Take Your Game to the Sky

What’s popping PTCGO Store readers? Have you taken your game to the skies lately? Regardless of your answer, I’m here to guide you through one of the hottest new cards to come out of Evolving Skies, Rayquaza VMAX (Evolving Skies)! Plenty of players have hyped this card up, others have given it poor reviews, and the rest of the community is undecided. I’m here to tell you that I think the deck has potential, and at the very least, it’s a Rayquaza, right? My goal as a content creator is always to cover as many different concepts, even the ones that are rough around the edges, and Rayquaza falls under one of the more viable ones! Join me as we explore this new card and learn more about our Team Up - Evolving Skies metagame. Let’s get it!

Understanding Rayquaza VMAX

Rayquaza Vmax

Rayquaza VMAX is hyped first and foremost because it is a Rayquaza and furthermore is a Pokémon VMAX. Rayquaza cards have typically been playable, such as Rayquaza GX (Celestial Storm), and the attributes on this one are pretty awesome. Being able to have a built-in draw engine with Azure Pulse allows you to draw cards when needed, but it comes at the cost of pitching your hand. Many players play Rose (Darkness Ablaze) to utilize the moment to accelerate Energy or use Kricketune V (Battle Styles) to draw some cards. Max Burst is destructive in and of itself, but it comes with pseudo-unlimited power. It has come to a great debate on how players should power it up, the Supporter-based Welder (Unbroken Bonds) or Stage 1 Flaaffy (Evolving Skies). This article will share both styles of Rayquaza VMAX so that you are able to test them for yourselves. Let’s start off with the Welder build.

Rayquaza VMAX / Welder


Welder has arguably seen some of the most success as an Energy acceleration engine and that’s the true argument about this variant. The goal is to get a bunch of Fire Energy attached to Rayquaza VMAX and you can either use Welder, Volcanion (Unbroken Bonds), and/or Tapu Koko Prism Star (Team Up) to accelerate Energy onto it. And that’s basically it - it isn’t the most difficult strategy to follow, but you want to attach Energy, unload them with Max Burst, and repeat again! When you start to run low on Energy, you can always use Fire Crystal (Unbroken Bonds) to get them back into your hand to attach to your Pokémon. I like how simple this list is, but I am sometimes worried that there isn’t a way to 100% regenerate Energy - Fire Crystal can eventually run out which can make things spooky at times. The goal is to win before you run out of resources, which totally happens most of the time, so perhaps I’m just in my own head. That being said, let’s look at this deck.

Rayquaza VMAX / Welder Deck

Pokémon - 19

1 Oranguru VIV 199
1 Crobat V PR-SW 110
4 Rayquaza V EVS 194
3 Rayquaza VMAX EVS 218
1 Heatran-GX UNM 25
3 Volcanion PR-SM 179
1 Eldegoss V CPA 5
2 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
1 Tapu Koko {*} TEU 51
1 Marshadow UNB 81
1 Mew PR-SM 215

Trainer Cards - 29

4 Switch SUM 160
2 Evolution Incense SSH 163
1 Pal Pad SSH 172
4 Giant Hearth UNM 197
4 Welder UNB 189
2 Boss's Orders RCL 189
3 Air Balloon SSH 213
3 Fire Crystal UNB 173
4 Quick Ball SSH 216
2 Pokémon Communication TEU 152

Energy - 12

9 Fire Energy SWSHEnergy 2
3 Lightning Energy SWSHEnergy 4

Total Cards - 60

Rayquaza Vmax/Welder deck

Rayquaza VMAX / Flaaffy


And here is the other version of Rayquaza VMAX, which focuses on recycling Energy with Flaaffy over and over again. Regardless of testing results, this version seems much stronger in theory to me because you don’t really run into dead-ends like you can with the Welder version. You can always get back your Lightning Energy with Flaaffy’s Dynamotor Ability, you can get back Fire Energy with Rose, and you can get back your other resources with Pal Pad (Sword and Shield) and Ordinary Rod (Sword and Shield). There are lots of draw crutches available, such as Dedenne-GX (Unbroken Bonds) and Kricketune V, and the list just looks clean. I might be a little biased from my early testing, but I’m allowed to like how a list looks right? The issue with this list is that you might get Flaaffy out before Mareep (Chilling Reign) or just miss pieces in general. Mew (Unbroken Bonds) can only protect Flaaffy so much and Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (Battle Styles) can rip up your entire Bench. I guess those are the tough decisions you need to make when choosing between this version or the Welder version, but they are both super true to getting out Max Burst as soon as possible. Let’s check out this list!

Rayquaza VMAX / Flaaffy Deck

Pokémon - 19

4 Rayquaza V EVS 194
3 Rayquaza VMAX EVS 218
1 Kricketune V BST 6
1 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
4 Mareep CRE 47
4 Flaaffy PR-SW 122
1 Marshadow UNB 81
1 Mew PR-SM 215

Trainer Cards - 30

4 Level Ball BST 181
3 Evolution Incense SSH 163
1 Pal Pad SSH 172
1 Energy Spinner UNB 170
2 Boss's Orders RCL 189
3 Stormy Mountains EVS 232
4 Professor's Research SSH 201
2 Rose SHF 71
4 Quick Ball SSH 216
3 Air Balloon SSH 213
1 Ordinary Rod SSH 215
2 Switch SUM 160

Energy - 11

3 Fire Energy SWSHEnergy 2
8 Lightning Energy SWSHEnergy 4

Total Cards - 60

Rayquaza Vmax / Flaaffy deck

Train Your Dragon

Evolving Skies has only been released for a short time and I’m sure Rayquaza VMAX will see some sort of success before Rotation. When it comes to the debate, I find myself leaning more towards liking Rayquaza VMAX, but it’s gonna require a bunch more testing from me! I hope we get the opportunity to see it shine at the Pokémon Online Global Championships (POG), but it still has a long lifespan ahead of it in the Post Rotation Standard format. I’m going to vigorously test pokémon online decks in the Team Up to Evolving Skies to do my best in this format. That being said, you’ll want to do as much testing as possible to give yourself the best opportunity to see success! I wish you all the best of luck and I’ll see y’all on PTCGO soon!

About the Writer

Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for PTCGO Store. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the PokémonTrading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokémon content as his full time career. Under the moniker of theloneblown, he creates YouTube content, streams on Twitch, and provides hot takes on his Twitter. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and the 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside of the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokémon events and follow him on Twitter @ZachLesagePTCG.