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Bradley Curcio

Everybody Loves Dragons

A review of some of my favorite decks utilizing the Dragon Type.

05/08/2015 by Bradley Curcio



Hello readers!  Today I want to go over something different from my past articles.  A lot of people get so worked up throughout the season, getting so into the competitive side of the game, that they forget the most important aspect of the game.  To just have fun!  With that, I want to go over some of what this new set has brought us, as well as revisit a lot of the older decks that can still be viable today.  And they all involve Dragons.  The new set alone has brought quite a few new Dragon Type Pokemon to play around with, and on top of that, some new tools for them to work with, like Double Dragon Energy.  So to take a break from the usual, I’ll be going over just some of the Dragon themed decks to play with after the new set, including one to be used in the Expanded format!

Mega Rayquaza

First up, we have Mega Rayquaza!  With a Skyfield in play, allowing you to extend your bench size to 8, you can hit for a massive 240 damage!  Wait, sorry, that’s the wrong Mega Rayquaza.  This one can hit for an absurd 300 damage, no matter what, knocking out almost anything that tries to stand in its way.  While it may not have the speed that the colorless Rayquaza possesses, it makes up for it in raw power.  And of course it’s a Dragon!


3-3 Mega Rayquaza  As your main attacker of the deck, you want to make sure you can get it out as quickly as possible.  Since you’re rarely going to be attacking with the non Mega version, since you don’t need to do any damage before you start knocking out any Pokemon in one hit with the Mega, you don’t really need to run more copies of the basic.  For 5 energy, it’s able to dish out a massive 300 damage, with the drawback of only having to discard 2 energy.  With the help of Double Dragon Energy, you’re able to put those energy right back on to continue swinging away!  Since it has a very respectable 230 HP, and a pretty uncommon weakness to Fairy Types, it’s going to be difficult for a lot of decks to deal with this beast in just one hit, leaving it to wreak havoc on whatever poor Pokemon your opponent leaves in its path.

4 Reshiram  Since you do need 5 energy to attack with the Mega Rayquaza, being able to accelerate energy onto him is a must.  Luckily, Reshiram can do just that.  Working similarly to Celebi Prime in the old Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus decks, it allows you to attach an extra energy card per turn, for each separate Reshiram you have active!  With the help of Hydreigon giving all your Dragon type Pokemon -2 retreat cost, or cards like Switch, you can attach several energy per turn, helping you set up multiple Mega Rayquaza EXs very quickly.  Since you want to ideally start with Reshiram, running 4 copies makes the most sense.

2 Shaymin EX  This card has been talked about so much, so it should be no surprise to see it pop up in so many different decks.  If you can afford the bench space, this card is probably worth playing.  Although this version of Rayquaza doesn’t rely on burning through its entire deck as quickly as it can, being able to draw extra cards during your turn, without the use of a Supporter, is still too good to pass up.  

1 Jirachi EX  Even though you can play Shaymin to draw cards, sometimes being able to search out a Supporter can just be better.  Whether you have a hand full of energy/items that you can’t burn to draw more cards with Shaymin, or if you just want access to a specific Supporter to help you the most on a specific turn, Jirachi can solve any of those problems, and more.

1 Hydreigon EX  Giving your Dragon Type Pokemon -2 retreat cost sounds pretty good already, but it’s even better since every Dragon Type Pokemon you run in the deck only has 2 retreat!  Giving almost your entire deck free retreat is amazing.  Being able to use Reshiram’s TurboBlaze ability to attach an energy, and then free retreat into your Mega Rayquaza to knock out your opponents Pokemon is exactly what this deck needs.

1 Lysandre  Being able to do 300 damage to your opponent's active Pokemon is great.  Being able to choose which Pokemon your opponent has active?  Even better.  Some things can definitely still pose a threat to your Mega Rayquaza, being able to take them out before they have a chance to hinder your gameplan is crucial.  

