Welcome to our countdown of the top 13
most promising picks of BW: Dragons
Exalted! Today we finally break into
the top three with the Sky High Pokémon
Rayquaza EX (BW: Dragons Exalted
I guess it would make sense as a mascot
is of course a Basic Pokémon-EX; one
slot per copy to fit into your deck,
easy to drop into play from hand, and a
few cards like
Emolga (BW: Dragons Exalted
45/124) can search it out and Bench it
with things like its Call for Family
Being a Pokémon-EX leads us to
hope for the usual trade-off;
extraordinary attacks and impressive
effects at the price of being worth two
Prizes when KOed.
As one of the new “Dragon-Type” Pokémon,
introduced this set, meaning it enjoys
scoring double damage against its kin
(who are all Dragon Weak) and nothing is
Resistant to it (at least for now), and
can have its damage boosted by
Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted
84/124, BW Promo BW48) and be
searched from the deck and added to hand
Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted
Sporting 170 HP marks
Rayquaza EX as “expected to be at
least a little above average” in terms
of being a Pokémon-EX.
Why do I say that?
Just over half of Pokémon-EX have
180 HP, so it seems most likely that was
the “target” number and it is adjusted
down based on anticipated potency,
though that is merely because the
reverse seems more complicated.
That isn’t to say that the 180 HP
Pokémon-EX are inferior to the 170 HP
models, rather another 10 HP would make
Kyogre EX (BW: Dark Explorers
Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies
Raikou EX (BW: Dark Explorers
38/108, 105/108), and
Tornadus EX (BW: Dark Explorers
89/108, 98/108) that much stronger.
The HP is enough to survive at least one
shot from almost anything in the game.
The exceptions are the Pokémon
that can OHKO anything, almost anything,
or that are Dragon-Types; the latter is
the chief concern as the first two are
somewhat rare and/or issues for all
Dragon-Type Pokémon that can hit
for 90 before Weakness (actually a
pretty common number this format past
the first few turns of the game) will
OHKO an unprotected
Rayquaza EX, and that means
The lack of Resistance is a bit
irritating, but at the same time quite
common and possibly warranted if this
card proves exceptionally potent; it is
hard to say whether or not Dragon
Weakness will be easy or hard for the
“average” deck to hit.
The Retreat Cost is quite good;
not only is a single Energy usually easy
to pay, but as a
will zero this out completely, which
will set-up some combos we shall discuss
in the appropriate section.
has two attacks.
The first is Celestial Roar, and
it is one of those attacks that both the
player using it and the player on the
receiving end will meet with mixed
For (C), it allows the user to
reveal the top three cards of his/her
deck and if any of them are Energy
cards, attach them to
Hit the correct Energy, and
you’ll easily OHKO whatever you face
next turn (provided
Rayquaza EX survives).
Unlike some older, similar attacks, this
even works on Special Energy cards!
Three cards could lead to a lot
of Energy acceleration, but even an
Energy heavy deck at the moment tends to
be only one-fourth Energy.
So unless the deck is tailored to
the attack, I would cautiously expect
only a single Energy from it, and the
odds of completely whiffing are not in
There is also the nature of the
Dragon Burst can deliver amazing damage,
but at a price.
It requires an initial investment
of at least (RL), and requires you
select either Fire or Lightning Type
You then discard all
basic Energy cards of the selected
type, and the attack does 60 points of
damage for each.
It is important to note that
unlike the previous attack, this one
specifies “basic Energy”, so you could
Prism Energy attached and not have
to discard it.
Celestial Roar can help feed Dragon
Burst, but now the risk is increased;
you can’t try to supply all the Energy
needed via Special Energy cards (not
that it would be smart even if you
could), so you’ll be running at least
one of the basic Energy cards needed or
possibly both… making it possible to
find yourself without the needed source
of (R) or (L) Energy to use Dragon
Since you are discarding the
Energy, the 60 points of damage for each
is a good but not great return.
Fortunately, most players remember how
the very similar
Rayquaza ex (EX: Dragons
97/97) was implemented, which brings us
Its predecessor was one of the top decks
in the format it debuted in, and this
was by having Benched Pokémon that
recycled discarded Energies.
Fortunately we have
Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories
40/101) to do just that, and with
Skyarrow Bridge an easy way to Bench
Rayquaza EX to reload it.
You will probably need two of
them bouncing around and around, if you
can work in some
Energy Retrieval and use basic
Fire Energy, you can even use
Max Potion to heal between each
The main concern for the deck is
Eelektrik itself being so
vulnerable, at least given the damage
output of so many attackers and
widespread usage of
Pokémon Catcher; you’ll need to
set-up at least two (preferably three)
ASAP, and you still might want an
alternate attacker in case your opponent
is running a Dragon heavy deck or simply
so your opening
Rayquaza EX doesn’t score a single
KO before being KOed itself.
My understanding is that this isn’t the
dominant deck in Japan, and that coupled
with what you might consider its weak
are why this might not become the top
deck, but it should still be a strong
contender for some time.
For Unlimited, you’ve got the usual
First Turn Win (or Lock) decks crowding
out the top, plus the fact that raw
damage to the Defending Pokémon doesn’t
cut it in this format.
A Pokémon with useful effects
from a few years ago might only need 60
points of damage to be OHKOed, and it
will often be sporting a
The final nail in the coffin is
how the set-up requires a pretty full
Bench; this will stretch your resources
and reduce the amount of counters you
can run yourself (such as anti-Trainer
measures common to Unlimited).
Limited is all about how much risk you
are comfortable with.
This is a set full of Dragons,
and often awkward Energy costs aside,
odds are you will encounter at least a
few and if your opponent times it right,
they’ll allow an opponent to take down
Why does that matter?
Because perhaps more so than any other
Pokémon-EX we’ve seen,
Rayquaza EX begs to be run in a deck
with 39 basic Energy cards, alternating
between Celestial Roar and Dragon Burst
If your opponent doesn’t get a
lucky set-up and get out strong
attackers ASAP, it will be an eight turn
countdown until you win (nine if they go
The fact you’re balancing two
Energy Types makes me think you just
can’t risk this trick… in which case it
is still a very good card to run, just
is indeed an impressive sight, and at
worst I expect it to be a solid deck
throughout the rest of the format.
Still, some may wonder why it
scored less than a four out of five
given that I gave it an overall positive
Its strength is with its own
deck, built around it, but only with
Many other Pokémon-EX are good on
their own and great with support, while
Rayquaza EX is literally going to be
hit or miss (mostly miss) on its own as
it must depend on Celestial Roar to
power-up fast enough to matter.
I didn’t rank it as highly as some on
the review staff, however; it was only
in my #8 spot due to the potential for
Dragon-Types to be everywhere
(nullifying its OHKO advantage by
becoming a OHKO) and fact that I really
do get skittish if a deck isn’t doing
well in the Japanese metagame.
I discovered this review in an
incomplete form and it is being posted
on or after
December 18, 2012.
I finished it and polished it,
trying not to take advantage of knowing
exactly how it went down, but thanks to
my actual Top 10 list I made for this
set (which included reasons for
placement) I realized that I had
justified concerns about its
The deck did well for a while,
but the later releases I wasn’t
anticipating currently have
Rayquaza EX decks on the decline,
possibly never to recover.