Today we look at
Rayquaza (Dragon Vault
11/20), which is a reprint of
Rayquaza (BW: Dragons Exalted
While it has only been two months
since we first reviewed it, it was a
hard to obtain Secret Rare in its
Now that it is relatively easy to
come by, will it live up to its hype?
is, of course, a Dragon-Type Pokémon,
and one as they are still fairly “new”,
I believe it creates a largely
I saw it with Metal- and
Darkness-Type Pokémon, and I believe I
am seeing it again with Dragon-Types.
There is just the joy of playing
something new… and the fear of having it
used against you.
Its Type allows it tap
Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted
84/124, BW Promo BW48) for extra
Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted
89/124) for some search power.
Should you use this Support?
These two pieces of support have
had a mixed showing when backing up
Garchomp (BW: Dragons Exalted
90/124), so it seems unlikely they would
do better ignoring that and focusing on
an unrelated Basic Pokémon.
I’ve tried backing
Rayquaza up with only
Altaria, but my testing has been
very limited and thus inconclusive.
The Type is also quite important for
exploiting the Dragon-Type’s shared
Weakness to each other; this can make
and break a Dragon-Type Pokémon.
It also worth noting that nothing
is naturally Resistant to Dragon-Type
Pokémon; while Resistance has not kept
pace with HP increases and damage output
(in fact, it have been weakened over the
years), not having to worry about
encountering it is always nice.
As a Basic Pokémon,
Rayquaza can tap the ample support
they have available, and enjoys the
standard benefits of needing less deck
space than Evolutions and being both
faster and simpler to get into play
(drop Basic Pokémon A into open Bench
This inherent benefit due to the
game’s design is augmented by access
Eviolite, which can stretch out a
Basic Pokémon’s HP.
Speaking of HP,
Rayquaza clocks in at 120 HP; this
is 10 points below the max for Basic
Pokémon, set by some of the newer
I’d complain this was some sort
of bias in favor of those newer Pokémon,
but glancing at video game stats the
HP/DEF/S.DEF in the video games are
always collectively higher for those
120 HP is great, and scoring a
OHKO against it will usually be resource
intensive and in some cases, just not
possible for a deck.
is an easy OHKOed for most Dragon-Type
Pokémon; card’s Dragon Weakness will
make any shot that hits for at least 60
points before Weakness balloon into a
OHKO; every fully Evolved Dragon-Type
Pokémon has at least one such attack
Latias (Dragon Vault 9/20).
It isn’t as bad as it may seem;
only a few of the Evolving Dragons have
attacks that hit hard enough, and of
those fully Evolved Dragon-Types, most
are just going to at best conserve a
card or two of resources because their
attacks would have resulted in a OHKO
without Weakness as well.
The lack of Resistance is disappointing
but (unfortunately) quite common; an
appropriate Resistance could have made
the card just a bit better, but lacking
Resistance won’t ruin
Moving on to the final Stat, the
three Energy required to Retreat can be
painful to pay, but at least makes it a
legal target for
All in all, fairly good Stats.
has two attacks, which are differently
priced versions of attacks that other
Dragon-Type Pokémon in this both BW:
Dragons Exalted and Dragon Vault
also have: Dragon Pulse and Shred.
This actually makes
Rayquaza easier to evaluate, since
we can compare to how other Pokémon do
these things, though the other
differences between them and
Rayquaza must still be factored in.
Dragon Pulse requires (L) and hits for
40 points of damage, but with the
additional cost of discarding the top
two cards of your own deck; that is
quite a kick.
If you discard Pokémon or basic
Energy, they are easy to recycle and
certain decks can even make use of it.
Of course, Trainers are hard to
retrieve and if you don’t have a direct
combo, reclaiming what you discarded
will still require expending a different
Relying on this attack long term
gets very costly.
Shred requires (RLC) and hits for 90
points of damage that isn’t altered by
effects on the Defending Pokémon; note
that Weakness and Resistance are
considered basic mechanics and not
“effects”, and that effects on the
attacking Pokémon (in this case
Rayquaza) still apply.
Like most Dragon-Type Pokémon,
this means you have to run off-Type
Energy or a
Blend Energy that a lot of your deck
can’t use, since Fire and Lightning are
on the opposite versions.