1 Lysandre’s Trump Card  Since you have to discard energy to attack, and naturally discard cards through the use of Sycamores and Ultra Balls, being able to put back precious resources into your deck is a must.  This also gives you the added benefit of being able to slow down other discard decks, such as Night March and Flareon, or even trying to slow down your Colorless Mega Rayquaza rivals!

4 Mega Turbo  Similarly to Reshiram, being able to power up your Mega Rayquaza as quickly as possible is very important.  Being able to do so through both your discard pile, and your hand makes it that much easier.  With so many ways to discard energy, it should be pretty easy to have at least one early on to help accelerate to a quick Dragon’s Ascent.  Also, Mega Turbo is great to help you re-power up a Mega Rayquaza that you were able to attack with previously.  Since you’re forced to discard energy for your attack, filling up your discard with energy happens naturally.  

4 Ultra Ball  You need to have several Pokemon on your bench quickly to ensure a quick set-up, so maxing out on Ultra Ball is a must.  Being able to discard Energies, or search out Shaymins/Jirachi to help draw through your deck is a fantastic plus as well.

3 Rayquaza Spirit Link  Since you have the means to power up your Mega Rayquaza as quickly as turn 2 with a decent start, you can’t afford to have to skip an entire turn to Mega Evolve.  Unlike poor Mega Charizard EX, this Mega Rayquaza was fortunate enough to get a Spirit Link, allowing you to forgo the skipping of your turn when you Mega Evolve, making it just that much better.

3 Switch  Even though most of your Pokemon can have free retreat, thanks to Hydreigon EX, switch can still prove to be very useful.  Being able to use multiple Reshiram’s TurboBlaze ability in a single turn can help you power up your Mega Rayquaza insanely quickly.  Or, if you’re forced to start with a non-dragon type Pokemon, being able to not have to attach energy to retreat them helps make sure you can still power up your Rayquaza as soon as possible.

3 Scorched Earth  Having a counter stadium in general is a good thing for most decks, so you don’t have to deal with the pesky Skyfields, Virbanks, or whatever your opponent wants to throw out at you.  

8 Fire Energy  Since you need Fire Energy for Reshiram’s Turbo Blaze ability, as discard fodder for Scorched Earth, and you need 3 Fire to use Mega Rayquaza’s Dragon Ascent, playing all basic Fire energy works out the best.  Having access to them in both your hand and your discard to make sure you’re able to accelerate them as quickly as possible is vital to the decks strategy.  

4 Double Dragon Energy  Normally having to discard two energy to use your main attack would prove detrimental, but Double Dragon Energy is able to fix that easily.  Although you can also use Mega Turbo or Reshiram to re-accelerate, attaching a single energy is usually much quicker.  Also, Mega Rayquaza needs a single Lightning energy in order to use its attack, so this is able to fulfill that requirement for you, and then some.

This should cover the basis of this powerhouse of a deck.  Next up, we have another new Dragon Type Pokemon from the set, Latios EX, and it’s Mega version!  Both of these cards have very interesting attacks, with the Basic being able to deal a quick 40 damage, and being able to attack even if you’re going first, allowing you to put pressure on immediately!  After Mega Evolving, you’re able to snipe your opponents bench for 120 damage, picking off anything you were able to damage earlier, or with the help of Golbat and Crobat, take some important Knock Outs on anything your opponent is trying to keep on the bench.  I’ll go over specific card choices, and this is the current list I’ve been trying out.

Mega Latios

4-3 Mega Latios EX  Unlike Rayquaza EX, you want to use the regular Latios EX’s attack, and want to make sure you start with it to attack with on the first turn.  Doing 40 damage is able to set up many Knock Outs on your opponents Pokemon.  With most EXs having 170 or 180 HP, being able to attack once will make taking the Knock Out with Sonic Ace much easier with the aid of your Crobat line.  Fast Raid can even take some quick Knock Out on a few basic Pokemon, such as Exeggcute, or weaken up other non-ex attackers enough to finish off with the help of your bats.  With 220 HP, you should be able to survive through a lot of attacks, and can abuse your Super Scoop Up to deny your opponents Prizes, while picking off their bench.  Most importantly, since Shaymin EX is now in almost every deck, being able to Knock them out while they sit on the bench, can allow you to completely ignore your opponent's main attacker, and just take quick, cheap prizes on your opponent's bench.

