On Rogue Decks

I believe there is a stigma within the Pokémon community about players that frequently play rogue decks. The common belief is that these players are not as serious about winning competitive tournaments, or, in other words, these players value “having fun” over “winning tournaments.”

One of the reasons I am writing this article is to try and debunk this misconception. I would also like to show that it behooves all players to consider building rogue decks when preparing for tournaments. Finally, I want to share my process for the construction of a successful rogue deck. First of all, I need to tell you why my insight is valuable by establishing some credibility.

My name is Colin Moll and I am 23 years old. I recently graduated from college with a degree in Economics and Math. I plan to start graduate school in the fall in order to obtain a Master’s in Math. I have been playing Pokémon since I was about 10. I did not really join the competitive scene until Nintendo took over in 2003. Since then, I have been rather active in the community and have had some nice tournament results.

I suppose my “most impressive” placements would be Top 8 at Worlds (2004) and Top 4 at Nationals (2008). I have won six States, one Regionals (2008), and two Gym Challenges (2004 and 2005). I am also very proud of my smaller tournament wins along with my high placements at various States, Regionals, and Gym Challenges throughout the years.

pokemon-paradijs.comIn regard to how I am doing this year — I have had moderate success. The highlight would be 2nd at Fall Regionals in St. Louis with Zekrom BLW/Pachirisu CL/Shaymin UL/Tornadus EPO (ZPST). My results from City and State Championships were lackluster. I won one out of five City Championships and got top 16 at one out of three State Championships. I did not attend a Spring Regionals. I currently have 28 Championship Points.

Although my States run was pretty bad, I did come up with the Landorus NVI/Terrakion NVI deck (with help from Brit Pybas and Michael Kendle). I was quite pleased to see it do so well across the country. I am most proud of Mason Howerton for piloting my list to a win at the Kansas State Championship!

Hopefully, at this point, I do come across as a reliable source of information regarding the Pokémon Trading Card Game. I have played for a long time and have acquired a vast store of knowledge about the game.

I am going to begin my article by providing you with a claim that I will hopefully convince you is true.

At any given tournament, the best deck is not always a high tiered deck.

Yes, it seems very vague and uninformative. Why try and prove this claim? For one, I doubt I could prove anything more strict. I cannot prove that the best deck to play at all tournaments is a rogue deck (because it probably is not true).

There are two ways of analyzing this idea of the best deck at a tournament.

  1. The deck that actually wins the tournament is the best deck.
  2. The deck with the highest probability of winning the tournament is the best deck.

pokemon-paradijs.comIf we only consider #1, then my claim is immediately true. I am not sure how many tournaments have been held over the years, but it does not matter. What matters is that among all of these tournaments, the deck that won in at least one of these tournaments was a rogue deck. What immediately comes to mind is Raichu d/Exeggutor d (Raieggs).

This deck was piloted to a first place finish at Nationals 2006 by Martin Moreno and was most definitely a rogue deck at the time. Thus, if we only used the #1 definition of best deck, then my claim would be true.

So now we must consider #2. This is more complex. The probability of a deck winning is a function of multiple things including luck. Since luck is generally just taken as given on any side of the argument, I will leave it out of our discussion.

I believe the most important variables in our probabilistic function are these (obviously my argument will not hold if someone can successfully show that these four variables are not very important):

  1. The quality of players running the deck
  2. The quantity of players running the deck
  3. The quality of players playing decks that typically beat this deck
  4. The quantity of players playing decks that typically beat this deck.

In order to improve the probability of a deck winning, 1) and 2) must be maximized while 3) and 4) must be minimized. Thus, the deck with the best 1:3 and 2:4 ratio has the best chance of winning a tournament.

Let us look at an example of how to assess a deck based on these four variables. This will be the “secret deck” example. At a very basic level a secret deck is a rogue deck that is played by a small amount of players at any given tournament. We typically only see them at big events. Usually the players running secret decks are of high quality and have spent a lot of time preparing.

pokemon-paradijs.comSo, in the case of the secret deck, 1) is high and 2) is low. A successful secret deck will be facing a low 3) and low 4). If the deck has these levels for 1-4, then the most likely reason for the deck not winning is because 2) is low. However, if 3) and 4) are low enough, a low 2) can still be overcome.

