Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

Top 32 Philly Report with Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt

Jose discusses his Top 32 placement out of over 800 players at the recent Philly Regionals with Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt.

09/27/2018 by Jose Marrero



Hey again, 60cards readers! The first US Regionals is done and accounted for and now players are scrambling to get ready for the next US Regionals in Memphis next month. As you can tell from the title I finished in Top 32 at Philly Regionals not too long ago out of over 800 players. So for this next article, I'll be going over the Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt list I decided to play at Philly Regionals along with two of my buddies Isaac Milaski (5th), and Franco Takahashi (29th). Shout out to Justin Kulas again for helping with the list. He decided on a different deck last minute, unfortunately. Going into Memphis next month I still think the list is going to finish strong should players decide to play it. I'll also be doing a round by round tournament report so you guys can see what I played against and how those games went. Currently, I'm sitting at 152 Championship Points which doesn't seem that much to be honest. It's still early into the season so hopefully, I can finish strong and get the Australia stipend as I did with Brazil. Not being able to play in the Nashville Open may hinder my chances but just have to focus. I actually ended up losing my win and in into Top 8 against Rukan who placed 2nd overall at Philly. We had a really close game 3 down to 2-2 prizes but Rukan had back to back Guzmas for game. Following that unfortunate loss in round 14 I then lost the win and in into Top 16 in game 3 against Baby Buzzwole/Garbodor/Magcargo/Shrine in round 15. Still happy with my overall performance and I can't wait to see everyone in Memphis next month.

With that said, let's get into the list I used at Philly Regionals to place in Top 32 out of over 800 players.


4 Rayquaza-GX

This card we all knew would be powerful especially after Takuya Yoneda winning the Japan Championships with it. Rayquaza as a whole has been one of the best card archetypes to ever be printed. Even in previous years, most Rayquaza cards were really good and Rayquaza-GX is no slouch either. It's ability, Stormy Winds lets you discard the top 3 cards of your deck and attach a basic Grass or Lightning Energy from your discard and attach it to Rayquaza-GX. If you combine that with Vikavolt's Strong Charge ability then Rayquaza-GX will be doing lethal damage in no time because of its Dragon Break attack. Doing 30 damage for each Grass and Lightning Energy you have in play is extremely strong especially when you have multiple ways of energy acceleration. Not to mention, Tempest GX is one of the best GX attacks currently in the game. Filling your hand up to 10 cards is ridiculous and advantageous.

3-3 Vikavolt

The reason Rayquaza-GX is so powerful right now. Strong Charge lets you accelerate a Grass and Lightning Energy from your deck onto any of your Pokemon. Now you can see why Rayquaza-GX is a force to be reckoned with. Electro Cannon is actually a great attack to KO one prize attackers in Shrine decks. Just be careful because Baby Buzzwole can one hit KO Vikavolt with Diancie on the bench and a Beast Energy attached. I learned that the hard way one time.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Opening Tapu Lele-GX is annoying especially if against a deck that plays Shrine of Punishment. Still, having two is ideal because a turn one Lillie is very strong for this deck.

2 Dhelmise CLS 22

The newest inclusion ever since the rise of Shrine decks. The way I found out about Dhelmise was by watching one of Andrew Mahone's videos and his opponent was playing Dhelmise with Tapu Bulu-GX and so I immediately looked it up and was astounded by it. It hits for the perfect 130 damage. It's attack Giga Drain isn't too bad since it can deal 30 and heal 30. Powerful Spin can do 130 damage, however Dhelmise can't attack the following turn. That is okay though since you can use Switch, Guzma, or even manually retreat if you have to since there are two Energy Recycler after all.

1 Marshadow SLG 45

An early Let Loose can win games. Not to mention Let Loose and Tempest GX are great combos together. Also having Let Loose ready for when the opponent uses their Tempest GX, Lillie, Steven's Resolve, and Algorithm GX is clutch. You can search Marshadow out with either Ultra Ball or Mysterious Treasure.

3 Cynthia

A fourth Cynthia would be nice but a lot of times I'd prefer to use Volkner anyway to get exactly what I need at the time assuming it is an item that is.

4 Guzma

You definitely want to be running four Guzma in this deck. Moon's Eclipse GX is something you have to get around or you may fall too far behind. Not having Pal Pad also means you should max out on Guzma.

3 Volkner

Most lists I've seen run maybe one or two Volkner but not me. I like having three because they get you half of your Vikavolt combo and an energy for the turn. Being able to use Volkner for Switch or Energy Recycler is nice as well. Volkner gives the deck many options.

2 Lillie

As much as I want to add more Lillie into the deck two has been perfectly fine. A turn one Lillie into a turn two Volkner usually gets you Rare Candy and Vikavolt if you don't already have the pieces in hand.

