"Burning Up!" A Flashfire Review by Brandon Smiley

23.4.2014 wrote: Brandon Smiley in category Trading Card Game

Hey there, 60 cards readers! My name is Brandon Smiley and this will be my first of many articles for this site. I’ll be going over the upcoming set XY - Flashfire, some interesting ideas, and the cards that will have the biggest impact on the game.

ABOUT ME

If you don’t know me, I’m a player from the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas area and have been playing for around 6 years. I didn’t play competitively until my final year in the Senior division, when I ended up winning a regionals, placed 3rd at Nationals, and made Top 16 at Worlds. This year I’ve had some solid accomplishments, winning a Regional Championships at the beginning of the season, winning a few City Championships, as well as finishing 2nd at a State Championships and another Top 8 at another Regionals.

I’ll be taking this format very seriously as it’s going to be our National and World Championships format. As a player who has qualified for the World Championships, I’m looking to have a good performance, which is going to require putting a lot of time into playtesting!

This weekend, the first batch of pre-releases will be going on, so I feel like this is a great time to discuss the impact the set will have on our upcoming large tournaments.

 

THE CARDS

 

Shiftry

shiftry

  Shiftry – Grass – HP140 Stage 2 – Evolves from Nuzleaf

Ability: Leaf Draw Once during your turn (before your attack), you may discard a [G] Energy from your hand. If you do, draw 3 cards.

[G][C][C] Frenzy Dance: 20x damage. This attack does 20 damage times the number of Benched Pokemon (both yours and your opponent’s).

Weakness: Fire (x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 2

I find this card interesting. It’s similar to a card that we saw do extremely well in the middle of the season, Empoleon. One of the biggest differences between the two, is that Shiftry has the ability to OHKO nearly any Pokemon in format. Assuming both players have full benches, it can max out at 200 damage without any other modifiers. This is extremely strong, but it does cost CCC, but that can be fixed with a new Pokemon that I’ll go more in depth over later, Milotic.

It’s ability, Leaf Draw, is also extremely powerful, and is something the game needs more of. Unfortunately, it’s a Stage 2, and the requirement for the ability is something that most decks just can’t fit in. But in a deck focused around Shiftry, it gives the deck a huge consistency boost.

Here is a list I found on a Japanese blog:

Pokémon - 18 

4 Seedot FF

2 Nuzleaf FF

4 Shiftry FF

2 Ditto BCR

1-1 Milotic FF

1  Jirachi EX

1 Druddigon FF

1 Virizion EX

Trainers - 29

4 Muscle Band

3 Rare Candy

1 Ultra Ball

1 Level Ball

1 Pokemon Communication*

1 Sacred Ash

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Energy Retrieval

1 Master Ball

3 Shauna

3 Colress

3 N

3 Skyla

1 Pokemon Fan Club

2 Lysandre

Energy - 13

10 Grass

3 Double Colorless

As you may have noticed by the Pokemon Communication, the list is BW-FF, but that’s only because that is the current format in Japan. I find this list extremely appealing, and I really do like the concept. I would personally change the Ace Spec, maybe add a few Tropical Beach, and maybe add another 1-1 Milotic. The energy acceleration from Milotic goes great with Shiftry’s ability, so it only makes sense to include it in the deck.

Pyroar

20-pyroar

This has been the most controversial card over the past few months, and for good reason. It’s ability Intimidating Mane prevents all damage from Basic Pokemon, which is huge in this format. The game has become overrun with these huge Basics, and Pyroar is *somewhat* of an answer to them. Unfortuntaely, there are numerous counters to Pyroar which makes it a risky play on its own. To make up for it's weakness to any non Basic Pokemon, you can try out a variant of Pyroar including Archeops. I've heard of a lot of players testing this, and I've heard some decent results. I personally am not a fan of the gimmick, and I feel like it's too easy to get around.  

Here's the list I would try out if I was going to test Pyroar/Archeops:

Pokémon - 16

4 Litleo FF

4 Pyroar FF

3 Archen PLB

3 Archeops DEX

1 Virizion EX

1 Mewtwo EX

1 Mr. Mime

Trainers - 34

4 N

4 Professor Juniper

3 Skyla

2 Colress

2 Lysandre

3 Ultra Ball

3 Plume Fossil

2 Muscle Band

2 Switch

2 Tool Scrapper

2 Evo Soda

1 Level Ball

1 Super Rod

1 Dowsing Machine

2 Tropical Beach

Energy - 10

4 Blend GFPD

4 Fire

2 Double Colorless

This list is very basic, and I have yet to test it. I think it's a solid starting point for the deck, but I don't recommend just picking up the deck and taking it to a tournament.

