Experts' corner

Chris Fulop

Roaring Skies and My Good Friend Rayquaza

I Go Over The Newest Expansion, Roaring Skies, And Discuss The New Mega Rayquaza EX Decks I've Worked On.

04/22/2015 by Chris Fulop

Roaring Skies Set Review

Hello everyone! While, to me at least, it feels like Primal Clash had just been released, we are coming up to the pre-release weekend for the next expansion, Roaring Skies. I actually think that the Japanese name for the set, Emerald Break, is cooler. Roaring Skies is a pretty good name ( Pokemon is pretty hit or miss on this. They have printed some pretty embarrassing names before. ) I just feel like Emerald Break is absolutely fantastic. I can see why they went with the name change though. When writing this, I only have the Japanese spoiler translations for the cards to go off of, so I want to lead with the disclaimer that card names may not end up being the same between what I refer to them as, and what we get printed. This very rarely happens anymore, but sometimes the wording of cards between spoiler and print is different, which is the main reason I wanted to point out what I am basing my review off of.

Anyways, me and this set's showcase Pokemon, Rayquaza, share a bit of a history. Rayquaza is my favorite Legendary Pokemon, by a fairly large margin. ( I normally don't really delve too much into the 'Pokemon fan' side of myself while writing about the card game, but there is still a pretty large part of myself which enjoys turning my brain off a bit and just enjoying the franchise. ) I was lucky enough to take 2nd at Worlds in Orlando in 2004 using a deck featuring the Rayquaza EX from the old Dragons expansion, and I'd be lying if I wasn't particularly thrilled to have gotten one of my favorite Pokemon into my Worlds deck which got printed. I was a huge fan of the Pokemon prior to this, and I think that really just amplified my love of Rayquaza even further.

In 2007, I won US Nationals with a deck showcasing the delta Rayquaza EX Pokemon front Dragon Frontiers. Needless to say, Rayquaza has always treated me well. It was one of the reasons I was so enthralled by both Ray-Eels and Ray-Boar the past couple of seasons. ( My favorite card art of any card printed is the Full Art Rayquaza EX from Dragons Exalted. Sadly, none of the new Rayquaza cards from Roaring Skies manage to top that one for me. The warm color scheme of the card just really makes the art come to life for me, and none of the newer ones manage to come off nearly as vivid. )

Just when I figured I couldn't love Rayquaza much more than I did, they gave him an absolutely beautiful Mega Form ( I have generally disliked the mega forms for Pokemon, and feel like most look either super convoluted or just worse than the Pokemon they stem from. ) and gave him a couple of really powerful cards in this new set. I couldn't be too much happier right now regarding Pokemon.

I always find myself at a bit of a loss for how to organize the order of cards in a set for review ( You'll notice I end up changing it up every time I do a set review ) so this time I'm just going to lead with my boy Rayquaza. ( I don't think it is actually a boy...I believe Rayquaza is genderless, but we'll stick with this saying. ) Beyond this, I'll be going over any of the cards in the set that "stand out" to me. Even if a card isn't actually good, if it is unique or exciting, I try and touch on it.

Mega Rayquaza EX x2 + Rayquaza EX x2 + Rayquaza Spirit Link

M Rayquaza-EX 

Δ Evolution: Once during your turn (before your attack), you may play this card from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon even if that Pokemon was put into play this turn or if it’s your first turn.

[C][C][C] Emerald Break: 30x damage. Does 30 damage times the number of Pokemon on your Bench. 

I'm just going to lump the five "Rayquaza" cards together and discuss them as one. Lets discuss the Colorless pair first, as I feel they are the stronger of the two. The obvious goal here is to get out Mega Rayquaza as it's Emerald Break attack can deal ridiculous amounts of damage. Historically, "Do The Wave" type attacks have been very powerful, as they are often designed to scale pretty well due to the additional "cost" of the attack associated with having to do extra work to fill your bench. The damage to energy cost ratio is pushed pretty hard due to the additional "work" needed to be done to make the attack optimized. That said, it has always been pretty easy to fill your bench, so this cost is pretty easily mitigated. For 3 colorless energy, Mega Rayquaza gets to do 30 damage for each Pokemon on your bench. Prior to any tools, this means Rayquaza gets to do 150 for 3 energy, which is really powerful even with the current power creep! Keep in mind, one of these can be a Double Colorless Energy, so it is pretty easy to expect this Pokemon to be able to attack on the 2nd turn.

This Rayquaza was printed with the intent to be able to be very aggressive. While it's atack cost makes it possible to attack on the second turn, it is handicapped by being a Mega Evolution. First off, we are spared some grief due to it getting a Spirit Link as a means to cheat the turn ending issue. ( Can we please print Spirit links for older Megas? It feels like the design team figured out the Mega rule was crippling a bit too late here. ) Beyond this, we get the introduction of a new Trait on Mega Rayquaza: Alpha Evolution. This allows evoluton to take place the turn a Pokemon comes into play, even if it is on your first turn! For anyone who played when Broken Time Space was legal, you know how degenerate this can be. ( Fun story: In my set review for Platinum, I was pretty down on BTS's playability...I now put the card as one of the most broken and imbalanced cards ever printed. Hopefully I am not so wildly off the mark on any of my evaluations on this set! )

Alpha Evolution makes it so you can waste your "skipped turn" on your first turn of the game, so by the time your second turn, and chance at 3 energy rolls around, you can crash in with Emerald Break. So you have two lines to get a turn 2 attacking Mega Rayquaza: Using a Spirit Link, or by evolving it on your first turn. You also get a chance to live the dream. It is possible to attack with Emerald Break on the first turn of the game. There is another card in this set, Mega Turbo, which is an Item card that lets you attach an energy from the Discard Pile to one of your Mega Pokemon. Therefore, if you are able to get Rayquaza EX, Mega Rayquaza EX, the Spirit Link, a discarded Basic Energy, Mega Turbo, and a Double Colorless Energy, you can turn 1 Emerald Break. This requires a whole lot of cards to accomplish, but I believe there are enough cards in this set which can help create a gimmicky enough engine for a deck to stand a realistic chance at pulling this off. Clearly this isn't happening close to every game, and half the games you can't attack anyways, but that kind of draw is very alluring as it should be pretty hard to lose those games. This set offers us Trainer's Post, Winona, and Shaymin EX as cards which can work towards crafting an engine which can try and pump out a turn one Mega Rayquaza.

