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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- XY BREAKthrough

Date Reviewed:
January 26, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.65
Expanded: 3.90
Limited: 4.63

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

Back to the main COTD Page


You know it's not every day you hear about a card that isn't an EX being one of the headliners of a deck!...unless it's Vespiquen, Night March, etc. or in today's case, Raikou! 

Now I don't wanna hype up Raikou too much, mostly cause to me...he's alright. 120 HP isn't the absolute best for a Basic non-EX, but it's pretty good, and looking over him again, I think it's pretty obvious why he's gotten popular...aside from hanging out with John Travolta and his crew of leather jacket pompadour-brandishing bad boys. 

And that's as close to a Grease reference as you'll ever see me make. 

Anywho, Thunder Lance is an attack that you may recognize, just getting rebranded and remodeled to fit with the thunder beast here. We've seen a couple of attacks like this before, but the one that comes to mind is Keldeo-EX's Secret Sword! In fact, looking between the two...they're practically identical! Both are 3-for-50 attacks charged with Colorless Energy but that can deal 20 more damage for each additional Energy matching their Type that's attached to them - Water for Keldeo-EX and Electric for Raikou respectively. 

What's more, they've both come out at times when a Stage 2 Pokemon of their Type can throw down a bunch of Energy from the hand to power them up - Blastoise and Magnezone! So in a way, Raikou looks to be a cheaper weaker version of Keldeo-EX - but there is one other part to look at with him, and that'd be his Ability! 

No, it's not like Rush-In, but it does give Raikou at least some extra bulk. As long as Raikou has any Electric Energy attached to himself, Shining Body will reduce the damage he takes from attacks by 20 after applying Weakness and Resistance. This in turn gives him an effective 140 HP body to work with, which is pretty good for a non-EX Basic! So now he's a cheaper Keldeo-EX that's a little harder to KO and who only offers up one Prize when getting KO'd as opposed to 2. 

Not to mention he can get around a lot of stuff that would impede EX! 

And that's about where the pluses end. Raikou still has a lot to work for, since if he's not hitting for Weakness he's gonna need a LOT of Energy to KO most EX these days, let alone Megas. Assuming he's charged up with 3 Electric Energies, he'll be dealing 110 damage, which is enough to 2HKO the Basic-EX but just a bit shy of the majority of Mega-EX. Muscle Band can off-set this a bit, but he's still looking to 2HKO most offensive threats - aside from Vespiquen, Night March, etc. 

So that puts Raikou competitively somewhere in the middle - not the greatest omnipotent being, but not a bad idea to build a deck around. And with Magnezone at his side, he may be a force to reckon with! 

...oh, and make sure you've got Flash Energy around. Could save Raikou a turn against Fighting decks! 


Standard: 3.5/5 (I'd say he's got enough support that he can make a sizable impact - like the one he's made already - on the metagame) 

Expanded: 4/5 (and here it gets better with Eels!) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (and of course here, he's got the advantage of bulk and a strong offensive attack) 

Arora Notealus: Well, the way I see it, he could be systematic...hydromatic...ultramatic! Why couldn't he be GREASED LIGHTNING!!! 

Next Time: Flopping around like an electric fish!...wait what?


Raikou (XY: BREAKthrough 55/162) is our second choice for the week.  Again a Lightning-Type, it can hit some big names like Yveltal-EX for double damage and only has to worry about Resistance on older (BW-era) Fighting-Types.  M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 61/108) is the one card currently legal that has an anti-Lightning-Type effect, and that is just its Ancient Trait reducing the damage Lightning-Types (as well as Fire-, Grass- and Water-Types) do by 20.  I wasn’t going to repeat this fact but glancing at results from City Championships, a lone deck using this card managed to Top 8 so there you go.  Explicit Lightning-Type support is almost as anemic, with few examples and none of them especially compelling, though Lightning-Type Energy has some decent support options like Magnezone (XY: BREAKthrough 54/162) or Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101).  I’d grumble about this being not enough but just exploiting Lightning Weakness has been an important thing over the last few years so maybe that is enough. 

Raikou is a Basic Pokémon, so it is easy to fit into decks, easy to put into play, enjoys a few bits of specific Stage support and a natural synergy with many card effects.  The only own downside of being a Basic Pokémon comes from certain effects that adversely affect them, like Silent Lab.  120 HP is just 10 shy of the max printed on Basic Pokémon (sans those with additional mechanics like being a Pokémon-EX); it has a decent chance of taking a hit, especially when your opponent has an incomplete set-up.  Fighting Weakness is never a fun thing to have as the Type currently specializes in fast, reliable attacks with good damage relative to the Energy investment.  Any Resistance is appreciated; Metal isn’t the most common attacking Type but when you encounter it, 120 HP is likely to make it matter.  Finishing off the bottom of the card, the Retreat Cost of [C] is easy to afford, both up front and recovering from the discard, plus anything that lowers Retreat Costs zeroes it out. 