4-4-3 Crobat  Since your main attacker can only hit for 40 damage, or snipe for 120, you are unable to knock out a lot of Pokemon in a single hit.  Golbat and Crobats ability to do extra damage through the use of their ability will help you take those important knock outs right when you need to.  Zubat having free retreat as well makes it another fantastic starter, since you’re able to immediately retreat to your Latios and attack on the first turn.  If needed, Golbat and Crobat both have decent attacks, being able to spread even more damage wherever you need to on your opponent's side of the field.  Both do it for just a single colorless energy as well!

3 Shaymin EX You want to try and hit as many Zubats as possible on turn 1, so being able to draw as many cards as possible is very important.  With your heavy Ultra Ball, Repeat Ball, and Super Scoop Up count, being able to abuse Shaymins is relatively easy as well.  Much like every other deck, this card just adds even more consistency.

1 Jirachi EX Jirachi is still an amazing card, even with Shaymin in the format.  A lot of the time, being able to hit a specific Supporter, or just having access to a Sycamore is too good to pass up.  

2 N Normally I’d play more copies of this card, but I feel like with Shaymin, you don’t need to have as many supporters on the first turn of the game, so this card almost works more as disruption.  Since you can spread damage around on your opponent's side of the field without having to take Prizes, you can make some pretty insane comebacks with the help of Ning your opponent to a low hand.  

1 Lysandre  Even though you can deal damage to your opponent's bench, being able to bring a specific Pokemon of your opponents can have several uses.  First off, this deck has a giant weakness to Mr. Mime, so being able to bring it active and knock it out is a must.  Also, if you’re able to bring up something on your opponent's bench that they are unable to attack with, like a random Shaymin EX, or Jirachi EX, and then use Mega Latios to take a knock out on yet another one of your opponent's benched Pokemon, it’ll make them getting a return knock out that much harder.

1 AZ  Being able to reuse your Crobats, Shaymins, or even your Jirachi is amazing.  Being able to pick up a Mega Latios that’s close to being knocked out to deny your opponents is amazing, especially since the drawback of having to discard your energies/tools isn’t so bad, as you have to discard your energy to attack anyways.  Being able to do all of the above without a flip, or more importantly, while trainer locked, is even better.  AZ can do all of that.

4 Super Scoop Up  Similar to AZ, being able to reuse all of your Pokemon, or heal up your Mega Latios’, or even just using it to get something out of the active position that you don’t want there is fantastic.  Even though it’s a flip, and a trainer, being able to use multiple in a single turn definitely makes up for it.  Especially since it can effectively deal extra damage by reusing Crobat, draw extra cards by reusing Shaymin, or as a pseudo Max Potion by picking up your damage attacker, this card is amazing.

4 Ultra Ball, 2 Repeat Ball  You want to be able to fill your bench with Zubats, and search out Shaymin to try and draw through your deck, so playing multiple search cards is able to make sure that happens consistently.  With so many cards in your decks effectively having different effects depending on what Pokemon you decide to target, makes this deck both scary, and consistent.

3 Mega Turbo  Your main attacker forces you to discard energy, so being able to recycle those energy every turn is crucial.  Mega Turbo will help you to attach multiple energy a turn, to make sure you can continue using Sonic Ace over and over again, if you’re unable to find a Double Dragon Energy, or if you have to power up a brand new Mega Latios that has no energy at all on it.

3 Latios Spirit Link  Since you can abuse Fast Raid to attack on the first turn of the game, being able to follow that up with an immediate Sonic Ace the following turn, can put insane pressure on your opponent.  In order to do that, you obviously can’t waste a turn Mega Evolving, so the Spirit Link is a must.  Even though Muscle Band would be nice to enhance the damage of your basic Latios EX’s attack, the Spirit Link is even more vital to the decks strategy.

