Every player has a favorite format. Many players look back fondly on the days they feel the game was more skillful or when there were more viable decks. For me, that was the 2007 Nationals and Worlds format. There were dozens of playable archetypes and nine distinctly different decks placed in the top 16 at the World Championships that year.
One of my favorite decks from this format is R-Gon. The deck revolved around Flygon HP which was one of the only cards at the time that allowed you to attach a second Energy card for the turn. The drawback to its Delta Supply Poké-Power was that you can only attach the second Energy card to a Pokémon with the delta symbol on its card. Fortunately, there were many different Delta Species Pokémon that could be paired with Flygon, providing varying attacks and type coverage.
The deck’s basic strategy is pretty simple. Usually you hope to start with Holon’s Castform, a revolutionary Pokémon that could both provide Energy and help you set up. In the early game, you look to use your Supporter cards to get out the appropriate Basic Pokémon for the matchup as well as fuel Delta Draw. (As such, R-Gon tends to struggle against disruptive cards such as Vaporeon ex which made R-Gon shuffle its hands that often eclipsed 10 cards back into the deck and redraw a new hand of 4.)
Once you do get set up, the trick is to develop a game plan involving a mix of the assortment of Pokémon in the deck. You have the option to use heavy hitters, snipe and spread damage, and even some disruption. Every game plays out differently, which is one of the things that I love about the deck.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at a list:
Pokémon – 25
Trainers – 26
Energy – 9
4 Delta Rainbow
Above is Ross Cawthon’s top 16 list from the World Championships. It is the list that I currently have built and arguably the best version of the deck.
Castform was the glue that held this deck together. As I mentioned before, not only did it provide a good attack for setting up, but it also gave you a way to power up your attackers without having to play an array of basic Energy types. This card was so powerful that many decks, such as Lucario DP variants, can attribute part of their success merely to being capable of knocking out an opposing Castform before its power could be fully utilized.
Also, as an aside, note that Holon’s Castform is not a card that can be attached with Flygon HP’s Delta Supply. Instead, you can use Delta Supply with a basic Energy first and then attach Holon’s Castform as your Energy attachment for turn.
The Flygon line is what the whole deck is based upon. Flygon HP provides Energy acceleration and is a decent attacker. It has an uncommon Weakness, as well as common Resistances, so it will often take a hit or two. Flygon ex DF is one of the deck’s heavy hitters and fits in very well, as its shares Evolution lines with Flygon HP. Sand Damage has great synergy with its Psychic Pulse attack and also with Exeggutor HP’s sniping attack.
This list plays a somewhat surprisingly thin Flygon line. Many other players had 4 Trapinch and 2 Flygon ex DF. Ross’s reasoning for playing only 1 Flygon ex DF is that it wasn’t very good in a lot of matchups. The 4th Trapinch was probably cut to make space for some of the other tech cards in the deck.
2-2 Exeggutor HP
Exeggutor was a staple in R-Gon decks. It provided the option to hit for a lot of damage with Delta Circle and also allowed you to finish off knockouts with Split Bomb. It is a fragile Pokémon, but often made a big impact on games.
2-0-1 Sceptile ex CG
Sceptile is one of the reasons that the deck was able to stand a chance against many of the other decks in the format. R-Gon didn’t play a lot of Pokémon-ex, and none of them had any Poké-Powers, so Sceptile’s Poké-Body provided a lot of disruption without drawback. By using Sceptile, R-Gon was able to turn potentially bad matchups such as Absolutions (which won Worlds and US Nationals in 2007) and Banette into favorable affairs. It even had a good attack capable of closing out games.
Ross’s deck played an interesting count of Treecko. Even though the deck was tight on space, he made a cut to include a 2nd Treecko. This was done for two reasons. It obviously gives you some insurance against a Prized Treecko if you happen to get one knocked out early. Ross also notes that he liked to use one Treecko to bait an Eeveelutions player to play an Umbreon ex to bring a Benched Treecko Active and knock it out. If they evolved their Eevee to an Umbreon, that made it that much harder for them to evolve into Vaporeon ex early game and shuffle your hand away. Then Ross had the 2nd Treecko that he could use later to evolve into Sceptile.
The Mew cards allowed for the deck to have some extra versatility. They could both take advantage of Holon’s Castform, Delta Rainbow Energy, and Flygon’s Energy Supply so there was never any trouble with getting the necessary Energy to copy your opponent’s Pokémon’s attacks. Both Mews were especially good against Infernape, the deck that dominated the Battle Road cycle and consequently made R-Gon a bad play for the 2007 National Championships.
Rayquaza serves two major purposes in the deck. First, it has a very strong sniping attack, one of only two in the deck. 30 damage seems very low, but if the targeted Pokémon has a Poké-Power or Poké-Body, you get to hit for 50 damage which was the perfect amount. This allowed for one-shots on popular Basic Pokémon such as Beldum DS and also two-shot knockouts on many fragile Pokémon ex such as Vaporeon ex, Jolteon ex, Mew ex LM, and Banette ex.
The second advantage to Rayquaza is its Poké-Body. This allows it to combo very well with Holon’s Castform. You spend the first couple turns setting up. Once your opponent knocks out Holon’s Castform, you can send up Rayquaza and start sniping for only one Energy. Or, you can go all in with Sky High Claws and hit for big damage. Rayquaza was very important in many matchups; some R-Gon lists even chose to run 2.
