So I’ve been testing this deck in the Pokémon TCGO for a little while now, and I know this might be a bit overdue, seeing as Steam Siege is being released, but hopefully someone still finds this analysis useful or is able to give me some good feedback.
As soon as Delphox BREAK was revealed, I immediately thought of the “old” Typhlosion/Reshiram decks from the HGSS/BW days. A deck that dominated many tournaments and won a lot of games. This deck is similar in the fact that the energy acceleration is unreal and the damage that can be dealt is massive. However, this deck has the added strength of Delphox’s ability “Mystical Fire” which adds a Shaymin EX flare and a sort of homage to the Uxie of days gone by.
Enough nostalgia, let’s get to the deck!
3 Fennekin (Firebreathing)
3 Braixen (Clairvoyant Eye)
2 Delphox (Psystorm)
1 Delphox (Mystical Fire)
3 Delphox BREAK
1 Pyroar (Intimidating Mane) (You can also substitute a couple Flareon EX’s here, however, I like to protect in my decks too, and Pyroar’s ability is absolutely stellar for this deck)
1 Houndoom EX (Grand Flame) (I’ve also ran Shaymin in this spot, found Houndoom actually works better increasing damage done by the Phox’s)
I’ve considered taking out a Braixen and adding a Delphox (Mystical Fire) or an extra candy but I’ve found that with all the item lock decks out there, just straight evolving works better. Plus Wally sort of cover up for the slowness of the evolution chain.
4 Ultra Ball
2 Trainer’s Mail
1 Rare Candy
2 Professor’s Letter
2 Muscle Band
1 Energy Recycler
3 Scorched Earth
Let’s start with the purpose of the main Pokémon in the deck.
First of all, the Braixen in this deck is pretty cool. I don’t usually rave about a stage 1 Pokémon used in a deck only for the purpose of evolving, but Clairvoyant Eye is a pretty cool attack. For one colorless energy you get to look at the top 3 cards of your deck and put them back in any order. Obviously this effect has its limitations, such as if your opponent plays an N. However, still a pretty neat card.
Delphox with Mystical Fire is obviously for even MORE draw support. The Supporters in this deck seem to be enough most of the time, but this card doesn’t hurt. It’s attack isn’t too shabby either. A Blaze Ball attack does 50 damage PLUS 20 damage TIMES the amount of energy attached to Delphox. That’s a hefty sum in a deck where the energy acceleration is paramount to its success.
Delphox with Psystorm is the real powerhouse in this deck. It’s basically a souped up M Mewtwo EX
on steroids. It does take one more energy, but with this much energy acceleration, it’s hardly an issue. The attack does 20 damage times the amount of energy attached to ALL Pokémon in play. With Mewtwo, it was just the two ACTIVE Pokémon. This means that Delphox can punish opponents that stockpile attackers with energy on their bench, and can take advantage if you decide to do the same.
Delphox BREAK is one of the main energy accelerants. Flare Witch is the real engine of this deck along with Blacksmith and Houndoom EX. The Ability allows you once per turn to search your deck for a Fire energy and attach it to one of your Pokémon. This has AMAZING potential. Imagine this scenario; you have a Delphox BREAK with Psystorm active with 0 energy, and another one on the Bench. You play your energy drop onto the active Phox either using a basic fire or DCE, then you use the two Flare Witches, that’s a total of 3-4 energies on the active Phox. Then you use Blacksmith to get two MORE energies out, and then attack with Psystorm. You just attached FIVE-SIX energies in a single turn. Dealing a staggering 170 damage on a possible turn two. Attach a Muscle Band, and you’re dealing upwards of 200 damage, max turn 3 on. A truly terrifying prospect.
Next up is Pyroar. It’s attack is basically crap. In desperation times, I have used it. But really we’re interested in it’s ability. Harking back to Suicune which is now only legal in Expanded. It is an extra evolution in order to set up the stall, but it’s definitely worth running in a deck where the highest HP is a 4th stage evolution card with “only” 180 hp. Fighting Fury Belt could help this, but I’ve found more damage faster works better than more HP. So Pyroar works fantastically in buying time to get those Phox’s out and running.
Houndoom EX is a nice tech to throw in to add to the energy acceleration. It works as a sort of mill tech as well! It’s attack Melting Horn discards 2 cards off the top of your opponent’s deck. The main reason it’s here is its Grand Flame. It’s basically a Blacksmith that costs two fire energies that deals 50 damage. Not an impressive number, but with the use of a Blacksmith and a Muscle Band, 70 damage on turn one isn’t too bad.
The two main Trainer cards are the other real engines that make this deck click. Blacksmith lets you attach two fire energies from your discard pile (very easy to get them there with the help of Professor’s Letter and Ultra Ball) to one of your fire Pokémon. And Scorching Earth allows you to discard a fire (or fighting) energy and then draw two cards. A great draw power in a deck that is lacking a Shaymin or Octillery. Granted, there are plenty of draw supporters, and Mystical Fire doesn’t hurt if you can set it up, but Scorching Earth definitely doesn’t hurt.
Now, the question remains, is this an actually decent and maybe even viable big tournament deck. Well, whether you believe them or not, here are some stats against some top decks in the format right now.
VS Night March Variants (Vespiquen, Mew, etc.) (wins/losses) 17/5
Yes, a couple of the wins were because of opponent’s poorly built or just bad starts, but a lot of them were due to the fact that Vespiquen is weak to Fire. And with so many NM decks using Vespiquen as the main attacker, pretty much any decent attack in this deck is a OHKO on even a FFB Vespiquen. The one fault and the reason for those 5 marks on Delphox’s record is that this is a deck that uses a stage 2 and even stage 3 Pokémon as the main attackers and engines. So if they do get off to an amazing start and kill off their own Joltiks, and Unowns, and etc., it is very hard to come back. It can be done, but a prize card war and a very long game await if you don’t just concede.
VS Seismitoad/Vileplume/Giratina (Lock Decks) Variants 11-4
A little bit lower record here I’m afraid. And to be honest it is mostly due to the fact that, well, a 70 (Muscle Band) damage Quaking Punch turns into 140 damage OHKO on a normal Delphox. This deck is also a bit Item heavy. You can certainly run it effectively without them, but not as effectively. If your local tournaments or really any tournament you go to is running a lot of lock or Toad decks, I would suggest running a couple of Fighting Fury Belts.
Rayquaza/Other Dragons 9/1
Pretty straightforward. Both decks take at least 2 turns to fully get going, but Rayquaza is an EX deck, and the prize differential and the addition of Pyroar really helps out this deck here.
Fighting Decks (Lucario/Regirock/Machamp/Zygarde/etc.) 17/10
This is where this deck falls off a bit. These decks are unbelievably popular in the PTCGO but they don’t seem to be as prominent in actual competitive play. At least here in Wisconsin. The thing here is that these decks start off ridiculously fast and deal unreal damage turn one/two. And if you start off with a lone Fennekin and can’t get the ball rolling quick enough, game over. Again, this deck’s savior is its energy acceleration, and yes, I’m beating a dead horse, Pyroar. It really is the best tech I’ve ever thrown in a deck on a prayer and actually worked great.
Again, the question remains, and really… I don’t have a definitive answer. Until this deck is taken to a major tournament and places well, I don’t think anyone can have an answer. This deck still needs work, but I truly believe it can be a fantastic mainstream deck that can really work well in the fantastically diverse and competitive meta game that we have today. Thanks for reading and PLEASE give some feedback.