HGSS-on Rogues and Stuff

The big bad wolf… errr… pig.

Hey everyone, I haven’t written an article in a while… but here I am! Going to cover a bunch of topics like my cohorts did, with the focus of my article being on giving you guys a bunch of random lists and decks that I’ve been messing around with, and why I think they can compete in this format. I don’t like filler content much, so let’s go!

With this new format, there is going to a lot of uncertainty going into Nationals as to what the metagame is going to look like. Usually we can take educated guesses based on States, Regionals, and Battle Roads, but (hopefully) not this year.

It’s already been talked about a bunch that it seems like Emboar is going to be the deck to beat. Whether with Magnezone, Ninetales, Shuckle, or what have you, the deck is a beast. You’ll see variations with Typhlosion maybe, but the things that beat Emboar will beat Typhlosion as well.

But what are some of the other decks you can be expecting once July hits? Donphan/Machamp has been talked about. Lostgar has been talked about. Zekrom has been talked about. Beyond those, though, there hasn’t been much discussion on other decks.

My fellow writers have (and will in the future) be covering these aforementioned decks, but I would like to touch on some of the weird stuff that you’re going to see at Nationals, but that doesn’t get much attention.

All are pretty good decks in their own right, but most seem to be lacking that “something” to push them over the top, although I do think most of them have potential to become great, or at least possibly better than the four decks above. Let’s check ‘em out:


Pokémon – 16

4 Minccino BLW
4 Cinccino BLW
2 Zorua BLW
2 Zoroark BLW
1 Vulpix CL
1 Ninetales CL
2 Cleffa CL

Trainers – 30

4 Professor Juniper
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory
4 Pokémon Communication
3 Dual Ball
2 Pokémon Collector
2 Energy Retrieval
1 Revive
4 Pokémon Reversal
4 PlusPower
4 Junk Arm

Energy – 14

8 R
4 Double Colorless
2 Rescue

cinccino-black-white-blw-89pokemon-paradijs.comAlright, so I saw a lot of people talking about this guy when Catcher (Gust of Wind) was still speculated to be in the set, but since then not much love for this guy. And there’s some good reason too: it doesn’t hit for enough damage.

It’s really hard to hit that 130 vs the likes of Reshiram and Zekrom, and against other possible decks out there like Samurott (which we’ll talk about later) and Serperior, you are 2HKOing.

However, I’ve found that the speed of this guy can really offset this later disadvantage, as many games one of (our both) of the decks are sitting behind Cleffa for a number of turns before going on the attack.

Though obviously less potent than Catcher, Reversal still allows for early pressure on the opponent and making them question what they should or shouldn’t put on their bench.

Pokémon are kind of interesting. 4-4 Cinccino is obvious, it’s your main attacker and you want to swarm that guy. 2-2 Zoroark is used mostly for Reshiram, Zekrom, and RDL. It lets you keep up the prize exchange against Emboar more easily, without having to drop 3 PlusPowers with Cincinno (though you do have to do this once a game usually, I’ve found).

The 1-1 Ninetales is to supplement the draw and help with “swarm” aspect of the deck. I would really like a 2-2 line to add some more consistency, but room is tight right now. 2 Cleffa I think is an appropriate number, but if I can cut another slot, I would seriously considering adding the extra Ninetales line over the Cleffa and that.

Cleffa is just a crutch, and used less in this deck than many other decks in this format, as this deck aims to take advantage of the heavy Cleffa uses in other decks.

pokemon-paradijs.com4 DCE is mandatory in this deck, and it would love more of these if possible. 2 Rescue is pretty solid as you usually only need 1 per game, if any at all. The rest gets dumped to Fire Energy for Ninetales to take advantage of for draw.

Trainers are what is the big question in this format, and this deck is no exception, in that I’m not sure this is the best way to run it, but it’s been working very nicely for me. 3 Dual Ball/2 Pokémon Collector gives a good amount of basic search, and enough with the other amount of draw in the deck.

Combined with maxed Communication, the Pokémon search of this deck is solid, especially with Ninetales as a “searchable” draw card. As for straight draw, 4 Juniper/2 Oak’s Theory is plenty for a deck like this. A lot of people don’t like Juniper, and I’m going to get into it more later, but for this deck, it certainly is the correct play.

