Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

“The Dragon and The Beast enter the Fray in Nashville” - Naganadel-GX/Stakataka-GX and Rayquaza-GX for Worlds

Jose analyzes two new decks for Worlds.

08/02/2018 by Jose Marrero



What's going on, 60cards readers! Worlds is getting closer and closer so for this next article I'll be taking a look at two new decks that came out of the new set, Celestial Storm. I believe both decks are strong and can go far if you hit the right matchups. The first deck I'll be analyzing is Naganadel-GX paired with the newly Stakataka-GX. Following that, I'll then transition into the most hyped deck of the new set, Rayquaza-GX and give you my take on the deck. I'm very excited to see everyone at Worlds this year. It's always the best and most fun tournament of the season. This will be my 6th consecutive Worlds as a competitor. I haven't had a breakthrough at Worlds yet with just two Top 64 placements. I'm still going to try my best to make Day 2 again after being so close to skipping Day 1 this year. I love attending Worlds to mostly have an awesome time because at the end of the day it's all about fun and the memories you share with your loved ones and friends.

With that said, let's dive into the first of two decks, Naganadel-GX/Stakataka-GX.


3-3 Naganadel-GX

One of the main attackers in the deck in which is your answer to Buzzwole decks. Naganadel-GX does 20 damage for each Ultra Beast you have in play. Between Stakataka-GX's ability, Assault Vest, and Max Potion you should be able to take KO's while denying them for a while. If Mew-EX comes out then you can easily revenge KO it back. Imagine having four Stakataka-GX out and an Assault Vest on Naganadel-GX. The opponent would have to do 290 damage to one hit KO Naganadel-GX and without damage modifiers from Special Energy, that's almost impossible.

4 Stakataka-GX

This is probably the second most hyped card from the new set, Celestial Storm right behind Rayquaza-GX. Its ability is what makes Stakataka-GX so good. Ultra Wall lets you reduce 10 damage done to your Ultra Beast Pokémon. If you have multiple Stakataka-GX in play then they all stack so you can technically reduce 40 damage by having four out at once. Its attacks aren't that bad either. Both take three energy but with Beast Ring that is okay. Gigaton Stomp does a solid 120 damage which is enough to two hit KO every Pokémon that's relevant. Assembly GX is a really good GX attack because it does auto 50 damage and adds an extra 50 for each prize you have taken. Basically when you get down to three or fewer prizes then Assembly GX can one hit KO most relevant Pokémon. If you have Beast Energy then it'll make for easier one hit KO's. Overall Stakataka-GX is a solid card as a whole.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Unfortunately having Tapu Lele-GX on the bench means Naganadel-GX will do 20 less damage. Still, I think they are needed so you don't dead draw as often. Mysterious Treasure can get Tapu Lele-GX so that's cool.

1 Kartana-GX

Getting rid of a Special Energy can be clutch at times. Blade GX isn't terrible either since it's a free prize card, though there are better GX attacks in the deck. Use Blade GX only if you have to. I can maybe see dropping Kartana-GX altogether for a second baby Dusk Mane Necrozma. However, I'll keep it in for now.

1 Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX

Having Beast Ring in the deck allows for this card to threaten a one-hit KO on basically anything relevant. Its GX attack, Sun's Eclipse GX followed by Meteor Tempest can be four quick prizes right there.

1 Dusk Mane Necrozma SM107

This card can assist in setting up KO's later on with Dusk Shot. If you can go early with Dusk Mane Necrozma to chip away at the opponent's EX and GX's then that's the way to go. Eventually, Naganadel-GX and Stakataka-GX will be able to finish things off. Rusty Claws can be useful at some point but it's likely that you won't use that attack anytime soon.

4 Professor Sycamore/3 N/3 Cynthia/4 Guzma

The deck has no form of a non-supporter draw such as Octillery, Oranguru, or Zoroark-GX. Having a hefty amount of supporters is the way to go in this deck for sure. I added ten draw supporters and four Guzma to make sure we dead draw less often and to have Guzma more frequently.

4 Mysterious Treasure

I went with Mysterious Treasure over Ultra Ball because Ultra Space can act as a free Ultra Ball for Ultra Beasts anyway. Unfortunately, you can't search out your Metal types with Mysterious Treasure but to be honest in this deck that is fine since like I said you still have Ultra Space.

4 Max Potion

This card combos well in this deck because it can deny prizes while taking KOs. Stakataka-GX can help you survive longer and once almost KOed then that is where Max Potion comes in.

3 Beast Ring

This card can be useful on all your Ultra Beast Pokémon namely Stakataka-GX and Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX because they hit for big damage take at least three energy. You can threaten either of there GX attacks at some point with Beast Ring.

