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Caleb Gedemer

Fire in Akala Island's Volcano Park — Volcanion Revamped with Kiawe for Worlds

It’s time to start your Worlds trial with Volcanion. See if the new Kiawe card from Burning Shadows can help!

08/03/2017 by Caleb Gedemer


Volcanion has been a threat since its release, and it’s only gotten better since the ultimate downfall of M Mewtwo-EX once Garbodor with Trashalanche was released. It took a Top Eight finish at the most recent big tournament, the North American International Championship, too! Guardians Rising introduced Turtonator-GX, and Burning Shadows is going to be giving Volcanion players three new tools: Ho-Oh-GX, Guzma, and Kiawe. Ho-Oh-GX is a great attacker, but Kiawe is going to be even more influential on the game. Take a look at some translations:

Ho-Oh-GX – Fire – HP190
Basic Pokemon

[R][C][C] Sacred Fire: This attack does 50 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon.)

[R][R][R][C] Phoenix Burn: 180 damage. This Pokemon can’t use Phoenix Burn during your next turn.

[R][C][C] Eternal Flame GX: Put 3 in combination of [R] Pokemon-EX or Pokemon-GX from your discard pile onto your Bench. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack per game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Lightning (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-20)
Retreat: 2

Guzma – Trainer

Switch your opponent’s Active Pokemon with 1 of their Benched Pokemon. Then, switch your Active Pokemon with 1 of your Benched Pokemon.

You can only play 1 Supporter card during your turn (before your attack).

Kiawe – Trainer

Search your deck for 4 [R] Energy and attach them to 1 of your Pokemon. Then, shuffle your deck. Your turn ends.

You may play only 1 Supporter card during your turn (before your attack).

Hopefully you can see the obvious strength of both of these cards. Now, let me begin today’s piece, I hope you enjoy it!


Volcanion, it’s been around all season, and it appears to be getting better and better with each set that comes out. Kiawe is the next big addition to the deck, and boy is it ever good. Volcanion’s had a problem in the past with running out of attackers, and being too far behind on Prizes to have enough time to get another attacker going. Kiawe fixes that and then some, since you can get ahead in the “Energy attachment war” and have the potential to get right back into it later on with another Kiawe drop.

Volcanion aims to take everything in its path down in one attack. Volcanion-EX has Steam Up, which can boost the attack of a Basic Fire Pokemon by 30 damage with each use. The deck uses a variety of powerful Fire type Pokemon with efficient attacks to chain big Knockouts and win the game.

This archetype has been a staple of the game all season long, and I firmly believe that Kiawe is going to make it even better. Ho-Oh-GX is another great addition to the deck, and maybe even more importantly, Guzma kills two birds with one stone in this deck. Formerly, most Volcanion builds packed one or more copy of Olympia as a hard switching card to reset the effect of Volcanion’s Volcanic Heat. Now, it’s time to check out my current deck list…

Deck List

Card Choices

3 Volcanion-EX

Most lists have dropped down to three Volcanion-EX, and there are a few reasons for that. First, Turtonator-GX, and now Ho-Oh-GX, are your go-to attackers, rather than Volcanion-EX itself. This said, their attacks take less Steam Up uses to take one-hit Knockouts, since they do more base damage to begin with. While it might not be the go-to big hitter anymore, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a solid attacking force still. No matter what, Steam Up is an invaluable Ability, and you need at least three Volcanion-EX in this deck. With the potential for an additional 90 damage, that puts all of your attacks within one-hit Knockout range on most Pokemon. Fighting Fury Belt, the new tool of choice in the deck, can boost you the little bit further that you sometimes need to go to finish off a Knockout. There’s no reason to play four Volcanion-EX anymore, unless it’s to just ensure having three every game (in case you Prize one).

