"Roaring Skies"- An Analysis of the New Set

Prereleases for Roaring Skies happened this weekend, and some of you may be wondering which cards from the new set are worth ordering and holding onto, and which cards aren't. I'll be going over some of cards from XY: Roaring Skies that are underrated and overrated, and give my opinions on them.

Credit for all images in this article go to Pokebeach. Pokebeach does a fantastic job with translating Japanese sets and getting scans of every card in the game, along with being a great news aggregator for all things Pokemon. If you want to see the full set of scans, that link will take you straight to Pokebeach where you can see every card.

Shaymin EX
I have written extensively about Shaymin here.  Pokemon-based draw is going to take the game in a completely different direction, and if you see these guys go as low as twenty dollars, I would snap that up in a heartbeat.

Rayquaza EX

They're here! These two cards have been hyped ever since they were released in Japan. M Rayquaza has lots of things going for it. Let's talk about the Mega first. The Emerald Break attack lets it hit for 30x the number of your benched Pokemon. This is similar to Raichu XY's Circle Circuit attack, but it does more damage. Next, M Rayquaza has the Ancient Trait Delta Evolution which lets you evolve the turn that you play it down. If you can get a Spirit Link Down, you can evolve into M Rayquaza on the first turn of the game, getting rid of nearly every drawback to Mega Evolutions in general. But there are three problems with Rayquaza:

1) Its attack costs CCC. This means you can't attack on the first turn of the game.
2) You can have only five benched Pokemon. This means that it maxes out at 150 damage.
3) If Rayquaza turns out to be the best deck it will be really easy to counter with its lightning weakness.

Luckily for Rayquaza, three cards were released in the last set which specifically deal with those problems.

1) Mega Turbo
Mega Turbo accelerates the energy from your discard pile onto Rayquaza EX. This means that it's possible to attack with Rayquaza on turn one. One of the downsides to this card is that Rayquaza has to have Mega-Evolved before it is useful. Otherwise it is a dead card, and when you're using Shaymin EX to draw cards, you can't be keeping too many dead cards in your hand.

Mega Turbo is going to change the format in that it's going to make many Mega Evolutions playable.  Aggron and Kyogre are two Mega-Evolutions that already have acceleration that don't necessarily need this, but Kangaskhan, Groudon, Lucario, Manectric, and Gardevoir all get better. In the case of Kangaskhan and Gardevoir, Fairies as a deck now has a new way to keep energy on the field. Mega Manectric can be loaded up in one turn to get even more energy out of the discard pile. Any Crushing Hammer that isn't accompanied by a Quaking Punch can be instantly counteracted. Mega Turbo is going to make the format faster and make decks based around Mega Evolutions more consistent.

2) Sky Field
Sky Field is a card that goes perfectly with Rayquaza and Shaymin. One of the disadvantages of Shaymin is that it takes up one of your bench spaces, but that is no longer a problem. A Rayquaza deck can lay down Three Rayquaza and four Shaymin and still have room to breathe. If Sky Field gets discarded, then you get to discard Pokemon until there are only five left. Shaymins can immediately be sacrificed, putting them out of harm's way. In a video on Youtube, a Japanese player plays down Exeggcute, which can Propagate right back to the hand and onto the bench when Sky Field gets discarded.

One card that goes very well with Sky Field is Raichu. The price of this card is going to go up, so get them while you still can. With eight benched Pokemon, Raichu hits for 160 damage, and it's easy to pop a Muscle Band on that guy to make him hit the magic 180.

3) Altaria
Altaria has an ability that lets it remove Rayquaza's weakness. Raichu will be prevalent, so Altaria will be played in the Rayquaza deck. Luckily, Altaria has the Ancient Trait Delta Evolution just like Rayquaza, so it can be down turn one.


Winona is effectively a draw supporter for Rayquaza decks. Because Shaymin is a Colorless Pokemon, Winona can search out both the Rayquaza pieces and Shaymins to draw even more cards.

Here is what a skeleton Rayquaza list might look like:

3 Rayquaza EX
3 M Rayquaza EX
4 Shaymin EX
2 Pikachu
2 Raichu
1 Exeggcute
1 Swablu
1 Altaria
1 Virizion EX

3 Rayquaza Spirit Link
4 Professor Juniper
2 Winona
4 Ultra Ball
3 Sky Field
1 Lysandre's Trump Card
2 Mega Turbo

4 Double Colorless
4 Grass

Double Dragon Energy

This is the special energy from the set. This is a card that people have been expecting ever since Black and White: Dragon Vault was released. There is no such thing as basic Dragon Energy, so Dragon-type Pokemon tend to have attacks that require two different types of basic energy to use. This energy card will make a lot of different Dragon-type Pokemon playable. I will point out when a card released in this set can be used with Double Dragon energy, but it is worth looking at some older cards that can take advantage of it.

