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Rainbow Road: Sky’s the limit
Hey guys, I’m Sten Carlet and this will be my first deck profile on Poké-Spot and it will be based on one of the first decks I build when I started playing the TCG, and it is none other than Rainbow Road! Before the rotation, when Night March, Trevenant and Seismitoad were running rampant in standard, Rainbow Road wasn’t that viable, being too slow and relying on items. But after the rotation, it became a viable deck to play in standard being a one prize attacker that can OHKO Mega’s and normal EX’s. In this article I’ll be discussing the build I am currently using including a League Challenge recap where I played Rainbow Road.
The main strategy of this deck is mainly attacking with Xerneas from the set Breakthrough. OHKOing Pokémon one by one with its attack Rainbow Force! For two colorless and a single fairy energy, Rainbow Force does 10+30 damage for each different type of Pokémon on your bench. That means you need six to seven types of Pokémon to hit the magic numbers of 170-220.
Painting the town every color with Hoopa EX
To boost our Rainbow Force attack we need to Load up our bench with a lot of Pokémon. There are different ways to load your bench with Pokémon, most notably Bridgette, Hoopa EX or a high count Pokéballs (Level Balls, Ultra Balls etc.) and consistency cards (Acro Bikes, Trainer’s Mail etc.). In this build we will be focusing more on the Hoopa EX engine, Hoopa EX’s ability Scoundrel Ring let’s you search for up to three EX Pokémon and put them in to your hand. This means a single Hoopa EX can add up to 150 damage to the Rainbow Force attack! The downside of using the Hoopa EX engine is losing Mew for Fates Collide as a secondary attacker because Hoopa EX already serves as a Psychic type and it being a two prize Lysandre target late game.
4 Xerneas BKT
1 Xerneas Break STS
1 Hoopa EX AOR
1 Flygon EX PR
1 Genesect EX FTC
2 Shaymin-EX ROS
1 Volcanion-EX STS
2 Joltik STS
2 Galvantula STS
4 Professor Sycamore
1 Hex Maniac
4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
2 Float Stone
3 Trainers Mail
3 Max Elixir
2 Exp Share
1 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Super Rod
3 Sky Field
1 Parallel CIty
7 Fairy Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy
Let’s first look at the Pokémon line up I am using
Xerneas being our main attacker and not being an EX Pokémon you would definitely want to play for and increase your chance of drawing into them!
This was actually a fighting fury belt, but with Plume Box increasing in popularity I wanted an out against Jolteon EX without putting Pokémon Ranger in the list. Xerneas Break serves two purpose for this deck unlike fighting fury belt. It increases your HP and damage, it also makes Xerneas into an evolution Pokémon bypassing Jolteon EX’s Flash Ray. Only downside is you can’t evolve on the first turn Xerneas is played. You can switch this to a fighting fury belt if your meta doesn’t have a lot of Jolteon EX running around.
The engine that makes this deck going and also the color purple in our rainbow!
For our dragon type I went with Flygon EX, with its abilty Voice of the Sands. Voice of the Sands let’s you make your opponent switch his active Pokémon with one of their benched ones. That means with Lysandre it is another out to Jolteon. By switching Jolteon EX out it removes the effects of Flash Ray and then Lysandering it back to the active spot to knock it out! Another option is Kingdra EX if you don’t have any Jolteon EX running around your meta. Only upside Kingdra is that is it has only one retreat cost instead of two.
The metal slot is filled in by Genesect EX. This card so useful with the deck running 5 Tools. It’s ability Drive Change it can hold a tool card for you when you Sycamore or N. Another option for the Metal slot is Jirachi. Especially against decks that rely on special energies.
The Meta! Shaymin EX serves as our colorless in our rainbow and for its amazing ability Set Up. Making the deck more explosive and consistent!
Volcanion EX serves as our favorite bench sitter, providing an extra 60 damage to Rainbow Force and being searchable with Hoopa EX.
Our only stage 1 dual type in this deck. Both Pokémon are so useful, Joltik has free retreat. That means that you have 6 Pokémon that you don’t mind starting with and also making a first turn Rainbow Force possible! It’s evolved form isn’t just a benched sitter either. Not only it’s a dual type and adds 60 damage to Rainbow Force it also has a useful attack for a single colorless, Double Thread deals 30 damage to two of your opponent’s benched Pokémon. The attack even applies weakness and resistance, meaning this thing can one shot Froakies and two shot Shaymins for four prizes!
Other notable Pokémon that could can be included: For Fighting, Carbink (Energy Keeper), Regirock Promo. For Dark, Umbreon EX. For Grass, Celebi Promo and for Lightning, Jolteon EX.
