How often have you looked through your binder, trying to find that perfect combination of cards no one else thought was possible to even think of?
Hey, Trainers! My name is David Jensen. In all my time playing this game, I have always enjoyed a good rogue; a deck that can catch your opponent by surprise, utilizing cards and combinations that are strictly unheard of. Call me a Pokémon hipster, if you want.
However, playing rogue is not always the best option. First, it takes lots of time pioneering a deck because you actually start from scratch! Second, most rogues are metagame counter decks. When a new set is released, people will try all the new cards, believe the hype and so on, thus making it harder to decide which counters will be the best for that specific tournament. That is also why the best counter decks historically emerge at Worlds; the best meta decks are usually discovered. Third, sometimes the BDIF is the BDIF for a reason. Maybe you can find a clever counter to it, but then you are usually losing out to all the other decks. At that point, you might be better off just playing a meta deck than anything else.
You might have heard of some of my successes with rogue decks earlier. The most notable (and probably hated one) is the Gothitelle/Accelgor deck of last season, which was hushed down and called “a deck that could only win in Norway” before it won the biggest tournament of the year, US Nationals. Ironically, I really hoped it would continue to underperform, so I could take everyone by surprise (again) at Worlds. Instead, EVERYONE teched extensively against it, making the deck almost irrelevant at Worlds that year.
As I said, the Gothitelle/Accelgor deck was disregarded as a competitive deck the time between Norway Nationals and US Nationals, and I didn’t want to stir it up. However, this year, I will do the exact opposite, with a deck I feel has an extreme amount of potential right now. I hereby present you…
Pokémon – 23
Trainers – 29
Energy – 8
Back in the days, when the Pokémon TCG was cool and stuff, every deck had an awesome name rather than just Virizion/Genesect or Yveltal/Garbodor. I really hope the name Scape catches on if this deck becomes popular; that would make me super happy.
The word “scape” has two definitions:
A flower stalk growing directly from the ground
A variant of escape
Perfect, right? Anyway, let’s break down the deck list.
Evolution decks are dead. Or at least everyone thought so. Sneasel is the Basic form of Weavile, and 4 of these is a necessity to swarm Weaviles, which you will be doing in all of your games. However, we do have a couple of Sneasel to choose from.
In my opinion, Sneasel PLF is way superior to the others due to the +10 HP it provides. The difference is actually huge; Hypnotoxic Laser can no longer 2HKO it coming back into your opponents turn, Landorus-EX needs to snipe 3 times instead of 2, Sawk PLB can’t knock it out with a Muscle Band, etc. My point is, you don’t really want your Sneasel to be Knocked Out.
In the list I played at Nationals, I included a single copy of Sneasel NXD, just for its attack Corner. Sometimes this card can help you stall out the game until you have set up properly; like a very fragile Snorlax PLS. You have to be extremely careful when using it, though, since a single Switch will ruin the entire strategy.
The heart and core of the deck. Weavile is the main attacker, dishing out extreme amounts of damage for just 2 Energy. It can Knock Out Pokémon-EX with ease, even Mega evolved ones! Its attack, Vilify, does 30× the number of Pokémon you discard from your hand. With Exeggcute and Lopunny, it is actually really easy to hit those big numbers when you need them. Playing any less than 4 Weavile is not optimal, as you want to swarm these guys the whole game through.
Now, here is the main difference between this deck and other Weavile decks; the Lopunny line. Buneary is the basic form of Lopunny, and it is hands down the best card in the deck. Having a Buneary on your Bench makes you feel safe, as it is always another 30 damage when you need it. Actually, you can think of the whole Lopunny line as 30 damage PlusPowers, with additional perks. That is also why 4 is the correct number to play.
Now, there are 2 different Buneary to choose from. I would say that Buneary BCR is the best option, as it can attack for 1 Energy if necessary. The one from FLF needs 2 Energy, and if you have 2 Energies on your Buneary, you are usually doing something wrong.
