The Fundamentals of Disruption

en.wikipedia.orgHello everyone! It’s been a while since my last UG article (almost 2 months already!), so it’s about a time for a new one. In fact, I’ll be writing 2 articles this month: this one being released today and the other being released in one week (next Tuesday).

I know that U.S. Nationals are under 2 weeks away, so in this article I’ll take a more rogue-ish point of view to Nationals preparation, and in my next article I’ll concentrate on the metagame-ish point of view. I hope you’ll enjoy both articles equally!

As you probably know, a lot has happened to me during the past two months. I won Nationals for the 6th time with Hammertime/Darkrai and after that Hammertime has become a popular deck choice all over the world. Hammertime also gave me the inspiration for this article since I’ll be writing about the fundamentals of disruption.

As we all know, Hammertime is highly disruptive deck, but the list I won with isn’t as disruptive as the list I tested for a long time. It’s probably pretty obvious that I’m a huge fan of disruption decks. However, I’m not a fan of mainstream disruption decks, but rogue disruption decks.

I know I’ve briefly mentioned my Top 8 Worlds placement and the deck I played with in that tournament (Glaceon LV.X) many times in my UG articles, but I will finally be able to write in more detail about it so that it isn’t off-topic. Glaceon was my first fully functional rogue deck and it’s my proudest achievement in my Pokémon TCG career yet.

m100group.wordpress.comSo why did I decide to write an article about rogue disruption just before U.S. Nationals? The reason for this is that the better you know your opponents, the better results you’ll get from the tournament. I know everybody has (or at least everybody should’ve been) testing a lot against metagame decks and the 3 most popular decks (Darkrai variants, Eel variants, and CMT). I really don’t think that talking about those matchups can bring any value to you anymore – they all have been covered.

However, as you’ve been testing all the metagame matchups, you may have completely skipped over the rogues that you may meet in the U.S. Nationals. And as I have been following U.S. Nationals every single year I’ve played competitively, I can say with 100% certainty that rogues will pop-up and you should be prepared.

Anyway, I’ll be talking about four kinds of disruption in my article:

  • Hand denial
  • Energy denial
  • Power locking
  • Item locking

I’ll discuss every type of disruption in general terms and then will show my own rogue creations for each as well. Some of the lists may seem crazy, but they actually work! I’ve already started with my Worlds testing and as I said, I always try to come up with a rogue deck for Worlds, so these are the early fruits of my deck developing process.

The Short History of Disruption

pokemon-paradijs.comIt was 2005 and I had just won my 2nd National Championship (I was still in Seniors). I went to a site called Poké and ventured over to the trading area. There was some guy selling over 100 Medicham ex for the World Championships. I thought it was crazy. In the end, he was able to sell every single one of them. And what did Medicham ex do? That’s right, it powerlocked AND spread damage. Curran Hill ended up taking both U.S. Nationals and World Championships in Seniors age division with it in the same year.

In 2006 I was in Masters division and won Nationals with LBS (Blastoise ex, Lugia ex, Pidgeot RG). LBS wasn’t a very disruptive deck – quite the opposite – it was brute power. However, in the U.S. Nationals a deck named Mewtric (Mew ex, Manectric ex) caught my attention. It was a full Trainer lock combined to power lock combined to sniping. It didn’t win Nationals, but I knew I wanted to play it in the World Championships.

I wasn’t wrong in my hunch; Jason K. won that year Worlds with the very same deck, which I also played. However, I bombed completely going 3-5. Also, this year the first Finnish World Champion won the title in Seniors division with Lunarock, which combined power locking, spreading, AND Energy denial.

2007 was the first year I didn’t make it into the World Championships. The main disruptive force of this season was Cessation Crystal, which stopped all the Power and Bodies from every single Pokémon in play as long as it was attached to an active Pokémon. Even though Cessation Crystal was strong, both U.S. and Worlds Championships were taken by decks that ran a lot of Powers (Chris Fulop winning Nationals with Absolutions and Finland’s Tom Roos winning Worlds with the same deck).

