Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"Worlds Recap, a Look Towards the New Season, and Rayquaza Reformed in Standard"

Jose goes over what happened at Worlds and talks about the new season that awaits,...

08/30/2016 by Jose Marrero

Jose goes over what happened at Worlds and talks about the new season that awaits, as well as going over one of his favorite decks, M Rayquaza, for the new rotation.


Hello again, 60cards readers! Worlds has been over for over a week now which is why for this next article I want to basically give a rundown of what happened at this year's World Championships. As well as talk about the new season that awaits ahead. I'll also give an updated list of M Rayquaza-EX in the new format PRC-ON and give an analysis on it as well as give more card options like I usually do when posting lists. But first I just wanted to go over my Worlds experience this year. Going into Worlds I knew I was pretty much set on playing Night March with a 2-2 Vespiquen line because I expected a handful of Water Toolbox decks to still see play even with the release of Pokémon Ranger. It turned out to be the case since Water Toolbox did in fact show a moderate amount of play. Round one I actually ended up playing against a Japanese player who was piloting Water Toolbox and I knew right off the bat that my calculations were on point. Going into this match I knew I had to get Combee out as soon as possible before I get Item locked. However, in game one I actually Prized both Combee as well as two Shaymin-EX so I quickly was shut down that game. In game two I did manage to get Vespiquen out and win still a close game. In game three I drew dead as my opponent slayed me with nonstop Quaking Punches.

Round two I believe I faced up against a Zoroark deck with Captivating Poke' Puffs which I made quick work of with a 2-0 victory. However, in round three I went up against a Mew/Yveltal deck with both baby Yveltal and Ninja Boys. This matchup in my opinion should have been in my favor except I was caught off guard multiple times. For example my opponent Ninja Boyed into a Fright Night Yveltal to take three Prizes in one turn. Also I did misplay which I'll admit since I completely forgot about Yveltal's second attack Darkness Blade while attacking with Vespiquen. For some reason I thought he couldn't one shot my Vespiquen with Mew since I thought my opponent was going to use Oblivion Wing again. Instead of KOing the Mew with energy on it I instead Lysandre and KO’d a Shaymin-EX and immediately knew my mistake since next turn my opponent attached a second Darkness Energy to his Mew and thanks to Dimension Valley he was able to one hit KO my Vespiquen with Yveltal's Darkness Blade attack, which from there was game over. I was bested 2-0 and I was honestly shocked and impressed by my opponent's deck. It was definitely a Night March crusher type of deck. So now I'm 1-2 and I know I have to win out to make Day 2. The fourth round I'm up against yet another Japanese player only this time piloting Volcanion/Pyroar with both Pyroar including the BREAK. These games were interesting to say the least. First off a Fighting Fury Belted Volcanion with 170 HP is nothing to slack against since they are non EX's that one hit KO Night Marchers and Vespiquen with a single Volcanion-EX Ability.

This made the matchup really tough. Game one my opponent barely scratched it out. However, in game two I was able to chain Hex Maniac and take KO after KO to take that game. In game three my deck decided to crap out on me and I dead draw from the first turn as my opponent is setting up like crazy with multiple Pyroar. It's also a tough matchup for Night March simply because of the Intimidating Mane Pyroar which prevents damage done to Pyroar from your opponent's Basic Pokémon aka all Night Marches so I would need Hex Maniac every time or a Lysandre to go around them which made it almost impossible to take down a swarm of Lions. So I ended my Worlds run with a record of 2-3 drop which I normally would play the rest of the tournament out but to be honest there was no point. Even after not doing well in the main event I still had a blast in San Francisco. This Worlds experience was probably my best yet. Hanging out with friends and getting to see Alcatraz in person was awesome. Hunting for Pokémon in Pokémon GO was also a treat with San Francisco having the new tracking system and all. Eating out at places I've never been was also great. And just overall getting to see the city with close friends is a thing to remember. Enough of my ranting since I'm sure you guys want to get into the article already so with that being said.

Let's now get into the core of the article.

