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: , , , ,
  • Ed

    Hey SGT Pokedad MD! Nice deck writeup!

    I’ll try to get the discussion ball rolling here…

    I think you may have too few supporters. I was once hot on playing 4/4/4 DrawSupport/DrawSupport/RandomReceiver. However, after some prodding, I saw the error of my ways. Lately I’ve been trying to fit in 10-12 draw supporters with a couple RReceiver. I think you can run 10/2 or 12/0 (even 12/2). I really think 8/2 is way too low. It makes you rely on the opponent’s N, and that’s not a great strategy in my opinion. Skyla could work well here, too.

    The next thing I think would be worth playtesting (and might ultimately fail) is swapping out Switch in favor of Energy Switch. In the writeup, you mention mainly using Switch to get Eelektrik out of the active spot. Yeah, you’ll lose a couple energy to retreat him, but they’ll be Dynamotorable. The Energy Switch is a tricky play that can double as quick offense in other situations. It seems silly, but I think it could give the deck some HammertimeDarkrai-esque plays. If you try it, please report back.

    On this same note, I’m wondering if 2 Skyarrow is just too few. I’m basing this again on your writeup, which makes it sound integral to the strategy. If you don’t get a Skyarrow, how does it hurt your game? Maybe Skyla could help if you only want to play 2 Skyarrow.

    Also, you don’t mention any Ace Spec. I think Computer Search or Gold Potion could both work if you have access to them.

    Here’s a quick list of mods I might test.

    -1 Level Ball (I’m going to prefer the Ultra Ball, but it’s just a minor tweak I’d test)
    -1 Super Rod (Should only need 1 and Skyla can help get it)
    -1 Pokemon Catcher (maybe don’t need 4 with the bench snipe ability)
    -2 Switch (to try Energy Switch)
    -2 Tool Scrapper (Definitely not a bad card)

    +1 Ultra Ball
    +3 Energy Switch
    +3 Skyla

    • ftwpokedad

      Thanks! I like your suggestion and will try them out. You mention running more supporters, are your suggesting more draw support or are the Skylas the extra supporters you’re recommending. I have the tool scrappers to try and help get this eviolites out of play and in the case that I actually might run into garbodour. Has that card been getting any play? Like I wrote I haven’t seen much competitive play outside of league! Thanks again!

      • Ed

        I feel like Garbador is of little concern at this point. I don’t think it’s likely that you’ll face it in a tourney. Even if you do, you still have outs. It’s just a tougher matchup. I could still see running 1 Tool Scrapper if you’re concerned.

        My supporter comments are a bit here and there. The suggestions on supporter count were mainly based on draw support. Then, when I went to make actual card suggestions, I decided to go for Skyla. I’m not sure what’s right. In fact, I think you could play 10 draw support and 3 Skyla and still toss in a couple Random Receiver. However, your list is getting pretty tight.

        So, if we’re talking about tweaking the supporters, here’s something I might try in addition to what I mentioned previously.

        -2 Random Receiver
        -1 N
        +3 Bianca

        If you can get your hands on a Computer Search, the easiest swap is
        -1 Ultra Ball
        +1 Computer Search

        However, I might advocate a bit more discard with Bianca, so you could even try.
        -2 N
        +1 Computer Search
        +1 Bianca

        But now we’re getting down to tweaks and testing, so who knows what the right call is here?

  • coolestman22

    Hey, I liked the article, but I was wondering what your reasoning behind 2 Switch was?

    Also, I think that even if you don’t like Shiny Ray, it’s definitely something to have as a one-of. It drastically improves the Hydreigon matchup. The three retreat cost becomes two with the Skyarrow you run, and it also can donk (Even more so because Dragon Deinos are popular now).

    Also, I’m a big fan of 4 Ultra Ball because it really helps with the discarding, which becomes so much harder in BW-on. I had a hard time getting energy in the discard at Regionals with four Ultra Ball.

    The last thing I want to say is that you seem to have an absence of an Ace Spec in your list. Even if you can’t afford a Computer Search, a Gold Potion would still be a great card to add in.