2008 was the golden year of disruption because of GG (Gardevoir SW, Gallade SW). It dominated the metagame as soon as it was released and almost 50% of the metagame consisted of it. GG’s power came from Power locking your opponent and hitting a decent amount of damage at the same time. However, Empoleon MD was released and it was used as a counter for GG (with Cessation Crystal of course).

The metagame was nothing but a Power lock. This is also the first year for me when I didn’t win Nationals, even though I attended. I was of course playing GG at Nationals, but lost in Top 8. However, this was also the year I came up with Glaceon and finished in Top 8 at Worlds with it.

Let’s take a quick stop here and discuss Glaceon a little. It was classic disruption deck with Power lock, hand denial, AND Energy denial, but the question is how did I build it. I often tell Finnish people how I built Glaceon because usually I just write a decklist that pops out into my head to a notebook and build the deck. However, my approach for Glaceon was a more technical approach.

I knew I wanted to build a disruption rogue so I just took my binders and started writing all the different hand denial, Energy denial, Trainer lock, and Power lock cards on my notebook. After a while I had a list of about 30-40 cards.

And then what? I just added the amounts before every card I wanted to play. After that I built the deck and changed only 2-4 cards to my Worlds deck from the original list that was created so simply.

Later on in this article, I’ll create a deck for this format with the very same technique so look forward to it. If you’re more interested in my tournament with Glaceon, check my tournament report from the PokéGym. Also, the random U.S. player whose name I didn’t remember in my report was in fact Jay, lol!

But let’s go onwards with the history. In 2009 disruption (especially Power locking) took a very strong stand in form of Mesprit LA and Power Spray. Power Spray was one of the most broken cards of the Pokémon TCG because it made every SP deck a Power locking deck. It was a pretty different year in Pokémon TCG because even though the format was full of power locking decks (i.e. Palkia G LV.X w/ Mesprit) in the end the Worlds Top 2 placements were both Stage 2 decks that couldn’t lock anything (Beedrill GE/Beedrill RR and Flygon RR).

Well, we both remember seasons from 2010 to 2011 probably very clearly. There were two decks in the season 2010-2011 that were above everyone else in my opinion – LuxChomp (Luxray GL LV.X/Garchomp C LV.X) and GG. And yes it was the very same GG as in the 2008 – 3 years in a metagame for a strong deck like that is too much.

Nationals were won by Sablelock (Sableye SF + LuxChomp, sorta), which – just like the name says – was a lock deck combining hand denial and Power lock. However, in the World Championships, the finals were Luxchomp vs. GG. The both decks were extremely powerful and knew how to Power lock their opponents.

In 2011 there were nothing but SP decks (mainly LuxChomp). Of course there were some Trainer locking attempts like LostVileGar (which I won my Nationals with), but the main consensus was that SP decks were the best due their versatility, speed, and Power locking ability.

As you can see from this brief look to the past, locking and denying your opponent’s setup has been around from the very beginning of the Pokémon TCG. They have not only been around, but they also have been dominating the most formats. However, this season everything is different. It seems that only the very straightforward and fast decks can make it.

Is that really true? I tend to disagree with that statement. That’s why I’ll next take a look what kind of disruption this format offers us. The card pool is huge, so there should be all kinds of disruptive cards at our service.

Current Disruption

I must warn you already that the following card lists won’t comprise of all the cards this format includes, because the lists will only have as many cards as I need to prove my point and show how a deck can be built around these cards.

Hand Denial

There are very good hand denial cards in the current format as we can see. One card that I’ve been wanting to test lately is Hooligans, but I haven’t found the time for that yet. Anyone getting Hooligans working is a champion in my eyes. The saddest part of the current format’s hand denial cards is that they are usually very flippy (just like Hooligans), but thankfully we still have Victini that makes some of the cards less flippy.