Again I return to the outcome of Nationals 2006. Raieggs not only took 1st place — it also took 2nd. This is extraordinary due to the fact that it was only run by a handful of people that year! So did Raieggs have the highest probability of winning Nationals in 2006? I cannot say. However, a first and second place finish given the low amount of people playing it that year would indicate that this is likely the case.

I cannot rigorously prove my claim if we define the best deck as the deck with the highest probability of winning any given tournament. However, the case of Raieggs provides a great deal of evidence that my claim is likely to be true.

Hopefully this discussion has convinced you that my claim is true. If you would like to refute my claim that at any given tournament, the best deck is not always a high tiered deck, please do so in the comments section.

Anyway, why spend a fair amount of time trying to prove this claim? What good does that do? Fear not! There is some good! There are implications and corollaries that are true now that I have “proved” my claim. And here are the ones that I would like to discuss…

1. Players that always play high-tiered decks are not always making the best deck choices.
2. Players that always play rogue decks are not always making the best deck choices.

And here is the point!

3. All things being equal, players that are willing to play rogue and high-tiered decks have the best chance at making the best deck choice.

marveldirectory.comI have never wanted to give off the impression that I only support the use of rogue decks. Throughout the years I have piloted my fair share of archetypes. However, if I have the time to prepare, I try my hardest to find a winning rogue deck.

Many people completely skip this step and automatically assume that the best deck to run for a tournament is one of the high tiered decks. I am sure all of you know players that only play high-tiered decks or only play rogue decks (you may be one of them). This is an erroneous way to play Pokémon if your intention is to win all of the events that you play in.

I assure you that, at 95% of the tournaments I have participated in, my goal was to win. The exception would be a small event with little prize support. I do not believe people want to read anything about these types of tournaments…so I’m not going to talk about them. I must emphasize this point. At all of the competitive tournaments I have played in, regardless of whether I ran a rogue or a high tier deck, my goal was to win.

Before I continue further on rogue decks, I need to cover some principles of the game. There are three components that decide the winner of any given Pokémon game: preparation, play skill and luck. Every player will argue the weight of each component in determining the winner… but I think we all agree that these three things determine the outcome of every game. We will ignore the games that are decided by a misruling or harsh penalty of a judge. Let me give a brief definition of each component:

Preparation: The extent to which a player has gathered information before a game. This component encompasses time spent preparing, play testing, deck choice, deck construction, knowledge of the card pool, and knowledge of expected opponents.

Play skill: The extent to which a player can think strategically during a game and make successful decisions.

Luck: The extent to which the odds favor a player. This component encompasses the opening hand, cards that are drawn throughout the game, coin flips and pairings.

The relationship between these three components is not set in stone. A player lacking in two of the three components may still beat a player lacking in only one of the three areas (think first turn donk). However, a player with all three will always beat a player lacking in at least one.

Furthermore, if both players have similar levels of luck and play skill, then it is the preparation that should determine the outcome. Or if two players have similar levels of preparation and play skill, luck should determine the winner.

There is a causal relationship between preparation and play skill. Preparation causes play skill. In other words, the more you play test and prepare, the more skillful you will become! Since preparation and play skill are the only two of the three that we can control, it behooves us to prepare. It also behooves us to consider the preparation process more carefully.

So, let us look more closely at the different aspects of the preparation component. Here are some more definitions!

Play testing: The playing of informative games that reveal to the players the strengths and weaknesses of both the decks being used.

Deck choice: The type of deck that a player chooses to bring to a tournament or to a game.

Deck construction: The intricacies of executing and building your deck choice. Once you made a deck choice, deck construction is concerned with the counts of each card in a deck along with the “techs.”

For example, if I want to build a deck centered around Nidoking and Nidoqueen, then my deck choice is a Nidoking/Nidoqueen deck. The deck construction aspect is concerned with combining 60 cards in order to make the best possible Nidoking/Nidoqueen deck.

Knowledge of the card pool: The extent to which a player knows the text written on all of the legal Pokémon cards. This is something new players tend to really struggle with.

Knowledge of expected opponents: The extent to what a player knows about the other players participating in a tournament. This includes anticipating what decks people will likely bring to an event. This is almost analogous to “knowing the metagame” for a tournament.

Now that we are using the same definitions, I’d like to continue my discussion of rogue decks by talking about the way that I usually come up with my rogue decks.

