Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

1st Place Hartford Regionals with Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX

Jose goes over his 1st Place finish at the Hartford Regional Championships last weekend with Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX.

05/10/2019 by Jose Marrero


What's going on, 60cards readers?! I'm back again with another article — this time I'll be going over my 1st place finish at the Hartford Regional Championships with Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109) / Ho-Oh EX (DR; 22) . This past weekend I was finally able to win my first Regionals since playing back in 2010. This win has been eluding me for some time now with having multiple 2nd place finishes in the past being so close to winning one. I'm super excited to have achieved this goal in my Pokémon career and can finally join the club of Regional Champions with some of the best players in the game. This win now puts me ranked 3rd in the US/Canada leaderboards with a staggering 1677 Championships Points which I'm very proud of. This year has been by far my best year and I don't intend to stop now with still having multiple Regionals, NAIC and the World Championships coming up.

Before I go over the deck and my matchups I wanna thank Regan and Steve Retzloff for their continued hospitality and support and to the LGNstreams on Twitch for doing an awesome job streaming the event with great commentators and quality. Going into Hartford I had already made up my mind to give Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX one last ride before Expanded washes away. I barely tested for Hartford because I had already chosen my deck prior to the event and I knew how to pilot the deck and it's matchups. The only card I was debating adding last minute was Virizion-EX to have a better chance against Shock Lock and a better overall matchup against Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) even though that matchup is fine as is. I ultimately chose against it and played the same 60 I did for the last two Expanded events and I'm glad I did.

With that said, down below is the list I won with and also the same 60 cards I used at the last two Expanded events to place 9th, and 43rd overall.


I love this deck specifically because it is fast, strong and can get the job done in a timely manner. The deck thrives on taking big one hit KO's and doesn't look back once it starts to wreak havoc. The deck has plenty of options going for it as far as attacks go which is something I like about the deck as well. Depending on what you are facing you should already know what your strategy is. For example, the inclusion of  Oricorio (GRI; 56) is to help against decks like Night March and Vespiquen who thrive on doing more damage the more Pokémon they have in their discard pile. Tapu Koko GX (GRI; 147) is mainly for PikaRom for when they have 5 or more energy on the board. You can then use Tapu Thunder GX for a big one hit KO on their PikaRom. I beat 4 PikaRom in the whole event and I have to say  Tapu Koko GX (GRI; 147) was MVP for sure. The threat of that card alone can win you games especially if the opponent does not play around it. It's attack, Sky High Claws is also useful against decks like Drampa-GX/Garbodor because you can start taking one hit KO's on Garbodor without having to use too many items risking early Stormy Winds when you don't have to.

Shaymin Prism Star (TM; 10)  is a great non-GX attacker that's basically a mini Rayquaza-GX except it only gives up 1 prize card when taken down. It has free retreat which is nice and it can take an easy one hit KO on Magikarp & Wailord GX (BW; 166) . Overall  Shaymin Prism Star (TM; 10) is an awesome card. Mr. Mime was kept because of Tag Bolt GX and Towering Splash GX. Sudowoodo you definitely want to play because the deck plays Sky Field anyway so no reason not to play it. Plus you want to get your Sudowoodo down before the opponent in most if not all games. I also kept  Xurkitree GX (UPR; 142) because the card has won me games in the past so you never know when it'll come in the clutch. Everything else is pretty straightforward. Field Blower saved me in a couple of my matches especially the ones that played Garbotoxin.

Other card options


An overall solid card that can negate special conditions done to your Pokémon with Grass Energy attached to them. This scenario comes handy against Shock Lock so that Raichu can't Paralyze you and against  Hypnotoxic Laser (PS; 123) so they can't Poison and Sleep you. Not to mention, it's attack Emerald Slash, can assist in powering up your attackers.

Pokémon Ranger

Useful card against Quaking Punch and Jolteon EX (GEN; 28) . If the opponent doesn't know you play the card then you can take cheap wins with it or better your board state giving you access to items again.

Escape Rope

This card can also be useful against  Jolteon EX (GEN; 28) because you can use Escape Rope then use  Guzma (BUS; 115) to bring Jolteon-EX back up and KO it that way.