3 Volcanion

Some lists play four, but I don’t see the need to since you’ll never want to use four in a game (in order to play a seven-Prize game). As long as you play enough switching cards, you can always get one Active to make sure that you can use Power Heater as early as your first turn. I think for this reason (as long as you play a Rescue Stretcher), as long as you play enough switching cards to get a Volcanion Active quickly, there’s no reason to play four unless you’re worried you won’t start with it enough.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Since most Volcanion decks don’t play Hoopa-EX anymore, Tapu Lele-GX takes priority over Shaymin-EX in this deck. It’s not as big of a liability, and can even double as a solid attacker when necessary. Having two is just enough, since this deck is usually tight on Bench space since you need to have multiple Volcanion-EX down most times to hit crucial Knockouts.

1 Turtonator-GX

This Pokemon is probably the best attacker in the deck overall. It has three awesome attacks that all have their own purpose, so there’s no reason not play at least one copy of this card. With Ho-Oh-GX in the format now, Turtonator-GX is going to take a slight backseat to it, but still have a big role in this deck. Two copies could be great, but this deck has so many attacking options that it’s hard to balance it all equally.

1 Staryu

This Evolves into an integral part of this deck, Starmie. You had better play the Staryu with a zero Retreat, too, otherwise you can run into some problems when trying to switch it out.

1 Starmie

Space Beacon works wonders for this deck, so it’s an instant inclusion when building this deck. The Ability couples very well with Steam Up, and it makes a lot of sense to have a constant stream of Energy at your disposal. I wouldn’t play this deck without Starmie right now, and if you could, you’d play a thicker line, but there are more important cards to be included.

1 Ho-Oh-GX

Here’s Ho-Oh! Phoenix Burn is the main attraction here, since its other attacks are somewhat abysmal. With just a single Steam Up, you can do 210 damage right off the bat, which is a magic number to take a Knockout on a variety of Pokemon! Additionally, I really love this card in the mirror match since your opponent cannot take super easy Knockouts on it with Volcanion-EX and its Water typing. The Lightning Weakness is a fantastic feature in a lot of matchups, which makes this card a great inclusion. Having two would be nice, but that would be a definite luxury.

3 Brooklet Hill

With the absence of Hoopa-EX, Volcanion decks need a solid way to add to their Pokemon-searching consistency. Brooklet Hill does just that, since it can take Staryu, or Volcanion-EX out of the deck. Having four is nice, but three is just enough, since outside of the first few turns it doesn’t have a use other than serving as a counter Stadium.

4 Professor Sycamore

Playing a thick line of Professor Sycamore is the primary way to draw cards in this deck, so I wouldn’t change this count.

4 N

I’ve had three N occasionally, but four is very good, too. It’s especially useful against Garbodor decks, and even though those are unpopular right now, it’s nice to have another option to improve that matchup. N doesn’t make you play anything extra when using it, so you can avoid playing Item cards that you otherwise might have to discard with Professor Sycamore. That said, you can be a force to be reckoned with when having to deal with Trashalanche attacks.

2 Guzma

Here’s the most game-changing inclusion to this deck, I think, since it serves as both a Lysandre, and an “Olympia” in one for this deck. With so many high Retreat Pokemon, having a guaranteed way to switch out is sweet, and getting the extra benefit of switching your opponent’s Pokemon around is just a bonus. Having three could be nice, but two is the minimum count for this card.

1 Lysandre

Having a hard copy of Lysandre still has merit in this deck. Sometimes you don’t want to have to switch your Pokemon out, and this is the card for those situations. I do like having one Lysandre still, and don’t think that any more than one is truly necessary.

1 Kiawe

Here’s another huge new addition to this deck. Kiawe is only super good on your first turn, since it does end your turn, so you won’t be using it more than once in a game most times. This said, having one copy is just enough, and there’s few reasons to play another unless you’re worried about having it in your Prizes. Two, though, could improve your matchup with Garbodor decks even more, so there’s a reason to consider it a little bit more if you aren’t already.

4 Ultra Ball

Three Ultra Ball is the norm when building this deck these days, and while I think that’s fine, I still like having four to increase the number of outs I have to grabbing a Tapu Lele-GX. Especially with Kiawe in this deck now, it’s often very important to use Wonder Tag on the first turn of the game to get a Kiawe off. In addition, having more ways to discard Fire Energy to fuel Volcanion’s Power Heater is nice, too.

