Reshiram & Charizard-GX Pokémon TCG Deck Strategy: Victory Star

By Tord Reklev, Contributing Writer


A powerful deck featuring a variety of Fire-type Pokémon heated up ahead of the 2019 Pokémon TCG World Championships, and it propelled me to the semifinals in Washington, DC. I'm excited to explain my thoughts on the deck, dubbed Victory Star. The deck has some hard-hitting Fire-type Pokémon and focuses on maintaining field control. I made some small changes to the list I brought to Worlds, but I feel they are for the better. Here's what my current version of this deck looks like:

  • Victory Star
Pokémon
  • 2
    Reshiram & Charizard-GX
    20/234
    sm10 20
  • 2
    Ninetales
    16/181
    sm9 16
  • 3
    Vulpix
    15/181
    sm9 15
  • 4
    Jirachi
    99/181
    sm9 99
  • 3
    Dedenne-GX
    57/234
    sm10 57
  • 1
    Heatran-GX
    25/236
    sm11 25
  • 1
    Tapu Fini
    53/236
    sm11 53
  • 1
    Turtonator
    50/70
    sm75 50
  • 1
    Victini ◇
    7/70
    sm75 7
Energy Cards
  • 18
    Fire Energy
    nrg1 27
Trainer Cards
  • 4
    Welder
    sm10 189
  • 3
    Giant Hearth
    sm11 197
  • 1
    Heat Factory ◇
    sm8 178
  • 4
    Cherish Ball
    sm11 191
  • 4
    Pokémon Communication
    sm9 152
  • 4
    Switch
    sm7 147
  • 2
    Escape Board
    sm5 122
  • 1
    Fiery Flint
    sm75 60
  • 1
    Pal Pad
    sm5 132
More Info Copy Deck List

Read on to see how this deck works so you can try it out for yourself at your next match.


Overall Game Plan

What the Victory Star deck aims to do is use Welder every turn to charge up your attackers, and use Ninetales's Nine Temptations Ability to drag up the preferred target from your opponent's Bench for a Knock Out. Since our goal is to use Welder all the time, it is the only Supporter card we want to play. On the surface it's a pretty simple and effective strategy, but the deck has more depth to it than first appears. To execute this game plan, it is important to prioritize and map out your turns correctly to give you the highest probability of getting where you want.

One of the key cards to ensuring this deck functions is Jirachi with the Stellar Wish Ability. It gives you easier access to the right cards at the right time, with the most important one being Welder. In addition, Jirachi makes it easier to find the newly released Giant Hearth Stadium card that can help you find Energy every turn to fuel Nine Temptations and Welder. To make sure we get maximum value out of our Jirachi, this deck plays four copies of Switch and two copies of Escape Board so we can take advantage of two uses of Stellar Wish per turn quite often. This whole package of Jirachi and its supporting cards makes up 10 cards in the deck.

It is important to know that in the early game with this deck, you should prioritize getting Jirachi on the board immediately—if you don't already have it, get it with your first Pokémon Communication. Searching out the heavy main attackers is much easier thanks to the newly released Cherish Ball from Sun & Moon—Unified Minds, so don't worry about them as much. Next on your priority list for Pokémon Communication should be Vulpix. With Ninetales being a Stage 1 Pokémon, you need Vulpix on the board right away to take control of the field.


Give Yourself a Hand

This deck also uses Dedenne-GX as the main way to draw a fresh hand of cards. One of the most important in-game decisions is when to use its Dedechange Ability, as discarding your hand can be quite costly. Ask yourself the question, “Do I need a specific card this turn to be in a good spot?” If the answer is yes, you should probably use it. If the answer is no, you should probably save it for later and keep your options open.

On the first turn of the game, you are unlikely to find everything you need in your starting hand, so using Dedenne-GX's Ability early is usually the correct decision. After that, try to save it for when you really need it.


Now We're Cooking

As for attackers, we have two TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX in Reshiram & Charizard-GX, a single Heatran-GX, and three single-Prize Pokémon (that is, Pokémon that your opponent will earn only one Prize card for Knocking Out) at our disposal.

