It's getting hot in here - A Pyroar Deck Analysis

2.7.2014 wrote: Marc Lutz in category Trading Card Game

Pyroar decks have become quite popular recently. At the 17 National Championships we already had, 7 players managed to pilot their Pyroar deck to a Top 8 finish or better. 2 of those even won their respective Nationals: Jit Min with Charizard EX / Pyroar in Singapore and Martin Janous with Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX in the Czech Republic. With these results Pyroar decks are definately a part of the metagame right now.

Here's a short summary of the Pyroar decks that made the cut as well as what they eventually lost to or what they beat in the finals.

Winners: 2

Pyroar / Charizard EX – defeated Flygon / Dusknoir / Accelgor / Mewtwo EX

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX – defeated Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX / Raichu

Semi Finalists: 3

Pyroar / Eeveelutions / Raichu / Druddigon

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX

Pyroar / Trevenant / Accelgor

Quarter Finalists: 2

Pyroar / Snorlax / Palkia EX
Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX

For those of you who don't exactly know what Pyroar does, here's a quick spoiler of the card.

Pyroar – Fire – HP110
Stage 1 – Evolves from Litleo

Ability: Intimidating Mane
This Pokemon takes no damage from the attacks of your opponent’s Basic Pokemon.

[R][C][C] Heat Fang: 60+ damage. You may discard an [R] energy attached to this Pokemon. If you do. this attack does 30 more damage.

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



Table of Contents

  1. Charizard EX / Pyroar

    - Single Card Discussions

    - Matchups

  2. Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX / (Raichu)

    - Single Card Discussions

    - Matchups

  3. Pyroar / Eeveelutions / Techs

    - Single Card Discussions

    - Tech Choices

    - Matchups

  4. Including Pyroar in 'Hit and Run' decks

    - Comparing Pyroar to other walls

  5. Conclusion

Most of these Pyroar decks feature big basics like Landorus EX or even Charizard EX to provide early game pressure. As soon as your opponent runs out of options to knock out Pyroar it's pretty much game over. In this article I will cover the 3 most used varients of Pyroar decks – Charizard EX / Pyroar, Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX and Pyroar / Eeveelutions / Techs as well as the inclusion of Pyroar in decks that rely on a 'hit and run' kind of strategy. Let's start with the one that won the National Championship in Singapore: Charizard EX / Pyroar!

1. Charizard EX / Pyroar

3 Litleo XY 2

3 Pyroar XY 2

3 Charizard EX 'Combustion Blast'

1 M-Charizard EX Fire Type

= 10

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Blacksmith

2 Lysandre

4 Ultra Ball

4 Bicycle

3 Flame Torch

2 Switch

2 Pal Pad

1 Prof. Letter

1 Dowsing Machine

3 Muscle Band

2 Tropical Beach

= 36

10 Fire Energy

4 Double Colorless Energy

= 14

This is a rough list of a Pyroar / Charizard EX deck. It mostly focuses on Charizard EX's 150 damage attack and Muscle Band to OHKO most EX's like Yveltal EX while Pyroar handles basic Pokémon in general as long as the opponent doesn't have an answer to it like Raichu or Garbodor.

Blacksmith provides a consistent energy acceleration to the deck as it is enough in combination with a single energy attachment to get your Charizard EX's attack ready. Since the deck's strategy of just hitting for huge damage each turn with Charizard EX is pretty straightforward, you don't really want to include a lot of tech cards. You want to run cards that give you the maximum chance of setting up a turn two Combustion Blast like 4 Bicycle and 3 or 4 Flame Torch. You also want to max out on Ultra Balls to get your Charizard as soon as possible. Juniper and N are usually your best options for a good draw support. Since you run at least 2 supporter cards that don't help you setting up in Blacksmith and Lysandre, Random Receiver is not an optimal choice for the deck. Also, Colress isn't very good either, because you only have a total number of 6 Pokémon you can put into play. Skyla fits the last spot perfectly, she can get you any item you might need that turn like Ultra Ball, Flame Torch or Bicycle for additional draw as well as Lysandre or Blacksmith for the following turn.