The last card I need to bring up for this card is the new stadium card Skyfield. It allows players to have a maximum bench size of 8 Pokemon. While this is good in general, its absurd with Emerald Break, as rather than capping at 150 damage ( Which is good enough to KO a non-EX Pokemon ) we can now hit 240 damage, which takes out even the beefiest Mega EX Pokemon in one blow. I'm extremely excited by the prospect of working with Rayquaza, and at the end of this article I'll go over a few of the deck lists I've been brainstorming for using the card.

With 170 HP for the EX and 220 for the Mega form, Rayquaza is pretty beefy. Both of these numbers seem to be pretty par for course for their card types, but they make the Pokemon pretty challenging to take out in one hit. Since we can assume Rayquaza attacks for 2 energy ( since we get DCE ) most of the time, it taking 2 hits to KO is super important. This parity makes it so it functions as a stand alone attacker you can focus on. You don't need to run anything to help offset energy costs, as the attack flow is naturally sustaining. This is particularly true since Mega Turbo makes powering the Pokemon in a turn pretty easy.

Weakness to Lightning is a bit of an annoyance, unfortunately. Manectric EX scores a one hit kill if you play down a Spirit Link, and if you don't, you still risk eating a Head Ringer kill. Mega Manectric's 110 damage hits the mark dead on for a one hit kill. While this seems terrible, I'm not too sure you can't just keep up with the one hit kills. Sure, they get to OHKO you off type advantage, but you can just one hit them back and are pretty easy to power up. It'll be interesting to see how much this matters. The bigger issue stems from Night March, which can just destroy Rayquaza with the tiny Joltik. Being a non-EX Lightning Pokemon who can easily OHKO Rayquaza for a DCE makes Night March a real nightmare matchup. I can't imagine any dedicated Rayquaza deck being able to beat Night March.

As for the normal Rayquaza EX, both are pretty underwhelming. The "better" one, at first glance, is the 170 HP one. The first attack hits for 10, and 60 against an EX Pokemon for one energy. This would mean more if your turn 2 attack, ideally Emerald Break, wasn't likely going for a OHKO anyways. I guess if you aren't able to fill your bench with a Skyfield, that 60 damage does mitigate that. Dragon Pulse, the second attack, does 100 damage for three energy, but milling your deck of 3 cards. What is annoying here is that the math winds up being 10 damage shy of being able to two hit almost any EX card. 60 plus 100 only hits the 160 mark, and I'd have no intention of running Muscle Band, Laser, or any other means by which to milk any additional damage out of my deck. I can't really be too hard on the card though since it is clearly a stepping stone for it's Mega Form.

Rayquaza-EX – Dragon – HP180

[C][C] Dragon Claw: 30 damage.
[R][R][L][C] Dragon Strike: 130 damage. Flip a coin. If tails, this Pokemon can’t use Dragon Strike during your next turn.


M Rayquaza-EX – Dragon – HP230

Δ Wild: Damage done to this Pokemon by attacks from your opponent’s [G], [R], [W], and [L] Pokemon is reduced by 20.

When a Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

[R][R][R][L][C] Dragon Ascent: 300 damage. Discard 2 Energy attached to this Pokemon.

The alternative Rayquaza EX has 180 HP, and a weakness to Fairy instead of Lightning, and Dragon type. This is pretty nice, but ideally the Pokemon will be quickly Mega Evolved so it shouldn't make a big difference. It's attacks are worse, with the more powerful Dragon Strike requiring two different types of energy to do 130 damage. The attack isn't actually all that bad, but it is pretty restrictive on what types of energy you have to run. All of the ideas I've had for a Mega Rayquaza deck so far run very few energy at all, and four of those are DCE. This makes the attack extremely unlikely to be supported. There is a new Reshiram in this set that could theoretically pair well with this Dragon type version, but since the real pay off of the line is still the Mega Form, I just feel like using Mega Turbo is an easier source of energy acceleration for this card.

There is a second Mega Rayquaza EX, but it isn't even remotely playable. While it has more HP than the better Mega Rayquaza, and a rarer Weakness ( Again, to Fairy. ) it's attack is pretty atrocious. For five energy, you do 300 damage, but discard 2 Energy. The damage is cute, as 300 may as well just read "knock it out", as would 240 really. Ok, I guess this guy can KO a Mega Aggron EX with 4 Shield Energy and a Hard Charm. Go Rayquaza!

One thing the card does have going for it is the printing of Double Dragon Energy. This helps cut down on the effective cost of the attack, but it still remains really costly. Maybe I'm underestimating how much acceleration you can get from the new Special Energy card, Reshiram, and Mega Turbo. I just think that, for how much work you'd have to go through, that you'd be better off using the "better" Mega Rayquaza to be scoring OHKOs.

This Rayquaza also introduces another new Trait, Alpha WIld. It gives the Pokemon effective resistance to four types, which is cool. I guess it is better than resistance, as attacks which "ignore resistance" don't get past it. With 230 HP, cutting 20 damage off attacks actually does add up. Alpha Wild is effective against Water types as well, which is important when dealing with Seismitoad EX. That is a card in particular where trimming even 20 damage off of each Quaking Punch -really- adds up. I mean, on the other hand, I really don't want to be using a Pokemon with a 5 energy cost attack that banks on Item cards and Special Energy to stay powered against Seismitoad decks though.

Anyways, in closing, this line really has a ton to offer. It is difficult to OHKO, can be powered up in one turn from an empty field, and can OHKO any Pokemon under ideal circumstances. While it is easy to showcase its perfect performances ( Which are not that difficult to accomplish ) the card is good even under weaker draws. The fact it requires all colorless energy makes it very flexible in terms of what you can run to support it too.

Rating: 9/10 for Colorless
Rating: 4/10 for Dragon

Thundurus EX

Thundurus EX is an interesting Pokemon. It's first attack does 30 damage, forcing a coin flip to either hit for an extra 30 damage or paralyzing the defending Pokemon for a pair of energy. This is extremely average, if not subpar. ( Remember, this is the same attack cost of Emerald Slash and Evil Ball! ) The second attack, Voltage Crush, is a bit better, doing 150 damage and 50 damage to Thundurus for 3 Lightning Energy. This is just not a good attack. 150 damage is ok, but there is no good way to power Thundurus up, and 3 energy is just way too much when you realize Thundurus half cripples itself in the process. Even with Muscle Band, Voltage Crash fall short of getting KOs on half the EX Pokemon in decks. The attack requires all Lightning Energy, so the card isn't even splashable for type coverage. Whatever you could maybe accomplish if you made enough compromises to try and make this card work is just not strong enough to make it competitive. Even in Expanded, where you have Eelektrik, I'm pretty sure it is just worse than the alternatives. I imagine Zekrom EX is just a better card than this in that role. While the second attack costs an extra energy, not reducing yourself to 120 HP by just attacking has to be worth it.

