Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"A Speedy Trio" - Looking at PikaRom, ArchieStoise, and Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX for Toronto

Jose examines a trio of decks heading into the Toronto Regional Championships this weekend.

03/08/2019 by Jose Marrero



What's going on, 60cards readers?! I'm back again with another article — this time looking at three speedy decks for the Toronto Regional Championships this weekend. I'll first start off with one of if not the most hyped deck going into Expanded, PikaRom. It's no surprise to see this deck in this article as I've had some success with PikaRom recently. The deck is even more powerful in Expanded because it gains new additions that make the deck faster and stronger namely Max Elixir. Next, I'll then move into a deck that has had tons of success at Dallas Regionals, ArchieStoise as I still think it will be a force to be reckoned with this weekend in Toronto.

Lastly, I'll transition into Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX as I think it too can do great things if you hit the right matchups and draw decently well. This deck has also gained a few new friends in the form of Prism Stars. Both Shaymin and Tapu Koko Prism Star gives Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX an even greater boost of power when it comes to speed and mobility. These are my personal three favorite decks going into Toronto this weekend and mainly what I've been testing. All three have their own merit and can do big things if piloted correctly. Right now I am sitting at a solid 1007 CP right at 7th in the US/Canada rankings. I'm hoping I can keep getting CP here and there to stay in the Top 16 race. We are still a ways away until Worlds so there is plenty of time to gain more CP if you are also chasing that prestigious Day 2 Worlds invite.

With that said, let's dive right into the first deck, PikaRom.


This deck is extremely fast and can pop off with a turn 1 Full Blitz quite often. That is what makes the deck so strong in Expanded. Just having that fast Full Blitz forcing the opponent to have a quick response or be KOed trying is what you want the deck to achieve. To assist with this we have cards like Shaymin-EX, Tapu Lele-GX, Marshadow, Tapu Koko Prism Star, Lillie, Acro Bikes, Energy Switch, and Thunder Mountain to make it easier to pull off. Marshadow-GX I'm still messing with because although it's great in the mirror there are times where the opponent may have a Flash Energy attached making Marshadow-GX not as great. Because the deck plays Sky Field I've also included Sudowoodo because it can slow the opponent down and limit their plays having to watch what they bench.

My list is likely quite different than most as I do not play cards like VS Seeker, Battle Compressor, and Trainers' Mail. Reason being is that all you need is a turn one Lillie to get that turn 1 Full Blitz then after that all you need are Guzmas to pick off what you want to KO. Acro Bikes can help draw at the same time if needed. I know many players are playing Scramble Switch over went Computer Search but personally, I'd prefer to make my turn 1 Full Blitz odds a little higher with the extra consistency Computer Search provides. There are also a couple of Flash Energy to try and deny being one hit KOed by cards like Lucario-GX or Buzzwole-GX.

Other card options


This card is very situational and meta dependent. Against decks that play only Special Energy such as Night March, Vespiquen, and Baby Buzzwole/Garbodor/Shrine decks is where Xurkitree-GX can do wonders. Especially if they don't have or you get rid of their counters fast.

Tapu Koko-GX

Tapu Koko-GX is useful in the mirror because you can one hit KO an opposing PikaRom if the opponent is not careful. Sky-High Claws can be useful as well if you just need a quick 130 beater.

1-1 Jolteon-GX

Jolteon-EX and Vileplume BUS 6 can be annoying for this deck so if you do expect to see them then I recommend fitting at least a 1-1 line of Jolteon-GX just so you don't take an auto loss. However, you can technically Guzma around them and Tag Bolt GX them on the bench for a KO.

Mr. Mime

Great in the mirror and against ArchieStoise to prevent them from taking too many prizes at once.

Scramble Switch

You can go really aggressive with a t1 or 2 Tag Bolt GX for the extra prizes with Scramble Switch. However, I think the consistency boost that Computer Search provides is more efficient in the long run because if you don't get a turn 1 Full Blitz then Scramble Switch doesn't seem that great in the following turns.

Fighting Fury Belt

Against the mirror, a 280 hit point PikaRom can be tough to take down in one hit making it so that you might be able to get the first one hit KO giving you the lead.

Silent Lab

If the opponent plays Mr. Mime then having Silent Lab will come in handy so you can Tag Bolt GX for more prizes on the same turn.

With that said, let's now move into ArchieStoise.