3 Assault Vest/2 Float Stone

The tools of choice I decided on were Assault Vest and Float Stone. I believe with all the Zoroark-GX decks running around that Assault Vest can be crazy good in the case that they are unable to find Field Blower. Either way, your reducing damage with Stakataka-GX to hopefully turn a two hit KO into a three or more hit KO if you combo with Max Potion. Technically with Assault Vest and four Stakataka-GX, you can reduce up to 80 damage on your Ultra Beasts. That is absurd, to say the least. Having a couple Float Stone never hurts because some Pokémon in the deck have hefty retreat costs.

2 Field Blower

Garbotoxin and Parallel City can be troublesome for this deck. That's why I added in two copies of Field Blower just to give us some what of a chance against those pesky cards.

1 Super Rod

Getting back energy for Beast Ring plays will come in handy for sure. That's why I prefer Super Rod in this deck over Rescue Stretcher.

3 Ultra Space

This stadium is too good not to play in this deck as it lets you search out every Pokémon in the deck aside from Tapu Lele-GX. That is okay because Mysterious Treasure can get Tapu Lele-GX if need be.

8 Metal Energy/1 Beast Energy Prism Star

I'd like to fit another Metal, though space is really tight. Having Super Rod helps for sure in getting back energy though. Beast Energy can hit higher numbers when the time comes.

Other card options

Celesteela CST 58

I'd definitely play this card if I were playing Choice Band otherwise doing 160 doesn't do much on GX/EXs. I'll still consider it since Dusk Mane Necrozma can technically set up KO's for you anyway.


This card can be useful for sure in this deck, though if you are going for two hit KO's then the opponent will likely keep retreating out. Meaning you will have to chase them down with Guzma a lot of the times so they don't heal themselves.

Choice Band

The way I have the deck built right now is to just take two hit KO's while healing and denying prizes. Choice Band doesn't really help take any one hit KO's so there wasn't really any need for them. I'd much rather try and stay alive longer while still going for two shots.

Bodybuilding Dumbbells

I wanted to try these out but then thought why not Assault Vest instead? A lot of decks these days play Special Energy anyway. Reducing 70+ damage a turn can be game-changing for sure.

Metal Frying Pan

I'm not too much of a fan of this card in this build because it can't be taken advantage of by Naganadel-GX or Tapu Lele-GX. That's why I ended up going with Assault Vest instead. Plus I don't believe Fire will be big anytime soon to want to care about getting rid of the weakness.

Rescue Stretcher

I decided to play Super Rod over Rescue Stretcher because of Beast Ring. There are times where you may want to put energy back into the deck.

Beast Ball

If you have a prized Ultra Beast that is important then Beast Ball can come in the clutch in this scenario. However, I'm not too much of a fan of it because it only lets you get an Ultra Beast from the prizes.

Nest Ball

An easy way to get out your basics. However, Nest Ball doesn't allow the use of their abilities as Kartana-GX does. Nest Ball says from deck to bench and not hand to bench. That's the only downside to Nest Ball.

With that said, let's now take a look at my own take of the most hyped deck of Celestial Storm, Rayquaza-GX.


4 Rayquaza-GX

One of the most hyped if not the most hyped card to come out of the new set, Celestial Storm. In the past, Rayquaza cards have been very good namely Raquaza-EX. I wouldn't be surprised to see this card go far as well because I personally think it has a lot of potential moving forward. I know a lot of top players dislike Rayquaza-GX for the Worlds format simply because of the riskiness of milling important resources that could lose you the game before even attacking. That is part of the risk with this deck. Still, the deck is a force to be reckoned with and should be taken seriously in your testing groups. I've always been a Rayquaza fan and one of the main reasons I'm not giving up on the deck just yet. Rayquaza-GX as a whole is a phenomenal card in my opinion. It's ability, Stormy Winds allows you to power Rayquaza-EX faster and more efficiently. The only downside is that you have to discard the top three cards of your deck in order to get the energy bonus.

This means you have the potential to discard resources, though at the same time you can also discard more energy which is great. It's first attack, Dragon Break does 30 damage for each Grass and Lightning Energy you have in play. Dragon Break can rack up high damage numbers as early as turn two or even turn one if you are lucky enough. Eventually, Dragon Break will have the power to take down anything. Between Stormy Winds, Max Elixirs, and manual attachments you should be able to power up Rayquaza-GX's in no time and on a single turn. Now, it's GX attack, Tempest GX you likely won't use much because it'll be rare to want to discard your hand and draw 10 cards even though it may seem great. This is because you want to use your GX attack for Tapu Koko-GX if you can unless your dead drawing then, by all means, draw those 10 cards. Rayquaza-GX has weakness typing to Fairy which can be annoying because of Tapu Lele, Syvleon-GX/EX, and even Gardevoir-GX so be wary of these cards.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

I really wanted to fit a third copy in the deck but space issues have been hard. Still, two have been fine for now in testing. Getting that crucial Guzma or draw supporter can make or break a game. You can even use Tapu Lele-GX as an attacker if need be but hopefully, you don't have to and instead are taking one hit KOs.