Worlds Recap

Day 1=476 Competitors

First off, shoutout to Andrew Wamboldt for compiling all this information. Down below are the players to advance from Day 1 with their respective countries. The players with their decks next to them are the players who made top 32 or better in Day 2 in no particular order. Also note that these decks are not necessarily what each player used for Day 1. However, these are the decks they played for Day 2. It's good to see a variety of players from all parts of the World doing well because that means players are getting better and better not just the same countries every year.

Ippo Kito [JP]
Agustin Campo [AR]
Tristan Wagner [NL]
Gustavo Wada [BR]– Bronzong AOR/Genesect-EX/Aegislash-EX
Marton Skjæveland [NO]
Nathian Beck [US]
Simon Eriksen [DK]
Joseph Philip [GB]
Brandon Flowers [US] – Vileplume/Vespiquen AOR/Toxicroak-EX
Mike Fouchet [US]
Simone Soldo [IT]
Nicholas Pearce [GB]– Night March
Takahiko Kurashima [JP]
Michael Pramawat [US] – Night March/Galvantula STS
Sean Foisy [US]
Clifton Goh [SG]
William Boatman [US]
Kenneth Tan [SG]
Cody Graham [US]
Michael Diaz [US]
Carter Copeland [US]
Enrique Avila [US]
Bert Wolters [NL] – Greninja BREAK/Talonflame STS
Dylan Chen [NZ]
Justin Bokhari [US]
Marc Lutz [DE]
Luke Kirkham [GB]
Fabien Pujol [FR]– M Sceptile-EX
Joey Gaffney [CA]
Michele Zucchelli [IT]
Eric Gansman [US]– Night March
Ahmed Ali [US]
Fred X. Hoban [US]
Samuel Hough [US]– Vileplume/Jolteon-EX/Glaceon-EX/Aegislash-EX/Trevenant-EX
Grafton Roll [US]
Jimmy O’Brien [US]
Brit Pybas [US]– Water Toolbox
Kojiro Tsuruta [JP]– Volcanion-EX/Volcanion STS
Alex Koch [US]
Cody Walinski [US]– Greninja BREAK/Talonflame STS
Diego Gatica [CL]
Colton Hinderaker [US]
Raphael Branco [BR]
Shin Akiyama [JP]– M Audino-EX/Yveltal XY
Tord Reklev [NO]
Alex Hill [US]

You can see that 22 US , 4 Japanese, 3 Great Britain, 1 Canadian, 1 German, 2 Brazilian, 1 French, 2 Netherlands, 2 Italian, 1 Argentinian, 1 Chilean, 1 New Zealand, 2 Singaporean, 2 Norwegian, and 1 player from Denmark advanced to Day 2 of Worlds with US having the most and Japanese players in second. Funny enough it was the other way around in the Finals. You can also see that 12 of the 46 players who advanced from Day 1 made top 32 or better in Day 2 which is crazy to think. You can also see that the 12 decks were 2 Greninja/Talonflame STS, 3 Night March (1 with Galvantula), 1 Bronzong AOR/Genesect EX/Aegislash EX, 2 Vileplume/Vespiquen AOR/Toxicroak-EX (1 with Jolteon-EX, Glaceon-EX, Aegislash-EX, and Trevenant-EX), 1 M Sceptile-EX, 1 M Audino-EX/Yveltal, 1 Water Toolbox, and 1 Volcanion EX/Volcanion STS. I think the only real surprising deck that made top 32 from Day 1 is M Sceptile-EX which was a player from France which is pretty cool. I guess M Audino-EX/Yveltal is also surprising since it wasn't even talked about even though it ended up winning Worlds except by a different player piloting the deck without Yveltal. Volcanion was an interesting deck choice because it has a good matchup against Night March from personal experience as well as M Sceptile-EX and of course Metal decks. Greninja and Water Toolbox were expected so not much to say there. Vileplume decks were also expected whether it was with Vespiquen or Zygarde-EX or a bunch of tech attackers.

Day 2 + Top 8=112 Competitors

This is how Worlds ended with each player’s respective placements and countries in order as well as what decks each player played.

