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Alt. Format Rayquaza GX with Unified Minds WIP Decklist

Duo

Nessa/Milotic Dream Team
Member
Been thinking about all the options I have using Ray GX, and I believe I've come across a decklist that I like for Unified Minds & rotation.


Pokemon x14

Rayquaza GX x4
Zeraora GX x2
Shuckle x2
Mewtwo & Mew GX Tag Team x1
Dedenne GX x1
Druddigon x1
Shaymin Prism Star x1
Tapu Koko Prism Star x1
Latias Prism Star x1


Supporter x10

Lillie x4
Cynthia x4
Zinnia x2


Item x17

Mysterious Treasure x4
Poke Gear 3.0 x4
Cherish Ball x3
Acro Bike x3
Net Ball x3


Stadium x3

Viridian Forest x3


Energy x16

Grass Energy x8
Electric Energy x8

Allow me to explain

4 Ray GX - I think 4 has and always will be the right count for Ray GX. Not only is Rescue Stretcher gone to prevent you from recovering any milled Ray GXs from its own ability, but you need to maximize Ray so that you can use the ability for energy for its attack.

2 Zeraora GX - The GX attack puts a huge bulk of energy up very quickly when combined with discard options like Viridian Forest, Mysterious Treasure, Electromagnetic Radar, and Dedenne GX. The free retreat is also a very nice utility. With Guzma out of this format, you can't Guzma to switch your own Pokemon for free anymore which puts higher value on free retreat.

2 Shuckle - The support card that makes Zeraora GX work. You combine a Shuckle's discard 3 energy from deck with some discarded energy from hand, and you have yourself 5+ energy in discard to supply Zeraora GX in 1 turn. Also doubles as an energy accelerator.

1 Mewtwo & Mew GX Tag Team - This is something I decided is fantastic for this deck that solves a few of the deck's issues. The first issue is that between Ray and Zeraora, the deck's HP cap is 190. That means it'll get OHKO'd by a lot of relevant attackers very frequently, and this deck can't really keep up with things like Reshizard that can stream OHKOs with much higher HP ceilings. The second thing is that it actually helps make Ray's ability even better. The mill 3 is something that can actually work against you pretty badly by overmilling useful Pokemon, but with Mewtwo & Mew GX in the pool, if you accidentally mill a bunch of Rays or your Zeraoras, you have an extra "pad" that prevents you from being completely out of options. And just in general, I can't think of many things that are scarier than a 270 HP Rayquaza GX, and it's searchable by Mysterious Treasure that you naturally run in the deck, which also means you can pull it out of the deck before you play down Rays and start milling so you don't lose it.

1 Pikachu & Zekrom GX Tag Team - This is a tech I'm not fully sold on yet, but it has advantages. Having a lot of HP is one thing. Very few things are capable of hitting 240 in one turn which gives me some time if I'm doing poorly on discard based energy acceleration. The other thing is that it opens up the option for me to accelerate energy via Shuckle & itself in order to GX attack with Pikachu & Zekrom GX instead of Zeraora GX to take out a benched Dedenne GX along with my main target for up to 5 prizes in one swing. Basically, it's an alternative strategy when snowballing doesn't seem like it'll work or when my opponent presents the situation. Other reasons why I run it is that it enables Electromagnetic Radar which makes it more consistent than, say, a copy of Zapdos (though I have considered that, too).

1 Dedenne GX - I don't want more than 1 because I never want this to become a starter Pokemon. I already run 10 draw supporters in the deck, but this does open the opportunity for me to "double draw" on a turn if I feel like that will be effective. The full hand discard will occassionally be relevant if I have a hand full of energy.

1 Shaymin Prism Star - Without a doubt the best 1 prize attacker you could run in this deck. Searchable by Net Ball and hits just as hard as Ray GX

1 Tapu Koko Prism Star - Basically free snowballing energy/momentum recovery. Best used after getting KO'd which frees up a bench space, getting 2 energy back on board, and then playing down anything else.

1 Latias Prism Star - A great form of non-GX attack based energy acceleration. Has a bit more HP than Shuckle so can withstand some early game poke pressure a lot better than Shuckle. I like using her when I have 3 Ray on the bench. Being colorless energy cost makes it really easy to access.

4 Lillie - By running both Mysterious Treasure and Electromagnetic Radar, the deck still has the same discard power as Ultra Ball to make Lillie an incredibly valuable T1 supporter and also fairly decent throughout the whole game.

4 Cynthia - One of the best draw supporters. This deck is pretty good at dropping down to 1-2 cards and then shuffle drawing up to 6. Being unconditional helps get you out of bricks without wasting resources.

