Pokemon TCG Meta Snapshot October 2023: Charizard ex! Our fan favorite lizard is back to the top!


The Pokemon TCG Meta Snapshot is an article that aims to encapsulate the state of the meta for a given 1 month period.

The Pokemon TCG Meta Snapshot also aims to rank decks in a somewhat lesser tier system. The tiers that we will use are as follows:

Tier 1: Highly Competitive Meta Decks. 10% or more of tops based on Limitless Online Tournament Platform deck spread and/or at least WIN a big official event once (Regionals, Internationals, or Special Event)


Tier 2: Semi-Competitive Meta Decks. Less than 10% of tops are based on the Limitless Online Tournament Platform deck spread.


Tier 3: Semi-Competitive non-Meta/Rogue decks. 1-2 tops. Specifically includes decks that only top small events or get lower rankings at medium events. Can also include decks that can potentially top but have not yet in a given format.


Tier 4: Casually Competitive non-Meta decks. Decks that can compete at the local level, but cannot top an event.


Tops = 1st - 8th place.


This article is written based on the 151 format.

Deck Overview


Pokemon ex are starting to fill the scene of competitive TCG scene. One of them is Charizard ex. With a Dark Tera-type, you can avoid a weakness matchup and with a very strong ability, you can easily accelerate 3 energy cards to any of your Pokemon when you evolve to Charizard ex. This means that you can either charge itself or charge another Pokemon. It also has a very strong attack with an initial of 180, you can basically knock any Pokemon which are weak to Dark-type. Also, if you play the long game, you can scale up the attack to become more powerful depending on each Prize card your opponent has taken and possibly do 330 damage in a single attack.

Charizard ex (Obsidian Flames)

Our fan-favourite Pokemon finally getting its Pokemon ex form and it’s in Tera-type which people may love, Dark-type! With the type itself, you can easily take down popular cards such as the ever-dominant Mew VMAX and Gardevoir ex which is a very convenient type matchup. Then how about its weakness matchup itself? Well, have you seen any Grass-type Pokemon cards being popular in the current format? Exactly! It is almost non-existent unless people really opt to bring it because Charizard ex is getting too popular by playing Shaymin VSTAR. We also need to take a look at its chonky HP. With 330HP, you basically can tank almost any damage (without damage modifier) from the current popular card in the format. This is very important because some of the decks rely on taking a single hit to keep their prize calculation on the good track. But how about its attack? Let’s see what Charizard ex holds in its arsenal.


First, we take a look at its ability, Infernal Reign. Boy oh boy, Pokemon really did a great job making this card a fan-favorite and a competitive card. By using its ability, you can easily accelerate 3 (yes, you read it right) to any Pokemon you like. This means that you basically can attach 4-5 Basic Energy cards in a single turn by using its ability, manual attachment, and recycle supporter cards (Raihan, Melony, or others). This is a very big thing to have because right now, you can only do energy acceleration like this by using limited cards and those cards can only be played in several decks which people may find it boring. With the newly released Charizard ex, you can try to break the norm by playing the deck to find a new playstyle and freshen up your mind. However, there is a big drawback to this ability, you need to evolve in order for you to activate this ability. Yes, evolving is an easy thing to do, but can you do it consistently on a Stage-2 Pokemon? That’s where some cards play their part and I will explain it to you in the next section. But now, let’s focus on its attack, Burning Darkness!


With 2 Fire Energy, you can deal a base of 180 damage to your opponent. This means that you can easily knock out Pokemon such as Mew VMAX or Gardevoir ex because of weakness matchup. You can manually attach your Fire Energy to Charizard ex or just easily rely on its ability because it is an easy attack cost to fill. Then, we look at its effect, which will increase the damage output by 30 for each Prize card your opponent has taken. With that in mind, you can potentially deal 330 damage to your opponent in a single attack which KO almost any Pokemon in the current format. I think this is a very strong attack because you can easily 2-turn knock any Pokemon or potentially OHKO almost any Pokemon in the format. The only problem is that you need to survive in the late part of the game if you want to have high damage output. 


