Fire mill rumors started already in the winter of the last year with ideas focused on Galar Mine’s locks and Counter Catcher/gusts to prepare a safe strategy where Centiskorch is active with less energy but for more time, therefore manipulating much more the opponent's hand and its resources with cards like Delinquent, Mars or other disruption. A valid approach except that with PoGo's Charizard everything becomes more voracious, omnivorous and heavier.
In the structure of the team, the build has 3 stage 2s but is supported by a very strong trainer department that allows you to search in the shortest time possible our pieces on the cardboard, and the result will be much more devastating and explosive, so much so as to even have the possibility of being offensive by attacking the threat in progress even out of nowhere, getting rid of the pressure that our support Pokemon face and thus forcing them to dig through the deck looking for another attacker and energies to back him up. All things that go in our favor, we force plays that the opponent would not like to make and to occupy their attention on something else. In the meantime, we will be building a hand able to heavily mill 2-3 times in a row, but generally two are enough, often even one made good if the match evolved slower than expected for the opponent.
There is little to know about how to play it and its structure, and it is not a deck that is difficult to pilot. We immediately notice looking at the list how everything is focused on the setup: Gloria, Brigette, Sonia, Green’s Exploration, Ball Guy and Peony for the first turns will be very respectable cards and by having so many outs in the deck, we will have a better chance of seeing them, moreover supported from PokeGear and Trainers' Mail to look for them and with Magcargo in play will help to give the setup continuity we need even without Delphox on board. Especially Peony and Green's have the goal of bringing us Delphox, mind you not to have abilities already in the field to use the second one! Rare Candy and Evolution Incense are ideally the targets of the two supporters, but sometimes with both Peony and Delphox in hand the target will be Rare Candy and Rescue Stretcher. We would both want to play them at t2 if we have the desired board. Consistency increases if we have a Tropical Beach in the deck, not strictly necessary for setting up and running everything, but a good help if you can found it early and with the addition of Stadium Nav we will increase the odds of finding it.
Let's take a look at the squad in detail, to the components that make the archetype a real firearm. The easiest to name are Charizard, Emboar, Delphox and Magcargo who all together run everything with their respective tasks, their functions are simple to identify in their own abilities and making good use and sequence of all them is the basis for taking home a win. Sometimes even a mistake can waste tempo completely in GLC and especially with the fire type: it is important to have the perfect knowledge of the list and track your prizes in order to Smooth Over the right card for Delphox or your draw supporter.
Charizard is the real fulcrum, all the real strength of the deck comes from him, doubling the energy doubles the potential. He made it possible to think about the archetype with Emboar, he is the glue that binds all his teammates into a single idea. A small note for Fennekin and Charmeleon with their attacks that search for a supporter to choose from the deck. Then our millers, Centiskorch and Moltres, also excellent 2 energy attackers with Charizard on the field to eliminate threats. Centiskorch is clearly more conservative and is also good in an initial phase, 130 hp are not very low and starting to mill for 2 from the second turn is not a bad thing. Moltres is all-consuming, progressive and greedy for energy and is usually manageable in the final phase for heavy back-to-backs that will lead us to victory. Calculate that you have saved Fire Crystal and Superior Retrieval and maybe Cyllene for the same: with these requirements we will discard from 14 to 18 cards from the top of our opponenent’s deck depending on availability and accessed twice in a row.
We also have to spend a few words on Oricorio and Heatmor who are not at all out of the way in their tasks but rather are very precious pearls to have the situation a little more under control. Oricorio escapes us from ability lock and traps an active support pokemon, preferably with a high retreat cost but sometimes even a charged attacker to confuse him, while Heatmor recovers any card from the discard pile via flip. Heatmor is the best we have for this option along with Cyllene. With Charizard his attack cost is only one energy, cheap and preferable to doll or robo sub, he can set up excellent turns by returning Lt. Surge, Candy or retrievals into our hand. Both the anteater and the bird are important deck tools that can be used in reset turns or as early game sacrificial pawns.
Wally is one of the cards I love the most, especially in these decks where more stage 2s are required to work properly. With Wally we can try to start the machine faster and also restart it in case of a Boss on the unwanted piece like a Charizard or Emboar, the real keys of the team. Everything revolves around them, they are all the real strength that makes Fire Mill so relevant and easily considered among the best decks in the meta, but we will also get to its concrete weaknesses.
The ability to take or see our prizes is important, we have many very useful unique pieces like Fire Crystal and Superior Retrieval that we want to be able to exploit and recover in case with Cyllene, so Gladion and Peonia come to the rescue making sure we can see and be able to choose. With the many evolutions we need, it can happen to prize them and it is a must to have these two cards in a mill strategy deck that does not seek to make prizes, even if we have already mentioned its offensive approach which should not be underestimated. If you're in the affordability situation and the prizes are tremendous, taking one won't hurt, always being careful of what you're up against of course and not to trigger reactive cards by offering Amazing Raikou or Guzzlord for free. Make good use and timing of these two cards, sometimes it's not easy, specially with a fast start on the other side, to find the right moment you have to be developed a solid bench with the fox usually.