My list from Dallas has changed a few but not too much. However, we do have to change a couple of things due to the resurgence of PikaRom we are likely about to see this weekend in Toronto. I've included a copy of Onix to be able to one hit KO a PikaRom easily if they don't have a Flash Energy attached as well as Zoroark-GX. I've also thought about including a 2nd copy of Onix or possibly a Faba to be able to remove Flash Energy but being able to freely use Faba and have a Blastoise still on board just seems too good to be true in my opinion. I've also included Eevee & Snorlax-GX. It's first attack, Cheer Up is actually quite useful against an early Wobbuffet because you can still power up an attacker. It's second attack, Dump Truck Press can do a hefty 240 damage to a Zoroark-GX or to any Evolution Pokémon in general. You still need Silent Lab to be able to nullify Mr. Mime to get multiple prizes in a single turn with Towering Splash GX so that stayed in the deck for sure since Dallas. Kingdra-GX is great in the mirror to take down opposing Magikarp & Wailord-GX's as well as PikaRoms. A second Field Blower was also added to help make the Zoroark-GX/Garbodor matchup easier and to rid of any troublesome stadiums.

Other card options


The deck plays stronger attackers, however, Keldeo-EX has it's Rush In ability which can be useful against decks like Shock Lock, Trevenant, and Seismitoad-EX. Not to mention being able to get out of status effects can be handy as well.


Mainly useful for its GX attack, Lost Purge GX. In the mirror match Lost Purge GX can be devastating for the opponent because if you can remove 5+ energy from play then their attacks are now limited. Lost Purge GX can also cripple Primal Groudon-EX decks because if you remove their lone Primal Groudon-EX on board that's fully charged then they will basically fold unless they have a backup ready to go.

Jirachi TEU 99

I'm not too sure how useful Jirachi is compared to Trainers' Mail as they basically act as the same thing. I think Trainers' Mail is probably just overall better because of its versatility while Jirachi can be negated by Garbotoxin and Alolan Muk.

Articuno ROS 17

One of the better attackers against 1 prizer decks like Night March, Lost March, Vespiquen, and more because Articuno can potentially trade 1 prize for 2 with it's Tri Edge attack.

Giratina LOT 97

Useful to one hit KO multiple Shaymin-EX on the bench with Towering Splash GX. Also nice to deny Focus Sash on Riolu's.

Mr. Mime

Great card against PikaRom decks so they aren't able to easily snipe Blastoise on the bench with Tag Bolt GX. However, they still can if they play their own Silent Lab which I'm seeing most lists play. Mr. Mime is also very useful in the mirror match because Towering Splash GX can take out multiple Shaymin-EX if they already took damage from Giratina or Volcanion Prism.

Unown AON 30

This card can assist in getting that turn 1 Archie a little easier but not particularly needed to achieve that. Unown is more of a luxury than needed.

Faba/Professor Sycamore/Acerola/N

Faba is nice to get rid of Tools like Focus Sash and Tools on Garbotoxin. Faba is also clutch to remove Flash Energy off PikaRom decks so that Onix can now one hit KO them. Professor Sycamore I didn't play in Dallas because I felt it wasn't needed and having too many supporters in this deck can make less turn 1 successful Archie plays. The deck wants to use Archie's Ace in the Hole as often as possible anyway. Acerola is nice in the mirror for once they hit into Magikarp & Wailord-GX. As for N I also felt was just not needed because this deck is quite aggressive especially when going for a quick Towering Splash GX to KO the bench.

Float Stone

I actually chose to go with Tate and Liza over Float Stone. This is because Float Stone is a one time use meaning if you have to use it early or if the opponent gets rid of it with Faba or Field Blower then Blastoise can now be stuck active easier. This is usually due right after you have used Towering Splash GX with 8 energy. However, with Tate and Liza, you get multiple uses out of it while also having its other effect where you can decide to draw 5 cards if that's what you prefer.

Professor's Letter

Most Dallas lists that made Day 2 ran a couple copies of these. They are nice to get a couple of Water Energy out of the deck easier, though they are more of a luxury card than a necessity.

With that said, let's now get into the final deck, Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX.


I actually love this list. It's been testing quite well and can stand toe to toe against PikaRom and ArchieStoise. My main concern is the Zoroark-GX/Garbodor matchup because Trashalanche has always been the bain of Rayquaza-GX's existence. If you mill too many items then you are in a world of hurt and that's something I fear, unfortunately. Not to mention ability lock is troublesome as well, though if you can pop off on the first turn then ability lock shouldn't matter too much if you are still able to take consecutive one hit KO's on Zoroark-GX's. Something cute I've thought about is replacing Dowsing Machine for Scramble Switch and adding in an Eevee & Snorlax-GX just for the Zoroark-GX matchup but that just seems too much.

