By Ellis Longhurst, Contributing Writer
Aspiring Pokémon TCG champions, get excited: with the new Battle Arena Decks featuring Ultra Necrozma-GX and Rayquaza-GX, it's now easier than ever to step into the competitive Pokémon TCG scene. These two battle-ready decks include a variety of powerful Pokémon and interesting Trainer cards, many of which featured in the decks that found success at the 2019 Pokémon World Championships. This gives players an opportunity to learn and practice some of the strategies favored by top Trainers from around the world. Read on to learn more about the Ultra Necrozma-GX and Rayquaza-GX Battle Arena Decks.
Rayquaza-GX Battle Arena Deck
The Rayquaza-GX Battle Arena Deck is designed to overwhelm the opponent by combining speed with power. With help from its star's Stormy Winds Ability and Tapu Koko Prism Star's Dance of the Ancients Ability, Rayquaza-GX can start doing serious damage with the first attack of the game. When you also consider the potentially huge damage output of Rayquaza-GX's Dragon Break attack later in battle—when you have lots of Energy attached to your Pokémon—it's no wonder this Pokémon is considered a formidable fighter.
Rayquaza-GX benefits from having loads of Energy in play, which makes Magnezone the perfect partner. Its Magnetic Circuit Ability allows players to attach Lightning Energy cards from their hand to any of their Pokémon as often as they like. Putting a Magnezone into play and flooding the battlefield with Energy is essential for players looking to use Rayquaza-GX's Dragon Break attack to Knock Out a TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX in one hit. To help players achieve this, the deck includes Volkner, Energy Spinner, and Rare Candy.
Throughout the history of the Pokémon Trading Card Game, several Pokémon with equivalent Abilities to Magnezone's have had an impact on the competitive scene. For example, Blastoise was the cornerstone of 2015 World Champion Jacob Van Wagner's winning deck. Blastoise's Deluge Ability allowed Jacob to attach Water Energy to his Pokémon with impunity, which made it a key to his success at the World Championships. Players looking to level up their skills and knowledge of the game need to be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of this kind of strategy...and there is no better way to learn than to be hands-on with a deck that contains a card like Magnezone.
When the going gets tough, the tough start sprinting! Zebstrika's Sprint Ability lets players dig deep into their decks to find valuable resources. With Brock's Grit and Fisherman to rescue cards from the discard pile, you can recover any key cards you need to discard to activate Sprint. Using Sprint in combination with Rayquaza-GX's Tempest-GX attack draws nearly one quarter of the deck in one turn. Did I mention that this deck is all about speed?
Zapdos definitely received the memo about the theme. This Pokémon can do 80 damage at the cost of only one Lightning Energy, making it an excellent option for the first attack of the game. Even though the deck's supplementary attackers—Zapdos, Heracross, and Zeraora—will not consistently do as much damage as Rayquaza-GX, they require small amounts of Energy to attack and give up a single Prize card when Knocked Out.
Give Rayquaza-GX a Boost
This deck is solid and fun to play on its own, but for players looking to personalize or upgrade the Rayquaza-GX Battle Arena Deck, there are a plethora of complementary cards to choose from.
Shaymin Prism Star is an excellent way to add more power to the deck. This Pokémon's Flower Storm attack does 30 damage for each basic Energy on your side of the battlefield—very similar to Rayquaza-GX's Dragon Break!
If you have a need for even more speed, then Dedenne-GX is the Pokémon of choice. Its Dedechange Ability allows players to discard their hand and draw 6 new cards from the deck, similar to Zebstrika's Sprint Ability.
Just like Rayquaza-GX, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX exemplifies speed and power. This Lightning-type TAG TEAM can put three Energy cards onto the battlefield with its Full Blitz attack, or do 200+ damage using Tag Bolt-GX. Add Cherish Ball to the deck to quickly search for Rayquaza-GX, Dedenne-GX, or Pikachu & Zekrom-GX and kick-start your new strategy.
Whether playing the Rayquaza-GX Battle Arena Deck right out of the box or augmenting it with popular and powerful Pokémon, you'll be in control of a deck that is both fun and impressive in battle.
Ultra Necrozma-GX Battle Arena Deck
The Ultra Necrozma-GX Battle Arena Deck is designed to give players access to multiple winning strategies. Ultra Necrozma-GX is a versatile attacker. It can Knock Out TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX in one hit by using Photon Geyser or simultaneously Knock Out two or three non-GX Pokémon with its Sky-Scorching Light-GX attack.
If there's any attacking Pokémon that pairs perfectly with Ultra Necrozma-GX, it has to be Giratina. Shadow Impact does enough damage to Knock Out most non-GX Pokémon in one hit, and the damage counters placed when using Giratina's Distortion Door Ability help Ultra Necrozma-GX achieve Knock Outs with Sky-Scorching Light-GX.
Malamar is the support Pokémon to use with Ultra Necrozma-GX and Giratina. Using Malamar's Psychic Recharge Ability, players can attach a Psychic Energy card from their discard pile to 1 of their Benched Pokémon each turn. This allows players to do significant amounts of damage with either Ultra Necrozma-GX or Giratina on the turn it comes into play. The most popular strategy is to try to keep at least two or three Malamar on the Bench at all times.
Since its release in the Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon—Forbidden Light expansion, Malamar has been a mainstay of International Championships, the largest and most competitive open-entry tournaments. A strong understanding of how to play with and against Malamar is essential for any player stepping into the competitive scene.
