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Matthew Koo

Pyroar: A Dwindling Flame?

Considering Pyroar for the upcoming cities? An article that will cover matchups (extended and modified), new additions, and overall viability with the release of Phantom Forces.

11/16/2014 by Matthew Koo

Hey everyone!  In this article, I'll be focusing primarily on Pyroar and the various ways of incorporating Pyroar into a deck.  I'll be discussing the Pros and Cons of the deck as well as its matchups before and after the release of Phantom Forces.    

 

Pyroar has made its way into the metagame with its strong ability to negate all damage from basic pokemon.  With the meta filled with a lot of viable basic pokemon, Pyroar became a very popular answer to counter them.  The deck focused primarily on getting as many Pyroars out as quickly as possible, swarming opponents into submission.  

Table of Contents

1.  POKEMON

2.  TRAINERS

3.  PHANTOM FORCES 

4.  MATCHUPS

5.  EXPANDED FORMAT

6.  CONCLUSION

 

POKEMON

 Pyroar

 

Pyroar's main attraction is its ability:  Intimidating Mane which prevents all damage from Basic Pokemon.  With so many decks focusing only on Basic Pokemon, a lone Pyroar could lock down an opponent, giving them no options in knocking it out.  

Once a Pyroar comes online, a player can slowly build up energies on it for its Scorching Fang attack, which for the most part guarantees the player a two turn knockout on any pokemon.  

However, with the introduction of Furious Fists, support for Fighting Pokemon greatly increased.  This lead to Donphan (another Stage 1 Pokemon) becoming a very popular deck, giving Pyroar an almost auto-loss.  

Charizard EX

 

Pyroar players are frantically trying to protect their Litleo's from being knocked out. This is where Charizard EX becomes a viable option as both an early wall as well as a mid-game secondary attacker.  Charizard EX has enough HP to survive a couple of attacks, while also having an attack that can potentially OHKO an opponent EX.  Combusion Blast, although has the potential to do a whopping 170 with a Muscle Band, is also very expensive to procure.  However, with specific Supporters such as Blacksmith and Double Colourless Energies, charging up this attack can all happen in one turn!  This "surprise factor" will make opponents think twice about committing too many energies or resources onto one Pokemon in fear of it being knocked out.  

There is a setback to this attack though.  Combustion Blast, once used, can not be used again the turn after which normally would be a problem.  However, if Charizard EX returns to the bench, this effect on Combustion Blast is reset, allowing the player to use Combustion Blast again the following turn.  Cards such as Switch, Keldeo EX (with a float stone), and Escape Rope all contribute in helping reset Combustion Blast.  

Seismitoad EX

With the introduction of Furious Fists, Seismitoad EX has been placed in a lot of decks as a tech card, due to its amazing first attack -- Quaking Punch.  Quaking Punch does an underwhelming 30 damage, but its' value comes from its cost as well as the effect of the attack.  Quaking Punch costs only two colourless energies, while its effect shuts down opponents from using any Item Cards next turn.  With a lot of decks highly dependent on Item Cards (Ultra Ball, Switch, Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser, Bicycle, etc.), Quaking Punch can slow down an opponent quickly and effectively.

This makes Seismitoad EX a relatively good starter to have in a Pyroar deck.  While a player is setting up their Pyroars, Seismitoad EX will continuously slow down an opponents set up, raising the chances that your Litleo's survive long enough to become Pyroars.  

Lastly, Seismitoad EX's attack cost fits well with the Double Colourless Energies that are already in the deck.  There is no real synergy nor use for Seismitoad EX's second attack in this deck, so there is no need for having Water Energies in the deck.

Mewtwo EX

   

Similarly, Mewtwo EX also uses the Double Colourless Energy, thus synergizing well with almost all decks.  Mewtwo EX acts as a counter to Garbodors which have the ability to shut down Pyroar's ability.  Due to Garbodor's pyschic weakness, Mewtwo EX can dispose of them quite easily with the right pieces.  

Mewtwo EX also acts as the perfect counter to opposing Mewtwo EX's as the weakness factor plays a large role in producing a OHKO.  For this very reason, Players are always hesistant to overload too many energies onto one Mewtwo EX in fear of it being OHKO by an opposing Mewtwo EX.  

 

TRAINERS

 Blacksmith

Blacksmith provides a Pyroar deck with the acceleration that it needs to catch an opponent off guard.  Since it's necessary to discard an energy sometimes when using Pyroar's Scorching Fang attack, Blacksmith synergizes well by retrieving those lost fires from your discard and attaching them back onto your attackers. 