Colin’s Process for Building a Successful Rogue Deck

bcps.org1) Gather information on the expected opponents for the tournament you are concerned with. This includes looking at past deck choices of players that will be in attendance and figuring out what the popular decks are.

If a player has been playing the same deck for the past several tournaments, there is a good chance that they will play it again! This is one small reason that supports the use of rogue decks: people will not be able to predict what you are playing!

2) Form a list of the decks that you expect to see at the tournament you are concerned with. I try to make this list as long as possible. I put the decks in order from most prevalent to least prevalent and give most of my attention to the decks at the top of the list.

So in the case of States this year, my list looked something like this. You should note that this list was made prior to the Fighting decks coming onto the scene.

  1. Zekrom/Eelektrik (ZekEels)
  2. Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus (CMT)
  3. Durant
  4. Typhlosion/Reshiram
  5. Vileplume/Reuniclus based decks
  6. Six Corners/Big Basics
  7. Electrode Prime based decks

letsgraph.com3) Identify weaknesses in each of the decks on your list. You must be thorough with this part of the process. The most obvious weakness of any deck is the actual weakness of the attacking Pokémon… but there are many other less obvious opportunities for exploiting the vulnerabilities of a deck. When I am trying to find the weaknesses of any given deck on my list of expected decks, I ask myself these questions.

A. Does the deck rely heavily upon Special Energy? Usually in each format there is a card (or cards) that punishes the use of Special Energy. Now there is Lost Remover but in previous formats there were things like Crystal Beach and effects of attacks.

B. Does the deck perform one-hit-knock-outs (1HKOs)? In the current format, most decks can and frequently do perform 1HKOs. However, in some of the previous formats, the top decks did not. In cases like this, an effective rogue deck that takes advantage of healing could be quite good. An example that seems most obvious is The Truth at Worlds 2011.

C. Does the deck have a problem handling damage spread? Typically decks that require lots of set up have issues with damage spread (think Vileplume based decks). However, decks that have lots of bench warmers are also susceptible (think Entei & Raikou LEGEND when everyone was playing Uxie LA/Claydol GE/Mesprit LA/Azelf LA).

D. Does the deck rely heavily upon an Ability or Poké-Power? If so, there might be cards that can either stop the Ability/Poké-Power (Battle Frontier, Medicham ex etc), help knock-out the Pokémon with that Ability/Poké-Power (Muk UD, Bellsprout TM, etc.), or punish the Pokémon with the Ability/Poké-Power (Cursed Stone, Gengar SF, etc.).

pokemon-paradijs.comE. Does the deck primarily use evolutions or basics? In previous formats there were cards like Dark Ampharos and ATM Rock that hurt evolutions. Now there is Jirachi UL…but who plays evolutions anymore? Likewise, there were cards like Machamp SF, Dark Tyranitar, Flygon ex, and Dark Feraligatr that hurt Basics.

Unfortunately, Basics are running rampant right now and there is no viable card that can severely punish them at the moment. Furthermore, there is no card that punishes EX’s either. Let us hope that something viable comes along soon!

F. Does the deck rely heavily upon Trainers? In past formats there were cards like Manectric ex, Slowking Neo Genesis, Spiritomb AR, and Dark Vileplume. Now we have Vileplume UD and Gothitelle EPO. Taking advantage of a deck’s over-reliance on Trainers is something that has been very effective in previous formats.

These six questions are probably the best ones to ask yourself when trying to build an effective rogue deck (there are others but, for now, I am just going to provide you with these six). Once I have answered these questions about all the decks on my expected decks list, I begin to build my rogue deck!

4) Generally, you will notice some overlap in weaknesses. For instance, when I was thinking about the expected decks at States, I noticed that CMT, Six Corners, and Electrode Prime based decks all relied pretty heavily upon Special Energies (and so did ZekEels, but to a lesser extent). In a previous format, the Gardevoir SW/Gallade SW and Empoleon decks also both relied heavily upon special energies.

If there is a significant overlap of one or more weakness, then a deck that can exploit them might be quite good! We included a high count of Lost Remover in our Landorus/Terrakion decks in order to exploit the vast amount of Special Energy that were present in the competitive decks.

I am not going to go into much detail regarding this step. However, I will say that your deck must be consistent! I have seen many attempts at rogue decks that never made it simply because the overall strategy was too broad (way too many different types of Pokémon) or because there were way too many techy cards and too few Supporters.