3 VS Seeker

I’ve never been a huge fan of any less than four VS Seeker, but for this deck, I do have to admit that you really don’t need more than three. To further improve the Garbodor matchup, too, is another reason to only play three of these cards. When playing higher counts of Supporter cards as it is, there’s less reason to play VS Seeker to retrieve them, you often will have the Supporter of your choosing in your hand to begin with.

3 Max Elixir

This card is hard to conclude on a count for anymore. Many lists are at two, while I’m still favoring a full set of four. Three is a happy medium between the two, but I’m trying to find space for a fourth, since with the decline in play of Garbodor decks, it makes more sense to be playing as many as possible once again.

3 Float Stone

I have even played four of these before, but three is all you really need. Some lists opt for two sometimes, but I don’t like that count because then they’re harder to come by in the first few turns when you need them most. I like the constant mobility of playing more Float Stone than more Switch, or Escape Rope, also.

3 Fighting Fury Belt

Volcanion decks need a damage modifier, and the difference of 20 between Choice Band and Fighting Fury Belt is obsolete against Pokemon’s HP. Having three provides you the option to attach one to most of the attackers you use in a game, at least the big ones, which is a must.

2 Field Blower

Garbodor with Garbotoxin is still played, and because of that, you’re still going to want two Field Blower. Removing its Tool to regain the use of your Abilities is crucial, and it even can discard a Stadium like Silent Lab in other matchups that play it.

1 Switch

Having one hard switching card as an Item is nice, especially when you have a Fighting Fury Belt on a Pokemon instead of a Float Stone. Switch is generally better than Escape Rope in this format since most decks have their main attacker up front, and that’s the Pokemon you want to address first.

1 Rescue Stretcher

When playing a lower count of Volcanion and Volcanion-EX, it’s nice to have Rescue Stretcher to recover them in a pinch. Stretcher is also very useful when looking to recover one of your tech attackers like Ho-Oh-GX or Turtonator-GX. Tapu Lele-GX, once in the discard, becomes a consistency out with Rescue Stretcher, too! All you really need is one copy of this card.

13 Fire Energy

I think fourteen Fire Energy is excessive, but twelve is just a tad too few. Having a higher count makes it more likely to draw into them naturally when fishing for Energy with a Professor Sycamore, and lets you use Kiawe freely. Additionally, it increases your odds of hitting a Max Elixir, which can be clutch.

Other Options


Sometimes this deck could use a bit of a boost, usually in the early, or late, stages of a game. Having a Shaymin-EX could benefit this deck a bit as another consistency out and a way to dig for more of the cards you’re looking for when needed.


This is a neat new option for Volcanion decks, since you can pick up a damaged Pokemon and not only heal it, but have the Energy that you also pick up from it to use Steam Up with. This can be very useful and deny your opponent Prizes.

Hex Maniac

With many of the most popular decks using lots of Abilities, a Hex Maniac in this deck makes more sense than it did in the past. Especially against Gardevoir-GX, this card could possibly swing the matchup into your favor, so it’s worth testing out.


Alolan Ninetales-GX | Slightly Favorable

Wait, favorable? Yes, you’ve got that right! This matchup isn’t all that it seems with the Water Weakness and all. Alolan Ninetales-GX is a slower deck, and in order to get its attackers going, it needs to throw down many Energy. You can combat this with being as aggressive as possible, and when able, taking down Pokemon that have Energy attached to them to put on the pressure. While an Alolan Ninetales-GX can easily knock you out, you, too, can take an easy Knockout on one with its full 210 HP with just a few Steam Up Abilities.

Volcanion is a more Energy efficient deck, overall, than Alolan Ninetales-GX decks, so as long as you have more Energy on board, you should be good to win the matchup fair and square. Kiawe really helps this matchup out, too, since you can basically have a fully powered up attacker on your second turn, ready to take a one-hit Knockout on an Alolan Ninetales-GX. If that attacker is a Ho-Oh-GX, that could spell trouble for Alolan Ninetales-GX, as well. Ho-Oh-GX doesn’t have a Fire type Weakness, so in order for Ice Blade to take a one-hit Knockout, a Choice Band will be required. If Ho-Oh-GX has a Fighting Fury Belt, then that might not be a possibility at all!

