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Lizards Everywhere! – A Standard Guide to Radiant Charizard / Inteleon

Hello again! In my last article, I talked about my experimentations with one-Prize Inteleon Toolbox decks. I concluded that Radiant Charizard / Inteleon was probably the way to go, and that I needed to explore that archetype more. Just after I wrote it (but before it was published – I’m not claiming any merit here!), Charizard / Inteleon actually happened to get some more attention and a couple of good placements, in both online and offline tournaments. Grant Manley posted his Top 4 list, featuring Galarian Zapdos V, while Japanese player Yuto Takeda (also known as Leu) got Top 8 at a 300+ player online event with a variant that used Druddigon.

I tried out both of these deck lists, got some ideas from them as well as from my own testing, and ended up with my own take on the deck, which I’ll describe in this article. You may have already seen it in action in a recent video I made for our channel, but here, I’ll explain in detail why I built the deck the way I did, and how to use it the best you can.

I think that Charizard / Inteleon can be a good pick for the World Championships and the London Open, and I’m considering playing it myself. That said, it’s a hard deck to master, as you need to keep track of what’s Prized in order to sequence your turns perfectly, while planning ahead over a few turns, and a single mistake can (sometimes) cost you the game. For that reason, I don’t recommend picking the deck at the last minute if you have never played it before.

 

 

Header - Building the Radiant Charizard / Inteleon Deck

At its core, the idea of Charizard / Inteleon is the following: Radiant Charizard has an incredible damage output (and HP) for a Basic, single-Prize Pokémon. With a Choice Belt, it can OHKO any Pokémon VSTAR, allowing it to trade favorably with many prominent decks, especially Palkia / Inteleon and various Arceus variants. However, Charizard is only effective later in the game. Technically, you can power up a Charizard out of nowhere when the opponent has taken a single Prize, with a combination of Magma Basin, Raihan and Twin Energy. However, it’s hard to achieve (especially since, if you went second and the opponent took their first Prize on turn two, you don’t have access to Inteleon yet), and it’s usually only reasonable to attack with Charizard when the opponent has taken two Prizes.

Before that, the focus of Charizard / Inteleon is on setting up, with either Snorlax or Sobble’s Keep Calling, but you can also apply some pressure by taking Prizes with either Rowlet or Moltres. The opponent will almost always take the first Prize, but as long as you don’t fall too far behind, you can come back from an unfavorable situation.

Here’s my deck list, which I’ll explain below:

PTCGO Code

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 16
* 1 Bidoof BRS 120
* 1 Snorlax VIV 131
* 1 Bibarel BRS 121
* 1 Moltres BRS 21
* 1 Radiant Charizard PGO 11
* 1 Rowlet SHF 6
* 1 Manaphy BRS 41
* 4 Sobble CRE 41
* 3 Drizzile SSH 56
* 2 Inteleon SSH 58

##Trainer Cards - 36
* 3 Magma Basin BRS 144
* 3 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 1 Pal Pad SSH 172
* 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 1 Leon VIV 154
* 2 Boss's Orders RCL 154
* 2 Bird Keeper DAA 159
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Tool Scrapper RCL 168
* 2 Energy Search SSH 161
* 2 Raihan EVS 152
* 1 Klara CRE 145
* 4 Level Ball BST 129
* 3 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 1 Ultra Ball BRS 150
* 2 Choice Belt BRS 135
* 1 Sonia RCL 167
* 1 Hisuian Heavy Ball ASR 146

##Energy - 8
* 2 Capture Energy RCL 171
* 1 Water Energy SWSHEnergy 3
* 2 Twin Energy RCL 174
* 3 Fire Energy SWSHEnergy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** Deck List Generated by the Pokémon TCG Online www.pokemon.com/TCGO ****** 

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Here’s my justification for some of the important choices in the list:

4-3-2 Inteleon SSH, Zero Rare Candy

Inteleon (058/202)Rare Candy (069/078)

While I’d love to have a thicker line, like what I’m used to playing in the Liminal deck, it’s hard to fit, and generally, this line is enough. Inteleon doubles as an attacker in some matchups, but it’s not so important that a Rare Candy is needed.

Also excluded: Inteleon CRE. There are always some uses for Quick Shooting, but this deck already has multiple damage modifiers, and we really want to evolve our Drizzile into Inteleon SSH pretty much all the time.

1-1 Bibarel

Bibarel (121/172)

This line acts as a consistency supplement to Inteleon. Bibarel’s most important function is to act as a counter to Roxanne (and, to a lesser extent, Marnie). Without it (or Mew), we’d lose lots of games against Arceus / Inteleon and Palkia / Inteleon due to getting Roxanne’d into a bad hand.