In my opinion the most ironic part of this is that the cards that are in normal games highly disruptive (N and Judge) are almost unplayable in disruption decks. That’s because you don’t want to use them when your opponent has no cards in his/her hand. They’re double-edged swords in many disruption decks, but in my opinion the main rule is not to play them.

Energy Denial

Energy denial is the most potential way of disrupting in the current format (as we know from Hammertime and as I’ll introduce later on in this article). Not only do these Pokémon discard Energy, but they are also very versatile. For example, Typhlosion Prime is an energy accelerator and Kyurem EX is a good attacker.

You may wonder why the list includes Junk Arm and Sableye DEX, but they are in the list because they are very important parts of Energy denial when it comes to Hammers and Lost Remover. Without them, there really is no Energy denial at all, just random coin flipping that will decide the outcome of the match.

Power Locking

  • Grumpig TM

Ok, this is just weird. The worst thing about this is that Power locking would still be good even though most Pokémon have Abilities! If you were able to power lock cards like Shaymin and Celebi, it would really have an impact on the format. But for now we have Grumpig that for 2 Energy hits for 0 damage against Darkrai EX

Item locking

Item locking has experienced its ups and downs during the different formats. However, at the moment it seems that Item locking is becoming more popular once again. Kumis.dec (Vileplume UD/Mismagius UD) has been talked around the internet (i.e. in one of John’s previous articles) and Vanilluxe NVI did fairly well in Italy’s Nationals. Even The Truth has won a few U.S. Battle Roads.

I’m sure that we’ll see more Vileplume decks at U.S. Nationals than anyone predicts because for most people, U.S. Nationals is the main event of the tournament season.

As we can see from these lists, there are lot of choices in terms of hand denial and Energy denial. However, the problem is that Power locking is non-existent in the current format and the Item locking options are pretty much Vileplume and Vileplume. Zebstrika is too weak to be played competitively and Gothitelle auto-losses when it sees the BCIF (Mewtwo EX). With this mind, let’s start the deck building and see what kind of disruption rogues can we come up in this format.

Mechanical Hand Denial Deck (HS-DEX Edition)

Just like I said with the Glaceon, we need first take a look at the cards we have available. So here is the list of hand denial cards once again.

Step 1: The List

Step 2: The Amounts

As you can see, I’m building a Weavile/Persian deck. Then let’s take a look at how the skeleton looks like. Step 3 is probably one of the most important things when building this deck because here you define the Trainer lines, which usually differ a lot from what you are used to see in normal decks. I’ll later on explain the Trainer choices.

Step 3: The Skeleton and Trainer Lines

Pokémon – 12

3 Meowth HS
3 Persian HS
3 Sneasel UD
3 Weavile UD

Trainers – 24

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

4 Random Receiver


4 Junk Arm

4 Dual Ball
2 Level Ball
2 Ultra Ball

Energy – 10

10 D

Step 4: Supporting Disruption

batman.wikia.comThese cards are not on our disruption lists, but they should be always in your head when building disruption decks. The whole point of hand denial is to deny any draw cards from your opponent. They can always topdeck a Supporter right? Well, they can’t if you have something that you’re able to manipulate their topdeck with.

There are two cards in the current format that suitable for that – Celebi Prime and Slowking HS. My choice is Slowking for obvious reasons (the deck doesn’t run Psychic energy).

Also many disruptive decks are very flippy. The cards would be too good if they weren’t on a flip and that’s why they are flippy. Well, in this format we have the flip insurance – Victini NVI 14. This little guy makes things like triple tails almost impossibility when it comes to Persian’s attack. So let’s add them to the skeleton.

Pokémon – 19

3 Meowth HS
3 Persian HS
4 Sneasel UD
3 Weavile UD
2 Slowpoke UD
2 Slowking HS
2 Victini NVI 14

Trainers – 24

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

4 Random Receiver


4 Junk Arm
4 Dual Ball
2 Level Ball
2 Ultra Ball

Energy – 10

10 D

As you may have noticed, the skeleton only had a 3-3 Weavile line, but after the addition of Slowpoke (a retreat of 2), I added 4th Sneasel (with free retreat) because you really don’t want to open with Slowpoke. It’s these little things you should also be able to focus while building the deck mechanically.

