Hey everybody! With Philadelphia in the books, the next big event is Fort Wayne Regionals at the end of the month. Everyone will be switching gears from Expanded to Standard, which means a lot of time will be spent refining deck lists and making some predictions on what the meta will be like. With Fort Wayne on the same weekend as Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I unfortunately won’t be able to attend.
After some time looking through my cards, I found something that seemed like it could be fun. What I found was the new Electrode from Evolutions, which is a card I’ve liked ever since it was first leaked. While it has been changed a bit in translation, I think it is still a very powerful card that shouldn’t be overlooked. The biggest hurdle for making this card viable was that there aren’t many good Pokemon to partner with it. Either the damage output wasn’t worth it or the Energy cost was too much even with the help of Electrode. In the end, I decided to partner it with Raikou since it has the highest damage potential, best survivability, and overall the most consistent damage output of any Lightning Pokemon.
Raikou has been one of my favorite cards to be released in recent memory. From its HP to its Ability to its Retreat Cost, Raikou has a lot going for it. Everything about this card screams potential. Unfortunately, the partner it was given in the same set, Magnezone, is not really a viable option with Garbodor running around and several decks able to chain Hex Maniac in order to deny your Energy acceleration. The good news is that Raikou has seen some new life breathed into it in Expanded as seen in Sam Chen’s Raikou / Eelektrik deck from Philadelphia.
I think that Electrode is going to be able to give some life to Raikou in Standard as well. Standard is a slower format without cards like Battle Compressor to burn through your deck quickly, which means that slower decks have a chance to hang in the meta as long as they can keep up in the late game. With some help from Andrew Mahone and our friend Dimitri, we took the skeleton of an old Raikou / Max Elixir deck and repurposed it into a Raikou / Electrode variant. After some careful thought and testing, this is the list that we ended up with.
Raikou / Electrode
This is the final list that we were able to come up with. Overall, it does exactly what it needs to do and does so consistently. There are a few options I think could be explored, but the deck is extremely tight, making it difficult to add in everything we want. As a result, I had to make some cuts and leave out cards that I really wanted to include.
Before I go over some of the card choices for the deck, I’d like to go ahead and tell you about the cards I’ve considered for the deck but simply couldn’t find the room for. I think that the deck could be reworked to incorporate some of these, but there would have to be a complete overhaul of the list or a lot of corners would have to be cut.
Boy do I love the idea of Ace Trainer in this deck. The main strength of Ace Trainer is that you are already giving up Prizes with Electrode, and in the early game, you’re likely to fall behind a Prize or two. Ace Trainer gives you a way to disrupt your opponent early on while refreshing your hand, which helps this deck keep up with faster decks like M Rayquaza-EX. Blowing up your Electrode and hitting your opponent with an Ace Trainer on the second turn puts you at a huge advantage as you are accelerating Energy and disrupting your opponent’s hand. The downside to Ace Trainer is that one-of Supporters are difficult to utilize in Standard without cards like Battle Compressor and Jirachi-EX. To maximize your odds of having it when you want it, you should play multiple copies of Ace Trainer. The problem with that is that it is a dead card if no Prizes have been taken or if you’re ahead on Prizes, which is not optimal in the early game when you are attempting to set up multiple Raikou with Max Elixir.
Rough Seas / Other Stadiums
This is probably the biggest want for the deck. Having a counter Stadium available is always good, especially with the variety of Stadiums being played in Standard right now. The most compatible Stadium for this deck would have to be Rough Seas since almost all of your Pokemon (sans Shaymin-EX and Mew) can take advantage of it. It increases your Raikou‘s survivability, which will help you keep up in the Prize-trade. Stadiums are one of the most important tools of several decks such as M Mewtwo-EX, M Gardevoir-EX and M Rayquaza-EX, so having a counter Stadium available can be crucial to disrupting their strategies. Parallel City is a just as, if not more, reasonable to include since it has a more potent effect that can be played defensively as well as offensively. Two copies of any Stadium would be ideal to consistently draw into them as well as more effectively counter any Stadium your opponent has.
Energy Switch is one of my favorite cards to play. It creates so many opportunities to bring in new attackers, keep Energy on the board and more consistently get attackers powered up and ready to go. It also lets you play your Energy less carefully. You can attach an Energy to something and Energy Switch it off later onto a more desirable target once you can get it into play. It pairs well with Max Elixir since you can get Energy from the Bench onto your Active for another way to get an attack off on the first turn. Raikou specifically benefits a lot from Energy Switch since its damage increases based on how much Energy is attached to it. In the late game, a few clutch Energy Switch can build up a big Raikou to get the last KO you need to win the game. Normally I wouldn’t want to play any less than four Energy Switch, but since this particular list plays Puzzle of Time, Skyla, and Electrode, three or even two copies is all that’s needed.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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