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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



Rayquaza EX

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 15, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: See Below
Limited: See Below

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#6 Rayquaza EX 

We end the week with a look at one of the most feared cards of its day: Rayquaza EX. 

Why feared? Because Rayquaza offered the holy grail of effectively limitless damage. If you could get enough Energy on it, Quaza would do enough hurt to KO even the most tank-y of Pokémon. Mega Kangaskhan with Hard Charm and Aspertia Gym? Discard five Energy and it’s gone. Not even Black Kyurem EX could match that kind of firepower, and only those Pokémon with built-in protection via Ability (Sigilyph, Suicune, Pyroar) were safe from its Dragonly wrath. What’s more, because it discarded to attack, it wasn’t especially vulnerable to Mewtwo or Yveltal EX either. 

Rayquaza’s heyday was back when Eelektrik NVI was in the format. This otherwise weak Stage 1 offered brilliant Energy acceleration via Dynamotor, enabling the deck to keep up with the heavy Energy cycling demands. Rayquaza/Eelektrik decks were massively successful, winning multiple high level tournaments and even surviving the release of Landorus EX, which was reckoned to be the end of Eels. When Eelektrik rotated, Rayquaza took a real hit in playability, but that attack was too good to ignore completely, so players found another way, using Emboar BLW and Super Energy Retrieval. While nowhere near as good as the Eels version, it still made for a very competitive deck. 

Now that we can use Eels again in the Extended, expect Rayquaza to have a huge impact there - apparently, Rayquaza/Eels is dominating that format in Japan. While that doesn’t necessarily mean it will do the same in the rest of the world, you would be very wrong if you didn’t think that it was going to be one of the decks to beat. What’s more, a lot of relatively new/younger players seem to have enormous nostalgia over Rayquaza/Eels (not sure I understand why) and they will be desperate to dust it off and take it to tournaments once more. 


Overall impact: 4.5

Extended: 4.5


It's the end of the week, and we're here looking at the Top 10 Cards Lost to Rotation! And naturally, we're at the #6 slot, bringing in a massive card that defined the format until Noble Victories rotated out. That's right, here we have the mighty powerhouse that is Rayquaza-EX! 

Being one of the first few Dragons in the TCG, Rayquaza-EX set the bar for what Pokemon-EX could be capable of. We'd seen a lot from just Mewtwo-EX's ability to turn a high-Energy Pokemon into a devastated one, but Rayquaza-EX never had to bother with manipulation when all he needed was raw power! And that's exactly what we got, alongside a cheap 1-Energy Retreat Cost to combine with Skyarrow Bridge (which makes him free to retreat, a scary combination)! 

Rayquaza-EX has two attacks that both help to do the same thing, in essence; first is the colorless Celestial Roar. Now when Dragon-types started out, most had attacks that tended to discard the cards from your Deck; as disadvantageous as that sounds, sometimes that's actually what you wanted, and Rayquaza-EX took full advantage of his discard for Celestial Roar. By discarding the top 3 cards, you could charge Rayquaza-EX with any basic Energies found in those cards! That's potentially a boost from 1 Energy to 4 Energy - in a single turn! 

But deck thinning isn't all that Rayquaza-EX was good for. His next attack, Dragon Burst, is absolutely brutal. At the cost of a Fire Energy and an Electric Energy, Dragon Burst became usable. Now you got to discard all the Fire Energy or all the Electric Energy to unleash 60 damage onto the Active Pokemon - for each Energy discarded this way. Assuming you used Celestial Roar with one Type of Energy, and you managed to get 3 of either Fire or Electric within those two turns of attaching, Celestial Roaring, and attaching again, that effectively is 180 damage to any Active Pokemon - an EX killer! 

Now there are - or should I say were - ways to utilize Rayquaza-EX to the fullest. Super Rod, which is also rotating out of the format, could help recover some of the Energy lost from a Juniper that needed to be played, usually the Fire Energy as Electric would easily be covered. What? You're wondering what Pokemon could do that? Why, Eelektrik (NVI), of course! From the time that Rayquaza-EX became legal to the time when the rotation hit, there were decks that ran him alongside Eelektriks that used their Dynamotor skill to attach Energy from the discard pile to a Rayquaza-EX on the Bench - preparing them for an easy switch-in with an Active Rayquaza-EX that just unleashed its own Dragon Burst!  

Rayquaza-EX hasn't been as active as he was then, but seeing as he's about to hit the Expanded format, I can see those kinds of decks making a major comeback. And against titans like Mewtwo-EX, Yveltal-EX, and the Blastoise-Black Kyurem-EX combo, Rayquaza-EX is about to unleash the thunder! 


