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Marc Lutz

Mega Rayquaza EX and Mega Mewtwo EX strike back!

Marc Lutz talks about Mega Rayquaza EX and Mega Mewtwo EX ...

23. 09. 2016 by Marc Lutz

With Night March out of the format two decks have lost their major weakness. Marc Lutz talks about Mega Rayquaza EX and Mega Mewtwo EX - two of the best decks for the upcoming standard format!

Hello fellow 60cards readers, it is me again – Marc Lutz. This time around I'm bringing you an article about the brand new Standard format. With this year's rotation, a couple of the most important cards that have shaped the format of the past years have finally been removed from Standard. This includes Battle Compressor, most viable item lock opportunities and of course Night March. With those cards out of the format, the game seems to be somewhat slower and much more explorable. Night March and Seismitoad EX kept most 'interesting' decks in check because it was just so tough to beat them. Now we can take a look at a large variety of decks for the upcoming tournament cycle and I'm super excited about that! In this article I'll guide you through some of the Mega Evolution focused decks which were viable last format, but had a super terrible match up against Night March and therefore were a gamble if you would bring them to a tournament. I will mostly talk about Mega Mewtwo EX and Mega Rayquaza EX decks and how to possibly counter those because I think those will be the most popular ones. Without further ado let's jump right into the article!

Mega Rayquaza EX Variants

First we will take a look at Mega Rayquaza EX. Since the most crucial parts of the deck were released in Roaring Skies and the only semi important card which has been cut from the deck is probably Battle Compressor apart from some tech supporter and item choices. So what makes this deck so good in standard? Its most oppressive matchup had been removed from the format. With Joltik no longer being able to pick up cheap prizes against Rayquaza EX, it is actually difficult to compete with it since it sets up so fast. 220 HP is enough to stay out of range of almost every attack except for Mega Mewtwo EX and of course the mirror match. Also there seem to be only a few viable Lightning type attackers, because Manectric EX also left the format. Rayquaza's weakness isn't that much of a drawback anymore. Worst case you can still include a thin line of Altaria in your deck if you're really worried of that Lightning weakness.

This deck still plays out the same as it did before. You use Sky Field to increase your bench to 8 slots which allows Emerald Break to hit for up to 240 damage. This strategy is amplified by Shaymin EX which is usually a liability as long as it sits on your bench, but in this deck it actually benefits you. Other than Shaymin EX you also have Hoopa EX which you can even run mutliple copies of in this deck due to its ability to not only search your deck for Shaymin EX, but also both of your Rayquaza EX. Once you're done drawing through your deck and filling your bench you can evolve into Mega Rayquaza EX on your first turn even because of that Delta Evolution ability. With the combination of Double Colorless Energy and Mega Turbo, this allows you to attack on your first turn if you're going second leading to a quick prize lead most of the time.

Due to the nature of this deck you have a ton of room for fancy tech cards. Mega Rayquaza EX only requires colorless energy to attack and with 8 slots on your bench you can easily sneak in some odd card to help you in unfavorable match ups. Let's take a look at the list I theorycrafted last week.

It is a fairly standard and straightforward because we don't know how the metagame will shape from now on. The concept however is still very powerful as your deck consists of only Basic Pokémon which you can easily get everything in play on turn 1 and start the pressure from there. The good thing here is that you don't necessarily need Pokémon Ranger to play around either Jolteon EX or Glaceon EX which might be played in some sort of Vileplume toolbox deck because you have Mega Rayquaza EX as an evolved attacker. If you really need it you can attack with your tech basic EX cards against your opponent's Glaceon EX.


This list I built uses Metal Energy along with Magearna EX as a tech card. While it is in play all of your Pokémon with metal energies attached to them are immune to effects of your opponent's attacks. This might be useful against some decks and since you don't need a specific type for Mega Rayquaza EX anyways I felt it was worth a try. You can also play Lightning Energy along with Jolteon EX if you want. Other than that you're just going for maximum consistency. 4 Shaymin EX, 2 Hoopa EX and a ton of fast item cards like Trainers' Mail help you to set up a Mega Rayquaza EX as fast as possible. Super Rod is actually really important in this deck because you need it to shuffle some Pokémon back in order to have your bench filled up at any time to get those one shots.

I do like the double Hex Maniac in this deck because there is really no room for Garbodor here in my opinion, but you still want to be able to shut off abilities at your own will. For example if you're going first and play down your Hoopas and Shaymins you can't attack at the end of the sequence. However if you manage to play down a couple of those and then finish your turn with a Hex Maniac it really slows down your opponent during their next turn which makes the upcoming pressure from your Emerald Break attacks much more impactful and you might even win the game off of that Hex Maniac on turn 1. Let's also take a look at another Mega Rayquaza deck right here!

