Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

Top 64 Denver Report with Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt

Jose examines the Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt list he used at Denver Regionals to place in Top 64 as well as goes over his matchups.

04/12/2019 by Jose Marrero


What's going on, 60cards readers?! I'm back again with another article — only this time I'll be examining the deck I used at Denver Regionals last weekend and also go over my rounds and how I did. That deck was, in fact, Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt. To most of you, that's no surprise or is it? Given that the deck faded away since the release of Lost Thunder I decided to bring it back and see if it could stand a chance in the current meta. To my surprise, the deck was performing better than I had anticipated. At first, when I arrived in Denver I had just one deck built and that was PikaRom. After debating and debating I decided to build Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX again because it had been good to me at recent League Cups. Then all of a sudden I was just like you know what I'm just going to yolo and play Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt. I had previously been talking to my good friend Nathalia Fernandes about the deck and ultimately decided on the list I presented below. At the moment I'm sitting at a solid 1197 CP at 7th in the US/Canada rankings so I'm feeling positive I will get that Day 2 invite if I keep focusing.

With that said, let's take a look at the Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt list I used at Denver Regionals most recently.


As you can see there are some new inclusions since Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt last had success. I went back and compared a lot of lists before finally deciding on this one. I kept the 3-3 Vikavolt line as I felt it's just the right amount. It wasn't too hard getting multiple Grubbin out turn one. Something I really was hesitant on doing was dropping down to three Rayquaza-GX. Because of this, I made sure to keep two Rescue Stretcher just in case because I had been seeing lists playing just the one with three Rayquaza-GX. I personally just didn't feel comfortable with it so I upped the Rescue Stretcher count. However, then I got to thinking you know what Marshadow-GX can act as a Rayquaza-GX and be able to take down both PikaRom and Zoroark-GX with ease so I added it in. Having two Rescue Stretcher made the inclusion of Marshadow-GX even better. Marshadow-GX can copy a handful of attacks to get that one hit KO on PikaRom and Zoroark-GX mainly copying Dragon Break. I also kept two Tapu Lele-GX because I wanted to get that turn one Lillie as often as possible or at the very least a Volkner to search out a Grubbin if needed.

The inclusion of Zeraora-GX was nice to be able to freely retreat when you wanted assuming Alolan Muk isn't on the board of course. I actually used Plasma Fists a couple of times to take KO's on Volcanion Prism and other small attackers. Both Shaymin and Tapu Koko Prism were new inclusions and are very good at that. Shaymin Prism is basically a non-GX Rayquaza-GX in a sense and only for two energy instead of three. Not only that but Shaymin Prism has free retreat which is awesome. Shaymin Prism can also easily take down Pokémon that are weak to it such as Lycanroc-GX, Zygarde-GX, and Magikarp & Wailord-GX. Tapu Koko Prism makes it so that you can technically play 1 less Lightning Energy which is fine. I actually used Tapu Koko Prism as an attacker against Zapdos Decks. Dhelmise was also good against Zapdos decks because they need two Electropowers to take it down. Not to mention, Dhelmise was also a threat against Lycanroc-GX and Zygarde-GX which made playing it that much better. Of course, Marshadow had to stay in the deck. Let Loose is too good not to play. Plus you can do sneaky plays like Let Loose your opponent then using Tempest GX to fill your hand to 10.

I wouldn't change a single Pokémon from the deck as I felt they all had their own worth. The rest of the list is pretty straightforward. I basically kept the supporters and other items the same since there wasn't really any need to change them since that's what had been having success before. Lysandre Labs is useful to shut off Tools like Choice Band to where Zoroark-GX now can't one hit KO a Rayquaza-GX. Or against Wishful Baton's so they can't get their energy back. Or against decks that rely on Escape Board to retreat out like Zapdos decks. Lysandre Labs put in a lot of work for me in Denver for sure. I also decided to add Wondrous Labyrinth because I've always been a fan of the card ever since its release. I used it in my PikaRom lists so I decided to try it once more. Wondrous Labyrinth was also clutch at times.

Other card options

Tapu Koko-GX

Great card against PikaRom decks. However, I felt that Marshadow-GX was better simply because we can use it multiple times to KO back to back PikaRoms if needed. Not to mention Marshadow-GX can take out Zoroark-GX with ease as well.

Tapu Bulu-GX

A solid secondary attacker that can heal itself and take KO's. The only downside to Tapu Bulu-GX is that it has a damage cap. The deck doesn't play Choice Bands so it can't even hit 210 damage to KO a Zoroark-GX.