1 Tapu Koko-GX

This card fits well in this deck because it's ability, Aero Trail lets you attach as many Lighting Energy on your field onto Tapu Koko-GX and if you do then you can put Tapu Koko-GX in the active spot. Once done you can surprise the opponent with either Sky-High Claws or more importantly with Tapu Thunder GX in which can potentially take down anything depending on how many energy the opponent has in play.

1 Jolteon-EX

This card can easily fit in this deck because it already plays Lighting Energy and Max Elixir, which is why I'm still messing with it. Jolteon-EX can auto win certain matchups. For example against the mirror match, Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor, Lapras-GX, and even Malamar to a certain extent. Pairing Jolteon-EX with Ninja Boy can catch the opponent off guard with the ultimate lock out of nowhere.

1 Latias Prism Star

This card early on can do wonders. Not only does Latias do 30 damage which can set up KOs but Latias also powers up all your benched Rayquaza-GX's for higher damage later on. Latias has that awkward 130 hit points so it can potentially survive a hit allowing you to attack multiple times with Latias.

1 Oranguru SUM 113/1 Oranguru ULP 114

I decided to play both copies of Oranguru. I wanted to have the draw in case late-game N happens and to bypass Delinquent plays. At the same time I wanted to have an answer to Garbodor decks that play Trashalanche. Namely Zoroark-GX/Garbodor which will likely rise in play after it won the North American International Championships. Not to mention, both Oranguru are great answers to Hoopa.

4 Professor Sycamore/4 Guzma/2 N/2 Cynthia/1 Ninja Boy

These are the supporters of choice I went with. The deck doesn't really have any big draw aside from Oranguru. Because of this, I wanted to make sure I had enough draw supporters to hopefully not dead draw as often. That is why I went with four Professor Sycamore because they also help put energy in the discard for Rayquaza-GX and Latias Prism Star. The deck is very fast so N won't be as useful as in most decks so I only kept two for now. Cynthia I also went with two. I added a Pal Pad to get supporters back if need be as well. Something this deck can struggle against is a field of non GX/ EX-attackers so having four Guzma I felt is the way to go in such an aggressive deck. As for Ninja Boy, I'm still toying around with. I like having techs in my decks. Ninja Boy can make some spicy plays. For example, if you open with Rayquaza-GX or Tapu Lele-GX. You can then turn them into Jolteon-EX for the free retreat or simply into a non GX/EX like Latias Prism Star or Oranguru.

4 Ultra Ball/3 Mysterious Treasure

In testing, I felt a four Ultra Ball and three Mysterious Treasure split was fine. I don't think a fourth Mysterious Treasure is needed. I like having more Ultra Ball to be able to search out the non Psychic and Dragon-types if needed. Both of these cards make it easier to have energy in the discard to power up Rayquaza-GX.

4 Max Elixir

A no-brainer addition in the deck and one of the most crucial cards you can mill in the deck aside from recovery cards. You definitely want to play four copies of Max Elixir in this deck. They help power up Rayquaza-GX and put more energy into play for higher damage. They also help you power up Jolteon-EX faster in case it is your win condition against certain decks.

3 Float Stone/2 Fighting Fury Belt/2 Wishful Baton

I chose these three as my Tools of choice. This deck can easily attack on the first turn so having Float Stone is ideal. Not to mention Rayquaza-GX has a hefty retreat cost. Fighting Fury Belt aids in having the extra 40 hit points. Making it more difficult for Rayquaza-GX to go down in one blow. As for Wishful Baton it is an Exp. Share on steroids. Getting back three energy gives you easier one hit KOs the following turn. The opponent will surely have to try and Field Blower them away.

2 Field Blower

I know lists I've seen play Parallel City over the two Field Blower like I do. I want to be able to get rid of my opponent's Parallel City and Tools on Garbodor. Even if you mill them with Rayquaza-GX then that's a risk you should take because Field Blowers will surely be useful in this deck at some point.

1 Rescue Stretcher/1 Super Rod

Personally, I prefer the split here. There are times where I want energy back into the deck to have higher odds of hitting Max Elixir. That's why I like having Super Rod in the deck in case you had to discard too many energy early on. Rescue Stretcher does still come in handy. Especially when you discard a Rayquaza-GX or even a Tapu Lele-GX.

