The Flying Foe

Isaiah on Rayquaza/Garbodor for the World Championships

Hello everyone! I am honored to bring y’all the last article before the Pokémon World Championship in Nashville, TN. For the past few weeks I have been doing an insane amount of testing over multiple different matchups. Logging in just over 500 games since U.S. Internationals, I have never put this much time into testing for an event. Needless to say, I am both super excited and super prepared for the tournament.

Throughout my testing, I have found that this may be one of my favorite formats in the 9 years I have played this game, easily making my top 3 favorite metas. For the longest time, the game has seemed to be so heavily influenced by variance to a point that it was often more important than strategy in a given match. In this meta, I feel as if any deck can beat any other deck due to the enormous amount of conditional effects Pokémon has brought to the game. Effects like Trashalanche and Sledgehammer that require certain board states to maximize effectiveness allow for both players to “outplay” their opponents with smart strategy. In such a format, there are multiple opportunities for players to get creative with their concepts and lists. I am almost more excited to see what new concepts players will bring to Worlds than I am to actually play in the event.

Today, I am going to be covering the deck that I believe to be highly consistent and powerful, Rayquaza-GX/ Garbodor. Going into Worlds or the Nashville Open, the deck that you play should either be able to deal with Rayquaza-GX or be Rayquaza-GX. This deck is currently my one of my top choices and is able to easily run over most decks in the meta. Contrary to popular belief, this deck actually has a lot of important decisions to make and just the slightest mistake can mean missing the KO and losing the game. On that note, let’s jump into the deck.

Pokémon – 10

4 Rayquaza-GX

2 Marshadow SLG

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Trubbish GRI

1 Garbodor BKP

1 Latias p

Trainers – 36

4 Guzma

4 Professor Sycamore

1 Lillie


4 Acro Bike

4 Max Elixir

4 Mysterious Treasure

3 Ultra Ball

2 Pal Pad

2 Super Rod

1 Red Card

1 Rescue Stretcher

3 Float Stone

3 Wishful Baton

Energy – 14

7 G

7 L

This is one of, if not THE most aggressive deck in our current format. The idea is to threaten a turn two or even turn one KO on whatever your opponent has in play. It is very easy to go into your second turn with 5 energy already in play, meaning that it is likely to KO a Zoroark-GX as quickly as your 2nd turn. The key to successfully piloting this deck is to be extremely smart about your energy placements and resource control. To get good with this deck, you constantly need to be looking to create checkmate board states with your attachments, Max Elixirs, and Latias p.

The Card Choices

3 Wishful Baton

This choice is where most Rayquaza-GX lists differ. When I first started testing the deck, I thought surely that Choice Band was the right secondary tool card to play behind float stone—it acts as a free energy attachment. However, in testing, I found the best tool was Wishful Baton. The pressure that having that tool provides is enough to often win you games. It is easy to say, “oh your opponent will just Field Blower the Wishful Baton so you shouldn’t play it,” but when it comes down to the turn against BuzzRoc, where they have to hit their 1-of Field Blower off of a Professor Sycamore to have a chance at winning the game, then Wishful Baton’s value becomes obvious.

In a full game, if you use all 3 Choice Band once, then you will do a total of an extra 90 damage to your opponent’s EX and Pokémon-GX. If you get a single Wishful Baton effect on a 3 energy Rayquaza-GX, then you will be doing an extra 90 damage every turn to all of your opponent’s Pokémon since you get to keep 3 energy in play.

Possible replacements: Choice Band, Fighting Fury Belt

2 Marshadow SLG/1 Red Card

Rayquaza-GX is inherently a very linear card. It is a basic Pokémon that does a lot of damage very quickly with built in energy acceleration. It does not need a whole lot to get going and is very predictable in gameplay. Adding in 2 Marshadow and 1 Red Card adds just the right amount of disruption to keep your opponent on their toes.

