounding out the deck we want to focus on a balance of consistency, power, and techs. Personally, I would over-index on consistency first as we want to be able to consistently set up and play the game.


When it comes to Pokemon there are a few options to consider; first, let’s talk about whether it is worth it to play one copy of the 70 HP Frigibax? The main reason to play this card is to better protect against Sableye‘s Lost Mine attack. Late in the game if you have your only Baxcalibur Knocked Out it is difficult to set up another one without this Frigibax since the two 60 HP Frigibax can get taken out in one attack. The downside to playing the 70 HP Frigibax is that it has a Retreat Cost of two — this can stunt your early games, blocking an easy retreat into Chien-Pao ex to use Shivery Chill or a retreat into an ideal attacker on turn two. The deck also has other bad starters in Iron Hands ex and Manaphy (if you play it), so I don’t include the 70 HP Frigibax. I feel like the matchups against decks with Sableye are still fine without it, and you can pre-emptively set up your board to protect against Baxcalibur going down by pre-loading Energy into play.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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