1. Shintaro Ito [JP] – M Audino-EX/Magearna-EX/Cobalion STS
2. Cody Walinski [US] – Greninja BREAK/Talonflame STS
3. Samuel Hough [US] – Vileplume/Jolteon-EX/Glaceon-EX/Aegislash-EX/Trevenant-EX
4. Ross Cawthon [US] – Vespiquen AOR/Yveltal XY/Malamar-EX/Octillery BKT
5. Bert Wolters [NL] – Greninja BREAK/Talonflame STS
6. Brad Curcio [US] – Night March
7. Luca Schuster [AT] – Night March/Vespiquen AOR
8. Gustavo Wada [BR] – Bronzong AOR/Genesect-EX/Aegislash-EX
9. Nicholas Pearce [GB] – Night March
10. Kojiro Tsuruta [JP] – Volcanion-EX/Volcanion STS
11. Kazuki Kasahara [JP] – Volcanion-EX/Volcanion STS
12. Brandon Flowers [US] – Vileplume AOR/Vespiquen AOR/Toxicroak-EX
13. Hiroki Yano [JP] – Greninja BREAK/Talonflame STS
14. Yee Wei Chun [MY] – Night March
15. Eric Gansman [US] – Night March
16. Jacob Lesage [CA] – Bronzong PHF/Genesect-EX
17. Kian Amini [US] – Night March
18. Brit Pybas [US] – Water Toolbox
19. Frank Diaz [US] – Water Toolbox
20. Simone Zucchelli [IT] – Bronzong PHF/Genesect-EX
21. TJ Traquair [CA] – Night March
22. Shin Akiyama [JP] – M Audino-EX/Yveltal XY
23. Patrick Landis [CH] – Night March
24. Ciaran Farah [CA] – Vileplume AOR/Vespiquen AOR
25. Michael Pramawat [US] – Night March/Galvantula STS
26. Jit Min Lim [SG] – Excadrill PRC/Vespiquen AOR
27. Gawein Wagner [NL] – Bronzong PHF/Genesect-EX
28. Takuya Yoneda [JP] – Night March
29. Park Se Jun [KR] – Vileplume AOR/Zygarde-EX
30. Paul Johnston [US] -Water Toolbox
31. Ryo Yamamoto [JP] – Night March
32. Fabien Pujol [FR] – M Sceptile-EX

As you can see the finals ended with M Audino-EX taking it over Greninja. Shintaro Ito from Japan is our new Masters World Champion and he definitely caught people off guard with his straight forward M Audino-EX deck. Cody performed extremely well with getting second place especially after he made it out of Day 1. Also Samuel made it out of Day 1 and finished in top 4 which is an achievement one can't forget. Bert and Gustavo finished in top 8 after going through Day 1 as well which each of these guys should be proud to have done. It's not easy making it to the top 8 after going through Day 1. You have to give it up to these guys for having one hell of a season. If you look closer there was actually 4 US players in top 8 which made up 50%. This is crazy since in 2014 there wasn't a single US player in top 8 which was our worst showing by far. However, last year US did manage to take home the win. This year was almost a repeat except Japan's one and only Shintaro Ito took the win this time. Something to note is that the last time Japan won Worlds in Masters was back in 2011 which was won by Yuta Komatsuda and the one before that back in 2004 which was won by Tsuguyoshi Yamato. If fate keeps going in this path then the next time Japan wins Worlds in Masters is either in 2021 or 2023. Only time will tell though. Mind you this is not to say they can't win after 5 years since Japanese players are phenomenal players. If you go back to my short tournament report in the introduction you will notice that two of my three losses were to Japanese players. It was honestly a blast playing against them because I can tell in their faces how much they enjoy the game. My round one opponent and I were just cracking up in our match and we both knew we had some very good and close games. With that said congrats to everyone who made Day 2 at Worlds.

