Written by Zach Lesage on 8/9/2023 at category Articles
An Electrifying New Set
What’s poppin’ PTCGL Store readers? Have you started looking into Pokemon TCG’s newest set, Obsidian Flames? Discover the realization of the game-changing Terastal mechanic that has Pokemon changing their typing from what they usually are. Tyranitar ex is usually a Darkness-type Pokemon or a Fighting-type Pokemon, but in Obsidian Flames Tyranitar ex is a Lightning-type Pokemon. The change of typing might not seem like much, but it still takes Fighting-type Energy instead of Lightning-type Energy. That means you can gain strong type coverage against the metagame by pairing it with Tyranitar [Paldea Evolved], Tyranitar [Pokemon Go], and Luminous Energy [Paldea Evolved] to make a masterpiece of a strategy! Are there other powerful Pokemon ex in this set? Of course! In this article, I’ll share my personal top five Pokemon ex in the set, and explain why they are great! If you wanna pick up some codes for this set, and you should, use code zlesage5 to save 5% at ptcglstore.com! Not only does it help support me, but it will help boost your online Pokemon TCG Live collection too! Now let’s jump into my number five pick!
5. Toedscruel ex
As a direct replacement for Espeon VMAX [Evolving Skies] for when rotation eventually happens, Toedscruel ex [Obsidian Flames] looks to be our eventual savior for any effects of attacks that stand in our way. Protective Filament prevents all effects of attacks from your opponent’s Pokemon done to all of your Pokemon that have Energy attached. That means you can stop Giratina VSTAR [Lost Origin] from using Star Requiem to OHKO anything in its path. That means Articuno [Silver Tempest] can’t Paralyze you, and Sableye [Lost Origin] can’t place damage counters on your Pokemon with Energy. Effects of attacks are often some of the most powerful aspects of the game and this can completely shut them off. The only issue is that since it's an Ability on a Rule Box Pokemon, it can get shut off by Path to the Peak [Chilling Reign] which is currently played in Giratina VSTAR decks. The other thing it has going for it is its Colony Rush attack that can actually hit for a decent bit of damage. It does 80 damage plus an additional 40 damage for each of your Benched Pokemon that has a Grass Energy attached to them. That works out to a whopping 280 damage for two Grass Energy if you’re able to pull it off! I’m not sure if it's best to power up with Forretress ex [Paldea Evolved] or Cherrim [Battle Styles] onto Toadscool [Obsidian Flames], but it seems doable. If you pair it with a Choice Belt [Scarlet and Violet], you can OHKO many VSTAR / VMAX Pokemon in Standard with relative ease. In a set filled with many unplayable Pokemon ex cards, Toedscruel ex looks to at least attempt to be competitively viable.
4. Tyranitar ex
There is something about Lighting-type Tyranitar ex [Obsidian Flames] that gets me amped up! It's probably the throwback to the past of the Lightning-type Tyranitar ex - Dragon Frontiers from the Delta Species era of Pokemon. It also brings me back to my first time reading Surfing Pikachu - WOTC Promos, and being mesmerized by the fact that a Lightning-type Pokemon was able to attack for Water Energy. In this case it is a Lightning-type Pokemon being able to attack with Fighting Energy. It opens up a decent type coverage spread that gets even better if you decide to include the Darkness-type Tyranitar [Paldea Evolved] from the previous set. While Tyranitar ex isn’t particularly the best card I’ve ever seen, it does have quite a few redeemable stats that give me the impression that it should see some amount of success. 340 HP is quite a number to tackle and that means most decks won’t have a valid way to OHKO it. Pair that with two low cost attacks that can swing for moderate amounts of damage that will either OHKO or 2HKO your opponent’s Pokemon with relative ease. You do need to get damage on your Pokemon in play, but that shouldn’t be too hard with Gapejaw Bog [Astral Radiance] in play and Gengar [Lost Origin] giving you options to increase the damage of Thor’s Rampage! I’m not saying this is gonna be the best deck in format, but it seems like a viable option in the right metagame due to the powerful nature of this card. The biggest thing holding it back is the fact that Evolution Pokemon are typically slower than Basic Pokemon so a deck like Lost Zone Box or United Wings might be able to outpace this deck easily. Regardless, Tyranitar ex is one of the better Pokemon ex from Obsidian Flames so be sure to give it a whirl on the PTCG Live ladder!