I feel like I just went into way too much detail to say "This card sucks". But yes, this card sucks.

Rating: 2/10

Gallade EX annd Mega Gallade EX and Gallade Spirit Link

Gallade-EX – Psychic – HP170

[P][C] Speed Jab: 30 damage. You may have your opponent switch his or her Active Pokemon with 1 of his or her Benched Pokemon.

[P][P][P] Side Slasher: 50+ damage. This attack does 20 more damage for each Prize card you have.


M Gallade-EX – Psychic – HP220

[P][P][C] Mudou Blade: 110 damage. This attack does 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon that already have any damage counters on them. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon.)

Ok, I love the throwback design for both of these Pokemon! Gallade's Side Slasher attack ( I am extremely curious to see what all of these attack names wind up as in the English release of these cards. ) harkens back to the Secret Wonder's Gallade, which let you flip over prize cards to do 20 additional damage per prize card. Unfortunately here, the attack cost is a lot more demanding, and we do not have Scramble Energy. Beyond that, HP totals are much higher, and this only hits 170 damage if you have all 6 prizes left. On the plus side, the damage output doesn't drop off the face off a cliff after using it the first time. Still, you know the second an EX Pokemon has a Mega Form that the basic is really just filler and the meat of the line is on the Mega Form. Moduo Blade ( Yeah, no WAY that name translates the same. ) captures the spirit of the Gallade Level X card from years ago in that it focuses on picking on damage Benched Pokemon. I kind of wish they would have let the normal Gallade EX have attacks which fed into this better. For three energy, the damage output on this card is pretty reasonable. 110 damage is not weak, and 30 damage to the bench is pretty substantial. There are plenty of Pokemon available now which do cheap spread damage to the bench to enable this. The Crobat line is already popular, and I could see them being a great partner to set up bench damage for Gallade. The attack cost is a bit prohibitive, as 3 energy is a pretty hefty investment, until you realize two things. First, you have Dimensional Valley to trim off the colorless cost, making it actually attack for only 2 energy. You also have Mega Turbo to attach additional energy to it. With those cards, it is actually quite affordable. If you wanted to go with the Crobat support alongside Dimensional Valley, you also can put all of your attachments onto the Gallades since Crobat and Co. attack for free under Valley.

The card does have a few problems. It requires a lot of props to make it work, and that is demanding on deck space. You need a reasonable sized line of the card, Dimensional Valley, Mega Turbo, the Spirit Link, plus whatever other Pokemon you want to run that is in charge of putting damage around. If you went Crobat, thats a huge line you also have to fit. The card is at least above average in terms of how powerful it is, but it doesn't strike me as being extremely above the curve. Even under the right circumstances it seems like it is just a tier below say, the Rayquaza, or a lot of the big tier 1 Pokemon. Most decks now are unable to be inherently good against every deck in the field, which is to be expected in such a wide open format, but that becomes a problem when the structure you build around a card such as Gallade requires so much framework. When space is as tight as I imagine it would be for a Gallade deck, you don't have a lot of flexibility regarding what you can add to support the cards weaknesses. Not only does it require a lot of fluff cards, but the attack cost requires a lot of Psychic energy, which limits support attacker options. On top of this, Mr. Mime is still a popular card, and one that will really mess with this. Between Crobat and Primal Kyogre, bench damage is going to stay a presence in this format, and as a result, decks will continue to play Mr. Mime, and that is a major strike against Gallade.

I don't think the line is good enough to really make a splash competitively overall. I think it is good enough that you can build a deck around it that wins, but I just don't see it ever putting up the kind of results where I'd honestly say it is justifable to run in a major tournament.

Rating: 5/10

Latios EX And Mega Latios EX And Latios Spirit Link

Latios EX is an interesting card. "Fast Raid", Latios' first attack, is able to attack on the first turn, so you can reliably expect a deck utilizing this card to come out of the gates swinging. While 40 damage isn't inherently super impressive, for a lone energy on a Pokemon who is always able to attack on turn one it is very pressuring. Pair it with a Muscle Band and possibly Hypnotoxic Laser and you are able to do 90 damage on the first turn. Against decks like Crobat, Flareon, and Exeggcutor, this type of early game pressure is going to really be effective.

Latios' second attack, "Light Pulse" is pretty underwhelming. For four energy, of two different types, you deal 110 damage, preventing effects of attacks besides damage done to Latios. That type of barrier rarely matters, and is extremely underwhelming. What you wind up with is an overpriced, underwhelming attack. To make it more frustrating, 110 damage is 10 shy of a "magic number". With Band and Laser, you hit for 160 in a turn. Hitting a possible 170 with that package at least threatens some of the popular EX Pokemon. Double Dragon Energy helps offset some of the attack cost, but even at 3 energy, I'm underwhelmed.

Mega Latios has Sonic Ace, which for 3 energy snipes a Pokemon for 120 damage. Unfortunately, it also discards 2 energy to perform the attack. I'm pretty underwhelmed by this card, since the whole package offers no one hit potential, and it's attack costs are pretty high. Mr. Mime is popular, so bench hitting attacks are still a bit weaker than they could be. I think a big problem for me here is that 120 damage is just not OHKOing any of the major attackers. You also run into a bit of a disconnect between the need to use a Spirit Link to get the Mega form into play and the desire to really push the pressure with Latios EX with Muscle Band.

The final complaint I have about the Pokemon is it's attack cost typing. Psychic is a fairly ill supported type, and Water doesn't really offer a ton either. I mean, both types are fine, but their best cards really require a deck built around them, or just don't offer much towards what this deck is trying to do. I'm maybe just crutching on my love of Crobat at the moment, but I could see that making a fairly good pairing with this card. The extra damage really helps Latios hit numbers, and Mega Latios EX really helps pressure Pokemon on the bench. I'm not sure how much of this is Latios looking impressive and how much of this is "Crobat is a really good Pokemon", though.

