Hey everyone! I’m here with the first of what I hope to be a series of articles centered completely around rogue decks. With each installment of the series, I will analyze three different rogue decks that may have potential in the current metagame. I chose to look at three different decks in order to give you guys a variety of content; if you don’t like one of the decks, there is still two more that you can look at. So, without further ado, let’s take alook at some rogue decks!
This deck was first thought up during the time before last year’s National Championships, when Magneboar reigned supreme as the supposed BDIF. The deck utilizes Krookodile BLW and Ampharos Prime and was built with taking down Magneboar in mind, but before the deck could make any sort of impact, Yanmega Prime became the king of the metagame. Due to the deck’s absolutely horrible matchup versus Yanmega and its slow set-up time, the idea faded away and was widely forgotten.
Now, with a larger card pool and a different metagame, I think that this deck might have a chance to see the play that it missed out on last season.
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 28
Energy – 13
pokebeach.comThe strategy of this deck is to use Ampharos Prime’s “Conductivity” Poké-Body to place extra damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon, powering up Krookodile’s awesomely-named “Krookoroll” attack. Krookodile can also use Torment to lock one of the defending Pokémon’s moves, which is often a great stalling technique against single-attackers like Magnezone.
Tornadus is the reason why I think that this deck can make a comeback; it provides a fast, easy to search attacker that can aid in setting up your bench by moving energy onto other Pokémon. With the early game covered by Tornadus, the deck gains the speed needed to survive in the current metagame.
The rest of the deck is fairly standard; all of the staple Trainer cards are there, with Cheren acting as draw and Switch is included for pulling a Krookodile or Ampharos that has been Catchered up out of a hard place. Although Tornadus does improve the deck’s early game, there will still be times when the deck falls behind (the Zekrom matchup is a prime example of this) and when it does, Twins allows you to grab what you need and make a quick comeback.
ZPST – Unfavorable
This matchup is a tough one to judge; once Krookodile gets rolling, Zekrom becomes much easier to deal with. However, ZPST is the fastest deck in the format, and can rip AmpDile apart before it has a chance to really get going. Zekrom can 1HKO Tornadus – your only fast attacker – with ease, and Krookodile can be slowed down by opposing Tornadus.
While Twins helps a lot in this matchup and Krookodile can take out Zekrom without much trouble, the overwhelming speed of Zekrom makes this matchup tough to deal with.
Reshiphlosion – Even/Slightly Favorable
pokebeach.comWhile the powerful Reshiram can seem quite threatening at first, Reshiphlosion has a weak point that this deck can exploit. While Tornadus is 1HKO’d by Reshiram, it can still dish out early-game damage and activate Twins, allowing for a faster set-up. Reshiphlosion’s downfall is the fact that it relies on constantly reattaching energies due to the effect of Blue Flare.
And while energies attached using Typhlosion Prime’s Afterburner, the effect of Afterburner still puts a damage counter on whatever Pokémon it attaches to – which is basically the same thing that Ampharos Prime wants to happen.
This extra damage can prove useful when Krookodile comes in, and Krookodile can also use Torment to force Reshiram to use only one move. Overall, this matchup is still tough, but this deck has the ability to come out on top.
Megazone – Even
This deck was originally created to destroy Magnezone, but saw no use due to the fact that it folded before the likes of Yanmega. This balance becomes evident in this matchup; Yanmega causes the deck problems and almost always has to be taken on by Tornadus (or, in more dire circumstances, Ampharos), while Magnezone is utterly destroyed by Krookodile. Yanmega will take absolutely no damage from Conductivity because it needs no energy to attack, so you simply need to slam it again and again until it is KO’d.
Fortunately, Yanmega isn’t the most bulky Pokémon, and is 2HKO’d by Tornadus and either 1HKO’d or 2HKO’d (depending on a coin flip for extra damage) by Ampharos. Krookodile is Magnezone’s worst nightmare; it can shut down Magnezone’s attack with Torment and 1HKO it with Krookoroll.