2017 Play Pokemon Changes

The 2017 season has some big changes coming so I want to talk a little about those changes. First off, there are no more State and National Championships, but instead now there is a major tournament for each of the four core rating zones (The European Championships, North American Championships, Latin American Championships, and Asia Pacific Championships) that will take place throughout the season and are all open to anyone. Meaning everyone can do them all no matter what country you are from and gain Championship points. Each one of these events will have a Prize payout of over $250, 000. Yes you heard that correctly over $250,000 which is insane. They also will payout huge amounts of Championship points which is to be expect at such a high level event. This year they are also keeping Travel Awards and Stipends which they say will be available to players worldwide based on Championship Point performance in their home rating zone. This news is awesome because traveling to these events won't be cheap especially traveling outside of your country. Regionals changed a lot this upcoming season since now anyone can play in whatever Regionals they want no matter where it's located. On top of that every Regionals will offer more than $50,000 in Prize money, scholarships, and Travel Certificates. This is a huge jump from previous years. Hopefully this means the top 2 players receive money as in previous years or maybe even more down the line all the way down to top 8. Each Regional will now be on different dates so that they don't overlap each other which is awesome because it makes it so that you can attend more Regionals if you wanted.

That's basically it as far as Regionals goes. Now City Championships are staying the same except they changed the name to League Cups which honestly I have no idea why. The Championship Point structure for League Cups are the same as previous City Championships meaning 1st place still gets 50 Championship Points which again is awesome. League Challenges are staying the same, however I believe they decreased the best finish limit on those which we should know soon. With that being said, let's now go over the new Standard rotation format which is now Primal Clash-ON. The 2017 season will still have Expanded tournaments though. So many impactful cards are rotating out and to be honest I'm glad. Mainly Night March and Seismitoad-EX as well as Trevenant. Hopefully the Standard format is healthier and will want more players to play especially with the new changes and all. I definitely love the changes and am going to try and go ham next season without a doubt. It would be awesome to have the chance to travel to other countries. I can't wait to see what the new season has in store for me.

With that said, down below is an updated version of M Rayquaza-EX with the new Standard format, PRC-ON.


This is one of two lists I've updated for the upcoming standard rotation format. I believe M Rayquaza-EX decks will have a huge impact with the new rotation. The main reason being that Night March is rotating out which was a big wall in M Rayquaza-EX's success after States. But now since most of M Rayquaza-EX's tough matchups are no worse than now where M Rayquaza-EX can shine once more. As you can see this list doesn't run Jolteon-EX like in my previous list when I won States. This is mainly due to the release of Pokémon Ranger in which negates Jolteon-EX's Flash Ray effect. So because of this I decided to go with another line of Zoroark because in my opinion cards like Zoroark, and Zebstrika are going to be played more so now to try and counter M Rayquaza-EX decks. Which is why if I run my own Zoroark' then I can help counter the counters if that makes sense without having to use EX's to KO non EX's. Let's take a closer look at the Pokémon lines starting with the three Dragon Rayquaza-EX's. The reason I'm still running all Dragon and no Colorless ones is because of again Zebstrika and now possibly even decks that utilize Raikou as a main attacker such as, Magnezone or decks that play heavy Max Elixirs to bypass Hex Maniac. Moving on we also have three of the Megas because in a M Rayquaza-EX deck that's pretty standard and going to four Megas is overkill. As I already said there's a 2-2 line of Zoroark this time for the reasons I mentioned above. Just being able to Stand In and out with Zoroark's Ability is also a blessing in itself. If you take a closer look you can actually see I decided to include a copy of both Zorua because you never know when you may need to use one of the other's attacks, but that's a personal opinion. Of course when playing a M Rayquaza-EX deck you need to play four Shaymin-EX. Anything less is too little and you shouldn't be playing the deck without four if that's the case. M Rayquaza-EX decks thrive on the raw draw power Shaymin-EX provides for getting more consistent turn one attacks off or to just not draw dead in general.