3. Vespiquen ex
I haven’t heard too much hype for Vespiquen ex [Obsidian Flames], but I have high hopes for this card, and it might be much better than most think. Phantom Queen is pretty much the only aspect of this card that is playable beyond Vespiquen ex changing its usual typing from Grass-type to Psychic-type, but it more than makes up for it. 200 damage for three Grass Energy into anything spectacular, but spreading 30 to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon that are already damaged seems like a solid attack to me. You can place damage counters on your opponents Pokemon with Hawlucha [Scarlet and Violet] and spread more damage around with Radiant Alakazam [Silver Tempest]. That should give you outs to drawing multiple Prize Cards per turn, making sneaky plays, and really turning the tide of the game in your favor. You can also power up Combee [Obsidian Flames] before it Evolves with Cherrim and get fully set up. All of the makings of a powerful deck are here and all it needs is the right list to take it to the top! I’m sure after you add in a 4-4 Vespiquen ex, 3-3 Cherrim, 2 Hawlucha, and 1 Radiant Alakazam the deck will almost be fleshed out, but there is definitely some space for some other cool cards! Maybe this is the deck where Hisuian Lilligant VSTAR [Astral Radiance] sees success or maybe it's going to the first viable Grass-type deck in a hot minute. It's on my to do list of testing for Pittsburgh Regionals and I love a solid damage spread deck! I think of it like a Sableye with more spreading potential or at least that's the way I want it to work. Maybe you’ll even catch me testing it on the PTCG Live Ranked ladder!
2. Pidgeot ex
Obsidian Flames features quite a few cards that are spiritual reprints from the past or at least reusing past concepts, and Pidgeot ex [Obsidian Flames] isn’t any different. Pidgeot ex takes inspiration from Pidgeot - FireRed and LeafGreen that was used to great success in the mid 2000s. Having the Quick Search Ability as a consistency crutch gives you plenty of options to search for that card that seems to escape you after each turn. Did you just get hit with a tough Iono [Paldea Evolved] or Roxanne [Astral Radiance]? Use Quick Search to search for a Professor’s Research [Scarlet and Violet]. Do you need that game winning Double Turbo Energy [Brilliant Stars]? Let Pidgeot put that Special Energy under its wing and bring it right to your hand. Do you need to gust a Lumineon V [Brilliant Stars] to the Active Spot to win the game? Use Quick Search to nab a Boss’s Orders [Paldea Evolved] to bring that two Prizer into the Active to win the game! In any deck that already runs Rare Candy [Scarlet and Violet], it might just be worthwhile to run a copy of Pidgey [Obsidian Flames] and Pidgeot ex to make your deck a bit more consistent. On top of that, it has enough HP to protect itself from randomly getting KOed on the Bench or even being brought up into the Active Spot which makes it a stable card. Even after your Pokemon are KOed, you can use Pidgeot ex as a free pivot each turn because it has free Retreat, and that gives you the power of information each turn when you draw a card. Consistency, stability, and more information all seem like the making of one of the better cards in Standard!
1. Charizard ex
Here we have it, the best Pokemon ex in the set, Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames]. Changing its type up from its usual Fire-type to Darkness-type is an unexpected twist, but follows the same pattern as Tyranitar ex by being inspired by Charizard - Dragon Frontiers that was also Darkness-type. Similarly, Charizard ex boasts an impressive 330 HP that makes it difficult to OHKO, and you can even accelerate Energy with its Infernal Reign Ability. That means you can pair this with other Fire-type Pokemon, like Entei V [Brilliant Stars], to give this deck the first breath of fresh air for Fire-type decks in years. On top of that, its Darkness-typing is welcomed in a metagame where Gardevoir-ex [Scarlet and Violet] has a glaring Darkness-type Weakness. Burning Darkness hits for a mid-180 damage, but ramps as the game progresses into an impressive 330 damage for two Fire Energy if your opponent only has one Prize Card left. This card might actually see success in a pure Charizard deck with the option to include Charizard [Pokemon Go] to double your Fire Energy in play, Radiant Charizard [Pokemon Go] for a single Prize Card attacker that can swing large, and even the upcoming Charizard ex from the next set. It is a great time to be a fan of Charizard because it might end up being one of the more successful Pokemon TCG decks in our Standard metagame and it is definitely one of the best Pokemon ex we’ve seen. It might need a little more support before it truly sees success, but it seems to offer a solution to a lack of Fire-type decks in our current Standard format. I also need to say that this is an absolutely stunning card and I’m so hyped to play this on Pokemon TCG Live.
Using Those Pokemon to Success
Pokemon ex are worth two Prize Cards because they have a high amount of HP, a game-breaking Ability, and/or powerful attacks. Most of the Pokemon ex above in my list are great options to include within some of the best decks in format and they might just end up in your favorite deck. Obsidian Flames has a lot of different options for everyone to play around with or even to collect on your PTCG Live collection. If you’re as hyped as this set as me, and you should be, use code zlesage5 to save 5% at ptcglstore.com! I’m gonna get back to testing these concepts and I’ll catch you all on the ranked ladder!
About the Writer
Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for ptcglstore.com. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokémon content as his full-time career. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokémon events and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/ZachLesagePTCG.