Combined with the need to constantly reattach energy to Magnezone – thus damaging it with Ampharos – and Magnezone is no match for this dynamic duo. This matchup is pretty much even – half of Megazone is a pain, but the other half is a piece of cake.
Gothitelle – Unfavorable
pokebeach.comGothitelle is just evil. I never liked the Pokémon in the first place, and now it is also a huge threat to this deck. Trainer lock hurts the deck, and even though Twins and other Supporters can help ease the pain, being locked out of trainers (especially Rare Candy) is a massive setback. Combine this with the fact that Gothitelle is almost impossible to Knock Out due to Reuniclus, and you have one tough game at your hands.
Yeah, you ca stop it from attacking with Krookodile, but you will almost never be able to KO it. The best you can hope for is a very fast set up, and taking a good amount of prizes early. Move over, Yanmega- AmpDile has a new worst enemy.
If you don’t want to use this version of AmpDile, there are a few other options that you can consider. Krookodile EPO, Krookodile BLW’s younger brother, has a useful ability that lets you flip a coin to try to discard energy from the defending Pokémon. This has great synergy with Ampharos, forcing your opponent to play more energy and thus take more damage from Conductivity.
However, I prefer not to use it due to the fact that it is not a good of an attacker. Nevertheless, it could make for a useful addition to the deck and is easy to tech in with Krookodile lines already being run. Rocky Helmet is another card that could be interesting, stacking up even more damage on the defending Pokémon, and it allows Krookodile to function better without Ampharos.
The other new tool card, Eviolite, can help Tornadus improve its survivability and allow it to take a Blue Flare from Reshiram (although Zekrom still 1HKOs due to weakness). Finally, Crushing Hammer and Lost Remover are both trainers that deny energy, allowing you to rack up more Conductivity damage. I’d say they are both about even in usefulness; Lost Remover is more situational but always works, while Crushing Hammer is flippy but less circumstantial.
Of course, these are just a few cards that could work in this deck, but there are many, many more. That’s the great thing about Pokémon; there are always different and unique ways to customize a deck to fit your own playstyle.
Now, let’s move on to the next deck!
As most of you already know, there were two different genies that were released in the Emerging Powers set: Tornadus, who quickly showed itself to be a great card and Zekrom’s new best friend, and his brother Thundurus. Unlike Tornadus, Thundurus is a Lightning-type and hasn’t seen nearly as much play as Tornadus. It seemed that anything that Thundurus could do, either Tornadus or Zekrom could do better.
To be honest, I kinda felt bad for the guy; Thundurus is a good, solid Pokémon who does have some potential. So I decided that Thundurus was going to get his own deck, where he could be the star of the show.
This became possible with the release of the new Noble Victories set – and more importantly, Eelektrik. A Stage 1 with a great accelerator ability in Dynamotor, Eelektrik is the perfect partner for the energy-discarding Thundurus. Add in a second attacker, and Thundurus suddenly possessed a deck of his own.
Now, I had some trouble picking what attacker to use in conjunction with Thundurus. Zekrom was an obvious choice, and Tornadus would be great versus Donphan (which otherwise rolls right over this deck). However, I dismissed Zekrom and chose to use Tornadus as a tech instead of a main attacker.
Finally, it came down to either Magnezone Prime or Raichu Prime. For most people, the choice is obvious: Magnezone every time. However, Raichu has some awesome synergy with Eelektrik, as he is able to recharge himself using his Poké-Power by pulling the energy Eelektrik puts on the bench back up to him.
He also hits pretty hard, but ultimately goes down to easily and doesn’t have built-in draw power. So, Magnezone it was. But enough talk, it’s the list that you all want to see!
Pokémon – 21
4 Tynamo NVI #38
1 Cleffa HS/CL
Trainers – 254 Pokémon Communication
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 14
The goal here is to get Thundurus rolling by turn 2, recycling the discarded energy from Disaster Volt with Eelektrik to set up your bench. Magnezone functions both as the deck’s draw power and its clean-up hitter, Lost Zoning the Energy that Eelektrik pulls out of the discard.
pokebeach.comTornadus really isn’t of much use in anything but the Donphan (or other Fighting-type) matchup. That is the reason for the single copy of Revive (which can be Junk Armed if needed), as Tornadus doesn’t really do anything except give you another attacker in most matches and therefore adding more than a single copy can’t really be justified (unless your metagame is full with Donphans; then I would recommend more Tornadus).
