Experts' corner

Chris Fulop

Rayquaza Went Down To Georgia

Chris Is Forced To Play Volcanion, And Has A Full Primer On His Choice For GA Regionals!

01/12/2017 by Chris Fulop

Hello again everyone!

Well, until this weekend, where my friend Dan asked if I wanted to go with him to the League Cup in Ashtabula, Ohio on Saturday. The first place prize was 250 dollars, and I really didn't have any other plans, so I figured why not? Now, I don't personally own any cards at the moment, since I've got multiple sources from which to borrow full decks from for events I want to go to one. Well, that doesn't help me out very much when I decide to go the night before an event where I have to head to the tournament site at 9 am. I make a few calls and line up the cards I need to build the Rayquaza Raichu deck I wanted to play.

Well, until the person bringing my cards failed to show up. ( There has to be some justice here, right? ) Dan had cards to build a lot of decks, but he opted to play my Rayquaza list himself as he liked it, so I had pretty much had no tools to build that deck at all. In fact, I had no access to Shaymins at all. That left me with the lone option of playing Greninja, which Dan did own the cards for. Greninja is a great deck, but not a deck I particularly enjoy playing, and certainly not one I had a lot of experience with. I wasn't the most comfortable playing it in the event, especially since we had a pretty decent turn out of stronger players for the Cup.

Luckily, Andrew Mahone showed up, and had a pair of Shaymin EX I could borrow for the day. (Thanks again!) Dan Sutch had the shell of a Volcanion deck, minus the Shaymins, so I was able to audible over to that as I felt like it would be a stronger choice to play: I felt particularly uncomfortably piloting Greninja on a whim. I also was afraid of a large influx of Mega Gardevoir decks. To top it off, I had no idea if players would be running the new promo Giratina which shuts off Greninja BREAK entirely. If they were, I'd want a reasonable number of Silent Labs in my list, which would hurt my other matchups. I didn't want to make that call while being iffy with the archetype in general.

I figured Volcanion was a generally more proactive deck and fairly streamlined with what it is trying to do. I also felt like it got more explosive starts, and in a random field with players of varying skill levels, I just wanted to be the one forcing them not to stumble, opposed to dodging my own questionable frog starts. Now, this isn't to say Volcanion is an easy deck to play, either. It is actually fairly difficult trying to balance keeping energy in play against chasing KOs, and conserving resources for the late game isn't exactly autopilot. I'm not saying that deck is near the upper echelon of difficult, but it isn't mindless either, no matter what the "swing for huge damage every turn" mindset the deck takes may suggest.

I made a few changes to the deck I was handed, and this is what I was able to sleeve up:

Now let me clarify, I'm not happy with that list at all, and I'll go over the changes I would personally make later on. I had to rush through registration and get this thing turned in quickly. (I didn't even mess it up this time... seeing how this is the exact same store I forgot to list the Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick on my deck list form last year during Cities under similar circumstances.)

We had 40 Masters, 9 Seniors, and 9 Juniors for the event. The weather was kind of poor, and there was a League Cup in Michigan and in Columbus which ate into the attendance, which was expected to be about 20 or so players higher than what turned up. The metagame was pretty wide open, but from what I could tell, Greninja, Yveltal and Volcanion were the most represented decks. ( Surprise! ) There was not a single copy of Mega Gardevoir at the event in Masters. I don't believe I saw any Mega Mewtwo either, although a player did play the Fighting Fury Belt Mewtwo EX deck I discussed in my last article which popped up in Dallas. No Snorlax either.

r1 vs Patrick Orgel w Rainbow Road

I'd never met Patrick before, but I had seen his name in standings at events recently, so I knew I was paired against someone who was at the very least good. He was playing Rainbow Road, a matchup which I was pretty sure was pretty bad for me assuming it set up alright. The non-EX to EX exchange was also a problem as it does not favor me. I'm either forced to spam Lysandre ( and not pressure his energy supply at all ) or be able to score OHKOs with baby Volcanion which is just not likely at all.

