Is Rogue In Vogue?

An Examination of the Open-Air Meta

Here’s a list of Pokémon decks:

These were the “outliers” I found as I perused the results for the third week of City Championships — decks that were oddly out of sync with the archetypes most people were going with. Looking at this list, there are a lot of intriguing ideas that are finding their way to the top. Also, to be clear, many of these decks won the City Championship they were played in. All these decks were in the top 4 — I left out decks that only made it to the top 8.

Add to this my personal experience with playing in City Championships and there’s an additional layer of depth. Throughout CC’s, I faced many decks that were completely off the wall, decks that were performing well amidst strong archetypes like Donphan PLS and Yveltal-EX variants. Heck, even the archetypes were enjoying modifications that turned them into something entirely different than previous iterations. Discussions about the Robo Substitute counts in Donphan PLS decks began, M Manectric-EX found its way into nearly every deck imaginable, and Seismitoad-EX has continued to find new partners for its game-breaking Quaking Punch attack.

In short, the game has changed completely with the release of Phantom Forces, making room for rogue decks to step up to the plate. I look at the game today and see great potential to build and successfully run a huge variety of decks. It’s at once exciting and daunting (and happens to be my favorite type of metagame).

In that spirit, I’m going to look briefly at what has caused this “space” in the metagame, as we’ve shifted very clearly from a “rock-paper-scissors” format to something entirely different. I also want to expound on the nature of deck building in the game presently, since one player’s M Manectric-EX deck can look completely different than someone else’s. Lastly, I’m going to talk at length about the rogue decks that have been showing up at tournaments throughout City Championships with a particular focus on my own Night March build. Let’s get to it!

Remember to click on the link in the table of contents to go directly to that part of the article.

Table of Contents


scientist professor
PRC saves their best for last.

There are a few arguments for why rogue decks are enjoying great success currently. Many claim that City Championships aren’t “as serious” as other tournaments, meaning that players are motivated to experiment more with their deck choices. At the same time, the winter months are historically a creative time for the Pokémon TCG. This is because City Championships are normally underway after the release of a new set (an exception is last season when Legendary Treasures got released just before City Championships). Further still, Phantom Forces is an influential set that has introduced a number of archetypes to the game.

On the subject of the “seriousness” of City Championships, this season is unique in that a 300 CP requirement was announced for earning an invitation to Worlds just recently, pushing City Championships to be a hotbed of competition. If you’re not seeing increased attendance this season, it’s because you’re playing Kaijudo. The 300 CP announcement has successfully baited many “on the fence” players into the game (myself included), and as a result City Championships have been fiercely competitive. So that point is moot.

As far as the timing with a new set just before City Championships, there’s some precedence for this. Stormfront, Noble Victories, and Phantom Forces were all released in November. Players who were around during the releases of those sets will readily admit that creativity flourished. At the same time, November saw many duds as well (Legendary Treasures, Arceus, and Triumphant “pre-rotation” were all released in November). So what’s behind the creativity we’re seeing in the game right now?

In short, I think the card developers are continuing a pattern that has timed up perfectly with this moment in the season. Phantom Forces is the last set for this particular series of cards (by series, I mean the fact that TCG sets always correspond with the Pokémon video games), and Pokémon Card Laboratories (PRC) always seem to save the best for last. It’s almost like they want to give new Pokémon and mechanics a test run before they make them tournament-worthy. Don’t believe me? Practically every new mechanic to the game — Pokémon ex, Pokémon LV.X, LEGEND Pokémon, Pokémon-EX, Pokémon Prime, etc. — follows this trend.

As a result, Phantom Forces is the first set with a highly playable M Pokémon-EX in it (M Manectric-EX). It also has a healthy variety of other playable Pokémon and Trainers in it, many of which will be discussed later in this article. The best news is that unlike Stormfront and Noble Victories before it, Phantom Forces isn’t being followed up by a set seemingly intent on breaking the game. What followed Stormfront? Oh, Pokémon SP with its absurd Trainer engine. And after Noble Victories? Mewtwo-EX wars! In fact, it seems every set based off a remake or “followup” like Pokémon Platinum has managed to nearly kill the game in one or two cards (it was Double Colorless Energy and maybe Jumpluff with HeartGold & SoulSilver).

I’m encouraged because Primal Clash is working off the same mechanics we’re all learning to trust: M Pokémon-EX with their Spirit Links, more Basic Pokémon-EX, type-specific Special Energy, and so on. There are bold cards in there, but nothing seems designed to revert the game back to a three-deck format. That is to say, thank God there’s no Junk Arm reprint in here!