Reshiram & Charizard-GX is a very powerful card—its GX attack can Knock Out any Pokémon in the game. Plus, it's very resource-effective: all it takes is one Welder, and this card can not only do massive amounts of damage but also endure a hit or two. This gives you more breathing room, because it means you don't have to find another Welder while Reshiram & Charizard-GX is still on the field.

Heatran-GX is a flexible card from the recently released Sun & Moon—Unified Minds expansion that gives you access to some cool plays. Say you don't really have a good Welder target yet, but you have Cherish Ball in hand. With Heatran-GX's Burning Road Ability, you can play Welder to power up any Pokémon, even Dedenne-GX or Jirachi, before you use the Cherish Ball. That means you can hold onto your Cherish Ball and find out what three cards you drew from Welder before making a decision on what to search for. Heatran-GX also lets you Knock Out an opposing Jirachi with your first attack, even if you are unable to find Welder, thanks to its Hot Burn-GX attack. With 190 HP, it is usually sturdy enough to withstand a hit from a non-GX attacker, making it a good option against those.


Situational Stars

The three non-GX Pokémon in this deck are Turtonator, Tapu Fini, and Victini . All of them require a specific condition on the board state to be effective, but they are all very capable of swinging the game in your favor. And because they're single-Prize attackers, they can quickly skew the Prize card trade in your favor if they manage to score a one-hit Knock Out on an opposing Pokémon-GX.

Turtonator requires a lot of Energy on the board to land big Knock Outs, but you can discard Energy from any of your Pokémon to boost its Explosive Jet attack. This means that, similarly to Heatran-GX, it can take advantage of misplaced Energy from poor openings, or excess Energy after Reshiram & Charizard-GX's Double Blaze-GX attack.

Tapu Fini is another newly released card that is included mainly to give you an advantage against Blacephalon-GX. But its attack gets cheaper when your opponent has any Ultra Beast in play, so it can also come in handy against decks that use other Ultra Beasts. Naganadel, for example, is popular right now as a way to accelerate Energy in Darkness-type decks, so Tapu Fini can be useful in multiple situations.

Victini is the most powerful card in this deck, taking advantage of every Energy you have discarded over the course of the game. Its primary role in this deck is keeping the other cards attacking. But not only is this card perfect to get back your most important resource, which is Fire Energy—it also has the ability to Knock Out a TAG TEAM in a single two-Energy attack! And it's incredibly versatile—this card is great going up against any deck. When facing single-Prize decks like Malamar and Giratina, you want to use Ninetales to Knock Out Malamar as fast as you can. And against any Pokémon-GX deck, you want to get a big Knock Out with a low-cost attack from one of your single-Prize Pokémon. Control variants usually have the goal of knocking off Energy as well, which Victini also completely denies. It's definitely my favorite card in this deck, and it's the reason for the deck name (despite being a Victini that does not have the Victory Star Ability).

Taking multiple Prizes while only giving up one of your own will give you the upper hand in the Prize card race with this trio of attackers.


Matchup Strategies

In general, it's important with this deck to try to think ahead and make sure you use the right balance of single-Prize Pokémon and big Pokémon-GX according to the strength of your hand. A stronger hand allows you to use more single-Prize attackers. As for what to target with Ninetales, you'll usually go after important support Pokémon or the Pokémon that have Energy attached and are threatening you. Try to have the overall game plan in mind while playing.

To help you adopt the right game plan, here are some quick pointers and tricks to use against the more commonly played decks in the current format.


Victory Star Mirror Match

When you're playing against this same deck, being the first to establish field control with Ninetales is really important. That's why you should try to target your opponent's Vulpix (or Ninetales) with your own Ninetales as quickly as possible. Additionally, it's important that you get a Knock Out with one of your single-Prize attackers, which will limit your opponent to only one Prize card per turn. Then you can eventually finish the game by going for a big Knock Out on your opponent's Reshiram & Charizard-GX. If you're the only one who has Ninetales in play, your Pokémon-GX will be safe on the Bench while you pick off any high-value target you want.