Rifling through your deck fast to get out and going ASAP is very important for a speed like this, especially in a slow format like this. Juniper makes this much easier, and is the only card that really does this. The Oak’s is just to supplement this, as you need a lot of straight draw in this format.

4 Reversal/4 PlusPower/4 Junk Arm are mandatory in every single Cincinno deck I imagine. Reversal is so key for this deck to really put pressure on the opponent, especially against stage 2 decks like Emboar, Samurott, Machamp, etc. Also helps getting around Babies when they stay asleep, though I wouldn’t mind a Pokémon Circulator for that as well.

Max PlusPower as the 100 damage cap can be hard to deal with in some matchups. You can’t always afford to 2HKO, especially if you’re getting 1HKO’d, so the multiple PlusPower can help aid that.

pokegym.netOne good thing about this format for Cincinno is that it won’t likely have to hit for more than 100 more than a handful of times in any given game, as the games go much slower and it’s harder to “swarm” high HP guys compared to last format, where you could get out a 110 HP Basic virtually every turn, or multiple 130 HP Stage 2’s early in the game.

This provides some leeway for Cincinno to work with and sometimes even save up those PlusPowers for one or two big hits, leaving the other one or two big Pokémon to get 2HKO’d, and hopefully still stay ahead on the prize exchange between starting earlier and hitting Reversals.

The new PlusPower ruling in combination with Junk Arm is also good in this case. Lastly, the 4 Junk Arm is great to get back these powerful tools, as well as help set up and keep the deck rolling.

Finally, Revive and Energy Retrieval round out the Trainers and provide excellent resources throughout the game. Revive is useful for helping to fill your bench as the game gets longer, so you can still hit for 100+ every turn.

Energy Retrieval keeps Ninetales fueled and drawing. Might be able to drop one of the Retrievals as Energy is not a huge deal in this deck compared to others, and you have Junk Arm to reuse it.

Overall, the deck performs pretty well and is one of the faster decks I’ve played with in this format. I’m not sure if these are the right partners for Cincinno, but it’s something to build on and play around with, as it certainly is a powerful card.

Cards I kind of want:


Pokémon – 19

4 Oshawott BLW 27
2 Dewott BLW 29
4 Samurott BLW 32
2 Phanpy CL
2 Donphan Prime
3 Cleffa CL
2 Bouffalant BLW 91

Trainers – 27

3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
3 Professor Juniper
2 Copycat
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Dual Ball
3 Rare Candy
2 PlusPower
2 Defender
2 Switch
2 Junk Arm

Energy – 14

6 F
4 Rainbow
4 Double Colorless

wm_normal_032-samurottpokegym.netI’ve talked to a bunch of people about Samurott, but no one seems to have a list or even an idea of how they want to play it. So, here’s my attempt. The big Samurott line lends itself to being the main attacker, and rightfully so: the guy is a tank.

With realistically 160 HP (or more if it’s not being 1HKO’d), the guy can usually take a few hits and dish them back out. His flexible attack cost allows DCE to be abused and virtually any other backup attacker to be thrown in. Here comes Donphan.

Covering the Lightning weakness Samurott possesses, Donphan is also a tank, and does his job well. As Kettler said in his article, Donphan is a great counter for Zekrom and Magnezone, 1HKOing each with a PlusPower. Not to mention his first attack’s negative effect is reduced by both Samurott’s and Donphan’s Ability/Body.

Lastly, Bouffalant is yet a third attacker, albeit much more situational compared to the two big guys. Bouffalant can revenge kill RDL, as well as Zekrom in a pinch, and a number of things. Often you’ll find Donphan or Samurott more useful, but Bouffalant is easily powered up by DCE and can come out of nowhere.

The 3 Cleffa round the Pokémon out and provide you with a good starter Pokémon, as well as a good guy to bounce back to in the case of a bad start.

Energy is fairly straightforward. Since Samurott doesn’t actually require Water Energy, and since most things that are weak to Water are going to be 1HKO’d by 70 anyway, the 4 Rainbow should suffice in powering up the big guy.

pokemon-paradijs.comWhether getting 0, 1, or 2 Rainbows on him is going to depend on the matchup, but in general, Samurott is going to be either 1HKOing or 2HKOing anyway, regardless of the extra 10 damage, so this should be fine. Maxed DCE is a must for this deck as it quickly allows Samurott to get up and rolling.

The rest of the Energy space is devoted to Fighting Energy, so Donphan has a better chance to attack quickly as well. Not to mention getting 3 Energy on a Donphan is a scary sight for a lot of decks.