Rating: 5/10

Shaymin EX

If Rayquaza is the most hyped card in this set, Shaymin is the second most so. One of the major complaints about this format is a lack of reliable consistency. Almost every deck is forced to run Jirachi EX as a sort of safety net to get around dead draws. Some decks, such as certain Exeggcutor builds, and Flareon, go as far as to run 2 copies of the card. Jirachi is huge liability: it has only 90 HP, and is stuck in play unless you have some additional mean to get it off of your bech.

Shaymin has a similar role to play, drawing your hand up to 6 cards with it's Ability when you play it in vein of the old Uxie. Since a major role played by Jirachi was protection from mid and late game Ns, filling your hand up to six covers that purpose well. In early game, there will be hands here "drawing up to six" isn't going to be wildly effective. That said, there are two approaches to using Shaymin EX: As a Jirachi-esque safety net, or as a part of a gimmick engine. If you use it in the former role, you only want to use it early on if you have a dead hand. Most of these times, you can get your hand pretty low. Your hand can't have any good Supporters in it, an excess of which is responsible for most clogged hands. Since most early uses of Shaymin will be enabled by the use of an Ultra Ball to grab it, that helps to lower your hand size for it as well. If you look at any deck aiming to use Bicycle in the past ( or Archie's Ace In The Hole ) you see how easy it can be to implement an engine meant to embrace these types of effects.

While you can argue "Both Shaymin and Jirachi are EX Pokemon with low HP, and a Juniper's 7 card are more reliable than what you get off the average Shaymin use". This is true, but it also counts as your Supporter use for the turn. Shaymin can be used and -then- lead to a Supporter too. Shaymin can lead to more impressive overall turns for decks, especially if you skew how you build your deck around it. Also, the difference between hit points is not negligible. While both get picked off by most reasonable attacks, Shaymin is less of a liability. 

Shaymin also benefits from it's attack, which also captures the spirit of it's predecessor in Uxie. While Jirachi rots on your bench, for a pair of colorless energy, Shaymin EX can do 30 damage and bounce itself, and all attached cards to your hand. This both gets it off your bench, denying the opponent the Lysandre target and freeing up a bench space, but it also lets you re-use its Ability.

This isn't just a strict upgrade to Jirachi EX though, as Jirachi does offer some great utility with the more "toolbox" type approach a lot of decks are taking with Supporters right now. Due to VS Seeker, and to a lesser extent the use of Battle Compressor alongside it, decks are running a lot of one-of Supporters since VS Seeker nets you additional copies of them. Jirachi helps facilitate that type game plan. Jirachi also is better at getting you a necessary N or Lysandre at the end of the game when needed. This is fairly useful in particular when being Quaking Punched.

The other option I mentioned earlier was to build a gimmick engine around Shaymin. Jirachi is limited by the fact that it's draw still comes in the form of your "once a turn" Supporter. Shaymin can be chained to give yourself really impressive turn. The new Stadium card Skyfield lets you have a bench of 8 Pokemon, which makes room for a lot of Shaymin. One of the cute tricks with Skyfield comes from discarding it as way to cleane your bench of unwanted clutter. You can fill a bench full of Shaymin and then play a counter stadium to get rid of them. With Trump Card, you can start really abusing this. With an Item based engine, possibly including Super Scoop Up, you can keep using Shaymin over and over again.

The last card worth noting that plays well with the Colorless Shaymin EX is Winona. Winona grabs you three colorless Pokemon, so if you wanted a gimmick engine with a slew of Shaymin, that is the starting point to get it going. In a deck such as Rayquaza, where the main attacker is also Colorless, this is a pretty powerful play.

It'll be interesting to see how decks end up choosing between Shaymin and Jirachi, but I am super excited to try this new Pokemon out in a lot of my decks.

Rating: 9/10

Hydreigon EX

Hydreigon-EX – Dragon – HP180

Ability: Dragon Road
If there is a Stadium card in play, the Retreat Cost of each of your [N] Pokemon is [C][C] less.

[P][D][C] Shred: 80 damage. This attack’s damage isn’t affected by any effects on your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

"Darkrai EX was too good, so lets try this again, just a lot worse". That is what I am taking from Hydreigon EX. Ok, this isn't a really fair assessment of the card because while "retreat cost is reduced by two" is definitely worse than "retreat cost is free", only requiring a Stadium in play opposed to needing a Dark energy attached to the active is a pretty big difference. Hydreigon's Ability is only effective for Dragon Pokemon though, and that is a pretty big deal. Darkrai's ability to work on all types ( Especially with say, Keldeo EX's Rush In ) made it such a powerful card. To rub salt in the wound, while Hydreigon clears 2 energy off of retreat costs, Hydreigon sits at a retreat cost of 3.

Beyond the difference in Abilities, Darkrai's Night Spear was miles better than Hydreigon's 80 damage Shred attack. As an EX, it actually is just worse than the Shred given to the "Secret Rare" Rayquaza from Dragons Exalted. As HP creeps higher, losing 10 damage is even less desired.

While I'm happy to sit here and complain "this isn't Darkrai", a Pokemon which has had more success at Worlds than any other in history ( So a pretty lofty bar to reach ) the card still isn't bad. If there is a deck that uses a lot of Dragon type Pokemon, it seems like this is just an automatic inclusion for it's utility. The attack is also made somewhat better by the fact you can use Double Dragon Energy.

Rating: 6/10


Beautifly – Grass – HP130
Stage 2 – Evolves from Silcoon

Ability: Miracle Scale
Prevent all damage done to this Pokemon by your opponent’s Pokemon-EX.

[G][C][C] Whirlwind: 80 damage. You may have your opponent switch his or her Active Pokemon with 1 of his or her Benched Pokemon.

I'll always touch on any Pokemon which has a "Safeguard" effect preventing damage from EX Pokemon. As a Stage 2, the card is clearly worse off than either Suicune or Sigilyph, the card's competition. The only real selling point beyond this is that decks run Silent Lab, which turn those two cards off, where as Beautifly isn't impacted by that. I still think a Stage 2 is asking too much for an effect most decks have some way to play around. The Basics are functional because of how little they ask you to devote towards running and using them so they actually disrupt them at minimal cost to you. Beautifly would be really demanding to get out, and I think not be impactful enough to matter usually.

Rating: 3/10

Articuno and Dustox

Dustox – Grass – HP130

Δ Plus: Take 1 more Prize card if your opponent’s Pokemon is Knocked Out by damage from this Pokemon’s attacks.

[G] Pound: 20 damage. 
[G][C][C] Stone Wind: This attack does 50 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon.)


