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Ruin Your Opponent's Day: That Burning Sensation

Oh.  Hello, reader.  I wasn't expecting you.  Um.  Go ahead and sit in that chair.  Go ahead and move the piles of cards.  Just toss them on the floor.  I'll clean them up later.  

I have a confession, reader.  I can't seem to make "fair" and "fun to play against" decks.  When Pokemon releases new sets and new cards, most people look at them and say, "Oh, this can be a really fun card to play with; I wonder if I can make a deck out of it."  I look at the cards and think, "Oh, I wonder how I can use this card to ruin the game!" 

When pokemon releases Torkoal V SSH 24, most of the "good" and "moral" deck builders out there look at the card, see the first attack, and think, "Hmm.  It does 180 damage if the top card of your deck is a fire energy.  I wonder how I can make this work."  So they combine him with a pokemon such as Magcargo CES 24 and fix the top card to be a fire energy to always guarantee the 180 damage.  But not me.  

See, I look at this card and see the second attack which deals 120 damage AND discards two energy from the opponent's Pokemon.  And I think to myself, "Holy snap!  That's like two Team Flare Grunt GEN 73s!!!  You could combine that with Crushing Hammer SSH 159 and maybe even Team Yell Grunt SSH 184 to dump three energy per turn.  That seems like it would really ruin my opponent's day..."

And then I come up with stuff like this.  


What we have here is a deck based around energy denial.  But energy denial in a pretty aggressive way.  While there have been many Pokemon in the past that have discarded energy (Empoleon UPR 34 being a recent one that saw play), it's rare that the attack is so disruptive as this AND does a decent amount of damage compared to the format.  So the question we ask ourselves is: can we build a deck that denies our opponent so much energy, for so long, that we just plink them to death?  


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Torkoal V SSH 24 is our primary attacker here.  While that first attack is good, and can no doubt do some serious damage, we are really here for the second.  

Steam Crush: [F][F][F][C]: 120.  Discard two energy from your Opponent's Active Pokemon.  

I've said it before: the longer it takes you to KO, the more disruptive you have to be.  And there aren't a lot of things in the Pokemon Trading Card Game more disruptive than energy denial.  And this is about as "denial" as you can get.  Combine this with a hammer or grunt and, unless your opponent is running a very efficient attacker, they are going to have a very hard time keeping up with you. 

Importantly, though, is the amount of damage.  120 damage isn't really a lot of damage, it's true.  However, it IS enough to two-hit a lot of stuff that's going around right now.  And, even more importantly, it will one-hit a Malamar FLI 51.  

We combine this with your standard fire deck loadout of Welder UNB 189, Giant Hearth UNM 197, Heat Factory Prism Star LOT 178, and Fire Crystal UNB 173 to help get energy out.  Torkoal-V can be consistently ready to attack by turn 2.  Which means your opponent has a very short clock before you start ruining their day.  


But knocking out two energy per turn might not be enough.  What if your opponent moves energy around?  Or tries to build another attacker?  This is where we bring in Team Yell Grunt and Crushing Hammer.

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Together, these cards help us keep up the pressure on our opponent's energy.  Grunt allows us to remove a minimum of three energy per turn (one to hand, two to discard), and hammer can increase that even more.  With this package, we can keep our opponent pretty much energy-less for the whole game once we get going.  Three energy completely negates a Full Blitz from Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 33.  It can also undo an entire welder.  

So now that we have our disruption package together, how can we bolster it?  


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We run Ninetales as our gusting effect for a couple reasons.  First, it gusts whenever we want, without qualification.  Second, it's one more fire Pokemon to have on our bench, which means  Lysandre FLI 110 will be able to Lost-Zone an extra card from the discard.  

I say this every time, don't sleep on how good Lysandre FLI 110 is in a fire deck.  He can close out games by ensuring your opponent isn't able to recover that card, or cards, they need.  It's pretty devastating against Zacian V mill, in my experience. 

 Volcanion UNB 25 is here as a turn one option to help you get your fire energy out and onto Torkoal V as fast as possible, while Magmar UNM 21 presents a fun slow-down plan that your opponent has to deal with.  On a coinflip, he can completely negate your opponent's attack, forcing them to either waste a gust on him or risk wasting an attack and giving you an extra turn to set up.  

Heatran-GX UNM 25 is a one-of tech in here to deal with a Pokemon that's getting out of hand.  His once per game GX attack allows him to deal 50 damage times the number of [F] energy on him.  With his Burning Road ability, which transfers any number of fire energy to him when he becomes active, he can easily hit upwards of 250, 300, or 350.  


The rest of the deck is just the standard affair.  Pokemon search is accomplished with Quick Ball MD 86, Pokemon Communication TEU 152, and Evolution Incense SSH 163, with a particular emphasis on Ball and Communication.  Though I wouldn't be too upset if you swapped out Incense for a Great Ball SSH 164.

Marnie SSH 169 for the disruption effect, Brock's Grit EVO 74 for recovery. 


The default upgrade you can always put in a deck like this is try to find a way to stick a few Jirachi TEU 99 in the deck.  I'm not really a fan, though, because he kind of ruins the budget nature of the deck.  Also you can replace the Magmars and a couple other things (maybe a volcanion) with three or four Lillie's Poke Doll CEC 197.  These are a good way to really slow your opponent down, and make a good active-spot sitter while you are setting up.  


All in all, I like this deck.  I think this deck is actually fun to play with.  Not for our opponents.  But for us.  Playing disruption isn't always about having a deck that always wins, or can take huge big KO's.  Rather, it's about seeing the pieces of a finely-tuned machine come together and work in harmony.  Once this deck gets going, your opponent is really going to have a hard time keeping up with you.  

Remember.  These are fun to play, not to play against.  So be nice.  Your opponent's didn't ask for this. 

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