A Dual-Format Look at M Rayquaza-EX and Vespiquen!

Hey PokeBeach! I’m Ryan, and I’m really excited to be writing for PokeBeach. I hope everyone enjoyed their summer and also got to see the action at the World Championships this year. It was a blast(oise)! For those of you who don’t know about me, my 2014-2015 season went extremely well. I was able to nab 915 Championship Points over the entire season, just squeaking into the Top 22 of Europe. In this article I will be talking about my Worlds experience, as well as looking at two different decks in both the Standard and Expanded formats, M Rayquaza-EX and Vespiquen.

Boston 2015

Worlds Recap

When I got to Boston I was set on playing Night March, a deck I had been playing since Lysandre's Trump Card was banned. I noticed the deck had a mediocre showing at U.S. Nationals, only picking up three spots in the Top 64. However, I felt this could make the deck more of a sleeper pick for Worlds, as Pokemon-EX heavy decks became the focus of the format, which Night March can out-speed and gain a favorable Prize trade against.

I arrived to the Sheraton on Wednesday and mainly helped out some of my Day One friends in honing their deck choices and counts for Day One by testing important matchups, while also sneaking in some testing to make sure my Night March list was up to scratch. Once Day One came around, quite a few of my friends from the U.K. who had qualified from Day One had opted to play Night March as well. Unfortunately, no U.K. players could make it through to Day Two, with the closest being my friend Nicholas Anthony Pierce, who was just one point short of qualifying for day two, leaving just Alex Dao and myself from the U.K. Here is the list I played and how I ended up doing on the day:

Pokemon (18)

4x Joltik (PHF #26)

4x Pumpkaboo (PHF #44)

4x Lampent (PHF #42)

3x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

2x Mew-EX (LTR #RC24)

1x Mr. Mime (PLF #47)

Trainers (35)

3x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)

2x Lysandre (FLF #90)

1x N (NVI #92)

1x Xerosic (PHF #110)


4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)

4x Ultra Ball (FLF #99)

4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)

4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)

3x Acro Bike (PRC #122)

2x Muscle Band (XY #121)

1x Switch (RSK #91)

1x Float Stone (PLF #99)

1x Computer Search (BCR #137)


4x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (7)

4x Double Colorless Energy (PHF #111)

3x Lightning Energy (XY #135)

1 Xerosic

I included a single copy of Xerosic in my list, as I felt like it gave me a better matchup against Focus Sash decks like Landorus-EX / Crobat. It also gave me an edge against Seismitoad-EX decks because it could discard a Double Colorless Energy from opposing Seismitoad. The card definitely pulled through for me, taking down a Hippowdon deck and pulling its weight against Bronzong builds.

1 Float Stone

Float Stone gave the deck an extra Tool, which could be used to defend against Head Ringer. It also gave me a Pokemon that could retreat for free to promote after something has been KO’d.

3 Lightning Energy

Lightning Energy was a change I made while I was in Boston. I was considering it before, but as Night March ended up having a good showing Day One, I opted to go for the full three to use Joltik‘s Gnaw attack with a Muscle Band to OHKO an opposing Joltik. It also let the deck use Manectric-EX‘s Assault Laser for one Energy via Dimension Valley and Mew-EX, which could give me an out if I needed a quick 120 damage.


Here’s how my run went:

Round 1: Seismitoad-EXManectric-EXGarbodor LWL

Round 2: Landorus-EXLeafeon LL

Round 3: DonphanLeafeon WL

Round 4: M Rayquaza-EXBronzong WW

Round 5: Hippowdon WW

Round 6: BronzongSeismitoad-EXTornadus WLW

Round 7: JoltikPumpkabooLampent WLW

I ended with a record of 4-2-1, missing out on the Top 32 by three spots. Alex and I were both 3-2-1 heading into the last round, but Alex lost the final match, missing a spot in the top 32. Boston was a blast and I can’t wait for San Francisco next year!

Jumping straight into the two new formats of XY-On and BW-On, I’m going to do some in-depth analysis on two decks I think are front-runners in both Standard and Expanded, M Rayquaza-EX and Vespiquen. Both have the potential to make a splash in both formats. Let’s start with the Sky High Pokemon itself, gaining the insane power from Mega Evolution, M Rayquaza-EX!

Standard M Rayquaza-EX

With the rotation to XY-On, every deck seemingly took a hit, losing Supporters, main attackers, and crucial Item cards. M Rayquaza-EX also felt this loss, losing some important cards that solidified the deck such as Keldeo-EX and Colress. For Standard, I’ve chosen to go for the Metal / Rayquaza hybrid, which I believe has the most potential in Standard. The combination of the hard-hitting M Rayquaza-EX, the Metal support of Bronzong, walling of Aegislash-EX, and draw-power of Shaymin-EX creates a versatile core that any opposing deck will find hard to cope with. All these powerful cards in the same deck make Metal Rayquaza a definite tier one threat in XY-On.