Step 5: Attackers

The next step is to think, do you need attackers? Do the disruptive Pokémon have good enough attacks or do you need some supportive attackers? With this deck you really don’t need an attacker if your plan succeeds since they don’t have anything in their hand in T2, but at the same time, does it hurt you to add 1-2 attackers in the deck?

In most situations it does hurt the deck’s consistency, but fortunately we have Darkrai EX in our format. It fits this deck perfectly because not only does the deck run D Energy, Darkrai also gives a free retreat to Slowpoke if you happen to open with it. So, 2 Darkrais it is.

Pokémon – 21

3 Meowth HS
3 Persian HS
4 Sneasel UD
3 Weavile UD
2 Slowpoke UD
2 Slowking HS
2 Victini NVI 14
2 Darkrai-EX DEX

Trainers – 24

4 Professor Juniper
4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

4 Random Receiver


4 Junk Arm
4 Dual Ball
2 Level Ball
2 Ultra Ball

Energy – 10

10 D

Step 6: The Final List

Finally, the last adjustments to the list and the reasoning for some of the weird card choices.

Pokémon – 22

4 Meowth HS
3 Persian HS
4 Sneasel UD
3 Weavile UD
2 Slowpoke UD
2 Slowking HS
2 Victini NVI 14
2 Darkrai-EX DEX

Trainers – 27

4 Professor Juniper
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

4 Random Receiver


4 Junk Arm
4 Dual Ball
2 Level Ball
2 Ultra Ball
2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Super Scoop Up

Energy – 11

11 D

pokemon-paradijs.comThe Pokémon lines should be pretty obvious and the strategy should be as well. The strategy is to get T2 Persian with the support of Weavile to destroy your opponent’s hand completely on T2. After destroying your opponent’s hand, you need Slowking to arrange your opponent’s topdecks. This way you can lock them down completely and you can choose which cards they’ll draw in the upcoming turns.

Without Slowking you would be just hoping they won’t topdeck something useful. It’s a key card in this deck. Victini helps re-flipping your Persian flips, so it’s very important as well. Sometimes you’ll flip triple tails from Persian and after that you’re very glad that you can take all the flips again. After that you may even flip triple heads instead!

As attackers in this deck works the main disruptor – Persian (yes it has a decent attack) or Darkrai EX. Of course if you are able to quickly attach Energy to Darkrai EX, you want to finish the game with it as soon as possible, but if you lack resources, Persian’s 60 for 2 Colorless will be satisfying enough.

The deck has a huge Ball engine for three reasons. First, you don’t want your opponent’s Smeargle UD to able to Portrait any Supporters from you and second, you need at least two Weaviles, Slowking, AND Persian on Turn 2 to destroy your opponent’s hand completely. It’s enough to discard just the draw cards from your opponent’s hand, so if you aren’t able to destroy your opponent’s whole hand, remember your main objective.

pokemon-paradijs.comAlso, you might even want to run 4 Ultra Balls in this deck in case you draw a Supporter from your Juniper/PONT. With Ultra Ball you are able to get rid of that Supporter and your opponent can’t Portrait themselves back to the game.

The deck is good and wins most of the matches when it goes first, but when you go second… well, you’re usually in huge trouble. The deck also struggles a lot if your opponent happens to get a T1 Darkrai EX. Ok, every deck of the format struggles with T1 Darkrai EX, but this deck auto-losses to T1 Darkrai EX.

The deck also has huge trouble if your opponent has Sableye and they’re able to get Random Receiver into their discard pile. That way they can just keep getting Random Receiver back from discard pile while you should be able to discard it every turn. Eventually you’ll fail and they’ll set up.

Energy Denial/Item lock: Banette/Vileplume

Yes, you saw correctly – Banette/Vileplume. This is probably my favorite deck at the moment of all my rogues. I won’t go through the steps again because it would take too much time, but I’ll give you the list and explain all the things necessary.