2 Erika's Hospitality - A great utility draw supporter in my eyes for mid game and beyond. Keeping hand size down isn't an issue for this deck, and as long as my opponent has 4 or 5 benched Pokemon it's worth playing.

4 Mysterious Treasure - Snags your Rays, Latias, and Mewtwo & Mew GX. Helps put energy in the discard and enables Lillie. Mandatory at 4 copies in my eyes.

4 Pokegear 3.0 - With no more Lele, this is the best alternative to getting supporters on demand.

3 Electromagnetic Radar - A discard 2 outlet to find me Zeraora GX, Pikachu & Zekrom GX, and Dedenne GX. Basically replaces Ultra Ball but is only run at 3 copies due to the fact that I only run 4 Electric GX Pokemon in the list, and I will only ever really need to play 1 of these in any game. I think this is better than Cherish Ball because of both the search 2 and discard 2, even if the range is more limited.

3 Acro Bike - Just more deck acceleration and digging. These become Great Catchers after Remix Bout.

3 Net Ball - Searches Shuckle, Shaymin Prism, and Grass Energies. Really versatile card that helps basically in any situation. Shuckle is so mandatory for this version of the list to work that I don't want to go lower than 3 with this card, and I don't want to increase counts of Shuckle because games where you start Shuckle you kind of want to cry a little bit.

3 Viridian Forest - I think this stadium is crucial for mixed energy decks, but in general it also allows me to discard an energy to search an energy so that I can supply both the discard and my attach for turn at the same time. Energy selection is really important since I run Pokemon that are both Grass and Electric focused.

8/8 Energy split - I think this is the exactly correct amount of energy for Ray lists. I get starved for energy too often playing at 7/7. Especially with Tag Teams running around at 240+ HP, you really want to enable as much energy on the board as possible.

These are just my current thoughts on how I plan on playing Ray. Feedback & discussion always welcome.
 
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Sabaku

Aspiring Trainer
Member
A lot of decks nowadays focus on small Pokemon over big Tag Teams, and your Pokemon are pretty frail. You already have enough discard with Viridian, so you can drop Shuckle. I would say you should have a way to snipe Jirachis and unevolved Pokemon. Try using Zapdos.
 

AuraJackle

Aspiring Trainer
Member
A lot of decks nowadays focus on small Pokemon over big Tag Teams, and your Pokemon are pretty frail. You already have enough discard with Viridian, so you can drop Shuckle. I would say you should have a way to snipe Jirachis and unevolved Pokemon. Try using Zapdos.
Your statement is not only wrong for this rotation but it doesnt help as they are asking about next rotation where the format is unknown and likely GX focused and zapdos will no longer be able to snipe basics
 

Duo

Nessa/Milotic Dream Team
Member
have you thought about energy switch?

Not really. Zeraora GX, Shuckle, and Tapu Koko Prism all allow you to attach energy any way that you want, and Latias Prism Star is only used specifically when you want the energy on your Rays. It's a really unnecessary card and I've never needed it once from the games that I played with this list when Lost Thunder was fresh.

A lot of decks nowadays focus on small Pokemon over big Tag Teams, and your Pokemon are pretty frail. You already have enough discard with Viridian, so you can drop Shuckle. I would say you should have a way to snipe Jirachis and unevolved Pokemon. Try using Zapdos.

Viridian is not enough discard, but that's not the main problem. I have never once seen more than 3 energy in hand unassisted. I'm not going to rely on the odds that I'll draw my energy discard outlets on top of all the energy I need and still have enough left in hand to do my attach for turn. My games only go the way I want them to when I get shuckle in play with this engine. No amount of discard from hand can change the fact that Shuckle can selectively take energy out of the deck to control my Electric/Grass energy ratios and the fact that it is an attach 2 energy attacker gives it compound value. Not only that, but playing Shuckle before playing a draw supporter means the deck is immediately thinned in favor of me drawing into everything else.

To get 3 energy in the discard from my hand, I would need to draw a minimum of 2 energy, Viridian Forest, Electromagnetic Radar, and/or Mysterious Treasure. If I open with 3 energy in hand I don't need to see both Viridian Forest and Mysterious Treasure - just one or the other with EM Radar. Either way, that's 5 specific cards I need to see in my hand.

Or I could just draw Shuckle or Net Ball and put 3 energy in the discard, which is only 1 card that I need in hand to make it happen. 5 cards in hand vs 1 card in hand.

Better yet, I could get a bunch of energy in hand with discard outlets AND Shuckle, then put 5+ energy in the discard, which is the goal for turn 1 every game. That's why Shuckle is worth running. It can't even get gusted by Guzma post rotation for free prizes.

