– Unified Minds
September 17, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Spirit Burner is an attack that I don’t think you can consistently pull it off. This attack requires a VERY good amount of Fire Pokemon in your deck which can actually clog up deck space. But that didn’t stop Gyarados’s Distilled Blast to run 30+ energies, didn’t it? Chandelure can be similar to that, needing around 30 Fire Pokémon to improve the odds of dealing as much damage as possible. This attack costs R and does 10 damage plus 60 damage for every Pokemon you’ve discarded from the top of your deck, and you can only do up to the top 5 cards of your deck. In addition, if those discarded Pokémon are Fire Types, you get to put them into your Bench. If you’re lucky, you could potentially put FIVE Stage 2 Fire Types regardless if they’re GX Pokemon or not.
310 damage is enough to OHKO any Pokemon in the TCG before they use other cards to reduce the damage taken or to increase it’s HP. It’s Fire typing can exploit weakness found of Grass and Metal Types, and it takes only 3 Pokemon to do the job, maybe 2 if equipped with a Choice Band. Like Gyarados, however, you could risk losing crucial trainers and energy if you’re unlucky. There might be a few ways to mitigate this. Magcargo’s Smooth Over ensures that you’ll discard at least one Pokemon (because the ability puts a card on the top card of your deck), as well as putting said Pokémon on the Bench if it’s a Fire type. Mallow is another option as she can help you put 2 Pokémon on the top of your deck, ready to be discarded and/or put them into your Bench.
That’s assuming you can get this Pokémon out before your opponent starts to wreak havoc with their GX or their Tag Teams because Chandelure is a Stage 2. Chandelure may land OHKOs, but it’s 140 HP won’t be enough to survive a hit. A very interesting card overall, but I think it asks for too much to pay off.
Chandelure (SM – Unified Minds 30/236) is our Card of the Day… or in the case of this review, Card of Yesterday as this is going up late. This is a Stage 2 Pokémon, so it’ll take both time and resources for it to hit the field. Fortunately, you can speed things along a bit; besides more elaborate combos, there is Rare Candy – letting you skip Lampent – or Dusk Stone – which searches out Chandelure and then immediately Evolves Lampent into it. Chandelure is a [R] Type; currently, their strength comes from effects that support [R] Energy and other cards capable of using [R] Energy. Mind the anti-[R] effects; while normally not so hot, there are enough popular, potent [R] decks that cards such as Bronzong (SM – Team Up 101/181) and its “Heatproof” Ability might be a useful wall. When you can exploit Weakness, enjoy it, and there are some [R] Pokémon-based effects you can (and probably should) include, but that isn’t what matters most.
Chandelure has 140 HP; this used to be around the point where being OHKO’d was less likely than being 2HKO’d, but I’m not so sure about that now. With all these TAG TEAM Pokémon performing so well and the loss of Choice Band, I think we’re seeing more decks shoot for 130 to 150 damage for the reliable 2HKO. [W] Weakness and no Resistance are typical of [R] Types; [W] Weakness is mostly showing up to punish other [R] Types, and no Resistance is technically the worst, but neither will make a big of a difference given that 140 HP. A Retreat Cost of [CC] hurts a bit more than normal as Chandelure only needs [R] to attack. While this might make recovering from losing two Energy easier, it also means aren’t likely to already have two Energy attached to a Chandelure that needs to retreat, even if it managed to attack and survive.
As I just stated, Chandelure has just one attack and only costs [R]; “Spirit Burner” has you discard the top five cards of your deck, then does 10 damage plus another 60 per [R] Type Pokémon discarded in this manner, then you can put as many of the Fire Pokémon you just discarded onto your Bench as you want. You cannot exceed your available Bench-space or put something into play that is incomplete without another card, like a BREAK Evolution or Pokémon LEGEND. You do put Evolutions directly into play so long as they are complete; Stage 1, Stage 2, Mega Evolutions, or Restored Pokémon. Of course, Basic Pokémon can be Benched as well, it just isn’t as impressive as skipping lower Stages.
For just one Energy, Spirit Burner can do 10, 70, 130, 190, 250, 310, or 370 damage before Weakness, Resistance, or effects; as this is on a Stage 2 Pokémon that isn’t particularly durable or fast, Spirit Burner needs to either hit those top three numbers or be Benching some incredibly valuable, Evolved [R] Type Pokémon. As discarding those Pokémon is how you increase the damage done, it isn’t so much an either/or scenario; you’ll need to discard at least two [R] Pokémon and probably prefer to discard however many is needed but is not overkill. There are cards which let you manipulate the top cards of your deck, but the best you’re going to guarantee is two, by using Mallow as your Supporter for the turn. There is a massive risk you’ll be discarding non-[R] Pokémon, be they Pokémon of other Types, Trainers, or Energy cards.
The trick is Chandlure is just there to open. That doesn’t eliminate the risk, but it means you’re just trying to get the rest of your stuff into play. Jimmy Wuyts managed a 92nd place finish at the 2019 World Championship. His list didn’t bother with Mallow or Magcargo (SM – Celestial Storm 24/168), the latter also being a means of controlling the top of your deck and also a [R] Type Pokémon. Instead, the deck runs a full four Charizard (SM – Team Up 14/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM158) for a strong attacker, and a few Blaziken (Dragon Majesty 6/70), Delphox (SM – Forbidden Light 17/131), and Ninetales (SM – Team Up 16/181) for their respective Abilities. Only Chandelure has its lower Stages, Litwick and Lampent, and they’re maxed out. The goal is to open with some Litiwck, rapidly Evolve one into Lampent and then Chandelure (via Dusk Stone, also maxed out in the deck), and attack go get the rest into play.
The deck intentionally runs no Pokémon-GX, so that nothing is worth more than one Prize when KO’d. That makes sense, though I do wonder what could be done with some Evolved Pokémon-GX. The most tempting target for me is Expanded-only: Charizard-GX (SM – Burning Shadows 20/147, 150/147; SM – Black Star Promos SM60; Shiny Vault SV49/SV94). I probably shouldn’t be that excited about it, but I love Raging Out-GX as forcibly discarding 10 cards from your opponent’s deck could easily result in a deck-out midgame (or later). I am interested in what Chandelure can do here with access to more [R] Types, but there will be a lot more competition here. Chandelure itself avoids many of the counters, though; the deck utilizes Abilities and Items, but outside of speeding out that first Chandelure it doesn’t rely on them. Chandelure just seems too risky for Limited Format play; you only have a 40 card deck, less a seven-card opening hand, four Prizes, and one card is drawn per turn.
Chandelure and its Spirit Burner are amazing, but there is a lot of luck involved in using it, and a lot of other things that can go wrong. I don’t expect it to dominate Standard or Expanded anytime soon, but it might heat-up later on should the powers-that-be forget about it and release an Evolved [R] Type that should not be speed into play for the sake of game balance.
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