Dealing with the new non-EX/GX Alolan Ninetales is simple for Volcanion decks, since you can just use Volcanion’s Power Heater or Steam Artillery to take a one-hit Knockout with help from a Fighting Fury Belt and some uses of Steam Up. Overall, this matchup is a trade of attackers, rather than the Weakness-based blowout that it may seem to be on paper. An average start from a Volcanion deck should be strong enough to take down an Alolan Ninetales-GX deck every time as long as you can keep streaming your attackers.

Darkrai-EX / Darkrai-GX | Favorable

Turbo Darkrai-EX decks of old would use Silent Lab to counter Volcanion decks, but they no longer have that luxury when playing Darkrai-GX. In addition, it’s almost necessary to include Sky Field to make room for Darkrai-GX, itself, anyways. All that taken into account, you should be free to use Steam Up throughout the entire course of the game, barring any Hex Maniac plays from your opponent. This said, it should be relatively easy to reach one-hit Knockouts.

Ho-Oh-GX is another card that helps out a lot in this one, since Phoenix Burn can take one-hit Knockouts even if your opponent does manage to Item lock you. Since most Darkrai-EX decks don’t play Field Blower, also, a Ho-Oh-GX with a Fighting Fury Belt should basically be impenetrable. Additionally, since Ability lock isn’t as big of a problem in this matchup anymore, it’s more feasible to take two-hit Knockouts with Volcanion’s Power Heater. Volcanion can be frustrating for a Darkrai-EX player to take down, since it has an awkward HP of 130, and that can be increased even more with Fighting Fury Belt if you choose.

Playing two Field Blower hurts a Darkrai-EX deck quite a bit as well. Your opponent will be relying on Exp. Share to spread the wealth of Darkness Energy around, so having two opportunities to remove them can be very detrimental to your opponent. Kiawe is the last thing I’d like to mention about this matchup, as it helps you get far ahead, and stay ahead when it comes to Energy drops. By your second turn, you can be pressuring your opponent’s Pokemon-EX/GX, especially Darkrai-EX, with potential Knockouts. If you do so, it’ll really hinder your opponent’s setup, and all things considered, it’s entirely possible to be able to sweep the game with just a single attacker. Overall, you should be winning this matchup.

Decidueye-GX | Favorable

This matchup is another highlight for this deck, and a big reason why I’m considering it for the World Championship. Decidueye’s inherited Weakness to the Fire type is a huge problem for it, as almost every attacker in a Volcanion deck is Fire. In the past, Decidueye-GX decks were able to play around Volcanion, even with the Fire Weakness, by using gust effects, like Lysandre, to put high Retreat Pokemon in the opponent’s Active position. This, coupled with Item lock from Vileplume, was often enough to trap a Pokemon and from there, a player could use Feather Arrow to obliterate an opponent’s Bench to collect all six Prizes. Guzma puts an end to this antic in Volcanion decks, so the matchup becomes much more favorable.

While Decidueye-GX decks can play alternate Weakness Pokemon like Alolan Ninetales-GX, Lugia-EX, or Tapu Lele-GX, Volcanion decks still can take one-hit Knockouts on those Pokemon with ease, thanks to Steam Up. Overall, the Fire Weakness is just way too much to get over. Also, since Decidueye-GX needs two attachments to use Razor Leaf, it’s much easier for you to stream attacks than it is for your opponent, and that said, you’ll always be ahead in pretty much every aspect of the game.

If you’re looking to improve this matchup even more, you could include a copy of Acerola as I mentioned earlier, and completely negate some of the damage that your opponent does manage to get in play on your Pokemon. That would make you “Highly Favorable” in this matchup, in my own words. You shouldn’t lose this matchup very often, unless a turn one Vileplume from your opponent gives you a quick loss.