One Moltres

Moltres (021/172)

Many players are not playing Moltres, but after trying out the deck for a while, I think that it’s a mistake. Moltres gives us an additional low-Energy attacker: as long as we have Magma Basin in play and a Fire Energy in the discard, Moltres hits for 90 damage, which can KO Sobble, Drizzile, Bidoof, Pumpkaboo, Galarian Zigzagoon, Manaphy and other Bench sitters. This is useful at times when getting Charizard out would require too many resources, and not having to use Charizard every turn means that there’s less pressure to find Klara or Ordinary Rod every turn.

One Rowlet, Two Bird Keeper

Rowlet (006/072)Bird Keeper (066/072)

Compared to Moltres, Rowlet is fairly standard. The idea is that it can KO some Pokémon (mostly Sobble) on the Bench, which makes it good in the most common matchups, and you don’t need to attach an Energy to it so you can use your Wind Shard turn to attach an Energy to a Drizzile or Charizard. Also, Bird Keeper is a nice Supporter to have, whether it’s to retreat a heavy Pokémon (like Snorlax) or to allow Charizard to attack two turns in a row without discarding its Energy by retreating (or using Scoop Up Net).

Three Magma Basin

Magma Basin (185/172)

Stadiums are important in this deck because we need to counter Path to the Peak. Other Liminal decks don’t care too much about Path to the Peak outside of one crucial turn where you need to use Galarian Zapdos V or Hisuian Samurott VSTAR, but Charizard needs to attack several times in a game and Path to the Peak must be out of play each time, so three Stadiums are needed. If the deck didn’t play Moltres, I think playing two Magma Basin and one Training Court would be a good option, but with Moltres, three Magma Basin makes the most sense.

Pokemon Searching Items

Quick Ball (237/264)Level Ball (129/163)Evolution Incense (163/202)Ultra Ball (186/172)Hisuian Heavy Ball (146/189)

This deck needs a lot of consistency, which is why I’m devoting these 13 slots to Pokémon-searching Items. I originally played four Evolution Incense and no Ultra Ball, but I made this change in order to have one more out to Basic Pokémon on the first turn. Ultra Ball can also allow me to discard cards in order to draw more with Snorlax. Note that I wouldn’t play Ultra Ball if Bibarel wasn’t in the deck. Without Bibarel’s draw, Ultra Ball is a bad card to draw out of Roxanne (or to find off Mew’s Mysterious Tail).

Two Ordinary Rod, One Klara

Ordinary Rod (215/202)Klara (217/198)

This deck needs more recovery cards than other one-Prize archetypes, simply because you can only play one copy of its main attacker. That’s another reason to max out on Quick Ball, by the way: you’ll need them even in the late game to get back a Charizard after putting it back in the deck.

Two Raihan

Raihan (224/203)

I don’t think you can play only one in this deck, since it’s so useful to power up Charizard, but I also don’t think that three are needed, especially with Pal Pad, because towards the late game, you can power up Charizard without it. Raihan is also good to attack multiple turns with Inteleon in the matchups where you need it.

One Sonia

Sonia (065/073)

This is a card that has proven its value in many similar decks, but I haven’t seen it much in Charizard / Inteleon, which I think is a mistake. Whether it’s to get multiple Fire Energy out of the deck early or to get several Pokémon to set up, Sonia is a pretty good card to Shady Dealings for in the early game, in my experience. Also, note that while you can’t Sonia for Rowlet and use it to attack on the same turn, you can easily Sonia for Moltres and another Basic, and attack with Moltres on that turn.

Three Scoop Up Net

Scoop Up Net (207/192)

Four is more common, and probably better, but I needed to cut a card and I felt like the fourth Scoop Up Net wasn’t absolutely necessary. Since I’m not playing Galarian Zigzagoon, Scoop Up Net is basically only used to get Inteleon (or Drizzile) back, except when I need it to get, say, Snorlax back in hand.

Two Choice Belt, One Leon, One Tool Scrapper

Choice Belt (211/189)Leon (154/185)Tool Scrapper (208/192)

These cards accomplish the same goal: get OHKOs. Choice Belt is all you need to KO a 280 HP Palkia VSTAR or Arceus VSTAR, but if they have a Big Charm or Tool Jammer, you’ll need either Tool Scrapper to get rid of it or Leon to get more damage to still get the KO. Together, they also allow Charizard to reach 310 damage, which can OHKO Mew VMAX, among others.

Two Boss’s Orders

Boss's Orders (132/172)

I played with only one Boss’s Orders for some time, and it was fine except for one matchup: Mew VMAX. In this matchup, you can easily win the Prize trade, as long as you can Boss’s Orders some easier targets (Mew V and Genesect V) than Mew VMAX. If the opponent plays Oricorio, you can’t OHKO Mew VMAX, and if you hit it without taking the KO, it can then Psychic Leap to heal and take out a Sobble or something. The second Boss’s Orders makes a big difference here, and it also makes Moltres more usable.