I get a pretty good start, and he stumbles a bit, so I'm in the game a bit. I play the opening sequence pretty miserably, I'll admit. We get to a point where he has a dead draw off of his own N, and I'm stuck also not doing much, although I have a Shaymin EX in hand, I just had a full bench. He drew out of it first, and took a KO, and then the game progressed as usual as I got to Set Up for 5.

I find myself at a crossroads in the middle of the game that I'm not sure I navigated correctly. He ran Max Elixir and Exp. Share, and once he got a few Share in play, I knew I couldn't gain any reasonably ground by trying to pressure his energy supply. I could either try and KO 2 back to back EX Pokemon, or take a break off to use Baby Volcanion to try and pad my energy supply. Both had some pretty sketchy demands of my draws to lead to a win. My energy supply was thin if I take a KO on the bench, but if I take a turn off to go with the non-EX, I either had to draw a ton of cards in a row to get a needed KO ( It was VERY unlikely ) or have him stumble or get hit by a bad N late game. The other line required me to KO his guy now, and hope to either get a nutty series of draws involving like, a Lysandre, 2 Max Elixir, and a Float Stone to KO a benched Shaymin with baby Yveltal. Neither was statistically reasonable.

I take the KO while I can, and hope he doesn't N me. I figured seeing 2 cards off the prizes would increase the odds I assemble any sort of critical mass. He doesn't N me, but my prizes also don't help. I get to Lysandre the Shaymin and play my own Shaymin, whiff miserable, and he has the retreat for game. I played that whole game pretty sloppy, but I don't think I was winning with tighter play either. He ran a 1-1 Garbodor line which he never got out, but had he, I was certainly not winning. I was not optimistic for my day.


r2 vs Mega Venusaur EX Gengar

I get paired against a player I did not recognize, and he flips over a Venusaur EX, and I knew I was in for a pretty good matchup. He was playing Mega Venusaur EX and Gengar, with the game plan being to power up Mega Venusaur and flip heads and do 30 damage to all of my Pokemon, which would end up enabling Gengar to start KOing any Pokemon it wanted. His deck was way too slow to really contend against Volcanion and suffered from weakness on his Venusaur as well. I'll take whatever wins I can get though, right? We're on the comeback trail, boys!


r3 vs Raticate Ariados

I win the die roll, but open with a Shaymin EX. Luckily for me, I see my opponent flip over a Spinarak. It turns out he was playing Raticate/Ariados, with the gimmick being using Ariados' Ability to poison both Pokemon, only to use Raticate BREAK to reduce my Pokemon to 10 HP, knocking it out between turns. Unfortunately, I get a really fast start and he struggles to get out the more complex set up. Hes forced to play a really unfortunate Sycamore on the first turn, too, discarding a lot of key resources which would benefit me in the long run. Once I jump ahead a few prizes, the game is effectively over as I used baby Volcanion for all of my attacking, and thus had a bench full of energy and a sustained set up.


r4 vs Yveltal

This round I get paired against a player I had seen playing next to me the prior round, playing Yveltal Garbodor. I open Shaymin EX, but I go first. He has a really poor start, and has to discard 2 DCE and a VS Seeker on his first turn with a Sycamore. Hes not able to get a Trubbish into play. He has a few more poor turns, where he plays Supporters but just struggles to get too much going. I wouldn't call it dead drawing, he was getting resources, but it was a series of very poor series of turns while my deck set up pretty well.


r5 vs Mill

I needed to win one more round to be able to draw in. From the math we were doing, it looked as if we'd have a clean cut off with 4-1-1 or better making top 8, with one potential 4-2 sneaking in. With a round 1 loss, I would not be that 4-2. I was pretty concerned because there were a lot of Greninja floating in the 3-1 bracket, and I was hoping to dodge them. The matchup is bad, but winnable, I just needed to get a way better start.

Luckily, I got paired against a mill deck that had dropped Mahone to 2-2 the prior round. He ran Mew, Bunnelby, and Sableye. ( It had an attack which would copy a Supporter from your opponent's discard pile. This meant endless Ns, Lysandres, or maybe even Team Flare Grunts. ) To back it up, he ran Crawdaunt, which discards an energy from the other player's active Pokemon when it evolves.

