Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"A Stormy Trio" - Three Effective Ways to Run Rayquaza-GX with Team Up

Jose examines three exciting variants of Rayquaza-GX with the new Team Up set.

01/31/2019 by Jose Marrero



What's going on, 60cards readers?! I'm back again with another article — this time looking at three different variants of Rayquaza-GX with the new set Team Up implemented into them. Three specific cards from the new set Team Up will make Rayquaza-GX more of a force to be reckoned with. Those three cards are Shaymin Prism Star, Tapu Koko Prism Star, and Wondrous Labyrinth Prism Star. First, I'll start off with the tried and true Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt as it's seen a lot of success in the past but eventually fell off the map once Lost Thunder came out. Next, I'll then dive into Rayquaza-GX paired with Naganadel as it's one of the under the radar variants people haven't quite looked at. Finally, I'll transition into Speed Rayquaza-GX if you prefer a more Turbo approach.

Currently, I am ranked 9th in the US/Canada zone with a solid 612 points after netting some points at Dallas Regionals not too long ago. All these variants of Rayquaza-GX have had success at Japan events since they have had the new set, Team Up legal for some time now. It all really depends on your own playstyle on which variant is right for you. Hopefully, with this article, you get a better feel on which one you prefer moving forward and what you think is a better meta call. Mexico City Special Event is this weekend but the new set isn't legal until Australia. I'll be at both these events so hopefully, I see many of you at them.


With that said, let's take a look at the first of three variants starting with Vikavolt.

The Deck List

This is by far my favorite variant of Rayquaza-GX. Having built-in energy acceleration in the form of Vikavolt is very reliable and worthwhile. As you can see, the deck has a variety of attackers you can choose from, most notably Rayquaza-GX. Zeraora-GX is mainly useful for its ability, Thunderclap Zone, which gives all your Pokémon free retreat should they have a Lightning Energy attached to them. The deck has since gained two new Pokémon with the recent release of Team Up. Both Shaymin Prism Star and Tapu Koko Prism Star should make the deck even more powerful than before. Shaymin Prism Star, for just two Grass Energy, basically mimics Rayquaza-GX's Dragon Break attack. However, Shaymin Prism Star is a 1-prize attacker, making it a nice comeback card which can force a 7-prize game on the opponent. You can opt to go with 4 Rayquaza-GX, though with Shaymin Prism Star basically acting as a non-GX Rayquaza, playing 3 Rayquaza-GX should be fine. The deck plays 2 counts of Rescue Stretcher just in case.

As for Tapu Koko Prism Star, it'll only really be useful for its ability, Dance of the Ancients, which lets you attach 1 Lightning Energy from your discard to 2 of your Benched Pokémon. If so you then put Tapu Koko Prism Star in the lost zone, which is perfect because it frees up a bench spot. Dhelmise is in the deck to act as another non-GX attacker and its Grass typing can be relevant at times to take down big threats. Another new inclusion is Wondrous Labyrinth Prism Star. This new stadium basically makes all non-Fairy Pokémon need 1 extra energy to attack. This is okay because Rayquaza-GX accelerates itself and plus Vikavolt can help as well. Lysandre Labs will be very helpful as well to deny Tools from doing anything namely Escape Boards which Jirachi decks will surely want to abuse. The rest of the list is pretty straightforward and made up of staples now.

Other Card Options


This card is mainly to try and steal cheap wins with its ability, Flashing Head. It blocks any damage to Xurkitree-GX done to it by Pokémon with Special Energy on them. You never know when you will get a free win. However, be wary of Alolan Muk because its ability will shut off Flashing Head. It's GX attack, Lighting GX, isn't too bad either. It lets you look at your opponent's hand and put any 1 card into their prize cards, though you will likely be wanting to use Tempest GX. 

Tapu Bulu-GX

This card can be a secondary attacker if need be. It does a solid 180 damage if you discard all its energy. Usually, Rayquaza-GX will do more damage making Tapu Bulu-GX seem useless.