With its big jump back into the competitive scene, Weavile brings his buddy Lopunny, which is exactly what this deck has lacked all the time; a free retreater which returns to your hand. Before you stop me and say that Lopunny does not have free retreat, look at that Ability one more time. In a perfect world, when a Weavile is Knocked Out, you promote Lopunny, use your Dark Patch on the Benched Weavile, use your Supporter for the turn, and then you can Big Jump back into your hand, promote Weavile and Knock Out whatever being in its way. Lopunny is superior to the former staple Darkrai-EX because:
- It does not require an Energy to have free retreat.
- You return it to your hand, making Vilify do 60+ damage.
- You can also evolve your Benched Buneary with the same Lopunny you just picked up.
- It gives you an auto-win against a very scary deck.
Another thing to note is that I play only 3 Lopunny. As you don’t need to stream Lopunny as the same way you stream Weavile, I felt that having 4 was a bit over the top. That said, playing 4 would not be bad by any means. Ultimately, I save deck space where I can, and this was the most obvious cut in my opinion (the deck is actually really tight on space, if you have not noticed).
Also, if you think Lopunny is in this deck solely for its Ability, think again. Sitdown Bounce, Lopunny’s attack, is actually the 3rd most used attack in the deck. I will explain why in the matchups section.
Now, this card is unique. It is actually so unique it got its own secret rare shiny card in Plasma Blast. Additionally, it is the only secret rare in this format that can evolve. Its Ability reads “Once during your turn, if this Pokémon is in your discard pile, you may return this card to your hand.” The “once during your turn” clause is nullified once it returns to your hand, as your hand is not public information, so you can use Propagation over and over again with the same Exeggcute if you really want to. Neat.
So, the combo is obvious, maybe the most obvious there is; return the eggs, throw them away with Weavile for maximum damage. When playing, the Exeggcute in this deck is like a side quest. Your main goal will always be to setup Weavile, but Weavile does nothing if you don’t have any eggs in the discard pile. Putting Exeggcute in the discard pile will always be something you have to do, and the earlier the better. Therefore, the early Ultra Ball/Level Ball should almost always grab an Exeggcute, provided that you can discard it the same turn.
Playing 4 Exeggcute in the same deck might seem a bit sketchy as the egg only has 30 HP and is very susceptible to donks, but it is a necessary evil in this deck. You do have 10 other Basic Pokémon to reduce the chance of starting with it, and if all else fails, you do have the Scoop Up Cyclone to save yourself a Prize loss.
Junk Hunt. Even though this deck is really fast when it gets going, sometimes you need to slow down and promote this guy to do its magic. Using Junk Hunt for 2 Ultra Ball would have been super bad in almost any other deck, but here it is actually preferred. Also, you can spam Scoop Up Cyclone and Dark Patch if that makes you feel any better. It usually does. As long as you are not using Confuse Ray, this guy will always improve your odds of winning the game.
An extremely underrated card. In my opinion, this card should be played in almost every deck. In this deck though, I built the whole Supporter engine around it, as it all fits together so well. I play a combination of 8 Ultra Ball/Level Ball anyway, so getting a Supporter should never be a problem. Also, this deck needs a lot of resources, and Professor Juniper will almost always be your best bet of getting a big hand. Best case scenario is just to use Juniper every turn until you win, and with 2 Jirachi-EX, it is actually possible to do.
The Supporter Lineup
7 Supporters in total is not very much. Considering only 5 of them are able to draw you some cards turn 1 (Juniper and N), it begins to get a little scarce. Luckily, we do have 14 outs to a Juniper T1, thanks to Jirachi-EX. However, if you manage to whiff a Supporter the first couple of turns, your chances of winning are slim to none, depending on the matchup. As Scape is a deck that needs a lot to get going, losing out on the Supporter spells doom. In a deck which focuses on big Pokémon-EX such as Yveltal-EX or Genesect-EX, an Energy would be enough for them to at least do some damage and maybe draw a Prize card. Whiffing a Supporter with this deck is absolutely disastrous and it is also why I use this kind of Supporter engine, to maximize the chance of getting a good Supporter and maximize the number of cards you go through each turn.
I do also run a couple of tech Supporters; Colress is a huge card mid-late game, and is usually the card that ensures you the win when the game is still open. N is just too good not to play, but it is not optimal at all. Not running at least 1 is foolish though, as your opponent could oh so easily take advantage of you not playing it. Lysandre is neat, as it can be searched out by Jirachi-EX when you need it. It is often used to take the last 2 Prizes on an EX when your opponent promotes a non-EX, which happens almost all the time.