Celebi & Venusaur-GX

I actually saw a couple of people playing this card in their Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt decks in Denver. I thought about it but felt it's too much of a liability if you open with it. Let alone if you do against Blacepahlon. However, it can be a great card against Zapdos decks because the deck accelerates energy so you can use its GX attack much easier than other decks and also have the added bonus of shuffling all your cards back in.

Wobbuffet LOT 93

Solid card against Ditto Prism and Tapu Koko Prism. Wobbuffet can slow down a Tapu Koko-GX from being able to one hit KO you with its GX attack. Slowing down Ditto Prism can also be nice because it can't turn into Alolan Muk unless they Guzma Wobbuffet into active. You still have to watch out because both Shaymin Prism and Tapu Koko Prism are useless if Wobbuffet is out.

Erika's Hospitality

Sometimes you have one or more pieces of Vikavolt in hand. Erika's Hospitality lets you draw cards and not shuffle your hand so you can potentially draw into the missing pieces you need to get Vikavolt out. Whereas if you Cynthia you need to draw all the pieces at once.

Acerola/Max Potion

Some form of healing can be good against Zapdos decks for when they miss a one-hit KO. Being able to freshly heal and take a free prize can be game-changing. Acerola you can search out with Tapu Lele-GX and Max Potion you can grab with Volkner so both have merit. I'm just not sure what I would drop for one of them if any at all.


Great card for when you prize Zeraora-GX or for when the opponent has Alolan Muk out. It's also searchable with Volkner which is nice.

Escape Rope

Having an Escape Rope doesn't seem too bad because not only can it help against Alolan Muk because it shuts off Zeraora-GX as I said but at the same time Escape Rope is good against Jolteon-GX for when they use their GX attack. You can Volkner for Escape Rope to at least take a prize that turn assuming you don't have a Guzma. Or if you have Guzma and Escape Rope in hand already then you can still KO Jolteon-GX.

Net Ball

I thought about Net Ball, however, it can only grab Grubbin, Shaymin Prism, Dhelmise, and Grass Energy. Sure it can grab a Grass Energy, however, Nest Ball I felt is overall better because it can get any Basic Pokémon. Maybe if the deck was more of a Tapu Bulu-GX build then Net Ball would likely be better.

Choice Band/Wishful Baton

As you can see from the list I didn't play any Tools due to playing Lysandre Labs. That doesn't mean Tools in the deck are bad you would just have to take out Lysandre Labs if you wanted to add them. Personally, I felt the deck doesn't need Tools because Rayquaza-GX can hit such a high number to where it usually doesn't matter. Especially when it comes down to Choice Band. As for Wishful Baton having Vikavolt as energy acceleration means you can get more energy the following turn even if you lose all energy from the active which is usually no big deal.

Tournament Report

Day 1

Round 1 - Jacob Spreng - Umbreon/Guzzlord-GX: LWW (1-0-0)

I wasn't too sure how this match would play out. I figured it would be tough for sure and it was. I lost game one due to being 10 damage shy of a KO on Guzzlord-GX with my Tapu Lele-GX. Jacob was then able to Guzma and KO Marshadow for his last three prizes thanks to Guzzlord-GX's GX attack. In games 2 and 3, Jacob struggled to find Beast Rings and I was able to take a close series. We almost tied but Jacob had 2 GX's on board so I was able to Guzma back to back to take my last 4 prizes.

Round 2 - Daniel Gutierrez - Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar: LWL (1-1-0)

I knew this matchup would be tough. I was right, though I was able to get it to game three only because Daniel dead drew game two. In game three he KOed Rayquaza-GX on turn 2. I scooped soon after and take my first loss of the day.

Round 3 - Joseph Rowe - PikaRom: WW (2-1-0)

Marshadow-GX was MVP in this match for sure. I was able to KO back to back PikaRoms with it thanks to Rescue Stretcher. This match isn't too bad. Lysandre Labs also help so they can't freely retreat Jirachi with Escape Boards.

Round 4 - Peter Kica - Buzzwole-GX/Zygarde-GX/Lucario-GX: LWW (3-1-0)

I figured this matchup would be favorable for me. In game one I played pretty mediocrely and Peter was able to win that game. I felt in game one I didn't play as well as I could so I took that into account in the next two games.

Round 5 - Ross Cawthon - Naganadel/Quagsire: WW (4-1-0)

Going up against Ross is never an easy thing. Ross is one of the best payers of all time and I knew these games would be tough. Fortunately for me, the games were quite easy because I was able to hit Lysandre Labs at perfect times to take KO's and deny Wishful Baton. On top of that Ross didn't draw too well in both games.