My turn 1 often goes something like this: Mysterious Treasure for Marshadow, use Marshadow’s Let Loose for 4 cards, hit another Mysterious Treasure or Ultra Ball, search for Tapu Lele-GX, and Wonder Tag for Lillie into a super strong hand. Through this turn, you have the potential to see up to 20 cards including the Tapu Lele and Marshadow. Your opponent, however, is stuck starting the game with a 4 card hand.

Possible replacements: Parallel City, Field Blower, 2-2 Garbodor

1-1 Garbodor BKP

In an attempt to continue this idea of disruption, we run a thin 1-1 line of Garbodor for the Garbotoxin ability. This way, we can lock our opponents from doing anything to us once we are happy with our board state. This card synergizes really well since we already play Mysterious Treasure for easy access. The 1-1 Garbodor line also covers a few of Rayquaza-GX’s weaknesses such as Hoopa’s Scoundrel Guard. Garbodor is a card that adds a lot of potential disruption without taking away from the deck’s consistency too much.

Potential replacements: more consistency.

4 Professor Sycamore/1 Lillie/2 Pal Pad/4 Acro Bike

I found this to be the fastest and most consistent engine for Rayquaza-GX. Lillie is obvious, as it is the best turn one Supporter when you are playing a deck that does not need Brigette. The deck naturally mills itself due to Rayquaza-GX’s Stormy Winds. This means that we can run through our deck extremely quickly by playing Professor Sycamore and Acro Bike as well. After we have everything that we need set up, we can easily rebuild our deck with the supporters that we need with Pal Pad.

For Example, if we have a Pal Pad and Acro Bike in our hand, our deck only has 5 cards remaining in the late game, and we need to Guzma next turn for game; we can just Pal Pad back in two Guzma and likely hit one of them off of our Acro Bike.

Potential replacements: Cynthia, N (but I would not recommend this)

2 Super Rod/1 Rescue Stretcher

2 Super Rod and a Rescue Stretcher play in naturally with the idea of running through your deck really quickly and then rebuilding it in the late game to recover the cards that you need. Much like Pal Pad, we can easily throw back the cards we need to win the game.

Say a Rayquaza gets Knocked Out and we still need to find 2 energy to put into play to win the game. Well, we can Super Rod the Rayquaza-GX back into the deck along with 2 energy. Then we can Mysterious Treasure for the Rayquaza-GX and use its Ability to get an energy from our discard. Then we can follow this up with a Max Elixir that is likely to hit given the 2 energies we put back into the deck. Now we can reach the KO.

The Matchups

Zoroark-GX/Garbodor 40-60

This is by far your hardest matchup solely due to Garbodor’s Trashalanche. If you look at the list above, you will notice that we play 27 Item cards. This means that potentially, Trashlanche can smack a Rayquaza-GX for a base of 540 damage. How possibly could this matchup just be a 40-60 then? Shouldn’t we just get swept every time?

At the beginning of this article, I talked about how I am very fond of this format due to the skill that is being reintroduced and I believe this matchup is a perfect example of what I am talking about. The key is to just become extremely disciplined at not playing Item cards ever. Just refuse to play them. If you do not play them, then your opponent does not do damage and you can attempt to create a boardstate that is winnable. DO NOT use Rayquaza-GX’s Ability in this matchup, ever. Just wait a turn to attach another energy if you have to and be happy that you didn’t just discard 3 Items. Latias p will really shine in this matchup because you can accelerate energy into to play without playing items and soften up Zoroark-GXs with the 30 damage poke.

Marshadow and Red Card are great cards to play in the first turn in this matchup as well. Often you can just take momentum in games because Zoroark-GX decks have a hard time setting up well with low hand sizes in the early game. Then, if you can follow up this disruption with a Garbotoxin, often you just run away with the win.

Zoroark-GX/Control 65-35

ZoroControl is the easiest matchup this deck has, especially if they do not play the Sylveon-EX tech. The only way they can win is by keeping energy off of your board with Flare Grunt while trying to kill Rayquaza-GX. Just set up a board state with Latias p that is capable of one shotting a Zoroark-GX and is capable of one shotting a Slyveon-EX after you lose 3 energy from a return KO. If you can pull this off, you win the game.

