Why You No Run Rayquaza?

by SGT Pokedad MD ~ December 4th, 2012.

Hello it’s me, Prof. SGT Pokedad MD again.  Like I mentioned in my very first article, I’m not the best writer, but thought that this might be an interesting topic to discuss.  Also in my first article, I made it VERY clear that I am not a very good deck builder or player so bear with me on this.  In this article, I’d like to share with you a deck that I am running right now that I really like.  I will share my deck list, why I chose the cards I did, and then share my thoughts on why I am not running a particular card that quite a few people say I should.

I started the year playing the Darkrai-Hydreigon deck list from Japan.  I liked that deck, but it didn’t quite suite my play-style.  I played Zekrom-Eelektrik last year.  My son played the Darkrai deck and loved it, so I traded him the vast majority of my Darkrai deck and decided to move back to Eelektrik.  Starting with the Zekrom-Eelectrik pieces, I looked at the available cards and read through the forums.  It appeared that many were looking to play Rayquaza EX, Rayquaza and a litany of other Pokemon. I researched the other available Pokemon and came up with the list to the right.

4-Tynamo (NV38)
4-Eelektrik (NV40)
2-Zekrom (BW114)
2-Raikou EX (DEX105)
1-Thundurus (EMO35)
2-Rayquaza EX (DRX85)

4-Professor Juniper
2-Random Receiver
4-Pokemon Catcher
2-Super Rod
2-Tool Scrapper
2-Skyarrow Bridge
3-Ultra Ball
3-Level Ball


Why I choose the cards I did
So, I would hazard a guess that the 4-4 Eelektrik is fairly self-explanatory.  Some would say 3-3 or 4-3 or some other combination of numbers. I chose 4-4 due to the obvious targets they are. With less than 4, I can’t afford to have them prized, and I want to get them into play as soon as I can. Zekrom is also a very strong card that works very well with Eelektrik.  It is a solid starter with good damage output and it doesn’t give up 2 prizes like an EX. Thundurus is also a good starter, and by now everyone should understand the reasons it’s been included in a ton of Eelektrik decks. With a turn 2 Disaster Volt you are doing decent damage and placing energy into the discard pile.

Now my last 2 choices may be a little less clear but shouldn’t be too difficult to understand. Raikou EX obviously works well in an Eelektrik deck requiring only Electric energy.  Its 1 retreat cost is great, especially with Sky Arrow Bridge. What I also like very much is its ability to snipe 100 damage to any Pokemon.  This is great for those pesky bench sitters (not named Squirtle of course). Bringing up the rear is Rayquaza EX.  Being a dragon, I know that it gets OneHitKO’d by many other dragons, but so do those other threats.  I also like Rayquaza EX because of its 1 retreat cost and it’s nearly unlimited damage output.

While using Zekrom, Raikou EX and Rayquaza EX, the goal is to get the Eelektriks out early and keep the energy flowing.  By having Skyarrow Bridge out, I can attack on the next turn, Dynamotor, retreat and attack again. Even with Skyarrow in play, Zekrom is a 1 retreat and Eelektrik is still a 2 retreat Pokemon.  It is for that reason I have to play Switch and try to keep at least 1 energy on my Eelektriks in order to try and avoid the Catcher-Stall tactics.

On the Trainer/Supporter side of the house, I chose a 3-3 Ultra Ball/Level Ball combination.  With Level Ball I can get both Tynamo and Eelectrik without discarding anything.  With Ultra Ball, I can get anything and, hopefully, put some energy into discard!  Without a huge fear of discarding, this deck can run 4 Juniper which can be very helpful when you need a new hand and when you want to put some energy into the discard.  4 “N” helps early when I need a fresh hand without discarding and can be very helpful late if I’m behind on prizes or, from time to time, when I need to put a few cards back into the deck late game.

The rest of the Trainer cards seem pretty straightforward, but I do want to mention Eviolite and Skyarrow Bridge.  Eviolite is very versatile in any deck where all the attackers are basics.  Zekrom benefits when using Bolt Strike, and Thundurus gets to stay in the mix a little longer.   I know that I mentioned it earlier, but Skyarrow Bridge is actually a central piece of my strategy in that it allows both Rayquaza EX, Raikou EX and Thundurus to retreat for free.  With it, Zekrom is just a 1 retreat which is very manageable in a deck that can recycle discarded energy.  This mobility is key.

Why not Shiny Rayquaza?
Ok, I can hear it now; “Why don’t you run shiny Rayquaza?” Yes, it is a basic, non-EX dragon Pokemon with Dragon Pulse – 40 damage for 1 energy and Shred – 90 damage for 3 energy and isn’t effected by any effects on the defending Pokemon.  Yes, I see the potential for doing decent damage, especially to dragons and the ability to bypass effects on the defending Pokemon.  I also like only giving one prize over 2 for an EX.  What I DON’T like however is its limited damage output and its whopping 3 RETREAT! Getting the regular Rayquaza out of active is painful if it isn’t fully charged; and even when it is, I have to get rid of a Fire Energy unless I overload it. Compared to its EX version, it is too slow and under powered.  It’s a liability to my overall strategy.

Some would say that with the EX version though, I have to discard energy for my damage. Yes, that is true, but I can Dynamotor it back onto a waiting Raikou EX or another Rayquaza EX or even Zekrom the next turn and then retreat for free with Skyarrow bridge and continue the attack.  In my opinion (and it us just that, my opinion) I would rather have the EX version and take the 2 prize card risk.

A tale of no cities
So the local cities tournaments are over and I made it to none of them.  Unfortunately, my work has me on the road A LOT recently.  I wish I had a chance to try my deck in a wider competitive environment, and I’m looking forward to trying it out at an actual tourney.  In our league play and at home, with my son, I have done very well against, Garchomp, Darkrai-Hydreigon, Blastoise-Keldeo EX and others.  I’ve found that, as in most decks, setting up quickly is a huge bonus.  One big thing I have noticed though is that when I am not able to get set up as quick as I’d like, I still have a CHANCE.  If played correctly (and with me that is a BIG “IF”) I typically have options to stay in the game.

I’m sorry that I don’t have stats and figures and an in-depth analysis of my deck and its successes and failures.  I do hope that I have at least stimulated some thought with my choices for this deck.  I welcome friendly conversation and discussion.  I’d love to hear how to make this better.

And yes James, I know what you’re going to say, “To make your deck better, let someone else play it for you!”

Category: Deck Discussion | Tags: , , , ,