The Energy

Twin Energy (209/192)Capture Energy (201/189)Fire Energy (284/264)Water Energy (231/198)

This strange Energy base gives the deck what it needs to attack, while also having Capture Energy for some more consistency. Some lists play only two Fire Energy, but given how important it is to discard at least one as early as possible, I like playing the third copy. Twin Energy obviously helps Radiant Charizard attack one turn earlier than it would otherwise, and is a common midgame Raihan target.

 

Header - Other Options for Radiant Charizard / Inteleon

I want to mention a couple of cards that might be worth trying out. These are cards I’ve either tested and chosen not to include, but that I’m considering revisiting or ideas I’ve thought about and want to try out.

Slowbro

Slowbro (020/078)

Charizard / Inteleon is notable for being maybe the only good deck to be able to run the new Twilight Inspiration Slowbro. It has synergy with Charizard beyond their shared use of Twin Energy: by simply having a Slowpoke on the Bench in the late game, you force your opponent into a dilemma when they take their second-to-last-Prize: if they KO Charizard, you just need to evolve Slowpoke into Slowbro and attach a Twin Energy in order to win the game. On the other hand, if they target Slowpoke, Charizard is still ready to attack and win the game on the next turn.

There are two ways to play Slowbro: either a 1-1 or 2-1 line. With a 1-1 line, your game plan is the play above: force your opponent to choose between Knocking Out Slowpoke or Charizard, and win the game with the other Pokémon.

With a 2-1 line, you have even stronger plays available, as you can play down two Slowpoke, and be guaranteed to have one left to evolve. That matters a lot in the mirror match and against other one-Prize decks such as Solrock / Lunatone; with only a 1-1 line, you can’t come back from a Prize deficit, as the opponent can KO your only Slowpoke and not fear you taking your last two Prizes since they only have one-Prizers. On the other hand, with two Slowpoke, you basically win the game unless they play disruption (many one-Prize decks do not) and manage to make you whiff your Slowbro and/or Energy (which is rare because Raihan can help a lot with this situation).

The issue with Slowbro is that it takes space, both on the Bench and in the deck. A 2-1 line requires you to play down two Slowpoke, so you need to have space for that on your Bench. Assuming Charizard in the Active Slot, that only leaves three spots for Bibarel, Sobble/Drizzile and Manaphy if playing against Palkia (and they haven’t used Star Portal yet). You also definitely need to play a fourth Scoop Up Net if you’re playing 2-1 Slowbro, in order to free Bench slots for the two Slowpokes.

Mew (CEL)

Mew (011/025)

Bibarel is the best Roxanne counter, but if setting up a Stage 1 Pokémon sounds difficult, Mew (with or without Air Balloon) can work too. It’s not as reliable, but it’s easier to play down. I think Mew can work better in a list with Slowbro because you just need to power up Slowbro to close out a game when the opponent is at one Prize, and if Mew can find, say, a Level Ball for Drizzile for Raihan, you can often achieve that. Taking your last two Prizes with Charizard can require more resources (getting back Charizard if it was KO’d, Boss’s Orders if the Active isn’t a two-Prize Pokémon, Choice Belt and/or Tool Scrapper…), so you need Bibarel for that.

Escape Rope

Escape Rope (125/163)

Escape Rope is one more way to send Sobble or Snorlax Active for Keep Calling or Gormandize, respectively. It can also replace the second Boss’s Orders in the Mew VMAX matchup, since it plays the same role of forcing out Mew VMAX so Charizard can KO an easier target (although the opponent could send out a one-Prize Pokémon instead). Escape Rope also helps the Flying Pikachu VMAX matchup as you can get Pikachu out of the Active Spot, and even Boss it again to hit it with Charizard.

Irida

Irida (204/189)

Even without playing a full Irida engine, I think one copy of Irida has its merits. It does similar things to Sonia: it’s a good card to Shady Dealings for on turns when you don’t need to play one of your situational Supporters. Instead of just getting, say, Choice Belt with your Drizzile, you can get Irida and find Inteleon and Choice Belt, which gives you a better follow-up on the next turn. In the very early game, it also gets Sobble and another Basic of your choice, so it’s a decent set up card.

Zeraora

Zeraora (061/185)

I haven’t tested it, but by playing Zeraora (with a Lightning Energy), we get another valuable attacker against Palkia, and we already play two Choice Belt as well as Tool Scrapper (to remove Tool Jammer), so we can OHKO Palkia VSTAR.