Its first attack, Psychic can do big numbers the more energy your opponent's active Pokémon has. It's second attack, Pelagic Blade does a solid 170 damage. However, it's GX attack, Lost Purge GX can remove your opponent's Active Pokémon and all cards attached to it to the lost zone. Very situational attack but it can be handy in certain scenarios.

Tapu Bulu LOT 37

A solid non-GX attacker that can do 100-120 damage. However, I think Dhelmise is strictly better because it can do 130 damage which is relevant against certain Pokémon such as, Giratina and Buzzwole.

Sudowoodo GRI 66

This card basically denies a one hit KO from a Zoroark-GX onto Rayquaza-GX because they need all 5 bench spots to do the Professor Kukui, Choice Band, and Devoured Field combo.

Steven's Resolve

If you already have a Grubbin in hand then this card is juice. However, most times you might just want to use Lillie.

Pokémon Fan Club

Being able to search out both a Grubbin and another Basic Pokémon is nice. Just a personal preference if you chose to play this card. Again I personally rather play Lillie on the first turn just to have a bigger hand size for the following turn.


Personally, I prefer Marshadow as the form of hand disruption in Standard because you can basically use it and still play a supporter for the turn. However, a turn 1 Judge can cripple the opponent if lucky enough but at the same time can hurt yourself as well.


I added Zeraora-GX making Switch a card that would likely be irrelevant. However, if you chose not to play Zeraora-GX then I definitely recommend replaces it with a Switch.

Net Ball

Solid card that can search out Grubbin, Dhelmise, Shaymin Prism Star, and even 1 Grass Energy. Nest Ball is a little better because it can pretty much do the same except it can search out other attackers as well. Being able to search out a Grass Energy probably won't be too relevant since Vikavolt can do that and some.


With that said, let's now take a look at a variant that's barely scratched the surface.

The Deck List 

This variant of Rayquaza-GX pretty much hasn't done anything pre Team Up because no one has really tried to make it work. However, it has had solid placements at events in Japan ever since the release of Team Up. Maybe now this variant will start to shine with the release of Team Up. Unlike Vikavolt, where that's the deck's form of energy acceleration, this one has Naganadel to do the dirty work. Naganadel's ability, Charging Up, lets you attach a Basic Energy from your discard pile to Naganadel. By doing this, you can fill the board with more and more energy the more Naganadel you have on the field. Naganadel basically replaces Vikavolt in this variant. Its attack, Turning Point, does 80 base damage and an additional 80 if you have exactly 3 prizes left.

Not the greatest of attacks and likely will only be used to take down low hit point Pokémon because Rayquaza-GX is what you mainly want to be focusing on to take bigger KO's. You also have your other attackers like Shaymin Prism Star, which can act like a 1-prize Rayquaza. Tapu Koko Prism to help power up attackers even faster with its ability. The deck also plays 4 copies of Energy Switch because this variant does not play Vikavolt of course. Energy Switch can allow for quicker Rayquaza-GX's to be ready for battle. Stormy Winds + manual attachment + Energy Switch means you now have a fully powered Rayquaza-GX ready to hopefully take down anything in its way. The one-of Ultra Space can be another Lysandre Labs if you prefer. However, being able to freely search out a Poipole or Naganadel is nice.

Other card options


Having free retreat is nice and Its GX attack can set up even more energy on the board. If your low on Naganadels and have to power up multiple Rayquaza-GX at once then Zeraora-GX will be great here.

Absol TUP

Its ability makes your opponent's active Basic Pokémon have 1 more retreat cost. This is especially good against the new Jirachi that love to abuse Escape Boards.


In this variant, you want energy in the discard quite often so you can abuse Naganadel. Sightseer can assist here and also draw extra cards at the same time which isn't too bad.


If you want a little more hand disruption then Judge is the way to go. However, I think Marshadow should be enough because you can search it out with basically anything.