This should be a good matchup for me, because I had an abundance of energy, and baby Volcanion can just spew energy into play and overwhelm his attempt to discard energy in play. I open with a Volcanion EX, an I have a bit of a clunky start. I'm forced to bench some Pokemon I didn't want to play, meaning he had a reasonable amount of targets to Lysandre and disrupt.

I take a few early prizes, but he mills a lot of my switching effects, as well as 2 of my VS Seekers early. He uses Devolution Spray to recycle his Crawdaunts paired with Crushing Hammer to really stifle my energy presence. I do my best not to burn resources, and I end up playing a Super Rod and N myself to a roughly 12 card deck near the end of the game. He hits 2 Crushing Hammer on the Volcanion EX I have active, taking it from 4 energy to 2, and Ns me. I draw nothing, and if I don't see another energy, he can deck me in a few turns. I end up drawing one of my last energy on my next turn, and take my last KO needed.


r6 vs Greninja

I get paired against one of the two 4-0-1 players, who had just drawn with my round 1 opponent, Patrick. Hes happy to take a draw and secure a top 8 berth. It makes sense, as he would absolutely want me to make top 8 as my deck is extremely favorable as a matchup for him.


The top 8 was as follows:

1.) Patrick w Rainbow Road
2.) Greninja
3.) Yveltal Garbodor
4.) Ben Sauk w Greninja
5.) Dan Polo with Rayquaza Raichu
6.) Me with Volcanion
7.) Carl Scheu with Yveltal Garbodor
8.) Volcanion

Dan managed to pilot my Mega Rayquaza list to a 4-1-1 record, with an early unintentional draw and a close loss to Greninja in swiss. I was not very happy with this cut: I was an underdog against Dan and Patrick, as well as the Greninja decks. I was a coin flip against Yveltal and Volcanion. Luckily for me, I was against one of the Yveltal decks.

t8 vs Yveltal

Game One

I end up getting a quick start, and take the first few prizes while he stabilizes and gets out a Garbodor. I'm stuck in an interesting position, where I can either try and KO the Garbodor ( He had discarded the 2nd Garbodor early in the game ) and regain access to my Abilities, or take a KO on back to back EX Pokemon. I end up going for the EX KO route, and it devolves into a spot where he has 1 card in hand, and he needs a Lysandre to KO a Shaymin on my bench, or at the very least an N to prolong the game state. He ends up topdecking a VS Seeker to win the game the turn before I would, after only having a 2nd Parallel City in his hand.

One of the frustrating parts with my build was how weak to stadiums it was. The stadium selection was miserable, and at the very least I'd like 3. The damage reduction half of Parallel City is actually major issue under Garbodor lock, and I wound up dealing with that most of this game.

This was a game where it hurt me by not having more experience with the deck. I didn't make any blatant mistakes, but I was faced with a difficult choice between two totally different game plans, and with more reps of the matchup under my belt, that decision would have been a lot different. Even now I'm not positive if I made the right choice or not.

Game Two

I go first, and get a great start, and my opponent's start is pretty mediocre. He ends up whiffing a Max Elixir midgame which would have allowed him an opportunity to use Pitch Black Spear to give him a far better shot at making a comeback but instead is force to use Yveltal EX's Y-cyclone. That pretty much seals the deal for that game. It wasn't really a great game, just an example of one deck going first with a great start snowballing a far weaker ( albeit a playable ) start in a competitive matchup.

