Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

A Closer Look at the St. Louis Regional Finalist Decks

Jose goes over the two decks that made the Finals at the St. Louis Regional Championship two weekends ago.

03/13/2017 by Jose Marrero


Hello again, 60cards readers! For this next article, I'll be going over the two finalist decks of St. Louis Regionals which was in the Expanded format. Alex Wilson ended up winning a second Regionals with his trusty M Rayquaza-EX deck. For those that didn't know Alex actually won Massachusetts Regionals last year with M Rayquaza-EX ultimately defeating Night March in the finals which is crazy to think since M Rayquaza-EX should be an auto win against Night March decks. The St. Louis runner-up is none other than John Kettler who actually placed in the Top 16 at Anaheim Regionals just one tie away from making yet another Top 8 with the same archetype. John is basically the brains behind Decidueye-GX/Vileplume simply because he was the first to pilot it to a strong finish and then now an even bigger finish at St. Louis Regionals. John actually did a report on his deck and tournament finish so be sure to check that blog out at which is the site he runs.

As for myself, I placed 90th of 705 Masters in St. Louis finishing with a record of 6-3-0. Funny enough, my top two choices for the tournament were M Rayquaza-EX and Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Salamence-EX. I ended up not going with M Rayquaza-EX because I didn't like its Night March or Giratina-EX matchups which I expected so instead I went with option B. I was still happy to have gotten a few more Championship Points which puts me at 365 CP at the moment after taking 2nd at a League Cup yesterday. However, I'll be attending the Puerto Rican special event as well as Virginia Regionals.

Before I forget, I just recently joined Team ARG which yields a handful of great players and I have to say I'm honored to be a part of the team and look forward to doing great things with them in the future. Their team jerseys are sick looking and if you want to see how they look I'll post a pic down below because they look awesome. Also congrats to ARG media teammates Rahul Reddy (Top 4), and Grafton Roll (Top 32) as well as Michael Canaves (Top 32), and Andrew Mahone (Top 32) for placing well.

The squad getting ready. Thanks to Doug for the awesome pic.

With that said, let's now go over the 1st place M Rayquaza-EX winning list piloted by Alex Wilson.

M Rayquaza-EX

I was so close to playing this deck for St. Louis but backed out last minute. When I saw Alex's list I was shocked to have noticed it was two cards shy of my own. I ran a second Colress and a Xerosic instead of Ghetsis and a fourth Trainers' Mail. I think Xerosic gives you too many options not to play it and the second Colress helps against Item lock decks and so you can Jirachi-EX for it when you Battle Compressor away the first one. All in all, Alex's list was pretty solid other than the fact that he had no answer to Giratina-EX.

Let's go over some of the Pokémon counts starting with the Rayquaza-EX split. Alex decided to play one Dragon and two Colorless Rayquaza-EX. For me, it was that or literally run all Dragon ones. The Dragon one helps against Lightning based decks such as Night March, M Manectric-EX, and even Raikou/Eelektrik. It makes it so they can't really one-shot it other than Night March but they need nine Night Marchers in the discard which isn't too easy to achieve on the first turn. One Jirachi-EX is ideal in this deck because it's only playable in Expanded. Jirachi-EX not only is searchable by Hoopa-EX but it also can grab any Supporter from the deck and put it into your hand. Being able to search out a Lysandre or Hex Maniac at a moments notice is very strong. Now Keldeo-EX is meant as a means to get rid of status effects namely Poison and Sleep, but also for Paralyze.

Hypnotoxic Laser and Accelgor are two reasons to keep Keldeo-EX in the deck, not to mention Keldeo-EX makes it so you are less prone to Lysandre stalls. Exeggcute is in the deck to make for easier discards with Ultra Ball and Computer Search so you don't have to discard resources. It's also meant to add the extra bench space for Emerald Break since you can use Exeggcute's ability as often as you want. Now the Giratina is meant for of course Trevenant decks, but can also come in the clutch against Greninja and Carbink because they also have BREAKs that can give this deck trouble. As far as the Supporters go, Alex ran two Lysandre, two Hex Maniac, one Ghetsis, one AZ, one Colress, one N, and one Karen. You want to play two Lysandre because you want to be able to search it out with Jirachi-EX and the fact that they are useful against Trevenant decks to get out of the Item lock. Two Hex Maniac as well for said reasons and to deny abilities from Volcanion or any deck that means to cause the deck harm. Alex only played one Colress and one N as the only two draw supporters not counting Ghetsis since that's a hit or miss.

Not sure how I feel about this, however, Alex ended up winning so maybe you don't need more draw supporters. Colress grants you access for a huge draw engine while N provides hand disruption which makes both of them needed. AZ, on the other hand, is great for reusing some of the deck's abilities or to deny an easy KO on liability Pokémon such as Shaymin-EX and Jirachi-EX. Karen is in the deck for three reasons. The first two is to have somewhat of a chance against Night March because Karen forces all Pokémon in both discards to go back into their owner's decks and Night March needs Night Marchers in the discard to do damage. Same thing against Vespiquen/Flareon decks. Karen will do more wonders against this deck because they need a lot more Pokémon in the discard to one hit KO M Rayquaza-EX unlike Night March because of Joltik being a Lightning-type. The rest of the list is pretty straight forward and what you will see in most Expanded M Rayquaza-EX decks.

