– Darkness Ablaze
September 8, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The next card in our pseudo-countdown of the winning decks from the Players Cup Finals is Centiskorch V (SW – Darkness Ablaze 033/189, 179/189), representing the Centiskorch VMAX decks that took 5th (or 6th) place, and 13th (or 14th, or 15th, or 16th) place. For whatever reason, they didn’t work out who actually took any place below 4th; instead, Limitless and the official results page just list a bunch of ties for 5th, 7th, 9th, and 13th-place. Why not review Centiskorch VMAX itself? We just did less than a month ago.
As a Basic Pokémon V, Centiskorch V gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, is excluded from certain beneficial effects, and has to deal with certain detrimental effects just for being a Pokémon V. Centiskorch V gets at least two – possibly all three – of the usual bonuses that balance these drawbacks out; it is a Basic (instead of a Stage 1), it has 210 HP (instead of 130), and we’ll get to its attacks later. The only non-Pokémon V card for this Pokémon is Centiskorch (Sword & Shield 039/202), which is a slower, slightly more demanding Stage 1, with 80 less HP. Being a Basic makes Centiskorch V easy to play, and (for better or worse) serve as your opening Active, while 210 is typical for a Basic Pokémon V, but still somewhat durable.
As a Fire type, Centiskorch V is in a good for type-matching in the current metagame: the majority of Metal and Grass types take double damage due to [R] Weakness, and nothing naturally Resists [R]. Fire also has some great pieces of support, like Welder, but it also means dealing with [R] counters, like Bronzong (SM – Team Up 101/181). Centiskorch V is [W] Weak and it finally matters! Why am I so excited? We’ll be going into more details soon, but a Frosmoth deck was the other 5th-place deck. It is still a bit early to tell if players were anticipating a strong Fire presence, or if Frosmoth is finally starting to deliver. No Resistance for Centiskorch V is typical, but technically bad. A Retreat Cost of [CCC] is bad; it is a pain to pay, but not high enough for support like Buff Padding.
Centiskorch V knows two attacks. “Radiating Heat” requires just [R], so its fast and easy to use. Radiating Heat lets you do 20 damage, which is low (even for one Energy). It also gives you the option to discard an Energy from itself., and if you do, then you get to discard an Energy from your opponent’s Active. A bit underwhelming, but not bad, as it does a bit of damage and if don’t mind giving up an Energy, lets you also set your opponent back by an Energy… except you’re choosing the Energy in both cases. The card’s second attack is a straightforward affair; 180 damage for [RRRR] via “Burning Train”. I love the name, and I like the damage, but I don’t love the damage because it is about 30 points below what it needs to do.
So, if you didn’t read the review linked to earlier, Centiskorch VMAX is a Fire type Pokémon VMAX with 320 HP, the same bottom stats, and the “G-Max Centiferno” attack that costs [CC] and does 40 damage plus another 40 per [R] Energy attached to itself, with an effect that then attaches a Fire Energy from your discard pile after doing the damage. If you pay the attack cost with just [R] Energy, the attack is doing 120 damage. Of course, even if you have zero Energy attached at the start of your turn, Welder and your manual Energy attachment mean the attack does 160; if you can safely attach even one Fire Energy to Centiskorch V the turn before you evolve, you can hit the 200 needed to KO some Basic Pokémon V. With the HP, it isn’t too unlikely for Centiskorch VMAX to survive a hit, and that means another attack that should be hitting even harder.
So… yeah, Centiskorch V is a solid lead-in to Centiskorch VMAX, and provides a potential answer to Zamazenta VMAX. Do you want to open with it? Looking at the lists being run, I’m assuming you’d much rather start with Volcanion (SM – Unbroken Bonds 25/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM179). Not a huge advantage if you’re going first, but when you go second, during Volcanion’s “Flare Starter” attack lets you attach up to three Fire Energy from your deck to one of your Pokémon. In the Expanded Format, I think Centiskorch VMAX decks would be functional, but are they better than a strong, Basic Fire type supplemented with Volcanion-EX’s Ability? There may even be some kooky control deck that Centiskorch V could risk with that kind of stacking damage buff. Probably not, though.
How about the Limited Format? I think Centiskorch VMAX is a good pull here, either in a Mulligan build or a deck running mostly or only on Fire Energy. The bad news? If you use Radiating Heat to keep your opponent from building something (else?) up, you’re never going to reach Burning Train. Since you cannot discard an Energy until it has been attached to something in the Active position, your opponent is still getting to use their single-attachment attacks. Maybe you can run them out of Energy. The good news? Turbo Patch is in this set. You probably have to use Radiating Heat to have any Energy in the discard for it to attach in the Mulligan build, but it should still be pretty sweet if it happens! Once you reach Burning Train, you should quickly rack up the OHKO’s.
As with Eternatus V, Centiskorch V is a solid foundation for its Pokémon VMAX, and that VMAX has carved out a chunk of the metagame. It is a long shot, but it even has a tiny chance of seeing use in some hypothetical control deck, since it does provide a little damage while discarding Energy.
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