1 Computer Search  I’m still a big fan of being able to search out any card in your deck, since this deck plays several cards that it wants access to through the game, and Computer Search is able to do that very effectively.  However, playing Scoop Up Cyclone is another very viable Ace Spec of choice.  Much like AZ is very good, not requiring a flip, Scoop Up Cyclone is the same, and also not requiring your supporter for the turn.  I would definitely try out both Ace Specs to find out what works best for you!

4 Double Dragon Energy  Since Mega Latios has a very specific energy requirement of Psychic, Water, and Colorless to attack, being able to effectively have two rainbow energy is amazing.  And to do so with just a single attachment is insane!  Also, since you’re forced to discard 2 energy to attack, and this provides you with 2 energy, it’s even better!

3 Psychic Energy  Latios EX’s Fast Raid requires a Psychic energy to use, so to make sure you’re able to use it on the first turn as consistently as possible, playing more basic Psychic energy helps ensure that.

1 Water Energy  Just in case you have to attach 3 basic energy to attack, whether you can’t find a Double Dragon energy, or if you’re forced to attack into something like an Aegislash, you want to make sure you have that option.

Next up, we have an older Dragon Deck, that has potential to make a resurgence!  While the Strife Palkia deck wasn’t one of the biggest decks, with the success Donphan has had, and having a similar strategy to it, I feel like it has potential.  With Virizion Genesect decks on the decline, the threat of constant Red Signal isn’t there anymore.  Even though every deck plays Lysandre, they usually won’t be able to Lysandre until later turns in the game, hopefully giving you enough time to hinder their set-up.

Palkia Walls 

3 Palkia EX  Your main attacker.  You are able to hit and run to something else that ideally your opponent can’t handle, hopefully quickly enough before your opponent is in a position to Lysandre up your Palkia to deal with it.

3 Deoxys EX  Palkia only does 50 damage, but since it’s a Plasma Pokemon, it’s able to get a boost through Deoxys EX.  With just 2 Deoxys and a Muscle Band, you’re able to do a respectable 90 damage, knocking out any basic EX in just two hits.  

2 Sigilyph  These are your main walls in the deck.  A lot of decks only have a few answers to the Safeguard ability, and with the help of Genesect/Lysandre, you can try to pick them off until they have no answer at all anymore.  I run Sigilyph over Suicune, because with Psychic energy in the deck already, you can attack with Sigilyph if needed.

1 Snorlax, 1 Aegislash EX, 1 Latias EX, 1 Wobbuffet, Robo Substitute  Besides Sigilyph, these are some of the other walls you can hide behind.  All of them have their own uses against specific decks.  Snorlax can force your opponent to let you damage, or eventually knock out their Pokemon if they don’t run any switches.  Aegislash EX is able to absorb any damage from any opposing Pokemon that has any Special energy attached to it, which so many decks in this current format use.  Latias EX is able to absorb damage from anything with an ability, and even though some new Pokemon are deviating to the new Delta Abilities, like Growth and Evolution, there are still so many Pokemon with abilities that can’t hurt a Latias EX.  Wobbuffet, while it can’t absorb too many attacks, it can stop a lot of decks before they even get a chance to set up.  With a lot of decks using Shaymins as their main draw engine, if they don’t have access to a Supporter and completely rely on Shaymin to get them out of an otherwise poor hand, Wobbuffet can stop them before they even get a chance to set up.  Robo Substitute, while it usually won’t stick around for more than one hit, it still denies your opponent a prize card, which is perfect if you’re able to continually attack them back.

1 Genesect EX  You play Plasma energy already so you can power up your Palkia quickly, or even your Deoxys if you need the extra attacker, so playing Genesect is another great choice.  Being able to use your attachment for the turn instead of a supporter for a ‘catcher’ effect is fantastic.  Being able to pick off anything that has potential to threaten your Palkia is very important.