    • ftwpokedad

      Thanks for the feedback! I was reading Ed’s comments too. I’ve found switch handy for when Eelectrik does get stuck and once in a while I’ve used it to get a guy to the bench to Dynamotor and then back to active. But based on some of Ed’s comments I might try out the energy switch. It starts to come down to what to remove in order to fits some of these in. I seems like to make an Ace Spec card worth while you really need Skyla. Suggestions? And wouldn’t max potion work better anyway with the discard and healing all damage especially with Skyarrow and essentially free retreating with most of my Pokemon attackers? I’m still on the fence about running 1 of Shiny Rayquaza…..

      • coolestman22

        Discarding energy is invalid if the discarded energy comes from the field of play. Plus you can discard fires.

        I would have to disagree with Ed on the Energy Switch thing because Switch also has other uses. Imagine you have an active Ray EX with a Fire and you had two prizes left, and your opponent has an active EX. You need to attack with Ray for the win, so Switch would help a lot more than Energy Switch.

        Energy Switch also requires a manual attachment as well, and in some cases the energy you Energy Switched and discarded would be on what you wanted to move up, which is bad because you can only Dynamotor to the bench.

        • Ed

          I’m missing some of the logic here.

          “Energy Switch also requires a manual attachment as well”
          ??? Why can’t you Dynamotor to the bench and then Energy Switch it up to the active? If you have free retreat, then Switch is the same effect. However, Energy Switch also gives you an out when they KO your Eels (assuming you have energy on the bench).

          “Discarding energy is invalid if the discarded energy comes from the field of play. Plus you can discard fires.”

          I’m not even sure what this is referring to.

          Yeah, Switch is better in some situations. Energy Switch can be better in some situations. I’m thinking that his deck is a bit more nonstandard, so I think it’s an interesting test to see what ends up being ultimately better. Switch is the easy answer.

          “in some cases the energy you Energy Switched and discarded would be on what you
          wanted to move up, which is bad because you can only Dynamotor to the bench.”
          I think we’re all in agreement that free retreat is better than discarding. My claim is that Energy Switch can be used to help retreat an Eel, but that use would be secondary. If you want free retreating, I think we can all agree that Switch is better (since that’s exactly what it does).

          How often are you using Switch to refill your active guy’s energy after an attack? If that’s the main use, then I think you don’t even consider Energy Switch.

          • coolestman22

            What I mean by Energy Switch requires a manual is that Eelektrik has a two retreat cost, meaning that only one of the two can come from the Energy Switch, meaning you still need to use your manual attachment to get it out of the way.

            Discarding energies doesn’t work if the energies are on the field already. What I mean by this is you discard energies so you can attach them. That doesn’t work as well as just leaving them there and Dynamotoring somewhere else, unless you need to move energy away because of a Mewtwo or something or you don’t have any other energy discarded. Discarding your fires also sucks.

            I use Switch to refill energy a lot more than to retreat an Eel, actually.

          • Ed

            That makes a lot more sense to me. Thanks for elaborating.

            I get where you’re coming from, and I the more I consider it, the more I think Switch is better. However, I still feel that Energy Switch should be tested. With Skyla, it could be a one-of. When you’d prefer to Skyla for it over Switch? I dunno. Maybe only if your Eel got KOd. Anyway, enough theory. Test or don’t test.

          • coolestman22

            Yeah, I usually don’t make sense unless I actually try to.

          • Ed

            That makes sense.

  • Hey, I can’t help that you come up with decent deck ideas and then they only work for other people…

    Have you thought of using Keldeo EX instead of Switch? It is a constant and would only require 1 energy to retreat.

    We can test this out when you are actually in town for awhile.

    • Ed

      Yeah, I like that idea, too. It also gives a color trumping option (for what matchups, I don’t know).

      • Not sure if you would actually use Keldeo as it requires water energy. You could run Prism as using Keldeo against Landorus EX might work…

        Here is a list I through together real quick.

        2-Keldeo EX
        2-Rayquaza EX

        2-Professor Juniper
        2-Bianca or Cheren
        2-Random Receiver
        3-Pokemon Catcher
        2-Super Rod
        1-Tool Scrapper or Computer Search (Ace Spec)
        2-Skyarrow Bridge
        3-Ultra Ball
        3-Level Ball

        2-Fire/4-Prism or 3-Fire/3-Water