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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2012

#9 - Rayquaza EX

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
December 18, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.00

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

#9 Rayquaza-EX (Dragons Exalted) 

When players first saw the spoilers for today’s card, it took them exactly 2.54 seconds to think about what Rayquaza-EX could do with Skyarrow Bridge and Eelektrik NVI on the Field. Once they had worked it out, they resigned themselves to a future in which this deck would be the only game in town. 

The reason for this was Dragon Burst, an attack that cost one Fire and one Lightning Energy. When you use it, you choose either Fire or Lightning, discard all copies of that Energy from Rayquaza, and do a massive 60 damage for each one. In other words, for one Fire and three Lightning, Quaza would be taking one-hit KOs on every EX in the format unless they had Eviolite (and hey, there’s always Tool Scrapper for that). Getting those three Lightning on Rayquaza? No problem thanks to its Retreat cost being zero with Skyarrow Bridge in play: you could charge up a Benched Rayquaza with multiple Eelektrik, then swap it for the active. Every turn, you could recycle the discarded Energy with Dynamotor and keep switching between a couple of Rayquaza. It seemed to be an unstoppable combo, capable of putting out a ridiculous amount of damage turn after turn. 

Now, I’m not going to pretend that Rayquaza was all hype and no substance. It was a very successful deck during Battle Roads 2012 and is still capable of winning tournaments today. However, it never quite became the ‘play this or lose’ deck that was feared. Players quickly learned that without multiple Eelektrik in play, Rayquaza became a bit of a lame (Psy)duck, and of course Eelektrik’s HP put it within OHKO range of Darkrai-EX’s Night Spear or either of Terrakion NVI’s attacks. In a format with Pokémon Catcher, this was a real issue for the deck and although it won more than its fair share of tournaments, it was never allowed to completely take over the metagame.  

Right now, all Eelektrik based decks have a new and even deadlier enemy in the shape of Landorus-EX which is every Tynamo’s worst nightmare. Unless they can somehow adapt and counter it, I expect that the decline in play for Rayquaza will continue. It’s still an absolute powerhouse of a card, and when the deck sets up it’s very scary to face. However it may be that Rayquaza-EX’s best days lie in the past, rather than the future. 

Rating 

Modified: 4 (I’m relieved it wasn’t quite as dominant as we once thought)

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo! Today we're reviewing the #9 card on our Top Cards of 2012 countdown, and today's card is a Pokemon-EX that has seen quite a bit of play, but not as much recently (at least in my area). It's still a very powerful card, though, and is quite worthy of the #9 spot on this list. Today's Card of the Day is Rayquaza-EX.
 
Rayquaza-EX is a Basic Dragon Pokemon-EX. Dragon-types have been fairly common in Modified since their introduction in Dragons Exalted, and leading the way have been Rayquaza-EX and Hydreigon. As a Pokemon-EX, Rayquaza had better be pretty powerful, as the opponent will take two Prize cards as a result of Knocking it Out. 170 HP is great for a Pokemon-EX, and should allow Rayquaza to take at least one major unboosted hit before going down. Unfortunately, Rayquaza also has a Dragon Weakness, which means that opposing Rayquaza DRV, Rayquaza-EX, Hydreigon, and Garchomp all OHKO the Sky High Pokemon pretty easily. To round out the bottom stats, Rayquaza has no Resistance, as well as a very inexpensive Retreat Cost of 1.
 
Rayquaza-EX has two attacks. Celestial Roar allows you to discard the top three cards of your deck and attach all of the Energy cards you find there to Rayquaza. This is a pretty decent Turn 1 maneuver when you're still trying to get set up, but after that, the attack isn't terribly useful, as there are better ways to power up Rayquaza (like Eelektrik NVI, for instance). Dragon Burst is the real reason to use Rayquaza: for a Fire and a Lightning, you can discard either all Fire or all Lightning attached to the Sky High Pokemon, and then deal 60 damage times the number of Energy discarded in this way. Dragon Burst is very powerful, as a discard of three Energy will deal 180 damage, enough to take out most Pokemon-EX in a single hit, as well as every other Pokemon in Modified not named Wailord. In addition, with the acceleration granted by Eelektrik (or even Emboar), Rayquaza can be dealing big damage fairly consistently, which will be a constant problem for opponents.
 
Modified: 4/5 Rayquaza-EX is a very powerful Pokemon in Modified, but you really need to play to its strengths for it to be most effective. Since Celestial Roar takes up an attack and is somewhat inconsistent in powering Rayquaza up, you have to run it with an easily used acceleration engine to get the most out of it. Eelektrik is the most common partner, and while Dynamotor can easily power up Rayquaza many turns in a row, it also involves a lot of switching around, and can be somewhat slow. At any rate, Rayquaza is very powerful, and should definitely be considered when building your Modified deck. Even if the Dragon's usage is going down slightly, you still should be able to prepare for it.
 