As with the last list, the Trainers are pretty much standard stuff. Eviolite is used to make sure Thundurus will be able to take a Bolt Strike/Blue Flare, and just live longer in general. There isn’t much of a need for draw supporters beyond the staple PONT, as Magnezone remedies that problem with Magnetic Draw.
ZPST – Even
Thundurus and his buddies actually hold up fairly well against Zekrom, even though it is admittedly a tad bit slower. With 110 HP, Thundurus (your preferred starter) cannot be donked by Tornadus, and can survive an encounter with Zekrom if it has a Eviolite attached. In addition, Thundurus 1HKOs his brother Tornadus even with an Eviolite attached, and Magnezone only needs to Lost Zone 2 energy to take one out.
Zekrom is tougher, but still doable; it is 2HKO’d by Thundurus and is often weakened by Bolt Strike recoil or prior damage to the point where Magnezone does not have to spend too much energy taking it out. Although you have to be wary of the Pokémon Catcher that threatens Eelektrik and Magnezone’s pre-evolutions, every deck that isn’t a Vileplume variant runs Catcher and there isn’t much that can be done about that. Overall, I’d say that this matchup is a 50/50 – there is no clear winner of this matchup.
Reshiphlosion – Even
This is another pairing that could go either way. In this scenario, Thundurus is usually faster (unless the Reshiphlosion player can get a T2 Typhlosion going), and its accelerator (Eelektrik) is easier to set up due to it being a Stage 1 as opposed to a Stage 2 like Typhlosion. After Thundurus gets his Eviolite and Reshiram gets set up, the game often becomes a Catcher war – with both players dragging up unevolved Basics/Stage 1s, or big, heavy retreaters like Magnezone and Typhlosion.
This matchup is usually won by the player takes out the other’s support Pokémon first, and neither deck consistently does that more than the other.
Megazone – Favorable
pokebeach.comThis matchup is another good one for Thunderstorm. Thundurus and Yanmega set up at about the same speed (Thundurus is a Basic but requires Energy, while Yanmega has to evolve but attacks for free), but Thundurus hits Yanmega for weakness and 1HKOs it while being 2HKO’d back.
Also, the only Pokémon that are threatened by Linear Attack in the deck are Cleffa and Tynamo, one of which is run in every deck, and while it can be a pain to lose a Tynamo, at least you can exact revenge with Thundurus. This deck also doesn’t mind being hit by Judge/N, as Magnezone can just get your hand going again.
The late game usually pits Magnezone versus Magnezone, but your Magnezone can dish out more damage due to having Eelektrik support (while they have to attach manually every turn). It is also no big deal if they run Kingdra; it is weak to lightning too, so Thundurus or Magnezone can simply Catcher up and KO it before it does any major damage. This match leans in favor of Thundurus and friends.
Gothitelle – Slightly Unfavorable
Just like AmpDile, Thunderstorm has some problems when faced with this deck. However, while Gothitelle is a pain in the butt to face, this deck has a weapon against it: Magnezone. Being able to actually 1HKO the goth is huge, as it frees you from the lock (temporarily, at least) and makes Reuniclus utterly useless to your opponent. Your draw power is also still able to function under the lock, and Eelektrik can still recycle your energy.
Also, Thundurus can set up faster than Gothitelle, allowing you to hopefully take a few cheap Catcher prizes before your Trainers get locked. Don’t get me wrong, this matchup is still very tough without Trainers to keep your deck going, but it isn’t the near auto-loss that AmpDile faces when facing the goth.
pokebeach.comWhile this deck functions best when used with Magnezone, but there are many other options for alternate attackers in this deck. And let’s face it, getting three Magnezone Primes can be difficult for the average player, and one of the main reasons that players construct rogue decks in the first place is to find a good deck that costs less to build than the big metagame decks.