Now for the trainers!
I won’t be going over all the trainers with them being self explanatory like 4 Ultra Ball, 2 N, 4 Professor Sycamore, 4 VS Seeker and 2 Float Stone.
Lysandre: Most list runs 2 Lysandre, but I don’t mind running only one because I don’t really mind knocking out what’s in front with Rainbow Force. But if you are more comfortable with two, you could cut out a Max Elixir.
Hex Maniac: I honestly rarely put Hex Maniac in my lists. But with Greninja and Yveltal being a bad matchup, I just had to include one in this list.
Trainers Mail: I found only three Trainer’s Mail enough with the deck running pretty consistent with only three.
Max Elixir: One of the key cards in this deck, because it is really important to keep energy on the board and being able to stream Xerneas every time one gets knocked out. With only running 7 basic energy you have to be smart when to use Max Elixir to hit it with a high success rate.
Olympia: Being a VS Seeker target. This card is so good in this meta. Without it, the matchup against Yveltal becomes almost an auto loss when they Lysandre our Volcanion EX. I didn’t have this in my list for the League Challenge, instead I played an escape rope.
Exp. Share: Another card to keep energy on the board to stream Xerneas one after the other. And it being a tool card, Genesect EX can hold it until you bench another Xerneas.
Fighting Fury Belt: This is mostly for the Greninja matchup. Greninja BREAK can’t OHKO a Xerneas with a Fighting Fury Belt.
Super Rod: Super Rod is important against a Parallel CIty drop and also to put back basic energy back into your deck to increase the chances of hitting with Max Elixir. One super rod is mandatory I would say the other you can play around with a Karen, Brock’s Grit or another Super Rod. For now I prefer the second super rod over Karen, but I haven’t tested Brock’s Grit yet.
Sky Field: Sky Field is in here to make it easier to hit 220 and stream Xerneas’
Parallel City: A single Parallel City for the mirror match and with everyone playing Parallel City. You can drop your own Parallel City and they can’t play theirs to drop your bench space to 3.
Other notable Trainers that could can be included: Teammates, Special Charge, Skyla, Misty’s Determination.
Let’s take a look at how we match up with some of the popular decks in the current meta!
I find this match up slightly favors us with Xerneas being a one prize attacker, but with most M Mewtwo list running Parallel City and Garbodor it gets really hard recovering from a nasty Parallel City drop. That mean you have to play intelligently how much Pokémon you bench and always keep Ultra Balls in hand with either a Super Rod or one of the recovery Supporters. But if they don’t run Parallel City, you will have an easy time knocking out M Mewtwo and it’s just a case of streaming your Xerneas by keeping energy on board with Exp Share and/or hitting your Max Elixirs. All in all I would give this a 60/40 matchup that you should win most of the time unless we brick and they run hot.
This is arguably almost an auto win unless they get their explosive starts. Everything in this matchup is in our favor, they need Sky Field, M Rayquaza is a two prize attacker to our one prize attacker and they usually have four Shaymins sitting on the bench to snipe with Galvantula for easy prizes. With this build you have can approach this matchup in different ways. You can get a Knock Out early with Xerneas and stream two Galvantulas for the win or you can just go trade knockouts with your Xerneas against their M Rayquaza. Which is really an unfair matchup. With us having Exp. Share and Max Elixirs and them only having Mega Turbo and that’s not including the unfair prize trade. And our last trump card is that one Parallel City, destroying their resources if they overextend. I would confidently give this matchup a 70/30 for us, because they can always get that explosive start and even get an attack going second.
In this matchup it’s all about streaming one Xerneas after another. Key cards in this matchup is Xerneas BREAK, Fighting Fury Belt, Hex Maniac and Parallel City. Xerneas BREAK and Fury Belt ruins their numbers against us, making their baby Volcanion with a Fighting Fury Belt unable to one shot us. Hex maniac for obvious reasons, making them unable to Steam Up their baby Volcanion and unable to make it into a fair prize trade or making them wait one more turn to go for their Hoopa’s and Shaymin. Last is a turn one Parallel City to ruin their own explosive Hoopa start, forcing them to bump the stadium first before filling up their bench. Another thing going for us here is that most Volcanion list are running Sky Field as well. My own strategy against Volcanion is usually to let them put energy on the board, the more energy they have on the board the less they have to Steam Up with and then just Lysandering up a powered up Volcanion EX, taking most of their energy on the board. I’d give this a 60/40 for us because we would sometimes brick and Volcanion is one of, if not the most consistent deck in the format right now.
