[Japan Championships: Top 32] Weakness Guard Reshiram & Charizard

Please find the original Japanese-language article here. Note my translation is not a perfect translation and I have rearranged and reworded some parts of the original article for clarity and readability. Find also some explanatory comments inside square brackets, italicised.


Greetings. My name is Pokemura. My history of playing Pokemon goes back six years, and while I have been playing in the Kansai region since last year, I am in this group because I have connections from my university days.

This time, I will be discussing the Reshiram & Charizard deck that placed in the top 32 at the Pokemon Japan Championships 2019.  The base of the deck was the Kyoto Champions League winning list piloted by Mana-san, and as there were also some aspects of the deck I was unable to perfect due to not having enough time to test, I will release this article for free. I deviated slightly from the conventional approach to Reshiram & Charizard by creating a deck that could hold its own against Water type decks. I invite you to try out the deck for yourself as well.

Creation Process

After the conclusion of the Kyoto Champions League, Reshiram & Charizard became the focus of the meta, attracting a lot of attention. This resulted in a lot of Water Pokemon being used to hit for weakness. If I could get around this weakness, I thought I would be able to overcome these counters.

Until now, these were the methods of getting rid of weakness:
  • Weakness Policy
  • Altar of the Sun (only limited to Fire and Steel types) 
  • Solgaleo GX (Shining Mane)

However, Weakness Policy and Altar of the Sun can be dealt with by Field Blower or other Stadiums. Solgaleo GX is a Stage 2 so creates inconsistency. In a Reshiram & Charizard meta, Zoroark is one of the decks which uses Water Pokemon, but it also generally includes Persian GX, so it’s easy to imagine that Field Blower will always be easily accessible by Cat Walk.

When the set list of Miracle Twin was announced, a new method of avoiding weakness was introduced: Weakness Guard Energy. This was very attractive as it meant I could attach a Tool other than Weakness Policy, and in this current meta there aren’t many people playing Hammers.

In addition, Great Potion was announced, which I thought would be a great combination with a Tag Team without weakness, adding to the longevity of high HP Tag Team Pokemon. Thinking this, I decided to bring to the JCS a Reshiram & Charizard variant which combined these two cards.

Deck List

Below is the list I used for the event:


3 Reshiram & Charizard GX

This is our main attacker. Generally we will use two copies in a game, so three is sufficient. Since I want to start attaching Energy from turn one, I did play with the idea of running four copies, but I cut one slot for Hoopa.

3 Jirachi

Without Jirachi, this deck wouldn’t function. As Welder does not draw us many cards and requires pieces in our hand to be effective, we need Stellar Wish to get off a good Welder. I wanted to include four copies of Jirachi as it is the most powerful opener, but one slot went to Blacephalon GX.

1 Blacephalon GX

It is easy to take a Prize with this card, and I was worried about the detrimental effects of Reset Stamp. You can take your last Prize with Burst GX. When aiming to do this, use Flare Strike in the midgame to take your other Prizes.

Of course, if you have plenty of Energy on board you can use Mind Blown to deal more than 300 damage, so this can also be used as an alternate attacker.

1 Hoopa

While useful against Giratina, Hoopa can also be used on the first turn against Pokemon like Jirachi and Zorua, where it would be a waste to use Reshiram & Charizard GX to knock them out.

1 Absol

In practice, I was unable to win against Ultra Necrozma so I included this to slow down their set up. On the day of the tournament, I played against many decks that ran Jirachi so this was a very strong inclusion.

1 Mew

This card was included to deal with Tag Teams and with Tag Bolt GX. Psypower can also be used in conjunction with Choice Band + Flare Strike to knock out an opposing Reshiram & Charizard GX.

1 Switch

This is usually used to switch out Jirachi after using Stellar Wish or to reset Flare Strike. The difference between this and Escape Rope is that you can leave your opponent’s attacker in the active, allowing you to knock it out that turn. As switching Items can be very useful in the midgame, allowing you to move your damaged Reshiram & Charizard GX to the bench and use Jirachi to dig for Great Potion, I wanted to include more than three of these types of cards. However, I couldn’t find the room to do so, so I settled with a 2-1 split of Escape Rope and Switch.

2 Escape Rope

The second kind of switching Item.

While this serves the same purpose as Switch does, you can also pull up your opponent’s Tag Teams, get around Latios GX’s Tag Purge or alternatively, when taking your last Prize card, drag out a weak one Prize Pokemon, so I ran two copies. However, sometimes in the mid-game I just want to knock out the Defending Pokemon, so I couldn’t run three copies of Escape Rope.

