Emerald Breaking the Format!

SawkHello, my name is Benjamin Sauk (spelled differently from the Pokemon), and I am super excited to be writing for my favorite Pokemon site!  I have been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game for the last 16 years and I have been using PokeBeach for over a decade of that time to stay up to date on all things Pokemon.

As a little background, I have been playing this game competitively since Base Set.  I qualified and competed in the first World Championships under Wizards of the Coast and continued to play when Nintendo took over the game in 2003.  I qualified for every World Championship up until 2010, before I went off to College at Georgia Tech.

Some of my notable accomplishments throughout the years include placing in the top 32 in the 2006 Pokemon World Championships and top 16 in the 2007 Pokemon World Championships in the Senior division.  In my first year as a Master, I placed in the top 16 in the Pokemon US National Championships.  I have won one Regional Championship, and placed in the top 4 in four other Regional Championships.  This year, I was able to pilot my Yveltal-EX/Garbodor and Yveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX decks to top 16 finishes in the Pennsylvania and Indiana Regional Championships, at 11th and 10th place respectively.  I also was fortunate enough to win the 2012 North American Professor Cup with an anti-meta Excadrill deck.

As this was my senior year in college, I had a lot more time to devote to Pokemon again and was able to attend multiple Regional Championships and City Championships in order to earn my Worlds invite before the end of City Championships. Even with my invite secured, I still am trying to earn as many points as I can throughout the rest of the season.  As such, I have been putting a lot of thought into the upcoming Regionals and Nationals formats, and one deck that I have been testing uses M Rayquaza-EX.  After looking at the cards from Roaring Skies, most people were probably able to figure out the general combos behind this deck, but there are a lot of different nuances that can secure you the win over other players.

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Emerald Break M Rayquaza-EX

M Rayquaza-EX has been one of the most hyped up Roaring Skies card since PokeBeach first posted the scans. Combined with Sky Field, Emerald Break has the potential to one-shot almost any Pokemon in the game and is simple to power up.  Rayquaza’s Delta Evolution trait allows it to evolve into its Mega on the same turn it’s played, and with Mega Turbo, it’s capable of attacking on the same turn it hits the field.

In the format before Roaring Skies, dominant decks included: Seismitoad-EXDonphanYveltal-EX, Exeggutor, M Gardevoir-EX, and Primal Groudon-EX to name a few.  M Rayquaza-EX is able to compete with all of the pre-Roaring Skies decks, and with other Roaring Skies decks because of its speed and raw power. Emerald Break is an insane attack that can obliterate almost any other Pokemon, making it difficult to beat.

After testing a few games with different variants of this deck, I was able to consistently pull off a turn 1 or turn 2 Emerald Break for 240 damage, and still be able to respond to whatever my opponent threw at me. I will start out with a skeleton list of the deck below, after which I will describe some the major cards in the deck. I will also go over variations of the deck that can be selected based on the expected metagame and your personal preference.

Pokemon (14)

4x Rayquaza-EX (RSK #75)

4x M Rayquaza-EX (RSK #76)

4x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

2x Exeggcute (PLF #4)

Trainers (28)

3x Professor Juniper (PLF #116)

1x Colress (PLS #118)

1x Winona (RSK #96)

1x N (NVI #101)

1x Lysandre (FLF #90)

1x Lysandre's Trump Card (PHF #99)


4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)

3x VS Seeker (PHF #109)

3x Mega Turbo (RSK #86)

3x Rayquaza Spirit Link (RSK #87)

2x Acro Bike (PRC #122)

1x Computer Search (BCR #137)


4x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (7)

4x Double Colorless Energy (PHF #111)

3x Grass Energy (XY #132)


Total: 49 – Free Space: 11

The Goal

The goal of this deck is to be able to power up a M Rayquaza-EX on the same turn that Rayquaza-EX hits the board to limit how much your opponent can play around this dragon.  The skeleton list above leaves a lot of room to fill in so that you can make the variant of the deck best suited to you.  I will briefly go over why some cards are important in the deck. For the premium portion, I will then outline some of the variation you can include in your deck to better secure a victory and reasons for when or when not to play said versions.

Staple Cards


Shaymin’s ability Set Up fuels the draw engine in this deck, as well as acting as a body to power up Emerald Break. Shaymin-EX can reward players who are able to empty out their hands really quickly with cards like Ultra Ball, Computer Search, Town Map, Battle Compressor, etc. to then refill their hands whenever Shaymin hits the board.  In the pre-Roaring Skies format, where Exeggutor and Seismitoad-EX are rampant, Shaymin-EX offers a Pokemon alternative for additional draw that Exeggutor and Seismitoad-EX cannot shut down.  Shaymin-EX also bolsters deck consistency by working well with other Supporter cards like Winona or Professor Juniper and allow players to draw through their deck quickly.

Shaymin’s Set Up Ability is incredibly strong so running four copies of him is a must. So there will be a decent amount of games where he is your only Basic Pokemon in your opening hand.  Unlike other utility Pokemon like Jirachi-EX, Shaymin-EX is not the worst starter because of his attack.  Even though its attack only does 30 damage, Sky Return can be used to get Shaymin out of the active spot, deny your opponent prizes, allow the reuse of Shaymin, or setup damage for a later Knock Out.