Articuno – Water – HP120

Δ Plus: Take 1 more Prize card if your opponent’s Pokemon is Knocked Out by damage from this Pokemon’s attacks.

[W] Cold Sigh: Your opponent’s Active Pokemon is now Asleep.
[W][W][C] Tri Edge: 20+ damage. Flip 3 coins. This attack does 40 more damage times the number of heads.

These Pokemon both have Alpha Plus, which is Plasma Lugia EX's Ability as a Trait. Unfortunately, both of these Pokemon are fairly awful. Dustox barely does any damage at all, and is a clunky stage 2. I won't even humor it being viable. Articuno, as a large HP Basic, fares a bit better. It's second attack has the potential to do real damage, but it is unreliable and expensive. I could maybe see some bad deck pairing it with Blastoise to swarm them, using non-EX attackers that take additional prizes to win the exchange, but the flippy nature of the card is so offputting, even with Fliptini as support. Articuno's first attack is nice, though, as it can disrupt Seismitoad EX's Quaking Punches at least. I'd be very surprised to see either of these sleeved up, but the Trait is exciting and worth addressing.

Rating: 1/10 for Dustox
Rating: 3/10 for Articuno


Shuppet – Psychic – HP60
Basic Pokemon

[P] Akanbe: Choose a Special Energy attached to 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon and discard it. 

Ok, this card has a unique enough effect that I wanted to at least discuss it. As currently translated, for one Psychic energy, it discards a Specal Energy off of any of your opponent's Pokemon. Being able to harass energy even on the bench is really powerful and can soft lock some decks. I imagine this card, at 60 HP, could be a real pain against Seisitoad EX. Being able to promote it into a Toad and forcing them to have a second DCE, plus Laser and either Band or Virbank is pretty demanding. I'm not entirely sure what deck I'd want to use it in really, though. I don't think the deck has space for it due to being so streamlined, but I could see it being useful in Night March where you can use Mew EX to copy the attack. That is also a deck struggling with Quaking Punch locks, so having it as a means to break the lock could be a function the deck actually wants.

Rating: 4/10


Banette – Psychic – HP80

Ability: Hidden Tools

As long as this Pokemon is in play, each Pokemon Tool attached to both player’s Pokemon has no effect.

[P][C][C] Psycho Shot: 60 damage. 

Banette offers an interesting Ability which turns off tools. There are actually a loot of really troublesome tools, so this could see some play as a disruptive counter measure to some of the more obnoxious ones. Lets look over what cards it impacts. Muscle Band and Silver Bangle are widely played cards. Some decks really rely on them to make their Pokemon's damage output viable. It stops G-Booster in Genesect decks. Life Dew has seen play in various decks, ranging from Donphan to more fringe deck like Empoleon/Magnezone. Life Dew's stock has risen quite a bit due to Trump Card. You also off Focus Sash, even though the card doesn't see a lot of play. It bypasses Head Ringer and Jamming Net. It also turns off Spirit Links. With Mega Turbo, the viability of Mega Pokemon looks to go way up, and if so, this could actually matter. Unfortunatly, you won't be running a very thick line of this card, so I imagine you lose the race on that front more often than not. This card probably won't hit play before they get to use their Links. I'm likely forgetting a few Tools too, but it just goes to show how many cards this can mess with. I wish it would have just prevented Tools from being played, as it would be an interesting counter to Garbodor then.

Rating: 5/10

Banette – Psychic – HP90

Δ Evolution: Once during your turn (before your attack), you may play this card from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon even if that Pokemon was put into play this turn or if it’s your first turn.

[P] Evolution Jammer: 20 damage. Your opponent can’t play a Pokemon from his or her hand to evolve the Defending Pokemon during his or her next turn.
[P][C] Deep Curse: Put 5 damage counters on your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

Another Alpha Evolution Pokemon, the second Banette continues the trend of this line just disrupting specific strategies. Evolution Jammer only does 20 damage but it prevents the defending Pokemon from evolving on the next turn. While the effect is cool, being restricted to only impacting their active really guts the card of its value. I wanted to at least discuss the card due to it's unique offers, but it falls too short of playable. I like how they gave it it's trait so it can always race the opponent's chance to evolve their Pokemon and lock them out.



Ninjask – Grass – HP70

Ability: Wing Buzz
Once during your turn (before your attack), if this Pokemon is your Active Pokemon, you may discard a card from your hand. Then, discard the top card of your opponent’s deck.
[G][C] Spectrum Attack: 30 damage. Search your deck for 2 Ninjask and put them onto your Bench. Shuffle your deck afterward.

Just hear me out on this ok? So you get a bunch of them in play, and you retreat between them, using Wing Buzz, and you discard their Lysandre's Trump Card, and then all four of their VS Seeker, and you deck th...ok, yea. Never mind.

Rating: 2/10


Deoxys – Psychic – HP110

[C] First Contact: You can use this attack on your first turn. Draw 2 cards.

[P][C] Overdrive Smash: 30 damage. During your next turn, this Pokemon’s Overdrive Smash attack does 60 more damage. 

Deoxys has an attack similar to Latios EX, in that it can be used even if going first. Drawing 2 cards is nice, but probably not strong enough to justify playing in decks. I actually feel like the "no attacks on the first turn" should have been "no damage on the first turn", as it would open up the viability of a lot of supporting attacks. Instead, cards with Call for Family, or card draw effects are just not worth playing when they are only able to be used half the time, as you can't really justify playing them with the intent to start using them on the second turn. The game is too fast for that. Deoxys at least circumvents that. Deoxys has plenty of hit points, and a nice retreat cost, too. It's attack hits for 30 on the first swing, and 90 on consecutive attacks, which just isn't enough. It is too easy to break up the chain. One thing going for Deoxys is actually the pairing with Dimensional Valley, making the card drawing attack cost no energy. I want to like this card, but I just think it falls a bit short of finding a home. I do like the introduction of these type of attacks though. I think it should have just been a trait which Pokemon could have. Alpha Cheating, or something.

Rating: 5/10


Ability: Cursed Eyes
When you play this Pokemon from your hand onto your Bench, you may move up to 3 damage counters from 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon to another of your opponent’s Pokemon.

[D][C] Mach Claw: 30 damage. This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Resistance.