So the other viable Mega Rayquaza EX version at the moment is one that also features Manaphy EX. Much like the old Darkrai EX from Dark Explorers this Manaphy EX provides free retreat across the board as long as there's a water energy attached to your Pokémon. Unfortunately it is very fragile and weak to Lysandre, but since you load your bench with Shaymin EX anyways that doesn't really matter that much. You should also keep in mind that Garbodor negates this abilitiy and Lysandre can still stall you out especially if you have Hoopa EX on your bench. You can also run Escape Rope to play around that a bit. 

Other than that this deck still plays out the same way every other Mega Rayquaza EX deck does. I included more Mega Turbos and some Puzzle of Times in this deck because I felt the synergy with Manaphy EX gives you more reasons to attach extra energies in case you need to retreat something with your manual energy attachement. Puzzle of Time gives you access to extra Mega Turbos and pretty much every other tool you need.

In my opinion the version with Manaphy EX is a little bit better, because it's generally more consistent and decent against everything. However if a deck that revolves around status conditions and damaging effects becomes more popular the version with Magearna EX will surely become viable as well. The fact that Mega Rayquaza EX only requires colorless energy to attack makes it a really interesting card and we might see a lot of other versions of the deck in the future.

That's all I have to say about Mega Rayquaza EX, it is a great deck it is very consistent and you should expect it to be played in the next tournaments. Let's move on to Mega Mewtwo EX!

Mega Mewtwo EX Variants

Next we will talk about Mega Mewtwo EX which is actually one of my favorites going into the new format. Similar to Mega Rayquaza EX, this card was kept in check by Night March because it was just so easy to knock out a Mega Mewtwo EX with Pumpkaboo. Now Mega Mewtwo EX looks like it is one of the better decks in the format for sure. Being able to adjust your damage output at your own will is really good, especially if you're looking to land OHKOs against decks which take some turns to set up an attacker. Now there are quite a few options you have with this Mega Mewtwo EX deck. Most of the time you're going for the Mega Evolution with the Psychic Infinity attack for sure, but there are two regular Mewtwo EX which are both decent. The only difference however is their first attack. One of them can attack with a Double Colorless Energy and the other one specificly needs a Psychic Energy to attack. This really makes a difference only if you need that small amount of damage in the very early stages of a game to get a knock out on something really small. However the second attack of the #158 Mewtwo EX is super interesting. Damage Change swaps the damage between your attacking Mewtwo EX and the defending Pokémon. It does require two Psychic Energies and a Colorless Energy so you can't make use of Double Colorless Energy here, but if you evolved this card into Mega Mewtwo EX you can always threaten to use this attack with Shrine of Memories so it is kind of awkward for your opponent to attack your Mega Mewtwo EX if their attack doesn't one shot it. Let's take a look at this list I theorycrafted for the upcoming format and analyze it card by card.


3 Mewtwo EX (#158) & 1 Mewtwo EX (#157)
I decided to run a split of both Mewtwos in this deck. Obviously, the one with the Damage Change attack contributes much more to the general strategy because there are also Shrine of Memories in the deck, but I think that one copy of the other guy shouldn't be that bad just in case you need it at some point to deal some quick damage with just a Double Colorless Energy. Other than that there's not much to say about these two, you use them to get out your Mega Mewtwo EX and of course the Damage Change Mewtwo can be great in certain matchups, especially if you get to use Damage Change to knock out something on their bench, for example a Shaymin EX can easily be targeted with Lysandre not only for two easy prizes, but also a full heal on your Mega Mewtwo EX in most cases. Both Mewtwo EX also have the exact same stats – 170 HP, 2 retreat cost, Psychic weakness and no resistance so there's no advantage for either one here.