1 Pal Pad

The deck can easily mill supporters so having at least one Pal Pad to get some back is nice. Getting back two extra cards is also great for not decking out as fast. I usually put back Guzma because they are too important in taking out GX/EXs when the opponent goes aggro with non GX/EXs.

7 Lightning Energy/6 Grass Energy

Most lists are running a 7/7 split. However, in testing the one less Grass Energy has been fine for now. I wanted to fit other techs so I had to cut down on an energy. I went with more Lightning Energy because of Tapu Koko-GX and Jolteon-EX.

Other card options


I've been wanting to toy around with this card because of Ninja Boy. Threating Mad Bull GX out of nowhere can assist in getting a huge KO that you wouldn't have been able to take down otherwise. It being weak to Buzzwole really hurts though because if you open with it then it's bad.


This card can technically auto win matchups that play only Special Energy. However, most decks these days play some form of Basic Energy.

Vikavolt SUM 52

At first, glance when Rayquaza-GX came out I thought the perfect partner was in fact Vikavolt. However, it is a stage 2 and you can easily just mill the pieces off the top. I think Vikavolt will be better for Rayquaza-GX post rotation once decks start to slow down.

Garbodor BKP 57

I've seen lists running around with Garbodor in them. I'm personally not a fan but I can see why players are trying that variant out. Garbotoxin is extremely strong in the format and it just won the North American International Championships. Once you have enough energy on board then Rayquaza-GX can go to town while denying abilities. This combo is definitely strong and I wouldn't be surprised to see it do well come Worlds.

Mew FCO 29

You can use Mew to copy Latias Prism Star. This means you can also attach an energy onto Latias Prism Star for the extra energy on board because it is a Basic Dragon type of course.

Shaymin SHL 7

The deck already plays both Grass Energy and Max Elixir. Shaymin can be an effective answer against Lycanroc-GX or Zygarde-GX. Trading a one prize attacker for two prizes is always nice.


Having access to Lillie turn one can make your turn two very strong. The only downside to Lillie in this deck is drawing into too many energy when not needed. Though sometimes that's great for using Latias Prism Star early.

Choice Band

Playing Choice Band over Fighting Fury Belt helps against Zoroark-GX based decks to make for easier one-hit KOs. However, the extra 40 health Fighting Fury Belt provides can assist in saving you from a one-hit KO.

Acro Bike

I know most lists probably are running a playset of Acro Bike to draw even more. However, they also can just be really bad because they can mill important resources and sometimes you don't want to dig too deep.

Energy Switch

There are times where this card can be useful. Especially when you have multiple Rayquaza-GX with one energy a piece in play. You can then Energy Switch onto one Rayquaza-GX and attack with that one instead of having them with one energy. You always want to have at least two energy on any given Rayquaza-GX. That way Rayquaza-GX doesn't get Guzma locked with having just one energy unable to attack.

Parallel City

Most Rayquaza-GX lists I've seen play a couple Parallel City. To be honest I don't really like them in this deck because they aren't too reliable. You can end up milling them and they can just get Field Blowered anyway. However, if you do open with one then it'll come in handy for sure because Parallel City can be troublesome for this deck.

Devoured Field

The extra 10 damage this stadium provides can make Dragon Break do more damage which can make hitting odd numbers easier. 

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on two plays for Worlds. I believe both decks are strong and have their own merit. Right now I'm favoring Rayquaza-GX as it does more damage and has the potential to one hit KO anything. However, Naganadel-GX/Stakataka-GX seems like a great play in a field full of Zoroark-GX and Buzzwole decks. I'll have more articles before Worlds so be sure to check those out when they are published. If you see me at Worlds don't be shy and come say hi or take a picture with me. I love making new memories in the community.

If you want to help support my team, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook: "Team ARG Pokémon-TCG." There you can keep up to date with all the players on the team. We are adding new players to the team soon so be sure to stay tuned for when they are announced. Also, don't forget to check out to pick up some awesome dice and GX markers. They recently restocked on all dice and GX markers, so get them now while they are hot. They are by far my favorite dice and markers to use and I recommend getting yourself at least two sets of any given color. Remember to use the code worlds2018 for free shipping until the end of August. Not to mention, I recently started coaching on so if you are interested in a coaching session with me then check them out to schedule an appointment or just pm me directly. Don't forget my Twitter handle is down below if you want to follow me for when I post lists and other exciting news.

If you have any questions, then please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me on Facebook. I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible.

As always, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, don't hesitate to give me ideas down below, and I'll consider them. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

[+19] okko


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