And I know my Pokemon are frail, which is why I have two Tag Teams in the deck if I suspect that my opponent can easily one shot my Rays and the snowball isn't worth it, as explained in the reason why Pikachu & Zekrom GX Tag Team and Mewtwo and Mew GX Tag Team are included in the list.

Zapdos is a less viable option after rotation because there is currently no way to search for it outside of Pokemon Communication or Pokemon Fan Club, which this deck doesn't have room to run nor has any business running.

I would actually love to use Zapdos, but I can't really justify it without ruining the deck's core consistency.
 
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Duo

Nessa/Milotic Dream Team
Member
Now that we have the full Unified Minds set list, I went through it to check up on any Grass, Psychic, Electric GX, or Dragon type Pokemon that might be good for this list, and I found a change that I like.

-1 Pikachu & Zekrom GX Tag Team
+1 Druddigon

-3 Electromagnetic Radar
+3 Cherish Ball

Pikachu & Zekrom GX is just...really clunky in this list, especially since it doesn't run energy switch. Combining search energy from deck attacks with a deck that wants all of its energy in the discard with only 8 Lightning Energy as the max, and it honestly doesn't work that well. Mewtwo & Mew GX has more than enough HP to hold the front lines in match ups where I need the extra HP, and if I want prize efficient trade value, that's why Shaymin Prism Star is in the list. Zeraora GX is also just fine as a back up attacker swinging for 160 for the same 3 energy cost, and one of them can be Grass energy which makes it easier. You have to go really far out of the way to get Pikachu & Zekrom GX set up...and if that investment fails then you're 3 prizes down and that feels really bad.

The point of running Druddigon in its place is for the first attack - 2 colorless energy allows it to switch your opponent's Pokemon and then deal 30 damage to the new active of your choice. This is a great utility for a snowball style deck since you can force your opponent to get stuck while you're still building the snowball. It demands that your opponent has or draws into Switch or has other low cost/free retreat options in order to continue their original plan of attack. The 30 damage chip value is also nice for needing 1 less energy to KO the new active with a Ray GX.

Other utilites that it offers is that the more dragons I run in the list, the better Latias Prism becomes as an acceleration option. If I have 3 Rays and Druddigon on the bench, then Latias Prism can accelerate 4 energy onto the board in one attack. That makes it just as good as Zeraora GX's GX attack, since the 30 damage Latias Prism swings for makes up for the 1 less energy I would get for my next turn. And, of course, as a Dragon type Pokemon it's searchable by Mysterious Treasure so I can have it more consistently. The colorless energy cost is also fantastic for a deck running mixed energy.

Druddigon is also a better gusting option than custom catcher in this particular deck, in my opinion, since Ray GX's ability mills cards and will likely prevent you from ever having 2 Custom Catchers in hand at the same time when you actually need it.

And since I'm no longer running enough different Electric GX Pokemon in the list, EM Radars go back to being Cherish Balls. The discard 2 from EM Radar is still high value for Lillie, but I think the bigger pool of cards that Cherish Ball can hit is more important in this situation. Cherish Ball makes the Rays and Mewtwo & Mew Tag Team more consistent without losing access to Zeraora GX and Dedenne GX. I also still have Viridian Forest, Mysterious Treasure, and as a last ditch effort, Dedenne GX as discard outlets for energy from hand. Acro Bike will occassionally hit one as well.
 
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Matheus Gois

Aspiring Trainer
Member
Hi Duo! I'm getting back to the TCG scene after a year and 1/2 and loved your decklist (and Rayquaza), so i decided to test it out at my LGS. I played against decks from the upcoming 2020 standard format as well, and went well, but anyway i would like to know some pointers and tips to pilot the deck in a better shape.

My view is that the deck slows after taking a few Rayquaza-GX knocked out, it loses a great amount of energy, so i thought of putting one or two copies of Zinnia in the list, it looks like a awesome way to get the 3 energies i just lost from Rayquaza-GX being knocked out by using Zinnia and the energy from the turn, plus the energy attachment from Rayquaza-GX's ability, giving the deck a strong comeback knock out against whatever is on the opponent's side.

Druddigon is a absolute beast when in comes to lock a opponent with a Pokemon they don't want in the active spot or to stall him to get a turn or two to get going. Shaymin Prism Star as a backup Rayquaza-GX that only gives one prize is also good against the new Tag Team decks.
 

Duo

Nessa/Milotic Dream Team
Member
Zinnia is a card that came up in discussion with other threads talking about Ray GX. It's a card I thought has potential but also a card that needed testing to verify. Zinnia fundamentally becomes a replacement for Wishful Baton, and it's a card that would replace the 2 copies of Erika's Hospitality. Ray GX is pretty much all set up by turn 2 or 3 of the game and doesn't really need further digging - it just needs to stabilize and oppress the opponent by taking KOs faster than they can accelerate energy onto new attackers.