This Supporter only works on Fire Pokemon, so you can't use this Supporter to attach Fires onto a Seismitoad EX or Mewtwo EX.  In my opinion, this is a minor setback compared to how useful it is for the rest of the deck in accelerating and keeping up with your opponent's board control.  For this reason, at least 3-4 copies of this card should be played in the deck for consistency.    

Lysandre / Pokemon Catcher

     

Lysandre and Pokemon Catcher have the same effect, but both have their obvious flaws.  Lysandre uses up a player's Supporter for the turn, but guarantees the effect of pulling out any of your opponents Pokemon into the active spot.  Pokemon Catcher, on the other hand, can be used in conjunction with other Item cards and multiple Pokemon Catchers can be played in one turn.  However, the Player has to flip a coin in order for the effect to work.  So the question becomes, which of the two should I use in Pyroar?  

Due to the small Pokemon count in a Pyroar deck, there is a lot more room for Supporters/Items/Stadiums.  With the focus on the deck to eliminate threats to Pyroar, it is obvious to see why a card that allows you to pull up any of your opponent's Pokemon to the active is crucial.  This is why, in my opinion, I would play a mix of both Lysandre and Pokemon Catcher so that there are multiple opportunities for me to draw into one of these cards during the times when I need them most.  By having more copies of this card in my deck, it also makes my decision to Professor Sycamore or Ultraball any Lysandre/Pokemon Catcher in the early game a lot easier knowing that I still have more in my deck that I can use later.

These cards are crucial in eliminating opponent Garbodors, other Stage 1 threats (Raichu, Beartic, etc.) or taking out damaged Pokemon that retreated to the bench.     

Bicycle / Roller Skates  

   

The purpose of Pyroar is to zip through your deck as quick as possible so that you can set up multiple Pyroar to lock your opponent down.  Bicycle and Roller Skates do just that.  With cards such as Ultraball and a lot of cards that you can play right away, Bicycle can almost always be used to draw an extra 1-2 cards.  With Roller Skates, even though there is a side effect of flipping a coin, the Pros in drawing an extra 3 cards to get ahead is just too good.  With this being said, Roller Skates isn't really seen in many other decks aside from this one.  Why?  Again, the reason comes back to how much space a Pyroar deck has compared to many other decks when it comes to their Supporters/Items/Stadiums.  

Even though these cards sole puprose is to allow you to draw more cards, it doens't mean a player should use them any time they see one.  These cards can help in crucial situations where an opponent might play an N on you that lowers your hand size to 1-2 cards.  By having more chances to draw into cards like Bicycle or Roller Skates, a player can potentially recover from a devastating N.

Muscle Band

Muscle Band is the tool of choice in this deck, giving your Pokemon an additional 20 damage when attached.  This helps Charizard EX achieve the 170 to knockout some big EX's (Yveltal EX, Thundurus EX, Deoxys EX, etc.).  It gives Mewtwo EX the ability to OHKO an opposing Mewtwo EX that has a Double Colourless Energy attached to it.  Seismitoad EX also benefits by doing 50 damage instead of a measly 30.  Lastly, Muscle Band grants Pyroar the ability to two shot a lot of Pokemon EX used in the format currently.  Without a Muscle Band, a Pyroar has to discard a fire energy twice in order to reach 180.  With Muscle Band, a Pyroar can attack one turn for 80 and then the next for 110, meaning a player only has to discard a Fire Energy once.  

Hypnotoxic Laser / Virbank City Gym

  

The popular combo of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym allows a player to potentially put an opponents active Pokemon to sleep, but more importantly automatically poisons them.  In conjunction with Virbank City Gym, a player is adding on an additional 30 damage in between turns.  This card can help players reach a potential 180 damage with Charizard EX's Combustion Blast attack. Seismitoad EX also gains much needed damage with its Quaking Punch attack. Lastly, this combination helps Pyroars by allowing them to do enough damage to not have to discard any energies when using their Scorching Fang attack.  

Virbank City Gym acts as a counter stadium to some decks out there as well.  By playing 2-3 copies of this card, a player has the ability to knock out unwanted Stadiums that are in play by their opponents (Fighting Stadium, Metal Shelter, Tropical Beach, etc.) 