Metal Rayquaza loses the Keldeo-EXFloat Stone combo that gave it the mobility to move the Active Pokemon to the Bench so it could be Metal Linked to. It also lost Colress, meaning it is unable to draw into the monstrous 10+ hand-size Colress allowed. However, Metal Rayquaza gains a couple new tricks from Ancient Origins and has adapted its Supporter line. Here is the list I have been testing.

Pokemon (18)

2x M Rayquaza-EX (RSK #76)

2x Rayquaza-EX (RSK #75)

1x Rayquaza-EX (RSK #60)

3x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

2x Bronzong (PHF #61)

2x Bronzor (PHF #60)

2x Aegislash-EX (PHF #65)

1x Heatran (PHF #63)

1x Altaria (RSK #74)

1x Swablu (RSK #73)

1x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)

Trainers (32)

3x Professor Sycamore (PHF #101)

2x Pokémon Fan Club (FLF #94)

2x Lysandre (FLF #90)

1x Professor Birch's Observations (PRC #134)

1x AZ (PHF #91)


4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)

4x Ultra Ball (FLF #99)

3x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)

2x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)

2x Rayquaza Spirit Link (RSK #87)

2x Switch (RSK #91)

1x Escape Rope (PRC #127)

1x Sacred Ash (FLF #96)


4x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (10)

6x Metal Energy (XY #139)

4x Double Colorless Energy (PHF #111)

Card Explanations

3 Rayquaza EX, 2 M-Rayquaza EX

Rayquaza-EX and its Mega Evolution give the deck the incredible power to OHKO nearly every Pokemon in the format. M Rayquaza-EX’s Δ Evolution Trait means it can Mega Evolve on turn one, which lets you end your turn one with evolving your Rayquaza-EX into the Mega. This also lets you lower your Rayquaza Spirit Link count to two, to use later on in the game.

The choice on playing one of the Basic Dragon Rayquaza-EX is to give the line a different Weakness, so it can’t be OHKO’d by a M Manectric-EX or Raichu if you are unable to find Altaria. It also gives this different typing when needing to hold a M Rayquaza-EX back due to the new Stadium, Faded Town. This card can chip away at your Mega while it sits on your Bench, meaning you may need to hold back on the Evolution until you can replace the Stadium or need to attack.

4 Shaymin EX

Shaymin-EX provides an extra boost in draw, and also fuels M Rayquaza-EX’s Emerald Break. It speeds up the deck and makes it more consistent, since the deck needs a high amount of combo pieces to get up and running.

2-2 Bronzong, 1 Heatran, 2 Aegislash EX

The Metal aspect of this deck gives it the versatility that makes it so strong. A 2-2 line of Bronzong accelerates Metal Energy to any Pokemon on the Bench, letting you power up Pokemon in as little as one turn.

Aegislash-EX‘s Mighty Shield Ability is extremely useful in a format filled with Double Colorless Energy and Double Dragon Energy. It lets you wall behind an Aegislash-EX against Vespiquen and Giratina-EX, both of which will have to go to lengths to get a KO on Aegislash-EX. Slash Blast lets you hit for 100 with three Metal attached, or 60 with a Metal and a Double Colorless Energy, meaning it can start attacking by turn two. This can be useful for picking off Combees, Eevees, and other weak Basic Pokemon early on.

Heatran is the seventh Prize your opponent  will need to take, and does a quick 80 on turn two with a Metal and a Double Colorless attached, as long as there is a Stadium in play. Steam Blast hits for a strong 130 and discards a Metal Energy, which can be re-attached by Bronzong to the Bench. It can take down most non-EX threats or pick off a Shaymin-EX.

1-1 Altaria

Altaria is an important tech to include when your main attacker is weak to a popular type in the Pokemon TCG. Raichu, Manectric-EX, and the new Jolteon are all Lightning types that see play in Standard, causing all sorts of problems for the Lightning-weak Mega.

Altaria also has the Δ Evolution Trait like M Rayquaza-EX, which means it can be played down onto Swablu as soon as you find it, regardless of how long the Swablu has been on the Bench.

1 Hoopa-EX

Before Ancient Origins you would have to find multiple EX’s using draw power and search cards, making the deck need a high amount of pieces at the right time to work. Now, for a single Ultra Ball, Hoopa-EX can be placed onto the Bench and search for three EX’s with no drawback! With a Rayquaza Spirit Link in hand, this turns an Ultra Ball into a M Rayquaza-EX. I often find myself getting a Shaymin-EX off Hoopa for the added draw. Hoopa-EX is a huge consistency boost needed for a combo-based deck like Metal Rayquaza, and really pushes it to one of the strongest decks in the format.