As with the Cincinno list, I’m not sure this is the correct Trainer engine right now, but it’s the one I’m most comfortable with and one that’s been pretty successful overall. 4 Dual Ball/4 Communication make it pretty easy to get out Pokémon at will, barring horrible luck on Dual Balls.

For pure draw, this has a little bit more than Cincinno, as we don’t have Ninetales, and I think 8 draw cards is going to be right around the correct number in any deck that doesn’t have a support Pokémon (not counting Cleffa). 3 Juniper/3 Oak/2 Copycat has worked well, though it could certainly be mixed and matched to tune to a certain player’s liking.

I am a real fan of Juniper and haven’t had problems with it, and I dislike Copycat more and more as I play it, so I may end up going 4/4 Juniper/Oak, but we’ll see. Juniper discarding here isn’t that big of a deal, as you have so many Pokémon that discarding even a whole line of Samurott and Donphan still gives you plenty of options, especially because your Pokémon stay alive a whole lot longer than in most other decks.

As for the rest of the Trainers, 3 Candy is sufficient I think, and I find myself using it about as much as I find myself manually evolving into Samurott through Dewott. Switch is a pretty crucial card in here, what with the high retreats of Samurott and Donphan (and the basic Phanpy).

pokegym.net2/2 PlusPower/Defender because you do need to hit for that extra 10 sometimes, but not as much as in other decks, and it’s rarely ever more than just an extra 10 needed. Defender is interesting because it plays in with the theme of the deck somewhat, further preventing 1HKOs.

If you see an Emboar player gearing up for an RDL play, with a PlusPower to get the 1HKO and 2 Prizes on Samurott, you can drop the Defender the turn before and foil their plans, giving you another turn to work with, and possibly the game.

Lastly, Junk Arm is less useful in this deck, as there are less good non-Supporters to get back, but it still has its place as a 2-of.

This is a very beta-list, and could use a lot of tweaking, but I think the idea is overall pretty sound. It should beat the crap out of Emboar lists, even ones with Magnezone, and have a decent shot vs a lot of other things in the format. I might be worried about a Machamp Prime deck, or a Lostgar build, but only testing will see what needs to be changed/added/dropped.

Bouffalant might prove to be unnecessary and you can those spots for something else. I’m not sure. This is going to be a deck that I’m going to test pretty hard in the next few weeks though and see where it takes me.


Pokémon – 17

4 Magnemite TM
2 Magneton TM
4 Magnezone Prime
3 Pachirisu CL
1 Zekrom BLW
1 Shaymin UL
2 Cleffa CL

Trainers – 27

3 Professor Juniper
3 Judge
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Dual Ball
3 Rare Candy
3 Seeker
3 Junk Arm
2 PlusPower
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Switch

Energy – 16

16 L

Okay my last lame rogue deck, I promise.

pokegym.netMagnezone, as talked about many times before, is a very strong card this format. This list is pure focus on that. It’s fast, and gets the job done. It doesn’t really have an answer to hard counters, and certainly no answer for Fighting decks like Donphan and Machamp, but that can be worked in once the list is more settled. I think this is a good start.

The big Magnezone line lets you get them up fast, and in numbers. The best thing about Magnezone is that once you get the first one, the second and third ones are much sooner coming than the first one. Multiple Pachirisu help you get Energy on the field for Magnezone to throw away and take prizes.

The lone copies of Shaymin and Zekrom allow you to perform an alternate strategy if you want, much like the hyped Zekrom deck. Whether these will stay around for long is a big question, as these spots could be used for a nice tech against Fighting guys.

On the other hand, Shaymin could prove useful if you don’t have any Energy on Magnezone and need to attack right away. And yet, back on the first hand, a good player should normally plan ahead for that and never leave no energy on any Magnezone.

So, basically, who knows! The double Cleffa provide backbone and leeway in bad starts; less important than in the likes of Samurott, because Magnezone draws so well by itself.

16 Energy seems appropriate, could be minus or plus one depending on if we need or have extra slots, or we find that there’s not enough energy to consistently get enough Kos each game.

pokegym.netI stick with my conventional Pokémon search engine here, 4 Dual Ball/4 Communication. I think this works especially nice in this deck because we have so many other options for good Supporters that I would really not want Collector.