As I mentioned before, you replace Magnezone with Zekrom or Raichu, or you can thicken your Tornadus line to become your second attacker. Also, Lanturn Prime works really well in this deck, as it deals more damage for each Energy in play and can change into a Water-type to hit more Pokémon for Weakness (I’m looking a you, Donphan).
If you decide to use any of these attackers, you can use the extra card slots that are left (Basics and Stage 1s take up less room than bulky Stage 2s) for draw Supporters. You can also tailor the Trainer lines to fit the needs of whatever attacker you choose.
For example, if you choose to use Tornadus, you don’t need to use Rare Candy and Switch probably isn’t necessary. Instead, you can max out Eviolite and add Double Colorless Energy to speed up Tornadus even more. Surprisingly, this deck has a ton of options, so you can pair Thundurus and Eelektrik with whatever partner you see fit.
If you didn’t instantly realize that this article focuses on the genie Pokémon (and I really hope you did), you’ll know by now that Tornadus and Thundurus have been featured prominently in this article. Thundurus finally got a deck of his own, and Tornadus ended up being the key player that allowed AmpDile to compete in the current metagame. But now that they’re out of the way, we’re done with the genie brothers… right?
pokebeach.comWRONG! You see, Tornadus and Thundurus have a third brother, the Fighting-type Landorus. He arrived a little later than his relatives, being one of the many cool cards released in the Noble Victories set. Now, you’ve probably heard of Donphan and Dragons, a deck that uses Donphan Prime as a fast attacker, while using the damage that Donphan inflicts on your bench to power up Reshiram and Zekrom’s Outrage attack.
This deck has always been good, but it has never really been a top tier deck. Let’s face it, Donphan is a great card, but has its shortcomings. It can take hits, but it can’t 1HKO Zekrom or Magnezone and has a massive Retreat Cost of 4, which is one of the reasons why some people don’t like to play Donphan as much as they used to.
With Landorus, who also spreads damage onto your bench, you can 1HKO both Zekrom and Magnezone, retreat for only 1 Energy, and be searched out much easier with Pokémon Collector (being a basic Pokémon and all). Landorus does have downsides of its own: A lower HP at 110 and a more expensive attack can often make it harder to play.
However, Landorus still works well with the Dragons, and can make for a fun and effective rogue spin on an already existing concept.
So, without further ado, I give you… LanDragons!
Pokémon – 12
1 Cleffa HS/CL
1 Pichu HS
Trainers – 30
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 18
The strategy of this deck is to start with Landorus and pitch an energy into the discard pile on T1 by using Sage’s, Juniper, Junk Arm, or Engineer’s. This may sound like it isn’t very reliable, but starting with Landorus is fairly common and is even easier when you factor in Pokémon Collector. Landorus can then attach that energy to himself using Abundant Harvest, and be swinging for 80 on the next turn.
His attack’s added power allows him to KO certain Pokémon that could usually take a hit from Donphan’s Earthquake. Landorus’s attack also puts 10 damage on every Pokémon on either player’s bench, allowing Landorus to power up your Dragons as well as add damage to your opponent’s Pokémon.
Speaking of the Dragons, this deck uses Zekrom and the new dragon, Kyurem, who between the two of them and Landorus can hit many common Pokémon for weakness damage. Zekrom takes care of Yanmega and Tornadus, Kyurem beats Donphan and Fire-types like Reshiram and Typhlosion, and Landorus can wreck the likes of Zekrom and Magnezone.
Pichu is included as a back-up starter, as all of your Pokémon are basics and your entire board can often be set up due to a single Playground. I debated for a while whether to include it or not, but it helps a lot when you just can’t get that T1 Landorus or energy discard.
A few W Energy are also included, allowing Kyurem to use its Glaciate attack. This more powerful spread works in conjunction with the extra damage for Landorus, and greatly aids the deck in the Gothitelle matchup. Eviolite gives Landorus more survivability, and allows you to cap off your Dragons when they start to take more damage then you want them to.