3 Professor Sycamore, 2 Pokemon Fan Club, 1 Professor Birch’s Observations, 3 Battle Compressor

The Supporters in XY-On are limited, so using Battle Compressor with VS Seeker is a fantastic combo. Battle Compressor also allows you to easily get Metal Energy into the discard. Professor Sycamore is the best and most consistent draw in the format, so I opted to play three, replacing the fourth copy with a Professor Birch's Observations. Pokémon Fan Club alongside Hoopa-EX is an amazing Supporter which nets you non-EX Basics like Swablu or Bronzor, while also grabbing Hoopa-EX so you can get your EX’s ready to go. Pokemon Fan Club also fills up your Bench to fuel Emerald Break, giving you a massive five Benched Pokemon by using Hoopa-EX to search for the extra three.

Professor Birch’s Observations is a no-clause shuffle draw with the chance of netting you seven cards. Birch is a strong play when your hand has cards you might not want to discard like M Rayquaza-EX or excess Double Colorless Energy.

3 Switch, 1 AZ

With the loss of the Keldeo-EX / Float Stone combo, Metal Rayquaza needs some way to mobilize its attackers. Three Switch lets you choose who to Metal Link to on the Bench, then Switch into the attacker afterwards.

AZ is a great card that can switch out the Active under Item lock and can be brought back by VS Seeker. It can also be used to remove damage from a Pokemon, which is really good when your main attacker has 220 HP.

1 Sacred Ash

Sacred Ash lets you reduce the count of Pokemo such as allowing you to only play two M Rayquaza-EX and a 2-2 line of Bronzong. Sacred Ash lets you reuse these Pokemon, adding a potential five extra Bench spots back into the deck, while also letting you choose which Pokemon you need in that matchup.

4 Sky Field

Sky Field lets M Rayquaza-EX hit for more than 150 damage. When your Sky Field is inevitably replaced if you have more than five Benched Pokemon, you can discard the easy targets, the two-Prize Shaymin-EX sitting on the Bench.

6 Metal Energy, 4 Double Colorless Energy

Double Colorless Energy fuels every Pokemon’s attack in this deck, nearly every attack has a Double Colorless cost involved. Six Metal Energy is the most consistent Energy count, in case any are Prized and allows for you to draw into them consistently even after you Compressor some out.

Other Options

Ace Trainer / Xerosic

Ace Trainer is a hand manipulation card that only works when you have more Prizes left than your opponent. This limits its use, but is extremely strong, as it is the only Supporter in Standard at the moment that can manipulate your opponent’s hand. Xerosic helps counter any Focus Sash you face, which can really hinder a big OHKO by M Rayquaza-EX, leaving the Defending Pokemon with 10 HP. Playing Xerosic can also provide timely removals of Special Energy or Tools that you don’t want your opponent to have.

A Third M Rayquaza-EX

Sometimes you might find that you discarded your M Rayquaza-EX too early, or you just want to find the card faster to Mega Evolve on turn one. A third M Rayquaza-EX beefs up the count to help with the hindrances of only playing two.

Bulkier Bronzong Line

A bulkier line of these two and the inclusion of more Metal attackers, such as a higher Heatran count, could be beneficial if you feel like you want a more Metal-based focus, which can be strong for some metagames.

Things to Watch Out For

Metal Rayquaza has some different counters opponents might play to try and gain an advantage in the matchup. A timely Hex Maniac could cause some trouble if you don’t have any Energy on the board. M Manectric-EX decks can shut off Altaria with a Hex Maniac, so making sure you gain the lead and building up multiple M Rayquaza-EX is a good plan to win the Prize trade. Silent Lab can shut off Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX’s Abilities, which can really hinder your setup, so make sure to find a Sky Field so you can use those essential cards.

Expanded M Rayquaza-EX

The Expanded format is a whole different kettle of fish, having over 15 sets to choose from for your card choices, and including cards that have been around since 2011! However, this doesn’t mean a deck in Standard can’t be successful in Expanded. For this format, I believe that there is a need for counters to different decks such as TrevenantAccelgor or the Worlds winning Keldeo-EXBlastoiseArchie's Ace in the Hole, so for Expanded, the deck has lost the Metal support it needs in XY-On and opted to gain some other tools to deal with these different decks.

Here is the Expanded list and explanations for the different cards for a faster “turbo” build of M Rayquaza-EX. This build is able to hit a turn one Emerald Break for high amounts of damage consistently using an increased Shaymin-EX count and Mega Turbo. Then, after that, I will talk about the other deck I feel is very strong in both Standard and Expanded, Vespiquen, showing you my deck list for both formats, explaining my card choices, and giving other options to include in both lists.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.

Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!