4 Rare Candy

I used to play three copies of Rare Candy until one League Cup finals in games one and three I prized two of my three. Ever since I added the fourth one and been loving it. Playing less than four is just risky in case you mill too many of them anyway.

2 Rescue Stretcher

Two of these is just ideal since Stormy Winds can mill some of the Pokemon. Sometimes having Vikavolt or Rayquaza-GX and even Tapu Lele-GX in the discard can be clutch.

2 Nest Ball

I love having two Nest Balls in the deck especially since adding two Dhelmise. You can easily get them out. Sometimes even using Nest Ball to grab Rayquaza-GX is worth it.

2 Energy Recycler

I don't know why I was only playing one copy of this card before. To be honest, one was running smooth but when I added the second one it was a lot better. Not having to worry too much when milling one off Stormy Winds was fine because you still have the second one if needed.

2 Choice Band

I had three copies of Choice Band before but dropped one for a second copy of Dhelmise. Two Choice Band so far has been fine as long as you don't mill them both.

2 Mysterious Treasure

At first, I wasn't playing this card nor Marshadow but now I'm liking their inclusions for sure. Having more outs to Tapu Lele-GX and Rayquaza-GX is nice as well.

1 Switch

One Switch has been perfectly fine. There are times where you can just afford to manually retreat anyway.

Other card options

Tapu Bulu-GX

I almost dropped one Rayquaza-GX for one of these because of all the Shrine of Punishment decks. Glad I didn't make the change because four Rayquaza-GX is ideal and you just want to keep the consistency in finding them easier especially if you prize or mill them.

Tapu Koko-GX

It's ability and GX attack are quite awesome. However, you mainly just want to go aggro with Rayquaza-GX because Tapu Koko-GX can only really one hit KO one thing.


I used to play this card before decks were adding four or more basic energy. Because of that, I dropped it altogether because now it's a liability. Before I did get free wins with it because decks ran maybe one basic energy at the time but now it's a lot different.

Latias Prism Star

Now that Vikavolt has been added into the deck I don't think you will make much use of Latias Prism Star simply because it is too slow. If you are not taking a KO every turn you may fall behind on the prize trade.

Shining Lugia SM82

Andrew Mahone's top 16 list from Philly actually had not two but three Shining Lugia. I was debating on playing one Shining Lugia and one Dhelmise for Philly. I ended up just going with two Dhelmise since it is easier to get three energy onto them as opposed to four like Shining Lugia.

Dedenne FBL 88

Great card in the mirror match because you can trade one prize for two prizes. However, you will have to use your Choice Bands wisely and hope to not mill them.

Oranguru SUM 113

The extra draw power Oranguru provides is nice for late game Judge plays. When facing Hoopa it can even be used as an attacker.

Pokemon Fan Club

Getting a Grubbin and Marshadow straight into Tempest GX can be very strong. Pokemon Fan Club can be nice but not needed in my opinion as proven.

Steven's Resolve

I'm not a huge fan of this card in this deck because I'd prefer to use Lillie most times on the first turn anyway. If you don't have a Grubbin turn 1 then Steven's Resolve is too slow.

Tate and Liza

I still think Cynthia is the way to go because that extra 1 card can make the difference of finding what you need. Using a supporter for the turn just for a simple switch effect doesn't seem that great personally.


I had a Judge in the deck before and ultimately dropped it for Marshadow. A judge was nice but if you mill it then you can't get it back whereas if you mill Marshadow you can still Rescue Stretcher for it.

Acro Bike

This card was good in my initial list then decided against them to try and fit other cards that were more important and actually needed. Stormy Winds already mills 3 cards so you don't really want to keep milling if you don't have to. The deck runs well without Acro Bikes.

Wishful Baton

A lot of decks including Zoroark-GX decks aren't playing Field Blower anymore meaning Wishful Baton can actually stick this time around. However, I believe they aren't needed and instead Choice Band is the way to go.

Escape Rope

I still stand behind the one Switch, though an extra switching effect that's not Guzma can help. Escape Rope especially helps against Moon's Eclipse GX.

Field Blower

Shrine of Punishment is annoying for this deck so having a way to get rid of them isn't too bad.

Pal Pad

When using Stormy Wings you can potentially discard supporters and if you have Pal Pad you can get some of them back. Milling Guzma is the main supporter you don't want to mill too many of.

Devoured Field

The extra 10 damage Devoured Field provides can be relevant in some scenarios. For example on hitting 130, 190 and 250 easier. Getting rid of Shrine of Punishment helps alleviate damage too.

Lysandre Labs

There was a list in top 16 of Philly that played three copies of these. To be honest they don't seem that bad because you not only shut off opposing Tools like Choice Band, Wishful Baton, and Escape Board but at the same time you are bumping those troublesome Shrine of Punishment stadiums.