Game Three

My opponent opens Trubbish, and draws, and passes. I open baby Volcanion, go off, and KO Trubbish with a Belt and 2 Volcanion EX activations. He goes on to reveal a hand full of energy and VS Seekers. I mean, I'll take whatever wins I can get, but that was a really anti-climactic conclusion to the series. It really capped off what was a pretty disappointing tournament as a whole. I will not complain about making top 4, but I don't feel like I had any good, competitive games the whole tournament. The best game played was game 1 of this match, and I lost that.

t4 vs Carl Scheu w Yveltal

Carl ends up losing game 1 to his Greninja opponent, but comes back and wins games 2 and 3. Dan loses his game 3 to a dead draw against Ben's Greninja. Patrick ended up losing in 3 to Volcanion as well. I end up conceding to Carl as he is actually chasing his World's invite and needed the Championship Points way more than I do and I wasn't going to grinch one of my friends in cut. Ben ends up beating Volcanion in 3, and then goes on to beat Carl in two very lopsided, quick games in the finals.

Of course, the event ends up taking long enough for it to be in the middle of a snow storm by the time we end up leaving the venue (which was about an hour and a half away from home.) Visibility is pretty much non-existant, and the roads were terrible. To top it off, weather reports suggest that it, being lake effect snow, would persist until at least 1 am. We end up braving the weather (Dan was a life saver here, props on that driving/not killing us.) and it takes us over 3 hours to be able to make the trip home.

Anyways, I mentioned how I would have made some major changes, so here is the list I would use going forward.

Updated List:

So I cut a baby Volcanion for an Entei. Entei is a stronger/easier-to-power-up attacker, and is pretty useful when you get your field wiped. I think its worthwhile over the 3rd Volcanion. You rarely can afford to Power Heater more than twice in the same game without falling too far behind, and you can also bring them back with Super Rod if you find the rare instance where it is viable. With all of the switching effects, getting one active early isn't too difficult either. I think the diversity is worth it, especially since the Entei is great in the mirror match.

Speaking of switching cards, I cut one Rope for a Switch. I found a lot of spots where I could use a Rope but I really wanted to just hit the active instead. I mean, this is probably a preference call, but I like the 1-1 split more, its more conservative.

I cut the Fisherman for a 4th Energy Retrieval. Retrieval was always awesome, and I loved drawing them. Fisherman was almost always impossible to use, as you wound up needing to use other Supporters. I mean, I did use Fisherman, its fine, but its clunky and hard to pull off and I think just worse than the 4th Retrieval. I think the "best" solution is 12 Fire and 4 Retrieval with no Fisherman, but I'm settling for 4/11.

Finally, I cut one Trainers' Mail and both bad Stadiums for 2 Rough Seas and a Parallel City. Sky Field was totally underwhelming, and Scorched Earth was actually pretty good. I drew it early a few times and loved how it helped get energy into the discard pile for Power Heater. Still, it isn't really worth it enough ( especially as a 1-of ) to warrant its keep. Rough Seas gives you a lot of strength against Yveltal (and having the 3rd copy of -a- Stadium lets you win Stadium war.) Parallel City helps against decks like Rainbow Road, and Rayquaza, and just generally offers random powerful plays. I really want to have 3 copies of Stadiums for counters to the increasingly popular Silent Lab. It's a bit annoying that Rough Seas benefits Greninja too, a deck that is now running Silent Labs to combat Giratina, but it is what it is.

I'm not positive about what the right Stadiums are, but I'm definitely confident I want 3. Having only 2 copies felt absolutely awful the whole tournament. I think Rough Seas should spin the Yveltal matchup from close to favorable, as well. I didn't enjoy playing the deck very much at all, but it is extremely strong, and I don't think I have to point out it is a good choice seeing how it routinely puts up great results.

Anyways, I mentioned before that I wanted to play the Mega Rayquaza list I've been testing, and I want to go over that because I think it is an absolutely fantastic play for Georgia Regionals (And beyond!) I want to give a shout out to Steven Bates who has been great to bounce ideas off of, and who has made numerous suggestions that have been absorbed into the list. He has done a lot of the leg work in terms of putting in reps with the list, and I have to acknowledge and thank him for that.