The best deck is quite often the simplest.

Yes, we are talkin’ ’bout practice.

5) Now, you must rigorously play test your deck in order to determine whether or not it can win!

So, like I said, this is the method I use in order to build most of my rogue decks. Occasionally, I do come up with a rogue deck idea in a different way. The method that I just showed you is basically the way that I come up with a “counter deck.” It is easy to describe because this method is very straight forward. The other way that I come up with rogue decks is a bit harder to describe.

I suppose the best way to go about describing this other method is to point out the difference between a counter deck and a non-counter deck. The counter deck seeks to win tournaments by exploiting the weaknesses of the most popular decks. The non-counter deck seeks to win tournaments by using inherently good cards that do not necessarily have a strict advantage over popular decks.

These decks make use of combos that had not been thought of before. Some examples would be Sableye SF with Cyrus’s Initiative, Jirachi with Swoop Teleporter, and the Magma deck that won Worlds 2004.

The Magma deck may have resembled a “counter deck” in some ways (by using Desert Ruins to punish ex’s for instance), but it was not a hard counter to the popular decks at the time. It was simply a good rogue deck.


pokemon-paradijs.comBuilding a successful non-counter deck is quite challenging. The best advice I can offer is to look through your binder (expand your knowledge of the card pool) and observe what “locals” are playing at your league. These players are (generally) not as serious; so they tend to play decks that many competitive players would never even consider. However, they can occasionally stumble upon ideas or cards that could actually have lots of promise!


For instance, the Beedrill GE deck I played at Regionals in 2008 was inspired by a local. The deck was not a hard counter to the top decks at the time (Gardevoir/Gallade and Typhlosion MT/Magmortar SW), but it was very consistent and hit for a lot of damage with little energy.

And yes, look through your binder! Many people did not even know what Exp. Share did until they played the Landorus/Terrakion deck at States. I knew that I wanted to test some decks with Exp. Share before States. I was not successful with my first try (I used it with Gothitelle/Gardevoir)…but I eventually found the right combination of cards that made Exp. Share shine!

[Some insider information here…I really want to make Max Potion shine!]

So there you have it! I really hope that I have encouraged players to consider putting some creativity into their preparation for tournaments.

I could write so much more about rogue decks, but this is all for now. Perhaps I will write some more in the future! If you would like to see additional articles, please provide some feedback and let Adam know.

Thank you for reading!


Reader Interactions

64 replies

  1. bowser

    trust me, i know have no shot in H E double hockey sticks of winining anything, so it better be about fun

      • bowser  → Adam

        hehe, yes. but good advice about gathering information. i used to just make lists with cards that were cool or that i thought had a good attack for a bargain price, etc. but i did this with no awareness of the metagame. now i have half a clue, so that is a good thing.

    • Colin Moll  → Jason

      I did not want to talk too much about myself and the decks I have used over the years. But fear not, I still have a great deal of Torterra love in my heart <3

  2. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Proper rogue deckbuilders deserve and get a lot of respect.

    What gives them a bad name is all the people playing terrible decks who try and claim the title of ‘rogue player’.

  3. Joe Navratil

    “[Some insider information here…I really want to make Max Potion shine!]”

    I believe the Hydreigon DB/Darkrai DE deck that won the the Battle Carnival in Sendai does so; but I’m not sure it’s going to qualify as “rogue” by the time we get the DB cards :-/

  4. Aaron Minjoot

    Really hoping to see more rogue decks popping up during BRs. It’ll make Nationals even more diverse, which I think would be great for the game.

  5. Lee

    For whatever reason, to me it has always been understood that I will only play rogue decks. The best advice I can give to others on rouge deck building: consistency and comfort with the deck, no matter what scenario (and no matter what snide grin your opponent gives you when you start playing your deck).

  6. Alton Aderhold

    Love the article and effort (Spongebob definitely spells FUN)! I really hate to say this, but I can not stand the current format mainly because it is no fun. I try to make rogue decks all the time and never really succeed. Every time I read an article about a rogue deck (Drop it like its hot , Shae Butta etc.) I immediately go out and make it, then play test to see how they run. Consistency is a VERY BIG factor along with play testing. Every time I make a deck and test it, I give up on it if I lose a couple of times. This is horrible considering I have not even got to know how the deck works. Sure you can make a deck on theory, but you will not know truly how it works unless you play test against the meta, wait for it…. over and over again.