On the topic of Pokemon who have treated me well...this is a clear throwback to Power Keepers' Absol EX, as it has the exact same Ability/Pokemon Power. Unfortunately, moving 3 damage counters is not anything where it used to be. The game is far less grindy, and is fought near exclusively in one or two hit KOs. I could see some matchups where this kind of math is super beneficial though, so I wouldn't rule out it seeing some play. Frustratingly, against decks I could make a case for the 30 damage swap against ( Exeggcutor, Flareon, Night March...decks with low HP Pokemon that run Mr. Mime to prevent actual damage to the bench which Absol could bypass ) they run such low HP attackers that its actually difficult to leave damage lingering around the field to swap away. I guess an effective "triple plus power" Ability is a bit less impressive when "Laser and Virbank" do the same thing. It seems less situationally beneficial than before, and if you wanted to build a deck to really abuse this type of damage shifting, you may as well just run Dusknoir and fully abuse it.

Rating: 5/10


[M] Small Wish: Look at the top 7 cards of your deck, and put a card you find there into your hand. Shuffle the other cards back into your deck.
[M][C] Destructive Wish: Discard all Energy attached to this Pokemon. At the end of your opponent’s next turn, the Defending Pokemon is Knocked Out.

This set is full of "almost good" Pokemon, and I feel like Jirachi here falls right into that category. "Small Wish", which lets you look through the top 7 cards of your deck to take a card, digs pretty deep into your deck to get you what you need. "Destructive Wish" for a Metal and Colorless is actually interesting. It is really easy to disrupt with a benching effect, but late into the game when you can pair it with N, it could be pretty good in some matchups. Tagging a Primal Groudon EX or Seismitoad EX, for example, could either get you a great KO, or be backbreaking if they have to retreat their EX. If Small Wish were better, I could see the fringe application of it's second attack pushing this isn't a fringe roleplayer, but I'm pretty sure its just not good enough.

Rating: 3/10


Here we go with ANOTHER throw back to an older Togekiss from the 2008 time frame. The card wasn't quite good enough then ( It was also very unreliable, and frustrating to play. ) One thing that does benefit Togekiss here is that each individual energy card is more valuable than it used to be, as attack costs are down. I still think an unreliable stage 2, which requires you to pad your deck full of Basic Energy to improve your odds of making the Ability worthwhile, can't possibly be the best accelerator. There has to be better options available that are better than this. It isn't unplayable, and it sure looks fun, but I'd be hard pressed to be convinced using this as your energy acceleration us ever the "best" play.

 Rating: 3/10


Dragonite – Dragon – HP150

Ability: Max Wind

When you play this Pokemon from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon, you may remove all damage counters from 1 of your Pokemon.

[G][L][C] Mach Press: 80 damage. Flip 2 coins. If both of them are heads, your opponent’s Active Pokemon is now Paralyzed. 


Dragonite – Dragon – HP160

Δ Plus: Take 1 more Prize card if your opponent’s Pokemon is Knocked Out by damage from this Pokemon’s attacks.

[L] Windborne: Choose up to 2 basic Energy from hand and attach them to this Pokemon.
[G][G][G][L][C] Heavy Impact: 150 damage. 

I'll pair the two Dragonite together for the sake of review. I mentioned how weak Articuno and Dustox were despite having Alpha Plus. Dragonite is an actual threat, having an attack that does 150 damage! With Silver Bangle, it can even hit the 180 mark to OHKO an EX Pokemon. This puts it on par or even better than what we get out of Lugia EX. Dragonite has a hefty 150 HP, meaning it can survive some hits. The problem with the card is that it requires FIVE energy to attack. Even with Double Dragon Energy, that is very demanding. It's first attack does charge itself up, dumping two energy onto itself. That makes it powerable in two turns, as you can attach, put two more in with the attack, and then finish it off with a Double Dragon Energy for the attack.

The other Dragon is a Max Potion on a stick, although an otherwise underwhelming stage 2 stick. I feel like its a pretty reasonable inclusion as a 1 of in a deck using a thicker Dragonite line, though, so it's viabilit stems from whether or not the other Dragonite is played. Which I don't think it will be. It is just too energy intensive.

Rating: 5/10 for Alpha Plus Dragonite
Rating: 3/10 for "Max Wind" Dragonite


Reshiram – Dragon – HP130

Ability: Turboblaze
Once during your turn (before your attack), if this Pokemon is your Active Pokemon, you may choose a [R] Energy card from your hand and attach it to 1 of your [N] (Dragon) Pokemon in play.

[R][R][L][C] Hell Wing: 110 damage. Discard a [R] Energy attached to this Pokemon. 

Reshiram's "Turboblaze" Ability is similar to Celebi Prime's, only for Fire Energy instead of Grass. It is more restrictive in that it has to attach to a Dragon Pokemon though. On the plus side, Reshiram, or "Freshiram" as I'm going to call him ( Make it catch on guys!...I'm also calling Rayquaza "Crayquaza" ) has 130 HP, a huge upgrade over Celebi's HP. A 2 retreat cost is a problem, until you realize that as a Dragon type, the "not Darkrai" Hydreigon EX gives it free retreat cost with a Stadium in play. Coupled with Double Dragon Energy, this makes for a pretty reasonable energy acceleration package for a Dragon deck. Unfortunately, it seems like most of the good Dragon Pokemon are not really asking for Fire Energy, so this will have to satisfy their Colorless energy requirements a lot of the time. The Dragon Type Rayquaza EXes may be strong enough to see play paired with this gimmick, but it is still a lot of work for a pretty underwhelming reward.

Freshiram isn't even just an enabler, either! He is SO fresh he can function as a reasonable attacker itself. As a non-EX with 130 HP, Freshiram smacks for 110 damage for four energy. With Double Dragon Energy and it's Ability, it isn't too hard to power itself up. If you open with two, it is possible to get it powered up in a single turn if you get the pair, Hydreigon, a Stadium, 2 Fire Energy, and a Double Dragon Energy. Not likely, but having that as the cards performance ceiling is still alluring.

Rating: 8/10


Altaria's Ability grants a lack of Weakness to your Colorless Pokemon. There isn't too much fancy about evaluating this card. Normally this effect is attached to a Stage 2 Pokemon, so that is alluring. On the other hand, it only covers a specific type of Pokemon ( Or lack of type! Ha ha ha. ) so its restrictive. Due to the nature of Colorless Pokemon requiring no colored energy, usually they are not run without other attackers which can be easily splashed into the deck. This means weakness diversity isn't usually that hard to obtain, making this type of effect less desired than it would be in other types. Still, and I'm looking mainly at Rayquaza here, being able to cover yourself against a type you'd struggle with is important! I do dislike having to run an evolution line that only matters against a small sliver of the format, but I'd be surprised if this card didn't see play at all.