Here is the current list:

The big changes from my prior lists are the addition of 2 Skyla and a 2nd Dragonite EX. The 2nd Dragonite EX is merely a shift over from the Super Rod I'd previously been running. Between Puzzle of Times, bumping the Basic Energy up to 5, and obviously the two Dragonites, it was just not a necessary card anymore. Now, don't get me wrong, there are downsides. Draggy doesn't get back Energy, but again, we have Puzzles and Mega Turbos. Draggy doesn't work under Garbodor, but the deck is doing it's best to try and take out Garbodors, and let's be honest, its not like Super Rod is ever stellar: It's a contigency plan, and an expendable one, I feel.

Skyla: This one was definitely Steven's idea, and I thought it sounded repulsive at first, but I was quickly won over. The first thing to acknowledge is that this deck's primary source of draw power is Shaymin-EX. (And Hoopa-EX, to a different degree.) The deck is built for a very low maintenance turn one, since you just aim to attach to a Rayquaza, and end the turn with Mega Evolution.

Prof. Sycamore is very, very bad in this deck. You run thin numbers of key cards, and you end up killing your late game a lot by using it. As a result, the deck focuses more on N. Its a solid early game play, but since Shaymin-EX is so good for drawing card QUANTITY, the deck really cares about obtaining very specific cards. The single best card you can open with is an Ultra Ball. If your turn one Supporter is Skyla, grabbing Ultra Ball for Hoopa-EX, into Rayquaza/Shaymin/Mega Rayquaza, and dumping two cluttering cards out of your hand, your turn one is actually incredible! It is likely to be better than what most of your N's random 6 will be.

On top of this, Skyla lets you get your Spirit Links, or the very important Sky Field. Now, yes, Teammates is "better", but Teammates generally doesn't turn on until turns 2 or 3, and you can't just jam 4 Teammates in the deck. Skyla works as a turn 1 quality Supporter in the deck while also being a mini-Teammates midgame. Also, there are plenty of turns where a KO is not taken, but getting a Sky Field, or an Ultra Ball, or Mega Turbo, or a 2nd Puzzle of Time is huge...this comes up more when opponents learn to play around your Teammates more.

It took me forever to totally cut the 1 Sycamore from the deck entirely, and maybe it is wrong to do. We have 3 N, 2 Skyla, and 2 Teammates as "draw" Supporters, and it feels low, but with so much of the draw in the deck being Ability based, it works out fine. Now, those 7 Supporter slots are not locked in stone. I've only been testing the Skyla for a week or so now, and some combination of those Supporters is probably correct. Maybe 4 N and 2 Skyla and 1 Teammates? Maybe 3 N and 1 Sycamore? Maybe only 1 Skyla? I'm happy with where it is now, but I'm not declaring that perfect.

Also worth noting on Skyla...against Garbodor decks, you often really want to play a turn 2 or turn 3 Lysandre on Trubbish/Garbodor. I had tried playing 3 Lysandre before to optimize the odds of drawing them, and Skyla somewhat fills that role too. Unlike Teammates, you can Skyla on the first turn (totally reasonable to expect if you get an Ultra Ball/Hoopa turn) and grab Lysandre for your second turn. It also lets you secure your Hex Maniac vs Greninja and Volcanion. Teammates can get Hex too, but a lot of times it isn't until mid game, and at that point you can be too far behind. Burning a turn 1 Supporter use to get it in those matchups can be totally worth it.

Anyways, yes, the elephant in the room: 3 VS Seeker. This is a deck that wants to abuse Shaymin's Set Up. It doesn't want cards that sit in the hand, and cannot be cycled. VS Seeker is one of the best cards in the game, I get that. The deck needed space viable turn one plays and I always found myself with excess VS Seekers at the end of games. First off, we do not run Sycamore: We are not discarding resources over the span of a game. This decreases the demand on VS Seeker. Also, and most importantly, we run 4 Puzzle of Time. I feel that with no Sycamore, and 4 Puzzle of Time to pull additional VS Seeker duty, that this deck can absolutely get away with only 3 VS Seeker. It took a long time to even consider cutting it as it was pretty much blasphemy. ( Bates claims he suggested this idea a long time ago: He failed to produce the screen shot proof I belligerently demanded, so I'm standing by it not happening, opposed to me brushing it off recklessly. )