Champions Festival

Great card against Shrine decks that don't play Weavile. Healing off the Shrine damage is nice and just in general bumping Shrine helps.

Top 32 Tournament Report

Day 1

Round 1 - Brian Bertram - Baby Buzzwole/Garbodor/Magcargo/Shrine: WLT (0-0-1)

Right off the bat, I am faced against a Florida friend piloting one of my worst matchups. I wasn't too excited to play against Baby Buzzwole/Garbodor/Magcargo/Shrine already in the first round but I knew my deck can stand a chance against it if I play well. Game one was close but I ended up taking it by using Dhelmise and Vikavolt effectively. Game two I brought it to one prize but Brian had the game-winning Guzma the following turn. Going into game three we were going back and forth but time is eventually called and I am only able to take two more prizes when I had three left. After time was called and we took our extra turns I had one prize to Brian's three so I just needed one more tun to win the match. Unfortunate way to finish round one with a tie already but it is what it is.

Round 2 - Noel Totomoch - Passimian/Shrine: WLT (0-0-2)

I had no idea what Noel was playing until this man benched a Passimian. Immediately I knew I was going to get a run for my money. Especially with Shrine of Punishment added into the mix. Game one really close but I somehow am able to win. Game two I believe gets down to 1-1 prizes but Noel basically locked me with Tapu Lele and it's Magical Swap attack. Game three we end up going to time and I believe we both still had 6 prizes each. Thinking back I probably would have lost the match because Passimian is tough for Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt for sure.

Round 3 - Carlo Sarmiento - Naganadel-GX/Stakataka-GX: WW (1-0-2)

Starting the day off with two ties made me worry a bit for sure but that didn't affect my confidence moving forward. I've been in this scenario plenty of times and have bounced back numerous times. In this round, I'm now facing up against Naganadel-GX/Stakataka-GX which should be a fine matchup for me. This matchup was fairly easy being that Rayquaza-GX can still one hit KO everything in the deck even with Stakataka-GX's ability reduction. I take the series with a swift 2-0 victory and finally get my first win of the day.

Round 4 - Mert Nacir - Necrozma-GX/Malamar: WW (2-0-2)

This round I'm now up against Necrozma-GX/Malamar. My opponent drew very poorly both games making me able to capitalize on his slow starts and never looking back. I take this round with another swift 2-0 victory. At this point, I'm starting to get into the Rhythm and having my confidence spike even more. Still, lots of rounds to go so I had to focus one round at a time.

Round 5 - Alexander Stojkov - Zoroark-GX/Magcargo: LWW (3-0-2)

Going into this match I knew I was heavily favored facing a simple Zoroark-GX deck. Game one I drew so poorly and quickly got ran over. However, in games 2 and 3, my deck did what its supposed to do and took prizes left and right. I even one hit KOed a Body Building Dumbells Zoroark-GX. If the deck sets up this matchup is perfectly fine as they will struggle to one hit KO you while you threatening a one hit KO on them every turn.

Round 6 - Joseph Venuto - Shining Lugia/Malamar/Shrine: WW (4-0-2)

I was hoping to dodge Shrine decks at this point but I hit another one. This time with Shining Lugia and Malamar. I wasn't too sure on how this match would play out but what I did know was how to beat the deck and that's exactly what I did. I utilized both Dhelmise and Vikavolt wisely trading KO's while having my GX Pokemon at bay until it was the perfect time to use Rayquaza-GX.

Round 7 - Connor Ritter - Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX: WW (5-0-2)

I've just won four matches in a row and just need to win 2 more to make day 2 after starting with 2 ties. This round I was excited to face another Zoroark-GX variant because that meant not having to deal with Shrine of Punishment and Garbodor. I knew the Lycanroc-GX matchup was fine and I was able to take it down 2-0. One turn my opponent even one hit KOed a Rayquaza-GX with Dedenne but that didn't matter because he couldn't use it twice in a row and I was already up on prizes. I take the series with a solid 2-0 victory and just need to one one of my last two rounds for day 2.

Round 8 - Andrew Nunez - Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX/Magenzone: WW (6-0-2)

When I saw my opponent open with Magnemite I was excited because I pretty much knew I had the match in the bag as long as I can set up and draw decently. My opponent drew poorly but I also set up pretty well so even if we were trading prizes I was favored every time. I take the match pretty convincingly and at this point, I'm excited because I just won 6 rounds in a row to make day 2 after starting with 2 ties. That is why you never give up because you never know what can happen. Stay focused and play each round to the best of your ability.

Round 9 - Franco Puertas - Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt: ID (6-0-3)

This round Franco and I were playing the same 60 so we just decided to ID into Day 2 with 21 points apiece.