1 Adventure Bag

This card was ran in Mana-san’s Reshiram & Charizard list. If you get this from Stellar Wish, you can search for Escape Board, Choice Band or Weakness Policy, giving you three options.  In matchups where Weakness Policy is useless, you can use it to discard for Giant Hearth, allowing you to thin your deck considerably. In combination with Welder, you can increase the chances of drawing the cards that you need. If you try this out for yourself and see the card in action, you will better understand the strength of this card.

2 Choice Band

You can attach this to Reshiram & Charizard GX to make it easier to knock out GX Pokemon. It is also strong attached to Hoopa. Reshiram & Charizard GX’s 230 damage may not quite be enough, so you may want to attach Choice Band to it from the beginning so you can use Double Blaze or Flare Strike with Professor Kukui. By aiming to take an OHKO, you reduce the risk of your opponent drawing Acerola and you having attacked for nothing.

2 Escape Board

For Jirachi. It effectively becomes a free retreater, meaning you can use it every time you use Guzma to attack with Flare Strike again, making it easier to continue progressing through the match. When you have two Jirachi on board, you may be tempted to attach Escape Board to both of them, however you can only retreat once a turn. It is usually better to be wary of Field Blower and not attach both Escape Boards.

1 Weakness Policy

As this is searchable by Adventure Bag, I reduced my count of Weakness Guard Energy by one and included one copy of Weakness Policy. This is used against Water decks or in games where you need to get rid of weakness, however most of the Water Pokemon I faced were Carracosta, so I didn’t really use this card. This may be the card I discarded most for the cost of Giant Hearth.

4 PokeGear 3.0

As the draw Supporters in this deck are lacking, this helps me find these cards when I need them. Sequencing of this card will depend on what I am going after in my turn. If I want a Supporter, I will use Stellar Wish and then PokeGear 3.0. If I want something else, I will use PokeGear 3.0 and then Stellar Wish.

3 Great Potion

The key to this deck. This will protect Reshiram & Charizard GX from being two shot by specific cards. In the mirror, it also prevents your opponent from using Mew or Hoopa to deal damage then finish off your Reshiram & Charizard GX with Flare Strike. Alternatively, if your opponent deals about 200 damage with a GX Pokemon with the intent of finishing Reshiram & Charizard GX off with a non-GX Pokemon, your opponent will need to hit quite a few cards to get the KO if you use Great Potion.

It is also good for keeping your Active Reshiram & Charizard GX around as long as possible, allowing you time to set up another Benched one. I think the card has great synergy with high HP Tag Team Pokemon, and I would be glad to see it used more often.

4 Nest Ball

As I don’t run cards like Tapu Lele GX or Dedenne GX which must be played from hand to be activated, I went with this simple Ball line. As I don’t need Ultra Ball, I don’t need to discard two cards every time I search for a Pokemon and I am able to conserve my resources. This means I have more deck space. However, with even one Ball card you can completely change your board state, so on reflection I think I would need one or two more Ball cards.

4 Welder

For accelerating Energy and drawing cards. However, since you can only draw three cards, it is important to thin your deck by using Adventure Bag and Giant Hearth.

3 Guzma

Once you set up Reshiram & Charizard GX, you can use it to hunt down Benched Pokemon at key points in the game. While generally you will only need two in the mid-game and late-game, I included three to account for other key situations. I also considered running four copies, but in the early game they kept clogging up my hand so I cut one.

3 Professor Kukui

Professor Kukui helps Reshiram & Charizard GX’s Flare Strike with Choice Band does 260 damage, being able to knock out Tag Teams, or helps Hoopa knock out Zoruas or Jirachis with Evil Admonition. Also, it is the only card in the deck that can draw cards unconditionally, it may be used when the requirements of Welder cannot be met. I want to increase my chances of taking Prize cards, so even if I use one Professor Kukui just to draw cards, I have two left for the extra damage.

2 Kiawe

Initially I did not run this card, but being able to play this card on the first turn going first is ridiculously strong, so I ran two copies. While the chances of this happening are not terribly high, with Stellar Wish and PokeGear 3.0, you should be able to hit it by the second turn as it should be around the 5th or 6th card of your deck. Using it to set up in your second turn isn’t bad either. If you take too many Energy out of the deck with Kiawe you may not be able to use Welder later, so sometimes it is preferable to use Welder. Make sure to check the number of Energy cards remaining before playing down Kiawe.

4 Big Oven

This card increases the success rate of Welder. I want to attach Energy every turn, so I included four copies. The difference between this card and an actual Fire Energy is that it is searchable from Stellar Wish and the difference between it and Fire Crystal is that you can bump your opponent’s Stadium.