Overall, the card itself is pretty good in terms of firepower. Most of the time, you want to bring at least 3 Charizard ex because it will be your main attacker. However, in some deck builds, you may only bring 2 Charizard ex because there will be another attacker backing you up. However, 3 to 4 copies will be your safe number while also bringing 4 copies of Charmander. You also may want to bring 1 copy of Charmeleon in case you run out or cannot find your Rare Candy. 

Pidgeot ex (Obsidian Flames)

Want to search for a card but can’t find the right card to do it? Pidgeot ex is here for you! This card was so hyped when it was first revealed in Japan because it has an ability where you can search for one card from your deck and put it in your hand. This ability itself is already a very strong one because you can search for anything from your deck be it other searcher cards, supporter cards, or even a Pokemon card itself. It also has a free retreat cost so you can easily use Pidgeot ex as a pivot. 


However, Pidgeot ex is another Stage-2 Pokemon and you need to set up multiple Basic Pokemon on your bench which may be open to some sniping. Then, Pidgeot ex itself only has 280 HP which is way less than Charizard ex and that number can easily be reached by some Pokemon. Heck, even Giratina VSTAR has exactly 280 damage on its attack. But most of the time, you will be placing Pidgeot ex on your bench so your opponent may need to put in extra effort to gust up your Pidgeot ex. 


As for its attack, there is nothing special in my opinion as it only deals 120 damage. But its effect can discard a Stadium card in play which is a great thing to have. However, I still prefer using Lost Vacuum or bump with another Stadium card as you will leave Pidgeot ex open if you decide to attack with it. As for its attack cost, it has 2 Colorless Energy which can easily be filled using Charizard ex’s ability which is convenient or you can just fill it up yourself as 2 energy is still within the manual attachment timeframe. 


Overall, Pidgeot ex is a very strong search engine that you can put in some decks. But its Stage-2 problem is a bit weird because you may set it up too late. But once you set it up, you will be in a very comfortable set-up where you can search for any card in your deck. As for how many copies you want to bring, I think in Charizard ex deck, there’s no fixed number for that. However, you may want to try to bring a 2-2 Pidgey-Pidgeot line just for safe measures in case one of them is prized. I hope we get to see more Pidgeot ex in more decks!

Arceus VSTAR (Brilliant Stars)

The God of Pokemon presented himself and this time, it helps Charizard ex in a great way. You can use its VSTAR Power to search for parts that you want to evolve your Charizard ex. You can also fill up Arceus VSTAR attack cost by using Charizard ex ability so it is a win-win solution that you can have although you can’t charge Charizard ex using Arceus VSTAR Trinity Nova. You can also somehow tank some damage if you still don’t have any Charizard ex set up because it is easier to set up Arceus VSTAR than Charizard ex as your Charmander/Charmeleon may be targeted frequently. However, because Fighting-type is still quite popular in the current format you may need to be a bit careful when playing Arceus VSTAR or you will be giving away easy Prize cards. As for how many copies you want to bring, I think playing at least a 2-2 line of Arceus VSTAR is a safe number in case one of them is prized. But some decks in Japan even bring a heavy 3-3 or 4-3 line of Arceus VSTAR for a second attacker option.

Lost Zone

Then, of course, we will not forget the Lost Zone mechanic. The Lost Zone mechanic is simply a very good solution if you want to play a Stage-2 Pokemon because Comfey can draw multiple cards and with the help of Colress’s Experiment, you basically can draw most of your deck in a matter of turns. This means that you can easily set up your Charizard ex in a short span of time with the help of Comfey and Colress’s Experiment. You also get the chance to have multiple attackers such as Cramorant and Sableye. You also don’t have to use Mirage Gate as Charizard ex’s ability can easily accelerate energy to your Pokemon. So the only thing you may need to search is Psychic Energy if you want to play Sableye in the deck. However, the pace of the deck seems a bit slow if you cannot set up Charizard ex quickly as you don’t have Pokemon that can tank big damage besides Charizard ex itself. Also, in this article, I will be more focused on the regular build rather than the Lost Zone build

Other Things to Consider

Not only Pokemon but there are several cards that make the Charizard ex deck a strong deck right now. Let's take a look!