Pokémon – 21

4 Shuppet TM
3 Banette TM

3 Oddish UD
2 Vileplume UD

2 Shaymin UL
2 Victini NVI 14
1 Cleffa HS
1 Pichu HS
1 Darkrai-EX DEX
1 Carnivine DEX
1 Pinsir NXD

Trainers – 25

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Sage’s Training
3 Twins
3 N
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory

1 Seeker


4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Communication

Energy – 14

6 P

4 Rainbow
2 Prism
2 Rescue

pokemon-paradijs.comThe strategy of this deck is quite simple. Just Lost Zone every single one of your opponent’s Energy cards with Banette’s first attack, and whenever they are incapable of attaching more Energy, just hit with your attackers. There will be some turns when they won’t be able to attach the Energy, so make sure to make the most of them. Victini helps you re-flip Banette’s attack so Lost Zoning Energy isn’t too difficult a task. Just try to keep the flow of Banettes going with Rescue Energy and Twins and you should be fine.

As you may have noticed, I took the inspiration for this deck from Hammertime and my finals game where I just discarded all of my opponent’s Energy cards. With this deck I can Lost Zone every single Energy from my opponent’s Pokémon.

The difference between the Lost Zone and discard pile is huge in the current meta because there are cards that can take energy back from discard pile (mainly Dark Patch and Eelektrik NVI). Well, Dark Patch is already countered with Vileplume, but Eelektrik can only be countered with Lost Zoning the Energy.

The most important thing to remember from this deck is that you must follow the game plan as closely as possible. No matter how much pressure your opponent puts on you, you should always be able to keep the Banettes streaming (against Eels) and Pinsir + Banette streaming against other decks. It doesn’t matter if your opponent gets 5 Prizes because when you Lost Zone their last Energy, you’ll win the game, no matter what the prizes are.

There will be situations when your opponent doesn’t attach an Energy to his/her Pokémon. After all, he/she is Item locked, so he/she doesn’t draw into Energy every turn. These turns you have the possibility to attack. I usually use Carnivine in these situations because Poison + Catcher is so good in Item lock. If they don’t run Darkrai, they will end up burning an Energy for retreating or just let the Pokémon die in poison. Either way it’s good for you.

Carnivine is almost too good in situations where your opponent gets a T1 Darkrai. With patient Item locking and Energy attachments, all you need is to gather 2 Energy on your Pokémon, attach an Energy manually, and move all of them to Carnivine via Shaymin. After that, you are able to put Darkrai EX back to your opponent’s hand and then start using your normal strategy.

Carnivine is probably the deck’s MVP because of its versatility and I would love to play more than 1 of them. Another option for T1 Darkrai is of course a Terrakion NVI tech, but due its retreat and the fact that I only run 1 Darkrai EX, I haven’t put it into this deck.

As I said, it’s my favorite deck of the current metagame because it’s versatile, different, and gives any opponent a huge headache. The biggest problem with this deck is probably time (just like usually with Item lock decks) because the deck doesn’t necessarily get prizes too quickly. In a timed game, you should know exactly what you are doing so you don’t lose on time.

Energy Denial/Hand Denial: Complete Denial?

recoveringfromaburninjury.comWell, Glaceon was Power lock/Energy denial/hand denial deck and it worked very well, so is it possible to build a same kind of deck for this format? Kind of, yes. This format doesn’t have Power lock, but in the end you don’t need it because Power lock was just a form of hand denial in Glaceon.

The current format doesn’t have cards like Uxie LA or Claydol GE, which were staples in every deck, so to kill your opponent’s draw, now all you need to do is destroy their hand. Sound easy? It is. However, the problem is that when you’re done destroying your opponent hand, they probably have something like a Darkrai EX ready to attack and you’re doomed because they will be drawing Prize cards.

That’s where Energy denial steps in. If you are able to deny both – their set up and their Energy attachments, they have very tough time. Here’s my current list of the complete denial deck.