    • Andrew Valren  → Alton

      i don’t know about you guys, but i enjoy playtesting, especially with a rogue deck that i came up with. as you run it against other people with solid meta decks, you tweak a card here and there, and with enough time, viola! you win over and over. plus, to play this game, you have to spend a lot of time playtesting. if you don’t enjoy that, then what’s the fun in the game?

  7. Alex Hedge

    The weakness of the guy who made the Chance Success/Weakness Evaluation chart is not being able to spell “your”…

  8. Joshua Hall

    I played rogue decks for years.

    One misplay with a rogue deck…you lose.
    One bad tech with a rogue deck…you lose.
    One bad match-up with a rogue deck…you lose.

    I got sick of losing. Play an archetype, tweak it, and make it your own.

    It’s good to have fun. Losing is not fun. Winning is.

    And don’t tell me about your bad beats Mr. Rogue Deck…with an archetype you can misplay 5 times to Sunday and STILL win. There’s a reason they’re archetypes…because they’re GOOD.

    • Micah Tate  → Joshua

      Well I almost completely agree with this post in regards to rogues Vs. archetypes, I’d have to say that if you believe that the only fun thing in this game is winning then… well that’s messed up man =S

      That aside, I would make the argument that with rogue decks you do have a surprise factor, allowing for some misplays (or at least near as much as archetype players can make) as your opponent may not recognize them as such.

      • bowser  → Micah

        playing bad decks is a bear, you need just about everything to go right, and usually if there is a kink in your chain that breaks, you’re usually sunk.

        despite all that, i love rogue, because it takes more guts. just my preference as a career outsider

  9. ryanvergel

    the stigma is on people playing rogue for the sake of playing rogue. if people play rogue because they feel its advantageous, or at least not disadvantageous, there is no stigma.

    • Colin Moll  → ryanvergel

      [I saw your Facebook post before I saw this so my reply will be very redundant to you..but for sake of clarity for the readers I will post it here too. I can’t wait to see you either!]

      Your point is well taken. My complete intention was perhaps not clear. I think that the stigma on those players that “always play rogue” or play rogue most of the the time is that they always make bad deck choice (or most of the time make bad deck choices). I believe that at least sometimes these players make the proper choice for the tournament they play in (even if unintentionally).

    • bowser  → ryanvergel

      let’s face it, lately after each new edition comes out, you need to spend $100+ to be “in it to win it”, it’s time to rebel and go rogue. pokemon inc. is doing alright enuff, ty

    • Lee  → ryanvergel

      As bowser points out, another major factor on why people play rogue decks (myself included) is money investment. For casual players who have no intention on going to Worlds or anything of the sort, you make use of the cards you have and pull the relatively cheap ones individually online. There is simply no way I am going to drop 40 bucks or so for a single Mewtwo EX just to have a “good mewtwo counter” in a deck that may see play only in a few PP competitions.

      • ryanvergel  → Lee

        Disagree completely. One of the top decks, if not the top deck of cities, was durant. A very very cheap deck to build.

        Come states, the meta remains. Heal and open. Exp share was immediately realized by everyone late on the energy accel awareness types and worked into the metagame. It wasn’t inherently expensive. Some terrakion and landrus and go. Eels was cheap too.

        Zekrom tin zekrom ex tin. Eels are nonholo. Sans one Mewtwo the deck was super cheap. It isn’t hard to get or borrow one Mewtwo. Even then you could still do without.

        But to say that rogue to save money… Well there were super cheap decks in the top tier ago this doesn’t make sense to me. Een last year we had gyarados. There is often a cheap deck in the tier 1

        • ryanvergel  → ryanvergel

          i can tell you right now, it will never be the mindset of a top level player to take cost into consideration for deck choice.

          if you are limited by cost factors, your goal changes from “win” to “win within certain parameters”, and this limitation is never seen in an elite player of any game.

        • Colin Moll  → ryanvergel

          Cost has never been a factor for me when deciding on a deck. I do not think any competitive player really considers costs when building decks. However, for a casual player, cost is probably very relevant. But this article was not intended for the casual players (and neither is this site as whole).