Judge and Seeker both compliment the strategy of Magnezone so well it’s crazy. Judge really screws up opponents this format while having an almost neutral effect on the Magnezone player, while Seeker allows you to reuse all those precious Pachirisu and, if it stays, Shaymin.

3 Juniper round out the Supporters and are the only real draw cards in the deck, as I think with Magnezone you should be fine. I do want to try Sage’s in here, as I feel like this is a deck where it might be better than Juniper.

Moving on, the standard 3 Candy should again suffice here, and the 3 Junk Arm is solid. No need for 4, as we play less useful non-Supporters, but our last three guys are definitely important: Energy Retrieval is good to get back and have those extra few energies that could be the difference between getting the 6th prize or not.

Switch is not all that important here, as Magnezone will probably be attacking until it dies, but it comes in handy in awkward situations, like when you think Magnezone is going to get KO’d the next turn, so you Lost Burn al the energy off it, and then they don’t KO it, so you’re forced to either pass, Shaymin, or Switch.

Switch is often the best option here. PlusPowers provide the ability to hit for 60 or 110, which are common numbers in Pokémon, as well as Zekrom to hit for 130 against Reshiram if need be.

Overall, this is fast, disruptive deck, and could be strong if it’s played enough and tweaked. Again, I haven’t done serious heavy testing with it, but I’ve messed around with it enough to know that it’s a strong deck and could be good in the future with some changes. The Emboar matchup is actually pretty good, which is a big thing.

Random Thoughts

pokegym.netOkay, now that I’ve gone over some of my pets, I want to talk real quick about some random things, so excuse me if I go off on a tangent.

I think more and more people are going to be gravitating toward Cleffa as a starter, so I think some cards are going to be used to combat this. As Kettler mentions in his article, Tyrogue could start popping up, and I’ve thought about it myself.

Also, with the niche that Warp Point once filled now vacant, Pokémon Circulator might start becoming a good card to put in decks. Switch is nice and all, but Circulator might turn into a more important card to play, as not being to attack for a turn is often the difference between winning and losing.

If your deck does not beat Emboar variants, don’t play it. Again, as Kettler just said, it is the only surefire deck that will be played in numbers at Nationals. Emboar is too strong and too synergistic with so many cards that it is going to be played. A lot. Put away your Serperior and Tangrowth decks, because they just can’t compete in a format where Emboar is the center.

Another thing about Emboar decks: I’m like 99% sure Emboar is better than Typhlosion. The thing with Typhlosion is, you need two out for it even to be worth it! So, you need to play Energy Retreivals in Emboar, so what? All you need is one Stage 2, which is a hell of a lot easier than getting two out in this format.

Also, Typhlosion putting a counter on Reshiram is a lot bigger deal than you might think: not needing PlusPower is just one less resource that they must have in order to return the KO. Which brings me into my next point…

pokegym.netI think this format is going to be a 1HKO fest, but I’m currently looking into other ways to approach it. Right now, Emboar decks, Zekrom decks, Magnezone decks, Machamp decks; they all aim to just KO one Pokémon right after the other and to win that way.

Though this is probably the best way to approach the format as of now, I’m skeptical to believe that there isn’t at least another way (and not simply just 2HKOing everything, as the only deck that can reliably do that is Samurott and maybe Donphan, as they can take two hits themselves). Not sure yet, but hopefully I’ll find something.

As for draw engines, I’m pretty convinced that Dual Ball is better than Collector in almost every deck. Any deck that runs two Stage 2s (Emboar/Magnezone, for example) will probably want Collector. Beyond that though, I have found that draw cards are way too important to be giving up your Supporter.

However, I do want to see how running 4 Cleffa in a deck affects this, as then Collector might become stronger again. At this moment though, I do feel that Dual Ball is the stronger card.

Juniper is the best. I don’t understand where the hate for this card stems from, as it truly is a superior card to almost all of our other options. Oak’s is good and Copycat is okay, but Juniper is simply great. Again, the count of it depends on what deck you play, but I don’t know, I just think the card is phenomenal.

Sage’s I haven’t tested all that much, but again, I feel like that’s more for a two Stage 2 deck. I could be wrong though, who knows. I have to get more games in with it.


Okay, to end this article, I’m going to give my Emboar/Reshiram list. This is very similar to the list that J-Wittz posted, as he got the majority of the list from me, but I’ve made a few changes since then.

