Preparing a Rogue

Playing a non-tier 1 deck can be extremely fun if you can get it to pull off some wins. Winning just by surprise is completely possible in some situations. For this article I’m going to take you through my thought process of making a meta-challenging rogue for this specific event. Please note I say my thought process. Some people take completely different angles at the meta, and attempt to challenge or break it in different ways; there is no right way to break a meta, and that’s why there’s one. Let’s build a rogue for what was to be my last Cities of the year.

The last event I had gone to in the area was in Angola, IN on December 26th. In Angola we had 32 players for a top cut of 8. In that field there was a pretty good amount of Gyarados and a decent amount of SP and Vilegar. There were other rogues, such as Mewperior, ChampZone, straight Magnezone, and a few others. So I concluded that the decks to beat at Fort Wayne, IN (1 hour away from Angola) were Gyarados, Vilegar, and LuxChomp. Shocker.

Choosing what to Play

The decks that currently have the most options are obviously SP, so I decided that that would be the back bone of the deck. LuxChomp has been losing a little ground on Gyarados lately (still slightly in LuxChomp’s favor) but Gyarados can definitely give it problems. LuxChomp can also struggle against Vilegar due to the initial Trainer-lock. The absence of a Dialga LV.X in the matchup can keep the matchup even more in the Vilegar player’s favor.

Obviously choosing an SP build that does not feature DGX and expecting it to beat Vilegar is a pretty tall order, but I thought I could get the bare essentials down, and then outplay someone.

pokemon-paradijs.comFirst, we need to decide how we will meet the win condition (i.e. quickly, slowly, huge damage, spread, etc.).

How to beat Vilegar
We could tech in a DGX into LuxChomp. Nah. LuxChomp is getting stale to me. Still the BDIF, but I find it boring to play. Let’s mix it up. What’s Gengar SF weak to? Dark. Awesome, how much? +30. Let’s find a way to abuse that. Absol G LV.X. It can hit for 60 consistently (70 with a Special Dark), and has Psychic resistance. Its “Darkness Slugger” also allows you to discard a card for its attack effect. Useful for dumping trainers.

It’s an SP so we can abuse the engine for that, and using a semi-controllable damage output will allow us to utilize Skuntank G and Crobat G to dodge Fainting Spells, which can be very important. Seems doable if we are able to do the following: Have access to a few Bebe’s, chain Absol early, or “Bright Look” the Oddish/Gloom/Vileplume real early game.

How to beat Gyarados
Typically LuxChomp just go super aggressive with their Luxray. Maybe level up a Garchomp in there somewhere to give them Warp Point and “Regi Move” protection. I want the matchup tilted more in my favor though… Let’s add some stadiums that help us, but don’t help them.

First I thought of Galatic HQ, but I concluded that that really won’t do too much to Gyarados. When they’re evolving, they’ll just place a Broken Time-Space back down because they won’t leave their Magikarp exposed. So this brought me to Snowpoint Temple. Unfortunately, it’s not too good in the SP matchup, but we weren’t wanting the Stadiums and Skuntank for the mirror anyway.

Snowpoint can actually really mess up the Gyarados player. Not only do we force them to play a BTS to get setup after a KO, but we also force them to potentially have to try to knock the Stadium out of play to get the KO, forcing them to burn through their Broken Time-Spaces quicker, while not fully focused on recovery.

Skuntank G, while mainly for Gengar, can still hurt their high retreat Pokémon here with the Poison. It also allows you to KO a regular Gyarados with “Flash Impact”, no Crobat G needed, allowing you to bypass the Rescue Energy as it gets KO’d between turns from poison.

Let’s start with a rough draft:

Rough Draft

Pokémon – 19
3 Luxray GL RR
1 Luxray GL LV.X RR
2 Absol G SV
2 Absol G LV.X SV
3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X LA
1 Lucario GL RR
1 Crobat G PL
1 Skuntank G PL
1 Ambipom G RR
1 Toxicroak G Promo
1 Azelf LA
1 Unown Q MD
T/S/S – 27-34
4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
4 Pokémon Collector
3 Snowpoint Temple
3-4 Poké Turn
3-4 Energy Gain
3 Power Spray
2-3 Pokémon Communication
2 Bebe’s Search
0-1 Twins
1-2 Premier Ball
0-1 Junk Arm
1 Aaron’s Collection
1-2 SP Radar
Energy – 12
4 Call
3 L
3 D
1 P
1 M

Other current considerations:

1 Bronzong G
1-2 Toxicroak G
1 Drifblim FB
1 Dragonite FB
X Seeker
1 Regice

Obviously, we can’t include the max of every card above. It’s mainly a way to look at all the options we have available to us.