Limited: 3.5/5 Rayquaza is an interesting card in Limited, because it has high damage potential hampered by constant Energy discard. An additional problem for Rayquaza's Limited prospects are the sheer number of powerful Dragons in Dragons Exalted that will easily make short work of the Sky High Pokemon. Overall, Rayquaza is still a powerful force, but it's not quite as good here due to the format being much slower overall.
 
Combos With; Eelektrik NVI

Jebulous Maryland Player Rayquaza EX
 
What to say about Rayquaza EX... well let's start with when he came out.  The main deck that utilized Eelektrik was Zekrom, Mewtwo EX, and Raikou EX.  Darkrai EX had just been released and was causing problems for the deck, so something was needed that could OHKO Darkrai EX (it was all about the OHKOs).  When Rayquaza EX was released, the deck shifted from mono Lighting to Lightning with some Fire tossed in.  This allowed for the 180 damage from Rayquaza EX when needed.  Just attach a Fire energy and 'Dynamotor' till the cows come home.  I believe Shining Rayquaza came out in the same set, so the deck got an addition boost.  A sort of schism occurred when the Eelektrik deck was split into RayEels and ZekEels (it had the non Dragon attackers, not sure if it went by this name still, I referred to is as this).
 
With the release of Boundaries Crossed, the deck has seen less play.  It was definitely a tier 1 deck, and in some cases it still is.  But with so much hate (counters) for the deck out there, it is hard for the deck to survive.  Darkrai EX and Landorus EX pick off Tynamos when they are dropped.  Eelektrik is pretty much OHKOed by all main attackers of the big decks.  Hydreigon (when it came ot) was able to OHKO Rayquaza EX.  Plus everyone should know by now how to play against the deck.  So very skilled players with the deck should be able to do well.
 
Me... I tried the deck and learned Rayquaza doesn't like me.  I got the worse possible starts and hands.  I could never keep Eelektiks up long enough to take advantage of Rayquaza's attack.  It just got to a point where I didn't want to play with it anymore.
 
The RayEels deck consisted of Rayquaza EX, Rayquaza, and Eelektrik lines.  The goal was to use Skyarrow Bridge and 2 Rayquaza EXs to constantly do 180 every turn.  Rayquaza was in there for early damage as well as 2HKO anything out there.  A very nasty deck to go against when it got going.  The key is obviously to take out the Eelektriks.
Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Had this at #5 on his Top 10 List

Otaku

Our ninth best card of 2012 is… Rayquaza EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 85/124, 123/124)!  You can read what we thought of it here!  So… why did this card make the Top 10?

“Rayeels” decks, which for those few who need to be told, consist of Rayquaza EX backed by Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) made their mark this year as fierce decks, capable of OHKOing anything in the format, barring protective effects like Safeguard, found on Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124).  As you can tell from the scan and the older reviews, this was not an easy prospect and required it be the deck’s primary focus, but if your opponent couldn’t destroy your set-up, odds are they couldn’t OHKO Rayquaza EX fast enough to prevent Rayeels decks from generating advantage.

The deck saw a lot of play… after it was released but before BW: Boundaries Crossed joined the format.  Now it seems to be on a decline, as Landorus EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 89/149, 144/149) makes Fighting Weakness even less desirable than it was before while also possessing the capacity to hit fast and hit both Active and the Bench, or hit crazy hard.  We have another few decks born into the format, and since they aren’t particularly vulnerable to Rayquaza EX, they just divide the “pie” that is the total possible amount of tournament wins into smaller pieces.

Perhaps more important is the introduction of Skyla, a Supporter that allows you to fetch a Trainer from your deck and add it to your hand.  Suddenly your opponent didn’t have to blindly draw into a Pokémon Catcher (to force Eelektrik up front), get a search card for a useful counter-Pokémon, or pull out a Switch to help with a particular tactic of Eelektrik backed decks.

While it seems so long ago now, the trick was just using Victini (BW: Noble Victories 14/101, 98/101) to give better odds of an opening Tynamo (BW: Noble Victories 38/101) Paralyzing its target, which in turn could help it survive the turn to Evolve.  Another small change that piled onto the others was competition for Skyarrow Bridge in the form of Aspertia City Gym.  So really, even the most important reasons for its decline weren’t “big”, but the moderate to small challenges all seem to have piled up.

Rayeels isn’t gone, so don’t let me lead you into thinking the deck is totally extinct.  It just isn’t the presence it was not so long ago, and sneaking a peak at future releases, it some more cards will come out that further erode its advantages.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1.5/5

Modified: 3.25/5

Limited: 3.5/5

Summary

Rayquaza EX is one of the many strong cards that show you exactly how powerful this format is; what might have ruled an older format has now at least hit a rough patch.  In fact, despite its presence I left it off my own Top 10 list, because Rayquaza EX really depended upon the potency of other cards, on truly being “a deck” to leave its impact.

Without Rayquaza EX, other Eelektrik decks would have, if not filled the void, remained significant to the format.  It really affects just its own deck, since it hits so hard (and can’t be overly precise to avoid overkill) for it to matter as a “Weakness” match-up.  Compare and contrast that to yesterday’s pick, Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149), which both made is mark as the main attacker in a Water deck as well as splashed into a variety of others.


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