Day 2

Round 10 - Franco Puertas - Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt: WW (7-0-3)

Franco and I basically had a 50-50 shot at playing each other in the first round of Day 2 because there were only three players with exactly 21 match points. What do you know it is a rematch with Franco in round 10. Both games pretty much went my way with me taking the first two prizes. I was able to disrupt Franco a little better with my own Marshadow. We played the same 60 as I said but I got a little luckier is all and ran better.

Round 11 - Ryan Bruckner - Necrozma-GX/Malamar: LL (7-1-3)

This round Ryan absolutely destroyed me giving me my first loss of the event. Game one Ryan plays first and his 2nd turn of the game he is already one hit KOing Rayquaza-GX so game one was a blowout. In game two I'm thinking I'm okay but suddenly Ryan uses Cynthia and hits triple Malamar to one hit KO Rayquaza-GX and so from there it was a 2 prize trade but he was up 2 prizes so I lost. This man's deck ran hotter than the sun that's for sure. Still good games to Ryan!

Round 12 - Grant Manley - Tapu Bulu-GX/Vikavolt: WW (8-1-3)

Grant and I were actually on stream for our match. I linked the video down below if you wanna see the play by play for yourself.

Round 13 - Brandon Johnson - Shining Lugia/Malamar/Shrine: WW (9-1-3)

This was my 2nd Shining Lugia/Malamar/Shrine of the event. The first one I faced I was able to take it down 2-0 but it was definitely not easy. This match was not easy either. I still was able to win 2-0 because I was able to use both Dhelmise and Vikavolt effectively. I stayed up on the prize lead without benching too many GX Pokemon. The matchup is very tough but winnable if you focus and play correctly.

Round 14 - Rukan Shao - Necrozma-GX/Malamar: LWL (9-2-3)

This round was basically the win and in going to top 8 because I could potentially ID my last round into cut so I knew it was very important. Game one Rukan took the first two prizes with Necrozma-GX and from there it was basically a 2 prize trade and he was up so he took the first game. However, in game two I was able to take the lead and Rukan had prized his Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX so he scooped soon after. Game three was down to the wire with both of us playing passively waiting for the right moment to strike. There was a turn where I was one card short of taking the first 2 prizes but Rukan beat me to it and from there it was 2 for 2 and so on. Rukan had back to back Guzma plays to finish me off. I had 2 prizes left with the game next turn but Rukan played well and took the series to lock himself top 8. We had a great series for sure.

Round 15- Nicholas Moffitt - Baby Buzzwole/Garbodor/Magcargo/Shrine: LWL (9-3-3)

After losing my last round and knowing I was out of top 8 contention I was somewhat bummed and I think it affected this round for sure. Game one was close but my opponent was able to barely pull it out. Game two my opponent drew very poorly and conceded quickly. However, in game three I made mistakes early on not thinking straight and scooped right after I miscalculated a KO on a Baby Buzzwole. All in all, I'm happy with my performance even though my last round could have been a top 16 placement instead if I focused a little more than I did. I walked away with a solid 60 CP, 1 Box, and $250 putting me at 152 CP at the moment.

Isaac Milaski and Franco Takahashi sent me their round by round if you want to compare their's to mine since we all played the same 60.


R1-buzz gx cargo WLW
R2-mirror WW
R3-ultra necrozma malamar WLW
R4-dusk mane magnezone WW
R5- buzz garb shrine LWT
R6-zoro pod WW
R7- buzz garb shrine WLW
R8- buzz gx cargo WW
R9 zorobanette LWL
R10- buzz garb shrine LL
R11- zorogarb WW
R12-mirror WLW
R13- buzz weavile shrine WLW
R14- buzz garb shrine WW
R15- gedemer scooped
Top 8 metagross LL


R1 Koko Latios Hochkrow T
R2 Ho-Oh Salazzle W
R3 ZoroRock W
R4 Necrozma Malamar W
R5 VikaRay T
R6 Lugia Deoxys Malamar W
R7 ZoroPod W
R8 Vika Bulu W
R9 Me ID
R10 Me L
R11 Koko Garb Dedenne T
R12 Koko Buzz Lele T
R13 BuzzRock Cargo W
R14 Necrozma Malamar T
R15 Necrozma Malamar W

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on my Top 32 finish at the Philly Regional Championships not too long ago. Heading into Memphis Regionals next month I strongly believe Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt will still perform well if played. At the moment I haven't changed any cards from my Philly list because, to be honest, the list ran fine as is. I don't think the Dragon Majesty set will force any type of change to the list much moving forward. If you see me in Memphis be sure to stop by and say hi. If you are playing in the main event then I hope the best for you.

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. 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. 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 below, and I'll consider them. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!

-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

[+20] okko


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