Milotic

 Milotic – Water – HP100 Stage 1 – Evolves from Feebas

milotic

Ability: Energy Grace You may Knock Out this Pokemon. If you do, select 3 basic Energy from your discard pile and attach them to 1 of your Pokemon (excluding Pokemon-EX). You may only use this ability once per turn.

[W][C][C] Waterfall: 60 damage.

Weakness: Grass (x2) Resistance: none Retreat: 2 I talked a bit about this card earlier, so I feel it's important to cover it. This card is very unique, and I feel like it could be a very good card if used in the right situations. It's ability, Energy Grace, is somewhat similar to Electrode Prime's power Energymite, where you knock yourself out and get to put a bunch of energy on the board. The big difference is that you take the energy from the discard pile instead of milling your own deck, which is a big plus (although Energymite could hit special energy).

Toxicroak-EX

toxicroakToxicroak-EX – Psychic – HP170 Basic Pokemon

[C][C] Trioxic: Your opponent’s Active Pokemon is now Poisoned. Between turns put 3 damage counters on it instead of 1.

[P][P][C] Smash Uppercut: 80 damage. This attack isn’t affected by Resistance.

When Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards. Weakness: Psychic(x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 1

The first of the EX's I'll cover is Toxicroak, who is another interesting card. His first attack, Trioxic is similar to the Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym combo that we've seen become extremely popular since it's release. I think this card may see a small amount of play, but it has a few problems with Virizion EX, and is easily OHKO'd by Deoxys EX's Helix Force. I think the best way to use Toxicroak is in a deck with Draggalage, which I'll cover later, and Virbank City Gym. With both of those, you're opponent takes 5 damage counters for poison imbetween turns, and can't retreat. I think it's great in concept, but there are ways around it that may make it hard to pull off a win.

Druddigon

druddigon

Druddigon – Dragon – HP110 Basic Pokemon [C][C] Revenge: 20+ damage. If 1 of your Pokemon was Knocked Out by an attack during your opponent’s last turn, this attack does 70 more damage. [R][W][C][C] Dragon Claw: 80 damage. Weakness: Fairy (x2) Resistance: none Retreat: 2 Easily one of the best cards to come out of Flashfire is Druddigon. He is a basic who has an attack called Revenge that is very similar to Terrakion NVI's Retaliate, but for only CC. I feel like he has a ton of potential and will most likely see a lot of play during Nationals and Worlds.

Dragalgedragalge2

 

This card is fairly interesting, but I don't feel like it will be extremely impactful on the format. It goes great with Toxicroak-EX and Virbank City Gym, preventing your opponent to retreat out of poision that puts 5 damage counters imbetween turns.

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M Kangaskhan EX

 

megakang

M Kangaskhan-EX – Colorless – HP230

Mega Evolution – Evolves from Kangaskhan-EX

When 1 of your Pokemon becomes a Mega Evolution, your turn ends.

[C][C][C] Gangan Punch: 100+ damage. Flip a coin until you get tails. This attack does 30 more damage for each heads.

When a Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 3

The first of the Mega Pokemon EX's I'll be covering is Kangaskhan, which is a very solid card. It has 230 HP, meaning there aren't a lot of Pokemon that will be able to take it out in one hit. It's attack, Gangan punch is also fairly powerful. If you have a Muscle Band, and flip two heads, you're doing 180 damage, enough to knock out nearly any non Mega Pokemon in format.

The only problem with M Kangaskhan is that he requires you to waste a turn to evolve into it, but I feel like it could be viable in the future.

Flame Torchflametorch

 

Flame Torch – Trainer Item

Discard 1 Fire Energy from your hand, then draw 2 cards from your deck.

You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).

 

As soon as this card was revealed, it received enormous amounts of hype. Item based draw is something we haven't seen in a long time, and now it goes hand in hand with a Supporter being released in the set! Unfortunately, this card will only see play in fire type decks, but it will make a lot of fire decks very strong.

Blacksmithblacksmith

 

Blacksmith – Trainer Supporter

Choose 2 [R] Energy from your discard pile and attach them to 1 of your [R] Pokemon.

You may play only 1 Supporter card during your turn (before your attack).

Arguably one of the best cards in the set is Blacksmith. It goes perfectly with Flame torch, and is a form of energy acceleration for Fire type attackers. The only problem I have with this is that it takes up your supporter for the turn, but Flame Torch gives you some draw to make up for that.

Lysandre

lysandre 

Lysandre – Trainer Supporter

Choose 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon and switch it with his or her Active Pokemon.