The thing about Zinnia is that it can also be used to punish the opponent as well. Say they gust a Dedenne GX or KO one of your 1 prize Pokemon for easy prizes. They unlock the ability for you to get extra energy on the board that you wouldn't have otherwise. Her presence forces the opponent to debate KOing your freebies since the revenge KO potential can be very high in some cases. I would go ahead and play 4 Lillie 4 Cynthia 2 Zinnia and see how that goes.

The downside of Zinnia, however, is needing to have 2 energy in hand. When you already have 8+ energy on the board and a few loaded up in discard, it might be a bit of a challenge to see 2 energy in hand with Zinnia at the exact moment you need it. Would require some playtesting, but the energy ratios are in favor of you having 2 in hand.

Glad to hear that games went at least well with the deck. Honestly I had lost a bit of hope for this deck since Ray only has 180 HP and lost Wishful Baton, but I think Mewtwo & Mew GX and Shaymin Prism really help keep this deck alive a bit.

From my experience piloting this deck, everything is about play order and doing things with the mindset that you're going to maximize the odds of you seeing the resources you're missing.

For example, I don't actually like to bench a Shuckle immediately, because while it does stock up 3 energy into the discard pile, it also means that if I play Shuckle before Rayquaza GX, Rayquaza GX is more likely to mill things that aren't energy since the deck saturation was immediately lowered, and that means I might mill crucial supporter cards and other Pokemon I can't recover. That's why Mewtwo & Mew GX was included in the list - in case Shuckle before Ray happens to be my best course of action and I want a buffer card to prevent me from locking myself out of Zeraora's GX attack or extra copies of Ray. I prefer to try and discard the energy I have in hand to make sure Rayquaza GX doesn't miss, but at the same time if my opening hand has no energy, it's very likely that Rayquaza GX should hit off of its own ability because the energy should be mostly in my deck.

I always assume that I prize 2-3 energy every match. I've actually just done reps where I shuffle my deck, get an opening hand, and deal my prizes face up. 2-3 energy is the average, so always assume you have a max of 13 energy in your deck when thinking about energy to deck ratio, and it's relatively safe to assume you'll see energy from your prizes by at least your second KO.

You want Zeraora GX out as soon as possible, and preferably as your starting Pokemon since most decks can't swing for 190+ by your turn 2 anyway. I kind of see Zeraora GX as a priority to get out so that no matter what your starter is, you can attach a Lightning Energy, retreat for free, and get yourself the correct starter for turn 2. Even if you don't have enough energy to accelerate with Zeraora GX, unlocking free retreat keeps you safe.

Also, whenever possible always play your search (Mysterious Treasure/Cherish Ball/Net Ball/Viridian Forest) as soon as possible so you can confirm your deck, but that's just a general TCG strategy.

Turn 1 Lillie more or less decides games for me with this deck, I feel. I've had turn 1s so powerful where I got Zeraora GX into the active, a Shuckle, and 3 Rays all with 1 energy a piece with 5 more energy in the discard already good to go by the end of turn 1, and that's because my Turn 1 I played 6 or 7 cards then Lillied back up to 8.

You really only need this kind of board presence by the end of turn 2, and it's okay if one of the 3 Rays is a Mewtwo & Mew GX or a Shaymin Prism. You only need 9 energy in play to OHKO all currently anticipated meta relevant GXs, or 8 if you Druddigon them.

If you're feeling gutsy, you can opt to go second with the deck so that you can GX attack with Zeraora GX or just swing with Latias/Shuckle to get some extra energy early. That was one of the things about this deck that I thought was an advantage - having a useful attack that you can utilize on turn 1 going second is not something every deck has.

A general strategy I apply with my Rayquaza GX is to, as often as possible, leave my Pokemon at 1 energy less than what they need to attack. Idealy I want all of my Rays to be at 2 energy, so even if I get gusted and KOd by something, I only lose 2, not 3. I rely on my attach for turn to get my energy going, and that's very reliable with 16 energy and 3 Viridian Forest. Even if I play down 3 Rays and all 3 of them miss ability, I attach for turn onto Zeraora GX, GX attack and get myself 3 Rays with 2-2-1 energy split. Especially if I know I'm good on energy for the upcoming turn, that minimizes the damage to my snowball without locking myself out. Spreading energy evenly to the bench helps prevent me from being that 30 damage short of an OHKO later down the road.

I think that's really all I have to say about playing the list right now.
 
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