 

Switch / Escape Rope

  

All the Pokemon in this deck have high retreat costs.  A mixture of Switch and Escape Rope helps relieve a player's Pokemon from Special Conditions as well as give them the opportunity to switch attackers if need be.  With Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank still being played, Pyroar players must be careful not to let their Pyroars take too much damage from Poison.  

In my opinion, Switch is always useful, while Escape Rope is situational.  Let's say your target is to knock out the opponent's active Pokemon but you need to switch out to a different attacker.  In this case, Switch is the better choice since Escape Rope forces your opponent to switch as well.  Even if we flipped the situation around in where your target is to knockout a player's benched Pokemon.  In this case, an Escape Rope is still not the best option since your opponent gets to choose which Pokemon to bring up from the bench (chances are they won't bring up the Pokemon you want them to).  This is why I prefer a count of 3-4 Switch and 1 Escape Rope for consistency.  

Ultraball

 

These are pretty self explanatory.  3-4 Ultraballs are needed in the deck to help you search for the Pokemon you want.  This card allows you to access any Pokemon in the deck while also granting the ability to discard cards such as Fire Energies so that you can utilize Blacksmith later on.  Ultraball also lets a player discard cards that aren't that good for a specific matchup (Seismitoad EX if you're facing a Virgen deck, N's when you only have 1 prize left, etc.), allowing a player to thin their deck out.  

Sacred Ash

 

With only 4 Pyroars and 4 Litleos in your deck, it is common to have some prized and some being knocked out early.  This is where Sacred Ash comes in.  It allows you to bring back up to five Pokemon from your discard back into your deck.  Only one is really needed in the late stages of a game when some of your Pyroar have been knocked out by your opponent.  

Computer Search / Dowsing Machine

  

 Computer Search or Dowsing Machine?  In a deck so reliant on speed, Computer Search seems to be the best choice, especially if you multiple copies of cards that you would need.  Dowsing Machine, I believe, is a good Ace Spec for decks that rely on a particular card heavily in order for it to succeed.  For example, Blastoise/Keldeo/Black Kyurem EX was heavily reliant on its Superior Energy Retrievals that allowed the deck to do 200 damage every turn.  With a Dowsing Machine as your Ace Spec there, a player can potentially get rid of 1 - 2 Superior Energy Retrievals early game if they needed to set up and still have enough resources to carry them to a victory.  

In Pyroar, at a certain point, the only resources you would need is more Lysandre or Pokemon Catchers and since you already have a mix of both in the deck, Dowsing Machine doesn't provide much.  Lastly, Pyroar has the most trouble during the early stages of the game, which means having a Computer Search that allows you to search out anything you want in your deck is much more useful than a Dowsing Machine that only lets you search out a Trainer Card from your limited discard pile.

 Here is a sample list:  

 

 

PHANTOM FORCES

With the introduction of Phantom Forces, a few changes can be made within a Pyroar deck.

PROS

VS Seeker

 

With VS Seeker returning to the scene, Pyroar decks can now reuse Supporters within their discard piles. This is especially useful in terms of reusing Lysandre to pull up threats to Pyroar and eliminating them before they cause too much trouble for you.

Team Flare Tools

   

Although not necessarily placed within a Pyroar deck, these two cards could be detrimental to any deck playing EX's. Luckily, with Pyroar being the main attacker, there isn't much to worry about, making these more or less dead cards within an opponents deck.

 

CONS

Aegislash EX

Aegislash EX stops any incoming damage from Pokemon that have special energies attached. This may cause a few kinks against a Pyroar deck that plays Double Colourless Energies. Overall though, with Aegislash's weakness to fire along with it being a basic Pokemon, Pyroar players shouldn't be overly concerned with it.

M Manectric EX

As its popularity grows heading into Cities, M Manectric EX can be the end of Pyroar. Being an evolved Pokemon and its unusual damage of exactly 110 (which is exactly how much HP a Pyroar has), M Manectric EX is perfect in countering a Pyroar deck. With a nice effect as well, M Manectric EX might find itself in a lot of meta decks, eventually ending Pyroar's viability in the meta.

 

Matchups

Virizion/Genesect/M Manectric EX

   

What was once a very favorable matchup for Pyroar has turned into a nightmare. If they're able to set up a M Manectric Ex early on, it'll spell diaster for you no matter how quickly you can set up. On top of that, your Hypnotoxic Lasers are now useless due to Virizion EX's ability, lowering your damage output as you come face to face with a 210 HP monster.