Pokemon Catcher: Yes. Pokemon Catcher. This is kind of the last "floating" spot in the list, and it can go any number of places. I'm not sold on it yet, but it was the latest trial card. The idea is pretty reasonable though. I've mentioned a ton how I wanted the 3rd Lysandre, as this deck is really hard to beat by anything without a Garbodor in play. The one Catcher is a "Lysandre" you can play after a Teammates, or off of a Skyla. With Teammates, you can grab it, and Puzzles...there are enough other pieces in the list that actually make a Catcher potentially better than the 3rd Lysandre. I hate the flip as much as anyone else, and the 1-of count seems really out of place but I think its good! Being able to Catcher and N in the same turn is really strong too.

Now, I want to go over some of the cards which can be included but didn't make the final 60 presented about.

Prof. Sycamore: I touched on it a bunch, but 1 copy could weasel it's way back in. I do like it as a very late game play as N recovery, especially under Ability lock, but Teammates is usually just better to be honest. The fact it is almost only a good play at the end of the game makes it questionable.

3rd Pikachu: Pikachu is the best starter in the deck, but I had to go down to 2 copies from the 3 I was praising just to fit other things. I'd love to have it back. The 2nd Dragonite being a Basic softens the blow (even if you do end up cutting your best opener for the worst.) and Dragonite also lets you get Pikachu back easier. The lack of Pikachu also assures that we stay at 2 Float Stone and 1 Escape Rope. Skyla being able to grab switching cards i really nice.

3rd Hoopa EX: I love 3 Hoopa EX as it is really your best turn 1 play, but 2 Hoopa, 4 Ultra Ball, and 2 Skyla seemed like plenty of Hoopa draws. Hoopa is only Hoopa, the other 6 cards are more versatile, and get the nod over the 3rd Hoopa.

Giratina (Promo): Giratina is a tech against Greninja BREAK. It would be played over Hex Maniac. If Greninja trim or cut Silent Labs due to a lack of Giratina play, this is fine. Unfortunately, that isn't the case yes. Giratina has some pros and cons compared to Hex, too. On one hand, its MUCH easier to get out, and doesn't clog your hand. It doesn't eat a Supporter use, and it doesn't demand re-establishment every turn. It also provides a basic towards Emerald Break and reduces mulligans. That said, it ONLY impacts Greninja, and Greninja can counter it. You should win the Stadium war over Lab, but they get immediately value on the turns they counter, so its dubious. The fact Hex is great against frogs AND volcanos is a big selling point.

Magearna (Promo)/Metal Energy: This card is a counter for Rainbow Road, and if it is a big issue, you can cut the Fire Energy (Currently there because the deck doesn't need a basic Energy type, but can MAYBE piggyback off of Scorched Earth. Fairy Energy for Fairy Garden is another option.) and run a Magearna to give yourself a great non-EX attacker that just lights up Xerneas for a Metal. Rainbow Road is a rarely played tier 2 deck at the moment, so I don't play it.

Fairy Drop/Fairy Energy: Fright Night Yveltal and Greninja both rely heavily on chip damage spreading around the field to win this matchup. While Raichu and keeping them off of Garbodor do wonders against Yveltal, and Hex Maniac (and generally hefty HP totals) help against Greninja, being able to casually drop 50 damage off a Pokemon is a very real counter to those archetypes. One Drop is so easy to get off of a Skyla or Teammates. Puzzle of Time lets you recur it multiple times in a matchup. I feel good enough about both of those matchups at the moment that I don't play it, but its definitely worth looking at since the format has become really grindy now.

Enhanced Hammer: Same idea as Fairy Drop with the ability to search it up and reuse it, but obviously towards different ends. This card (alongside Jirachi Promo) was a reasonably solution to trying to combat Giratina EX. Fortunately, despite a Giratina Darkrai deck top 8ing in Dallas, the deck has fallen way off of the radar. That is a huge benefit for Mega Rayquaza. It is another card that is just going to generally be useful since most decks run Special Energy cards.

3rd Lysandre: This could go in over the Pokemon Catcher. It is mainly to deal with Garbodor since most decks can't really deal with this deck if it as full access to it's Abilities.

