The Charizard theme deck from Vivid Voltage continues to be one of the most popular decks in the Pokemon Trading Card Game; particularly within Pokemon TCG Online. What makes it so appealing is that in theme battles, Charizard and company make for one of the most ferocious decks. It’s also fairly cheap to buy in-game or IRL. Furthermore, with some adjustments, you can make this deck work in Standard format!
“LeonZard” as this deck concept is known as in the community has lost a few key cards due to the 2022 rotation, such as Welder and Giant Hearth. Even so, here’s my approach to making this deck work for the 2022 Standard season!
(NOTE: This post assumes you’ve got one copy of the Vivid Voltage Charizard deck)
Optimize your Charizard line
The Vivid Voltage deck comes with just two Charizard. You’re going to want two more. If you’re buying IRL cards, you can buy two more Charizard for about $5. If you’re playing Pokemon TCG Online, it’s probably easiest to simply buy a second copy of the Charizard deck using your in-game coins.
Having four Charizards will be crucial to your success, but you’re not done yet. Taking two whole turns to evolve Charmander up to Charizard in any competitive format simply isn’t going to cut it. Make sure to include four Rare Candy cards, which allow you to skip the stage 1 evolution and jump to stage 2. Because of this, you can remove two-or-three Charmeleon from your deck. I’m too scared to remove three, but you may choose to rely mostly on rare candy and use the extra card slot for something else.
Complete your line of Leon cards
Charizard’s damage increases by 50 for each Leon in the discard pile. The Vivid Voltage deck only comes with two Leon cards though, capping the dragon’s damage at 200. By adding two more, Charizard can smash for 300 damage! Time that last Leon just right and you can perform one attack for a soul-crushing 330!
Update your supporting cast
No offense to Yanmega, Sudowoodo, or Magcargo, but those Pokemon simply won’t cut it in a Standard deck. Instead, I team Charizard up with Cinccino and Snorlax, as both complement Charizard’s strengths. Both Pokemon help Charizard move through the deck faster, making it easier to discard Leon cards. Snorlax’s high health and ability to draw cards when in the active makes it a perfect Pokemon to shield Charizard while it sets up. Cinccino’s Make Do ability gives you more opportunities to discard Leon cards while also drawing cards.
Don’t call it a comeback
Charizard may have the potential damage output comparable to V and VMAX Pokemon, but it doesn’t have the HP to match. You’re going to lose a number of Charizard at a high clip, so it’s imperative that you account for that in your build.
A card you’ll want at least two copies of is Ordinary Rod. This allows you to fish out up to two Pokemon and two basic energy from your discard pile. Having two Ordinary Rods will at least give you a better chance of having six Charizard to fight with rather than the maximum of four.
Furthermore, losing a Charizard and not having another one ready to strike can prematurely end your run. Items like Exp. Share and Supporters like Raihan to increase your energy acceleration. Going from a Charizard with two energy to a Charizard with two in one turn can make all of the difference in battle, so make sure you’re deck is always ready to strike.
If you happen to have one of the V-Union sets, you have access to the Professor Burnet card. Playing this support allows you to instantly discard two cards from your deck. Using this to discard two Leon cards instantly increases Charizard’s damage output by 100!
Buying the V-Union set is prohibitively expensive if you just want it for a Charizard deck, but you can buy the single card for a reasonable price. That said, if you’ve got money to spend and you have other decks where the current roster of V-Union Pokemon could slot into, go for it! V-Union Pokemon may not be meta-defining right now, but they’re a ton of fun to play with.
Drop it like it’s hot
The LeonZard deck still stands as a solid budget deck for new players making the jump to the Standard format. It packs quite the punch, is a ton of fun to play, and it’s not hard to cobble together all most of these cards. When you’re ready to graduate from theme decks, keep this on your short list of entry-level Standard decks to try!
My Version of LeonZard
****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******
##Pokémon – 16
* 2 Minccino SSH 146
* 2 Snorlax VIV 131
* 2 Cinccino SSH 147
* 4 Charmander VIV 23
* 2 Charmeleon VIV 24
* 4 Charizard VIV 25
##Trainer Cards – 34
* 1 Exp. Share BST 126
* 3 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 1 Raihan EVS 152
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Ordinary Rod SSH 171
* 4 Leon VIV 182
* 3 Marnie SSH 200
* 3 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Rare Candy SSH 180
* 1 Professor Burnet PR-SW 167 (If you don’t have this card, you can replace this with a Marnie or Raihan)
* 3 Boss’s Orders RCL 189
* 3 Level Ball BST 129
* 2 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 2 Switch SSH 183
##Energy – 10
* 10 Fire Energy SWSHEnergy 2
Total Cards – 60
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