Monday, October 8, 2012

Eelektrik - What's the play?

Is Rayquaza the best Eelekrik variant?
Read to find out my opinion!

Hello everyone!

The first Regionals are closing in and everyone should start preparing for them. For international players like me, there are still Battle Roads, which you can go to. Today’s article will discuss the most successful (and played) variants of Battle Roads – Eelektrik variants. In this article, I’ll take a look at three different Eelektrik variants: the most played Zeels variant, the most successful Rayquaza/Eelektrik variant and also the very interesting Eelektrik/Techs deck.

If you aren’t yet settled with your deck choice for your upcoming, give a good read for this entry, because I’m sure that everyone can agree on just how good and versatile can Eelektrik decks be when tweaked a lot. Eelektrik decks will also be around for the whole season, so if you’re looking for a deck that you can play throughout the season, Eelektrik is a very good option.

Let’s start with the most popular version.


First, there is the mother of Eelektriks – Zekrom/Eelektrik/Mewtwo EX. It’s pretty much where it all began and that’s why many players still feel comfortable with the deck. It’s cheap, easy to build and one of the most consistent decks in the format. However, the question stands, is the deck really a tier1 deck?


4x Tynamo
4x Eelektrik
1x Zekrom EX
1x Zekrom

3x Raikou EX
2x Mewtwo EX


4x Professor Juniper

4x N
4x Bianca

4x Pokemon Catcher
3x Level Ball
3x Ultra Ball
2x Max Potion

4x Switch
1x Tool Scrapper
2x Super Rod
2x Skyarrow Bridge


8x Lightning Energy

4x Double Colorless Energy

Reasoning behind the decklist

The most controversial thing in this list is probably the lack of Eviolites. In fact, it was asked why I didn’t run Eviolites in my standard Zeels deck. The answer lies on Tool Scrapper. In far too many games I have noticed to attach Eviolites to my Pokémon just to see them Tool Scrappered away. However, if I don’t play any Eviolites, two things happen simultaneously: the deck has more space AND my opponent has useless cards in his/her deck. I believe that nothing is more important than consistency in the current format and with this kind of Zeels list, the consistency is at the maximum.

Probably the most important thing when looking at this deck, is to understand that it’s the “basic” list and it doesn’t really include any tech cards that Zeels could play. Zeels is such a consistent deck that it has the luxury of teching. My current favorite tech for Zeels is Thundurus, because it adds consistency by discarding Lighting energy at the same time it increases the aggressiveness of the deck. Being aggressive will win you games in the current format, because when going first an aggressive approach to the game can destroy your opponent’s set-up before he/she has set-upped completely.

Some player also favor 2 Raikou EXs, but I believe that in the standard Zeels Raikou EX is you MVP. Getting a T2 100 isn’t rare with this decklist and when getting T2 Volt Bolt in i.e. mirror match-up, you have a BIG advantage over the match-up. Eels mirror are all about killing Eelektriks and controlling the energy manipulation of the field and Raikou EXs are your best bet in this war of resources.

The only thing this deck lacks is the OHKO factor. Yes, Mewtwo EX an hit hard and Zekrom EX OHKOs Hydreigon, but the deck doesn’t have the absolute OHKOer like i.e. Rayquaza EX. Occasionally this will become a problem, because your opponent can play Max Potions as well thus preventing KOs. If your metagame has a lot of decks like Darkrai EX variants, winning the KO war, you need more Max Potions. Adding a 3rd or even a 4th Max Potion to this list in a metagame like with full of Darkrai EXs isn’t overdoing it.

Also, one more thing about the list. Currently I believe that Bianca is better than Cheren in every single deck that has Ultra Balls in it. It gets even better in a like Hydreigon, which can discard any cards thanks to Sableye, but it’s still very good on Eelektrik variants. Bianca only draws usually more in the early game, but in late game it ALWAYS draws more than Cheren. As you know, almost every single deck in the format runs 4 Ns. This means that you’ll be N’d at least 3 times during the game and the Ns will be probably used more often in the late game. After drawing a Bianca from N, you aren’t really disrupted - it’s like just using a PONT. However, if you draw Cheren from 2 card N, you’ll quickly notice just how bad Cheren really is compared to Bianca.