Along with the idea I’ve pushed forward of “strategic dissonance” comes a significant change in the way players build their decks. When a player says they made top 4 at a tournament with Manectric-EX, it means nothing since Manectric-EX can appear in multiple decks with varying lists. Compare this to what players meant last season when they said they played an Yveltal-EX deck. This normally meant only a few options: Yveltal-EX/Raichu XY, “Straight” Yveltal-EX, or Yveltal-EX/Garbodor LTR. If we go back a season further and consider Darkrai-EX, we see that decks were yet even more predictable.

This phenomenon was exemplified very well at the City Championship I played in over the weekend. I managed to get second place with Night March and along the way faced Seismitoad-EX many times. The first time I saw it, it was being played alongside Yveltal-EX and Toxicroak-EX. The second time I squared off against it, it was paired with Slurpuff PHF. For the last time, it was used with Aromatisse XY. Here, saying that one is playing “Seismitoad-EX” says very little about the deck in question (and this doesn’t even get into Seismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF or the “original” Seismitoad-EX deck with Garbodor LTR).

This shift in the game has an effect on how we analyze and dissect information. Keeping track of the decks performing well at tournaments is a noble endeavor, but we get a very broad look at what’s performing well (with many of the details missing).

With this in mind, the first two decks I plan on covering in terms of “rogue” decks are all the variants associated with Seismitoad-EX and M Manectric-EX, since these two cards have found their way in a wide variety of strategies.


Seismitoad-EX Variants

seismitoad-ex 106 art

At the same time that I absolutely loathe Seismitoad-EX, I cannot overlook the fact that it’s one of the most versatile cards in the game right now. Think about it — Seismitoad-EX has been paired with probably more cards than any other card in the game this season. After everyone fell out of love with Garbodor LTR, it seems nearly anything goes well with the ‘toad. Here, I’ll name a random card: Audino BCR. There ya go, I just created a brand new archetype!

Seriously though, the thing that makes Seismitoad-EX so versatile is the game-halting power of Quaking Punch. Without being able to use Item cards, most decks slow down a lot, giving the Seismitoad-EX player time to set up a defense (Aromatisse XY), an offense (Crobat PHF), a set up (Slurpuff PHF), or whatever else. In fact, take nearly any effective Bench-sitter and you can probably find a way to run it with Seismitoad-EX. Seismitoad-EX/Hydreigon LTR anyone?

Let’s look at some of the ways Seismitoad-EX is being used currently:

Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor LTR. This was the first thing everyone seemed to think of when Seismitoad-EX was revealed, because it presents a lock on Abilities that is hard to overcome. As decks like Yveltal-EX/Manectric and Donphan PLS gained popularity, however, most players correctly saw Garbodor LTR as a limiting factor.

Seismitoad-EX/Pyroar FLF. This was another initial combo that players came up with when Seismitoad-EX came out. The concept is simple — Seismitoad-EX keeps Evolution Pokémon at bay while Pyroar FLF silences Basic Pokémon — but it assumes an Evolution-heavy metagame. Furthermore, M Pokémon-EX are this deck’s natural enemy. It’s no surprise that this version of Seismitoad-EX has fizzled out.

Seismitoad-EX/Dragalge FLF/Dusknoir BCR. This is actually the first time I saw Seismitoad-EX win a tournament. The list runs four Hypnotoxic Laser to achieve an ultimate lock with Quaking Punch, Dragalge FLF, and Dusknoir BCR in play. I’m not crazy about this deck because it requires a lot to function successfully. Besides, against competing Seismitoad-EX decks you lose the ability to play Hypnotoxic Laser, so your mirror match suffers dramatically.

Seismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF. Quaking Punch is nice and all, but it only does 30 damage. So naturally, you’ll need to wrap a Muscle Band around that warty Seismitoad-EX. That only does 50 damage though, so let’s beef it up with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. Not enough for you still? Then consider Crobat PHF, a card that is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to get extra damage on the board. This variant of Seismitoad-EX only makes sense because, you know, damage and stuff.

Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff PHF. This variant was met with skepticism at first (how good could Slurpuff PHF actually be?), but it’s proven to be surprisingly lethal. The version I’ve faced in tournament play focuses on utilizing Slurpuff PHF for draw power while abusing all types of Energy denial cards — Enhanced Hammer, Crushing Hammer, