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Jose Marrero

Looking Ahead Towards Virginia Regionals- 3 Strong M Rayquaza-EX Plays

Jose brings you 3 strong M Rayquaza-EX variants for the Standard format for the upcoming Virginia Regional Championship this weekend.

01. 05. 2017 by Jose Marrero

Introduction

Hello again, my fellow 60cards readers! Now that the Brazilian International Championships have concluded, it's now time to look towards the next big Standard event. That event is Virginia Regionals--this weekend. Of course, players will look at the results from Brazil however, I want to talk about three plays that I feel can be strong come Virginia Regionals in the form of M Rayquaza-EX. I know I talked about M Rayquaza-EX in a recent article; however, these next three lists are new ones since then and yes each variant I'll be analyzing has Puzzle of Time in them so sorry for those that hate the card, however, you will see a unique change compared to your typical Puzzle of Time list for the last two lists I'll be discussing which are my personal lists. First, I'll start off with 8 potential additions you can include in M Rayquaza-EX decks from the new set, Guardians Rising. I'll have updated lists once we get closer to Seattle Regionals, which will be the first Regionals with Guardians Rising.

Next, I'll examine the 3rd place list from Brazil piloted by Ian Anderson Fukuda, then transition into one of my favorite M Rayquaza-EX variants--Espeon-GX, and finally the variant with Fire Energy that most recently took a Top 4 spot in Brazil. Had I gone to Brazil, my top choice was easily some form of M Rayquaza-EX because I know its place in the format right now is threatening. After seeing that 5/32 of Day 2 players in Brazil were playing M Rayquaza-EX, I knew it was a great call. Three of those 5 were actually in Top 16 or higher, and one made it all the way to Top 4. Felipe Ponce from Brazil actually took 9th in Brazil with M Rayquaza-EX combined with Gumshoos-GX which is interesting, however, he did not run Hex Maniac which I respectfully disagree with. He did play Wobbuffet, but that only helps against Vileplume--against Volcanion and the mirror you need to be able to Hex Maniac to either slow them down or deny a one-shot on you.

With that said, let's now dive into what I think are 8 of the top cards in Guardians Rising that can be implemented in M Rayquaza-EX decks.

8 Potential Guardians Rising additions in M Rayquaza-EX

I know some of these cards are obvious inclusions but there are some that might catch one's eye as well that some players might have already disregarded. I'll start from best to worst in my personal opinion.

#1 Tapu Lele-GX

Of course, the most hyped card of the new set will be at the top of the list so it's no surprise to all. Tapu Lele-GX is probably the best card to come out of Guardians Rising and for good reason. Not only is it similar to Jirachi-EX in the sense that both their abilities search out a supporter once you put them onto the bench, but Tapu Lele-GX also has a clutch attack to go with its phenomenal ability, Wonder Tag. Energy Drive is reminiscent to that of Mewtwo-EX's X Ball except that Energy Drive isn't affected by Weakness or Resistance (Pokémon knew better not to make it exactly like X Ball or else Energy Drive would be ridiculous). Tapu Lele-GX's second attack, Tapu Cure GX isn't too bad either because it heals 2 of your Benched Pokémon to full for a single Psychic Energy which is awesome and can be clutch against Decidueye-GX decks.

Obviously, any deck can take advantage of Tapu Lele-GX just for its ability so I recommend picking up a copy before they skyrocket in price. Tapu Lele-GX having 170 hit points compared to Jirachi-EX only have 90 is a huge difference, however, you can't Level Ball for Tapu Lele-GX so decks such as Trevenant will probably still play Jirachi-EX. Overall this card is easily 10/10 and will see tons of play in most if not all decks in Standard. Searching out Tapu Lele-GX then grabbing any supporter is very strong and makes every deck more consistent now. You can even use Dragonite-EX to get back Tapu Lele-GX to use again, which is crazy to think of. I'm glad Pokémon decided to give us another form of Jirachi-EX which can be a solid counter to both Glaceon-EX and Regice at the same time, although Tapu Lele-GX has to either two-shot or three-shot them but that's okay since they have to do the same. It only has one retreat cost too.

Right now this card is going for $40-$45 regular art, $55-$65 full art, and $80-$90 hyper rare which is honestly not surprising. I'm going to wait until the hype dies down a little before picking up a copy or two. At least it's not like Shaymin-EX where some decks need three or four.

#2 Field Blower

Trainer
Item
Choose up to 2 in any combination of Pokemon Tool cards and Stadium cards in play (yours or your opponent’s) and discard them.
You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).

This card is an exact reprint of Windstorm from EX Crystal Guardians which is funny since that set too has "Guardians" in the name. We needed this reprint and I'm glad Pokémon realized that it's good for the game. Being able to discard any two Tools or one Stadium and a Tool in play is so, so good for the format right now. Decks that play Garbodor will struggle more now that Field Blower is in the format. Having the option to discard a Parallel City and a Float Stone on a Garbodor is the best of both worlds when playing a deck that relies on abilities and a big bench such as, M Rayquaza-EX and M Gardevoir-EX, so surely these decks will play them--that's why it's my number two. Plus the gold version looks awesome. How can you not want one of these bad boys?

#3 Rescue Stretcher

Trainer
Item
Choose 1:
– Put a Pokemon from your discard pile into your hand.
– Shuffle 3 Pokemon from your discard pile into your deck.
You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).

I personally love the "Choose 1 effects". This card is basically Buddy-Buddy Rescue on steroids because now your opponent doesn't get a Pokémon back as well. Its second option lets you shuffle 3 Pokémon back into your deck which Buddy-Buddy Rescue doesn't do. Basically, Rescue Stretcher will replace Buddy-Buddy Rescue in every deck, especially Gyarados, but can also be useful in decks that play Super Rod. Sure Rescue Stretcher doesn't get back Basic Energy but it's something to think about, especially in decks that rely on Hoopa-EX and Dragonite-EX. From playing Buddy-Buddy Rescue in Gyarados it was always annoying having to give your opponent a Pokémon back.

#4 Oricorio (Sensu)

Psychic – HP90
Basic Pokemon

[C] Supernatural Dance: For each Pokemon in your opponent’s discard pile, put 1 damage counter on your opponent’s Pokemon in any way you like.

[C] Revelation Dance: 30 damage. If there is no Stadium card in play, this attack does nothing.

Weakness: Darkness (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-20)
Retreat: 1

A solid card against decks that rely on the discard to fuel their damage output such as Vespiquen and Night March as well as Flareon in expanded. If Vespiquen starts to see more and more play in Standard then don't be surprised to see players teching in a copy of this card because it can swing the matchup for sure and because Supernatural Dance only takes a single Colorless Energy means its splashable in any deck. In a deck like M Rayquaza-EX where it struggles against most Vespiquen variants, I can see Oricorio being used as a mid to late game sweeper since you want to drop it down as a surprise because if you give your opponent the knowledge that you play it then they may try to play around it which if they do then it might be a win-win situation since now they are doing less damage. However its Jolteon, Zebstrika, and Zoroark that tilts the matchup in Vespiquen's favor making how many Pokémon in their discard not as relevant.

#5 Machoke

Fighting – HP100
Stage 1 – Evolves from Machop

Ability: Daunting Pose
Prevent all damage done to your Benched Pokemon by your opponent’s attacks. Your opponent’s attacks and Abilities can’t put damage counters on your Benched Pokemon.

[F][F] Cross Chop: 30 damage. Flip a coin. If heads, this attack does 30 more damage.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3

This card is very interesting and the first thing that comes to mind when reading Daunting Pose's first sentence is Yveltal's attack, Pitch-Black Spear and when reading the second sentence is Decidueye-GX's ability, Feather Arrow and Trevenant BREAK's attack, Silent Fear. Nullifying all three of these cards seems too good not to play, doesn't it? Decidueye-GX is one of the most played decks in Standard right now and we also see the occasional Yveltal-EX/Garbodor players. In Expanded Trevenant decks see a handful of play and now with the release of Guardians Rising it yielded another Trevenant which will likely see play meaning Trevenant BREAK will be in both formats now making Machoke even more worthy. The only downside to Machoke is that it's a Stage 1 Pokémon with a three retreat cost making it a liability to Lysandre. Still, if Machoke gets stuck active then your opponent has to KO it right? Making your bench immune until then so really is it that much of a liability even when they can't use Pitch-Black Spear, Feather Arrow, and Silent Fear on the bench anyway? I think in Standard Feather Arrow and Pitch-Black Spear should be enough to convince one on adding Machoke. I may try it out and see if it's worthwhile because its two dead cards against basically everything else that's relevant.

#6 Drampa-GX

Colorless – HP180
Basic Pokemon

[C] Righteous Edge: 20 damage. Discard a Special Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

[C][C][C] Berserk: 80+ damage. If your Benched Pokemon have any damage counters on them, this attack does 70 more damage.

[C] Great Revolution GX: Shuffle your hand into your deck, then draw 10 cards. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize Cards.
Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

The fact that all of this cards attacks take Colorless Energy makes it easily splashable. I'm a big fan of most Pokémon that have three attacks because usually they are all decent and Drampa-GX is no slouch. Its first attack only takes one Colorless Energy and does 20 damage but at the same time removes a Special Energy off your opponent's active Pokémon similar to Jirachi and Cobalion-EX. Righteous Edge can help stall for a bit until you set up attackers. Now its attack, Berserk needs three Colorless Energy which does a solid 80 damage but if any of your benched Pokémon has damage on them then Berserk now does 150 damage. And finally its third attack, Great Revolution GX only takes one Colorless Energy and lets you shuffle your hand into your deck then draw 10 cards. At first glance, this attack seems pretty good, however, with N still in the format, it's likely that you won't have that big hand on your next turn making this GX attack not as great compared to others. Still just having a GX option in any given deck can't go wrong because it's like having an Ace Spec but for Standard, if you really think about it. The fact that Drampa-GX is a GX Pokémon makes it able to attack into both Glaceon-EX and Regice which honestly can come in the clutch when not expected.

#7 Garbodor

Psychic – HP120
Stage 1 – Evolves from Trubbish

[P] Trashalanche This attack does 20 damage for each Item card in your opponent’s discard pile.

[P][C][C] Acid Bomb: 70 damage. Flip a coin. If heads, discard an Energy from your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3

A great card which surely will see play. Its first attack, Trashalanche can do some lethal damage if your opponent's deck is made up of mostly Items. M Mewtwo-EX decks will have to watch out for this card because of its weakness to them. You can still play around this card but honestly its going to be hard because most decks rely on Items to set up and get going whether its Trainers' Mail or Mega Turbo or basically any heavily played Items which there are tons of. However, Trashalanche takes a Psychic Energy making it not as splashable as Drampa-GX. Garbodor is yet another counter to Regice but not Glaceon-EX. it'll be interesting to see what decks players end up running the new Garbodor in.

#8 Oricorio (Pa’u)

Psychic – HP70
Basic Pokemon

Ability: Vital Dance
When you play this Pokemon from your hand onto your Bench, you may search your deck for up to 2 Basic Energy, reveal them, and put them into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

[P][C] Casual Slap: 30 damage.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

Immediately you realize Vital Dance combined with Mega Turbo seems too good not to play in a deck like M Rayquaza-EX because it's essentially an ability in a form of Professor's Letter. I think if you have to Ultra Ball for Oricorio then you might already have a Basic Energy in hand which makes it almost a dead card in the deck other than using it as a bench sitter to fuel Emerald Break. The way I see it is that you will likely want to Ultra Ball for Hoopa-EX unless you have one in hand already which is why I put Oricorio Pa'u as my number 8. Going off topic for a sec but I can see this card being used more in Volcanion and M Gardevoir-EX. You may be asking why Oricorio in Volcanion when you can potentially open with it or have one less spot on your bench for other Volcanion when you can just play Professor's Letter. This is particularly due to Vileplume shutting off Professor's Letter while Oricorio still is able to grab 2 Basic Energy from the deck. With M Gardevoir-EX you can reuse Oricorio with Dragonite-EX giving you a more consistent way of searching for Basic Energy seeing as M Gardevoir-EX usually plays less energy than M Rayquaza-EX.

Now that I've given you my personal top 8 additions to M Rayquaza-EX from Guardians Rising let's head more down and take a look at the 3rd place M Rayquaza-EX list from Brazil.

