A new partner for M Rayquaza
Karl talks about the newset version of a M Rayquaza EX deck - M Rayquaza EX/Jolteon
05/09/2016 by Karl Peters
Hey guys, it's Karl again. This time I want to take a quick look at M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon, a Standard deck that had a lot of success in recent Regional Championships, especially in Europe. M Rayquaza deck have been around ever since Roaring Skies was released, but most of them didn't do too well at tournaments. We had the M Rayquaza-EX/Metal deck, which did well at US Nationals last year, but after that, most other variants could find a fitting spot at the following metagames.
The major issue for M Rayquaza-EX was the rising popularity of Night March in Standard, and Sableye in Expanded. Both decks are able to deal very easy and consistent with any M Rayquaza-EX variant, which is why we haven't seen them doing well up until the most recent series of tournaments.
With the release of the Generations Set, M Rayquaza-EX got a new, and very important, partner – Jolteon-EX. Since Sableye is no factor in Standard, the only left up autolosses for M Rayquaza-EX are Night March and Manectric. Manectric’s popularity went down to a very low amount, making it almost a rogue deck. Night March is still a very bad matchup, but Jolteon-EX, and other techs which I will be talking about later. At least allow M Rayquaza-EX to put up a fight against Night March.
Before we go into the matchups, I want to take a look at a list of M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon. For this we will be taking a look at the list that Luca S. Used to win the Regional Championships in Ludwigsburg.
M Rayquaza EX/Jolteon [Std]
- 3x Rayquaza EX
- 3x M Rayquaza EX
- 4x Shaymin EX
- 2x Hoopa EX
- 1x Jolteon EX
- 1x Aegislash EX
- 1x Zorua
- 1x Zoroark
- 1x Bunnelby
- 3x Professor Sycamore
- 2x Hex Maniac
- 1x Skyla
- 1x AZ
- 1x Judge
- 1x Lysandre
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x VS Seeker
- 4x Puzzle of Time
- 3x Mega Turbo
- 3x Rayquaza Spirit Link
- 2x Battle Compressor
- 1x Sacred Ash
- 4x Sky Field
- 2x Float Stone
- 4x Double Colorless Energy
- 3x Lighting Energy
Card Choices and explanations
As I already mentioned in the introduction, Jolteon-EX is one of the most important cards when it comes to facing Night March. Once you manage to set up your Jolteon-EX, your opponent has to either get a Lysandre each turn for different knockouts, or the Lysandre + Escape Rope combination to get rid of your Jolteon-EX. This also works against any other deck that has to focus around using Basic Pokémon as attackers, and unlike Pyroar or the Safeguard Pokémon, Jolteon-EX cannot be shut off with Hex Maniac since it's the effect of an attack, not of an Ability. Jolteon-EX will still not help you to make the Night March matchup a favorable one for you, but it's at least a card that gives you a better shot at winning.
Aegislash-EX has pretty much the same job as Jolteon-EX – helping to win against Night March. Unlike Jolteon-EX, Aegislash-EX can be blocked by using Hex Maniac. The other very big disadvantage for Aegislash-EX is that it requires metal Energy to be useful as an attacker, which is why it will just be used as a wall most of the times. Fighting Fury Belt and Joltik's resistance makes it almost impossible for Aegislash-EX to be useful against Night March. I feel like it would be a lot better to switch out Aegislash-EX for a second Jolteon-EX, because the only matchup where you might actually need Aegislash is Vespiquen, and since most players don't run the Eeveelution version, you won't even have to worry about Jolteon from Ancient Origins, which is why Vespiquen will most likely not be able to knock you out in one hit. The second Jolteon however will allow you to not be reliant on Sacred Ashe to reuse Jolteon-EX, and you're also able to Bench two at once, which makes it a lot more difficult for Night March to deal with it. So if you can find a second Jolteon, switch out Aegislash for it.
Zoroark’s main usage is going to be the replacement for Keldeo-EX, which is obviously not legal in Standard. Switching out your active Pokémon constantly can be very crucial, especially when you're having a very big Bench with a lot of Pokémon that just wait to be Lysandre’d up and block your active spot. Cards like Hoopa and Aegislash can be a pain when they sit up front and you have no way of retreating them. Other than that, Zoroark is also a very good attacker in decks that run Double Colorless Energy. M Rayquaza decks are one of the easiest choices when finding a deck where you want to put Zoroark in. You have a very big Bench, which also indicates that you will be able to put an extra Zorua onto year Bench, just waiting to be evolved. Having a Pokémon that boosts your Emerald Slash and also has a useful Ability is also very nice, as most Bench sitters will be Pokémon that are useless once you put them down. Hoopa, Shaymin, Bunnelby and Aegislash will all help you to fill up your Bench, but aside from Shaymin-EX, all of them have a retreat cost of two or more, making it very hard to retreat the, especially if you can't get the Float Stone each turn, which is why Zoroark is so good in this deck.
