Hello, everyone! It’s that time of year where we have a brand new set that’s created an exciting new Standard format, but now we get to focus on Expanded for a couple weeks for Toronto and Greensboro Regionals. This is the first big Expanded tournament with the inclusion of Team Up and with the new bans on Lusamine and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, and I believe that we are in for an exciting tournament now that the format has been shaken up. I am still hoping to go to Toronto, and if I go I will most likely be playing the deck I am about to talk to you about, unless I can find something else that really excites me. Before I start talking to you about Rayquaza and why I think it is one of the best decks in Expanded I wanted to talk a little bit about the new PikaRom deck, since it is pretty much the only new deck that popped up with the new set. I do not believe that Zapdos is going to be a very strong contender in Expanded--everything else is too fast and there is no time for Zapdos to take advantage of the few turns when the opponent is trying to set up. PikaRom however, is going to be a very fast powerhouse that just explodes Energy onto the field and blows up its opponent. The whole point of the deck is to flood the board with Energy, then threaten a GX attack on the second turn of the game. The speed of the deck reminds me of Night March but this Pokémon has 240 HP, which is huge when you are attacking so fast. But that’s enough about PikaRom. I am going to be talking about a deck that I believe can easily contend with PikaRom and the rest of the format: turbo Rayquaza.

This is a deck that saw a little bit of success before Team Up came out, getting a Top 4 finish that really put it on the map but not very many people took the risk on the deck for Dallas because they thought it was just another fast deck that wouldn’t be able to keep up with Archie’s Blastoise or non-EX/GX decks attacking with one-prize attackers. Luckily, we do not have to worry about the one-prize attackers anymore thanks to the banning of Maxie’s and the printing of PikaRom, which makes decks like Vespiquen and Night March almost unplayable in the new Expanded format--especially when you already have Archie’s playing Articuno ROS to counter decks like that. This creates a good Meta for Rayquaza to come in and dominate a tournament. Rayquaza is very similar to PikaRom because we are trying to get as much Energy onto the field as we possibly can to use Rayquaza and attack for big damage on the first or second turn of the game. We will be using cards like Shaymin EX and Marshadow to burn through our deck very quickly trying to find more Max Elixir and Ho-oh EX, then we will be using Ho-Oh’s “Rebirth” Ability to get two Energy and a Ho-Oh from our Discard Pile into play to have an extra boost of damage. Other than that, it is a very straightforward deck built with consistency in mind. I did not want to have a bunch of techs in a deck that randomly discards cards through the use of Rayquaza GX’s “Stormy Winds” Ability multiple times throughout the game. We are playing a lot of Items in this deck so we have to be a little bit wary of Garbodor GRI, but I will go over that a little bit later in the matchup session of this article.

Now I am going to talk to you about a couple of the cards that the deck got from Team Up to make it a little bit better than it already was. There are only two that I am currently playing, but there is a third card that might be able to get played, though I am not too excited about it after trying it out a little bit.

Tapu Koko Prism Star

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