Line and Card Choices

3-1 Luxray GL In an SP deck that is without Garchomp C, its versatility will most likely be the backbone of the deck. It is a great Gyarados counter, and an all around good card. Can’t say too much that hasn’t been said about it already. 3-1 increases the odds of starting with it, and allows easier chains of them in the Gyarados matchup.

2-2 Absol G Gengar Counter. “Darkness Send” is too flip-reliant, but it is fun. But the card itself really is a pretty good Gengar counter. Has resistance, hits for reakness, uses the SP Engine, and can discard Trainers and Supporters with Darkness Slugger. 2-2 seems fair for this type of deck. We really don’t want to start with it, but it’s not a bad start. Two Level Xs gives us a better chance of drawing into them against Gengar if our Trainers are shut down.

3-1 Uxie The play in almost all SPs currently if you ask me. Decent ability to get some KOs on Machamp if seen, and the more Uxie, the better!

Twins Great card. Being searchable with Cyrus’s Conspiracy in the Gengar match is huge. Allows you to get off a Bright Look easily to KO the Vileplume, or whatever else you could possibly want. I ended up including one. It was really good against Gyarados if they exploded on your turn 1 and 2 as well. Twins guarantees you do something to destruct something of importance to them. Whether its getting their Broken Time-Space out of play or bypassing their Rescue Energy, you can easily make them strain to return the KO by using Twins.

Aaron’s Collection I thought long and hard about playing 2 of these. Anyone take an SP build to a Cities this year with two Aaron’s? If so, what were your thoughts? Did it help against Trainer lock? Would you rather have had a VS Seeker?


Through testing against Gengar, I decided I needed some Special Darks. The ability to Darkness Slugger for 70 and then get the Poison Structure for the KO was too good to pass up early game. Since we’re only really worried about getting the Special Darks in this matchup we have to rule out Energy Exchanger, as it will be a dead card. This forces a higher count than I wanted to get to, but, in my eyes, it had to be done. After a few days of testing, I change the energy line to the following:

3 Call Energy
3 L Energy
3 Special D Energy
1 D Energy
1 P Energy
1 M Energy

I am usually one of the biggest 4-or-none Call Energy people out there, but I felt like I needed access to Special Dark, and I didn’t want to completely nuke my Calls, so I plan on taking a gamble. Obviously I need a searchable Dark, so I keep one in. I wanted a fourth Special Dark, but hadn’t found room yet.

I ended up staying with a little less Trainer flexibility, as it softened the Gengar matchup a little, and didn’t hurt the Gyarados matchup. Gyarados tests like a dream. Since you have counter Stadiums and ways to bypass Rescue Energy, it’s completely safe to lay low a turn or two. Make sure you don’t over extend, then turn it on.

LuxChomp was tough to play against. Like any SP versus SP matchup though, it is very possible to steal it if you start better. Ambipom G and Toxicroak G Promo are your only hard counters, so you have to come at them first, be aggressive, and time your Power Sprays correctly.

Machamp was winnable, not a dream matchup, but workable with good Power Spray discipline and Uxie. Since this does not run DCE, you have to manage your Energy drops very carefully. It’s not in your favor but it doesn’t stomp you as bad as… anything with Donphan in it. For one energy it takes out both your main attackers, and, unlike Machamp, cannot be returned easily at all, so avoid it at all costs.


The list changes more through testing, as I need more consistency in my none-favorable matches. I up with my Call Energy back to 4, taking out the Metal as it’s a weak Regigigas counter at best. I keep my lines fat, and play a decent amount of good Turn 1 Supporters.

