Feel the Flames

What's up, fellow Po Town readers? Are you all as excited as I am about the recent Pokémon TCG release, Obsidian Flames? It seems like many players just can't stop talking about the powerhouse, Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames]. However, this set offers more than just that. It's filled with a bunch of cards that are likely to make a splash in our new Standard Pokémon TCG format! In this article, I'll be sharing my personal top ten card picks from the set and delving into why these options are so fantastic. If you're keen on getting your hands on some codes for this set — and trust me, you definitely should be — simply enter the code "zlesage5" to enjoy a 5% discount over at potownstore.com! By doing this, you're not only showing me your support but also supercharging your online Pokémon TCG Live collection! Now, let's dive right into my tenth top pick!

10. Lunatone


Lunatone [Obsidian Flames] wasn’t necessarily my first thought when it came to choosing from the top ten cards in the set, but the strength of this card seems pretty cool! Its New Moon Ability allows you to prevent all effects of Stadium Cards done to your Pokemon if you have a Solrock in play. I might need to read up on a few different Solrock to make sure there is a “best” one, but I could totally see this deck using the Solrock [Pokemon Go] to accelerate Psychic Energy into play. Stopping Stadiums is half the battle for many successful decks and I’m sure there are some decks that will want to shun Path to the Peak [Chilling Reign] from stopping their Abilities throughout the entire game. It might not see a bunch of play, but this card (and a Solrock) should be ready to be played in any deck that needs them at all times!

9. Pokemon League Headquarters

Pokemon League Headquarters

Increasing the attack cost of any Pokemon can be quite advantageous, so I have faith that Pokemon League Headquarters [Obsidian Flames] will be played in some decks. It increases the attack cost of all Basic Pokemon in play by a Colorless Energy more and that will certainly stop some decks from having a successful attack response. Many players have theorized that this card can stop a Lost Zone Box deck from seeing success late game when you pair it with Iono [Paldea Evolved] or Roxanne [Astral Radiance]. Will it be enough to slow the deck down? Only time will tell… I’m slightly worried that this might get countered easily by Mirage Gate [Lost Origin] accelerating extra Energy, drawing into PokeStop [Pokemon Go], or even getting sent to the Lost Zone by Lost Vacuum [Crown Zenith]. Overall, this card can be devastating in the right circumstances

8. Toedscruel ex

Toedscruel ex

I’ll admit I might’ve put this card too high on the list, but it seems good to me. Sometimes these top ten lists are tough to create because it's all about the context and the lack thereof. Protective Filament is a similar Ability to Espeon VMAX [Evolving Skies], but this card will certainly be around in the format when Espeon VMAX eventually rotates. It prevents all effects of attacks from your opponent’s Pokemon done to all of your Pokemon that have Energy attached. That means no more OHKOs from Giratina VSTAR [Lost Origin], no more damage counters from Sableye [Lost Origin], and no more Special Conditions from Articuno [Silver Tempest]. I could also see Colony Rush hitting for a solid 280 damage if you can attach Grass Energy to each of your Benched Pokemon, but that sounds like a feat all itself. I guess only time will tell, but Toedscruel ex seems playable at the very least.

7. Tyranitar ex

Tyranitar ex

If you are a nostalgia fiend like myself, you’ll see Tyranitar ex [Obsidian Flames] as a nod to the past of the Lightning-type Tyranitar ex - Dragon Frontiers. While that nostalgic card is Lightning-type due to the weird land of Holon in the Delta Species block of cards, this Tyranitar ex is Lightning-type due to the Tera Crystal it wears in the card. Changing the typing of a card while keeping the usual Energy requirement of Fighting Energy makes for exciting strategic combinations because you can give new type advantages to decks that otherwise could only dream of them. Tyranitar has a large amount of HP and two moderate attacks, so it might seem mid, but it can also OHKO / 2HKO everything in format. If you can find the right momentum, I could easily see Tyranitar ex performing at the top tables of the metagame.

6. Town Store

Town Store

Town Store [Obsidian Flames] might seem like a mid-Stadium at first glance, but I have a couple of cool strategies in mind for this card. It allows you to search your deck for a Pokemon Tool each turn and that gives us the search power we’ve been looking for in the game. Currently, the only viable way to search for a Pokemon Tool is with Arven [Scarlet and Violet], but this also works as a counter to Path to the Peak. I have big plans to search for Forest Seal Stone [Silver Tempest] to search for whatever card I want or maybe even search for Sky Seal Stone [Crown Zenith] to be able to draw an extra Prize Card against VSTAR / VMAX Pokemon. I could easily see myself adding this into my Turbo Lost Zone Box deck and my Gardevoir ex [Scarlet and Violet] deck.