It's actually not that hard to get a turn 1 180+ and t2 240+ with this build. I've included cards like Mr. Mime to help against Towering Splash GX and Tag Bolt GX. On top of that Sudowoodo has been very good because the deck plays Sky Field so an early Roadblock is clutch. Both Shaymin Prism Star and Tapu Koko Prism Star have been super great in this deck as well because Shaymin Prism can take down a Magikarp & Wailord-GX with ease. You can also use Tapu Koko-GX to take down big threats like Magikarp & Wailord-GX, PikaRom once they have enough energy on board. The rest of the list is pretty standard so I'll leave it at that. This deck is definitely growing on me for sure.

Other card options


As I said before, this card is very situational and meta dependent. Otherwise great card against decks that only play Special Energy. For example, Night March, Vespiquen, and Baby Buzzwole/Garbodor/Shrine decks. It's GX attack, Lighting GX can be handy by adding an extra prize for the opponent and disrupting their hand at the same time.

1-1 Jolteon-GX

As I mentioned before, Jolteon-GX is mainly useful as a counter to both Jolteon-EX and Vileplume BUS 6. Both of these cards deny Basic Pokémon from essentially attacking and given that the whole deck is all Basic Pokémon means those are losses if set up.

Oranguru SUM 113/Mew FCO 29

Both are ways to counter Hoopa decks. But at the same time, Oranguru is nice for the extra draw and Mew can make hitting one hit KO's on Psychic weak types easier such as Buzzwole-GX and Lucario-GX. Mew also has free retreat so opening with it is clutch for when you want to try and get a turn 1 attack off.

Ninja Boy

This card is clutch for when you need a quick Rayquaza-GX out of nowhere, You can use Rebirth and then Ninja Boy Ho-Oh-EX into a Rayquaza-GX or any other Basic.

Giratina LOT 97/Rattata EVO 66/Faba/Hypnotoxic Laser/Field Blower

I grouped these together because they all act for the same purpose and that is getting rid of or going through Focus Sash. Giratina can put 10 damage on 2 Riolu before they hit the active making it so that if they attach Focus Sash then they are useless so it'll force them to heal first. Rattata's ability can remove all Tools attached to your opponent's active Pokémon once Rattata hits the field. Faba can also remove them, Hypnotoxic Laser can make it so if you take a one-hit KO and break Focus Sash then the 10 damage from Poison will finish it off. Field Blower can remove Focus Sash as well just like Faba. However, both Faba and Field Blower have other uses as well. Garbotoxin can be annoying so getting rid of those Tools can be handy. Parallel City is also quite troublesome so having a few more ways to rid of those is great as well.

Trainers' Mail

This card can help you dig just a bit more for. However, in testing, I never felt like the deck needed Trainers' Mail. The deck runs through it'self as is.

Acro Bike

The deck is already very speedy as is. Acro Bike does help speed up a bit. However, at the same time, you don't want to have to discard too many resources since Stormy Winds already mills 3 of your cards.

Float Stone

The deck does play Zeraora-GX of course to give your Pokémon free retreat. However, against Garbotoxin, Float Stones will be clutch because it shuts off Zeraora-GX's ability making you unable to move around freely.

Computer Search

If you want just a little more consistency then Computer Search is always the way to go. However, with the loss of Puzzles of Time, I believe in a deck like Rayquaza-GX where it mills itself, having Dowsing Machine is the best Ace Spec. Having that extra Max Elixir, or Sky Field can make a difference in the long run.

Wondrous Labyrinth Prism

In Standard, I've always been a fan of this card. I play it in my PikaRom and I don't see why it wouldn't be great in this deck as well. I've yet to test with it in Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX because space is really tight but I can see it coming in handy at times against certain matchups like Night March, Lost March, Zoroark-GX variants, and plenty more.

Parallel City

A handful of Japan lists that did well at the CL Niigata Extra played Parallel City. This card can be devastating for the opponent by limiting their bench down to just 3 Pokémon. Parallel City is especially great against decks that thrive on having a big bench to do extra damage such as, Zoroark-GX decks.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on PikaRom, ArchieStoise, and Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX heading into Toronto Regionals this weekend. I think all three decks can do very well if you hit the right matchups and draw decently. I'd definitely prepare for PikaRom and ArchieStoise as they will see more play for sure. If you see me in Toronto this weekend be sure to stop be and say hi. It'll be interesting to see who and what deck ends up winning the first Expanded major with the new set, Team Up.

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.

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.

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

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