Bibarel (Brilliant Stars)

First up we have Bibarel. I think at this point, almost all the decks (except Lost Zone and Gardevoir ex) have tried to play Bibarel. It has a very strong ability which acts quite similar to Genesect V but is fixed to a total of 5 cards in hand. You can also use it more than once meaning that you can draw a handful of cards which can be useful for your further setup. It is a Stage-1 Pokemon which is easier to set up than Stage-2 which also takes more space and time. Also, if you are having small hands, you practically have more cards to draw than Kirlia which only draws for 2 cards. You can also use Bibarel’s ability when you have no cards in your hand which is a big plus to have. Overall, it is a pretty strong draw engine to have in the deck. It also has 120 HP which is quite big to have as it will withstand Cramorant’s attack so you may be saved for a turn. As for how many copies you want to bring, you may want to bring at least a 1-1 line of Bibarel as some of the decks not only rely on Bibarel to draw but sometimes Pidgeot ex or Arceus VSTAR too to find the cards they need. But for a safe number, you may want to bring at least a 2-2 line of Bibarel.

Kirlia (Silver Tempest)

Then, I'm quite surprised that this engine actually works quite well in Charizard ex. Kirlia has quite a similar ability to some of the past Pokemon from the previous era where you discard a card from your hand and you get 2 fresh cards from the deck. This can be a great thing to have because you can have a pretty big hand so you will have so many things to do. However, sometimes discarding a card from your hand is not a good thing to do because you may have a very small hand and the cards in your hand is very important. However, if you manage to draw the cards that you need, you may turn things around. it is actually a bit of a gamble because you will be sacrificing a card to get 2 random cards from your deck. You also not benefit much as Charizard ex is accelerating the energy from the deck and not from the discard pile. But still, getting more cards in your hand may lead up to something. 


You also have the chance to bring Gallade or Gardevoir. Gallade can be a great substitute for Pidgeot ex where you can at least search for a supporter card while Gardevoir can help you draw cards while also have the chance to accelerate energy if you happen to find any energy card from there. But yes, once again, it is a Stage-2 Pokemon and bringing 2 different Stage-2 Pokemon may become another problem to have in mind. But because Kirlia can help you draw cards, you may have more consistency if you manage to set up multiple Kirlia so you can draw lots of cards.


Overall, the Kirlia engine is actually pretty decent. The only thing that you may need to watch is what card are you discarding as you don't want to accidentally discard an important card and have no way to recycle it back. As for how many copies you want in your deck, I think the safe number will be 3-3. But again, deck space may be a bit hard as you will also accommodate Charizard ex evolution line.

Mew (Celebrations)

Last but not least is the mythical Pokemon, Mew. Now to clear things first, the Mew that I am going to talk about is the Celebrations one. It has a very interesting ability where you can look at 6 cards from the top of your deck and find an Item card from there. It can be a very strong searcher if you manage to hit cards such as Battle VIP Pass, searcher cards, or Rare Candy which can make your setup much quicker. There's also no restriction when using it on your first turn so you basically can use it in your first turn. However, the hard part is that it needs to be active and it has a single energy retreat cost. You want to have a proper way to switch or retreat so you can utilize Mew. However, because Mew is not as strong as the infamous Jirachi, many people are not opting for this card for their deck. Hence, many decks only incorporate one copy in their deck. But one is better than nothing and Mew can still help you set up properly if you hit the card you want. It also has a very good Galarian Gallery which you may like.

Winners’ Decklist

First, we will look at the Winner of Regional Curitiba, William Azevedo where Charizard ex is being paired with Pidgeot ex. Here is the decklist:


First, we look at the Pokemon list. For Charizard ex, William brings a 4-1-3 line of Charizard ex which is a very solid line because you can slowly evolve Charizard ex using Charmeleon without trying too hard to find a Rare Candy. You also got a limited number of Rare Candy as William also brought a 2-2 line of Pidgeot ex. It is a very strong Pokemon once set up but unlike Charizard ex, William is not bringing any Pidgeotto because you will need to have more concern on your main attacker first because you win the game by taking prizes. Then, William also brings Entei V which is a good single attacker while you can also use its ability to draw one card. You basically can use Entei V as your second attacker while also being the ‘Stone Slave’ for Forest Seal Stone to search for any card you want. Then, Lumineon V will be your supporting Pokemon to search for any Supporter card, especially Arven and Boss’s Orders. Then, William brings Manaphy for the bench barrier, Mew to search for Item cards, and last but not least, Mawile. Yes, you see it right, Mawile. It has a very interesting first attack where you make your opponent’s defending Pokemon can’t retreat and you also make them take 90 more damage which is a great number because now, you can use Entei V to OHKO some of the Pokemon VSTAR or even Pokemon ex. However, it is only a single copy and yes, you also have the risk of your opponent having switching cards in hand so it may not work the way you want al the time. But overall, the number of Pokemon cards here is actually a pretty strong number to have. You may want to take note because I think this will be the ‘norm’ number for some of the Charizard ex deck. 


As for Supporter cards, The main Supporter card that William played here is 4 copies of Arven. This card is basically a lite version of Irida where you can search for an Item card and a Tool card. You can use this chance to grab cards such as Battle VIP Pass and Forest Seal Stone to ease your set-up. You can also grab other Item cards such as Rare Candy, Super Rod and many other useful Item cards. Then, we have 3 copies of Boss’s Orders which is straightforward because you need this to gust up your opponent’s Pokemon. Then, William brings 2 copies of Iono to shuffle up your opponent’s hand and you can get fresh new cards too (while praying it’s something good). William also brings a single copy of Professor’s Research and Penny. Professor’s Research is a great drawing supporter but because you have too many important cards in the deck which can’t be discarded as you please, you don’t want to play Professor’s Research too much. Then, Penny can be a very interesting card here because you can save your Lumineon V or Entei V from getting gusted by the opponent which will save you 2 Prize cards being taken. I think these cards are a pretty solid setup where Arven being the main focus here. I may have a bit of scepticism about Professor’s Research, but hey never underestimate a new fresh 7 cards!


Now we look at the searcher cards that William brings. For searchers, William brings 4 copies of Battle VIP Pass and Ultra Ball. Battle VIP Pass is being played here because you want to set up as many Charmander and Pidgey as soon as Turn 1 because you don’t want to be late on your setup. Then, Ultra Ball is a very strong searcher card as its effect can practically search for any Pokemon in the deck. Then, William also brings 2 copies of Nest Ball. Now you may be wondering why only 2 copies. Besides deck spaces, you want to maximize your chance of having Battle VIP Pass in your first turn and Ultra Ball can search you a Lumineon V while Nest Ball can practically search for Lumineon V too, it won’t activate its ability because you put it straight to the Bench from your deck and not from your hand. Overall, it actually a pretty standard searcher cards because you want to prioritize having Pidgeot ex online so you can search for anything from your deck.


Then for switching cards, William only plays a single copy of Escape Rope which can be used to switch out your Pokemon while also disrupting your opponent to make them switch too. As for the other cards, of course, Rare Candy is present in the deck because it is a Stage-2 deck. Then, Ordinary Rod is being played at one copy to recycle Pokemon from the discard pile so you can keep having Charizard ex or another Pokemon. Choice Belt is here to help Charizard ex or Entei V to OHKO some of the Pokemon V/VSTAR/VMAX as Charizard ex has a low attack damage in the early part of the game. Last but not least is the Forest Seal Stone. This card can be attached to either Entei V or Lumineon V to help you getting a card that you want from the deck. It is basically a Computer Search because you can search for a card freely from your deck. This can be helpful to you because you can grab any card that you want whether you want to set up, gust, or even just to grab an energy (although it is not recommended as you have Charizard ex to accelerate energy). You can also search it using Arven and it doesn't take up that much space on both deck and bench compared to Arceus VSTAR. As for the Stadium card, William decided to play Lost City. I think this is a great stadium because you can prevent your opponent from recycling their Pokemon back so you may gain the upper hand if you play the long game.