There is also two Hoopa-EX which is another must. Playing one is fine, however running two is needed so you don't Prize Hoopa-EX because a turn one Hoopa-EX is all you need to start setting up. Being able to search out two Rayquaza-EX and a Shaymin-EX is ridiculously good in this deck. Or one Rayquaza-EX, one M Rayquaza-EX (should you have the Spirit Link already in hand), and one Shaymin-EX or other tech EX's such as, Manaphy-EX or Jolteon-EX. For the Supporters I went with a straight forward count with three Professor Sycamore, two N, one Lysandre, one Pokémon Ranger and one Hex Maniac. However, you can change the counts to your own liking. If you want to run another Lysandre to be able to find one easier since Battle Compressor is rotated out then by all means go for it. I'll still be debating it myself. Running five draw Supporters may seem low but with two Hoopa-EX and four Shaymin-EX you dead drawing shouldn't be an issue if you use your resources wisely. Back during States I only ran one copy of N, however now with the rotation I feel that running more N is ideal especially since the deck also lost Sacred Ash so you don't want to have to discard Zoroark's early on if you don't have to. This deck may have some trouble against decks that rely on Garbodor to shut off abilities mainly Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX in this deck so it's crucial to use all your abilities before Garbodor gets going or try and setup the KO on it which running two Lysandre will help against seeing how basically every Tool removal card is rotated out such as, Startling Megaphone and Xerosic. I'm honestly not use how useful Pokémon Ranger will be in the Standard format, however Glaceon-EX and Giratina-EX are still a thing.

If Giratina-EX becomes bigger then you may need to keep Pokémon Ranger in, however if you really think about it you would have to use both a Hex Maniac and Pokémon Ranger to even do damage to Giratina-EX which of course you can't do because you can only use one Supporter per turn meaning Pokémon Ranger may actually not be as useful as some may think. If you Hex Maniac then well you can't attach Double Colorless Energy nor replace their Stadium with Sky Field. And if you Pokémon Ranger then well you can't attack into Giratina-EX because of its Ability being a wall against Mega Pokémon. So this puts us in an odd spot. So the question still remains. Is Pokémon Ranger worth the spot in M Rayquaza-EX decks? For now I'll still keep it in, but my second list doesn't play it. I'll put the other list changes down below so you can choose which list you want to test against or play yourself. Moving out of the Supporters we now go into the Items. The Items are pretty standard I would say especially compared to my States winning list. Maxing out on VS Seeker, and Ultra Ball is a must in a deck like this and basically every non Item lock deck. Playing Puzzle of Time is a personal preference. This list runs them, but my other list doesn't as you will see. With the loss of Battle Compressor I feel that Puzzle of Time is less consistent. That's not to say that they are still really good since this list plays them still, but I just want you guys to know that they may be troublesome at times when you find them too early without anything decent to choose from in the discard. My States list actually didn't run any Trainers' Mails because they weren't needed at the time, however now with the new rotation I feel that they are needed to boost consistency even more because the deck lost Supporters such as, AZ and Xerosic which made room for some.

Then of course there's three Mega Turbo, and three Spirit Links. These are staples as well. I wouldn't run any less than three on these two cards especially if you opt to not run Puzzle of Time. Mega Turbo is crucial for getting turn one attacks off as well as Spirit Links. They both combo together and are two crucial pieces to the turn one attack puzzle. Because we are running Zoroark's then that means running a couple Float Stone is ideal to be able to not have to stress with the opponent Lysandre stalling something up since like I said there really isn't a way to get rid of those Float Stones. We also have one copy of Super Rod simply because Sacred Ash is rotated out. I would run Sacred Ash over Super Rod, however that's not the case in the new Standard format now. Super Rod being able to get back Basic Energy can be clutch at times though, but maybe the deck needs two Super Rod which is in my other list which you can decide on. Obviously the deck still needs four copies of Sky Field to make sure you win those Stadium wars and so M Rayquaza-EX can be used to its fullest potential. Lastly, for the Energy count I dropped the Lightnings from my States list since this list doesn't run Jolteon-EX so I went with Darkness Energy which may not matter too much, but they make it so that you can use Zorua's attacks if needed. With that said, down below is the list changes from my second list.