Pokémon – 22

3 Sableye DEX
3 Meowth HS
3 Persian HS
3 Sneasel UD
3 Weavile UD
2 Slowpoke UD
2 Slowking HS
2 Victini NVI 14
1 Darkrai-EX DEX

Trainers – 26

4 Professor Juniper
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

4 Random Receiver


3 Crushing Hammer
2 Lost Remover
3 Dual Ball
2 Level Ball
2 Ultra Ball
2 Super Scoop Up
1 Pokémon Catcher

Energy – 12

12 D

pokemon-paradijs.comYup, it’s a Hammertime + hand denial hybrid. The great thing about Sableye is that it really helps this deck’s set up because of its huge ball engine. With Sableye’s help, the deck sets up 3 Weaviles easily for Turn 3. The space is very tight in the list and I will need to do some more testing with this deck to perfect the list, but it’s really fun to play at the moment.

The starting point for this deck was in April when I tested Hammertime. Alongside with Hammertime, I tested a pretty funny deck – Sableye/Weavile/Hammers. Nothing else. The idea was to discard all the cards from the opponent’s hand and discard all the energy from the opponent as well.

With Sableye, you could get an access to unlimited Hammers AND SSUs. The main attacker of the deck was Sneasel. However, I quickly realized how inconsistent the deck was so I gave up on that pretty quickly.

Granted, this deck is even flippier than any of the other decks, but that’s how rogues usually are. At least in the current format. If you are interested in this deck and would like to try it for any Nationals, feel free to contact me and how I have proceeded with the development of the deck. I think this deck has real potential since the current metagame is very stale.

Disruption – Why has it won in the past, but isn’t winning now?

This is one of the most interesting questions, I have faced during the BLW-era. There have been almost no disruptive decks doing well during the whole season. When we look back to the short history of disruption, we see that almost every season disruption and lock decks have been dominating. What has changed?

Of course the format has changed, but did PCL just stop making worse disruptive cards after BLW? No they didn’t. In fact, there are more good disruptive cards in the format than ever! So what’s up? First, let’s take a look at Battle Roads winning decks and see how many disruptive decks we can find.

68 Darkrai (Total)
21 Zeel
10 CMT (5 w/ Terrakion)
7 Klingklang BLW/EX
6 Fighting (total)
5 Tornadus/Terakion/Mewtwo
5 Entei-EX
3 Sawk/Tornadus
2 Empoleon DEX/Terrakion NVI (one w/ Porygon-Z TM)
2 Truth
2 Donphan Prime/Mewtwo EX
2 Tornadus/Aerodactyl DEX
1 Durant
1 Mew Prime/Vanilluxe/Vileplume
1 Lugia LEGEND/Terrakion (1 w/ Mewtwo/Groudon EX)
1 Kyurem EX/Kyurem NVI/Mewtwo EX
1 Donphan/Tornadus
1 Terrakion/Eel
1 Thundurus EPO/Terrakion NVI
1 6 Corners
1 Yanmega Prime/Groudon EX
1 Cinccino NXD/Hypno HS/Vileplume UD
1 Vanilluxe NVI/Vileplume UD (no Mew)
1 Mismagius CL/Vileplume UD/EX

via: Poké

After 2011 Worlds, the format had been very straightforward. It all began with Tornadus EPO/Zekrom BLW/Shaymin UL/Pachirisu CL, then came Mewtwo EX wars and now everyone is exchanging 1HKOs between Mewtwo EXs, Darkrai EXs, and Terrakions. There have been some Vileplume decks doing well in some tournaments, but in the end the winning decks have been something other than disruption or Item locking. I think these results (even though they are “only” Battle Roads results) show exactly where the game is at the moment.