One of the unsung MVP’s of this deck is Exeggcute.  What makes this card good is that this deck does not run too many cards that you can afford to just throw away, but you may have to to allow for more powerful Set Ups.  However, after Shaymin has been used a few times, you can choose to discard Exeggcutes that are already in the discard pile instead of useful cards.  Additionally, Exeggcute can be recycled onto the Bench to get eight Pokemon on the Bench after they have been used for a few Ultra Ball searches.

One reason this deck can struggle is if your opponent plays a Stadium that is not Sky Field.  If you had been using Emerald Break for 240 damage this requires you to discard three Pokemon from your bench.  As can be seen on the decklist above, there may only be 10-12 basic Pokemon in this deck so if three have to be discarded it can be very difficult to fill back up your Bench when you play a new Sky Field.  However, with Propagation on Exeggcute, you can simply put him back into your hand and onto the Bench, allowing you to easily attack with a fully powered Emerald Break.

As a word of warning, Exeggcute can be an extreme liability in some matchups because he only has 30 HP.  When playing this card against decks like Crobat or Landorus-EX, always be wary of how many free Prizes you are giving your opponent so that they are not able to out race you to win the game, even though you are Knocking Out large Pokemon-EX every turn.


Another strength of this deck is that it is best able to utilize the Supporter Winona. Winona at first glance may not appear anywhere near as good as Professor Juniper, but it can definitely be useful in some situations.  While Professor Juniper guarantees seven cards, Winona allows you to search for both Rayquaza-EX and a Shaymin-EX or potentially two Shaymin-EX.  With Rayquaza Spirit Link and other burnable Trainer cards, it is possible that these multiple Shaymin-EX can net more cards than Professor Juniper, while also securing the M Rayquaza-EX with the help of a Spirit Link.  Through some testing, one of the key cards that is needed to allow this deck to be quick is the Spirit Link, because if there is ever a turn where a manual Mega Evolution is required, there is a good chance that you may end up losing the game.  So in situations where a player has a Spirit Link in their hand, it behooves them to be able to use it instead of having to play Professor Juniper and discard the Spirit Link.  If given the choice between Professor Juniper and Winona, some thought must be used whether a player will benefit more by playing conservatively and getting a guaranteed Rayquaza-EX and a Shaymin-EX or two, while other times a more aggressive Professor Juniper may be needed to reach for more cards.  A lot of games may be won or lost because of an early game decision between Winona and Professor Juniper that results in getting almost all of the cards needed to use Emerald Break.


With the addition of Sky Field to the format, Colress may be one of the best Supporter cards that can be played in this deck.  Winona is nice because it allows you to search for a few Pokemon, but Colress has the potential to draw 16 cards – over a quarter of your entire deck!

When looking for important cards, Colress gives you incredible odds of drawing the cards that you need, and it would be crazy to run a deck with Sky Field and not include at least one copy of this card.  The only real downside to this card is that when you use it, it will be almost impossible to gain any cards off a Set Up unless your opponent plays N against you because it is rather difficult to get rid of that many cards, even in this deck.

Mega Turbo

When looking back at past formats, Trainer cards that have provided Energy acceleration like Dark Patch have always been powerful.  Using Mega Turbo, M Rayquaza-EX is able to go from a card that is pretty good, to a card that is able to Emerald Break for 240 on the first turn of the game.  The beauty of Mega Turbo is that with a Double Colorless Energy, M Rayquaza-EX can be placed on the field and completely powered up in the same turn.  Mega Turbo also helps to mitigate the effects of disruption cards like Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer.  These disruption cards are much less effective against a deck that can power up its Pokemon in one turn, and with Battle Compressor, setting up to use Mega Turbo is easy.

Even though this card is essential in the combo needed to pull off a turn one Emerald Break, I suggest only playing three Mega Turbo.  Mega Turbo does have the restriction that it can only be used on Mega Pokemon, so it may not always be playable before using Set Up, which hurts drawing into other needed cards.  The list above only runs a few basic Energy to use Mega Turbo, so a lot of its use early is highly dependent on whether you can draw into an early Energy and Ultra Ball, or playing Battle Compressor.

Sky Field

As discussed above, Sky Field is an essential Stadium card in this deck because it expands Emerald Break’s maximum damage from 150 with a Bench of five Pokemon to 240 with a bench of eight Pokemon.  If forced to attack without Sky Field in play, Emerald Break loses its ability to one-shot most Pokemon in the game, and makes most trades you make much less favorable.  Ideally, Sky Field will be in play every turn you are able to use Emerald Break so it is essential to run four in this deck.

The most interesting point about this card is what happens when Sky Field is replaced by another Stadium card.  After the above discussion around Exeggcute, the obvious move is usually to discard extra Exeggcutes so that they can be Propagated and reused when Sky Field is played again.  However, in some situations it may be better to discard three Shaymin-EX, or even to discard a M Rayquaza-EX.  This initially may seem counter intuitive because if you discard those Pokemon it may be much more difficult to reach eight Bench Pokemon when Sky Field is put down on the following turn.  However, there are instances when you need to deny Prizes to your opponent, and you have to come up with another way to win the game.  One such option is instead of just decimating the Pokemon that your opponent sends into the active position, play a Lysandre to drag up and knock out their Shaymin-EX, which doesn’t require you to have Sky Field in play to KO.

Potential Deck Variations

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of this deck, let’s talk about some magic charms that will really allow you to master an M Rayquaza-EX deck above most other people. I will present you with variations of this deck that take advantage of what you expect your metagame to be and that can also be changed depending on your own personal preferences. I will also present an updated deck list that I feel has the most potential right now. So are you ready to improve your game right here and right now?

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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