Chimecho is a neat little tech card that combos very nicely with the whole deck. It provides a way to recycle your Energy cards (especially the very valuable Delta Rainbow) and also fuels Exeggutor’s Delta Circle attack. R-Gon doesn’t typically play a lot of Energy cards and when you get to attach more than one per turn, you can run out pretty quickly.
Magnemite is a very important card in the deck. Its main purpose was to be searched out with an early-game Holon Mentor or Lanette’s Net Search and attached to Castform so it can use Delta Draw. It could also be searched out at any point in the game when you need an Energy attachment. Magnemite was chosen over Voltorb in this deck because you had the Metal Energy to attach anyways and Linear Attack is a much more versatile attack.
The Holon Engine was one of the greatest things about the 2007 format. The ability to search out the exact Supporter you want with Holon Transceiver is unparalleled, especially when coupled with the option to reuse them from your discard pile. This deck played a fairly standard iteration of the Holon Engine, other than a slightly lower count of Holon Mentor which is offset by the two Lanette’s Net Search.
Lanette’s is a card that wasn’t played very often in R-Gon decks, or basically any deck in this time period. The drawback of having to choose three Pokémon of different types may seem like a limitation, but it often isn’t for this deck. Early game, you want to get a Holon’s Castform if you don’t already have one (Colorless), Trapinch (Grass), and one of your other attackers, all of whom don’t share types with Trapinch or Castform. Or, if you already have a Castform, maybe you want to search out Holon’s Magnemite to attach for the turn.
Lanette’s does provide two big advantages over Holon Mentor. First, you don’t have to discard a card to use it. Early game, you might not have a suitable card to discard and still be able to pull off a Delta Draw. The other advantage is that it can get around the “100 HP or less” limitation of Holon Mentor to search out Rayquaza ex DF. Ross knew that Rayquaza was very clutch in some matchups and wanted to give himself a few more ways to search it out early game.
Rare Candy is a staple card in any deck that plays Stage 2 Pokémon. Nothing much to say here, other than a reminder that you could use Rare Candy on a Basic Pokémon the turn it was played in this time period. This allows the R-Gon player to surprise their opponent with a Sceptile ex DF out of nowhere.
Windstorm played a very important role in the deck. R-Gon makes use of many different Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies, all of which are shut off by Cessation Crystal. Windstorm was one of only two ways to recover use of those important Powers and Abilities during your turn (the other being the less reliable gusting effects of Warp Point and Pokémon Reversal). Windstorm was also a counter to Crystal Beach, which could turn Holon’s Castform from Double Rainbow Energy into a single Colorless Energy.
These cards seem out of place, but they help your math in many situations. They are especially useful when combined with a Mew POP5 to take a perfect knockout on an opposing Infernape DP. There aren’t any cards in this list that searched them out which is why some R-Gon lists played Castaway and a heavier count of Strength Charm. However, if your opponent didn’t disrupt your hand size at all, you would often draw the PlusPower early game with Holon’s Castform so you have it ready when you need it.
Mr. Briney is your win condition when you have no other option. It allows you to take a damaged Pokémon off of the board, switch an undesirable Active Pokémon out, or even just switch some Energy around that are no longer needed on the Pokémon that you originally attached them to.
Giant Stump seems out of place in a deck like this, but is actually a necessity in many ways. It helps as a counter Stadium at times, but it plays more important roles as well. You need your bench space, but other decks need it more. Giant Stump allows you to disrupt their setup. You force them to choose between discarding valuable techs and the Pokémon that are central to their deck’s operation.
The other major use for Giant Stump is removing potential Prizes off of the board from your opponent. If your opponent is playing a deck that relies on spread damage or sniping for the last few Prizes, you can drop a Giant Stump to take damaged Pokémon or two off of your board. Sure, this may hurt you a little bit, but if you deny your opponent those Prizes, that’s game changing.
4 Delta Rainbow Energy
These Energy were part of what made the deck so versatile. You could attach them to any of your Pokémon to fulfill their diverse Energy costs and even get them back with Chimecho. It doesn’t hurt that they’re compatible with Flygon’s Delta Supply either.
2 Lightning, 1 Grass, 1 Fire, 1 Metal
The Basic Energy cards chosen for this deck were chosen to give extra outs to some of the more common attacks: Grass for Flygon HP, Fire for Mew POP5, and Lightning for Rayquaza ex DF. The Fire Energy also helps both Mew attack against Infernape.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is R-Gon. It’s a very fun deck from a diverse format, capable of beating almost any other deck of its time. It actually took 3 of the top 16 spots at Worlds 2007, surprising many people after it made little to no impact on US Nationals.
There are many other variations on this deck as well. You could try out other techs like Latios ex DF and Latias HP 11, up the counts of things like Flygon ex DF and Rayquaza ex DF, or even try out some different Trainer and Supporters like Warp Point or Copycat. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or shoot me a message. Thanks for reading!
I’d also like to thank the following people for information that I’ve used in this article: Ross Cawthon, Kyle Sucevich, Drew Guritzky, Chris Fulop, Jacob Willinger, and Chris Bianchi.