4th VS Seeker: This is a safety play, even though I'm pretty happy at 3.

Super Rod: This would be over the 2nd Dragonite if you'd rather have a card that functions on a tight bench or under Ability lock.

6th Basic Energy: Likely excessive, and I've never played it, but you really want to hit your turn 1 attachment, and a 6th isn't beyond reason.

Finally, lets go over the matchups for the deck.


This matchup is favorable. Even with Garbodor, I firmly believe it is favorable. Raichu is just too good at KOing Fright Night Yveltal even on a small bench. Lysandreing and leveraging Pitch Black Spear damage doesn't work well since Garbodor shuts off Fright Night, and Skyla and 3 switching cards make retreating very easy. Don't get me wrong, the matchup is certainly competitive, but I'm really happy to play it. Rayquaza is favored in the matchup without Raichu, with the Raichu it is clearly better. If they can't make plays off of N/Parallel City/Garbodor, its really tough.


This is definitely a competitive match, but they are slower than you, and you can easily OHKO all of their frogs. Your overall hefty hit point totals help out a lot, and sinc eyou aren't stressed into having to cope with a lot of early game pressure, you don't have to overextend with a bench full of Shaymin EX, which is how they beat you usually. Hex Maniac is also a beating, as they are not beating you without a turn of Shuriken damage. They are still a really powerful deck with absurd comeback ability, and you have to watch out for late game N/Shadow Stitching plays being a real issue. They don't really punish your clunkier starts though, which I think is huge for this deck.


This matchup is slightly favorable as well. Whoever takes the first KO is definitely favored, so going first is a major deal. They aren't really chewing through a bunch of Mega Rayquaza, but they can definitely KO Shaymins. Due to them needing Lysandre/Fire Energy to get KOs ( and them actually being worse at replenishing attackers, even with Max Elixir ) they are weaker to late game N than we are. Between that and their weakness to Hex Maniac, Rayquaza ends up "breaking serve" on the exchange more often. Volcanion does benefit a bit from being a smoother and quicker deck, but both decks generally get their first KO on the 2nd turn. Entei being in the deck actually makes a bit of a difference as well, as if they can Belt a Volcanion EX and force you into a wide bench, it can be a big problem.

Mega Gardevoir

This matchup is a cakewalk. They can't really beat you. They fall short of a OHKO on your Mega Rayquaza. Like Volcanion, this is a matchup where the first KO is "favored", only in this case Gardevoir has to ALWAYS Lysandre up a Shaymin or a Hoopa to KO. If they get the first KO, and can score a Lysandre every turn AND constantly replace Gardevoirs, and do this all while getting N'd, they win, but that is not happening very often at all. If the deck continues to be popular and isn't a flash in the pan, this is as close to an auto win as I've seen in a long time.

Mega Mewtwo/Garbodor

This matchup is really close. Mega Mewtwo can OHKO a Mega Rayquaza if it has 4 energy attached, and they run Garbodor and Parallel City. This is an archetype that is far better at leveraging that plan than Yveltal, which can't really OHKO a Mega Rayquaza, and is super soft to our Raichus. I know Igor only ran 1 Parallel City in Dallas, so if that is a card being trimmed, it is bad for them in this matchup. If you can keep them off of Garbodor before they can cripple your bench, its pretty favorable. Even if you are stuck under it's lock, you can still just draw well enough to win out in a grindier game, especially since you should start the game ahead. You want to use Raichu to KO Garbodors if you can, as they give up only 1 prize, and it lets you leave your Mega Rayquaza low on energy on the bench, as the deck is really not equiped to be able to pre emptively kill a Rayquaza. It only really falls into OHKO range once its powered up, so take advantage of that. You don't have to be hyper aggressive in this matchup. ( I currently run 3 RoS Mega Rayquaza, but this is a matchup I like one AoR SR one because you can sit behind a Rayquaza EX, let them hit it, and then Mega Evolve and Trait away the damage. This is the closest of the decks discussed so far.