It doesn’t matter what deck I play, I always hate playing against Greninja. This is normally a 50/50 matchup. It’s all about getting a knockout each turn. With Greninja BREAK technically being a stage 3, it give us enough time to build an army of Xerneas ready to pounce when they get going. Like I said earlier Fighting Fury Belt and Xerneas BREAK are mostly for this match up to ruin their numbers and giving us more breathing room. If we are able to Belt or BREAK evolve 2 Xerneas we win. Just watch out for Bursting Balloons and Water Shuriken, those two don’t activate Exp. Share. So sometimes retreating early to avoid a knockout from a Bursting Balloon is a smart idea. With the Xerneas BREAK and Fighting Fury Belt, this matchup is 60/40 in our favor.
It doesn’t matter if it’s hammers, Garbodor or Mew, this is a horrible matchup for us even with us having type advantage. They usually run two Parallel City, Y Cyclone is an amazing attack to conserve energy on the board, Garbodor ruins our recovery from a nasty Parallel City drop and lastly Fright Night Yveltal makes the matchup for them. They can simply Lysandre a Volcanion up front, spread damage with Pitch Black Spear and if we are unlucky they Lysandre another liability to just Pitch Black Spear for game. We can Lysandre or Olympia out of Fright Night and just knock stuff out with our Xerneas. This matchup is a matter of them getting what they need to ruin our game plan and after that we only have a few outs or if we are lucky stream Lysandre to pick our targets. Overall this is 40/60 in my opinion. Could be closer to 50/50 depending on their list.
Dark Tina Garb
In this matchup we have both typing matchup, I honestly think this is closer to a 50/50 matchup with them running Parallel City and Garbodor. Luckily even with Parallel City we can still knock out their Giratina and the resistance plays a big factor making Darkrai unable to one shot us most of the time. We just need to be intelligent with benching against Parallel City and Garbodor. And don’t let them build up a Giratina, we should get the win.
We do run that one Parallel City that can be really clutch in the mirror but overall it’s 50/50. Even if they run the 2-2 line of Bisharp, it doesn’t really spring it to their favor because with multiple stage 1 build ruins their consistency. It’s all about keeping energy on the board, the one who misses one usually loses.
Pokémon League Challenge Recap
Last weekend me and my friends went to a League Challenge, where I was able to go 4-1 and ending up 3rd with the Rainbow Road list. So here is the recap:
Round 1 Zygarde Carbink: I started Genesect EX and my opponent was pretty confused by it with Bronzong rotated out. But when I Ultra Ball away my Xerneas BREAK he understood whats up. All had to do was drop my own Parallel City first turn and just streamed Xerneas for the win. He kept Lysandering my Volcanion and Hoopa but I always found an out.
Round 2 M Gardevoir: I got the start and got the explosive Hoopa set up. I think it was the Brilliant Arrow one because the only thing he did was Ninja Boyd a Xerneas to the active and passed. So I just Sycamored my hand away hoping to get a DCE and I did for the easy win.
Round 3 Volcanion: I was lucky to start again, started Xerneas, Ultra Balled for the Hoopa and set up a full bench of 5. He wasn’t able to knock out my Xerneas in his first turn. So I Break evolved it Lysandering a Volcanion EX with energy and that lone Xerneas took all 6 Prizes.
Round 4 Greninja: I was pretty much able to get knock outs each turn until he got a BREAK out and I cleaned up my last two prized with two Galvantula attacks on an Octillery and a Froakie.
Round 5 M Gardevoir: He dropped a Parallel City first turn and I just bricked especially having two of my Sky Field Prized. If only I was able to get a Sky Field out, I could have pulled a comeback but nothing.
Overall it was a fun day, didn’t get anything from my pack but my friends did. I might consider Rainbow Road for the upcoming tournament in Dortmund but, with it not running that consistent it’s still not set in stone. I hope you guys try the list out and maybe give some feedback to make it better, maybe you guys can find space for a second Lysandre and a third N.
This was my first write up for Poké-Spot I hope you guys liked it, Cheers!
+ High damage output, being able to one shot a Wailord!
+ Explosive setup with Hoopa or one Ultra Ball
+ Sneaky second attacker in Galvantula to steal four prizes
+ Good Energy Flow with Exp. Share and Max Elixir
– Low HP for a main attacker
– Parallel City kills your resource and lowers your damage output
– A bit inconsistent compared to the likes of Volcanion and M Mewtwo
Next Deck Review: Beedrill EX / M Beedrill EX
Previous Deck Review: Zoroark BREAK / Yveltal EX
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