3 Mega Mewtwo EX (#160)
There are 4 regular Mewtwo EX in this list, however I think that running only 3 copies of Mega Mewtwo EX is perfectly fine here. Even without Super Rod you should be able to make use of most of them, just watch out that you don't discard them with Professor Sycamore. This is of course the main attacker of the deck. Psychic Infinity deals 30 damage for each Energy attached to both itself and the defending Pokémon with a 10 base damage on top. This obviously enables you to get OHKOs on any Pokémon in the game. With a Double Colorless Energy and a Psychic Energy from Mega Turbo you're already at 100 damage not counting opponent's energies. You should keep this in mind because 110 is somewhat of an important number to hit against Shaymin EX so you would require the fourth energy there. If your opponent has an average number of 2 energies attached you're dealing 160 damage, so with the extra energy attached to either your Mega Mewtwo EX or the defending Pokémon a damage output of 190 damage should be enough in a large number of cases if there is no Fighting Fury Belt in play. Keep in mind that this attack does not apply weakness so the mirror match can be difficult at times because you actually need a good amount of energies attached to your Mega Mewtwo EX to get a OHKO which leaves you open for a return knock out with less energies on your opponents side. It only has 210 HP which is a little bit weak compared to other Mega Evolutions, but the only time this matters is against Mega Rayquaza EX. If they only have 7 Pokémon on their bench it is still enough to get a OHKO on your Mega Mewtwo EX. If you can keep discarding their Sky Fields with your Shrine of Memories you should be in good shape against them.

1 Hoopa EX
This card is part of the main engine of this deck. If you can get either a Skyla or an Ultra Ball in the early game your set up is almost guaranteed. Hoopa EX searches your deck not only for Shaymin EX, but also either Mewtwo EX or Mega Mewtwo EX. Apart from that there's not much to say about this card. It's great. You play it. You win.

3 Shaymin EX
The mandatory Shaymin EX is also in this deck. You can get them early with either Ultra Ball or Hoopa EX to refill your hand and keep going. It's really good here because you can generally play down most of your cards as there are only a few cards which are stuck in your hand on turn 1. Also try to get most of your Shaymin EX value going early because of Garbodor from either your opponent or yourself.


2 Trubbish & 2 Garbodor
Not much to say about the Trubbish as its the only one in the current format. It has 70 HP which is nice as it stays out of range from random 60 damage snipes from Water Shuriken for example and also a 30 damage attack from Mewtwo EX that hits for weakness. Garbodor is almost a reprint of the old one, but with a more expensive attack which won't be used anyways. Garbodor is in here because of its Garbotoxin ability. While it has a Pokémon Tool attached to it all abilities in play will be shut off. This is really good if you can get it out early before your opponent makes use of their Shaymin EX or Hoopa EX. It's also a great tool against Greninja decks because it prevents them from using Water Shurikens which makes it much harder for them to knock out your Mewtwo EX especially gainst the Damage Change combo. Also there's really no easy way of taking out Garbotoxin at the moment as there are no good tool removals in the format. Both Startling Megaphone and Xerosic rotated out of the format so the only efficient way of dealing with Garbodor is Lysandre and knocking it out. This can be difficult for your opponent if his or her deck relies on abilities or if they can't use Shaymin EX to keep drawing cards. This also helps against some niches decks like Vileplume or Mega Alakazam EX if you ever face them. 

4 Professor Sycamore & 4 N
I think running 4 copies of each of those supporters is a good thing to do. I always liked the 4-4 split between the two back in the day and I still think it's optimal. The only downside of Professor Sycamore in this deck is that you don't want to discard Mega Mewtwo EX other than that it is the best option for burning through your deck very fast. N on the other hand can be used in mutliple ways. If you don't like your hand early on you can use it to get a new one without discarding important pieces. It is also great to disrupt your opponent either in the late game when they only have one or two prize cards left or if you can get a read on their hand depending on the plays they made. It is also essential against Talonflame decks because you don't want to let them use the two cards they got from their deck.

2 Lysandre
Lysandre is still a great card especially in decks with the ability to deal tons of damage. You can either use it to target down your opponents main attacker before they get to attack with it or pick up cheap prizes against Shaymin EX. It's also good to stall for a couple turns if you think you can put something active that your opponent can't retreat during their next turn. Multiple uses with VS Seeker makes this a great card in almost any deck.

1 Skyla
There are a couple of cards in this deck which are an essential part of the main strategy. For example you always want Mewtwo Spirit Link before you evolve your guys and Shrine of Memories is also required in some cases. Other than that there is Float Stone which is required for Garbotoxin to be active and maybe you need an Escape Rope to retreat a Pokémon. Skyla gives you the option to search your deck for any of those cards very easily so you don't have to rely on drawing them with N, Professor Sycamore or Shaymin EX.

4 VS Seeker
A full playset of VS Seeker is in pretty much every deck at the moment. It allows you to make use of your strong supporter cards multiple times. For example additional Ns in the lategame or that crucial Skyla for a missing combo piece. Of course the loss of Battle Compressor made this card a little bit weaker, but it is still a staple card in every deck.