This is the build that doesn't run any Megas, and I haven't tested it, but because I can't fathom them every OHKOing a Mega Rayquaza, I have to imagine its much easier. They are faster, and can definitely get Shaymin/Hoopa KOs, so anything is possible, but once you get a Mega Rayquaza up, its going to do some very heavy lifting.

Mega Scizor

A few Scizor decks showed up at our League Cup, and due to the hype behind Mega Gardevoir, I wouldn't be surprised to see this deck get revisited. This matchup is really grindy and they pressure your energy supply pretty well, but with Puzzle of Times, you can weather that storm with patience. This is again a matchup where the real enemy is Parallel City and Garbodor. All of these decks are somewhat similar in that you beat them if you don't get screwed by Parallel City, and if you clunk when they do play it, you likely lose. This matchup seemed slightly better than 50-50, but that was at the start of the format and I'm not sure what an updated list would look like. Mega Rayquaza isn't on the "to beat" list anymore, so thats probably good for us.

Rainbow Road

I'm pretty sure this is pretty unfavorable, because if you try and pressure their energy supply, your clock is glacial as you have to KO a bunch of non-EXes, and they can actually OHKO your Mega Rayquaza. If you Lysandre around them to KO their EXes, they still get to KO an EX, and ALSO strip you of your attacker, and you have to find a way to rebuild Rayquazas WHILE Lysandre'ing. Now, you do get to mix it up with Raichu, who can play the game quite a bit better, but you only have a 2-2 line, and you likely need to make the Raichu plan your primary one. You can definitely win, they can be pretty clunky too, but this deck is always going to struggle against non-EX decks that can score OHKOs on our Mega Rayquazas. That isn't most of the format, though. This matchup is still kind of rough, and again, we can run Magearna to fix some of that. ( It is still hard to not get victimized by getting your EXes fleeced off your bench though. )

Vileplume Toolbox

I'll be totally honest, I have no idea how this matchup plays out at all, I haven't gotten to test it. The matchup is a very small portion of the metagame, though. I feel like if you can draw into your energy cards, it should be favorable. Unfortunately, your draw power is NOT good in this matchup. N gets weaker as the game progresses, and your hand is clogged with Items. Your hand gets too big for Shaymin EX. Skyla is...not great here. Teammates isn't great against the slow, grindy lock deck that doesn't take frequent KOs. That said, Mega Rayquaza and Raichu are both pretty good attackers here. I want to say this matchup is bad though. I'd prioritize getting Float Stones into play while you can so that you can conserve energy drops which retreating to combat their threats.

Non-Vileplume Toolbox

On the other hand, this, Jolteon/Lugia/Garbodor stuff, that has popped up, is really pretty favorable. None of those attackers are very good against you, and even Garbodor isn't enough to overcome that.

Turbo Darkrai: This is a deck that has gathered steam recently, and is also a pretty good matchup. You OHKO them, and while they -CAN- hit 210, that is a chore, and not easy at all. It plays out like a lot of the EX "we can OHKO each other" matchups in that they are a bit worse at doing it than you, but can always win off of getting the first KO and killing your bench. They go for that, and you start jamming Ns and hoping they whiff Lysandre or the ability to replace their attacker you KO.


WELL. Can't win. Chaos Wheel is too good against us, and while you can jam a bunch of cards into the deck to take the matchup close to 50-50, you compromise sooo much of your other matchups there is no way it is worth it. Chalk it up to an auto loss on move on. It isn't a big enough portion of the metagame, nor should it be, to put a ton of priority on.

I'm sure I am leaving out a few decks, but I covered most of the big ones. Matchup wise, I really love where the deck is positioned. It isn't going to be as smooth or streamlined as a Volcanion or an Yveltal deck, and you will suffer from the occasional clunky draw, but less than the Supporter line would suggest at first glance. You have a tremendous amount of comeback potential, and are totally fine playing from behind, which is counter intuitive for a Mega Rayquaza deck. I really feel like this is the best play for Georgia based on the expected metagame going into it.

Until next time...

[+15] okko


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