I’m also going to try and explain some of the choices of the cards and counts, though I feel like I probably covered a lot of it above in the other explanations.

Pokémon – 20

2 Tepig BLW 15
2 Pignite BLW 17
2 Emboar BLW 20
2 Vulpix UL
2 Ninetales CL
2 Reshiram BLW
2-2 Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND
4 Cleffa CL

Trainers – 25

4 Professor Juniper
4 Dual Ball
3 Pokémon Communication
2 Rare Candy
4 Junk Arm
3 Energy Retrieval
2 PlusPower
1 Revive
1 Switch
1 Burned Tower

Energy – 15

12 R
3 L

cleffa hgss 17pokegym.netI also should give a lot of credit to Drew Holton for inspiring me on some of the deck’s innovations, although he told me he now has a new engine for the deck. :P

Max Cleffa might strike the eye immediately, and I think it’s generally a good play here. The deck takes more time to set up than a lot of other decks, with the benefit that once it gets rolling, it’s hard to stop. They also become searchable Junk Arm fodder later in the game which is cool. Not sure if 4 is absolutely needed, but for now, it provides a nice consistency boost.

2/2/2 Emboar is a little interesting. I had 3/2/3 initially, but dropped to 3/2/2 once I realized that all I needed was the single Emboar during any given game, and soon after dropped to 2/2/2, dropping the last Tepig for a Revive, which I think is more versatile. I don’t think I’ll drop to 1 Pignite, but it’s possible: I like the security of being able to evolve manually without worrying about my prizes.

2/2 Ninetales is standard practice for this deck, as you only really need one to get the ball rolling. 2/2 RDL I feel is great, and necessary if you’re not running Magnezone. Many people advise not using RDL unless it’s your last 2 Prizes, but I feel that the absolute worst that can happen is that you go even on the prize exchange, and then you get to attack again.

The best that can happen is that they don’t KO it and you get 4 Prizes in two turns. I’ve used it a number of times midgame, and it has never really proved a problem for me. Also, 2/2 allows some leeway in discarding with Juniper and Junk Arm. Finally 2 Reshiram is a perfect number, especially with Revive. He is your main attacker during the early game and can sit up at the active to stall if need be as well.

12 Fire/3 Lightning seems perfect and I’ve had this since like the second day of testing and have never felt the need to change it since then.

pokegym.netThis is one of those decks that loves Juniper. Cycling through your deck fast is big for this deck, as it is slow. Offsetting this is Juniper and Ninetales to draw cards ASAP and get your Emboar and attackers out so you can start taking prizes every turn.

I’ve very rarely found Juniper to hinder me, and I’ve had some pretty bad Juniper drops (I’ve had hands like Emboar/RDL/Juniper/Juniper that I’ve dropped!) but, many, many more times than not, it is fantastic.

My Dual Ball/Communication engine that’s been present throughout all my lists is present here as well. The 4th Communciation would be nice, but I’m not sure it’s entirely necessary, and I cut it for space for other cards that I think would be better.

The 2 Rare Candy is fine, and I would play just the 2 still even if I dropped to 1 Pignite. Being able to Juniper it away and Junk Arm it back is great. 3 Energy Retrieval has been a great number, in combination with the Junk Arms.

It’s very rare that I don’t have the energy to do what I need to do, so I haven’t found a need for more of these, or even Fisherman. The single copy of Burned Tower also is great and even going like 25% on those flips throughout the game really, really helps.

Lastly, the PlusPowers are great for hitting the magic numbers of 130. Being able to Junk Arm for them is awesome. The lone Switch is fine, but I think it might be dropped at some point. I’ve talked about the lone Revive, and I think it’s a great addition to the deck.

Topping it off, just as much as this deck loves Juniper, it might love Junk Arm even more. Being able to get back anything from Dual Ball to Energy Retrieval, this deck thrives off its non-Supporters, so getting them back is really awesome. You also have so much fodder that you can drop as the game goes on, with the extra Ninetales lines, extra Cleffa, extra Emboar line, and extra Candies.

So yeah, there’s that list. I hope you guys can use it and tweak it to your liking. It’s shaping up to be my frontrunning choice for both the best deck in the format as well as my Nationals deck, but there’s still a lot of time before that. The deck is a beast and should be treated as such.

I hope you guys enjoyed my take on the HGSS-on format, and I’m excited to hear your feedback on my lists and ideas. Till next time!


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