Modified: N/A (you will be missed) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (he's going to get access to Eelektrik again, and that means he's about to go all devastation on the format again!) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (just cause acceleration is a little trickier here doesn't mean you're not running him) 

Arora Notealus: Of the various illustrations of Rayquaza in his cards, all popping out of their cards or just being a flying dragon, I gotta say the Full Art of his EX form is the best! Well, except maybe for the Shiny variants. 

Next Time: The continued countdown heads for the jewels! 

Weekend Thought: What're your thoughts on the Expanded format, which will include all sets from the Black&White Base Set onwards?


As is usually the case, we end the first week of our Top 10 list with the sixth most important key card cut by the pending rotation to BCR-On: Rayquaza-EX!  You can see the Pojo crew’s original review here and a follow up here.  Rayquaza-EX was at one time a major force in the format, partnered with Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) and if needed Skyarrow Bridge.  Eelektrik was cut by the last rotation, so Rayquaza-EX moved onto Emboar (Black & White 20/114; BW Promo BW21; BW: Next Destinies 100/99; BW: Legendary Treasures 27/113). 

So why did Rayquaza-EX see moments of intense play, but then fade away?  It is a Dragon-Type, which mostly meant some support it didn’t  need and hitting other BW-era Dragon-Types for double damage… which only came in handy on occasion because, as we’ll see when we look at the attack, it excels at OHKOs.  It is a Basic, making it easy to play, save for being a Pokémon-EX and giving up an extra Prize when KOed, being unable to use certain pieces of support, and being targeted by certain counter cards.  Being a Pokémon-EX did help to justify its impressive 170 HP; just 10 less than the most we’ve seen printed on a Basic Pokémon-EX, though many competitive decks can hit this amount with the right combo. 

Dragon Weakness used to be universal on Dragon-Types, but now there is a disconnect between the BW-era ones and the XY-era ones: the latter are Fairy Weak.  Factor in Druddigon (XY: FLashfire 70/106) and its gotten dicey for Pokémon like Rayquaza-EX; a big OHKO can be turned around with a Double Colorless Energy.  No Resistance is common to many Pokémon, and at worst a missed opportunity as it tends to only provide a small bonus (reducing damage by -20 is nothing compared to the doubling Weakness triggers).  The single Energy Retreat Cost proved very important in the past; it is great anyway, but as mentioned earlier it was comboed with Skyarrow Bridge and Energy acceleration from the discard to the Bench for a mighty deck. 

Celestial Roar is handy in a pinch, but as the only Energy acceleration option it proves pricey: remember how fast decks tear through themselves, now imagine losing three cards from your deck every turn.  Now remember you’re giving up a chance to attack for damage.  The rules change preventing it from merely being a T1 tactic also diminished its value.  Dragon Burst remains solid.  Yes it requires [LR] at minimum to use, and discards all basic Fire Energy or Lightning Energy attached to Rayquaza-EX when used, but for 60 per Energy discarded (and factoring in the Energy acceleration), it was well worth it; with enough Energy anything could be OHKOed, unless protected by another card effect.  It does always require hitting at full power, so if you may waste some Energy on overkills. 

So why isn’t this tops now?  Well, Druddigon is a huge reason.  Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) added another invincible wall (in addition to Safeguard Pokémon) for the deck to deal with.  It seems like Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) is everywhere, and without Inferno Fandango (or similar acceleration), Rayquaza-EX becomes too slow.  Lastly, more and more decks can score repeated OHKOs in some preferable manner, each diminishing Rayquaza-EX just a little more.  It might make a comeback in Expanded, when it regains its old dance partner Eelektrik, but it is hard to say; something better may replace it or perhaps the strength of Fighting-Types will make Eelektrik use too risky.  For Limited play, you can probably make a good +39 style deck with it; you’ll only be able to attack every other turn, but it should usually be for OHKOs.  There is a real risk of being KOed before you hit four Prizes, however. 


Modified (NXD-On): 3/5 - Definitely not a “generic” score; in the right deck Rayquaza-EX is a great attacker, but it is no longer quite the powerhouse it once was due to the ever shifting metagame. 

Modified (BCR-On): N/A, of course. 

Expanded (BW-On): 3.5/5 - This is actually my optimistic score.  Rayquaza-EX really must rely on its partners to really win, and so I don’t score it as high as most other proven Pokémon-EX attackers. 

Limited: 4.9/5 - A bit risky as it is unlikely you’ll be able to OHKO a series of 60 HP Pokémon and thus never need a turn to build Energy, but great nonetheless.

Summary: Rayquaza-EX enjoyed a good, long run but its not quite fast enough or reliable enough to dominate even though it can bring the hurt.  It’ll be getting another chance to partner with Eelektrik in Expanded, but things may have chanced to the point where even that level of support is not enough.

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