Rainbow Road Redux — The Resurrection of Rainbow Road in Standard

Hello PokeBeach fans and subscribers! I am excited to be back to talk about a deck that’s been one of my favorites since dual-types were re-introduced in Steam Siege. I’m talking about none other than Rainbow Road! Although I’ve only done well at a tournament with the Expanded version of Rainbow Road, I always try it out every format because I just enjoy the concept that much. I’m always a big fan of decks that can take OHKOs, especially if the main attacker is non-EX/GX. I also love the aesthetics of the deck because of all the different types; it makes for a pleasant playing field of critters. Now let’s look at some of the tournament experiences I’ve had with the deck and how it’s done at some bigger tournaments.

My Experiences

I started testing Rainbow Road when the format shifted to Primal Clash and the sets that followed. I tested it for some time, then eventually took it to a League Challenge and won it. There weren’t any League Cups at the beginning of the season, so Challenges were all I had until Fort Wayne Regionals. I began to test the deck a ton and convinced my friend and fellow PokeBeach writer Caleb Gedemer that Rainbow Road was the play for Fort Wayne. We both were having very good testing results so we finalized the list and were ready to go. Unfortunately for me, I had some poor luck and ended up dropping the tournament; however, Caleb ended up taking it all the way to a Top 4 finish which I’ll talk more about below! Here’s the deck list that we both played.

Pokemon (15)

4x Xerneas (BKT #107)1x Xerneas BREAK (STS #82)2x Galvantula (STS #42)2x Joltik (STS #41)1x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)1x Flygon-EX (PRXY #XY61)1x Genesect-EX (FAC #64)1x Volcanion-EX (STS #26)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)

Trainers (33)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)3x N (FAC #105)2x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x Olympia (GEN #66)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)4x VS Seeker (SV #140)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Super Rod (BKT #149)2x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)1x Exp. Share (SM #118)3x Sky Field (RSK #89)1x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (12)

8x Fairy Energy (EVO #99)4x Double Colorless Energy (EVO #90)

Big Tournament Finishes

As I stated above, Caleb made Top 4 which, in hindsight, was somewhat surprising only because we realized the flaws of the list afterwards. The biggest one was running only eight basic Energy; it’s best to have at least nine if your deck’s Energy acceleration is based off Max Elixir. We also didn’t realize how tough the Yveltal-EX / Garbodor matchup was without having Fighting Fury Belt in the list which helps it out more than we realized at the time. The other big finishes it has are Top 8 at Liverpool Regionals, first place at Dortmund Regionals, and Top 4 at the Dutch Open Special Event. It also recently made Top 8 at Curitiba Regionals in Brazil. As you can see, it’s done quite well at some high end events!

What Makes It Good?

There are a few things that make Rainbow Road better right now than it has been in a while and it has a lot to do with the introduction of Guardians Rising. The two main cards that make this deck better are Choice Band and Tapu Lele-GX. Choice Band makes your KOs even easier and makes the deck less reliant on having Sky Field out. Tapu Lele makes the deck more consistent and lets you play Brigette, which helps you set up early game much easier. Another card that isn’t in the deck but directly affects why the deck is better is Field Blower. Now you might be thinking, “Wouldn’t Field Blower make it worse because now Exp. Share isn’t guaranteed to work?” That may be true, it does make your Exp. Shares weaker, but more importantly it’s caused Fighting Fury Belt to almost cease to exist. It’s rare that you still see anyone play it because there’s a chance that it gets no use, and Choice Band will always do something if you’re using it on a Pokemon that’s attacking. So, with the lack of Fighting Fury Belt, most Pokemon-EX or -GX are much easier to KO.

Something else that may seem concerning for Rainbow Road is Sudowoodo, but I assure it’s not hard to deal with when you have three different dual-types. If your Bench consists of Bisharp, Galvantula, Volcanion-EX and a back-up Xerneas, you can still hit for 220 and even 250 damage with Choice Band! Sudowoodo can be annoying, but it isn’t something to fear. With the introduction of Sudowoodo, another card has almost completely disappeared off the map and that would be Parallel City. Parallel City can be a nuisance for you, but luckily most decks currently don’t run any. This deck’s engine used to run on Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX but both of those are easy Prizes for any Garbodor deck right now, and with Tapu Lele and Oranguru you don’t really need it, either. One copy of Shaymin wouldn’t be bad in the deck still, but it’s a tight list and I’m not sure what I would cut for it. Here’s the list I’ve been playing which is a one card difference from the list that made Top 8 at Curitiba Regionals; the change I made was I cut the Xerneas BREAK for another basic Fairy Energy because I felt hitting Max Elixirs more often was more important than extra HP. Also, Jolteon-EX is not highly played in this format because a lot of decks currently play Evolution Pokemon.

Pokemon (15)

4x Xerneas (BKT #107)2x Bisharp (STS #64)2x Pawniard (STS #63)1x Galvantula (STS #42)2x Joltik (STS #41)2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Oranguru (SM #113)1x Volcanion-EX (STS #26)

Trainers (32)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)3x N (FAC #105)1x Teammates (PRC #141)1x Brigette (BKT #134)1x Lysandre (AOR #78)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)4x VS Seeker (SV #140)3x Float Stone (BKT #137)3x Max Elixir (BKP #102)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Exp. Share (SM #118)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)2x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (13)

9x Fairy Energy (EVO #99)4x Double Colorless Energy (EVO #90)

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!