Escape Board

My buddy Hunter Butler told me about this card and how good it is against Shock Lock which I can see why. However, I just didn't feel the need to try and counter a deck that you might see maybe 1 if not any during the whole event.

Tournament Report

Day 1

Round 1 - Charlie Lockyer - Sceptile/Vileplume: LWL (0-1-0)

Charlie was able to get  Vileplume (BUS; 6) out game 1 and 3 and that was enough to beat me as my deck has no way of getting around it, unfortunately. I was able to take the 2nd game because of back to back Guzma KO's on Charlies Glooms.

Round 2 - Sammy Allen - Rayquaza-GX/Ho-Oh-EX: WW (1-1-0)

The mirror match I'm always confident in. Both games I was able to take the first 2 prizes and when that happens that players is heavily favored as long as you are able to keep streaming attackers and that's exactly what I did. 

Round 3 - Frank Diaz - Zoroark-GX/Seismitoad-EX: LWL (1-2-0)

I thought Frank was playing PikaRom and to my surprise, he wasn't so when I played first I had a bunch of items in hand. Frank was able to get a turn 1  Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) attacking and so my hand was useless. The next game I played pretty poorly actually so I deserved to lose this match I'm not going to lie. Frank also played pretty well and knew what he needed to do to beat me. So I am now 1-2-0 on the day and at this point, I basically accepted defeat but still kept playing because you never know right. I've been in this spot plenty of times and have made countless comebacks so I knew I wasn't out of the tournament just yet. 

Round 4 - Eric l Gersher - PikaRom: W (2-2-0)

Round 5 - Nicholas Morin - PikaRom: W (3-2-0)

Round 6 - Jimmy 0'Brien - PikaRom: W (4-2-0)

These next three rounds I'll just group together as they all were against PikaRom. I was able to best them all due to Tapu Koko-GX plays and pulling off turn 1 and 2 Dragon Breaks for 240. I'm not too sure which ones if any went to 3 matches but I know I beat them all. The matchup is likely around 50-50 I'd probably say.

Round 7 - Maxim Guiilotte - Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar: WW (5-2-0)

I thought I was playing Standard when I knew my opponent was playing this deck. I thought for sure my tournament comeback was done for because this matchup is very unfavorable in both Standard and Expanded. Somehow I was able to best it 2-0 with plays with Shaymin Prism Star and my opponent whiffing a Metal Energy one turn to take a KO on Rayquaza-GX. My opponent also flipped three tails on  Order Pad (UPR; 131) to try and get Professor's Letter. I got very lucky these games to beat this deck but I'll take it.

Round 8 - Christopher Venier - Zoroark-GX/Garbodor: WW (6-2-0)

Finally, I get to the final boss basically because I can just ID last round for Day 2. I'm up against Zoroark-GX/Garbodor which is one of the deck I wanted to try and dodge all day. Christopher is a great player and my hope for these games were basically lost knowing I was up against Garbodor. I was able to take the series 2-0 because Christopher kept whiffing stuff allowing me to stay ahead on the prize lead.

Round 9 - Patrice Boulard - PikaRom: ID (6-2-1)

Patrice and I just take the ID to advance us both to Day 2. After my 1-2-0 start, I was not about to risk playing out my last round if I didn't have to. I was excited to have made a 5-0-1 comeback to advance to Day 2.


Day 2

Round 10 - Matthew Campbell - Sableye/Garbodor: WW (7-2-1)

I figured this match was fine but I had talked to Azul prior to the match and he gave some good pointers. Game one I was forced to have both my Guzma in discard allowing for my opponent to remove them both from the game with Girafarig (LT; 94) . At this point, I knew game 1 would be very difficult from here on out. Not having access to Guzma made game 1 very hard but I eventually pulled it out but boy was it super close and came down to the wire because I had but 1 energy left to work with to take my final prize. Game two went much smoother because I made sure to keep Guzma at bay unless I needed to use them so I take a clean game 2.