4 Ultra Ball
This card gets you going super easily. Not only does it search your deck for either Hoopa EX or Shaymin EX which gets you basically everything you want, but you can also use it to get Psychic Energies in your discard pile for Mega Turbo later on. It also helps you to draw more cards with Shaymin EX because you have to discard two cards if you want to use it.

4 Trainers' Mail
When your deck consists of more than half trainers you can't really go without Trainers' Mail. You're almost guaranteed to hit something useful everytime you use it. It helps you getting through your deck faster in the early game or you can use it in the late game when there's not much left in your deck to get higher chances of drawing what you need after an opposing N for example. Great card.

3 Mewtwo Spirit Link
This card is necessary in order not to lose a turn when mega evolving your Mewtwo EX. I only put in 3 copies of this card and it should be enough. Of course it also enables Garbotoxin despite not having an effect attached to Garbodor, but you rather want Float Stone attached to that.

2 Float Stone
This Pokémon Tool is really good for enabling Garbotoxin. Garbodor has a very high retreat cost which makes it easily targetable by Lysandre. So having a Float Stone attached to it prevents that from happening while shutting off all abilities. It's by far the best tool to have there and with no Startling Megaphone or Xerosic in the format there is really nothing that can interupt you there.

1 Escape Rope
I decided to put in a single copy of Escape Rope in this deck just for having the option with something like Skyla to retreat my active Pokémon without using Float Stone because I really want them for my Garbodor. It also acts as a weaker version of Lysandre without using a supporter card for that turn which can come in handy sometimes.

2 Mega Turbo
Mega Turbo is your energy acceleration for boosting your Mega Mewtwo EX Psychic Infinity attack. I'm not 100% sure if two are enough or you need more, but I feel that the lack of Battle Compressor makes this card much weaker so I'm going with only two at the moment. This also leaves some room open for other tech choices.

3 Shrine of Memories
This card allows you to use Damage Change with your Mega Mewtwo EX. It also acts as a counter stadium against decks that use a large number of stadiums themselves such as Sky Field in Mega Rayquaza EX decks or Rough Seas for all kind of water decks, but mostly Greninja.

7 Psychic Energy & 4 Double Colorless Energy
I think this is a healthy number of Energy cards to run in this deck. Obviously you want to max out on Double Colorless Energy because it is such a strong card. 7 Psychic Energies should be enough to fuel your Mega Turbos and also leave some in your hand for manual attachements.

 

I would like to mention some cards which I think are really good in this deck, but I'm not sure what to cut at the moment. The first one is Professor's Letter which would probably come with a 3rd Mega Turbo as well. It helps you thin your deck in the early game while giving you access to extra basic energies which can be discarded with Ultra Ball and then used with Mega Turbo. The next one is Town Map. I always liked Town Map because it gives you an additional element of control over the game because it helps you picking out crucial pieces from your prizes without relying on a chance to draw them. It's not that impactful in this deck because there are no 1-ofs which are important for your strategy, but I still think it's a viable card. The last card I thought about adding to the deck is Super Rod. It gets you back some of your Pokémon if you need them in the late game. In this list it is pretty much the 4th Mega Mewtwo EX which might be necessary if you're forced to discard one with Professor Sycamore and 2 of your Mega Mewtwo EX got knocked out. It would be either Super Rod or the 4th Mega Mewtwo EX in the list, but I think the Super Rod would be better as it also grants you access to extra basic energies if you need them.

How to Counter Mega Evolutions

There are a few cards in the current format which are excellent to counter either Mega Rayquaza EX or Mega Mewtwo EX which I would like to introduce to you if you haven't heard of them yet. Whether you want them in your own mega deck to have an edge against others or you're playing something completely different and want to counter them, these tech cards can be put in most decks.

The first two cards I would to talk about are the promo Ditto and Sudowoodo from BREAKpoint. Both of these cards are meant to counter Mega Rayquaza EX in a very simple way. You're using their own strategy against them. Usually they have Sky Field in play so if you manage to get a full bench as well, you can simply copy their Emerald Break attack and deal 240 damage as well. While Ditto simply copies the attacks form your opponents active Pokémon for their original cost, Sudowoodo only copies an attack that's actually been used so there's no Lysandre combos with this guy. Sudowoodo also works if Hex Maniac has been played or if Garbodor is in play, but it does require a Fighting Energy to be used so it can't be put in any deck. However both of those are great to counter Mega Rayquaza EX while not being terrible against anything else as they can be used in multiple ways and allow for some interesting scenarios. These cards are also decent in any mirror match since you're copying pretty much the same things you would do anyways.