Rayquaza/Eelektrik is everything that Zeel isn’t. Rayquaza makes Eelektrik a heavy hitting deck with a donking ability. Not only it’s a very good deck, but it just became very cheap thanks to Dragon Vault being released!


4x Tynamo
4x Eelektrik
1x Zekrom EX
1x Zekrom

2x Raikou EX
2x Rayquaza EX
2x Shiny Rayquaza


4x Professor Juniper

4x N
4x Bianca

4x Pokemon Catcher
3x Level Ball
3x Ultra Ball
4x Switch
1x Tool Scrapper
2x Super Rod
1x Skyarrow Bridge


8x Lightning Energy

6x Fire Energy

Once again, this is a good starting list for the deck. I’m not saying that this is even nearly optimal list for Rayquaza/Eelektrik, but it showcases all the important things in the deck. Against the tier1 decks, you want to usually start with the Shiny Rayquaza. Against Eelektrik decks, you can start by wrecking OHKOs to the 40 HP Tynamos and against Hydreigon variants, you can hit 40 to Deinos or OHKO them, depending on which Deino they run. At the moment, most players run the Fighting weak Deino, but after the next sets, things will get very interesting. 4 Switches and 2 Skyarrow Bridges are usually enough to get the T1 Rayquaza, whenever you need it.

Playing Rayquaza EX in a deck is very interesting, because it tempts you playing cards like Prism Energy and Blend FGDP (I’ll never learn the correct order), which leads into teching other cards like Shaymin EX or Terrakion to the deck. However, just like in standard Zeels, in Rayquaza/Eelektrik consistency is king. I started piling up techs for the deck when I added Prisms to the deck only to found that the deck got worse. I soon changed back to the standard Rayquaza form with Fire Energy. The great thing about Fire Energy is that you can use it for Rayquaza’s second attack just like Lighting Energy and from time to time it can be the decisive factor between victory and defeat.

There should be nothing too surprising in the list. It’s fast, consistent and – in my opinion – it’s difficult to build a bad Rayquaza/Eelektrik list. There are a lot of different variations of Rayquaza/Eelektrik, but as long as your main focus is on Rayquazas, the deck will run very well. I’m not sure if Zekroms are necessary here, but I’ve found that the one tech Zekrom EX is very good, because it isn’t a Dragon weak Pokémon. The only thing that can challenge you in a prize trade, is a another Dragon-type focused deck and having a strong attacker that OHKOs other Dragon type Pokémon, but isn’t a Dragon type, gives you an edge.



I’m a fan of consistency, so I’m not a fan of this deck. However, this deck has seen play and even some success in the current Battle Roads, so I think it’s worth mentioning. 


4x Tynamo
4x Eelektrik
1x Zekrom
1x Shaymin EX
1x Raikou EX
2x Mewtwo EX
1x Zekrom EX
1x Terrakion
1x Tornadus EX
1x Shiny Rayquaza


4x N
4x Bianca
3x Professor Juniper
1x Random Receiver
4x Ultra Ball
1x Pokémon Communication
4x Pokémon Catcher
1x Super Rod
1x Revive
3x Switch
2x Skyarrow Bridge
2x Tool Scrapper


4x Prism Energy
9x Lighting Energy

I’ve have my set of attackers, someone else may have some other set of attackers in this deck. That’s what I think makes people interested in this deck – it’s very versatile and adaptable. So in fact, it’s a real theorymon nightmare. In THEORY it counters everything, but as we know, theory and practice are rarely the same in Pokémon TCG.

