"The Great Mouse in the Sky"- How Raichu Can Be Foxy or Go Batty

Photo Credit: Exteam001
Many of you may have spent this weekend at Pokemon Regionals in Madison, Wisconsin or Athens, Georgia. If you are like me, you spent this weekend not able to go to any Regionals and you coped by watching the stream. If you are actually like me, you spent the night before Regionals lost in Paris, France, frustrated by the poor signage, your lack of French-speaking skills, and you were very tired and simply wanting to get back to your hotel.

Paris's time zone is seven hours ahead of Madison. I went to bed at 11 on Saturday night. I had a little bout of insomnia though, and woke up at 3 AM. I managed to watch Kyle Haverland finish beating a Toad deck, but more importantly I got to see Ross Cawthon play against Alejandro Luna. That was a very interesting game to watch, because we got to see both Raichu and Groudon EX in action taking advantage of the new cards. I might end up writing about Groudon/Wobuffet within the next few days (although it is much less viable without Trump Card), but Raichu with Sky Field is very cool, and I want to share my thoughts about it.

After seeing the results of the first major tournaments that used Roaring Skies, I think we can pick a couple of MVPs of the new set:


Basic Pokemon are very powerful in the current format, so Evolution cards needed a boost. The boost came in the form of Wally, which is like Evosoda on steroids. Wally lets you accelerate evolution under Item lock, but it is useful even when no one has used Quaking Punch, because it lets you evolve as early as the first turn. Why is Wally an MVP? We saw Kyle Haverland play one in his deck to help get out Aromatisse more easily. It was especially useful against Jason Klacynski when Absol kept getting quick knockouts on Spritzee before Kyle could evolve it.

The most effective use for Wally, however, is to use it to evolve Trevenant XY. A Trevenant deck, piloted by Jorge Feliciano, won the whole shebang in Athens this weekend. Trevenant's ability denies the opponent the ability to play items, so with Wally, half of your opponent's deck could be shut down before they can even take a turn.

Trainers' Mail

In combination with Acro Bike, Trainers' Mail allows you to draw many cards without playing your Supporter for the turn. Trainers' Mail is especially effective when you are trying to dig for a specific Item card in your deck, such as Battle Compressor or Mega Turbo. When you have Item Cards and Trainers' Mail to get cards from the top of your deck, and Ultra Ball, Super Scoop Up, and Shaymin EX to draw more cards, it becomes easier and easier to draw all of the cards you might need.

Shaymin EX

Shaymin EX is the MVP of this set (*cough*). Any deck that isn't using Ability-lock is running some form of this card (all of the decks I watched on stream used it, with the exception of Groudon/Wobuffet) to draw just a few extra cards. Ultra Ball makes it an easily searchable form of draw that doesn't take up your Supporter for the turn. I discussed how important this is when talking about Trainers' Mail, but this is incredibly effective at making sure you draw the cards that you want to see the turn that you need them. Shaymin is undoubtedly a staple, and if you aren't playing with it you need to be countering it.

Sky Field decks of course can be running three or four of these without having to worry about managing their bench space, and even decks like Fairies or V/G should run one or two of these to draw more cards. Super Scoop Up just got a lot more playable, and the format has been changed forever.

Sky Field

Many Pokemon can take advantage of the big blue sky (Image Credit: Pokebeach).
Sky Field of course gave rise to decks revolving around M Rayquaza EX, but also some other decks that weren't necessarily on the radar upon release of the set. Josh "Squeaky" Marking made a video using Florges EX and Sky Field here, and I wrote about using Zoroark LTR with Sky Field here, but Ross Cawthon used a Sky Field deck using Raichu XY to have the best record after Day 1 of Madison Regionals, which is the deck I will be talking about in today's post.

Here is my working list:

Pokemon: 25

2 Yveltal EX
4 Pikachu
4 Raichu
1 Kecleon
4 Zubat
4 Golbat
3 Crobat
1 Exeggcute
4 Shaymin EX
Trainers: 28

1 Muscle Band
4 Ultra Ball
3 VS Seeker
1 Scoop Up Cyclone

2 Lysandre
3 Colress
4 Professor Juniper
4 N

4 Sky Field

Energy: 7

4 Double Colorless Energy
3 Darkness Energy

I won't claim to have a perfect list, by any means. I watched round nine of Madison Regionals, and I have been playing online with the list ever since, but I can't claim to have the ideal Supporter line or count of Pokemon. In fact, there sure are a lot of Pokemon in the deck! It makes it easy to fill your bench with Sky Field, but it also makes it very easy to draw into a hand filled with Pokemon and nothing else. The reason the deck works is because you can play down Sky Field, dump a ton of Basic Pokemon down from your hand, and then use Shaymin to draw more cards! I'll go over some of the cards in the list that I think are interesting:

4-4 Raichu

Don't let the cuteness fool you!
Raichu is the deck's main attacker. I've really been enjoying the 4-4 line, but you may be able to get away with a 4-3 line. Raichu's first attack, Circle Circuit, costs CC and does 20 damage times the number of Benched Pokemon you have in play. This means Raichu can hit for 100 damage with five Benched Pokemon, or with Sky Field he can hit for 160 damage with eight Benched Pokemon. This is enough damage to knock out any Pokemon that aren't Pokemon EX, and we will talk about making up the extra damage to knock those out in a little bit.

2 Yveltal EX
Yveltal EX is a fantastic attacker. He's not a bad starter, because he can be attacking in two attachments. I have started several games where I used Y Cyclone on my second turn to pass the Double Colorless energy to a benched mouse, and you can do this a couple of times doing decent damage while loading up attackers on the bench! In a worst-case scenario, Yveltal EX can just sit on your bench, adding to the damage you do with Circle Circuit.

4 Shaymin EX

I don't know if Ross ran three or four Shaymin, but it is always nice to have the fourth when you have Sky Field in the deck. Shaymin both fills up your bench to fulfill your Circle Circuit requirement, and draws you more cards. If your Shaymin is heavily damaged, the deck runs DCE so that you can use Sky Return to put Skaymin back into your hand, but in general you shouldn't be attacking with him.

4-4-3 Crobat

This line can be trimmed down to 4-3-3, but I actually found myself really missing that fourth Golbat. Golbat's sneaky bite is quite handy for dealing lots of extra damage in the early game, and Crobat's Surprise bite lets you deal that extra damage you need. This is what I was talking about before when I said I would mention how to make up that extra damage. Raichu maxes out at 160 damage, which is twenty short of knocking out an EX. Luckily, Golbat's Sneaky Bite makes it really easy to hit that number! Knocking out a Mega EX takes a little bit more planning and biting, but with bats it becomes very feasible. The most popular Mega EX, M Rayquaza EX, is weak to lightning. If they can't get an Altaria into play to cancel weakness, then it is very easy to knock those guys out. If Altaria is in play though, a couple of Surprise Bites or a few Sneaky Bites still put him into KO range from Raichu!


Exeggcute PLF has the Propogation Ability which lets it return from your discard pile to your hand. If Sky Field is replaced by another Stadium, you must discard Benched Pokemon until you have only five Pokemon in play. If you elect to discard Exeggcute, you can use Propogation to bench him again the following turn. This minimizes the impact that of having your stadium bumped. The little egg also gives you fodder to discard with Ultra Ball, but often you want to be discarding cards anyway so that you can draw more cards with Shaymin EX when you play Ultra Ball.

4 Juniper, 4 N, 3 Colress, 3 VS Seeker

This Supporter line is not finalized, but it seems to work for now. Four Juniper is a no-brainer, because we want to draw lots of cards, and since we run many Stage 1s, it's okay to discard a few early-game. I had some extra room at the end when I was first building the deck, so I added the fourth N and the third Colress. Because of the high Sky Field count and the sheer number of Pokemon in the deck, Colress is actually an incredibly strong Supporter card even in the early game. But again, even a lack of Supporter does not spell doom, because any Ultra Ball can grab Shaymin EX to draw more cards.

1 Muscle Band

Considering that Raichu is twenty damage short of the knockout, it would seem pretty logical to throw Muscle Bands on him haphazardly. However, Golbat is pretty consistent at laying down that extra damage, so I usually don't even attach Muscle Band to Raichu but to Yveltal or Crobat. Crobat with a Muscle Band knocks out Sigilyph, and Yveltal with Muscle Band can knock out a Wobuffet with Y Cyclone.
When your deck is centered around Pokemon EX, you have to be wary of Head Ringer. This deck's main attacker though is Raichu, so you don't have that danger. Yveltal EX is still in danger of being Ringer'ed, but he isn't integral to our strategy. Muscle Band is a great card, it just happens to be a luxury in this particular deck.

