Hey everyone! We’re just days away from the first International Championships and I could not be more excited. I had no plans to attend until about two weeks ago when I found a very cheap flight and I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve never left the country, barring a few short trips to Ontario, Canada, so this will be an awesome adventure for me. I’m excited to meet some European players I’ve talked with online but never had the chance to meet in person, as well as try to bring home a big win for the USA!
Luckily, the format for the London International Championships will be the same as the one used for Fort Wayne (PRC–EVO) so we won’t have to scramble too much to prepare. There are a lot of decks that you can expect to see though so it’s hard to choose which one will do best. I’ll run you through some decks that I think have a good chance at a deep run in London and why you might want to play them. Let’s get started.
Knight of the Round Table: Rayquaza
The first deck I want to cover today is Rayquaza. The deck has a handful of unfavorable matchups in the format, most notably Yveltal/Garbodor. This is due to the oppressiveness of Fright Night, as well as the combination of N, Parallel City, and Garbodor shutting you out of many games. Rayquaza also struggles with most other Garbodor decks in the format, is unfavorable against M Scizor, and has only an even matchup with Volcanion.
So you’re probably thinking, “Why would I ever consider Rayquaza?” There are two matchups that I really favor Rayquaza in:
M Gardevoir and Vileplume.
Gardevoir is basically a more durable Rayquaza deck with less damage output, and you can OHKO them whereas they have to 2HKO you. The addition of Magearna XY165 makes Vileplume a very favorable matchup as they can no longer wall you out with a Regice. Rayquaza can also beat Greninja decks at times, and its relative consistency to other decks in the format gives it a chance in unfavorable matchups. Here’s how I would play the deck:
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 35
Energy – 8
This list is pretty standard but there are a lot of nuances in building Rayquaza right now. With the new Raikou/Electrode and Pidgeot/Jolteon/Garbodor decks popping up recently, I currently favor the Dragon-type Basic Rayquaza-EX. Taking less damage in the early turns could be crucial to staying in the game. I do think that each of these matchups is winnable, and the 2nd copy of Hex Maniac really helps to limit the Energy acceleration in the Raikou deck. I also like the 2nd Hex against Greninja, a matchup that is quickly turning from favorable/even to unfavorable as Greninja players more often include 4 Faded Town and 4 Splash Energy.
In this deck, I like Brock’s Grit as my recovery option instead of Karen. In other decks, Karen can be a soft counter to Vespiquen while also helping you recover. The best way to play Vespiquen in my opinion is with Zebstrika, so a Rayquaza deck won’t have much of a chance, even with a Karen. And with only 4 basic Energy and no Super Rod, Brock’s Grit really pulls its weight.
Magearna-EX and Rattata are included as good ways to cover all of your bases. As M Scizor decks gain popularity following two Top 16 finishes in Fort Wayne, being able to keep your DCE attached can mean all the difference in the Prize trade. Although Garbodor will shut down Magearna-EX’s Ability, I don’t think Garbodor is needed in the deck and expect many players to cut it. Rattata can get rid of Bursting Balloon and Fighting Fury Belt, either keeping you alive longer or making it easier to achieve knockouts on bulky Pokémon-EX. The addition of the new Dragonite-EX also helps to get the optimal use out of these tech Pokémon.
Rayquaza could be played with Fairy Energy as the basic Energy of choice, as well as a Diancie-EX FCO instead of the Magearna cards. Diancie is a pretty annoying Pokémon for Yveltal decks to deal with. When it’s Active, it causes Pitch-Black Spear to deal only 10 to the Active Diancie and 30 to the Benched EX of choice. This is the best way for the deck to deal with Yveltal in the early game but it makes the Scizor, Gardevoir, and Vileplume matchups slightly worse.
If you want to try that version out, I would suggest dropping Magearna and Magearna-EX for 2 Diancie-EX and substituting a Lysandre for a Switch/Escape Rope/Float Stone to help get Diancie into or out of the Active position.
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