M Rayquaza-EX

We can see that Ian's Pokémon counts are pretty straight forward. The only unusual thing is the fact that Ian ran not two but three Hoopa-EX. I've seen players going with three Hoopa-EX in the past but once I saw Ian's list I was shocked. Not only is Hoopa-EX a terrible opener but it's also a liability at times once on the bench so you have to be careful when playing them down especially these days with Decidueye-GX/Vileplume in the format. Because Ian only plays eight Basic Pokémon-EX and three M Rayquaza-EX which totals eleven searchable Pokémon with Hoopa-EX it's likely that the third copy of Hoopa-EX won't be as effective as the other two at least from when I play the deck. Sometimes the second one is a little overkill but three? I can't see myself ever going to three Hoopa-EX. Ian decided to play all Colorless Rayquaza-EX and none of the Dragon ones which is totally fine. I personally like the Dragon ones but now I'm starting to lean towards wanting to just play all Colorless ones even though the extra 10 health from the Dragon ones can come in handy. For example against Turbo Darkrai-EX if they have a total of seven energy on board that comes up to 140 damage and if you include the 20 base from Dark Pulse you are now doing 160 damage. If you combine that with a Fighting Fury Belt it's now 170 damage which is enough to one hit KO a Colorless Rayquaza-EX but not a Dragon one. Sure they can Lysandre up something else like a Shaymin-EX however you just never know when that extra 10 health can buy you another turn. I do like that Ian ran Oranguru because I'm a huge fan of the card in this deck. Getting Oranguru out early is fine because it makes you less prone to Parallel City combined with a mid to late game N.

Oranguru can potentially get you out of those tough situations which is why I recommend you play it even though Silent Lab shuts it off. But if your opponent Silent Labs you over Parallel City then that means you can potentially take a cheap KO on a Shaymin-EX then worry about bumping Silent Lab next turn. Moving into the supporters we can see that Ian went with a single copy of N which I too play. When playing M Rayquaza-EX you should know that you will likely take the first couple prizes and quickly which makes a mid to late game N not so appealing which is why I think one N is fine. There are of course times where another copy of N would be awesome if your running Puzzle of Time because early on you don't want to have to discard them or use them early. Which brings me to the one of Skyla in which I also play to help search out basically anything needed at the time but most importantly to search out another Puzzle of Time when one is already in hand making the deck able to use Puzzle of Time more effectively so if your running Puzzle of Time then please play a Skyla you won't regret it. Ian also played just one Hex Maniac which is fine however, I recommend playing two not only for the obvious matchup against Decidueye-GX/Vileplume but also to make the Volcanion match easier. Now Olympia was something interesting that caught my eye but at the same time, I can see why Ian played it. Against Decidueye-GX/Vileplume anything with more than a one retreat cost is a liability making Olympia extremely good in the matchup even though you're likely only using it once which is okay because your opponent likely only plays two copies of Lysandre and you know one was used already.

Still, you have to be careful when using Olympia because like I said it's too important to waste against Decidueye-GX/Vileplume so you have to play it down at the right time. Lastly as far as the supporters go Ian ran Brock's Grit which honestly I've never been a fan of but now I can see why Ian played three Hoopa-EX. With Brock's Grit putting back at least six Pokémon it's no wonder Ian played three Hoopa-EX instead of two. Finally, we are out of the supporters and immediately I see something strange which I'm sure others like yourself find too it strange as well and that's the three copies of VS Seeker. You may be thinking that Ian is crazy to go with three VS Seeker in a deck like M Rayquaza-EX but before you skip the rest of the list lets see why Ian played three VS Seeker. Well, it's obvious that playing three makes the deck a little more consistent against Decidueye-GX/Vileplume or Vileplume in general. If that's the case why isn't there a second Hex Maniac or second N? Where did that spot go is what I'm trying to say because if it didn't turn into a supporter that should have already been in the deck then I have no idea why you would play three VS Seeker over the fourth copy. The rest of the list is quite frankly pretty standard. I'm glad that Ian placed highly with Puzzle of Time because I've always been a fan of them ever since it's release. I do like that Ian played four ways to retreat Pokémon if you include Olympia. Ian played two Float Stone and one Escape Rope. This is particularly due to Ian playing four Pokémon with more than a one retreat cost which he knew how important it was not to get stalled out.

Escape Rope not only gets you out of the active but at the same time, it forces your opponent to switch their active as well which can ultimately put them in a tough situation which a lot of times can be game changing. I did find it weird that Ian played Fire Energy yet no Volcanion-EX or Salamence-EX to abuse them with. Playing Fire Energy still has its merit though because you can take advantage of your opponent's Scorched Earth which can act as a Volcanion-EX in a sense except you get to draw two cards at the same time. Overall Ian's list is solid even though some cards are questionable. Ian had to be doing something right because he did, however, make it all the way to Top 4 in a field of over 600 players which is hard to ignore. 

Down below is Ian's interview presented by Rahul Reddy from The Chaos Gym. Don't forget to like and subscribe if you enjoyed the video.

 Now we can go ahead and start with the variant that implements Espeon-GX.


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