You may play only 1 Supporter card during your turn (before your attack).

Well, it didn't take long for Pokemon Catcher to be put back into format! Although, this is a lot less devastating and most likely won't be as impactful. It takes up a supporter for the turn rather than just being an Item, which makes it less devastating.  I think it will see minimal amounts of play, but only in decks that can really afford to waste a turn dragging something out instead of drawing cards.

Pokemon Fan Club

pokemonfanclub

 

Pokemon Fan Club – Trainer Supporter

Choose up to 2 Basic Pokemon from your deck, reveal them, and put them in your hand. Shuffle your deck afterwards.

You may play only 1 Supporter card during your turn (before your attack).

This is a reprint of a card that we haven't seen in many years, the last time of which was in 2006. The game has been lacking Supporter search of Pokemon lately, but we have Items like Ultra Ball and Level Ball to make up for that.

I think this card may see a little bit of play, but not as much as it would have in other formats. The game is very fast right now, and I don't think this card can really keep up with everything else.  

CHARIZARD MANIA!

Charizard-EX

flareupzard

Charizard-EX – Fire – HP180 Basic Pokemon

[C] Flare Up: Flip a coin. If heads, search your deck for 3 basic Energy and attach them to this Pokemon. Shuffle your deck afterwards. [R][C][C][C] Fire Blast: 120 damage. Discard 1 Energy attached to this Pokemon.

When a Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Water (x2) Resistance: none Retreat: 2

In my opinion, this Charizard isn't that great. His first attack, Flare Up, is a flippy energy acceleration that could potentially be extremely powerful. Unfortunately, you can't attack on the first turn anymore, requiring you to wait a lot of the time. It's second attack isn't that great either, meaning you'd want to Mega evolve it, taking up yet another turn. I don't think this Charizard will see much play, but the other one might..  

Charizard-EX

flamexplosionzard

Charizard-EX – Fire – HP180 Basic Pokemon

[C][C][C] Wing Attack: 60 damage.

[R][R][C][C] Flame Explosion: 150 damage. During your next turn, this Pokemon can’t use Flame Explosion.

When a Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Water (x2) Resistance: none Retreat: 2

This is arguably the better of the two 'Zards, and I think it's fairly obvious why. It's second attack is able to do 150 damage before any modifiers, meaning with Hypnotoxic Laser and a Virbank City Gym, you can hit the magic 180. Amazingly, this combo could go off as early as turn one, thanks to Flame Torch and Blacksmith! Although, I don't think it will be extremely common to get on turn one, more likely on the 2nd to 3rd turns of the game. But even then, the attack is very strong and can put your opponents in a very bad spot.

M Charizard-EX X

megazardx

M Charizard-EX – Dragon – HP230

Mega Evolution – Evolves from Charizard-EX When 1 of your Pokemon becomes a Mega Evolution, your turn ends.

[R][R][D][C][C] Wild Blaze: 300 damage. Discard the top 5 cards of your deck.

When a Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fairy (x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 3

The first of the two Mega Charizards I'll cover is the X version. Of the two Mega 'Zards, I'd have to say this is my favorite one. It has a less common weakness to the newer fairy type, making it much safer to play. It's attack is absolutely insane, doing a whopping 300 damage for 5 energy. There is a large drawback to this, which does make it fairly risky. I'd recommend running quite a few Super Rods if you plan on playing this bad boy!  

M Charizard EX Y

megazardy

M Charizard-EX – Fire – HP220 Mega Evolution – Evolves from Charizard-EX

When 1 of your Pokemon becomes a Mega Evolution, your turn ends.

[R][R][C][C][C] Crimson Dive: 300 damage. This Pokemon does 50 damage 

to itself.

When a Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Water (x2) Resistance: none Retreat: 1

 

The last card I'll be covering for you today, is Mega Charizard Y. He is another very bulky Mega Pokemon, who has an insane attack. 300 damage is enough to knock out pretty much anything! The biggest problem I see this card having, is it's weakness to the semi-popular water type. One of the huge advantages this card has is it's high HP, but water Pokemon make easy work out of this big Pokemon.  It's attack has a drawback, similar to the other Mega 'Zard, dealing 50 damage to itself. Unlike the other, though, there is a Tool called Protect Cube, which basically prevents the attacking Pokemon from doing damage to themselves. Who knows, maybe if water decks die off, this could become a great card!

CONCLUSION

I really hope you enjoyed my first piece, as I had a lot of fun writing and editing it! I hope to be backn soon with more info on the new format and some of my testing results! I'm planning on getting in plenty of testing done in the next few weeks, so maybe you'll see me soon!

Until next time,

Brandon

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