Due to the fact that Blacksmith and Lysandre don't really fit that kind of strategy, you only run a few of those, like 1 or 2 of each. Pal Pad is a great addition to the deck as it helps you to recycle these supporter cards during the late game.

Pyroar's role in the deck is to either stall for a few turns against an opponent that doesn't have a Raichu or even a Pikachu on board to possibly knock out Pyroar during the following turn. It's also very good to play the „7-prize-game“ with your opponent. You simply force him to knock out either a Pyroar and 3 Charizard EX or 2 Charizard EX and 3 Pyroar, which some decks really struggle against since their options to knock out Pyroar are not limitless. Pyroar's attack isn't very bad either, with the additional 30 damage the attack provides, you are at least able to 2HKO any EX with 180 HP or less.

What's good about the deck is the fact that it has a really good Gensect EX / Virizion EX matchup as well as a decent matchup against Yveltal EX varients, which are the top tier decks. It's also favourable against straight basic decks like Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX or Team Plasma decks. One big problem this kind of deck has is facing any rogue deck. For example Flareon / Techs has no trouble dealing with Pyroar and Charizard doesn't provide the needed pressure as it needs to knock out 6 of your non-EX's to win the game.

Lysandre is a very important card in any Pyroar deck. You can use it to target down your opponent's answers against your Pyroar like benched Garbodor's or Raichu. It's also very good to bait out an EX when your opponent is trying to stall for another turn. That's why I would run at least 2 Lysandre in any Pyroar deck. Lysandre is also a decent card against any deck that relies on a Stage 2 Pokémon with a supporting ability sitting on the bench like Blastoise in Black Kyurem EX / Keldeo EX / Blastoise decks or Emboar in Rayquaza EX / Delphox / Emboar decks. You can also decide to run a Jirachi EX tech to get your Lysandres more often as you are able to play any Ultra Ball you have as a Lysandre which is pretty good as it adds a little more consistency to the deck.

Silver Bangle?
You obviously want to run at least 2 Muscle Bands since they're the only cards you can run to add direct damage to your Pokémon EX's attacks, however Silver Bangle is quite interesting as well. Attached to Pyroar, Druddigon or even Raichu, it adds an extra 10 damage compared to Muscle Band facing an opponent's Pokémon EX. The one thing I really like about this card is the combination with Litleo's attack 'Combustion' which does 60 damage for 3 energies. If you run a Pyroar deck with Blacksmith, you can use Blacksmith and your energy attachment for the turn to charge up a Litleo if you didn't have it in play earlier, attach Silver Bangle and then go for the knockout on either Virizion EX or Genesect EX. This is kind of a surprise counter play against Virizion EX / Genesect EX decks if they feel safe for the moment, because you don't have a Pyroar or Litleo in play.

Matchups

Charizard EX / Pyroar vs. Virizion EX / Genesect EX (65 – 35)

This matchup is really favourable. You don't even need Muscle Band on your Charizard EX to OHKO any threat that your opponent is going to put into play. Also, Pyroar knocks out any Genesect EX or Virizion EX and limits their options to either a G-Booster which they only play one off and Red Signal to target down your benched Pokémon, which in most cases are either just another Pyroar or a Charizard EX, which they need a G-Booster for to deal with it. The fact that Charizard EX / Pyroar is really fast as well, gives you a really good matchup against Virizion EX/ Genesect EX. However, you can easily lose to a turn 2 G-Booster if you don't have your Blacksmith according to the situation.

Charizard EX / Pyroar vs. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX / Garbodor (45 – 55)

This should be a close one, but I think Yveltal EX / Garbodor has a better chance of winning. The deck in general is a little bit faster and if it runs a heavy Garbodor line like 3-2 or 3-3 you can't even keep up with the Garbodors. Also Charizard EX's attack needs 4 energy, which gives Yveltal EX's 'Evil Ball' attack an additional 80 damage. It'll probably end up in a Charizard EX vs. Yveltal EX kind of game where the Yveltal EX player probably has the better source of energy acceleration. However, if they don't manage to constantly have Garbotoxin active, Pyroar heavily increases your chances of winning this matchup.