        • bowser  → Colin

          I take offense at that. If cost is not a factor for anyone, then soon we are all suckers to the corporation. Stop trying to be being clever and think about what you are proposing (and excluding)

        • ryanvergel  → bowser

          um, this is a hobby card game. it is based on collecting, which is inherently a value-seeking game.

          i dont understand how you can think that you can be successful and also not invest any money into the game at all.

          unless you are extremely good and winning scholarships and boxes consistently, and even then, you must invest money into the game.

          that is what the game is, a hobby that requires purchasing things to play. it isnt free.

          to be competitive you cant limit your deck choices based on your financial means. if you do, you arent competing at a top level. period.

          oh, and we didnt say cost wasnt a factor for anyone.

          i said cost isnt a factor to the truly competitive. colin even said to a casual player cost is relevant. a competitive player, by definition, is one with the goal of ‘win’ for a tournament. if you are casual, you might have ‘win with my favorite pokemon’, or ‘win with the most fun deck’, or ‘win using a deck that is specifically not X, Y or Z’, or “win with a deck that costs under 25 additional dollars to use”.

          there is no need to take offense to anything. nothing is directed at anyone personally.

        • bowser  → ryanvergel

          based on collecting? umm… i don’t know what that even means… except that you’ll pay any price to fill your collection.

          but yes, you are right, the poke folks that support mcdonald’s deserve their just revenues too.

          i just worry that “competing at top level” always equates to “shell out the shill dollars”.

          i was not taking offense to you, but to the author, and from what i’ve seen of this website, there are many fine competitive and “non-competitive” followers, each of which makes pokemon great, and each of which may detract from any potential pokemon glory, but therein lies the rub… and best we remain all inclusive.

          thank you

        • theo Seeds  → bowser

          Competitive players don’t pay a dime to The Pokemon Company. They buy all their crap from Troll and Toad, or wherever.

          Those places buy crap from The Pokemon Company for not as much.

          The second hand companies have to buy maybe one more booster box, which doesn’t equal to a priceless painting, or a national treasure. It equals an iPod for their kid, maybe.

        • Alex Hedge  → bowser

          Sure cost is a factor, but I you want to win your going to have to put money in this game, rogue or not. Even rogues require a mix of Collector, Catcher, Junk Arm, search cards, etc. If you use PokeBall instead of Collector to save money, I can guarantee you are not going to do as well as you would have had you used Collector instead.

          If one were to look at the topic as just a matter of pure gain (as in exclude the factor of fun), you need money to make money, so those who put money into Pokemon can make money out of it. Stocks with a strategy aspect.

        • bowser  → Alex

          if you profit, that’s your benefit. i make the conjecture though, that’s it is just a game. has pokemon lost the next generation?

        • Micah Tate  → bowser

          Dude, chill a little =/ He didn’t say cost wasn’t a factor for anyone, he said it wasn’t a factor for competitive players. I’m cheap, I’m not competitive; I’ve run Truth, Durant, Landorus/Terrakion, VVV, and I will soon be running Entei for BR’s, I don’t expect to top cut nor should I when I know that their are better decks out there with cards I can’t afford.
          You can call all of the players buying Darkrai EX or playing 3 Mewtwo EX “suckers” if you want, but those people want to win tournaments, not just have fun.
          I completely understand that there are very good players who can’t afford the best decks, (i.e. MeesieMew and those missing worlds due to trip cost) but most competitors will pay the extra money if they believe ____ deck or card will give them and advantage in a tournament.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → bowser

          We’re all playing a commercially produced children’s card game that is designed to promote a global franchise and make a ton of cash for a multinational company.

          We are suckers to the corporation from the moment we buy our first booster pack. Don’t kid yourself otherwise.

        • theo Seeds  → bowser

          Do you know why cost isn’t a factor?

          Because top players know that when they buy X card, they win X tournament, giving them x prize which they sell.

          If you win a BR’s, you get 4 packs ($12) and a 1st Place Victory Cup ($30). That almost makes up for buying that third Mewtwo.

          A bigger tournament you do well and win 24 packs. You sell those for $72. That’s another Mewtwo right there.

          Even a Cities you still make a $30 profit for second, and a $48 for first. A third gets you $12, but that’s OK because you’ll be going to some more soon.