Consistency is king. I’ll keep on saying that until the end of world. And it’s especially important when arguing if this deck can stand against the tier1 decks. As said previously, this deck has an answer against anything, Rayquaza against Hydreigon and Rayquaza EX. Tornadus EX and Shaymin EX are both great against Fighting decks and Raikou EX and Terrakion are great in mirrors. So, pretty much every single tier1 deck and Eelektrik-counter decks are easily countered with this deck. If only that were the truth…

The truth is that decks that are full of copies of one don’t work in the current format – yet. I believe that in future 1-1 lines will once again prosper, but for now they copies of one are just too often prized and when they’re KOed, you aren’t guaranteed to get them right back to play. Also, since Juniper is the best draw card in the format, from time to time, you’re forced to bench cards, you don’t want to bench. There is nothing as horrifying as benching a Shaymin EX, because you know that it will be Catchered and that it’s a free 2 prizes to your opponent. In a game of six prizes, you can’t afford giving away 2 prizes for free.  

On the other parts, this Eelektrik variant is pretty similar to the tier1 variants. There just isn’t much you can do when it comes to the supporter and Item lines of the current format. I like the 1 Random Receiver, 3 Juniper touch I made to the deck, because Juniper is this deck’s worst enemy, even though it’s a necessary evil. You could try 2-2 line as well, but I don’t know how quickly you would run out of supporter with that line. 10 is a pretty low number for Supporters, because you’ll use them almost every turn and you’re forced to discard them with Ultra Balls and Junipers.

The main weakness of Eelektrik variants is…

Eelektrik and its evolution lines are pretty much the only weakness you can hit when playing against these decks. Eelektrik is these decks’ heart & soul and when destroying Eelektrik, you’ll destroy the deck no matter, which attacker they have. There are multiple ways in the format to hit Eelektriks in the current format. These are.

1) Garbodor

Naturally the easiest way of stopping Eelektrik from energy accelerating is to stop its Ability. In the current format Garbodor is the only card that is able to lock Abilities. Thankfully, Garbodor works well with any Pokémon. I’ve been pretty surprised to see mainly Fighting Garbodor variants doing well in the tournaments. Of course getting the Pokémon Tool Garbodor creates its own challenges, but with cards like Eviolite and Exp. Share you would play in any Fighting variant, the Tools don’t go in vain.

Garbodor seems like a legit answer to Eelektrik and even Hydreigon, which is a tier1 deck as well, so why isn’t Garbodor in tier1 when looking at the Battle Roads results? The answer lies in what Garbodor’s Ability requires. Since the Ability requires a Tool attached to Garbodor, getting both Garbodor and Tool to play is difficult in T2. The retreat cost of 3 on Garbodor doesn’t make things any simpler. Garbodor is a sitting duck on the bench and just waiting to be Catchered. Well, you can always run 4 Switches, but running 4 Switches, Garbodor and a bunch of Tools eats consistency. Not to mention that if Eelektrik or Hydreigon plays even 2 copies of Tool Scrapper, Garbodor quickly becomes useless.

Locking Eelektrik with Garbodor is the only way to lock its ability in the format, but it isn’t a consistent enough way to do it. Eelektrik is the epitome of consistency, so if you want to counter it, you need to reach the same level of consistency.

2) T1, T2, T3 etc. OHKOs on Tynamos/Eelektriks

In my opinion this number 2 option is the easiest way to counter Eelektrik variants. In the current format it’s a bit challenging, but after next sets it becomes very easy. At the moment, there are two good cards that are very handy in getting rid of your opponent’s Tynamos in the first few turns – Stunfisk and Shiny Rayquaza.

The great thing about Stunfisk is not only it’s fighting type, but also that it hits on the bench as well. So, if you go first and your plays Tynamos on their bench, Stunfisk can get rid of 3 Tynamos in just two turns by hitting 40 to the active Tynamo and 20 to the benched Tynamo. Eelektrik can’t come back from that.  

When it comes to Rayquza, it has a more direct approach. Hitting 40 with one energy. Probably the most ironic thing about this is that the Eelektrik/Rayquaza variant abuses this asset. That’s why the deck so darn good in a mirror match. However, just like Stunfisk, you can use Rayquaza in your deck if you have enough Prism Energy or the correct Blend Energy.