Other Card Options


Getting rid of status effects such as Sleep, Poison, and Paralyze can be annoying at times. Playing any of these two Pokémon can help remedy those effects especially against Accelgor which made Top 8 in St. Louis.


This card comboed with Karen might be enough to take down Night March which is one of the deck's worst matchups.

Jirachi XY 67 Promo:

Mainly for Giratina-EX, but still great against Seismitoad-EX. If you expect a rise in Giratina-EX decks then I recommend playing Jirachi. You can still beat Seismitoad-EX decks without it especially now since they are running Forest of Giant Plants which means they don't play Silent Lab to shut off all your Basic abilities.


The extra draw is nice, however not needed. M Rayquaza-EX is more consistent in Expanded so you don't really need Oranguru even if you get Ned into a low hand. Odds are your board state is strong and threatening as is.

Professor Sycamore:

There are times where you want to Professor Sycamore away your hand because it may consist of a Basic Energy so you can have access to Mega Turbo and the fact that Jirachi-EX can search it out can be worthwhile.


I was surprised to see Alex not running any sort of Energy denial because Giratina-EX hands down beating this deck. I guess Alex just dodged them all. I personally would play Xerosic because it can be used for a number of things. Not only against Giratina-EX but also against Seismitoad-EX and to get rid of Fighting Fury Belts to make for easier KO's.

Special Charge:

The deck doesn't run anyway to get back Double Colorless Energy so you have to make sure to use them wisely especially against decks that focus on discarding energy. I can see a Special Charge in the deck if you expect those types of decks to see more play.


Both Decidueye-GX and Vileplume combo nicely because they both can abuse Forest of Giant Plants. Decidueye-GX is used for both its attacks and ability. The fact that Feather Arrow stacks are what makes Decidueye-GX so strong. It's attack, Razor Leaf, does a solid 90 damage which with Feather Arrows it's easy to hit the numbers you need. Decidueye's GX attack, Hollow Hunt GX, let's you put three cards from your discard into your hand. This attack is great for getting back resources especially since you are under Item lock as well. With Lugia-EX being another attacker in the deck you shouldn't have trouble doing big damage. As I mentioned, John took a spot in Top 16 at Anaheim Regionals last weekend with the same deck. Of course in Expanded the deck changes slightly. John changed four cards from his Standard list to his Expanded list. Those changes were removing Tauros-GX, Jirachi XY 67 Promo, one Level Ball, and one Trainers' Mail to add Jirachi-EX, a second Lugia-EX, a Xerosic, and a Computer Search. Honestly, these changes were pretty well thought out and clearly paid off in the end. I like the fact that John kept the Vileplume at 2-2-2 because you don't need too many of them.

You really just need that one Vileplume, unlike Decidueye-GX where you want at least two or three on board. Adding a second Lugia-EX makes me believe that Aero Ball and Deep Hurricane is much more effective than Tauros-GX. A turn two Deep Hurricane can one hit KO a Yveltal and Volcanion non-EX which is pretty useful. Because this deck relies on Item lock means Jirachi-EX fits perfectly in this deck because you can search out the Supporter you want whenever you need it while under Item lock still. The Xerosic makes sense in this deck in case you go up against Garbodor. Once you discard that Tool then Vileplume becomes active thus now they can't attach another Tool while under Item lock. Xerosic can also get rid of Special Energy and because the opponent is under Item lock they may have trouble finding another Energy. The rest of the deck seems like it's pretty standard, to say the least.

Other card options


A solid attacker against Turbo Darkrai-EX and Volcanion. It forces the opponent to attack into it or wait until they have the one shot which by then Tauros-GX may have put in tons of work and with Decidueye-GX adding damage every turn it's easy to hit the numbers with Tauros-GX. Mad Bull GX threatens KO's which is why Tauros-GX is a threat to almost every deck that can't one hit KO it.

Jirachi XY 67 Promo:

Getting rid of Special Energy while under Item lock is troublesome for the opponent. Jirachi can help stall for a turn or two while placing free damage.

Battle Compressor:

Because the deck runs multiple Revitalizers, comboing them with Battle Compressor seems pretty good. However, John didn't play any which leaves me to believe that they aren't needed to keep the deck consistent and flowing well.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article. Following the next Expanded event be sure to keep an eye out for these two decks because they surely will see even more play for how consistent and strong they are. M Rayquaza-EX is so much more consistent in Expanded which is why it's no surprise it ended up winning the largest Regional to date with over 700 Masters and Vileplume is always a force to be reckoned with no matter the format. The best counters for both of these decks are of course Night March for M Rayquaza-EX and then Volcanion for Decidueye-GX/Vileplume so it's up to you on whether or not you are wanting to counter these two decks or simply just play them yourself.

With that said, don't forget to check out The Chaos Gym on YouTube and Twitch for updates and player interviews, as well as live streaming from Grafton Roll and Rahul Reddy. As always, be sure to check out Team ARG's Pokémon page on Facebook, Team ARG Pokemon-TCG for tons of deck lists and interviews from great players. If you have any questions about these lists or decks in general or about Team ARG then please feel free to leave me a comment 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, 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!


[+14] okko


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