          Another example: You buy a booster box for $100. You open a Tornadus-EX, Full-Art Darkrai-EX, and Groudon-EX. You need the Tornadus, but you can make a $60 profit for the Darkrai and a $15 profit for the Groudon. You then sell your 3 Zoroarks at $3 each, your 2 Empoleons at $2 each, your 2 Eelektrosses at $.50 each, and your 3 Dark Patches and 2 Dark Claws at $1, 4 Random Recievers and 5 Ultra Balls at $.75, your 3 Twist Mountains at $.50 and 6 Rare Candies at $1. You sell 3 Junipers at $.50 each, your 4 N’s at $.50 each, and your 5 Cherens at $.25 each. You sell 300 bulk commons to troll and Toad for $.05.5 each. That’s $127.50 you got out of that box. Plus the Tornadus-EX you needed. That means instead of paying $25 for the card you need, you get it free with a profit of enough to buy another one.

          We aren’t suckers to the corporation, we just know how to invest.

        • airhawk06  → Colin

          I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the article and each of your responses, save this parenthetical.

          The UG is 100% for competitive players. The Front Page is what the authors make it out to be, and Adam is pretty OK with that. There are obviously articles (thus parts of the site) that are intended to be 100% geared towards casual players. In the same way, there are obviously articles that are 100% competitive. This is an all inclusive site that exists to help, entertain, improve, etc. all players across the competitive spectrum.

          Otherwise, great stuff.

        • Colin Moll  → airhawk06

          Thank you, Andy! I perhaps should have elaborated a little bit. I do agree that there are articles on here geared towards the casual player. However, many of these articles are trying to help these players get to the competitive level or move them in that direction. The online resources provided by 6P, The Top Cut, various YouTube channels etc. are stepping stones to the competitive level. From what I can tell, most of the articles on here are geared towards the casual players trying to become competitive or the already competitive players, That is what I was trying to say.

        • Lee  → ryanvergel

          You notice my comment did not say tier decks necessarily have to be expensive. I simply said that as a casual player, money is a large factor and therefore I usually find myself playing rogue. If anything, by playing decks that are within my budget that may not necessarily be top tier, I find myself improving at the game considerably while testing as there is much less room for mistakes. When I do make the mistake, I can clearly isolate it and know what to do next time.

  10. Christopher Henson

    6Prizes has helped me tremendously by giving me info on the current meta, which is great because I’m a new player. I also like informative articles like this, which go beyond “why abc deck is good”, so thanks for the write up. I think the major obstacle of “rogue” decks right now is: a) Pokemon Catcher and b) OHKO’s EX’s. I try to come up with ideas for Serperior, Emboar and Hydreigon, which could have been great pre-NXD, but now I don’t see how stage 2’s w/ less HP and more set up can be viable against EX’s (and other beefy basics) that have access to Eviolite/Prizm/etc. and superior HP and firepower.

  11. theo Seeds


    Siglyph and Bouffalant are probably coming out next set and they both discriminate against EX’s. (Siglyph has Safeguard, and Bouffalant has an attack that hits EX’s for 120 for 3, and does 60 to all else.

  12. Lynx Meche

    When editing this, I was legit worried it was going to just be, “Rogue is more awesome, we should all play rogue because it’s different and [dumb reason here]!” But I like this, I hope some of the “play rogue for the sake of rogue” guys read this and can get something out of it so it can make everything a little easier to help with. Sounds like a pretty fun method even, just going through a card binder and having fun with it.

  13. theo Seeds

    To all: Rogues don’t always fail miserably. Take a look at Ross Cawthorn, Curran Hill, and people at Nats with Yanmega decks for example, those are just examples from post-Sableye.

    • bowser  → theo

      good points, but i would say yanmega wasn’t rogue… unless you’re talking about a deck with control slowking or something like my son ran

      ross cawthorn… well that was just a mix of guts and genius, including running tropical beach asap

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → theo

          Ross didn’t see Tropical Beach until the day before the tournament. Check out his report here


          There were no scans. No-one knew about it until we got our Worlds binders. It was a complete surprise.

          And Yanmega was in no way rogue at US Nats. Zone/Mega and Donphan/Yanmega/Zoroark were probably the two biggest archetypes around at the time. The fact that Mega did well at Canadian Nats drove the price right up.