ZPST – Even/Slightly Favorable
This matchup really all depends on whether you can get Landorus set up and attacking ASAP. If you can, Zekrom can be easily taken care of. Zekrom can’t 1HKO Landorus even without Eviolite, as Landorus has a useful Lightning Resistance that allows it to stick around. This means that your opponent is likely to throw Tornadus at you, but once your Zekroms are ready to roll they are quickly taken care of.
The combined spread of Landorus and Kyurem can rip apart Pachi and Shaymin who are sitting on the bench waiting to be picked up, which can slow down your opponent considerably. If you can’t get Landorus rolling fast enough, however, Zekrom’s sheer speed will run right through you.
You also need to be careful how much damage you stack on your Dragons, as they can turn into easy Catcher targets later in the game. Despite this, LanDragons has a solid matchup versus Zekrom, and if you can set up in time you can usually pound your way to victory.
Reshiphlosion – Slightly Unfavorable
pokebeach.comThe entirety of this matchup hinges on your Kyurem, as Reshiram proves to be a tougher opponent to face then Zekrom. Reshiram can 1HKO Landorus without unless you are packing Eviolite, making it much harder to set up and take prizes. If you can get Kyurem out fast enough, however, the game becomes immensely less difficult.
Kyurem hits everything in Reshiphlosion (bar less common, techy variants) and once it has enough Outrage power it can tear apart Reshiram. Glaciate is also very helpful here, as it deals 60 as opposed to 30 to the active, and can rack up spread damage very quickly when factoring in Landorus and the damage inflicted by Afterburner. If Kyurem fails, however, this is one tough match to play through.
Megazone – Favorable
Yanmega is a very annoying Pokémon. Constantly disrupting your hand (making it harder to pull Energy and set up Landorus) and resisting Landorus’s attacks. However, it is still 2HKO’d by the fighting genie even after Resistance, and is ripped apart by your Zekroms. Magnezone is also taken down easily by Landorus, and has to Lost Zone 3 energy to 1HKO any of your non-baby Pokémon.
Judge and N are really the only factors that give this deck trouble, but overall this matchup leans in the favor of LanDragons.
Gothitelle – Slightly Unfavorable
Like with Thunderstorm, Gothitelle is still a brutal matchup that can and will be lost if you cannot set up in time. However, this deck also has ways to take down the Goth; both Dragons have the capability to 1HKO Gothitelle with Outrage, although it is very tricky to set them up to do so as they will only have 10-20 hp remaining. Kyurem is also very helpful in this matchup, as Glaciate can flood your opponent’s field with damage and can 1HKO every Solosis on the field at the same time.
If you can get Kyurem to do this before the Gothitelle player has a chance to evolve, then the game goes from Slightly Unfavorable to Even/Slightly Favorable in a matter of seconds. Without Reuniclus, Gothitelle is still a pain, but it is a pain that can be wrecked by your attackers. While this is still a tough game, there are still ways for you to come out of it victorious.
pokebeach.comLanDragons doesn’t really have as many tech options as the other decks I have mentioned in this article, but there are still some cards that can be added that can be very effective. First off, Reshiram is an obvious choice. Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t include it in my list, and the answer is that not a lot of Pokémon used in the current metagame carry a Weakness to Fire.
On the contrary, many Pokémon are written off simply because they have Fire Weakness due to the prominence of Reshiphlosion. While it does weaken Kingdra considerably and could be much more useful if Cobalion gains popularity, right now Reshiram just isn’t as needed as Zekrom and Kyurem are. Rocky Helmet can also be used in this deck to help with the Gothitelle matchup.
As Gothitelle will take the Rocky Helmet damage after it attacks, it makes it easier to 1HKO with one of the Dragons. Other than those, you can always tweak your Trainer and Pokémon lines, and change the deck to suit your playstyle. Maybe you even want to run Donphan and Landorus. Who knows? It’s ultimately up to you.
So, there you have it; the first (and hopefully not last) installment of Rogue Central. So, how did you guys like the decks? Would you want to see this turn into a series? As always, your comments are greatly appreciated, and I hope you enjoyed this article. Happy deckbuilding!