Interesting fact about these two cards – they both have a retreat of 3 thus being searchable via Heavy Ball. There is some food for thought, if you were thinking how to abuse these cards in YOUR deck.

3) Catcher + ?

The question mark can be any Pokémon from Durant to Aggron. Since we don’t have Junk Arm anymore, the number of Switches is limited in the current format and since Eelektrik has a retreat of 2, it’s vulnerable to the continuous Catchers (read the AggroHammer article). If you are able to combine milling or any other disruptor with continuous Catchering, you have a winning recipe in front of you. However, it’s good to remember that Darkrai EX gives everything a free retreat, so this trick only works against Eelektrik decks – not against Darkrai EX variants.

My opinion

So which Eelektrik variant is the play? As you may have already guessed, in my opinion it isn’t the tech variant, because it’s just too inconsistent. However, there are still two options, the standard Eelektrik or the Eelektrik/Rayquaza. Let’s compare the strengths of these decks, when looking at the current metagame. I won’t even compare the strengths of the tech variant, because I really don’t think it’s a wise play if you want to win Regionals or any other big tournament.

Standard Eelektrik variants strengths

1) Mobility

Most of this decks’ Pokémon have a retreat cost of 0 or 1with Skyarrow Bridge. The only exception are Zekrom EX and Eelektrik. However, it’s still one of the most mobile decks in the format – only Hydreigon/Darkrai is more mobile. Mobility is very important, because the format is still very fast. You must always have the free retreater, so you can energy accelerate any attacker on your bench with Eelektrik. It’s also very important that your opponent is able to by any turns with Catchering things like Eelektrik. This deck has an advantage, because it not only plays Switches, but also 4 DCEs, which makes retreating with Eelektrik almost too easy.

2) Consistency

As always, consistency can’t be emphasized enough. This deck is THE most consistent deck in the format as long as you don’t play too many techs in it. The most consistent deck is always a competitive choice for a big tournament, because even the not-so-good match-ups can be won by being more consistent than your opponent.

3) Cost

Probably everyone who played last season have the cards needed for this deck. You may miss 1-2 Raikou EXs, but that doesn’t make the deck expensive. Cost is a decisive factor when thinking of playing with a tight budget the whole season. Thanks to Dragon Vault there really isn’t any too expensive decks in the format, which is only a good thing. However, especially this Eelektrik variant will stay very popular, because probably you don’t have to make any investments to get it together.

Eelektrik/Rayquaza’s strengths

1) The donking factor

I can’t say that I love donks, but as long as they are part of the game, I have to adjust. And that’s exactly what Eelektrik/Rayquaza is all about. Hitting the right niche of the metagame thus becoming a tier1. As explained earlier, Rayquaza can hit 40 with one Lighting energy. Enough to take out a Dragon type Deino or a Tynamo. Killing Tynamos in the first few turns will win you many many mirrors and you’re bound to face a lot of mirrors due the popularity of Eelektrik variants.

2) Unlimited Damage

Usually the best deck in the format are able to OHKO any Pokémon in the format. This makes them invulnerable for tanking strategies and keeps their opponent on their toes at all times.

Just look at Mewtwo EX/Darkrai EX. It was all things combined, energy acceleration, manipulation, fast and low damage, sniping and OHKO factor. This deck isn’t that much different. The only thing this list can’t do is energy manipulation, but since Rayquaza EX only need 3 Lighting Energy (sometimes 4) to OHKO any Pokémon in the format, you don’t really miss Shaymin here.

Thanks to the OHKO factor this deck has, it’s already in the tier1. It’s one of the only decks in the format that is able to OHKO any Pokémon. The funniest thing about this is that unlike Mewtwo EX, Rayquaza EX is very difficult to OHKO. Dragon type Pokémon are the only ones who are able to do it and if you don’t OHKO Rayquaza EX; you’re in very big trouble.