  14. bowser

    Swanton needs to step down. Rogue builders do build many time because of “cost” considerations. Why even write an article about rogues if you’re not cognizant of monetary considerations. Sometimes we have to stick it to Poke pirates when they formulate that only viable decks cost upwards of $350. If we’re going to be sycophants to what Inc. says, what is the point? If we can’t formulate own anti-meta, anti-money strategies, then why are we wasting our collective brain power on this pastime?

  15. bowser

    “3. All things being equal, players that are willing to play rogue and high-tiered decks have the best chance at making the best deck choice.”

    are you trying to define prima facie, non-sequitur, or exactly what obvious branch of pokemondom, because you’re saying all with little. hmmmm?

    • Colin Moll  → bowser

      I’m not sure if I know exactly what you’re trying to say here…but the line you quoted is intended to be a true statement that cannot be refuted.

    • airhawk06  → bowser

      What’s wrong with that statement? Nothing. It is (Colin can correct me if I’m mistaken) a great saying that is easy to remember. Thus, it is a “nugget” of wisdom, if you will, that the reader can take away and learn from. The point is simply that you need to be open to playing any deck out there, meta/counter-meta/rogue, if you want to make the optimal choice.

  16. bowser

    best deck is often the simplest? thank you mr. ockham! … i think i should write the next article (with a touch old-fashioned humility, dare speak. tssh

    • Colin Moll  → bowser

      Over the years I have seen many attempts at counter decks that were just too complex. For example, if the main decks at the time have Pokemon that are weak to Fighting, Grass, Dark and Metal, many people will try and make a deck around Fighting, Grass, Dark and Metal Pokemon without giving thought to consistency or the synergy between these four different types. My point is that it may not be wise to cut supporters or consistency for cards that may give you a strict advantage over an additional deck.

      • bowser  → Colin

        yes, consistency is key, otherwise you just beat up yourself a deck that doesn’t function. don’t beat yourself… at least make the other chap do so

  17. Ray Bryan

    Ive played poke since it started .I remember a time when theme decks where good, and the legendarys there was not many of them but sure they have strong attacks but took time to build up. Evolutions where good back then. Back then people could make any deck with any pokemon they choose. Without fear of a bad beat. I’ve been the game EVOLVE. (Pun intended.) People built decks just 4 the fun of it. Not caring about winning. I joined the competition scene not to long ago. I still like to build my own decks I’ve had my breaks in the game series. From time 2 time.. there now has been time I feel like quiting pokemon. But this article makes me rethink that. If I want to use stage 2’s I should be able to , use a deck of umbreons..done, less trainers done, why copy someone elses strategy..r deck. where, the FUN in that. Sure if u think about it most of the top tier decks start out as a rouge deck that no one thinks will win r cards that r not good. I don’t think people should just write of a card so quickly it might shine if the cards are right. Part if Me (a 28yr old adult) thinks that other people are right Pokemon is a kids game..made for fun, not for a bad beat, even if I support other adults playing. And one more thing I think pokemon has too many legendarys. Even in the video game people do this Effort value training. This makes me think about POKEMON game and tcg as a whole.

  18. Amanda Kovs

    Awesome article!

    I totally agree with the “read your binder” comment. I’m currently playing with Poltergeist Mismagius because I saw our League Leader using it one time. Playing it with Vileplume can really make your opponent sweat and scramble to figure out how to a) kill Mismagius (which isn’t hard) b) remove as many cards from their hand as possible. There’s a lot of cool cards that get overlooked, and even if they aren’t super competitive, they can make for some really creative and fun decks.

    Also, my boyfriend and I have been using Max Potion pretty effectively. I use it in my Cincinno/Eelektrik/Zebstrika deck–primarily to heal a damaged MewtwoEX and get some more energy into my discard to charge up more guys. My boyfriend uses it with Klingklang to move all the energy off, Max Potion, then move the energy back on. :)

    • Colin Moll  → Amanda

      Thanks for your comment! I know a handful of people who have had a fair amount of success with Mismagius. If it wasn’t for the release of Darkrai ex, it could probably be pretty competitive.

      I also like Klinklang a lot. The new one is quite good! In combination with the old Klinklangs and Max Potion, the deck could potentially be competitive!

  19. Ross Gilbert

    Brilliant. Just brilliant. Entertaining, well-written, useful and… it doesn’t speak down to us! It assumes we’re intelligent. Nice!

  20. Mike Lesky

    Great article Colin, way to give the community a look into the way all players should be thinking. These are the types of articles Sixprizes needs.

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