Flygon BCR
  -This card can now attack from a DDE and a DCE. Autoparalysis at the cost of discarding the DDE isn't amazing, but it goes well with Flygon's ability.
Latias EX PLF
  -Latias EX has a Shred attack that hits for 70 with a DDE and C. With a Muscle Band, it can two-hit EXes, and it can't be hit by Pokemon with a abilities.
M Charizard EX FLF
  -Charizard can do 300 damage for F, DDE, and DCE. This is a still a very specific energy cost, but it is easier to hit 300 damage than ever!
Noivern FUF
  -For C and a DDE, Noivern does 30 damage to each of your opponent's Pokemon. Noivern has an ability that makes your opponent have to flip a coin to damage it, so maybe it could be played with Malamar and Lasers to try and stay alive for several turns (like Cinccino EP).

Latios EX

Latios is going to be a good card. I have been messing around with a Trevenant EX deck, which you can read about here. Trevenant only does 20 damage for one energy, but with Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym, and Muscle Band, the damage adds up. Assuming that you hit you hit all of the pieces and your opponent doesn't replace your stadium, you are knocking out EX Pokemon in two hits. I imagine that a Latios deck would go aggressive with a Latios EX using Fast Raid active, using Lysandre's Trump Card to recycle Lasers and take some quick knockouts, while loading up a Mega Latios on the bench. Then, Mega Latios can come out swinging, sniping opposing benched Shaymin EXes (or Jirachi EXes) at the cost of discarding  a couple of Double Dragon energy. The deck is going to be good. Here is a skeleton list:

4 Latios EX
2 Mega Latios EX

4 Hypnotoxic Laser
4 Virbank City Gym
3 Muscle Band
2 Latios Spirit Link
2 Mega Turbo
1 Tool Retriever
4 Professor Sycamore
4 Acro Bike
1 Lysandre's Trump Card

4 Double Dragon Energy
5 Psychic Energy

There is plenty of room. Perhaps Mega Manectric would be a good partner to help load up benched Mega Latios. Another possible tech is Latios EX PLF, which for a DDE and C does 150 damage if you discard all attached energy, which with Muscle Band knocks out 170 HP EXes.

Exeggutor has 120 HP and two attacks. The first attack does more damage depending on the amount of Colorless Pokemon your opponent has in play, and the second attack does 80 for GCC. The card does not do enough damage on its own, and the only reason that it is being considered is because of the expected popularity of the Rayquaza deck. Let's assume for argument's sake that your opponent is playing a Rayquaza deck. For this hypothetical scenario, let's assume that the Rayquaza player played down Sky Field and benched eight Colorless Pokemon. This means that Exeggutor will be doing 180 damage to Rayquaza. With a Muscle Band, that damage goes up to 200 damage, which is still not a knockout. Hypnotoxic Laser gets you to 210 damage, but you can't play Virbank because that would limit your damage output by replacing Sky Field more than the extra poison damage would help you. Anyway, Exeggutor as a Rayquaza counter is really stretching it, and there are better counters out there. One of these counters is Raichu XY. Raichu does 20x the number of benched Pokemon you have benched. Since M Rayquaza EX has 220 HP and a x2 weakness to Lightning, you only need to have six benched Pokemon or five with a Muscle Band to get the knockout. The Rayquaza player will have to play down Sky Field, so you can bench more than five benched Pokemon, and in this scenario you are relying on yourself rather than your opponent.

But Charles Randall, you might say, what about Altaria? It shuts off Rayquaza's weakness! That makes Exeggutor the better counter! To which I respond, Raichu does 160 damage if you have eight Pokemon benched, as opposed to Exeggutor's 180. This means that Raichu is 20 damage less effective without weakness, and this is counting on the Raichu player filling their bench as opposed to the Rayquaza player. This means that Raichu > Exeggutor as a Rayquaza counter.

Then why would anyone play this Exeggutor? The answer is that they might tech it into a deck that already plays Exeggutor or Exeggcute. However, it is not to your advantage to do this in an Exeggutor deck. Without running a fourth Exeggutor PLF, you lower your chances of being able to use Blockade. Against Rayquaza, Exeggutor wants to focus on discarding energy anyways, and that will give it a better chance of winning. Exeggutor PLF also has Stomp, which is as good of an attack as Seed Bomb here. So will Exeggutor from Roaring Skies see play? My answer is no.


