The Rebirth of Rayquaza-GX — New Expanded Techs for a Forgotten Deck

Hello PokeBeach readers! Last weekend, after making a midnight switch from Zoroark-GX Control to Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX, I choked miserably after a 5-0-0 start to finish 5-4-0 at Anaheim Regionals. One of my three “win-and-in” matches was against Rayquaza-GX, an archetype I was surprised to see. The deck featured Ho-Oh-EX and Zeraora-GX, which made it quite a hassle for control decks like mine to deal with. To make matters worse, my opponent ran a copy of Faba to rid me of my Silent Lab, so I couldn’t block his all-important Abilities. All things considered, Expanded Rayquaza-GX really impressed me, especially in a format like Anaheim’s where non-EX/GX decks were scarce.

Let’s start by looking at Preston Ellis’s list that took third place in Anaheim, and then discuss some updates or potential improvements that can be made to the deck.

Preston Ellis’s List

Pokemon (16)

4x Rayquaza-GX (CES #109)3x Ho-Oh-EX (DRX #22)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)2x Marshadow (SHL #45)1x Zeraora-GX (LOT #86)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Oranguru (SM #113)1x Sudowoodo (GUR #66)1x Mew (FAC #29)

Trainers (30)

1x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)1x Colress (PLS #118)1x N (NVI #92)1x Ninja Boy (STS #103)1x Guzma (BUS #115)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)3x Mysterious Treasure (FOL #113)2x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)2x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)2x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Dowsing Machine (PLS #128)3x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (14)

7x Grass Energy (RS #104)7x Lightning Energy (RS #109)

When I look at this list there’s one thing that immediately sticks out: a lack of draw Supporters. Preston’s idea here was to be as aggressive as possible by using Marshadow, Shaymin-EX, Trainers' Mail, and other “turbo” cards to plow through the deck quickly. However, issues arise against decks that run Sudowoodo, since your opponent can limit your Bench size and stop you from going all-out with your Ability-based draw. I feel that a better blend of Supporter-based and non-Supporter-based draw can be achieved. This deck appears very similar to M Rayquaza-EX decks of old, focusing on that low draw Supporter count in order to fit in more Ability and Item-based draw, aiming for an explosive strategy where you can overwhelm opponents quickly.

Three Ho-Oh-EX

Three might seem like a lot, but Rebirth is amazingly strong in this deck. With a heads, you can immediately get a Ho-Oh-EX into play with a Grass Energy and a Lightning Energy, which amounts to a damage boost of 60 for Dragon Break. If you choose to turn the Ho-Oh-EX into a Rayquaza-GX with Ninja Boy, it’s already just a single Energy attachment away from using Dragon Break. This strategy is extremely useful against the much-maligned Expanded “control” decks that aim to slowly remove your Energy. Those decks have nothing to stop you except for Silent Lab, which can be countered with Faba or Sky Field.

One Zeraora-GX

This might be the best card in the deck. Full Voltage GX serves as even more insurance against control decks, and even outside the control matchup it’s a nice way to flood Energy onto the field to take a big lead or mount a comeback. Thunderclap Zone is just icing on the cake, giving you a way to switch your Pokemon around for no cost at all, which is yet another tool for beating control decks. This gets rid of the need for Float Stone in the deck and gives you space for other cards. I can’t say enough good things about this card! Plasma Fists is even a good attack, hitting for a solid 160 damage if you need it.

One Mew

Mew is one of the more curious inclusions in Preston’s list. I can only put forth an educated guess on why it’s in there: it’s a way to use Full Voltage GX as a non-EX/GX Pokemon, and can serve as a random non-EX/GX attacker if you are playing against a non-EX/GX deck. It can also act as a pivot Pokemon to send up after a Knock Out.

I disagree with Preston’s decision to play Mew — I like having non-EX/GX attacker options, but in a fast deck like this, it’s too impractical to devote a space and resources into a Pokemon that can’t survive a hit. The problem with Mew is that after nearly any attack you’re going to be losing any Energy that are on it. I can’t see myself playing this card in the deck and it’s going to be one of the changes I make in my updated list later in this article.

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