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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Dark Explorers Countdown

#3 - Raikou EX
Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: May 16, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.75
Limited: 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:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Dark Explorers Countdown

#3 Raikou-EX

So today we make it to the top 3, and get to look at the cards which have had real hype behind them from the moment players set eyes on the translations from the Japanese cards. Today it’s the turn of Raikou-EX and I feel I should say that the ‘normal’ version is much better looking than the Full Art. That’s not just my opinion, that is a fact.*

Raikou-EX comes with a big 170 HP and a generous Retreat cost of one. It’s a Lightning Type, so you know it’s getting great support from Eelektrik NV and can slip easily into the established top tier decks that are based around Eel Energy acceleration. Fighting Weakness isn’t ideal, but that hasn’t stopped Zekrom/Eelektrik from doing well in an environment where Terrakion decks and techs are being played. It’s a concern, sure, but nothing that should turn you away from this card.

But hold on . . . what’s this? Raikou’s first attack is actually *shock horror* a bit rubbish. One Lightning and one Colourless Energy gets you just 30 damage and a coin flip for Paralysis. Ok, Paralysis is nice when it hits, but is THIS what you would run a 2-Prize EX Pokémon for? I don’t think so. Time to turn our attention elsewhere . . .

. . . and THERE it is. Volt Bolt is amazing. For [L][L][C] and the discarding of all Lightning Energy attached to Raikou you get to hit ANY of your opponent’s Pokémon for 100 damage. Yep, that’s right, this is the card that will finally kill off Truth variants (Reuniclus is now a OHKO on the Bench) and put the last nail in the Cofagrigus of Vileplume (a 2HKO and now you can use Trainers again). Other handy targets include your opponent’s Eelektrik in a mirror match and pretty much any evolving Basic or Stage 1 in existence. You can also pick up cheap Prizes on techs like Shaymin and Smeargle without needing a Pokémon Catcher. Anything else (like an active you want to get rid of)? Well Volt Bolt will two-shot that as well. Lightning-Weak Pokémon like Empoleon DEX, and Tornadus (EX or normal version) are easy Prizes too.

Obviously, to keep Raikou-EX powered up, you’re going to need to run Eelektrik yourself, plus Skyarrow Bridge to give it free Retreat and Switch to send it back active (unless you have a couple on the Field). That really is the serious limitation of this card. Unlike Tornadus-EX, which can be splashed into just about any deck, Raikou is really only viable in an Eels deck, and even then it’s going to be a one or two card tech rather than the main attacker. For that reason, I rated it a bit lower on my list. Make no mistake though, this is a very powerful card that makes an already powerful deck that much more scary. Expect to see a lot of Raikou-EX in the near future.

* May not actually be a fact


Modified: 4 (the best sniper since Garchomp C LV X)

Limited: 4.25 (not so easy to use without Energy acceleration, but the first attack is solid here and a Bench KO can seal the game)


Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing the #3 card on our Dark Explorers countdown, and it's a new Pokemon-EX that is sure to see some play, specially in one very powerful deck right now. Today's Card of the Day is Raikou-EX.
Raikou-EX is a Basic Lightning Pokemon-EX. Lightning is a very common type right now in Modified, so Raikou will have to do something excellent in order to see play, as it faces stiff competition from the likes of Zekrom, Zekrom-EX, Zapdos, and even Thundurus as Lightning-type attackers. As a Pokemon-EX, your opponent takes two Prizes for Knocking it Out, so be sure to keep Raikou safe as long as you possibly can to avoid giving up easy prizes. Raikou has a massive 170 HP, which will easily take all hits that aren't for Weakness, unless your opponent has a very powerful Mewtwo-EX or something like that. Fighting Weakness is terrible against Terrakion (which can easily OHKO), Groudon-EX, and the occasional Landorus, but isn't too bad otherwise. Sadly, Raikou-EX has no Resistance, but it does have a very nice Retreat Cost of 1, which can become free with Skyarrow Bridge, or is easily payable otherwise.
Raikou-EX has two attacks. Thunder Fang deals 30 damage and has a chance to Paralyze for a Lightning and a Colorless. This attack is very underwhelming for a Pokemon-EX in Modified, as 30 damage for two Energy is fairly standard on non-Pokemon-EX, so one would expect us to get some sort of bonus for being an EX, but this is unfortunately not the case. The attack is solid, if unspectacular in Limited, as well. Volt Bolt, Raikou's second attack will be the primary reason it sees play. for two Lightning and a Colorless, Volt Bolt allows you to choose one of your opponent's Pokemon and deal 100 damage to it, not applying Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon while discarding all of the Lightning Energy attached to Raikou. Though the double Lightning cost may seem like a lot, sniping 100 damage is fantastic, easily taking out most bench sitters in a single shot, as well as severely crippling everything else. Raikou is also easily powered up with Eelektrik (or Pachirisu + Shaymin), and can easily snipe multiple times before going down.
Modified: 3.5/5 Raikou-EX is a very powerful Pokemon, but it is also very narrow in its uses. Thunder Fang is underwhelming in a format focused on speed, although Volt Bolt is amazing due to the amount of damage the attack is able to snipe. Heavy Lightning Energy requirements will keep Raikou out of non-Lightning decks, but Lightning decks will welcome the very powerful sniping capabilities. Most Eels variants running Zapdos for sniping will probably make the switch over to run one or two Raikou-EX, although I can't see a deck run more than two copies due to its somewhat narrow uses. All in all, Raikou is a very solid new Pokemon-EX that fills a very powerful (albeit narrow) niche in the Modified metagame.
Limited: 3.75/5 Raikou is quite a bit more difficult to use in Limited, though it is still very powerful. 170 HP is monstrous, and both attacks are good in the format. Thunder Fang is a great early game attack, as having the chance to Paralyze the opponent is great to lock them up. Volt Bolt will likely get a KO once you use it, but without reliable Energy acceleration, discarding multiple Lightning Energy can be a difficult proposition, possibly setting your back a few turns tempo-wise. Overall, Raikou can be a star in decks focusing on the Lightning-type, but it is a rather slow hitter for the format.
Combos With: Eelektrik NV

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