As a Pyroar player, your main goal in this matchup is to bring out Seismitoad EX early on to put pressure on your opponent while setting up a Charizard EX on the bench. If you can eliminate the M Manectric EX before it gets too many energies on their Genesect EX's, your chances of pulling out the match is greatly increased.

Overall, if this deck's popularity rises, adding more Seismitoad EX's / Charizard EX's will increase your chances of starting with them so you can deal with their M Manectric EX earlier. However, remember that Seismitoad EX's weakness is grass and that one of the strengths of a Pyroar deck is its ability to give up non-ex attackers. By playing too many EX's, you lose that edge of having a non-ex deck.

 

Night March (Mew EX, Night March Squad)

    

With all of its attackers being basic, Pyroar does pretty well against this deck. Once a couple of Pyroars have been set up, there's not much this deck can do in terms of damaging it making it quite an easy matchup.

However, a variant of this deck utilizes Celebi EX and Gourgeist (Stage 1) and when a grass is attached to Gourgeist, its HP will skyrocket to a massive 200. With the damage being there, and Gourgeist able to use the Night March attack due to Celebi EX's ability, there's not much a Pyroar player can do to keep up. However, not all hope is lost against this variant! By focusing your attention on their Celebi EX's, you eliminate their ability to use Night March and force them into using Gourgeist's attack, Horror Note, instead. Eventually, the Night March player must decide whether to keep giving up two prizes or focus their attention on using only Horror Note.

Overall, the matchup is highly favourable as long as the Pyroar player is focusing on the right Pokemon.

Yveltal EX / Garbodor / M Manectric EX

   

Here we go again, except this time there's even more threats to your Pyroar. With Garbodor shutting off abilities once a tool is attached to it, Pyroar loses its immunity against Basic attackers thus making it vulnerable to huge Evil Ball / Y-Cyclone attacks from Yveltal EX. On top of that, if the Yveltal player decides to play it with M Manectric EX you now have two threats that need to be eliminated before your Pyroars are safe.

As a general strategy, the Pyroar player should start off with Seismitoad EX and stall the opponent as much as possible with Quaking Punch. Once you see their M Manectric EX come online, you have to focus all your attention on removing it from the field. If this matchup becomes popular, a Pyroar player might consider adding in more Megaphones to help counter the Garbodor as wel as more Seismitoad EX's to help in the early going.

This matchup is extremely difficult to overcome, even if you start with Seismitoad EX and manage to set up a Charizard EX. Their speed and option of setting up a Garbodor or M Manectric EX eventually becomes too much to overcome for the Pyroar player. If this wasn't bad enough, they probably utilize the same Hypnotoxic Laser combo as you do, potentially putting your attackers to sleep. As a Pyroar player it's highly unlikely that you have all the resources you need every turn to handle what your opponent throws at you.

 

Donphan and Friends

   

This matchup is not a good one for Pyroar.  With a Stage 1 non-ex attacker such as Pyroar, Donphan does a lot more damage for way less energies.  For a complete article on the mechanics behind this deck, please visit David Hochmann's Donphan Guide.  With so many different options to switch into, Donphan not only forces you to continually Lysandre them up to elminate them, but makes you worry about what they put in the active spot as well.  With the arrival of Phantom Forces, Donphan has even more options to switch into outside of the regular Safeguarders and Outragers.  

If you see this matchup, your best bet is to lead off with Seismitoad EX if you can and start Quaking Punch as soon as you can to slow down your opponent (this will probably be the strategy with every matchup).  Your goal is to Lysandre up as many Donphans as you can but remember you have to knock them out in one hit or else they'll just run back to the bench.  In order to accomplish this, you need a combination of Muscle Band, Virbank City Gym, and Hypnotoxic Laser before you Quaking Punch.  Not only is this difficult to acheive, it's also highly difficult to keep up.  

Overall, even if you do score a few knockouts on their Donphans early, they'll eventually overwhelm you as you run out of resources.  This decks popularity will likely determine the fate of Pyroar's viability.  

 

CONCLUSION

With the introduction of M Manectric EX and the popularity of Donphan, it seems like Pyroar is about to lose its place in the meta.  However, Pyroar itself can still be very useful as a tech instead of the main focus in decks.  Nonetheless, it'll be interesting to see what players come up with during the next few months.  Thank you all for taking the time to visit and if you had the chance, read my article.  I'm always looking for feedback so please feel free to comment.  

 

 

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