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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 13 Pokemon Cards of Dragon Exalted:

#3 - Rayquaza EX

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.10
Limited: 4.63

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Rayquaza-EX (Dragons Exalted)

Sooooo . . . our countdown hits the top 3, and coming in at third place is the card that got all the hype from the moment the Japanese version got translated. Seriously, players saw what this card did and thought ‘oh heck . . . now we know what’s going to dominate our tournaments for the foreseeable future’.

Rayquaza-EX is a Dragon Type Basic Pokémon with a huge 170 HP, Weakness to its own Type, and a minimal Retreat cost of one, which is handily negated by Skyarrow Bridge Stadium. Its first attack, Celestial Roar, is a potential Energy accelerator, albeit a fairly risky one: for a single Colourless Energy, you discard the top three cards of your deck and attach any Energy you find there to Rayquaza-EX. It’s ok I guess, but you will almost never need or want to use it. For the real reason why Rayquaza-EX was so hyped and feared we need to look elsewhere.

Dragon Burst is where it’s at as far as this card is concerned. The attack costs one Fire and one Lightning Energy to use. You then discard either all Basic Lightning or all Basic Fire attached to Rayquaza-EX and do 60 damage for each one. Yep, that’s right – if you can get four Lightning and a Fire on this Pokémon (or vice versa), you get to OHKO anything in the format – even a 180 HP EX with Eviolite.

It isn’t even as if that’s hard to do either. Both Lightning and Fire have handy Energy accelerators in the shape of Ability Emboar from BLW and Eelektrik NVI. Eelektrik is especially good as it can simply recycle the discarded Energy every turn. With two of them on the Field and a couple of Rayquaza-EX to switch back and forth, you could be doing 180 every single turn thanks to two Dynamotors plus your normal attachment. That’s pretty jaw-dropping, no? The Eelektrik acceleration engine, which has more than proven its viability over the last few months just got a hugely powerful new toy.

Given all this, it may seem surprising that Rayquaza-EX isn’t the #1 card on our countdown. I suspect the main reason for this is that the card did not turn out to be dominant in Japan, but rather saw more play as a tech in more conventional Zekrom/Eelektrik decks. As a main attacker, Rayquaza does have a number of weaknesses, notably a complete reliance on a substantial Eelektrik set up and a vulnerability to being OHKO’d by other Dragon Pokémon. As a non-EX, Garchomp DRE is more than happy to exchange KOs with Rayquaza-EX, as is Rayquaza’s own non-EX counterpart.

Don’t get me wrong: Rayquaza-EX is a mighty Pokémon and will be a real force to be reckoned with, I just don’t think it will centralize the format in the way that was once feared. The really good news is that it will soon be available as a tin promo, so it will be relatively cheap and available for anyone who wants to play it. Rayquaza-EX is definitely a card you should take a serious look at . . . but just be prepared for some very effective counters.

Rating

Modified: 4.25 (another super powerful EX, but with some exploitable flaws)

Limited: 4.5 (Play this plus 39 Energy and hope your opponent didn’t pull Sigilyph)

virusyosh

Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing one of the new Pokemon-EX in the set that's gotten a bit of hype, but not as much as some of the other new Pokemon. Today's Card of the Day is Rayquaza-EX.
 
Rayquaza is a Basic Dragon-type Pokemon-EX. Dragons are VERY popular with the release of Dragons Exalted, as Hydreigon, Garchomp, and shiny Rayquaza are expected to see a lot of play (and already have, if one follows leagues and pick-up tournaments). As a Pokemon-EX, Rayquaza-EX will have to carve out a niche that will make it playable in the face of the previously mentioned Dragon-type threats. 170 HP is fairly good for a Pokemon-EX, as Rayquaza should easily take an unboosted hit from pretty much anything. Dragon Weakness is a HUGE problem against Hydreigon and Garchomp, as both should easily OHKO; no Resistance is unfortunate; and a Retreat Cost of 1 is inexpensive and easily payable.
 
Rayquaza-EX has two attacks. Celestial Roar is a power-up attack, which discards the top three cards of your deck and attaches all Energy discarded in this way to Rayquaza. This attack is a decent opening maneuver, but is considerably less useful later in the game, where you'll probably want to find other forms of Energy acceleration, like Eelektrik NVI or even Emboar BLW.
 
