Theme Format Decks: Relentless Flame

The theme format on Pokemon TCG Online, or PTCGO, is one of the best ways to play on the client. Putting everyone on equal footing by only allowing players to pilot the game’s numerous theme decks makes the experience feel fun, rewarding, and largely fair. That said, the best decks within the format are still quite apparent, and I’m going to highlight and break down some of these “meta” decks. First, is the Charizard and Nidoqueen headed Fire and Psychic deck: Relentless Flame

The Burning Core

Charizard (14/181) (Theme Deck Exclusive)

The face of the deck is Charizard, and with good reason! He represents some impressive damage that can be dished out with extreme consistency due to his ability to fetch energy right out of the deck. He hurts himself in the process, but dealing a minimum of 130 damage without having to commit any additional resources from hand is massive. 

Nidoqueen (56/181)

Right behind Charizard, however, is the other third evolution in the deck: Nidoqueen. Relentless Flame is powerful in large part due to its consistency, and Nidoqueen lets you find any Pokemon you’re missing in your evolutionary lines every turn, all while powering up her her aptly named Power Lariat as you continue to build up your bench– maxing out at a whopping 260 damage with a fully-evolved bench!

Basic Backup

While some combination of Charizard and Nidoqueen are your ultimate game plan, you have to make it to the point where you finish evolving them. Thankfully, and perhaps unsurprisingly given how powerful the headliners are, the deck is more than equipped to get you there. Your starting lineup ideally includes some combination of Nidoran and Farfetch’d (while hopefully building up a Charmander on the bench). 

Nidoran (54/181) (Female)Farfetch'd (127/181)

Farfetch’d draws you cards early, netting you two cards while asking that you only devote one energy to the cause, with the added bonus of being able to destroy important items on your opponent’s active pokemon if the game requires it. Similarly, Nidoran let’s you start setting up your evolutionary lines with any basics you like, also just asking for one energy! 

Rapidash (18/181)

If you don’t manage to find your queen or your fiery finisher the deck does have a great backup in the form of Rapidash. With a little bit of luck, Agility can get in for a decent 70 damage a pop while leaving Rapidash invulnerable to damage on the opponent’s next turn- this gives you more time to setup and find your key pieces. When you do find your pieces, you can even use Switch to put in your haymakers without having to spend on retreat costs!

Switch (183/202)

Relentless Support

The core Pokemon of the deck are powerful, but they gain even more when put alongside the trainer cards in the deck. The deck features a lot of ways to draw cards and find your key pieces, with Cynthia, Copycat, Hau, and Professor Kukui all netting card advantage in one way or another. Some require a bit more setup or for your opponent to be playing along, but only the most extreme bad luck will ever leave you with an empty hand here.

Cynthia (119/156)Copycat (143/203)Hau (120/149)Professor Kukui (128/149)

Similarly, Pokemon Fan Club, Nest Ball and Timer Ball both help you find exactly the Pokemon you need, adding even more to the almost scary consistency that this deck has to offer, and it can even grind out the long game with Brock’s Grit– letting you shuffle back in spent energy and defeated pokemon so you can relentlessly burn through your opponent’s bench.

Pokemon Fan Club (133/156)Nest Ball (123/149)Timer Ball (134/149)Brock's Grit (135/181)

Burning Down the Meta

If you want to compete in the Theme format, Relentless Flame is my recommendation for the place to start. Being able to consistently implement a core strategy feels good, and Relentless Flame is quite easy to pilot due to this consistency. If you want to get wins with a similar amount of consistency, it’s hard for me to recommend anything else. 

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