Beast Ring

This card can help put even more energy into play. Naganadel is an Ultra Beast so Beast Ring can actually work here.

Choice Band

The deck does play Lysandre Labs making your own Tools useless. I personally rather not play any Tools of my own. However, Choice Band once Lysandre Labs is bumped, can potentially take a surprise one hit KO. Naganadel can also hit up to 190 damage which is enough to take down certain threats.

Acro Bike

If you want a little more extra draw then Acro Bikes is what you want. Digging a little more to find what you need can come in the clutch at times. However, Acro Bikes can also do more harm then good if you have to toss away important resources.

Speed Rayquaza-GX

With that said, let's take a look at the last variant this time with a more speedy approach.

The Deck List


This variant will likely be the least played of the three variants because having a partner usually is better in the long run. Still, I think this variant can be scary to face up against if you draw hot enough. This variant of the deck is meant to go fast on the first turn of the game. Preferably with a turn one Full Voltage GX. You can achieve this in multiple ways. The first is by obviously opening with Zeraora-GX. If you don't, then you have to find a way to put it into the active spot of course. You can do this by using Guzma or retreating out of the active and using Tapu Koko Prism Star to power up Zeraora-GX because it just needs 1 Lightning Energy. Basically, whatever is active you can just free retreat it out with a Lightning Energy thanks to Zeraora-GX's ability. To help put energy into the discard you, of course, you have Stormy Winds as one way. You also have Acro Bikes, which can help as well. Not to mention, Shuckle, because its ability lets you search your deck and discard 3 energy cards.

You can even use its attack, Energy Drink, to power attackers up. Latias Prism Star will be useful in this variant for sure because not only does it help accelerate onto, multiple Rayquaza-GX but it also does 30 damage which can help set up easier knockouts. I've also included an Oranguru just for the extra draw because the deck can fit it since it doesn't play evolutions like the other two variants or Rare Candy which takes up 4 spots alone. There are a couple Pal Pads in case you mill too many supporters. As you can see, Lysandre Labs is in all three variants. This is because denying the use of Tools like Escape Board and Choice Band will be important. I've included three Rescue Stretcher in this variant, unlike the others, where they play two because when using Acro Bikes you are more likely to have to discard Pokémon.

Other card options

Tapu Koko-GX

Great backup attacker if you need to do an easy 130 damage right away thanks to its ability Aero Trail and attack Sky-High Claws

Tate and Liza

The deck does play Zeraora-GX so you shouldn't have trouble free retreating out. Although, Alolan Muk can be annoying so Tate and Liza can be useful there. The extra draw isn't the worst either.


Healing a Rayquaza-GX from danger can go a long way if timed correctly. If you can deny a 2 prize attacker from being KOed then it should put you in a better spot.

Energy Switch

These should make it easier to be able to use Zeraora-GX's Full Voltage GX easier. Still, you can pull it off without Energy Switch.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on three different variants of Rayquaza-GX with the new Team Up set. The most successful variant according to recent non-US events is the one with Vikavolt. However, Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt was very good at a time and had great success in the states and outside. Personally, it's my favorite variant as well. I'll likely be messing with these variants some more especially with Vikavolt and Naganadel. This weekend I'll be at the Mexico City Special Event so hopefully, I can grab some more points there then finally start looking towards Australia even more. Hopefully, I can bring you guys more deck ideas and lists that can perform well should you decide to play them.

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 recently added Pablo Meza Alonso to the ARG team roster so be sure to show him some love when you see him at an event, online, or streaming. Also, don't forget to check out to pick up some awesome dice and GX markers. They also have Ability Markers for sale so be sure to pick some up if you haven't already.

I'm starting to coach a lot more seriously and often so if you are interested in taking coaching lessons from me then feel free to either PM me on Facebook or on Twitter. My Twitter handle is below if you want to follow me for when I post lists and other exciting news or if you want to reach me that way.

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-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

[+26] okko


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