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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 M Rayquaza-EX

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
November 13, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3
Expanded: 3
Limited: DNA

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Alright, time for a big ol’ Colorless-Type Pokémon: M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 98/98)!  Now as nearly all of you know, this is almost-but-not-quite an alternate art reprint of M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108): the difference is in the Ancient Trait (well, and the art but that isn’t game relevant unless it distracts or confuses your opponent).  As such part this review can double as an “update” on that card. 

Back to the Colorless-Type, nothing is Weak or Resistant to the Type (unless you are talking the Unlimited Format card pool); while it is handy not having to worry about an irritating -20 that throws off damage calculation is a nice little bonus it pales to the potential of having a massive advantage in at least certain match-ups from enjoying double damage.  There are two attackers that hit harder against Colorless-Types - Exeggutor (XY: Roaring Skies 2/108) and Haxorus (BW: Dragon Vault 16/20) - but in an underwhelming manner for all things involved, while for support there is Altaria (XY: Black Star Promos  XY46; XY: Roaring Skies 74/108) and its Ability that negates Weakness on your Colorless-Types, Aspertia City Gym to add 20 HP to Colorless-Types and Winona to search out three Colorless Pokémon from your deck to your hand.  The vast majority of Colorless-Type Pokémon are intended to work off-Type and as they have their own needs, usually work better when paired with a specific kind of support, so unless you also use some of the aforementioned Type-specific support they aren’t going to strengthen fellow Colorless-Types anymore than they do everything else.  Even being easy to splash into decks isn’t an exclusively Colorless-Type trait; it is a function of having worthwhile effects that don’t care about Pokémon and/or Energy Types.  Of course, this is the same as it was when the older Colorless M Rayquaza-EX released. 

Being a Mega Evolution is a little worse now than when XY: Roaring Skies debuted.  Why?  Besides the addition of Faded Town (a Stadium that places two damage counters on Mega Evolutions between turns), it helps to remember that when XY: Roaring Skies came out, Mega Evolutions themselves had only recently gone from “occasionally seen fatty” to “regular deck focus”.  XY: Phantom Forces introduced the first Spirit Link cards and while we got some more in XY: Primal Clash, there still aren’t really that many of them now as compared to many other mechanics.  When we only had one really viable Mega Evolution using a Spirit Link (M Manectric-EX) it only started us thinking about general anti-Mega Evolution tactics… or at least for the ones with Spirit Link cards.  Now?  Now you need to know how to deal with the likes if M Manectric-EX, M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108), M Sceptile-EX, Primal Groudon-EX and Primal Kyogre-EX, plus a few less effective Mega Evolutions that can still clobber you when you run into them.  Still not a lot, but definitely more. 

Otherwise being a Mega Evolution is all the drawbacks of being a Pokémon-EX (giving up an extra Prize when KOed, focus of certain detrimental card effects, excluded from certain beneficial card effects) plus Mega Evolving ends your turn the instant you do it unless you’ve got that precious Spirit Link (in this case, Rayquaza Spirit Link), which eats up more space in your deck as well as the Tool slot on Rayquaza-EX/M Rayquaza-EX, plus some Mega Evolution specific detrimental effects (Faded Town)... but the trade off is potentially even better attributes and effects than regular Pokémon-EX and for sure access to support like Mega Turbo.  M Rayquaza-EX keeps the 220 HP that is a good, score though middle-of-the-road for Mega Evolutions.  The Lightning Weakness should be a greater risk now; Jolteon (XY: Ancient Origins 26/98) allows any Stage 1 to exploit it and the Lightning-Type did get some more support, and we are seeing more variants of M Manectric-EX decks or at least as many but still making the top cut.  The Fighting Resistance is still a nice little bonus, but a lot of the time it won’t make a big difference even mostly/mono-Fighting-Type decks.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is still great; easy to pay and to recover from having paid. 

We’ll get to the change in Ancient Trait after seeing if “Emerald Break” is as good as it once was.  [CCC] is still pretty easy to meet, with various forms of Energy acceleration and 30 times the number of your Benched Pokémon is still a solid starting point for damage, maxing out at 150 unless you use Sky Field, at which point it can do up to 240 damage, OHKOing all but the largest (or protected) targets.  We keep receiving more strong attackers, either in terms of raw power or useful effects, as well as supporting cards that improve older attackers, eroding some of this attacks’ edge.  We also know that some cards are coming (or already out but not quite legal) that while not technically specific counters for Emerald Break, effectively are (Parallel City).  So at last we come to the one difference between the original M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) and the more recent M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 98/98); “Δ Evolution” versus “Θ Max”; the former is amazing as it allows you to Evolve the appropriate Pokémon in play into the Pokémon with Δ Evolution immediately, even the first turn of the game.  The latter… is a solid trick as it removes all damage from itself when you Mega Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into whatever has Θ Max.  I am being kind of general because both Ancient Traits appear on multiple cards.  Both can be total wastes; if you can’t Evolve immediately (or have a reason to wait like lacking a Spirit Link) or if you have no damage on the Rayquaza-EX you want to Evolve, there is no benefit. 

Hands down, Δ Evolution is superior to Θ Max, however you can run up to four cards named M Rayquaza-EX so running both is an option… except I checked the top cut results from the 2015 Autumn Regional Championships and I didn’t see a single one bother with the split.  At first I thought that this would be the Θ Max Pokémon where it really mattered but the game’s pace has managed to become that tiny bit faster than it already was; while there are plenty of matches where you won’t be dropping M Rayquaza-EX immediately onto Rayquaza-EX, it just isn’t enough to risk whiffing on a first turn/second turn M Rayquaza-EX.  If for some reason you are stuck using Rayquaza-EX (XY: Black Star Promo XY66) or are trying to work the Colorless M Rayquaza-EX into a deck built around the classic Rayquaza-EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 85/124, 123/124; BW: Black Star Promo BW47), then your deck isn’t built around getting the Mega Evolution to the field ASAp and maybe it makes enough sense to go with the Θ Max version instead.  Otherwise you’ll rarely have reason to attack with Rayquaza-EX (and thus an opening to be damaged before Mega Evolving). 

I’m not actually running through the specifics for the various Rayquaza-EX and M Rayquaza-EX again; their roles don’t seem to have changed much since their last reviews and we’ve got pretty recent CotDs for them.  The original Rayquaza-EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 85/124, 123/124) is the oldest of said reviews I’m referencing, so to be clear it is still a good, solid attacker but there are so many rivals and the need to more consistently hit the higher numbers requiring a four Energy discard (to OHKO Mega Evolutions) also pushes it.  M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 61/108) didn’t live up to the more optimal expectations, and not even to my more subdued ones, though it can still clobber the unprepared.  I’ve been discussing M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) in detail, but it was reviewed alongside Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 75/108, 104/108) so here you go; this Rayquaza-EX remains the preferred one for Mega Evolving into a Colorless M Rayquaza-EX.  Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 60/108) is still only needed if you want to access Dragon-Type support with M Rayquaza-EX (any version), won’t (or can’t) use the original Rayquaza-EX and is not recommended unless you lack its Colorless set-mate.  The worst Rayquaza-EX to use is and I pretty much say that here. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 98/98) was not needed, though you may enjoy its art.  I had thought it was “different” enough from what came before to warrant being re-reviewed and I also thought the it and its set-mates Primal Groudon-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 97/98) and Primal Kyogre-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 96/98).  I was wrong on at least the latter; we could have covered all three at once.  All that being said, it isn’t actually a bad card; it just is so outclassed by the original version.  If things shift a bit, a single copy might even finally find its way into a winning Emerald Break focused deck, but I’m not holding my breath.


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