Dragon Burst, Rayquaza's second attack, costs a Fire and a Lightning Energy, and has you discard either all Fire or all Lightning Energy attached to Rayquaza, and does 60 damage times the number of Energy discarded in this way. As previously stated, one will definitely want to use Energy acceleration to power this up. One notable thing about this attack is how easy it is to get KOs: discarding 2 Energy will take care of nearly any Pokemon with damage and all opposing Dragons, and 3 Energy will take out nearly everything (barring Pokemon-EX with Eviolite and Wailord), giving this Sky High Pokemon some serious firepower.
 
Modified: 3/5 Rayquaza-EX is good, but has a few metagame issues to deal with before it can truly shine. Two of the most popular decks this format are Darkrai/Hydreigon and Garchomp/Altaria, both of which have main attackers that will easily take out Rayquaza in one shot. Second, if one decides to build a deck around Rayquaza, you'll want to use a form of acceleration, probably Eelektrik. From this, Rayquaza-EX fits in very nicely in current Zekrom/Eelektrik builds, especially if they can fit in the Fire Energy. Overall, Rayquaza-EX has the potential to be very powerful, but tends to be overshadowed by its other Dragon-type brethren in the set.
 
Limited: 5/5 Rayquaza, like other Pokemon-EX, is excellent in Limited. Celestial Roar is pretty good here since you'll probably be running tons of Energy anyway, and Dragon Burst should easily blow the opposition away, even if it is a bit slow. Combine this with 170 HP and a low Retreat Cost, and you have a real winner for Limited. Just make sure to keep it away from Hydreigon and Garchomp!
 
Combos With: Eelektrik NVI, Emboar BLW

Jebulous Maryland Player

Rayquaza EX
 
Rayquaza EX is a Basic Dragon Pokemon with 170 HP.  It has a weakness to Dragon and a retreat cost of 1.  I never realized the retreat cost... Skyarrow Bridge will be of some help.
 
'Celestial Roar' costs 1 Colorless energy.  It has you discard the top 3 cards of your deck and if any are energy, they get attached to this Pokemon.  That includes special energy as well.  I know this is a form of energy acceleration, but I'm on the fence about it.  To get the most use out of it, you want to run more energy.  But competitively, you don't want to run too much energy.  Plus, discard non-energies hurts most of the time.  I haven't played with Rayquaza EX yet, so I can't say if I like the attack (who knows, I could be really lucky with this attack).
 
'Dragon Burst' costs 1 Fire and 1 Lightning energy.  You discard all basic Fire or Lightning energy attached to it and it does 60 time the number discarded.  This is the main reason this card will be used (and is used).  Decks with Fire and Lightning acceleration can certainly abuse this attack.
Emboar is the Fire accelerator of the format and Eelektrik is the Lightning accelerator.  Take you pick (though Emboar has kind of disappeared from the spotlight).
 
You will mostly see his guy paired with Eelektrik.  Use Dynamotor to attach a bunch of Lightning energy, then attach a Fire energy (imagine if one of the Blend energy had Fire and Lightning in it).  You then attack, discard the Lightnings, and then retreat (to later build up again).  Skyarrow Bridge makes the retreating easier, especially if you have 2 Rayquaza EXs on the field.  This card is a monster.  Raikou EX discards 2-3 Lightnings to snipe for 100.  Rayquaza EX discards 3 Lightning to do 180 (pretty sure EXs are capped at 180...).
 
Modified: 4.5/5
Limited: 4.5/5
Combo's With: ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com

Otaku

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 itself, Rayquaza EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 85/124, 123/124).

 

I guess it would make sense as a mascot for a super-hero High School.

 

Stats

Rayquaza EX 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 attack.  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 by Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124).

 

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 Pokémon like Kyogre EX (BW: Dark Explorers 26/108, 104/108), Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99), 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 Pokémon-EX.  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 Basic Pokémon Skyarrow Bridge will zero this out completely, which will set-up some combos we shall discuss in the appropriate section.

 

Effects

Rayquaza EX 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 anticipation.  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 Rayquaza EX.  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 your favor.  There is also the nature of the second attack.

 

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 Energy.  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 leave a 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 Burst.  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 to Usage.

 

Usage

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 a surviving 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 attack!

 

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 underbelly (Eelektrik) 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 Focus Band.  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 Rayquaza EX.  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 for OHKOs.  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 first).  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 not “great”.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1.5/5

 

Modified: 3.8/5

 

Limited: 3.5/5

 

 

Summary

Rayquaza EX 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 review.  Its strength is with its own deck, built around it, but only with support Pokémon.  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.

 

Addendum: 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 performance.  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.


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