There are the results of 146 Battle Roads. Among them there is a total of 5 disruptive decks. 5 out of 146. That makes 3.4%, which means that either disruptive decks are Tier 9000 or they just aren’t played enough, and thus aren’t developed enough.

pokemon-paradijs.comSo, is it impossible for a disruption deck to do well in the current fast, straightforward format? Of course not. However, the straightforwardness of the format leads to the lack of disruption decks. When people notice that the format is becoming faster and faster they will try to increase the speed and consistency of their decks. It’s only natural and a very wise to choice so you can keep up with the other decks.

However, people usually overlook the possibility to slow down your opponent instead of trying to keep up with them. In a TCG like Pokémon where slowing down your opponent has always been the key to victory, players overlooking this possibility seems weird.

Probably the best example for this (once again) is Hammertime and Sableye. The discussion about Sableye was almost non-existent before the reveal of Hammertime. When I first tested Hammertime in April, I was very skeptical. I really thought Sableye was too slow for the current metagame.

But after only a few test games I understood the simple fact: all you need to do is to be faster than your opponent. It doesn’t matter if it’s on T1 or on T20; you just to be faster. When this hit me, I immediately knew I would play Hammertime in Nationals.

Well, if it would be possible to build a disruption deck for this metagame, why haven’t any of them been seen lately? The main reason for this is the time and effort you have to put in coming up and testing the decks. I think no one wants to test 40 hours for a deck for City Championships only to come to the conclusion that the deck doesn’t work. However, that’s City Championships.

I think it’s reasonable for anyone to test 40 hours on a rogue deck for World Championships and then give up with it. That’s what usually happens with me during the season. The more important the tournament, the more likely it is that I’ll try to come up with something unique. I think this rings true for a lot of people.

And that’s why even if you aren’t playing any of these kinds of decks, you should be aware of that they are out there and there’s a possibility that you’ll have to face them. The most important tournament of the year for very many people is just around the corner, and I’m sure there are lots of players that have tested immense amounts of time and will go all-in.

How to Make your Deck Disruption-Proof

pokemon-paradijs.comAnd that’s how we get to the next topic. How to make your deck disruption-proof. Most decks try to manipulate your hand or kill your set up. Against these decks it really matters which starters you play (if you play any at all). Probably the most important thing to say is that it really doesn’t matter which deck you play – you should play Smeargle in it.

However, Smeargle is probably the favorite starter of disruption decks – they can outplay Smeargle very easily. As long as they don’t have Supporters in their hands – Smeargle does nothing for you. This makes the metagame very comfortable for disruption decks. Most people rely on 1 Smeargle because the format is straightforward and fast and that’s exactly what Smeargle is. However, one thing that Smeargle isn’t is consistent.

The worst nightmare of hand denial decks are cards like Cleffa HS that give you a new hand with an attack. That’s because you can’t outplay these cards. However, no one plays Cleffa nowadays, so they don’t have to worry about them.

Also, I wouldn’t even want to recommend anyone to run Cleffas because of Darkrai EX. This makes things even more interesting. Since the format is straightforward, there really is room for disruptive rogues. The final question is…

Do you need to prepare for disruption rogues?

The answer is yes and no. As said earlier, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to make any precautionary adjustments to their decks, but you must be aware of them. They may be out there and you can face them at any point of the tournament. Here are few tips that help facing disruption rogues and rogues in general.

1. Don’t Panic/Be Arrogant

When they open with Slugma UD and you’re in 5-0, you shouldn’t be either “OH CRAP, WHAT I’M GONNA DO!?!?!?” or “Lol, I got this.” Try to keep your cool and be as analytical as possible. What’s even more important, don’t be surprised, no matter what they play. Overthinking will only disrupt your focus from what’s really important – winning the game.

Also, when you’re in 5-0 and you’re facing a Slugma.dec, you shouldn’t be certain of your victory. He/she is in 5-0 as well and he/she has probably won 5 games to get that far. No matter what your opponent plays, he’s always at the same level as you.