Garbodor | Slightly Favorable

There are two major Garbodor decks out there right now, featuring Drampa-GX or Espeon-GX. If you had a choice between the two, you’d prefer the Drampa-GX variant. Espeon-GX decks can take easier one-hit Knockouts with Psychic, along with a Choice Band, and Psybeam’s Confusion infliction can be quite annoying. Additionally, Espeon-GX versions have the luxury of playing Vaporeon if they so choose, and because of that, the Stage 1 Pokemon in the deck can become Water type as well as their existing type. Volcanion’s Water Weakness makes this combination very deadly, and if that happens, your opponent will likely run you over with relative ease.

However, aside from the obvious, Kiawe makes any matchup with Garbodor a lot better. Instead of having to play Items to dig for ways to power up your attackers, you can just play a Kiawe and immediately have a Pokemon that can be swinging for big Knockouts. Playing a higher count of Supporters, too, can really pay dividends in this matchup. While Garbodor with Garbotoxin can be challenging, as long as you have access to Field Blower, it won’t be too big of a problem.

The biggest thing to keep in mind in these matchups is to avoid playing Items whenever possible. While this won’t always be something you can feasibly do, most of the time it is. Try to keep your Item count down, and focus on taking big two-Prize Knockouts whenever possible. Brooklet Hill is amazing and can keep you from playing Items, so don’t discount it. If you can follow that game plan and conserve Field Blower for when Garbotoxin is online, you should be good for a win.

Gardevoir-GX | Even

This matchup is extremely close, and very much depends on if a Gardevoir-GX deck plays Silent Lab. Volcanion is quite difficult for a Gardevoir-GX deck to take a one-hit Knockout on starting off, so you’ll be free to use Power Heater to your heart’s content and get set up. You’re going to be looking to use three Pokemon-EX/GX and one Volcanion in a game to give your opponent seven Prizes from four Knockouts. Getting a one-hit Knockout in response after your opponent takes one of his or her own is crucial. Remember, N isn’t as good if your opponent has an Octillery down, too.

Turtonator-GX is probably the best attacker in this matchup, since with a Fighting Fury Belt attached, you only need two Steam Up uses for a one-hit Knockout on a Gardevoir-GX. In return, your opponent will need way too many Energy to score a Knockout, since you have to discard two of your own from Turtonator-GX when using Bright Flame.

These matches can go two directions, one being you rush your opponent with quick Knockouts, often using Guzma to take down things like Kirlia or Ralts, or, you and your opponent get more time to set up and then it becomes who has a stronger board state and if your opponent has a steady stream of Silent Lab, Hex Maniac, and such, versus your Brooklet Hill and Field Blower options. Hex Maniac completely prohibits you from taking a one-hit Knockout in this matchup, so that can be extremely hard to deal with. If your opponent has that chance, then the percentage of this matchup can flip on its head. Usually this one turns out to be relatively evenly matched.

Golisopod-GX | Favorable

Here’s another blowout, thanks to Golisopod’s Weakness to Fire Pokemon. Your opponent may very well be using Vaporeon from Ancient Origins to make Golisopod-GX a Water type as well, but that’s usually not enough for your opponent to win the game. To combat that, you can just use a Guzma or Lysandre to knock out the Vaporeon itself, or as long as you get ahead in the Prize trade, and stay ahead, you’ll be good for a win as well. Your regular Volcanion are very annoying for a Golisopod-GX deck to deal with, even with the inclusion of Vaporeon. The non-EX/GX Pokemon really screw up the Prize trade for your opponent, especially since with a handful of Steam Up drops, you can take a one-hit Knockout on a Golisopod-GX with Volcanion’s Power Heater.

Using a Kiawe on your first turn can really get you ahead, so I recommend that. In doing so, you almost immediately have a way to knock out a Vaporeon that may happen to come into play, just because you have a fully powered up attacker. Now not all Golisopod-GX decks even play Vaporeon, as some have been opting for a Decidueye-GX approach. That matchup is completely unwinnable for your opponent, and you will blow them out because his or her deck is completely weak to Fire types.

Golisopod-GX decks with Zoroark can present a bit of a challenge, but Fighting Fury Belt prevents your opponent from taking a one-hit Knockout on any of your Pokemon with Mind Jack and a Choice Band, so long as he or she doesn’t have a Field Blower. Overall, the Fire Weakness your opponent has is far too much to overcome, and it should be smooth sailing to victory.