You can pay the cost of the card by discarding your third Jirachi or Reshiram & Charizard GX or other useless cards in the matchup. If you discard too many Fire Energies, you will eventually run out as there is no Fire Crystal, so be careful with what you discard.

11 Fire Energy

Your average Reshiram & Charizard list will usually run twelve Fire Energy, two to three copies of Fire Crystal to have access to around 18-21 Energy in a game. They can do this because they can discard Energies with Ultra Ball, or use Miltank to accumulate Energies onto while healing Reshiram & Charizard GX. These counts are necessary when you are discarding Energy. With this deck, Ultra Ball is not useful and we have Great Potion for healing, so I only ran eleven Energies. In general, I didn’t feel like my Energy line was too thin but against Aerodactyl GX I felt it was difficult to manage my Energy, so depending on the meta you may want to increase this count by one or two copies.

3 Weakness Guard Energy

You use this as the fourth Energy to attach to Reshiram & Charizard GX. In matchups where you don’t care about weakness, this can be attached to Pokemon with colourless attacks such as Hoopa or Mew. Or, I will attach it to Reshiram & Charizard GX simply to save my Fire Energies.

Unlike other cards in the deck, this card cannot be searched out so I wanted to increase the chances of drawing it naturally. In matchups where this card is necessary,  you can stall with Hoopa or Jirachi until you draw this card, then bench Reshiram & Charizard GX. On the contrary, even if Reshiram & Charizard GX has Weakness Guard Energy attached to it a fully charged Blastoise GX can still hit 270 damage. Against other Water type Pokemon, you can chain Great Potions.

In the actual tournament, I played a total of six games against decks which contained Water Pokemon, thrice in the Qualifying Rounds and once in the Main Round. Of these games, only once did I miss Weakness Guard Energy when I needed it (in the Main Round).

How to Play the Deck

This deck is very simple to play. You want to set up two Reshiram & Charizard GXs and win the Prize race. Until you can set up your first Reshiram & Charizard GX, end your turns with Jirachi in the Active, or attack with Hoopa or Mew.

Once you set up your first Reshiram & Charizard GX, take Prizes using Flare Strike and if you are attacked into, use Great Potion. If you don’t have Great Potion in hand, use Switch or Guzma to put Jirachi into the active and dig for it.

If you can use Welder on your second Reshiram & Charizard GX while your first is still attacking, that would be ideal. Whether to use Double Blaze GX or not depends on the state of your second Reshiram & Charizard GX. If you don’t think you will be able to set up your second Reshiram & Charizard GX sufficiently, you can use Burst GX to take your last Prize card.

If you can set up your second Reshiram & Charizard GX, you will likely be able to take the end game by using Guzma or Professor Kukui, so you can use Stellar Wish at these points. However, if you get hit by an Alolan Muk + Reset Stamp, this will be a very bad situation. It is important to knock it out with Guzma as soon as possible. If you see Alolan Grimer, use Stellar Wish to get Guzma or PokeGear 3.0.

Or if you use Mew’s Psypower to reduce your opponent’s Pokemon’s HP to be within Flare Strike range, even if you are hit with an Alolan Muk + Reset Stamp you will be fine if you have a Reshiram & Charizard GX with four Energies attached.

In conclusion, you should assume that you will be hit with a Reset Stamp. Under this assumption, you should play your hand out to increase your odds of drawing cards which will help you win. Ideally, you will create a board which allows you to win even with a zero card hand. With the power of Reshiram & Charizard GX, creating this kind of board state is possible.

Tournament Matchups

Qualifying Round
  1. Reshiram & Charizard Volcanion, First, Win
  2. Water/Rainbow Box, First, Win
  3. Bye, Win
  4. Blacephalon GX + Persian, Second, Win
  5. Reshiram & Charizard Volcanion, First, Win
  6. Aerodactyl Carracosta, Second, Loss
  7. Aerodactyl Carracosta, First, Win
  8. Dark Box, Second, Loss
  9. Reshiram & Charizard Heatran, First, Win

Main Round
  1. Aerodactyl Carracosta, 2-1, Win
  2. Pikachu & Zekrom, 1-2, Loss

Conclusion

Thank you for reading so far. I think there were many parts which were difficult to read, as well as holes I left in my analysis of the deck. Still, even if I was able to give you a further understanding of the concept behind the deck, I will be grateful.

I am very pleased that I was able to bring to life a concept that I thought was strong and perform well at a large tournament. I cannot thank enough the people who partook in constructive discussion regarding the deck with me. Conversely, I only needed to win two more rounds to receive an invite to the World Championships, which is quite painful to think about. Next season, I will work hard to be an active player who receives points in large tournaments. In the case we meet at a tournament, I wish you all the best.

Please find the original Japanese-language article here.

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