1 Keldeo EX  With 4 Float Stone in the deck, having a Keldeo on the bench can effectively give everything in your deck free retreat.  A way to slow you down is putting your active to sleep, or Paralyzing it, preventing you to retreat into your Palkia to continue your attack.  Another option is your opponent trying to stall by bringing up a Deoxys, or something else that’s just sitting on your bench.  Keldeo can completely negate both of these plays.  

3 Colress  Since your bench is almost always full in this deck, you’re not really able to utilize Shaymin as well as most other decks.  You already run the standard 4 Sycamore and 3 N, so the next best supporter is Colress.  And just like the reasoning that you’re unable to really use Shaymin, Colress loves it when you have a full bench.  Even if your opponent has no bench, filling yours up to 5 happens almost every game, making Colress a fantastic choice.

4 Float Stone  You want to make sure you’re able to use Palkia’s Strafe every single turn.  In order to do so, whatever Pokemon you bring active afterwards has to be able to retreat into Palkia.  Float stone is able to give any Pokemon free retreat, making your job just that much easier.  Or, if you’re able to get one onto your Keldeo early on in the game, everything in your deck will effectively have free retreat from that point on.

3 Colress Machine  Palkia requires 3 energy to attack, so powering it up in just one turn normally isn’t possible, but with Colress Machine and Double Colorless, suddenly it is.  Even though 50 damage isn’t the most, being able to put pressure on from the very first turn of the game makes it much more relevant.  Being able to have a surprise Deoxys out of no where as well can make for some very interesting plays.

2 Plasma Ball, 2 Ultra Ball  You want to get several Deoxys in play as quickly as possible, as the difference between a two or three shot can literally be the difference between a win and a loss.  However though, since you play a lot of walls that aren’t Plasma Pokemon, you can’t afford to strictly play Plasma Ball, making the 2/2 split of Plasma and Ultra Ball the most consistent.  

1 Silver Mirror  If Flareon is still a big deck in your area like it is in mine, being able to sit behind a Sigilyph or Snorlax with a Silver Mirror can single handedly shut down their entire deck, if they don’t run any way to get rid of the tool.

3 Frozen City  You don’t have a way to deal with a lot of Mega Pokemon, and a lot of decks benefit greatly from running a counter Stadium, and Frozen City is able to answer both of those problems.  If they’re forced to attach 2 energy at any point, suddenly they’re back in the two hit knock out range like any other EX would be, which makes a huge impact for you.  Just be careful to not attach energy to your non-plasma Pokemon when it’s in play if you can!

4 Double Colorless Energy  With just a Double Colorless and a Colress Machine, you can attack as quickly as turn one, putting on pressure very quickly.

4 Plasma Energy  Needed for Colress Machine, and just like Double Colorless, helps you get that quick Palkia out.  Also useful with Deoxy, and more importantly, with Genesect to abuse Red Signal after you’ve set up your Palkia.

3 Psychic Energy  8 Energy didn’t seem like enough, and since you run both Sigilyph and Deoxys, having an option to attack with both of those Pokemon seemed ideal.  Psychic energy fills both of those voids very nicely.  

With 3 different decks to try out in this post Roaring Skies format, I figure I’d mention a fantastic old deck, but this time, for the Extended format.   Similar to the list Jose Marrero ran at Worlds last year, heres a look at Garchomp for Extended.

Garchomp (Extended)

4-3-4 Garchomp  Your main attacker, and since it’s a non-ex, you want to stream as many as possible.  Forcing your opponent to take more than just 3 knock outs on EXs makes trades go insanely well in your favor.  With Gabite’s amazing ability, you can search out Pokemon turn after turn by just letting it gain you cards every turn, so having to search out your actual Garchomp is even easier.  Doing a respectable 60 damage, and discarding a special energy on your opponent's Pokemon can slow them down tremendously, especially against decks like Seismitoad that usually strictly only play 4 Double Colorless Energy.  With Double Dragon energy, you can power up a DragonBlade with just one Energy, for an even heavier 100 damage attack.  