Greninja BREAK | Unfavorable

This matchup has been historically bad for Volcanion decks, but there’s reason for hope now! Ho-Oh-GX isn’t weak to Water types, like the rest of your deck, so it serves as a suitable attacker in this matchup that can hopefully take a hit or two. Most Greninja BREAK decks have cut Silent Lab, and that said, you should be free to use Steam Up as long as your opponent doesn’t decide to use Shadow Stitching to turn all Abilities off. When you can use Steam Up, then you’re not in as big of a pickle as normally. While the Weakness to Water really does hurt you, you can overwhelm a Greninja BREAK deck pretty easily, especially in the late game with N.

A Giratina Promo could be very useful in this matchup, honestly, since most Greninja BREAK decks aren’t using Silent Lab anymore. With that, then a Ho-Oh-GX could get you at least two Prizes, provided you have a way to switch it out after using Phoenix Burn. Turtonator’s Bright Flame is also very useful in this matchup with a Fighting Fury Belt. You can reach the 170 damage mark, and take a one-hit Knockout on a Greninja BREAK with it.

This matchup is certainly an uphill battle, since Greninja’s Moonlight Slash can hit for 110 before Weakness with a Choice Band. That’s enough to take down a Volcanion-EX in one attack, because of Weakness. While it can’t always take a Turtonator-GX with a Choice Band down, most Greninja BREAK decks pack multiple copies of Field Blower, which can remove the Fighting Fury Belt and make a Knockout happen. Overall, this matchup is not so great, but there’s area for techs to improve it, which is always a good thing.

M Rayquaza-EX | Slightly Unfavorable

The big problems here are an Emerald Break with a Hex Maniac, and Rayquaza’s natural speediness. Volcanion decks take a bit of time to power up multiple attackers and then go in with big attacks for one-hit Knockouts, but a M Rayquaza-EX can start using Emerald Break as soon as the first turn! It’s super easy to take a one-hit Knockout on everything in a Volcanion deck, too, which makes matters even worse. If a M Rayquaza-EX deck manages to use a Hex Maniac in conjunction with a one-hit Knockout attack, too, the game will practically be over for the Volcanion player.

However, you can still trade well in this matchup. Steam Up can get your attackers going into the higher tier of damage, and you can very well take a one-hit Knockout on a big M Rayquaza-EX. Kiawe can help you out somewhat, as it gives you an avenue to taking a one-hit Knockout immediately on your second turn in response to a one-hit Knockout from an Emerald Break, but then your setup will be very thin, and subject to failure.

Sudowoodo from Guardians Rising is a cool card to help this matchup out drastically, but it doesn’t have the most use outside of the M Rayquaza-EX matchup, so most players are reluctant to include it in a Volcanion deck. Limiting a Rayquaza’s Bench to only four Pokemon makes it that a M Rayquaza-EX player has to two-hit Knockout most of your attackers, which gives you more time to set up, and trade Knockouts when it comes to it. This matchup is very back and forth, and dependent on what your opponent draws, try it out for yourself to see what I’m talking about!

Vespiquen / Zoroark | Slightly Unfavorable

Any decent Vespiquen list these days is going to be playing a Vaporeon. While Golisopod-GX, for instance, doesn’t rock the Water typing as well, Vespiquen most certainly does. As a non-EX/GX, it can trade much better against a Volcanion deck, which causes a lot of problems for you. Zoroark, too, is very great as a Water type Pokemon. In defense, you’re going to want to focus on using the regular Volcanion and its Power Heater to take Knockouts, while trying to take down the Vaporeon the minute it hits the field, if possible.

Playing a Karen won’t help you enough, either, since a Vespiquen player can just re-discard Pokemon and use Vaporeon to its advantage for big Knockouts once more. As stated earlier, you best shot will be using Power Heater, and then a Ho-Oh-GX with a Fighting Fury Belt once it’s powered up entirely. Since it has the Lightning Weakness, it should be challenging for a Vespiquen deck to take down in one hit, and hopefully, you can get a couple of Knockouts with it yourself before it’s finally taken down.