One thing that both Beautifly and Dustox have in common is that there are already cards out there that do their job better. However, once the BW block rotates, we won't have Suicune, Sigilyph, or Lugia EX. Beautifly will be the only remaining Safeguard Pokemon, although it is important to note that it is more vulnerable than Suicune or Sigilyph. The Safeguard Ability prevents all effects of attacks, including damage, and the Miraculous Scales ability only blocks damage. One partner that Beautifly has though it Dustox.

Dustox has the Ancient Trait Delta Plus, so it takes an extra prize when it knocks something out. You can soften things up with Beautifly, and then snipe things off w with Dustox, and knock out a 170 HP EX for three prizes. This is similar to the Lugia/Crobat deck that has been posted on Virbank, except much worse! In fact, Crobat may be a useful addition to this deck.

Beautifly and Dustox both evolve from Wurmple, which makes it easier to play them together.

Shedinja has an attack called Hopeless Scream that does 50 damage times the number of damage counters on him. However, he maxes out at 100 damage because he only has 30 HP. With a Training Center though, he packs quite a punch with 60 HP and being able to do 300 damage.

However, with Dimension Valley, Mew EX can use this attack for free, and Mew EX has much more HP. If Mew has just four damage counters on it, it is doing 200 damage, which knocks out most things in the format. If you can find a consistent way to get damage on Mew (Frozen City, Rainbow Energy), you could be packing quite the punch.

Thundurus EX
Thundurus EX is mostly notable for its typing. It is a lightning Pokemon, which is good right now because it hits Yveltal and Rayquaza for weakness. It can paralyze on a coin flip for LC, which seems nice. It does 150 for LLL, which is a difficult attack cost. The only place I see that fitting is in a deck with Mega Manectric. It does shore up some weaknesses that Manectric has, which is a low damage cap. Thundurus can knock out 170 HP EXes with the help of a Muscle Band.

Natu Day! Maybe tomorrow...

Natu is another Pokemon with the Delta Plus Ancient Trait. For PC, he does ten damage times the amount of energy attached to the Defending Pokemon. Natu can be used with Dimension Valley, and I see him fitting into decks like Night March that can run any kind of energy along with Dimension Valley. If the Night March attack is a few damage short, you can sweep in with Natu and draw that extra prize.

Deoxys is another Pokemon that goes well with Dimension Valley. You can use Deoxys's attack on the first turn of the game to draw two cards, so in decks that run Dimension Valley, he can be a good starter. The problem at the moment is that the decks that run Dimension Valley want to be using other attackers early. Night March wants to be hitting for big damage, and VirMewGen wants to be using Emerald Slash on the first turn of the game. Maybe in a different format, Deoxys will have a chance to shine. His attacks are very reminiscent of Virizion LTR's.

We have, for a while, been missing a Basic Pokemon that can move your opponent's damage counters. Both Gourgeist XY and Forretress FLF would go quite nicely with this card, because Dusknoir can get a bit clunky. If Flygon BCR were to ever make a comeback, Absol would probably be a one-of in the deck.


Dragonite is the last Pokemon we will look at with the Delta Plus Ancient Trait. For GGGLC, he hits for 150, which knocks out low HP EXes with a Muscle Band. That cost can also be fulfilled with GGG and a Double Dragon Energy. Virizion EX can be used to accelerate energies onto him, or you can used his first attack for L (or a DDE) called Wrapped in Win that lets you attach energies from hand to him. Unfortunately, Dragonite is a Stage 2 that needs a lot of energy attached to him, so he isn't really playable. 

M Gallade EX

Gallade EX is like Gallade SW in that it has a strong early game but a weak late game. Piercing Prizes does 50 damage plus 20 more for each prize card you have remaining. With a Muscle Band, early game this will knock out any Basic EX (barring Wailord of course), but it is a one-trick pony in that it literally won't work again.

M Gallade EX is like Gallade 4 from Platinum: Rising Rivals in that it does damage to benched Pokemon that already have damage counters on them, thirty damage in this case. Perhaps this is the perfect deck for Gourgeist XY, Forretress FLF, and the new Absol to shine. Get down a Forretress early and then for PP and a Dimension Valley M Gallade EX can do 110 plus 30 to each benched Pokemon. If your opponent benches something new, you can lay down Absol to move damage to it to so that is can take a hit from Gallade.