2. Try to identify their game plan as soon as possible.

When you see that Slugma, try imagining all the combos that’s possible with it. “Slugma can energy accelerate Fire – what playable Fire cards are there? I saw a Prism Energy, so Slugma can be just a random Energy accelerator, what can he/she energy accelerate with Slugma + Prism Energy? Ahh, Terrakion hits with Fighting and Colorless, be aware of that.” And so on.

Don’t overanalyze or get distracted from the game, but try to figure out how the Slugma.dec is 5-0.

3. Take your time.

Points 2 and 3 go together. When it’s your opponent’s turn, you should try to follow closely what card he plays/discards so you can figure their game plan. In the early turns of the game, you’ll have a lot of time thinking and you really should take an advantage of it.

While making your next move, take your time thinking of the number 2. Of course you can’t come up with every single combination your opponent might play, but just be sure you’ve covered the most obvious choices.

4. Keep checking their discard pile and follow what cards they play.

This is something you should do even in a normal game, but its meaning emphasizes against rogue decks. This also helps you to accomplish the tip number 5. It’s very important to keep track of every single card they play because that way you might understand his/her deck building style. Every player has a different kind of philosophy in deck building and from their discard pile you’ll learn the best what’s their philosophy.

Interesting fact about this by the way. The 2004 World Champion Takuya Yoneda arranges his opponent’s discard pile after every turn to keep track of every single card his opponent is running. When the Finnish World Champion Tom Roos noticed this when he was playing against Yoneda in Worlds 2007 (and lost to him in the Swiss), he started to do the same. Result: World Championship!

5. Try to build a decklist of your own about the deck during the game – don’t forget the unorthodox cards!

This, this and one more time this. It’s too easy just to see a rogue and be astonished every single card they throw at you. In no time, you’ll notice that the game is over and all you’ve done is wondered what’s happening. In my opinion one of the reasons why The Truth did so well in the World Championships last year was because no players did this.

This is a very difficult task but it’s something you should master if you don’t want to lose to that tournament-winning rogue deck. All decks have weaknesses and the best way to identify them is to have a comprehensible picture of what they are running.

If you are able to master all these 5 things, you’ll develop as a player a lot. If you already master all these things, you already are a very high-level player. The thing about these 5 tips is that, they are easy in theory and anyone can say “I can do that.” But as you’re in your Top 32 game and someone’s face-down card happens to be a Slugma, some of these things just happen to be forgotten.

I’m not a perfect player and I must admit that even though I’m fairly quick to adapt to the situation, usually the first game always takes me by surprise. I can manage a best-of-three game against a rogue, but in best-of-one I’m in trouble. However, that’s only a good thing in my opinion because as I know I have something to develop as a player, it’ll keep me going and enjoying this game.


pokemon-paradijs.comDisruption is the final fortress of a hardcore deck builder like me. In every single format they’re very challenging to come up with and even more challenging to get working properly. The disruption has been under-represented in the format and I’m pretty sure that it will stay that way until the end of season. However, in the next format (BW-on now officially)… I don’t even want to talk about it; I’m SO excited about it. I hope this article helped you to understand and taught you how you can try building your own disruption rogue.

Even if you aren’t a fan of disruption decks or you feel that you don’t have time for building and testing this kind of decks, I hoped this article helped you to be more prepared against possible disruption rogues and rogues in general you might face in the National Championships. I’ve always thought that knowing your own deck is important, but being familiar with your opponent’s deck is even more important.

With rogues this philosophy emphasizes because the more you are familiar with different cards and decks, the more adjustable you’re when you’re facing something new. There’s nothing better than winning the game with an innovative play against an innovative deck, but in order to accomplish that you must first be able to identify their weaknesses.

To conclude, as said earlier, this isn’t the last you’ll hear from me before the U.S. Nationals, but I hope you found this as interesting and informative as the upcoming article. I’ll have another article coming out next week where I’ll try to give the last, effective tips you’ll need to do better in your most important tournament of the season.

And as always, if you enjoyed my article, remember to give this article a Like or not so I know if you guys enjoyed this!

Thanks a lot for reading and I’ll be back next week!

– Esa Juntunen


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