 

Header - Radiant Charizard / Inteleon Matchups

Here’s how to play against some of the most expected matchups:

Palkia VSTAR / Inteleon

This is a tough matchup, because of how many Pokémon you need. Manaphy is needed as long as Moonlight Shuriken is a threat (usually as long as Star Portal is available), and you need to set it up before the opponent’s second turn. This means that it has to be a priority over Moltres or Bidoof. You also need to have Bibarel in play by the time your opponent can play Roxanne. Apart from that, the game plan is the usual one: take Prizes as you can with either Rowlet, Moltres or Inteleon early on, and then Charizard. Most Palkia lists play only one Path to the Peak, so Charizard shouldn’t be locked out.

Arceus VSTAR / Inteleon

I think this matchup is easier than the Palkia matchup. This is because while Arceus has a bit more disruption, usually playing at least two Path to the Peak, you don’t need Manaphy, so you can set up better in the early game. Cheren’s Care shouldn’t matter here, as you should only take OHKOs. Tool Scrapper and Leon are useful cards in this matchup.

Another good point in this matchup is that Palkia has the option of using Cross Switcher, so they can play Roxanne and KO Bibarel at the same time. At least when they do that, Charizard is still on the field, so you can easily counterattack. However, Arceus doesn’t play Cross Switcher (usually) so you don’t have to worry about this threat.

Overall, as long as you don’t brick off Roxanne, you should be fine in this matchup, with perfect play.

Mew VMAX

I think with this list, and as long as Mew doesn’t play any disruption, this matchup is favorable. If the opponent doesn’t play Oricorio, you can OHKO Mew VMAX with Choice Belt and Leon. If they do, it can be good to KO Oricorio with Inteleon at some point, and then you can take three Prizes off Mew VMAX. The last two Prizes can be taken off a Benched Pokémon V.

Alternatively, just KO three two-Prize Pokémon with Charizard, which should be fine as long as no Boss’s Orders or Pal Pad is Prized.

Ice Rider / Palkia

Pokémon VMAX are not a big deal for this deck. While Charizard won’t OHKO Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX, you can 2HKO it with Charizard and Moltres (or Inteleon), trading favorably without having to use Charizard every turn. The same principles as the Palkia matchup apply: get Manaphy out as soon as possible, and Bibarel before they can Roxanne. However, generally speaking, this matchup should be easier.

Dialga

This is an easy matchup. Dialga’s Fire Weakness is not even that relevant, as it only ensures that Charizard can OHKO Dialga VSTAR without a Choice Belt. Even without it though, the matchup would be good: Dialga struggles against one-Prize attackers because its powerful double turn (from Star Chronos) only earns it two Prize cards. It’s hard for Dialga to set up three attackers over the course of a game, so Charizard should beat it even when behind by three Prizes.

Arceus / Flying Pikachu

A tough matchup, although not as impossible as I feared before testing it. Flying Pikachu VMAX’s Max Balloon protects it from Charizard’s damage, but Inteleon can attack and 3HKO Flying Pikachu VMAX, basically getting an even trade. Now, an even trade isn’t always enough because the opponent might have taken a couple Prizes before using Flying Pikachu thanks to Trinity Nova. However, you can take some steps to improve the matchup. Using Wind Shard on Flying Pikachu VMAX on the turn its being powered up is pretty strong. It puts Pikachu at 250 HP, in range of Charizard. If the opponent doesn’t use Pikachu then, you can Boss the Pikachu and KO it with your Charizard. If they do use Pikachu, you can now 2HKO it with Inteleon as long as you get a Choice Belt (or Leon) once. Then, in the late game, you can KO other targets, such as Arceus VSTAR, with Charizard.

If the opponent manages to get two Flying Pikachu VMAX out, look for opportunities to play Boss’s Orders on one after the other one used Max Balloon, and hit it with Radiant Charizard. You can then look to win the game in three Aqua Bullets by dealing 120 damage to the undamaged Flying Pikachu VMAX and 20 to the damaged one. After three turns, you’ll have dealt 3*120=360 damage to a Pikachu and 250+3*20 = 310 to the other. The opponent can obviously use the damaged Flying Pikachu VMAX to attack instead, but then you can Boss the other one and KO it with Charizard.

Things are not as easy as I’m trying to make them look, especially because this deck can play up to four Marnie and Path to the Peak, so the matchup is still unfavored, but these are the kind of ideas that you might want to keep in mind to have a chance.

 

Header - Conclusion

As a fan of single-Prize decks, Radiant Charizard / Inteleon is where I plan to focus most of my efforts before the World Championships. The deck definitely has potential, as it can beat almost all the popular decks. It doesn’t beat them easily, of course, but no deck beats both Palkia and Arceus easily (Mewtwo V-Union Stall comes the closest, but it can be teched for.)

Thank you for reading! This is my last article before the World Championships, as I won’t be writing while in London. I hope to see some of you there. If you see me at Worlds, don’t hesitate to say hi! It’s always a pleasure to meet my readers (I mean it, I swear, even if sometimes I’m distracted during tournaments and don’t have a lot time to talk!).

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