Counter #3 – King Creole

king3Today we are going to look at our last “Counter” deck.  Gym Leader Joel had to do some narrowing down, sifting through his piles of virtual deck lists from the PTCGO, searching for the ones that may have a place in this format.  As we’ve mentioned before, the mere existence of Seismitoad/Garbodor kills a handful of very playable decks.  Some of Joel’s deck creations,  like Mew EX / Weavile/Eggs (w/”Dimension Valley), Kingdra/”Battle Compressor” (very similar to our older “Electric Seahorse” article), Umbreon/Beartic (w/”Training Center”), Hydreigon/Mega Charizard, Shiftry and other various Stage 2 and Plasma variants, all go out the window because of 1 deck in the format.  Unfortunate, no…, sad, is the only word we can put to that.  However, we hope this last look at a deck will lift your spirits and renew your faith in a few cards that also seem to be cast aside at the moment.

As far as counters go, Joel has presented counters to several major decks at the moment.  The one format deck that surely will see a lot of play at Regionals that pcardwe have not touched on much, is “Night March”.  “March” is a deck that is easily countered by 1 card.  That card is, of course, Pyroar.  When Pyroar, the “royal pokemon”, entered the game, its rise to become the king of format was a rapid one.  Pyroar was the embodiment of a “Hunk of, Hunk of Burning Love”, as it had everyone “All Shook Up”.  With a mane rivaled by only The King himself, it was hard not to like this pokemon.  Pyroar‘s reign was brief, as it was quickly countered by other cards.  With Seismitoad/Garbodor floating around, most players have relegated “The King” to a 1970’s, fat, Vegas show tier, thinking it is king2only good for singing medleys of its former greatness, while asking for someone to pass the mashed potatoes.  To that, we say, “nay, nay”.  To us, Pyroar, is still the draw of the French Quarter (just watch the damn movie), with a solid place in the format.  To us, it seems, that the approach to playing it has just been wrong.

As a side note for those of you whose tune selection does not run much deeper than Iggy Azalea or Taylor Swift:  January 8th was Elvis’s birthday.  The King would have turned 80 this year.  He is the source origin of the majority of today’s king1popular music and everything that happened in the world of music from 1956 to now.  Pick up a “Greatest Hits” CD cheap somewhere, flip your XM radio to 19 for a few hours sometime or download a few tunes on your iPhone.  You’ll surprise yourself with how much of his music you probably did not realize that you already knew.  We’ve been behind the 8-ball in terms of posting here for several months now.  We wanted to put this one out on the 8th, but did not have the time to get it together.  That being said, enjoy our belated birthday salute to The King, a look at “King Creole”.

King Creole:


  • 4 – Litleo (FLF 18)
  • 3 – Pyroar (FLF 20)
  • 3 – Reshiram (BLW 26, 113, BWP 4, 23, NXD 21, LTR 28, 144, RC22)


  • 4 – Battle Compressor
  • 1 – ACESPEC Computer Search
  • 2 – Evosoda
  • 2 – Ultra Ball
  • 1 –  Professor’s Letter
  • 1 – Startling Megaphone
  • 4 – VS Seeker
  • 3 – Switch
  • 4 – Muscle Band
  • 4 – N
  • 4 – Professor Juniper
  • 2 – Lysandre
  • 3 – Blacksmith
  • 2 – Pokemon Fan Club


  • 9 – Darkness
  • 4 – Double Colorless


We look at various popular Pyroar lists and usually see it partnered with the likes of Charizard EX or Mewtwo EX.  Joel has, to date, 13 different Pyroar lists in the PTCGO, which include everything from the EX’s listed above to Raichu, whyBeartic, Yveltal EX, Darkrai EX, Leafeon, Delphox and even 1 with Bronzong/Coballion EX.  Needless to say, with a little ingenuity, you can work Pyroar into just about anything.  Joel recognizes that Garbodor hurts the strength of Pyroar by shutting off its ability.  However, he believes that the mistake/oversight made by popular lists is the insistence on partnering it with an EX pokemon.

reshiramEnter Reshiram.  If Pyroar is the King, then Reshiram is the king’s grandaddy.  Amazingly (thanks to reprints), the card that dominated the format during Gym Leader Logan’s 1st trip to the World Championships in 2011 is still in play.  Reshiram has the required king-like hairdo to settle right in next to Pyroar in any Elvis themed deck.  This season is likely the last the this king of pokemon will see, so for Reshiram, “It’s Now or Never”.

Enough about the hair, Reshiram says, “A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action”.  How about a 1st-turn “Blue Flare”?  How’s that for action.  The “VS Seeker”, “Battle Compressor”, “Blacksmith” combo is the greatest gift Reshiram could have ever hoped to see.  Back in the day (2011), achieving a 2nd-turn reshcard“Flare” with either Typhlosion or Emboar‘s aid was the goal of all Reshiram decks.  To be able to now do that in one turn, to us, still seems crazy.  120 damage hits so many things in the format for KO’s.  Add a muscle band to boost it to 140 damage and the list grows to 1-hitting Donphan, Kyurem, all the “Outrage” dragons, Mew EX, Virizion EX, Genesect EX, baby Xerneas/Yveltal, Terrakion, everything Steel in the format, to name a few.  There are very few EX pokemon that hit for more than the 140 damage that you can achieve with “Blue Flare”.  Turn Reshiram loose and let him eat while you set up a few Pyroar.  Seems like a good recipe to us.  Did somebody say recipe….hmmm, pass me the mashed potatoes, little lady (say it with an Elvis accent).

Pyroar and its ability shut off the majority of the attackers in “Night March.”  These decks don’t have enough space to include enough Flareon/Leafeon to trade with the Pyroar/Reshiram combo.  Even against “Toad” decks, by not including any EX pokemon in this list, the prize trade weighs in your favor.  If Pyroar‘s ability is shut off, he is still a stage 1 pokemon that can hit for 90-110 damage, helping set up a 2 hit on anything and only costing 1 prize card when it is KO’d.  Being able to catch and 1-hit Donphan takes the feet out from under those decks very quickly.  Pyroar closes the door on any Plasma deck, just be careful to not lay down too many non-Pyroar targets, as Lugia EX can sweep in and take 2 prizes at a time off of Litleo and Reshiram.

elvis4The prize trade is the strength of “Creole”.  To most players, they look at Pyroar and see whatever their mind’s version of fat Elvis is (we’re guess not too many 20-year-olds see Elvis when they look at anything…. I dunno, younger readers, substitute an older version of an iPhone where it says “fat Elvis”).  We at the Gym have got The King on the treadmill and think he’s running pretty good for an 80-year-old.  Whether you think he’s the “Devil in Disguise”, “Nothing But a Hound Dog” or just a dude on the beach with cool hair, heading for a “Clambake”, we don’t think Pyroar‘s days are done.

This is a last “Counter” article as we approach Regionals.  We hope that a few of you saw something in this short series that you liked.  Whether one of these ideas will help you tweak a deck you already have, or build something that you had not thought of, if it expands the format in any way, then we’ve done what we set out to do.  Don’t forget to join us in Fincastle tomorrow for our Primal Clash pre-release, which should be done long before the Super Bowl is underway.  Thanks for reading, thank you, thank you very much. Until next time, see you at the Gym!


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