Bronzong G is also a necessity as it keeps energy on the field longer. And with no Garchomp C to heal, I need to make sure to be able to manipulate my past energy drops when Poké Turning and such. I always try to build an SP without Bronzong, but it just never happens; he always sneaks in.

Here’s the list I end up taking to Fort Wayne:

Pokémon – 20
3 Luxray GL RR
1 Luxray GL LV.X RR
2 Absol G SV
2 Absol G LV.X SV
3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X LA
1 Toxicroak G Promo
1 Ambipom G RR
1 Lucario GL RR
1 Bronzong G PL
1 Azelf LA
1 Unown Q MD
1 Crobat G PL
1 Skuntank G PL
T/S/S – 28
4 Cyurs’s Conspiracy
4 Pokémon Collector
4 Poké Turn
3 Snowpoint Temple
3 Power Spray
3 Energy Gain
2 Bebe’s Search
1 SP Radar
1 Aaron’s Collection
1 Twins
1 Pokémon Communication
1 Premier Ball
Energy – 12
4 Call
3 Special D Energy
1 D
3 L
1 P

Fort Wayne City Championship

Round 1 – James Coss with Gyarados

Starts are both pretty slow, and he jumps out to an early lead. However, Twins is the card here after getting around Rescue Energy and removing Broken Time-Space, he has no way to get a Gyarados back in play. Not wanting to leave his ‘Karp exposed, he doesn’t play it down, and starts sacrificing Sableye to get off “Impersonate” for Seekers.

He continues to dig for Broken Time-Spaces, but I’ve already taken 3 out of play and he’s never able to get another Gyarados up after that until it’s too late. He is forced to attach Expert Belt to get a KO on a Luxray GL LV.X, and I have a “Trash Bolt” and Crobat G waiting for the return to win 2-0.

Win 1-0

Round 2 – Evan Baker with LuxChomp

Good player, tough matchup seeing as how my counters are limited. Just have to play a good game and maybe get a little lucky. How about doing the opposite though? My start was lame: Lucario GL and Bronzong G, I believe. He starts Luxray and Garchomp.

I’ll cut this short as, on my second turn, I use my Cyrus’s Conspiracy to search my deck, grab my Trainer, energy, and another Cyru…..nope the other 3 are prized. After using the SP Radar and looking through my deck and noticing I was down an Uxie as well, I decided to scoop. Didn’t want to flail around in this matchup when it’s now essentially impossible for me to keep up in the exchange past a turn or two.

Loss 1-1

Round 3 – Collan Baker with Gengar/Vileplume

I go first and get what I thought was a good start, even though it was Supporterless. He opens with two Gastly. I open with an active Luxray, benched dual Absol, and Promocroak. I draw, attach Energy to an Absol, and play Uxie to “Set Up” for 5. And I whiff all the way home. All Trainers, Energy, and Pokémon. No Supporters. I draw/pass the next 7 or 8 turns while he “Poltergeists” the life out of my Pokémon. I know it’s a lost cause, but I just want to see if I’d get a Supporter. Nope, rough luck, but that’s the way it goes sometime, so it’s all good.

Loss 1-2

Just don’t let me play the Donphan/Machamp that’s 1-2…

Round 4 – Jeff L. with Donphan/Machamp

This is how I sum up this matchup: fasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdgasgfasdfjasldkfnjasd.

I go first and start… the lone Unown Q and he starts Phanpy. I draw…Azelf, sweet. Play it down, nothing good in my prizes, and pass. He gets the turn 1 Donphan Prime out, and it’s lights out. I tried poisoning it, and doing whatever I could to anything. The highlight was when he had 3 Prizes and I had all six, he Warp Pointed a Donphan Prime with only 20 HP left to the bench and promoted a Machamp to “Take Out” my active. He now has 2 Prizes. However, I get the double “Flash Bite” KO, then the “Zen Blade” with Lucario in play to get the double knockout. But I still get stomped.

Loss 1-3

I ask Derek if anyone would have a bye next round, and he said yes. I drop, as there was no point to continue beating myself up and not allowing someone else to play.

At the End of the Day…

Obviously I underperformed, and it was quite embarrassing that half the people there probably saw glimpses of my deck and had no idea what I was trying to accomplish. I don’t know if the list is awful, but it definitely has a few flaws. This article probably would have been better had I done better, but that’s the way you draw a card sometimes.