Pal Pad is an important card as well. It can shuffle Juniper back into the deck, making you less vulnerable to N. It can also shuffle tech Supporters back, if needed. Random Receiver is there to grab any Supporter. With Pal Pad, you can increase the chance of hitting the Supporter you want, too. It is also a nice to be able to Junk Hunt for it in certain situations.
The Item Lineup
The rest of the deck is very straight forward. 4 Level Ball. 4 Ultra Ball. These cards thin your deck down, while grabbing the all-important pieces to your setup. With 2 Exeggcute in the discard pile, you can even use Ultra Ball “for free!”
4 Dark Patch is needed to accelerate Energy onto your Weavile. It is extremely important that you keep the momentum going with this deck, and Dark Patch is the best and cheapest way to accelerate Energy there is.
3 Startling Megaphone might seem like a lot, but it’s the only card that makes you able to win against Garbodor. Once Garbodor hits the field, you straight up lose if you don’t have this card ready, as your whole deck relies on abilities.
2 Super Rod is a must when your main way of drawing cards is Juniper; you will eventually discard something you need later. It also has a small synergy with Weavile, as Weavile dump Pokémon into the discard pile all the time. Super Rod is also way superior to Sacred Ash, due to the fact that you also can grab basic Energies. Also, most of the time you don’t need to return 5 Pokémon. It only makes your deck weaker to an incoming N.
Scoop Up Cyclone is the preferred ACE SPEC here. Its main use is to remove Jirachi-EX from your Bench, as it is super fragile and gives up 2 Prizes when Knocked Out. It is also sweet to be able to scoop out of Paralysis and Sleep, return a bad Exeggcute start to your hand, or make space on your Bench for something else.
8 Darkness Energy
Is just fine.
I actually think this list is as good as it gets. You could argue playing Dowsing Machine or Computer Search instead of Scoop Up Cyclone, as they all fit perfectly in the deck. However, every time I replace Scoop Up Cyclone, I always end up missing it.
The 9th Dark Energy might also be a solid option. Recently, I have also tested some Bicycles to spice up the engine even more. If you want to cut anything from the list, I suggest either one of these cards, as they are the most flexible:
General Gameplay and Matchups
Why Weavile, exactly? Well, it happens that Weavile is the only non-EX deck that can 1HKO Pokémon-EX fairly consistently, and that intrigues me. Especially when this format is full of EX-based decks. The deck is also relatively easy to play, once you get the hang of it. Swarm Weavile and Lopunny, put Exeggcute in the discard pile, use Juniper as often as you can and micromanage your deck to be as strong against N as possible. This is the core strategy of the deck, but sometimes things don’t quite work out the way you want it to.
Vs. Yveltal/Garbodor – Hard
This is your absolutely hardest matchup, which is unfortunate, as it is the most successful deck in the format as to date. Last weekend’s Nationals (Australia and Canada) showed us that the Garbodor version of the deck is on the recline though, which is good!
The way to win this matchup is to get a fast lead with Weavile, and try to keep the momentum through the whole game, which is really hard when your opponent Ns you and gets a Garbodor up in the same turn. Remember to always have a Sableye ready, as you will need it at least once during the game. Another thing to note is that the Yveltal player will likely attach a Muscle Band to his Garbodor, making it susceptible to Lysandre. If you think your opponent is out of Switch and is low on Lasers, a game-winning play can be to Lysandre Garbodor, and use Sneasel NXD to lock your opponent out the game while you set up the win/deck your opponent out. It might seem like a long shot, but I have won a few games by doing this, and it is super fun when it actually works.
Vs. Yveltal/Raichu – Easy
This deck is way easier to handle than its Garbodor counterpart. You both have some non-EX attackers, although the main difference is that Scape is made to stream Weavile, while Yveltal/Raichu attacks frequently with, you might have guessed it, Yveltal-EX and Raichu. That makes you pull ahead in the Prize race, and in most cases win the game unless you get struck by a bad N. As always, beware of Lysandre or Pokémon Catcher, as a KO on Jirachi-EX might turn the game around.