Perhaps a better partner for Gallade would even be Crobat; use Sneaky Bite and Surprise Bite on your opponent's whole bench and all of a sudden there is damage everywhere. Gallade is a really cool card, and I'm sure that someone will break it. Here is a skeleton list for Gallade:

3 Gallade EX
3 M Gallade EX
1 Mew EX
4 Zubat
3 Golbat
3 Crobat
1 Pineco
1 Forretress
1 Wobbuffet

3 Dimension Valley
4 Ultra Ball
3 Gallade Spirit Link
4 Professor Juniper
2 Mega Turbo
4 N
3 VS Seeker
2 Lysandre
1 Lysandre's Trump Card

9 Psychic

Inkay and Meowth
Notice that Meowth is holding a fruit of some sort (I'm sure that someone will tell me what type of fruit that is). Notice Inkay hiding in the bushes. Notice where the fruit ends up! The art in this set is absolutely fantastic.

Trainer's Mail

Trainer's Mail is going to make speed decks faster. It will join the likes of cards like Bicycle, Acro Bike, and Roller Skates in that it is an Item that lets you draw cards. If you have no Supporter in hand, you can dig for one. If you can't find one, you can grab Ultra Ball for Jirachi or Random Receiver. We are getting closer and closer to the point where we can confidently run only four Juniper and one Lysandre's Trump Card as our only Supporters and just draw through our deck with few consequences.


Wally is the last card I'll be looking at today. It is about time that Evolution cards got a boost, and Wally is just what the doctor ordered. Wally is like Evosoda on steroids. Evosoda doesn't let you evolve on the first turn or the turn that the Pokemon was played, but Wally does. With Magnezone PLF, you can use Wally twice in one turn to replicate what old Rare Candy or Broken Time-Space could do, but that is a difficult combination of cards to pull off. Realistically, Wally is going to make cards like Raichu and Empoleon more powerful. One thing to note is that it does not work on Mega EXes, which is good (because they already got enough of a boost in this set).

Thanks for reading! The Pokemon Card Laboratory seems to be continuing the trend of printing very cool sets toward the end of the set block, and I'm very excited to see all of interesting cards and the new strategies that can be derived from them. Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree or if there are any jewels of the set that I didn't notice. 

Until next time,


  1. Charles....my daughter is playing the Primal Groudon/Donphan deck you played at Missouri states....any suggestions on some changes to the deck with the new cards that are out?

  2. Hi Scott!

    With the release of Roaring Skies, and after seeing the results from Madison Regionals, it looks like the deck that got the largest boost was Seismitoad EX. Now toad can cycle consistently through their deck, using Shaymin to draw Curshing Hammers, Lasers, and Super Scoop Ups and using Trump Card to put all of those resources back into their deck.

    The fact that Toad is so strong means that Donphan is incredibly weak. It has always struggled against Seismitoad, and Seismitoad is just that much more powerful with the ability to draw whatever it needs. As a result, I think that Donphan itself is a weaker card for this reason.

    The most hyped deck, Mega Rayquaza, also gives Donphan trouble. The high HP combined with Resistance means that Donphan has no way to knock it out in two hits unless it has three Strong Energy attached. With two Strong Energy, Muscle Band, and Fighting Stadium, Donphan's Spinning Turn only does 100 damage, which isn't enough damage against a Rayquaza deck!

    I have more to say about how Donphan players really struggle to do anything when their opponents can stream Lysandre, which is easier to do with Shaymin in the format, but this comment is getting pretty long as is.

    Primal Groudon EX, on the other hand, gained some pretty powerful tools in the new set. Alejandro Luna, who was featured during Round Eight of the stream of Madison Regionals, piloted the big Primal Pokemon combined with Wobuffet PHF to a 7-2 Day One finish. I will be writing about the deck on the blog within the next couple of days, so keep an eye out! Basically, you wall behind Wobuffet, which shuts off the Ability of many Pokemon, including Shaymin EX, while you both use manual attachments and Mega Turbo to load up Primal Groudon!

    Thanks for commenting, and let me know if you have any questions!

  3. thanks for the feedback Charles....she read it...but is committed to using the donphan deck with 1 primal groudon like your MO state champ deck....we added a mega turbo....any other suggestions for the deck?? she is in the junior division

    1. One of Primal Groudon's strengths was that it can take an opponent several turns to knock it out, but with the rise of Skyfield decks hitting 240 damage is easier and easier. As a result, Focus Sash could be a cool tech to throw in, and it is searchable with Korrina. That way, Primal Groudon will stay intact for at least one attack (With the exceptions of Crobat and Laser).

      Focus Sash isn't limited to being attached to Groudon though. Hawlucha with Focus Sash makes a good wall, because your opponent cannot knock it out in one hit (again barring Laser or Crobat).

      Good luck to your daughter!


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