I hope you enjoyed all the nonsense the article provided you with, and I’ll probably shoot out more lists soon Maybe now you know what to do or not do when trying to make a rogue for an event.

Reader Interactions

15 replies

  1. Robby Gill

    i ran played absol g and did ok with it. i beat a luxchomp and 2 vilegars. i went 3-3 loosing to 1 vilegar who had the hand from god, a yanmega/donphan deck that just disrupted and hit me for weakness and jumpluff (my blaze x was prized along with azelf). I think absol g is a really underrated card.

  2. Dane Carlson

    Going 1-3 isn’t so bad. At my first tournament (States 2010) I brought a Gardie/Gallade/Empoleon. Worst deck ever. Pyramid line on the Empoleon, only 1 Gallade, and 2 Platinum Gardevoir with no SW Gardie. My record was 2-4, and in two cases, I was losing to kids that were half my age. The only reason I won two games is that in one my opponent blew all his resources too early, and the other one was a bye. So you COULD do worse. :P

  3. Ron Routhier

    It’s actually refreshing to read an article where the author doesn’t boast about how his deck dominated a tournament, and tell everyone else why their deck lists are so flawed. I commend you for going rouge in such a one sided meta game where only 4 decks (LuxChomp, G-dos, VileGar,D-Chomp) have a realistic chance of performing in premiere tournaments. I am so ready for HGSS on in the next rotation. It’s going to be funny to see how all these SP players cope without their own deck engine to accomplish anything.

    Great article sir………

  4. Kevin Stengle

    Grats on not taking another one of the tier 1 decks to a tournament. I’ve been playing BlastGatr since I got back into the game a year ago, and sometimes the sheer number of extremely good cookie-cutter tier 1 decks can make a solid list with solid strategy and consistent playtesting do completely average. I’d like to consider myself a skilled player, but I’d say my deck choice has an obvious effect effect on tournament results.
    With such a centralized metagame, it’s refreshing to see an article that ISN’T luxchomp/gdos/vilegar/machamp/DGX.
    .Good luck with modifying your deck and future tournaments!

  5. Joshua Pikka

    How is having an SP deck that has luxray in it rogue?

    • Poteet24  → Joshua

      I probably used the term rogue to loosely. However its still a far different list then other notable sps in luxchomp and dialga chomp. The absence of garchomp, dce, addition of absol as a main attacker, the use of skuntank and stadiums, all forces it to play to a different style then anything else the metagame offers currently.

  6. Dave Hueglin

    It is nice to see someone trying out a different deck idea and not being too embarrassed to write about it’s flaws. As much as Pokemon needs players playing arch-types to be competitive, it also needs players who are willing to try out new ideas. I would have loved to have seen responses to the initial Gyarados deck idea, if it had been posted as an article. It was pretty rogue, and there were lots of ways it could have been criticized. Many predicted it would die out with rotation, but now, with the support of cards from new sets, it has become a powerful mainstream deck.

  7. Christian Hyman

    i love these rouge deck articles. its much more entertaining then all these tier 1 deck articles we see everyday. im a big fan of “different” ideas.

  8. Adam Capriola

    Hah good article man! Nice to see your thought process through the development of the deck all the way to its actual performance in a tournament. It’s too bad you didn’t go X-0 and sweep the table with it, but it was a good effort. :)

  9. Adam Capriola

    Hah good article man! Nice to see your thought process through the development of the deck all the way to its actual performance in a tournament. It’s too bad you didn’t go X-0 and sweep the table with it, but it was a good effort. :)

  10. Colin Peterik

    Nice article.
    I think Absol G Lv.X may be decent when LW is released as a tech vs. the mirror match. It can OHKO opposing Gengars and can Lost Zone stuff with a Chatot G tech.

  11. Garrett Williamson

    This is great. Building and playing rogue is awesome. Did you give pokemon contest hall a thought? Under trainer lock it gets you a basic and energy gain.

  12. Papa_Mash

    Loved the honesty and your approach to making the deck….you never know what will happen until you step on the gas….

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.