Paradox Rift: Is the Chien Pao-Iron Hands Deck Worth It?

Iron Hands ex
Iron Hands ex

The Chien Pao ex deck was initially introduced with the release of Paldea Evolved – the third set in the Scarlet & Violet series. It quickly became a fan-favorite among TCG players for its ease of use, but it didn’t take long before we started to realize just how powerful it can be – especially against a fire deck.

Now, several months after its debut, the Chien Pao ex deck is only getting stronger with the addition of Iron Hands ex – one of the most powerful cards in the newest TCG expansion, Paradox Rift. Together, Chien Pao ex and Iron Hands ex are creating a little mayhem in the TCG universe – and are here to stay.

With that said, let’s break down the 60 cards – 16 Pokémon, 32 trainers, and 12 energy – included in the Chien Pao-Iron Hands deck:


Pokémon in the Deck

  • Chien Pao ex (3)
  • Iron Hands ex (2)
  • Radiant Greninja (2)
  • Frigibax (3)
  • Baxcalibur (3)
  • Manaphy (1)
  • Bidoof (1)
  • Bibarel (1)


Trainers in the Deck

  • Irida (4)
  • Iono (2)
  • Nest Ball (3)
  • Battle VIP Pass (4)
  • Super Energy Retrieval (4)
  • Ultra Ball (3)
  • Rare Candy (4)
  • Earthen Vessel (3)
  • Super Rod (2)
  • Hisuian Heavy Ball (1)
  • Escape Rope (1)
  • Skaters’ Park (1)


Energy Cards in the Deck

  • Water Energy (10)
  • Lightning Energy (2)


Best Strategy When Playing With the Chien Pao-Iron Hands Deck

The goal with this deck is to get Chien Pao ex into your active spot, bench Frigibax, and evolve it into Baxcalibur as soon as possible. Chien Pao’s ability lets you add two Water Energy from your deck into your hand, while Baxcalibur’s ability lets you attach one Water Energy from your hand to a Pokémon.

Use Chien Pao to attack (60 damage for every Water Energy you discard) and Baxcalibur to accelerate energy onto your Pokémon. Put Manaphy on your bench to prevent damage to your benched Pokémon and Bibarel on your bench to maintain card flow. Radiant Greninja will help you attack benched Pokémon.

Since you’ll be discarding a lot of Energy cards, you can bring them back into play with Super Rod (three Pokémon or Energy from discard pile into deck) or Superior Energy Retrieval (four Energy from discard pile to hand). You can also use Earthen Vessel to put two Basic Energy from your deck into your hand.

Other crucial trainer cards in this deck are Irida (to draw Water Pokémon and Item card) and Rare Candy (to evolve Frigibax into Baxcalibur). The Ultra Ball allows you to draw any Pokémon out of your hand if you discard two cards, while the Nest Ball lets you place a Basic Pokémon from your deck to your bench.

This deck is already killin’ it, but we haven’t even talked about Iron Hands ex. Since this card is useless without Lightning Energy, draw them out with Earthen Vessel (you can draw this card out with Irida, if needed). Use Baxcalibur to accelerate Water Energy onto Iron Hands ex and attack – it’s that simple.

Once you get the hang of it, the Chien Pao-Iron Hands deck is one of the toughest to stop – unless you encounter a Lost Box deck or an Eternatus-Galarian Weezing deck. Even then, this deck still has a shot.

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