3) Raikou EX abuse

It’s pretty ironic that even though this deck is more focused on Rayquaza than Raikou EX, it abuses Raikou EX BETTER than the standard variant. The reason for this is Fire Energy. When you use Volt Bolt, you only need to discard 2 Lighting energy from Raikou EX instead of 3 energy in the standard variant. Of course you can attach DCE to Raikou EX in the standard variation, but since you don’t have a Shaymin this time around, the DCE will go in vain on Raikou EX since you can’t move it to Mewtwo EX.

The one energy advantage you can get by attaching the Fire energy to Raikou EX is vital in mirrors where you try to take out your opponent’s Eelektriks before your opponent is able to kill KO Eelektriks. And as we know, using 1 Dynamotor and hand attachment is way easier than using 2 Dynamotors and attaching an energy to Raikou EX in a mirror.

4) Type advantage

Dragon types have an advantage in the current format – that’s a fact that no one can deny. They are weak only to Dragon, so if your opponent doesn’t run any Dragons, they are very difficult to OHKO. This deck abuses the type advantage of Dragons a lot. The normal Rayquaza is itself able to OHKO ANY Dragon type Pokémon even if they have an Eviolite attached to them. And when it comes to Rayquaza EX, well… It can OHKO any Pokémon in the format and only a handful of cards can OHKO it. The most ironic thing is that only a few of these cards are played. Rayquaza EX’s worst enemy is Rayquaza or Rayquaza EX. Just like with Mewtwo EX back in the day. The Pokémon that are weak to their own type always have a ridiculous advantage in the format – Rayquaza EX makes no exception.


So, which of these three decks do I prefer the most? I think you could read between the lines that my clear favorite is the Rayquaza variant. It’s the most versatile, it’s consistent enough and it doesn’t have any bad match-up while it has a lot of favorable match-ups. So if you’re able to get your hands on the Dragon Vault Rayquazas and are still deciding what to play in the Regionals or in the upcoming Battle Roads, I would encourage considering the Rayquaza/Eelektrik as your deck choice.

After Regional, it’s time to look at the future since the next set- Boundaries Crossed – is on their way and I’ll also try releasing an Eye on Japan before the next set arrives to stores.

For now, feel free to ask any questions or comment on anything.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Where is Emolga ? =(

  2. Really very interesting article, as always - thanks a lot, Esa.
    But... the first list (Zeel) has a 61 cards, and the second (Ryquaza/Eelectric) even more: 62 - ?

  3. A very good read Esa, I've been playing Rayquaza/Eels for the most part of the season and our lists are almost identical. I definitely can't wait to fully equip my deck with the Dragon Vault Rayquazas, that's the only main difference between our lists. Just some thoughts:

    1. Could a single Mewtwo EX be a good tech in the deck, just for opposing Mewtwos?

    2. Is Zekrom EX really that vital? I've tried it out but almost all the time it doesn't get rolling as it is too much of an investment to attack with and then get out of the Active slot.

    3. No Random Receiver in any of the lists above? Why so?


  4. I love the rticle as always esa, but the lack of random reciever in all 3 lists surprised me, qnd also do u think 1 or 2 sableye works in zeels w/ techs?

  5. My deck runs this, can it be further improve??

    2xRayquaza EX
    1xRaikou EX
    1xMewtwo EX

    4xLevel Ball
    3xUltra Ball
    4xProf Juniper
    1xSuper Rod
    1xTool Scraper
    2xSky Arrow

    8xElectric Energy
    4xFire energy

    Hope to hear some advise from you~ :D

  6. I honestly think RayEels is at best a tier 2 deck. I've literally never lost to it (including any that won a BR) and find as soon as you take out their Eels they can't do anything but maybe 60/turn. And if you play Hammertime, you can just hammer away their prism/fire and they're stuck with a bunch of useless Rayquaza EX. RaiEels, though, is a very good deck, and there's a reason it has so many more BR wins than RayEels.