Charizard EX / Pyroar vs. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX / Raichu (55 – 45)

Raichu is a little bit easier to deal with as they eventually have to promote it to be effective. If you can knock it out with a Pyroar you should be in a pretty good position to win this one. Don't use Charizard EX to knock out a Raichu as it will probably faint the next turn to an opponent's Evil Ball. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX is a pretty fast deck, but if you can manage to keep the Raichus off the field this should be an easy matchup. Key of winning this matchup is not using your Charizard EX's too often, you should much rather focus on setting up multiple Pyroars.

Charizard EX / Pyroar vs. Black Kyurem EX / Keldeo EX / Blastoise (20 – 80)

I think it's nearly impossible to win this one. Black Kyurem EX and especially Keldeo EX both easily knock out your Charizard EX without much effort and Blastoise is able to deal with Pyroar. Your best chance of winning this matchup is either disrupt their setup with an early Lysandre play or simply using Charizard EX's 'Combustion Blast' attack and hope for an EX knockout every turn.

Charizard EX / Pyroar vs. Rayquaza EX / Delphox / Emboar (70 – 30)

Unlike Blastoise, Emboar decks don't run any Water type Pokémon. You can easily knock out any of their Rayquaza EX's with your Charizard EX. Also your energy acceleration in Blacksmith is a little more consistent than setting up an Emboar and hoping for Superior Energy Retrieval every turn. Pyroar is a good counter to this deck as well, as they have to rely on their supporting Pokémon to knock it out, which Emboar can't even do in one hit and Delphox would need 3 energy to knock it out.

Charizard EX / Pyroar vs. Aromatisse / Big Basics (80 – 20)

The only Stage 1 in this deck is Aromatisse which does a hefty 30 damage. As soon as they run out of Lysandre you can promote your Pyroar again and it'll be stuck there for your opponent to deal with. In rare cases these decks can run a Plasma engine with Thundurus EX as their energy acceleration with Plasma Energies and Genesect EX to Red Signal out opponent's benched Pokémon, but you can just use Lysandre to knock out the Genesect EX. Charizard EX shoulld also be able to OHKO most of their attackers in combination with Muscle Band and Hypnotoxic Laser if needed.

Charizard EX / Pyroar vs. Lugia EX Decks (50 – 50)

If you don't run Hypnotoxic Laser in this deck you can't OHKO Lugia EX, so you should focus on using Pyroar in this matchup. Just don't bench any EX's to win this game, because Plasma decks usually run a tech Genesect EX to use Red Signal. If you bench 2 or more EX's, chances are you're losing the game because they can just Red Signal it out and draw 3 prizes off of a single Plasma Gale. Just use Pyroar's 'Heat Fang' attack to win the game.

2. Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX / (Raichu)

2 Litleo XY 2

2 Pyroar XY 2

2 Landorus EX

2 Mewtwo EX

1 Druddigon XY 2

= 9

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

3 Colress

2 Lysandre

4 Ultra Ball

4 Bicycle

3 Muscle Band

2 Float Stone

2 Virbank City Gym

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Dowsing Machine

1 Super Rod

1 Prof. Letter

= 39

4 Fire Energy

4 Fighting Energy

4 Double Colorless Energy

= 12

This kind of Pyroar deck offers a little more variety than the other one. You have at least 3 different attackers you can use to bait out your opponent's answers to Pyroar and then lock them down. In this list I decided to include a Druddigon tech to have a better edge against any Rogue deck as well as a very good matchup against any deck that relies on dragon type attackers like Black Kyurem EX / Keldeo EX / Blastoise decks or Rayquaza EX / Delphox / Emboar decks. If you don't like it you can also play a Raichu line to have a better matchup against any Yveltal EX deck. You need at least 4 benched Pokémon for it to be effective though, which can be quite complicated in this deck since you run such a small amount of basics to actually put into play.

