Feel the Burn of Emboar and Reshiram!
17 May, 2011
A couple of excellent Fire-type Pokémon are the basis for a blazing new deck.
One common trait of Fire-type Pokémon is that to use their powerful attacks, you often need to discard some Energy attached to the Pokémon. You can see that in the Pokémon TCG: Black & White expansion with Pokémon such as Emboar (19/114 and 20/114) and Reshiram (113/114). Not coincidentally, these Pokémon hit hard: Emboar's Flare Blitz attack does 150 damage, but you have to discard all the Fire Energy attached to it. Reshiram's Blue Flare attack torches the Defending Pokémon for 120 damage but at the cost of discarding 2 of its attached Fire Energy.
Two issues arise when you play these Pokémon: first, how do you get that much Energy onto the Pokémon in the first place, and second, how do you pull that Energy back out of the discard pile after an attack? Let's look at ways to tackle both issues!
Turn Up the Heat
In the past, the Pokémon Trading Card Game has presented few ways to accelerate the number of Fire Energy you can play per turn from your hand. In the HGSS Series, for example, no Fire-type Pokémon could help. With all of the discarding required for many Fire-type Pokémon attacks, you must often hold off a turn or two before using those Pokémon's best attack.
That all changes with Emboar (20/114). Its Inferno Fandango Ability is a windfall for your Fire-type deck. With it, you can play as many Fire Energy as you like each turn. So, Reshiram suddenly becomes much more playable—you can quickly replenish the 2 Fire Energy you have to discard each turn when you use its Blue Flare attack. A Basic Pokémon with 130 HP that can do 120 damage every single turn? You'll be hard-pressed to find a bigger threat!
The other Emboar (19/114) in the Black & White expansion can also reap the benefits of its cohort: it won't take nearly as long to rekindle its Flare Blitz attack and can keep scorching the Defending Pokémon for 150 damage. Just as important, because your deck is built around two Emboar that share the same Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon, your deck can run lean on Pokémon.
Get Energized with Pokémon
Maintaining the strength of Reshiram and Zekrom means keeping your hand well stocked with Energy—lots of Energy. With so much Fire Energy going into your discard pile after every attack, getting that Energy back out is an essential step.
Several Pokémon can help you pull Energy cards out of your discard pile and put them into your hand. Typhlosion Prime (HeartGold & SoulSilver, 110/123) is a good option because its Afterburner Poké-Power (called an Ability in the Black & White expansion) gets a Fire Energy card out of your discard pile. Better still, Afterburner attaches it directly to a Pokémon with no muss or fuss (though that Pokémon takes a trifling 10 damage). In fact, damage could actually help Reshiram out if you attach the Energy card to it—its Outrage attack gets stronger the more damage Reshiram has taken.
But Typhlosion is also a Stage 2 Pokémon, meaning it's a little tougher to get into play. If you don't have room in your deck for all of its pre-evolved Stages, you may have to look elsewhere. Ninetales (HS—Unleashed, 20/95) is another good Pokémon for drawing Fire Energy cards out of your discard pile. With its Heat Acceleration attack, you can take up to 3 Fire Energy cards directly from your discard pile and attach them to one of your Pokémon. Unfortunately, because it's an attack, Heat Acceleration can be difficult to play. The Switch (104/114) Trainer-Item card is handy to rotate Ninetales in and out of the Active Pokémon spot. Or, if needed, Ninetales also has a low Retreat Cost of 1 Energy.
Get Energized with Trainers
You can also grab plenty of Energy cards from your discard pile using other cards. The Energy Retrieval (92/114) Trainer-Item card works exquisitely: you take two Energy cards from your discard pile and put them directly into your hand. You might rely so heavily on it that an otherwise niche card such as Junk Arm (HS—Triumphant, 87/102) might be helpful to use Energy Retrieval more often.
Fisherman (HeartGold & SoulSilver, 92/123) is also essential, letting you get four Energy out of the discard pile in one turn. It's a Supporter card, so it's a little harder to play consistently, but it's still a must in this deck. Also, don't forget to include Burned Tower (HS—Undaunted, 71/90) in your deck for a coin-flip's chance to recover Energy cards from your discard pile every turn.
Loading your hand with Energy from your deck has gotten easier with the Black & White expansion, too. The new Energy Search (93/114) Trainer-Item card lets you search your deck for any basic Energy card and add it to your hand. Since it's a Trainer-Item card, you can use up to four of them in a single turn! Combine it with the popular Interviewer's Questions (HS—Unleashed, 77/95) Supporter card, and you'll seldom have to worry about having enough Energy in your hand.
With an aggressive cycle of playing Fire Energy with Emboar, attacking with Reshiram, and retrieving discarded Energy with Typhlosion and Energy Retrieval, you can put together an extremely potent Fire-type deck. Get ready to light a fire that burns your opponents again and again!
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