Raikou lacks an Ancient Trait but has one Ability (Shining Body) and one attack (Thunder Lance).  Shining Body kicks in if Raikou has any source of [L] Energy attached to it; while in effect it reduces the damage Raikou takes by 20 after Weakness and Resistance.  Before would of course be better but doing it at all is still handy, allowing Raikou to often fake having 140 HP against single attacks, 160 against two attacks, etc.  Thunder Lance repeats the familiar trick of having an attack to do a set amount of damage with a bonus for each Energy of a specific Type attached.  Aside from changing the name and the damage being based on attached [L] Energy (as opposed to [W]), this is “Secret Sword”, the attack Keldeo-EX made famous, which means it hits the same damage amounts for the same Energy (again, just insert the correct Type).  Apart from both being Basic Pokémon, Keldeo-EX has different everything than Raikou, but the attack itself is still really good. 

This is the only legal Raikou for both Expanded and Standard, so let us just get down to how it is used: this is the new Lightning-Type shocktrooper, pun intended.  The catch is that to be such a thing, it needs to be powered up and quickly.  Unlike Keldeo-EX, it lacks an Ability that makes it a valuable Bench-sitter, which it turn allowed it to function as a splashable Water-Type attacker in a variety of decks that otherwise would have not had room for such a thing.  Already named earlier, we have a Magnezone to accelerate [L] Energy from hand and Eelektrik to accelerate it from the discard pile (not recommended in the same deck).  The Lightning-Type lacks a super-shortcut like the Fighting- and Water-Types have for getting Evolutions into play, with the risks of Evolution being a real concern for anyone trying to make decks built around such cards high functioning.  Still it does appear to be happening and Raikou is a natural attacker in such decks, able to be built to OHKO levels if necessary, but as a non-Pokémon-EX Raikou only giving up a single Prize.  This is a huge boon to it in the current metagame.  M Manectric-EX can also accelerate basic Lightning Energy cards (along with any of the other Basic Energy Types).  I don’t think it would be too effective as M Manectric-EX is already a solid card for exploiting Lightning Weakness and if you can’t dump a lot of [L] Energy onto Raikou quickly, it isn’t scoring OHKOs without exploiting Weakness.  That’s pure speculation on my part as I haven’t been playing as much these last few weeks and as usual and even when I do, it is just on the PTCGO. 

So Raikou definitely has a place in Expanded and Standard, it just isn’t an overly prominent place right now.  In Limited play it is a good pull; even with no Lightning Energy available it would still be a great here due to its HP as both HP and damage output tend to be lower in Limited.  You only need a single Lightning Energy on it to trigger the Ability and get the damage output up, with two reaching damage output that would be solid for Standard or Expanded… but this is Limited.  Let that sink in.  You might even be able to risk this in a +39 build, where it is your only Pokémon in deck: the Ability will likely soak all the damage your opponent can do for the first turn or two and by then you’re scoring OHKOs against whatever comes up front.  Your opponent could still build something on the Bench to try for a OHKO or at least a solid 2HKO; you’d need to take all four Prizes before then.  XY: BREAKthrough has a decent amount of Fighting-Types, with Raikou fortunate that almost every fully Evolved Fighting-Type is a rare (or better) card and the one exception - Sandshrew (XY: BREAKthrough 75/162) and Sandslash (XY: BREAKthrough 76/162) - has Swift as its big attack (so Weakness won’t apply).


Standard: 3.8/5 

Expanded: 3.8/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Raikou thankfully lacks its own personal Energy acceleration, otherwise we’d be sick of it already.  While it might seem puny compared to some Pokémon-EX, those are just that: two-Prize Pokémon with a few other hang-ups.  Raikou is just a regular Basic with great attributes and two very good effects (one an attack and the other an Ability).  If the Lightning-Type had its own equivalent of Archie’s Ace in the Hole or Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, again we would already be sick of Raikou.  Instead it does show up in competitive play, just not often as part of the deck that wins the whole event. 

I was actually so impressed with Raikou that I had it as my sixth place pick for my final Top 15 cards of XY: BREAKthrough.  That was overrating it, especially as it didn’t reinvigorate Eelektrik decks and Magnezone didn’t suddenly become tops, nor did I really expect them to.  As no one else had it on their lists, for the official Pojo Top 10, it only managed a 13th place finish, and I’m actually not too bummed about that.  Again Raikou itself is a good, solid card but the support for it isn’t there… or rather is but is overwhelmed by so much else seeming “too good”.

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