Often you will just rush down this matchup before they get the chance to respond anyway. This is especially true if you can find Marshadow or Red Card on the first turn so that they struggle setting up multiple Zoroark-GX early. This is especially effective if you can follow it up with a turn 2 Garbotoxin. Try to limit the Pokémon you put on your bench that do not have energy as they are easy counter catcher stall targets. If you play carefully and stay aware of the resources you have in hand/deck at all times, this matchup should be extremely easy.

Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX 60-40

This is a matchup that is a lot closer than most people think. I often hear that Rayquaza-GX is very favored in this matchup but Buzzwole can apply enormous amounts of pressure with Beast Ring, sledgehammer, and Lycanroc-GX’s Dangerous Rouge. The key to this matchup is getting yourself to odd prizes. In doing this, you can skip your opponents sledgehammer turn and only give them a single turn to find Beast Ring. Marshadow/Red Card into Garbotoxin is extremely effective in this Matchup as well. Garbotoxin will be very strong at making your opponent miss those crucial KOs due to their lack of access to Octillery and Diancie. Wishful Baton is most effective in this matchup since it is very difficult for BuzzRoc to find their Field Blower, if they even play any. Normally these games play out very fast, so do not hesitate to start taking Prize cards.

Gardevoir 50-50

But Isaiah, Rayquaza-GX is weak to Fairy Pokémon, how is this a 50-50? Just because Rayquaza-GX is easily one shot by Gardevoir does not mean that Gardevoir is still favorable. If you think about it, every card in the format is pretty easily one shot by Gardevoir, that is what makes Gardevoir so good The thing that we should be paying attention to is that Rayquaza is debatably the fastest deck in the format, in competition with BuzzRoc. The one thing that Gardevoir struggles with is the speed of other decks and that is not any different in this Matchup.

Gardevoir often has trouble dealing with your Wishful Batons so that will be very effective in this Matchup. If you can keep enough energy in play to one shot Gardevoirs then you will quickly find that you can stream Rayquaza-GX much easier than they can stream Gardevoir-GX. Garbotoxin can be very effective in this matchup if used correctly, but be careful because sometimes you can hurt yourself more than them. Try to combo Garbotoxin with a Marshadow or Red Card in the early game to just lock them out of the game.

Baby Buzzwole/Garbodor/Shrine of Punishment 35-65

In testing, this has proven to be quite the tough matchup for Rayquaza-GX. First of all, we have to actually take 6 full KOs given the decks lack of Pokémon-GX. With Red Card and Marshadow, however, we can capitalize on this since we know they do not play Tapu Lele-GX for easy access to Supporters. To take the win in this matchup, we have to play this much like the ZoroGarb match up where we refuse to play Items. If you can somehow attempt to Get 5 energy in play (enough to 1HKO every Pokémon in their deck) with playing 7 items or less, then you can sweep their board with a Rayquaza-GX.

The thing that makes this matchup so difficult is that we do not play any outs to getting rid of Shrine of Punishment. Luckily this deck is not very popular, but if you are scared to play against it, then you could definitely help this matchup with the inclusion of counter stadiums or Field Blower.

In review of Rayquaza-GX’s matchup spread, it seems to average out to 50-50 in the meta with A few pretty hard matchups and a few pretty easy matchups. Luckily its most difficult matchup is one that is not very popular. Given the decks ability to steal games with hand disruption, ability lock, and utter speed, it can easily 2-0 decks that is supposedly has a hard time against. This also means that it can punish players for choosing a rogue deck that cannot deal with all of Rayquaza-GX’s pressure. These reasons are really why I think the deck is a powerful choice going into Worlds and the Open.

That is all I have for you guys today! Thank you so much for reading through this, and I hope you all have a great time in Nashville this weekend! I will be arriving in Nashville on midday Thursday. I am so excited to see all of you guys as this will definitely be a great event. If you see me around or have any last minute questions/comments before the tournaments, do not be afraid to ask me as I’d love to share my opinion on whatever it is with you. Until next time, good luck at Worlds/Nashville Open and good luck at your future tournaments.

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