Round 6 - Rudy Paras - Zapdos/Lycanroc-GX: WW (5-1-0)

It was fun seeing Rudy again let alone playing against him. A good friend and we had some interesting games. Rudy kept missing energy to attack. At one point in one of the games, Rudy used three Electropower only to miss an energy meaning those three Electropower were wasted. I was able to take Rudy down 2-0 to my surprise. 

Round 7 - Chance Golden - Zapdos/Jirachi: WW (6-1-0)

My opponent didn't draw too well these games. I was also able to get a quick Vikavolt and start using Dhelmise and Tapu Koko to start taking prizes both games.

Round 8 - Nick Robinson - Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar: LL (6-2-0)

I had just won my 6th match meaning I can now potentially ID into Day 2 and just play out my last round. Unfortunately, I hit another Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar. I offered the ID with Nick and he respectfully turned it down and if I were in his shoes I would have as well given that he was already in Day 2 because I played up to him. He was 6-0-1 and I was 6-2-0. I knew the matchup was horrible because I had lost to Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar in Day 1 and just from previous events its always been a bad matchup. Nick made quick work of me and KOed Rayquaza-GX on turn 2 of both games. I just scooped right after because I was already down 2 prizes. The match lasted maybe 15 minutes. I just knew I was done for so no point playing the rest out.

Round 9 - Tristan Macek - Zapdos/Ultra Beasts: ID (6-2-1)

Tristan and I take the ID to guarantee us both Day 2. I was happy to have Day 2ed with Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt again let alone in a whole different meta than before.

Day 2

Round 10 - Corey Smith - Zapdos/Jirachi: LWL (6-3-1)

These games were really close. Game three came down to the wire with 1-1 prizes apiece. I had the game the next turn but Corey had Guzma first and was able to best me 2-1. He played very smart and drew very well off my early Let Loose but hey it happens so I can't complain.

Round 11 - Carly Clements - Blacephalon: WW (7-3-1)

I was now finally up against my first Blacephalon of the event and to be honest I hadn't tested against it at all prior to the event. I figured it would be a tough matchup and probably a little unfavored. However, in game one Carly quickly Let Loosed herself into a dead hand and from there I never looked back. In game two I believe Carly was only able to find one Blacephalon with three Beast Ring in hand so I was able to just KO the only threat and take the series.

Round 12 - Nicholas Davis - Blacephalon: WW (8-3-1)

I had just 2-0ed Blacephalon the previous round so I was confident facing up against another. I was able to best it again 2-0. My opponent didn't draw too well but in one game I don't think I got Vikavolt out and instead manually powered up 8 energy onto the board just enough for Rayquaza-GX to start taking out Blacephalon's. I remember using Let Loose on my opponent's huge hand then next turn he basically draw passes and from there I was able to get past Beast Ring turn.

Round 13 - Ross Cawthon - Naganadel/Quagsire: LWT (8-3-2)

I had 2-0ed Ross in Day 1 playing the same deck so I was fairly confident going into our rematch. However, in game one I had prized Zeraora-GX making me miss attacks early on. Because of this Ross was able to set up and start taking KO's on my Rayquaza-GX's. I had also prized one of my Lysandre Labs and couldn't find the other when I needed it most so Ross was able to keep all his energy on board this game thanks to Wishful Baton. Game one was close but Ross played smart and was able to pull it out. Game one took about 25 minutes so I knew I had to play a little faster in these next games because a tie meant we were both out of Top 8 contention. I was able to take game 2 eventually but time is called in game 3 as we are taking our first turn so we unfortunately tie. This meant no Top 8 for both of us but a potential Top 16 at the very least. I know Ross won his last round and was actually 16th so congrats to him. I took the ID like I said and missed but no big deal. Points are points. 

Round 14 - Carter Barsh - Zapdos/Ultra Beasts: ID (8-3-3)

I really just didn't feel like playing anymore so I took the ID with Carter because we knew 27 points had a high chance of at least Top 32 and to be honest I was fine with that. Unfortunately, I bubbled at 34th and Carter did make it so luckily one of us did at least so congrats to him. I was still happy to get an extra 50 CP and some packs since that put me slightly closer to attaining that prestigious Day 2 invite. I'm now at 1197 CP at 7th seed so hopefully, I can stay up there until Worlds.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on my Top 64 finish at the Denver Regional Championships with Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt. The next big event is Daytona Regionals which is actually next weekend. That event will be in the Expanded format. However, this weekend there is a Special Event in Guatemala City which I'll be attending. This event will be in the Standard format. I may just play Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt again for this event especially given the Top 4 decks that did well in Denver. I believe Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt is favored against all 4. Hopefully, I can snag a couple more CP this weekend before heading back into the Expanded format. 

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 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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