Vs. Virizion/Genesect – Even
Going first here is HUGE, as, in a best case scenario, you can take down their EXs before they get off their first Emerald Slash. The most common way of losing this matchup is whiffing a crucial attack. Then, Genesect-EX proceeds to pray on your Benched Weavile and Sneasel using Red Signal. Don’t mind using Juniper whenever you are able to, even when discarding crucial resources, as speed is the only way you can beat this deck. Go fast, fast, fast!
Vs. Plasma – Even
Now, this matchup is almost always decided by who’s going first. If you can get Weavile going fast enough, you should be able to overcome the early pressure Plasma usually exerts, as most Plasma lists are focused around Pokémon-EX. Always have another Weavile ready, and play as normal.
Vs. Aromatisse Variants – Very Easy
If it is one thing Aromatisse decks hates, it is Pokémon that is capable of 1HKOing their Pokémon. Weavile can easily do that, and it’s not even an EX. Aromatisse sacrifices early game pressure for mid-late game control with Max Potion and different attackers, which makes it super slow in comparison to Scape. A T3 Weavile with backup is usually more than enough to take out all of their Energies and give you a landslide victory. Beware of Landorus-EX with a Muscle Band, though, as it might slow you down/catch you off guard if you don’t prepare for it.
Also, if you play against the M Kangaskhan-EX version, all you need to do is discard 8 Pokémon from your hand, and you 1HKO it. Sick.
Vs. Blastoise – Easy
This should be an easy matchup overall. If they get a fast Blastoise going, plays a bunch of non-EX and Ns you at the right moment, it might be a little closer though. I have yet to lose against Blastoise with this deck, but I can see Scape struggling if it has to Knock Out 130 HP Black Kyurem all day.
Vs. Emboar – Easy
This is just like the Blastoise matchup. It all depends on how many non-EX attackers they play, as trading Rayquaza-EX with Weavile is a really bad deal for them. Most play 2-3 non-EXs (Delphox and Rayquaza/Reshiram/Druddigon) that are capable of dealing with Weavile. In the end, Scape will almost always be the faster deck, thus making the matchup very positive.
Vs. Charizard Variants – Very Easy
Charizard is actually a lot like Weavile in that it takes a lot of resources to get going, and it 1HKOs almost everything once it does. However, Charizard is a Pokémon-EX, making Weavile’s tradeoffs way superior. Most Charizard decks often boast techs like Pyroar and Raichu, but they are usually in small numbers and should be dealt with swiftly.
Vs. Non-EX Decks (Miltank, Empoleon, Flareon, Zoroark, etc.) – Even
These decks can be hard to play against, especially if they get a fast start. Frankly, it can go either way, depending who can stream attackers most efficiently. Play wisely and remember that Lopunny sometimes can be used as a wall against decks with fixed damage output (although almost all of them hit for 90+, sadly).
Vs. Trevenant/Accelgor – Very Easy
What, almost auto-win? This deck doesn’t play Virizion-EX! That’s right, but it plays Lopunny, one of the few cards that is able to escape the dreaded Paralyze + Item lock. Basically, what you need to do is to get as many Buneary on your Bench as you can, evolve one of them, and promote it as the Active Pokémon. When your opponent uses Deck and Cover, you can simply return Lopunny to your hand, promote Buneary and evolve again. If you have 3 or more Buneary in play, you may begin to put Energies onto one of your bunnies to prepare a Sitdown Bounce. If your opponent plays an absurd amount of Lysandre to try to pick off your Buneary, you can always use your own Lysandre to get yourself a turn of using Super Rod.
So, unless your opponent plays some unusual techs, or you Prize 4 Buneary, this matchup should be straightforward and almost impossible to lose.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and that it inspired you to try out some new, radical decks. If you are playing in US Nationals this upcoming weekend, best of luck to you! I hope your deck is prepared against Scape, as I am sure it will make a big showing.
If you have any additional questions/opinions, be sure to write them in the comment section or shoot me a PM on the 6p forums!
One last thing; yesterday I booked my flight for Worlds! I haven’t played that much this year, and I whiffed the invite by 50 Points or so, but I will try my very best to grind in as the first Norwegian ever! So, for those of you going, see you there!