Round 11 - Jed Andrusik - Night March: WW (8-2-1)

I had no clue Jed was playing Night March. When he flipped over Pumpkaboo I was excited knowing this match is basically free for me as I play  Oricorio (GRI; 56) and multiple ways of recovering it. Game one Jed plays first and gets 9 Pokémon in the discard, puts down Dimension Valley and passes the turn. I open with Zeroara-GX. I then grab Orociro, attach a Lighting to the active and free retreat into  Oricorio (GRI; 56) and because Dimension Valley was in play that meant I can attack with Oricorio for no energy. I then take 2 prizes on the first turn and from there I use Rescue Stretcher for Oricorio and take more prizes and take game one. Game two I transition into an early Xurkitree-GX and the threat of Oricorio and take a quick and uneventful game two. Like I said the matchup is basically free with the inclusion of Oricorio.

Round 12 - Wesley Tam - Hitmonchan/Wobbuffet: WW (9-2-1)

This round I was not happy to face this deck but my opponent just fell short at times missing energy drops just enough for me to take both games. They were close games for sure but eventually, I was able to take them.

Round 13 - Bryan Hunter - PikaRom: WW (10-2-1)

Now, I'm basically in the win and in into Top 8 and I know I'm up against my 5th PikaRom of the event. I was 4-0-1 in previous rounds so I was somewhat confident as long as my opponent doesn't play Jolteon-EX which he did not. Both games I was able to utilize Tapu Koko-GX and take a big KO. On top of that  Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109) was eventually doing 240 damage so I take the series and move into the final round.

Round 14 - Jonathan Croxton - He conceded because he didn't want to be 1st seed in fear of hitting a Trevenant in Top 8. WW (11-2-1)


Top 8 - Jon Eng - Hitmonchan/Wobbuffet: WW

Game one Jon actually dead drew pretty hard with only having 2 Wobbuffet on board.  Wobbuffet (PHF; 36) slowed me down somewhat but eventually, I was able to use  Zeraora GX (LT; 201) to start powering up attackers and once done I was able to start taking KO after KO so Jon scoops. However, in game two it was down to the wire with both of us having 1 prize a piece. Jon was able to use  Nihilego (LT; 106) to copy my Tapu Thunder GX to take a big KO and go down to just 1 prize card. I was still at 2 prizes and I know at this point I have to try and KO his benched  Wobbuffet (PHF; 36) threat because it has a Prism Energy on it. My bench had a Rayquaza-GX with 90 damage on it so I knew all Jon needed the following turn to win the game was another energy and a Guzma. Knowing this I take the bench Wobbuffet KO with a clean Tapu Koko-GX to go down to 1 prize. Jon follows up with another Wobbuffet onto the bench and attaches a Prism Energy to set it up the following turn.

Jon uses Guzma to stick my Rayquaza-GX active that only has a Grass Energy on it but it has 90 damage so at this point I know Jon is basically putting me on a 1 turn clock if I don't find a way to get it out of the active. I couldn't free retreat it with  Zeraora GX (LT; 201) ability due to Wobbuffet being active so I knew a Lightning Energy would not save me. The only card to save me would be a Guzma. I draw my card and it's nothing useful so I pass the turn knowing all Jon literally needs is an energy for the active Wobbuffet to win the game. Jon uses Professor Juniper and to my surprise completely whiffs energy giving me a turn to live. I draw for the turn and it's a VS Seeker for Guzma to win the match. What a top deck and good game to Jon!

Top 4 - Isaiah Williams - Zoroark-GX/Garbodor: WW

This match was streamed so check it out down below!

Finals - Sam Ertman - Trevenant BREAK: WW

This match was streamed so check it out down below!


Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on my 1st place finish at the Hartford Regional Championships. Moving forward we now get back into the Standard format. Expanded is finally done for and now it's time to focus on Standard with Unbroken Bonds. Personally, I am glad to see Expanded no more as it's always been a stressful format. My next article will have new decks with Unbroken Bonds. Both PikaRom and ReshiZard seem to be the 2 strongest decks moving forward so I may start with those.

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

[+25] okko


Thank you for your time. Please leave us your feedback to help us to improve the articles for you! 





Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to see the latest stories. 


Pokémon and its trademarks are ©1995-2018 Nintendo, Creatures, and GAMEFREAK. English card images appearing on this website are the property of The Pokémon Company International, Inc. 60cards is a fan site. Our goal is to promote the Pokemon TCG and help it grow. We are not official in any shape or form, nor affiliated, sponsored, or otherwise endorsed by Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK, or TPCi.



Welcome to our Pokemon Community Portal. Have a look around and enjoy your stay!