Rating: 5/10

Trainer's Post

Look at the top 4 cards of your deck. Choose 1 Trainer card you find there (except Trainer’s Post), reveal it, and put it into your hand. Shuffle the other cards back into your deck.

This card is...interesting. It obviously only gets included in a deck which is using a full Item based engine, as you need a pretty large threshhold of Item cards to justify this. You can't really rely on it to search for specific Items, like Rare Candy, the odds just don't work out well at all, you just need this critical mass of other draw Items so that when you miss specific cards you want, it at least replaces itself a majority of the time with another draw card.

One of the problems with this is that these type of decks already run so many Item cards that space starts to actually become cramped. I also feel like Post is also the most expendable of the cards you'd run, which makes me question whether the card will end up making the cut in the long run. I really feel like some sort of Item based "Lysandre's Trump Card" loop engine is going to be functional now, especially since we have Shaymin EX to help maintain the flow of the deck. One of the risks to going All-In with this type of card ( Which is what you have to do to make it playable ) is it leaves you wide open to the best card in the format, Seismitoad EX.

Rating: 5/10

Wide Angle Lens

When the Pokemon this card is attached to does damage to your opponent’s Benched Pokemon, it applies Weakness and Resistance.

I appreciate what this card does, but right now, bench damage is pretty weak. Beyond this, how many decks have Pokemon of different types which hit for substantial bench damage? Running it to situationally improve one type match up seems questionable. I like that they printed this card, it makes sense, I just don't see it being played ever. In the rare spots where applying bench damage with Weakness is super beneficial, you can just use Lysandre to bring it up and do so. Lysandre's presence in the format just really handicaps how lucrative bench hitting attacks are.

Rating: 1/10

Mega Turbo

Attach 1 basic Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Mega Evolved Pokemon in play.

Ok, this card is pretty insane. We all know how good Dark Patch is, and this card is not type specific, and can attach to the Active Pokemon. The latter seems like it isn't a big deal, but it comes up much more than you'd think. Obviously, the conditional aspect of this card comes in that it requires you to have a Mega Evolved Pokemon to attach to. I am glad they decided to actually support Mega Evolved Pokemon, though. The mechanic itself is so bad that they needed to print Spirit Links, and now this, to offset it. I'm a bit concerned this card may actually end up being too good, honestly. The card is going to be incredible with pretty much any Mega Pokemon, but lets look at some of the specific ones that stand out to me. Mega Rayquaza EX is an obvious fit. As far as I am aware, Primal Groudon EX is a Mega Pokemon, despite also being a "Primal Reversion", and this goes a loooong way towards helping to power the card up. ( I am basing this off the fact that there is a giant "MEGA" in the top left hand corner of the card. ) No longer are we stuck trying to bend over backwards to make Gaia Volcano obtainable at a decent pace. Also, the card seems particularly good alongside Mega Gardevoir. Besides the obvious application of powering up Gardevoir itself, it works great with Aromatisse as you are effectively attaching a Fairy Energy to any of your Pokemon in play as you can just transfer it off of the Gardevoir.

Rating: 10/10



Both players may have up to 8 Benched Pokemon.

If this Stadium card is no longer in play, each player discards their Benched Pokemon (and all cards attached to them) until there are 5 Benched Pokemon left.

I touched on this a lot in my discussion of Rayquaza EX, but the card is just good in general. I'm not sure how many decks would actually run it outside of Rayquaza who needs it for gimmicky purposes, though. I would like it in Bronzong, which currently runs no Stadium card, but it seems a bit...unfortunate, if it gets countered. I could see it having application in decks like Empoleon who really want a larger bench cap. Brutal Bash Zoroark would loved it. I think one of its better applications is to clear away unwanted bench Pokemon or liabilities. Giant Stump was a great card for that purpose before, and this can pull off the same trick but in a much more complicated manner as you have to then counter the stadium. Using a Pokemon which discards your own Stadium, such as Donphan or Primal Groudon, seems like the easiest route, but those Pokemon require a lot of energy to do their attacks. I could see the "Rayquaza Approach" with Primal Groudon, actually, where you spam a bunch of Shaymin EX chasing Mega Turbos to power Gaia Volcano early, and then just use it to dump your Shaymins and re-set them with Trump Card to re-enable the engine. Unless they rule you can't Mega Turbo Groudon. In which case ignore that!

Rating: 7/10


Search for your deck for up to 3 [C] Pokemon and put them into your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.

This card is pretty cool! At first it is easy to think it is just a restrictive Pokemon Collector, but at current translation, it can grab ANY Colorless Pokemon, not just Basic Pokemon. The fact this can grab Rayquaza EX, Mega Rayquaza EX, and a Shaymin makes it extremely powerful. In any deck aiming to abuse some sort of Shaymin engine would benefit from this as well. The card is going to be useless in most decks, but a card that is so powerful in the right deck that it could single handedly be the catalyst that makes the deck work. Unfortunately, prior to this set, there just weren't that many good Colorless Pokemon to abuse with this. One potential problem with this card is the fact it suffers from diminshing returns in most cases. Once you use the first one, you don't really need that many more Pokemon throughout the game, so opting to run a full set of these cards seems dangerous as they become pretty dead as the game progresses.

Rating: 7/10


Search your deck for a card that evolves from 1 of your Pokemon (excluding Pokemon-EX) and put it onto that Pokemon. (This counts as evolving that Pokemon.) Shuffle your deck afterward. You can use this card during your first turn or on a Pokemon that was put into play this turn.

Wally is...interesting. In most cases, I assume it is just not good enough, but there are two decks that really do make me see a lot of potential in this card: Flareon and Exeggcutor. Going 2nd, a lone copy of this card which can be Jirachi'd for, or Battle Compressor/VS Seekered for, allows Exeggcutor to start their lock a turn sooner. It allows Flareon to do the same by attacking on the first turn, which speeds it up quite a bit. You don't get a huge amount of damage gained that way, but as an easily incorporated one of, I see little reason not to run one. Beyond that, its still just solid in that it helps smooth your evolutions over. Being able to use a Supporter ( Which you can Jirachi for! ) under Quaking Punch to get Leafeon helps your Toad game out a lot as well. Outside of those decks, nothing really stands out to me yet for the card. I could see it in Fairies, where a turn 1 Aromatisse actually helps alongside Fairy Garden to enable a retreat into Geomancy off of Xerneas. That is a pretty fringe application, but just having 1 copy of a Supporter which gets you Aromatisse isn't that bad in itself.