0 Switch/0 Float Stone/0 Escape Rope

Space is a bit tight in this deck, so we don't have room for a Switch card, and we also aren't in great need of one. You can't use Circle Circuit on your first turn, and there are only two Pokemon in the deck with a retreat cost greater than one, so it is not too bad when you start with something that isn't ideal. Yveltal EX does have a retreat cost of two, but you can attach and attack with him, so he isn't a bad starter. If you are feeling quite uncomfortable with the lack of switching cards, Darkrai EX fits quite nicely in the deck.

Scoop Up Cyclone

Our Ace Spec of choice is Scoop Up Cyclone because it lets us reuse Shaymin's Set Up or even a whole Crobat line. In every Crobat deck we have to make this choice, but there are a couple reasons why we go with Scoop Up Cyclone. Computer Search is often used to pick out specific cards like Double Colorless Energy, which isn't quite so urgent in this deck. We also don't have room to use Super Scoop Up, so this lets us have some of that scooping-up ability without devoting so much space to it.
If you want to play a Raichu deck though, and you aren't feeling up to pairing it with Crobat, there is another viable option. Ross was the first seed in Madison after Day 1 with his Raichu/Crobat deck, but the second seed was Andrew Mahone with his Raichu/Ninetails deck. Here is what his list might have looked like:

Pokemon: 21

4 Pikachu
4 Raichu
4 Vulpix
3 Ninetales BW66
1 Ninetales PCL
1 Exeggcute
4 Shaymin EX

Trainers: 31

2 Escape Rope
3 Muscle Band
1 Computer Search
1 Battle Compressor
2 Revive
4 Ultra Ball
3 VS Seeker

4 N
3 Colress
4 Professor Juniper
1 Lysandre

3 Sky Field

Energy: 8

4 Double Colorless Energy
4 Fire Energy

(Edit: Andrew posted his list from Madison on Pokebeach! You can view that here!)

3 Ninetales BW66

Ninetales' Bright Look says, "When you play this Pokemon from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon, you may switch 1 of your opponent's Benched Pokemon with his or her Active Pokemon." In other words, when you play Ninetales down from your hand, you get to use an effect similar to Lysandre in that you can drag up any Pokemon you want from your opponent's bench.

Without Crobat doing the extra damage, Raichu can't always knock out the Defending Pokemon in one hit. We don't want to waste an attack if we aren't getting a knockout, and that is where Bright Look can be quite useful. Even if there is no Sky Field in play, there only need to be three Pokemon on the bench for Circle Circuit to get the knockout on Shaymin EX. With Ninetales, it becomes significantly easier to drag up those Shaymin EXes to take those last few prizes that you need.

1 Ninetales PCL

Ninetales PCL has the ability to stop anyone from playing a Stadium card. Since Sky Field is integral for Raichu to hit big numbers (this is compounded by the decided lack of Crobat), Ninetales can "lock" your stadium in play. If you play Ninetales down before you play down Sky Field however, then you won't be able to use play the Stadium though, so you have to time that right!

You have to be careful when using Ninetales however against decks like Donphan or Primal Groudon EX, because both of those cards have the ability to discard a Stadium card in play. If you have Sky Field and Ninetales PCL in play, and your opponent uses Wreck or Gaia Volcano, you won't be able to play down Sky Field!

3 Muscle Band

In the Crobat version of the deck, we didn't have to run such a high count of Muscle Band. In this version though, we need to be hitting 180 damage with Circle Circuit, and a higher count of Muscle Band helps to facilitate that.

2 Revive, 1 Battle Compressor

I got pretty excited here and tried to fit in the Revive/Battle Compressor Engine, but there isn't enough room in the deck to take full advantage of it. I talked about this engine when I talked about Zoroark, but the basic idea is to use an early Battle Compressor to toss a couple of Basic Pokemon. Later in the game, when you draw into Revive, you get a free Benched Pokemon at a low cost. Revive has another function in this deck as it helps you immediately raise the number of Pokemon on your bench if your Sky Field gets bumped by another Stadium.

The End of the Mouse Tale

This deck is really fun. It doesn't have the sheer power of a Rayquaza deck, but its strategy is quite similar and it doesn't require an EX attacker. I encourage you to try it out, and props to Ross and Andrew for pioneering these new, cool decks.

As always, please write below if you have any comments or questions!


  1. I really like the potential of Raichu Bats. Maybe you could drop a Shaymin for a Mr Mime primarily for a Landorus battle. I also run mine with 1 Jirachi. Look forward to your work in the future!


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