To best use Malamar's Psychic Recharge, the Ultra Necrozma-GX Battle Arena Deck includes the Trainer cards Mysterious Treasure, Acro Bike, and Viridian Forest, all of which give players the opportunity to put Psychic Energy into the discard pile. Top Trainers will also use these cards to discard Giratina so they can use its Distortion Door Ability.
Seeking out these Trainer cards is easy when you have Jirachi in the Active spot. This Pokémon's Stellar Wish Ability allows the player to take a Trainer card from the top 5 cards of their deck, but then Jirachi falls Asleep. Fear not! This deck includes Escape Board and Switch to ensure that Jirachi never gets stuck.
It is only fitting that a deck with ghostly Pokémon has some sneaky tricks in store! When you play Banette from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokémon, you may put a Basic Pokémon from your opponent's discard pile onto their Bench. This Ability could be used to fill your opponent's Bench with unnecessary Pokémon or create more targets for Ultra Necrozma-GX's Sky-Scorching Light-GX. One thing is for sure—this tactic will certainly frustrate your opponent.
Ultra Upgrades to Ultra Necrozma-GX
One of the best ways to improve your skill as a Pokémon TCG player and develop the best deck is to explore new combinations of cards. There's a wide range of interesting cards that players could add to the Ultra Necrozma-GX Battle Arena Deck. Players could include Spell Tag to put extra damage counters on the opponent's Pokémon, thereby making it easier for Giratina and Ultra Necrozma-GX to achieve Knock Outs. This card also has synergy with Espeon & Deoxys-GX.
Or, for a cost of only two Energy, Mimikyu's Copycat gives the opponent a taste of their own strength. Many talented Trainers use Mimikyu in combination with Spell Tag to Knock Out Reshiram & Charizard-GX by copying its Flare Strike attack.
As you can see, the Ultra Necrozma-GX Battle Arena Deck presents a number of valuable concepts for players who want to get better at their game. Plus, it gives you a head start in developing a variety of even more powerful decks.
Battle of the Dragons
Every Trainer wants to own the most powerful Pokémon TCG deck. So, which of these Battle Arena Decks would come out on top in a showdown? Unsurprisingly, the answer is not so clear-cut.
The speed of the Rayquaza-GX deck gives it a distinct advantage over the Ultra Necrozma-GX deck at the beginning of a Pokémon TCG battle. Priority should be given to setting up Zapdos as an attacker: using its Thunderous Assault to Knock Out an Inkay with the first attack puts enormous pressure on the Ultra Necrozma-GX player. Not only does this strategy earn a Prize card, it also prevents a Malamar from coming into play.
It's important for the Rayquaza-GX deck to keep the pressure on by Knocking Out an opposing Pokémon every turn. To achieve this, load Energy onto powerful attackers like Rayquaza-GX and Zeraora using Magnezone's Magnetic Circuit Ability. Magnezone is a Stage 2 Pokémon, so getting a Magnemite onto the Bench as early as possible is crucial to success.
If the Ultra Necrozma-GX player is given the opportunity to put multiple Malamar in play, the tide of battle will certainly turn. With only three Energy attached, Ultra Necrozma-GX's Photon Geyser attack can Knock Out Rayquaza-GX in one hit. By contrast, Rayquaza-GX needs an immense seven Energy in play for its Dragon Break attack to Knock Out Ultra Necrozma-GX. The option to continuously reuse Giratina as an attacker also gives the Ultra Necrozma-GX deck the edge if the game becomes a battle of attrition.
These are just a couple of ways to approach a showdown of the Battle Arena Decks. In the end, there is only one way to obtain a definitive answer to the question of which deck is better—choose your preferred Dragon-type Pokémon and challenge your friend to a battle!
An Investment in the Future
Exploring and mastering these strategies is only the beginning of the player's journey with the Battle Arena Decks. Many of the Pokémon and Trainer cards included in these decks are nearly universal in competitive Pokémon TCG events due to their versatility. With these cards in their collection, players can begin to build a variety of other popular and successful archetypes. For example, Jirachi commonly appears in the decks that star Reshiram & Charizard-GX, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, and Giratina with Malamar.
In fact, Jirachi, Zapdos, Tapu Koko Prism Star, Volkner, and many of the other Trainer cards in the Rayquaza-GX Battle Arena Deck were all featured in the Pikachu & Zekrom-GX deck that Pedro Torres used to place 3rd and Philip Schulz used to place 10th at the recent Regional Championships in Cologne, Germany—a tournament with over 720 players in the Masters Division!
Many popular decks are designed to take advantage of Malamar's Psychic Recharge Ability. This squidlike Pokémon can be found on the battlefield supporting Ultra Necrozma-GX, formidable TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX like Garchomp & Giratina-GX, or non-GX attackers like Giratina from the Sun & Moon—Lost Thunder expansion and Necrozma from the Sun & Moon—Unified Minds expansion. With each combination comes a slightly different deck construction, but all variations are reliant on Malamar, Viridian Forest, and Mysterious Treasure—cards that are included in the Ultra Necrozma-GX Battle Arena Deck!
Look for the Rayquaza-GX and Ultra Necrozma-GX Battle Arena Decks and take the next steps toward becoming a better Pokémon TCG player today! And be sure to check Pokemon.com/Strategy for more Pokémon TCG coverage and analysis.