Another difference here is the Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser combo you run in this deck. Adding an additional 50 damage with Muscle Band to Pyroar's 90 damage attack makes it able to knock out any 170 HP EX you already damaged with Landorus EX's Hammerhead attack, which does 30 damage to a benched Pokémon. You can also use this math if you're attacking with Druddigon's attack which does 90 damage as well, if one of your Pokémon has been knocked out during your opponent's last turn. The combination of Mewtwo EX and Landorus EX makes you able to deal with both common counters to Pyroar – Garbodor and Raichu. Using Lysandre to 'catcher out' one of those threats on your opponent's bench and knock them out with either Landorus EX or Mewtwo EX and then follow up with a Pyroar play is huge. As your opponent is limited in how many Lysandres they have themselves and the fact that they're not garuanteed to knock out one of your EX's after using a Lysandre really gives you the edge in this matchup.

In this kind of deck you can also run a more straightforward kind of supporter engine with 4 Professor Juniper, 4 N, 4 Random Receiver, 4 Pal Pad, 2 Lysandre and a Jirachi EX which is quite interesting. It gives you the maximum chance to use either N or Professor Juniper during the first couple of turns and have a perfect setup. The only problem with this engine is the fact that you can hit a Lysandre with your Random Receivers which is not optimal if you're looking for the card draw.

Matchups

If you decide to run Raichu in this deck as either a 1-1 or 2-2 line it will probably only make a difference in the matchups against Yveltal EX. In the following matchups I will not include Raichu, however you will get a second matchup analysis including Raichu for the Yveltal EX matchups only.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX vs. Virizion EX / Genesect EX (30 – 70)

Both Landorus EX and Mewtwo EX do next to nothing to Genesect EX or even Virizion EX, which leaves you with Pyroar alone. Virizion EX / Genesct EX is a very fast deck, most of the time you won't be able to outspeed them. If you can't setup a turn 2 'Heat Fang' with Pyroar the Virizion EX / Genesect EX player will probably steamroll on you. Pyroar's ability should keep you safe from any incoming Emerald Slash or Megalo Cannon, but G-Booster is a thing and it will easily deal with any Pyroar you'll promote. Your best chance of winning this matchup is probably using an early Mewtwo EX to deal with the Virizion while setting up at least one Pyroar on your bench to eventually knock out a Genesect EX and win the game that way.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX without Raichu vs. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX / Garbodor (40 – 60)

Yveltal EX gives you really trouble dealing with – it is fast and it hits hard. Each turn they have Garbotoxin active they will get a knock out almost 100% of the time. It resits Landorus EX's attacks and Pyroar doesn't do nearly enough damage to deal with Yveltal EX. Your best chance of winning this matchup is either targeting down their Garbodors which or using Mewtwo EX's 'X-Ball' attack to counter the opponent's Yveltal EX if it has a lot of energy cards attached to it.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX with Raichu vs. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX / Garbodor (60 – 40)

Raichu really gives you the edge in this matchup. It can easily deal with any Yveltal EX if you can manage to setup a full bench. Including Raichu you should not focus on targeting down the opponent's Garbodors, but rather try to get a knockout every turn and force your opponent to have an answer. If you win the early game and get an early prize lead you should be able to win this one quite easily.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX without Raichu vs. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX / Raichu (50 – 50)

This matchup is pretty even. The Yveltal EX player can use their Raichu to counter your Pyroar, but you can easily knock out the opponent's Raichu with Landorus EX's 'Hammerhead' attack plus a Muscle Band or the Virbank City Gym / Hypnotoxic Laser combo. Use Mewtwo to deal with an Yveltal EX that has a ton of energy cards attached to it. It's probably come down to whoever sets up first and gets the more consistent draws throughout the game.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX with Raichu vs. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX / Raichu (60 – 40)

Pretty much the same as stated above. Dominate the early game with Raichu and don't let your opponent come into the game. If they have an Yveltal EX ready, try to knock it out with Raichu as soon as possible, because the more the game progresses, chances are that you won't be able to knock out an Yveltal EX with Raichu due to the lack of Pokémon you can put into play after a few of them got knocked out. Although you can use Muscle Band and the Virbank City Gym / Hypnotoxic Laser combo to buff Raichu's damage output. Raichu gives you the edge in this matchup though.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX vs. Black Kyurem EX / Keldeo EX / Blastoise (20 – 80)