Overall, I think the deck is pretty solid. The only thing matters here is that you want to set up your Charizard ex and Pidgeot ex quickly. You can do that by going for Arven and search for the parts that you need or you may just draw them by luck! Congratulations once again to William on winning the regional!


Up next we have Joao Requena who got 4th place in the same Regional Curitiba with a slightly different build by incorporating Arceus VSTAR along with Pidgeot ex.


Now you may see a very similar build to William does. But what makes the deck different is the addition of Arceus VSTAR where you can use its VSTAR Power to search for any 2 cards from your deck. You can also use Charizard ex's ability to accelerate Fire Energy to Arceus VSTAR so you can attack the opponent as well. As for the other Pokemon, Joao keeps the same number of Charizard ex line but cuts out Charmeleon while also keeping Mew and Manaphy in the deck. Joao also plays a 2-2 line of Pidgeot ex as the searcher engine which will help the deck a lot. Overall, there's not much difference between Joao's deck and William's. However, what's interesting is the Trainer cards. Let's see them!


As for the searcher cards, Joao brings exactly the same searcher cards because I think it seems to be the go-to configuration in this kind of build. However, when you look at the supporter cards, things are a little bit different. Joao decides to bring 4 copies of Iono which is a very disruptive number for the opponent to face. Despite that, Joao still decided to bring 3 copies of Colress’s Experiment because you sometimes cannot get your wanted card just from shuffling your cards back to the deck. Then, Joao a single copy of Boss’s Orders and Worker. Worker is being played here because some of the decks play Path to the Peak which shut down both Charizard ex’s and Pidgeot ex’s ability and by playing Worker, not only you draw cards, you also get to remove that stadium. Joao also bring Choice Belt, and Super Rod but Joao decide to increase the number of Super Rod too. As for the other cards, it is quite a surprise that Joao decide to bring Cross Switcher! Yes, you heard it right, 4 copies of Cross Switcher. It can be a very great gusting card thus Joao only bring a single copy of Boss’s Orders. You can also search for it using Pidgeot ex’s ability so you can have 2 copies of it in your hand without hardly search for it. Joao also decide to play PokeStop as the Stadium card which is a great combo for Cross Switcher and other Item cards because you practically can get them easily. However, if you are not getting the Item cards, all of them are discarded, maybe that’s why Joao is increasing the number of Super Rod and also add Pal Pad to the deck to recycle some of the cards back that is accidentally discarded. 


Overall, the deck is actually quite similar and the only difference in engine is that the changed of Forest Seal Stone to Arceus VSTAR. However, what surprises me is the addition of Cross Switcher which we may not often see. But surprisingly, it works really well! 


As you can see, the whole gameplan is actually quite similar. You want to set up multiple Basic Pokemon while also preparing some of the engines you have. You also want to accelerate properly to Charizard ex or your other attackers so you can always ready in any scenarios. What do you guys think?

Tier Conclusion

Now we come to the tier conclusion. The deck itself is pretty strong and it also has won a Regional. The deck also somewhat consistently gets into the Top 16 cut which means that the deck can win against many decks. 


Therefore, I will award this deck a Tier 1 rating. The deck is a new powerhouse in the Pokemon ex era and I think we will see Charizard ex in the format for a while unless Pokemon make a hard counter for it. I also hope we get to see more consistency cards being printed so Charizard ex can be stronger.


What do you guys think of Charizard ex? The deck is pretty strong from the start and the ability to accelerate energy is just so helpful in many ways. You get to play the fan-favorite Pokemon, Charizard and it also has a Special Illustration Rare which you can collect as well. You also have the chance to play the deck if you manage to claim the Battle Pass in Pokemon TCG LIVE for the Obsidian Flames timeframe. I hope we get to see more of Charizard ex in the upcoming tournament!


This is a very new project on Pokemoncard.io and I really appreciate all the feedback. I plan to do this on a monthly basis so you can at least grasp what is happening over the month and I think it is a very safe cycle time considering that our set is not released once a month so you guys can still see how the format goes. 


Life is too short to be anything but happy! - Arelios

There may be some mistakes and missing points of review in this writing. Please kindly comment to share your corrections and point of view too.

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