Most of the time you will have to burn through your deck very quickly, making it hard to keep all your resources. There will be a lot of matches where you have to discard some Double Colorless Energy, Spirit Links, or even cards like Sacred Ashe which you will often miss in the late game. Puzzle of Time gets you back most of these resources, but in some games this might just not be enough. Bunnelby is very nice to get you these resources back into your deck, after you have burned through it and set up your M Rayquaza. Bunnelby is also very useful in the Wailord matchup, which got some popularity after winning a big Regional in Paris recently. This hype however got away very quickly and only some players will use it, for a fun experience. In other words, Bunnelby is mostly used for the first purpose, as you won't have to worry about Wailord to much.
Three Professor Sycamores
A lot of set up decks cut the fourth Professor Sycamore, as there will often be turns where you just don't want to be using Professor Sycamore, because as I already said in the Bunnelby part, discarding too many resources can come back to hurt you in later stages of the game. You also play Battle Compressor in this deck, making it very easy to get the turn-one Sycamore, and this is pretty much all you will need. You won't be using Professor Sycamore in the late game too much, justifying the lower count.
Two Hex Maniac
The high count of Hex Maniacs is explained very quickly. Most players expected a very high amount of Greninja players for this tournament, as it just recently won the Kalos Easter Tournament. The Regional didn't have as many Greninja players as expected, but there was still a decent amount of players that decided to use it, making the higher count of Hex maniacs a very good decision. Hex maniac is also very important against decks that run Aegislash-EX, since it's always a huge pain to attach three basic Energy to a single M Rayquaza-EX. Other than that you have the common utility that Hex Maniac brings with her and there will always be situations where it's nice to block your opponent’s Abilities.
Skyla is a very versatile card in decks like M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon. You're able to get cards like Mega Turbo, Sky Field and Float Stone whenever you need them, which is very nice, because you will mostly be missing one of these cards to get the knockout. Skyla also synergizes very nicely with puzzle of Time, as you can simply grab the second Puzzle from your deck if one is already in your hand. This combination on its own is already reason enough to run Skyla as it opens up for a lot of new plays.
Versus Night March
As I already mentioned for a dozen of times, this matchup is very bad for M Rayquaza and when you're expecting a lot of Night March players in your area, you should probably choose a different deck to play. If you still decide to play it, or if Night March is pretty much nonexistent in your area, you will have to focus your strategy around getting Jolteon-EX going. The best way to approach the matchup with this list is to put up Aegislash as your Active Pokémon, to wall for a few turns. If your opponent manages to get the Hex Maniac + knockout turn, you have to use Bunnelby and Zorua to give him one-Prize knockouts instead of free Shaymin or Hoopa. If you can manage to get back Aegislash with Puzzle of Time or Sacred Ash, you obviously want to put him up again.
After you get out Jolteon-EX, you will have to use it to preferably get rid of your opponents Night Marchers with Double Colorless Energy on it. It might seem very tempting to Lysandre their Shaymin, but if you leave their Double Colorless Energy in play, it's easier for them to get the Escape Rope + Lysandre + Attack turn, which is the worst case for Jolteon-EX. If they can't get the Escape Rope in time, or simply don’t run it, you will have to hope that they don't have enough Lysandres to get the knockouts on your Benched Pokémon, by simply ignoring Jolteon-EX. To prevent this you want to keep your Bench as small as possible and free from Shaymin-EX. To do so you can use AZ to pick up your Benched Pokémon. The best case scenario would be to just have Jolteon-EX in the active spot and no other Pokémon in play, which would completely prevent you opponent from taking knockouts. This occurs very rarely, but if you manage to do so, you will win pretty easy.
The Greninja matchup is pretty even, with a slight favor towards M Rayquaza-EX, especially when running two Hex Maniacs. In most cases you will want to get a M Rayquaza-EX with three Lighting Energy into play, so Jirachi won't be too big of a deal. If you lose this M Rayquaza-EX you will have to immediately get out a new one, or at least use a Hex Maniac during that turn to not lose two free Prizes due to cards like Shaymin-EX. If you're able to chain Hex Maniac constantly you will probably win, but if you can't the matchup goes into Greninja’s favor. There is not too much more to say about this matchup, as it mostly depends on these Hex Maniacs.
The Trevenant matchup depends a lot on your first turn, and if your opponent can get the turn-one Trevenant. If they can't get the turn one Trevenant and you're able to get a decent setup, you should be able to win the matchup in most cases. The most important thing is to not discard too many Energy, because if they get their setup, even if it's at a later turn, the can easily discard all of your Energy with team Flare Grunt and Xerosic, making it very hard for you to draw Prizes, if you don't have a new Energy in hand. The two Hex Maniacs are very useful in this matchup as the will often allow you some extra turns of Items, which will make it significantly easier to win. The biggest issue you will be facing is the Stadium war in the midgame. If you can't get your Sky Field into play, you won't be able to Knock Out a Trevenant BREAK. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to use you Puzzle of Time for a Sky Field and a VS Seeker or Hex Maniac. This way you will be able to also use Trainers on your next turn, allowing you to win the game.
If you can't get going fast enough, Trevenant will most likely win the game thanks to its Item-lock.
I hope you enjoyed this little look at M Rayquaza EX/Jolteon, as I think that this deck is very underrated and deserves more credit than other decks that aren't as good, but receive more attention, just because so many people are focused around Night March.
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