List #2 changes (11 changes):


1-1 Zoroark

1 Pokemon Ranger

4 Puzzle of Time

4 Darkness Energy


1 Jolteon-EX

1 Jirachi XY67

3 Acro Bike

1 Super Rod

1 Special Charge

4 Lighting Energy

You can see the second list I decided to drop a 1-1 line of Zoroark, the Pokémon Ranger, and all the Puzzle of Times. And added in a Jolteon-EX, Jirachi, three Acro Bike and a Special Charge. Basically the biggest changes is going from Puzzle of Time to Acro Bikes. Reason being is that with the rotating of Battle Compressor I wanted another way to be able to put Basic Energy into the discard other than Ultra Ball and Professor Sycamore. Not only that but in general Acro Bikes are more consistent than Puzzle of Time because they guarantee you a card while if you have only one Puzzle of Time in hand then you aren't really going anywhere with that. Even opening Acro Bike over Puzzle of Time is much more convenient. Acro Bikes paired with Trainers' Mails is ridiculously good in a deck like this. Reason I dropped a 1-1 Zoroark line was because both Jolteon-EX and Jirachi can put in work against some of M Rayquaza-EX's tough matchups such as, Giratina-EX which is where Jirachi shines as well as Jolteon-EX if you can find the Double Colorless before they get Chaos Wheel off. Also dropping Zoroark for another Basic Pokémon to fuel Emerald Break can't go wrong since the list above runs 11 Basic Pokémon and the second runs 12. As you can see I've also added a second Super Rod which I mentioned before. With running Acro Bikes you can afford to discard more Pokémon if you absolutely have to. Which brings me to Special Charge. Because this list doesn't run Puzzle of Time and instead Acro Bikes means you may be put in tough situations where you have to discard Double Colorless Energy so running Special Charge is ideal in my opinion just make sure you use it wisely. And then of course the Energy changes which is obvious reasons.

Other card options

Altaria+Winona+Colorless Rayquaza-EX:

If you fear Lighting decks such as, Raikou and Magnezone then maybe going this route is for you. If you’re going to play Altaria then I recommend also playing a copy of Winona because they can search them out as well as Shaymin-EX and both Rayquaza-EX and M Rayquaza-EX. However, the reason I'm not playing them is due to Zebstrika going through Altaria's Ability which makes Altaria almost irrelevant. It all depends on how the format shapes up to be. Will we see more Raikou based decks or Zebstrika based decks? Only time will tell.

Manaphy-EX+Water Energy:

Going this route basically ensures you have free Retreat where ever you want because AZ is no more. You can still run Zoroark with Manaphy-EX since then Zoroark will have infinite free retreat whenever you want as long as Manaphy-EX is alive.

M Rayquaza-EX AOR:

Since the Standard format is going to be slower with the rotating of Night March and Seismitoad-EX means running a copy of this M Rayquaza-EX can come in handy. Its Ancient Trait effect lets you heal Rayquaza-EX to full once evolved. However, if you play this M Rayquaza-EX over the other one then you have to make sure you can't evolve this one on the first turn because it loses its other Ancient Trait Ability giving you the healing one.

Ninja Boy:

This card can come in handy for when open Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX and want to turn it into something else such as, a Rayquaza-EX or Jolteon-EX or whatever. It also puts back that Shaymin-EX or Hoopa-EX to use for later which is pretty cool.

Closing Thoughts

Well that's all I have for you guys as of now. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. It definitely brought back exciting memories from Worlds for sure. I also hope that I was able to help you with your M Rayquaza-EX deck building going into the new season. I'm going to keep testing both variants out to see which I like better. I'll have three more article's coming out this month so be sure to keep a look out for when those are published. I'm unsure on the topics for those articles, however I really want to do an article on the competitive side of Pokémon GO since I feel that I'm a high level player when it comes to that. One of the coolest things to come out of Worlds was my 1395 CP, 100% IV Dragonair that I caught near the Alcatraz Pier. I also managed to catch a 100% IV Aerodactyl except the CP was low on that one, but still awesome to have caught one in the wild. 

With that said, if you have any questions about these lists or deck in general then please feel free to leave me a comment down below or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, 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, then don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them. Or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it, then by all means post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!


[+7] okko


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