Malamar with Spell Tag

This deck didn't make the Top Cut at Worlds, but it's still formidable. It tries to spread damage around on your field and take multiple Knock Outs using Spell Tag Tool cards, Giratina's Distortion Door Ability, and Espeon & Deoxys-GX. To avoid this, you'll want to target the Pokémon that don't have Spell Tag attached, preferably Malamar. This deck isn't quite as problematic now that Rescue Stretcher has rotated out of the Standard format, since there's no good way to cycle Malamar anymore. That means you can just Knock Out Malamar turn after turn, so when you enter the later stages of your game, there won't be any Malamar left to charge Espeon & Deoxys-GX. Here you should open with Heatran-GX as your attacker, followed by Turtonator and Victini . After using these Pokémon against your opponent's Malamar, come in with Reshiram & Charizard-GX to clean up the game.


Pidgeotto and Oranguru

The game plan here is pretty straightforward: Go after the Pidgey line always. When you chase them, you make it difficult for your opponent to establish their combo before you have picked up all six Prize cards. If they can find every piece needed to lock you down, the game will be over, but that will be harder than it looks if you stay aggressive. Take note of Power Plant, and try to preserve your own Stadiums. Heatran-GX, Victini , and Ninetales are your preferred attackers in this matchup.


Mewtwo & Mew-GX Toolbox

This matchup is a close one. Your opponent will have a lot of attacks at their disposal, and trying to deal with all of them can be a headache. Your overall plan should be to take down two Mewtwo & Mew-GX. The easiest way to do this is by going for a pair of big one-hit Knock Outs, using a six-Energy Double Blaze-GX, followed up by either Victini if your Reshiram & Charizard-GX gets Knocked Out, or Turtonator if the TAG TEAM withstands a hit. In this matchup, Ninetales is not really all that important because the Pokémon you want to get rid of is usually the one in the Active position anyway. Still, having at least Vulpix in play makes it so your opponent can't try to build up a scary attacker on the Bench.


Reshiram & Charizard-GX with Volcanion and Green's Exploration

Against this popular deck, try to ignore the Volcanion and target only the Reshiram & Charizard-GX. This will give you more protection against Reset Stamp (because you've taken fewer Prize cards) and apply much more pressure on your opponent. A six-Energy Double Blaze-GX and a Turtonator/Victini follow-up is your go-to plan against any TAG TEAM matchup, including this one.


Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

Expect a very fast-paced match against this deck. You'll find that the same strategy as above is the best path to victory: use Double Blaze-GX followed by Turtonator/Victini on two TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX to play around Reset Stamp. Pay close attention to the number of Custom Catcher and Electropower cards your opponent has played, as this will affect whether you target Alolan Raichu & Raichu-GX or Pikachu & Zekrom-GX for your first Knock Out. Our deck runs plenty of Switch cards, so being paralyzed from Tandem Shock shouldn't be a problem, either.


Dark Box Weavile

Having Ninetales on the board forces this deck to get an extremely good setup to be able to keep up with you. They will need a backup Weavile-GX at all times, plus multiple Naganadel. Try to go for the usual TAG TEAM plan with Double Blaze-GX followed by Turtonator/Victini for a quick game, or take advantage of a weak setup and snipe the support Pokémon Weavile-GX or Naganadel. Also, keep in mind that Tapu Fini will be activated in this matchup because your opponent will have Naganadel and Poipole in play, so it can do some solid damage for only one Energy with Nature Wave.


Blacephalon-GX and Naganadel-GX

It's against this deck that our Tapu Fini gets to shine the most. You can immediately get a two-Prize lead with your first attack using that Pokémon, while also subsequently forcing your opponent to Knock it Out. You can then come in with either Turtonator or Victini to take another Knock Out and get out of Beast Ring range. As long as you make sure to give your opponent only one turn with access to Beast Ring, you should be able to come out on top. Plus, if you can use your single-Prize Pokémon to inflict these Knock Outs, you will have a lot of breathing room to find your last two Prize cards.





I hope this article has given you a little more insight into what is currently my favorite deck of the season. Best of luck in your next tournament! And be sure to check Pokemon.co.uk/Strategy for more news and analysis on the Pokémon TCG.




About the Writer

Tord Reklev
Tord Reklev is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. He is a longtime player from Norway, playing the game since he was 6 years old. He is notable for being the only Masters Division player to win the North America, Europe, and Oceania Internationals, and he recently made Top 4 at the World Championships. Outside of the game, he is a student and enjoys playing tennis. You can find him at most big events, and can follow him on Twitter at @TordReklev.

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