It feels like these two attacks are
Dragon Pulse is certainly useful,
but it is challenging to rely on; it
doesn’t hit hard enough (even against
Weakness) to quickly rack up
so as I found out you end up discarding
a lot of your deck.
You have to use Dragon Pulse only
until you can afford Shred, which just
barely hits hard enough to be worth it,
since its effect will ignore most things
that would prevent Shred from 2HKOing
just about anything in the format.
Still, if we had gotten “Shred” for a
single Energy, it would have been a
nice. Potent opening move that we could
spam if we had too without such a
hassle, and ideally a Dragon Pulse for
two or three Energy would hit hard
enough to be worth it.
There are no other Modified Legal
Rayquaza to compete with, though in
a way it competes with all other
Like I said, Dragon Pulse and its
discard cost can become a serious pain;
if one built a deck around attacking
almost completely with Dragon Pulse, and
you managed to win with only 10 attacks,
that still means you have discarded 20
cards from your deck… which begins the
game at 46 cards by the time you
subtract opening hand, Prizes, and
Needing just a single source of
(L) it works in decks using actual basic
Prism Energy, or
Blend Energy WLFM and can attack
There are basic Pokémon that
start out with only four HP, so you can
always go for a donk win, and in fact a
PlusPower and the right partner
could turn that into an entire deck in
and of itself.
Most Pokémon-EX are better for
the OHKO, but crash and burn if
Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted
52/124) walls them.
This makes running
Rayquaza a sound alternative in such
After all, with 120 HP, one can probably
use Dragon Pulse twice before being KOed.
Even if you’re just throwing
Rayquaza up front to keep an
opponent busy, you might still take an
early Prize, or at least sour an
opponent’s set up.
The damage is enough your
opponent can’t easily ignore it, giving
you at least a shot at setting something
With the right cards, you might
even make an actual
Rayquaza focused deck work.
As stated, I’ve been trying with
Altaria, but ran into the same
problem Altaria/Garchomp decks had.
I am starting to wonder if I
should instead keep it simple, using
Exp. Share to just keep a string of
Rayquaza hitting turn after turn
Except of course I want
Eviolite as well and I can’t have it
both ways unless I am pretty brazen with
Tool Scrapper usage.
Still the main reason this card
is so enticing is for slamming it into
other Dragon-Type Pokémon.
With the damage output is
doubled, you’re scoring 80 for (L) and
180 for (RLC) with the usual drawback or
Unless I missed one of those
obscure protective effects, all
currently released Dragon-Type Pokémon
are a OHKO for Shred while almost all
Evolving Basics are a OHKO for Dragon
For Unlimited, I wish I had something a
little more original, but it is mostly
the same old stuff; you’ve got decks
that win or lock you down first turn and
then there is everything else. Still, at
least this time
Rayquaza would qualify towards the
upper end of “everything else”; it won’t
get by classical pains such as
Focus Band or “the Baby Rule”
printed on older Baby Pokémon, but it’s
a solid beatstick if you don’t want to
deal with odd mechanics like Pokémon-EX
As for Limited, I wouldn’t even try to
use Dragon Vault for Limited,
since everything will be hitting for
double damage and you’ve go so many
cards with bizarre Energy requirements,
but for all I know it is fun.
Of course, it also sounds
expensive since it is a mini-set, so I
am still scoring this “N/A”.
If you and some friends manage to pull
this while using BW: Dragons Exalted,
I would be leery of using it as the
price of the Secret Rare isn’t as high
as it was, but its still a fairly
It will be powerful, but you’ll
need to be able to afford to run basic
Lightning Energy and
Fire Energy, because you can’t rely
on just Dragon Pulse; you begin with a
40 card deck that loses seven cards to
your opening hand, four to Prizes, and
one more to your opening draw.
40 – (7 + 4 + 1) = 28
That means opening with
Rayquaza would only allow 14 shots
from Dragon Pulse, and you probably
won’t open with it!
Rayquaza may have some untapped
potential in its own deck, but the fact
I haven’t seen that yet and players were
play-testing with it via proxy long
before means I am probably wrong;
fortunately it is now significantly more
available thanks to Dragon Vault,
and it does seem to play opener/cleaner
in a lot of decks, so you have enough
reason to track them down without my
It is a very good card; snag it
while you can.