This is an outright awful matchup. Almost impossible to win. Pyroar does nothing to Blastoise, Landorus does nothing to any of the Pokémon those decks might run and Mewtwo might be decent against Keldeo EX, but does next to nothing against Black Kyurem EX after it used its 'Black Ballista' attack which discards 3 energy attached to Black Kyurem EX which leaves it with a single energy attached to it for Mewtwo to use its 'X-Ball' attack effectively. Your best bet is to disrupt their energy acceleration with a Lysandre play or simply hope that they don't setup at all.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX vs. Rayquaza EX / Delphox / Emboar (63 – 35)

This is a much better matchup than the Blastoise one. Rayquaza EX can't deal with Pyroar so they have to rely on either Emboar or Delphox, which both need a ton of energy attached to deal any damage. They might have a chance to knockout one of your Pyroars during the midgame, but you can simply counter Delphox or Emboar with your Mewtwo EX and then win the game from there.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX vs. Aromatisse / Big Basics (70 – 30)

Same pattern as with the Charizard EX / Pyroar deck. Fairy decks usually run a large variety of basic attackers to win the game. On the long run they might have a chance to deal with one Pyroar depending on what techs they run, but they certainly can't win against you on a consistent basis.

Pyroar / Landorus EX / Mewtwo EX vs. Lugia EX Decks (50 – 50)

Again the same pattern. Use Pyroar in this matchup to win the game. Opening up with Landorus EX can be a liability though, because they are can knock it out with either a Plasma Gale or the Team Plasma Kyurem if they run it to gain an early prize lead. As I already said above, do not bench too many EX's. Focus on Pyroar to win this matchup.

3. Pyroar / Eeveelutions / Techs

2 Litleo XY 2

2 Pyroar XY 2

4 Eevee PF

3 Flareon PF

1 Leafeon PF

2 Pikachu XY

2 Raichu XY

1 Druddigon XY 2

1 Jirachi EX PB

= 18

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Colress

2 Lysandre

4 Ultra Ball

3 Silver Bangle

2 Float Stone

2 Switch

3 Tropical Beach

1 Super Rod

1 Prof. Letter

= 31

4 Fire Energy

4 Double Colorless Energy

= 8

= 57

This is an example list of how a Pyroar / Eeveelutions / Techs deck could look like. It sums up to a total of 57 cards which leaves 3 spots open for either some techs of your choice or additional consistency with cards like Bicycle or some extra supporters. The gameplay of the deck doesn't really follow any kind of strategy at all, it simply sets up a field of different stage 1 attackers and answers the given situation on your opponent's board. If anything fails, Flareon will always be a good attacker as its 'Vengeance' attack does 20 damage plus an additional 10 damage for each Pokémon in your discard pile. If you manage to get like 8 Pokémon in your discard pile the attack aleady does a hefty 100 damage for just a Double Colorless Energy. In the lategame when most of your Pokémon are discarded Flareon should even be able to OHKO most EX's in the game with a Silver Bangle attached. The good thing about this deck is the fact that you can run any kind of tech card you want, because if you can't use it in a certain matchup it will be no problem at all, just discard it with Ultra Ball or Professor Juniper and strenghten Flareon's 'Vengeance' attack.

The trainer line of the deck is quite simple. You run a lot of cards that contribute to the deck's consistency like N and Professor Juniper. Also you always want the maximum number of Ultra Balls in this deck as it helps you setting up your board while dumping Pokémon in the discard pile for Flareon. You need at least 2 switch options in this deck to counter Hypnotoxic Laser, if you fall asleep and don't wake up immediately, you will have a hard chance of competing in that game. Silver Bangle is a huge card in this deck. All your attackers are non-EX's, which is why I would definately play Silver Bangle over Muscle Band in this deck. The additional 10 damage it provdes are really good as you would hit odd numbers most of the time which makes it easier to knock out Pokémon when you are hitting for weakness. Tropical Beach is another card that is really good in this deck. You won't be able to attack during your first turn with this deck unleass you are using Eevee's 'Signs of Evolution' attack, so Tropical Beach is a perfect addition to help you setting up during the early game, but also getting out of bad hands during the later stages of the game.