If the Vespiquen player has to Bench any Pokemon-EX/GX, your number one priority should be targeting those down in hopes to get ahead in the Prize trade. The biggest problem in this matchup is obviously your inability to trade equally with a non-EX/GX deck of attackers, so taking any opportunity to take multiple Prizes at once is extremely beneficial. Good luck in this one, because you’ll need it.

Vikavolt / Tapu Bulu-GX | Even

Your opponent’s deck is going to be naturally inconsistent, since it’s a Stage 2 deck. However, once a Vikavolt gets into play, your opponent will naturally have just about all he or she needs to maintain a solid game plan for the rest of the matchup. Tapu Bulu-GX can be frustrating to take a one-hit Knockout on when it has a Fighting Fury Belt, but your Field Blower can help you out in that department when needed. Nature’s Judgement is a big time attack for your opponent, since it can take easy one-hit Knockouts on your Pokemon-EX/GX.

This matchup is even because you both take a bit to start attacking for one-hit Knockouts, and many times it depends on who takes the first Prize, since you’re so capable of easily taking one-hit Knockouts with your respective attacks. If a Tapu Bulu-GX deck includes a Hex Maniac, which it usually doesn’t, then you could be in a bit of trouble, but that’s unlikely to occur.

Don’t use Ho-Oh-GX in this matchup, since its Lightning Weakness will nip you because a Vikavolt is a formidable Lightning attacker when called upon, and in addition, most Vikavolt decks play a copy or two of the Tapu Koko Promo, and with its own Electric Ball attack, it can take a one-hit Knockout as well. With a Fighting Fury Belt on it, Tapu Bulu-GX can struggle to take down a Volcanion, and if you have a Fighting Fury Belt on it, it’ll be even more annoying. You want to force your opponent into making ill-advised decisions like discarding Energy with Nature’s Judgement for a one-hit Knockout on a Volcanion, because then when you start trading Pokemon-EX/GX, your opponent can run out of Energy to attack, and you’ll get ahead. This matchup is super close in a nutshell.

Volcanion | Even

The Volcanion mirror match isn’t as annoying as it used to be with higher Max Elixir counts and Trainers’ Mail, but some of the same antics remain. Since your Volcanion-EX is also Water type, you can score one-hit Knockouts on most of your opponent’s Pokemon, but he or she can do the exact same. Ho-Oh-GX will be clutch because it doesn’t have a Weakness to Water type, but then again, Steam Up can push your opponent’s own attackers to the point of taking a one-hit Knockout on it anyways, so it’s not that important.

Whoever goes first has a big advantage in this matchup, since that player can use Kiawe first. Much of this match is a “war of Energy attachments”, so having the most attackers built up quickly is very important. Volcanion is a neat attacker as well, since it forces your opponent to either have a Guzma or Lysandre for one of your bigger threats, or to just attack into it with his or her own Volcanion. Additionally, he or she could make a bad decision and promote a Pokemon-EX/GX to take the Volcanion down, but then you’d have another attacking threat in response, so that would be foolish.

Playing another Kiawe or more Max Elixir could help this matchup tremendously, since it really just boils down to having a better board position than your opponent with all of your attackers considered. This matchup has many elements of luck, too, so hopefully you draw better than your opponent, overall!


Volcanion is a sweet deck with fantastic matchups going into the World Championship. It’s a very safe play at most events, especially Worlds. The lists have so much flexibility these days, too, that it’s easy to fit the techs you want for certain matchups! I recommend this deck to anyone who’s struggling to find a solid deck for Worlds, since it’s very simple, and gained a lot from the new set, Burning Shadows. Ho-Oh-GX, Guzma, and Kiawe are all fantastic inclusions, and definitely make Volcanion decks even better. Good luck to anyone competing in the World Championship, and to anyone who’s not, good luck this coming season. Be sure to check out my Facebook page and give it a like so you can follow me along on my Pokemon journies! Thanks for reading, catch you next time!

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