Since we will almost always be behind in the prize race, except weird cases, Lt. Surge is the card that becomes indispensable to play to implement the whole strategy in a single turn. In the middle of the game it can be combined with Colress or Research and a supporter to see the prizes in case a piece is missing, or break the hand with N is sometimes good to make them draw more cards and remove the good ones they were trying to save. Surge + Cyllene + Delphox and another available supporter + the possibility of Magcargo bring us many precise cards and good turns in the late game. Cyllene’s use is reserved for cards such as Fire Crystal, Superior Energy Retrieval, Pal Pad, Vs Seeker, Rescue Strecther, Super Road, therefore generically recovery cards, but it can also regenerate Rare Candy by bringing 2 phase 2 in the same turn, so flip well! Not only will our opponent see his resources burn, we too will have to look after ours at some point in order to close the game, and sometimes much more fought matches will certainly happen in full GLC style where many items have been used.
We haven't talked about Klara but she's clearly a recovery pick in our own hand to get Moltres and Centiskorch back to back without having to shuffle and hunt for them. An option with more explosive effects for mill is Fisherman who gives even more security and confidence when you have lost Fire Crystal or Superior Energy Retrieval in forced plays. With Pal Pad as a plus in the deck, Fisherman and also Cyllene acquire greater value, but careful not to stuff too much with recovery cards that could compromise stability and setting.
Finally, let's see the stadiums available beyond the aforementioned Tropical Beach: Giant Hearth for energies from the deck, also excellent for discarding dead cards such as a Green not played in time, and personally I like Training Court for a continuous recovery of energies in late game, it also allows you to be slightly more flexible by cutting an energy and switching to 9 or not playing Fisherman so as to have more room for something else preferably.
For the rest, all the Pokemon balls and searches of the case except for Timer Ball of which I'm not a fan, initially played but with disappointing results and for this reason cutted in favor of something else. An Escape Rope to avoid ability lock situations, Counter Catcher may be preferred but in some metas having extra switching cards is always a smart and fair move, for example in the last few months the Salva’s Stoutland control is going strong, the Doggo traps an active support pokemon with his Baby Doll Eyes attack and won't let you retreat, plus Stoutland has the ability to keep opponents out from playing supporters, so cards like Tate and Liza and Bird Keeper will be of no use. Escape Rope comes to our aid.
We come to some notes on the weaknesses of the deck. Surely the spread and the multiple snipe KOs are not pleasant, but let's see how with the exit of Kyogre from the scene we can breathe slightly better. Sometimes Raikou is not the easiest tiger to tame but lighting is a bit unstable on his own and digs a lot looking for the needed cards, it can be fast, aggressive and precise with Zapdos via Bosses and Guzma and slow us down a lot, but the continuous search of switching cards could be counterproductive and often leave Zapdos or Regieleki pending, also the Dynamotors are excellent targets for Oricorio. Water obviously despite the weakness has the precision, the speed and the new Kyogre is literally a killer of our best supports, 180 even on one between Charizard, Emboar or Delphox is fatal, and discarding it will not be a definitive solution because of Nessa. You will have to be very lucky. The only "plausible" solution against spread variant is to win the stadium war and bring a Sky Pillar with you. The same goes more or less for Psychic, which if equipped with Dusknoir and his cheap spreaders we will facilitate the work thanks to our bench which must at least be composed of three elements (Charizard, Emboar, Delphox) + the active but often even more for unwanted starts or situational constraints and within a few turns we will have a lot of damage around that can be shot by aiming precisely the best pieces on our field. It will be up to us to try to be faster, look for a Captivating Salsa that traps a support and start milling as much as possible, looking for luck. We fear many psychic cards: the usual precision of Gallade, the Old Cemetery and Parallel City in the more linear versions, this last one can be circumvented in the versions without Magcargo or in any case, if countered in mid game with the team already set, it may not being too much weight to get rid of the same Magcargo and an Oricorio or Heatmor. Lost City is feared, if precise it is lethal and little can be done if the opponent has the opportunity to plan the play. Dragon and Psychic can handle it thanks to Dragonite and Gallade at will. It will be one of the most difficult counters to deal with, watch being Lost Zoned a Charizard, Emboar or our millers will almost mean the end of the game. Against dark and colorless we have many tools to get around the ability lock, but they can be very fast and colorless to easily hit an average of 180 damage by establishing unpleasant OHKOs on each of our components with this range. All these problems can be overcome if our deck does what it has to do in the desired times with a little luck when we go to mill, hitting the right cards. Favorable matches apart from grass where we will have the option to attack by knockout even with Oricorio, in general they are all those who give us time, a little slower types or simply false starts, the control and mill strategies themselves are often match ups decided by nonsense, just be aggressive and save the Escape Rope against a Stoutland Control or be patient with Shock Lock until it reaches the bottom of the deck by itself. The mirror is very silly and relies on who can set up early and be boring with Oricorio to take the time, prizing important pieces and having to go after Gladion or Peonia won't help.
A dutiful special mention to Andrew Mahone who perfected the archetype with his additions, and with the idea of not having Magcargo to be lighter in the setup while saving space on the bench by promoting recovery cards such as Fisherman, demonstrating that the deck can do it also without the lava slug. Just need to have fun. The deck is extremely fun to pilot and satisfying in its final success, its victory condition can attract different types of players, casual or competitive and for different occasions, from a game with friends or in a respectable tournament.
##Pokémon - 16
##Trainer Cards - 35
##Energy - 9