What techs should I run?

Given the fact that there are a lot of different decks which are currently being played, your options of running different techs are pretty much limitless. I will cover two of the techs which I think are the most valuable in the current format.

Druddigon XY 2

Druddigon only has one use in this deck and that is to counter decks that rely on dragon type attackers like Blastoise with Black Kyurem EX and Rayboar with Rayquaza EX. After Black Kyurem EX or Rayquaza EX knocked out one of your Pokémon, Druddigon can easily OHKO them in return out of nowhere. With just a single Double Colorless Energy Druddigon's 'Revenge' attack does 90 damage, apply their weakness to dragon types and it's enough damage to deal with them in one hit. It is not too bad against other decks as well, 90 damage is enough to OHKO Raichu or anything with less than 100 HP in general.

Raichu XY

As you can see in the list I provided above, I even chose to include a 2-2 Raichu line. In my opinion Raichu is the most valuable tech you can run in this format. For just a single Double Colorless Energy it can easily knock out any Yveltal EX which is the best value you can get out of a non-EX attacker as Yveltal EX is close to tier 0 this format. Besides beating Yveltal EX it is not a bad attacker at all, up to 100 damage for such a low energy cost is quite decent. With a full bench you are able to 2HKO any EX in the current format. Also Raichu has a free retreat cost which is always nice to have.

Matchups

You can't really say anthing about this deck's matchups, because they all differ depending on what techs you run. However, there are some general things to say. Thanks to Flareon and its Fire-type, your Virizion EX / Genesect EX matchup should be in your favour, because you are able to OHKO most of their Pokémon with Flareon's 'Vengeance' attack even during the first few turns of the game. If you run a heavy Raichu line you can easily deal with Yveltal EX. The problematic matchups this deck has are rogue decks. For example you can't really keep up with the onslaught of different EX and non-EX attackers a Fairy Transfer deck provides, especially if they still run Max Potion. Another bad matchup is Black Kyurem EX / Keldeo EX / Blastoise, surely you can use Druddigon to counter the dragon type attackers and Leafeon to deal with a Keldeo EX that has a lot of energy cards attached, but in the end they have the better resources to win the game. Your best chances of winning against rogue decks are setting up an early 'Vengeance' for big damage and using Raichu's 'Circle Circuit' attack to deal with the smaller threats. Disregarding these bad matchups this deck is a lot of fun to play, even on a competitive level, because you have so many options and so many choices for cards you can run in this deck.

4. Pyroar and the 'Hit and Run' strategy

2 out of 7 Pyroar decks that Top 8'd the past National Championships relied on that strategy. They don't focus on using Pyroar's attack, but rather to promote it as a wall. One of the decks used Accelgor to paralyze the opponent over and over to win the game that way, which is quite interesting, because Pyroar can be used to stall for a few turns until you get your setup. But what makes Pyroar a more valuable wall than Sigilyph or even Suicune? Pyroar has 2 retreat costs and can't use Skyarrow Bridge, which means you either have to have a Float Stone attached or use some kind of Darkrai EX / Darkness Energy or Keldeo EX / Float Stone to retreat it every turn. It's because Pyroar also prevents damage from non-EX basics, which are not the most common thing being played right now, but there are some decks which run them, for example Reshiram in Rayquaza EX / Delhox / Emboar decks or the regular Xerneas in the Aromatisse / Big Basics decks. It's also good against Virizion EX / Genesect EX decks if you can fit some fire energies in your deck.

5. Conclusion

Pyroar decks are definately a good choice depending on your metagame. If you want to win against Yveltal EX on a consistent basis, run Raichu, it's good! However, if you predict a lot of rogue decks or decks like Black Kyurem EX / Keldeo EX / Blastoise being played in that specific area, I don't suggest you to run a deck that focuses on Pyroar.

Alright guys, that's the article, I hope you enjoyed it and I will see you next time!