    Just as an aside, nobody really plays "ZekEels" anymore, because that's implying your main attacker is Zekrom. Seeing as you have more Raikou and Mewtwo in your standard list, the deck, if anything, should be called "RaiEels" or like "MewtwoEels" or even "Rai2Eels":P

  7. Maybe I am missing something but how can Stunfisk get rid of 3 Tynamos in 2 turns like you stated above?

    1. ko the active with weakness, hit a benched for 20. Next turn, catcher a fresh one, ko that, and hit the benched for 20 again.

    2. I am fairly new to the game but I was under the impression that you could only use one attack a turn, this implies you can use Rumble and Muddy Water in the same turn.

    3. Not sure if you're serious or just trolling...

    4. This is all assuming your opponent has 3 Tynamo out at the same time, and promotes another Tynamo to the active slot after you KO the first one. Put the extra 20 damage on that same Tynamo you sniped the previous turn and voila, three KO'ed Tynamos in 2 turns. Of course, the smart thing for the opponent to do is promote the already damaged Tynamo to avoid losing three Poke's in 2 turns.

    5. Oh, and with Catcher, it doesn't matter what gets promoted.

  8. Anonymous1: I believe Emolga is necessary for Eelektrik only after Landorus EX is released, which is fairly quickly:D

    Anonymous2: Thanks for the catch, edited the articles.

    AaronTM: Thanks!

    1) Of course it can. I just don't find Mewtwo EX such a big threat for Rayquaza/Eels, because it really can't OHKO Rayquaza EX. Using Mewtwo EX against Rayquaza/Eels is very risky, because it can be OHKOed very quickly.

    2) No it really isn't. I've just grown like Zekrom EX, but I believe most people play it without Zekrom EX and do just fine.

    3) I decided to go this time with lists concentrating on having answers to everything isntead of making them as consistent as possible. You can find the most consistent lists from The Decklist Out.

    gary drummer: Look the above. And I don't like Sableye in any other deck than Darkrai EX variants at the moment. Eelektrik is all about energy accelerating Lighting Energy and Sableye disrupts Eelektriks consistency (and feng shui) more than anything.

    Madnessloid: If you are able to get your hands on one Dragon Vault Rayquaza, I really enocourage you to play at least one of them. It OHKOs Hydreigon a lot easier than Rayquaza EX. It also seems that you have something like 55 cards in your deck. You certainly need at least 4 Switches and maybe 1 Max Potion to make the 60 cards.

    Anonymous3: Hmm, you must have been playing against bad Rayquaza/Eels, or you just have some über Secret deck. And true, any Eelektrik deck can be killed with Hammers + KO Eelektrik combos, but the question is how quickyl you succeed in that. But it's true that fast Darkrai EX decks give problems for any Eeletrik variant.

    And I don't know what to call Eelektrik/"Zekrom" anymore. Maybe I will just call it Eelektrik....

    Joel: Just like previously explained.

    Turn 1: KO the active Tynamo and do 20 to the benched Tynamo
    Turn 2: Catcher a 3rd Tynamo, KO it and do 20 to the benched Tynamo that already has 20 damage on it.

    Simple as that!

    Thanks everyone for the comments and questions as always! And feel free to ask more questions since Regionals are closing in!

    1. Thanks for the reply Esa, well appreciated! :)

    2. All BR season I've played different Hammertime variants and a RaiEel deck that is almost identical to the one you posted here, so it might be just awesome matchups. Since all my lists are pretty much useless next format I don't really need to guard them anymore
      My first was Hammertime/Garbodor, which shuts Rayquaza and Raikou down awesomely. Pretty standard list for the most part
      My second was Hammertime/Archeops. I always told myself if I could get Archeops out turn 2 at least half the time I'd play the deck, which I was able to do and so I played it. Obviously no Eels means no Rayquaza, so I never even really had a nail-biter with that vs RayEels.
      Third was a standard RaiEels, again almost identical to yours except mine ran Eviolite and Regsteel. Again I just took out the Eels and it was smooth sailing. Eviolite helped as it's very hard to get 4-5 energy in one turn if I Volt Bolt/Triple Laser their Eels every turn :D

      Thanks for replying by the way, you're my inspiration and Hammertime is by far my favorite deck out of any I have ever played.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.