Mew from Fates Collide is a good counter gainst Mega Mewtwo EX if you're struggling with that. It's a really simple concept, you just play Mew and copy whatever attack you have in play. It's mainly the Psychic type that matters here as it allows you to hit the opposing Mega Mewtwo EX for weakness. Other than that Mew also has free retreat which can help you in the early game if you happen to start with it. Even against Garbodor Mew is not completely useless because it does have an attack that's not absolutely terrible. Of course it's not the best thing in the world, but it still grants you access to for example your main attacker if you can't use Shaymin EX to draw into it. Also its free retreat cost makes it a much better starter as it gives you a ton of options in the early game.

The last one is a really odd card, but I think it is not that terrible. Stunfisk from BREAKthrough is very similar to the Bouffalant which was played back in the Black & White era. For a Lightning Energy and a Colorless Energy its Revenge attack deals 100 damage if one of your Pokémon was knocked out during your last turn. If you add a Fighting Fury Belt you're dealing 220 damage against Mega Rayquaza EX which is just enough to get a OHKO. I don't think this is necessary in lighting based Magnezone decks because there are a ton of lightning attackers anyways, but you might be able to put this guy in some Rainbow Energy based deck with Ninja Boy to get a surprise knock out on that Mega Rayquaza EX.

This 'Fright Night' Yveltal from Breakthrough is also really good against any Mega Evoltion. It is weak to Garbodor, but not to an extend where it will be unplayable as it has a reasonable attack. Fright Night is somewhat similar to Garbodor as it negates the effect of Pokémon Tools in play as long as it is active. However this does not take care of Garbotoxin as the tool actually needs no effect. What it does is it negates the effect of any Spirit Link while it is active. This can be played around with Lysandre of Escape Rope most of the time, but it does make your opponents turns much more awkward. It also removes the effect of Float Stone which makes this card really good if you want to stall a turn with Lysandre against Hoopa EX for example. Its Pitch-Black Spear attack also has perfect synergy with that strategy as it does 60 damage to your opponent's active Pokémon and another 60 damage to one of theis benched Pokémon EX. This allows you to take out Shaymin EX in two hits while heavily damaging another Pokémon leading to quick prizes. Another cool thing I like about that card is that you can promote it against a Pokémon with Fighting Fury Belt attached to it and maybe take it out just with this ability if the numbers are right. I'm sure this card will see a lot of play in Yveltal variants. 

This Banette from Roaring Skies does look a little bit weird here, but it might be good in some niche decks. The reason I came up with this card is that I was playtesting some Mega Alakazam EX decks and really struggled against Garbodor so I tried this card. Banette has the Delta Evolution ancient trait which makes you able to evolve it immediately. The reason you play it is for its Evolution Jammer attack. For a single psychic energy it deals 20 damage and prevents your opponent from evolving any of their Pokémon during their next turn. This includes mega evolutions. The reason it worked so well in this Mega Alakazam EX deck is that you don't necessarily have to attack with any of these Alakazam EX, but instead you want to spam their abilities as much as possible and you just can't do that against Garbodor. So if you get this Evolution Jammer attack going early on most of these Mega Evolution decks can't really do much as their regular basics are rather weak. I would also like to briefly mention the Shuppet it evolves from. Not only does its attack have a hilarious name, but its also not that terrible. For a single psychic energy 'Bleh' discards a special energy card attached to ANY of your opponents Pokémon. You can use that to disrupt their early game if they attached a Double Colorless Energy or something to one of their benched Pokémon preparing an attack for the next turn.

Conclusion

I do think that these two decks can be top contenders for the upcoming format along with Greninja. The fact that you can play so many different tech cards with these guys makes them really appealing for deck building and with a lot of new cards being released there's tons of different decks around them which can still be explored.

Also with Night March out of the format we will surely see a lot of other decks that were kind of locked away from being viable last format. The fact that Mega Mewtwo EX doesn't hit for weakness is very healthy I think because it doesn't automatically make everything with a psychic weakness unplayable like Pumpkaboo did. The only thing that bites me a bit looking at the format is that Garbodor is still a thing and there's no viable out to that other than Lysandre. If this Mega Mewtwo EX / Garbodor deck or any other Garbodor deck like Darkrai EX / Giratina EX become to big it might make a lot of the cool abilitiy focused decks much weaker.

That's it for the article guys, as always I hope you liked it and if you have any questions regarding these decks feel free to ask them in the comments and I will gladly answer them. I will see you next time!

 

- Marc Lutz

[+7] okko


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