Rating: 7/10


Search your deck for 1 Supporter card and 1 basic Energy card, reveal them, and put them into your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.

Well, Steven sure has dropped off quite a bit in terms of strength. Gone are the days of Steven's Advice...instead we get...this. Well, at least it gets a playable Supporter on use. And a basic Energy Card. This would be a whole lot better if it got ANY energy, as I could see playing it as a searchable/VS Seekerable Supporter in decks with DCE, Strong Energy, or Double Dragon Energy. Instead, I'm not playing a card whose only impact on the game for the turn it is played is to grab a basic energy. I'm sure this isn't quite a 0/10, but out of protest, I'm scoring it as such anyways.

Rating: 0/10

Double Dragon Energy

This card can only be attached to an [N] Pokemon. While attached to an [N] Pokemon, this card provides every type of Energy but provides 2 Energy at a time.

(If this card is attached to anything other than an [N] Pokemon, discard this card.)

It took me a second to realize this was the "Dragon set" in the latest cycle of type focused sets. I guess it was pretty obvious, but I'll admit I hadn't caught on at first. ( I was a bit distracted by how much I loved Rayquaza...who is a I guess I'm not really defending myself very well here. ) Anyways, I can safely say this is the best in the cycle of Typed "Special Energy" by a huge margin, overtaking Strong Energy. Not only does this card provide two energy cards, but it helps offset a major issue most Dragon Pokemon face: multi-typed attack costs. Proving 2 energy of any type is exactly what Dragon Pokemon want. One of the cards which this makes a lot better is Garchomp! You now get to do a ton of damage for only "one" energy! Oddly enough, a lot of the better Dragon Pokemon before don't benefit from this as much as you'd think, as cards like the last Rayquaza EX and Black Kyurem EX were clearly designed as cannons which needed full energy acceleration to abuse. Double Dragon Energy just doesn't do enough to support them alone. ( Yes, I'm aware that Rayquaza is only applicable in Expanded. )

Rating: 10/10

Overall, this set seems really exciting to me! There are a few obvious archetypes they are trying to push, and we got another slew of good trainer cards to help out decks across the board. Some of the EX cards are a bit lack luster, unfortunately. ( I'm looking at you Thundurus! ) Rayquaza EX, Shaymin EX, Mega Turbo, and Double Dragon Energy are all surely going to see substantial play. There is a long list of cards that aren't quite the sure-fire hits those are, but are extremely likely to see relevent play too.

I'm going to close out the article with a couple of deck lists I've thrown together for Mega Rayquaza EX. Since the cards are not available on PTCGO yet ( obviously ) and everyone is still focused on testing for pre-Roaring Skies Regionals, I haven't gotten to play any games with the decks, but I've been drawing sample hands and they look pretty promising. These builds are more towards just establishing an engine to see how well it all works. I imagine the builds are quite vulnerable to Seismitoad EX decks,being so gimmicky on Items and with no real counter measures for the card taken, but that can be addressed once we've established a good skeleton for the deck.

First off, I have a list that wants to optimize the chance I have to get a turn 1 attacking Mega Rayquaza.

So this deck relies mainly on Items and Shaymin EX to get set up. As a result, I wanted to run as few actual Supporters as possible. This is for a couple of reasons. First off, you see a lot of cards off of your Items, so you should be able to draw into them naturally anyways. You have Battle Compressor and VS Seeker to be able to access which ones you want. You don't want too many Supporters because they get stuck in your hand as you Shaymin. You want to be able to keep re-thinning your hand between Shaymins. The more you clog your hand with Supporters, the harder that becomes to do. That said, I am not against adding 1-2 more Supporters ( It may be necessary for Toad issues anyways ) or switching some around. For instance, Colress seems incredible in this deck, but I feel like I have enough draw power that late game I'll be ok. Colress is weak early game, so I omitted it. That may be wrong.

Battle Compressor is so powerful in this deck. It helps you get your Supporters discarded for VS Seeker. It puts your basic energy into the discard pile for Mega Turbo. ( You can run any type of Energy, but I'm opting for Grass as I've toyed with the idea of using Virizion EX in here. ) It also lets you fill your discard pile with Exeggcutes, which you can then bring back for either discards or to fill the bench with. This makes it very easy to meet Rayquaza's bench demands. It also makes it so them countering Skyfield is fairly painless as you can just dump the eggs and get them back when you replay your Stadium. Due to the Exeggcute game plan, I feel like Mr. Mime needs to make it into this list so bench damage isn't just crippling, but I'm putting that off until I get an optimized streamlined list first.

I have a second approach, making use of Super Scoop Up and Scoop Up Cyclone as my Ace Spec. If you have a Mega Rayquaza EX with a Spirit Link attached to it,a Scoop Up effect leaves you one Mega Turbo away from just replaying it down and attacking. The card is also very good with Shaymin, both to replay them, and because they are free burned cards from your hand if you need to get your hand size down. I like Teammates in the first build because it really increases the odds you can rebuild a Rayquaza out of no where, but it is even better in the Scoop Up build because you can Teammates for a Mega Turbo plus Scoop Up Cyclone and reset a Rayquaza. Having a fast OHKOing attacker that can effective "max potion" itself seems very good to me. The list is a little slower, but I think its currently my favorite of the two.

I cut the Trainer's Post, Switches, and Computer Search for the 4 Super Scoop Up, new Ace Spec, and an additional Supporter. I went with Winona, since I feel like Shaymin is a bit better in this build, and grabbing multiple off of Winona seems really strong. Maybe that should be the Colress, or a 2nd Sycamore, I'm unsure. The last two cards I feel may be necessary for the deck are a 2nd Lysandre, and an 8th Energy. Both of those trims are a bit out of my comfort area, but I'm trying them out.

I'm looking forward to looking back at both of these initial lists in a few months to see how far off I was on how to build a proper Rayquaza deck. I would be very surprised if these are very on point, but you have to start somewhere. It is easier to build decks when you have an established engine to plug Pokemon into. Building that from scratch is particularly challenging, even for experienced deck builders. I'm curious to see if there are any cards players disagree with me on, regarding their potential in the format. Sometimes cards which read very well just never find a home, or play worse once put to actual games. Sometimes cards end up being real sleeper hits, performing well above expectations. What cards are you most excited about in this set?



(picture source:

[+1] okko


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