5. Vespiquen ex

Vespiquen ex

Switching from its usual Grass-type to Psychic-type opens up some exciting opportunities, and I think Vespiquen ex [Obsidian Flames] is an underrated success story! You can easily pair this with Cherrim [Battle Styles] to accelerate Energy to your Combee [Obsidian Flames] in play to bypass the Rule Box wording on Spring Bloom, so we already have a way to power up our Vespiquen ex quickly. The next obstacle to tackle is getting damage on our opponent’s Pokemon to spread damage with Phantom Queen, but I think I solved that too! I could easily see Vespiquen ex working with Radiant Alakazam [Silver Tempest] and Hawlucha [Scarlet and Violet] to keep the pressure on with the spreading of damage counters.

4. Geeta


Normally my top ten lists are filled with Trainer cards, but this set seems to be a bit more focused on Pokemon. One of the trainer cards that I think will see some crazy amount of success during the lifetime of its play is Geeta [Obsidian Flames]. Many stop reading the card shortly after starting because it does stop you from attacking the turn you play it, but it has an incredibly powerful attack to make up for it. Geeta allows you to search your deck for two Basic Energy cards and attach them to one of your Pokemon in play. This could pair nicely with a Pokemon that has an Ability that ends your turn when you use it because that doesn’t count as your attack so we can have a powerful setup turn before attacking! Koraidon ex [Scarlet and Violet] immediately comes to mind, but I’ll need to test it out a bit more.

3. Poppy


Being able to move your Energy from one Pokemon to another of your Pokemon in play is huge, especially when you can move Special Energy. Meet Poppy [Obsidian Flames], one of the most interesting cards from the set, and one of the catalysts to turning games around. There are so many points in games where Energy are on different Pokemon than planned for because games have shifted, but Poppy allows you to come back and move those Energy to the right attacker! This allows you to jump back into games that you were losing and turn games around completely. In the right circumstances, Poppy will change the path of games, and I can totally see it winning you a few games.

2. Pidgeot ex

Pidgeot ex

Talking about nostalgic throwbacks, Pidgeot ex [Obsidian Flames] is a nod to Pidgeot - FireRed and LeafGreen with the same Ability of Quick Search. To add competitive context, Pidgeot was used in the early to mid 2000s to search your deck for a single card of your choice per turn. That alone makes it a valid consistency crutch in Evolution decks that run Rare Candy [Scarlet and Violet] because you can add a single Pidgey [Obsidian Flames] and Pidgeot ex at the cost of only two cards. Beyond searching for whatever you need, this does give you a solid answer to Iono / Roxanne so that you’ll never truly have a dead hand. On top of that, it has a solid amount of HP that likely stops it from being a Boss’s Orders [Paldea Evolved] target and it also has a free Retreat. It won’t be the main star of the deck, but if you have the room, Pidgeot ex has the potential to fly high!

1. Charizard ex

Charizard ex

For once, I actually think the star of the set is good and that means I think Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames] has potential. 330 HP is plenty to withstand an attack, changing from Fire-type to Darkness-type seems powerful in our current Standard metagame, and accelerating Energy to your Pokemon in play can’t be bad right? Burning Darkness also gets more powerful as the game progresses, similar to Galarian Moltres [Evolving Skies], and can score some sweet late-game OHKOS. On top of that, Charizard ex - Pokemon 151 releases shortly after Obsidian Flames, so it seems like there is a full-fledged Charizard ex deck on the horizon. I need to look through the hype a bit, but I feel like this is the Charizard ex that actually becomes a top deck in the format. Maybe not the best deck, but certainly a viable contender in the metagame!

Time to Test!

Every time there is a new set released in the Pokemon TCG I start going through my excitement phase of testing! I research all of the cards, I start building decks on PTCG Live, and I’m finding anyone willing to battle! Even before the set is available online, I’ll often find myself using the Japanese scans of cards to build physical copies of decks to get more reps with upcoming decks! Obsidian Flames certainly add some unique cards to our game and maybe we’ll even be surprised by some of the cards that see success on the PTCG Live ladder! Oh, and if you need some codes for this set (or any set), you can use code zlesage5 at potownstore.com! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and I’ll catch up with you soon for some more awesome Pokemon TCG content!

About the Writer

Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for potownstore.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.