2 Landorus EX  Since you’re not going to be attacking with Garchomp very quickly, turn 2 at best through Wally or Rare Candy, being able to chip away at your opponent's HP to set up key knock outs is important.  Luckily, Landorus can do just that, and to multiple Pokemon at once!  

1 Miltank  This give you another attacker to use in a pinch, and doing a quick 80 damage is nothing your opponent can ignore.

1 Jirachi, 1 Shaymin  Being able to draw cards, or search out supporters is vital to any deck, and this deck isn’t the exception!   

4 Sycamore, 3 N, 1 Colress  A pretty standard supporter line up.  Even though this deck is able to fill it’s bench with relative ease, playing more Colress isn’t as needed since you don’t need to be digging for a lot of cards after you’re able to set up a Gabite or two.

2 Lysandre  You struggle knocking out fresh EXs in just one hit, so being able to pick and choose what you’re attacking is a must.  

1 Lysandre’s Trump Card  With DragonBlade, you can discard some very vital cards, and Trump Card is able to put them right back into your deck.  Also, after a Garchomp or two gets Knocked out, being able to Trump Card them back into your deck, and immediately search them back out with your heavy Ball count, and Gabite, makes streaming Garchomps very efficient.  

2 Wally  Setting up a Gabite helps you set up your Garchomps very effectively.  Being able to get a Gabite out on turn one is amazing.  Playing Wally also gives you another out to setting up the Turn 2 Garchomp.

4 Hypnotoxic Laser/2 Virbank City Gym  Having both of these let's Landorus pile on damage very quickly, and makes your Mach Cut two shot most EXs, and even lets your DragonBlade threaten one hit knock outs after Landorus is able to do a little bit of damage.

3 Level Ball, 2 Ultra Ball  Level Ball searches out a lot of your deck on its own.  Gible, Gabite, Jirachi, and even Miltank.  Once you get out your Gabite, you can use it’s ability to search out your Garchomps, so you don’t need to use an Ultra Ball to get them.  Ultra Ball can work as Level Balls number 4 and 5, or search out your Landorus/Shaymins early on, or whenever you need them.

2 Rare Candy  Even though this might seem like a card you want to max out on to get out Garchomp as soon as possible, that’s not always what this deck is trying to do.  Being able to use Gabite to get you a lot of value, while hiding behind a Landorus that’s helping you set up your 6 prizes, can usually help you close out games much more efficiently.  Playing Rare Candy can still let you have a Gabite on your bench, and evolve a separate Gible straight into Garchomp, letting you stream Garchomps even easier by not having to evolve your Gabite.

6 Fighting Energy  Both Landorus and Garchomp use just a single Fighting energy for their first attacks, so this is the perfect basic energy for the deck.  

3 Double Dragon Energy  After a single Hammer Head hitting 2 separate EX Pokemon, Garchomp can come up with a Double Dragon Energy, Muscle Band, and Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym in play to hit for 150 damage, KOing any EX that already had 30 damage on it.  Being able to power up DragonBlade with just a single energy is too good to pass up.

Who is the most powerful Dragon Pokémon?What do you think?


Overall, I hope this gave you a different view on some of the potential decks that can emerge with Roaring Skies, as well as some of the older decks that can still deal with a lot of the decks in our crazy format.  Even better that they all get to use one of the coolest types in the Pokemon history, Dragons.  There are still a ton of crazy ideas to explore, and with a bit of testing and dedication, any of the decks that some people would just consider ‘fun’ can be made to be very competitive, taking down several of the ‘best’ decks.  Keep looking out for more articles, and keep your eyes out for more information to come about our very own invitational!  If any of you plan to attend Kansas Regionals, feel free to come say hi!  Until next time, thanks for reading!



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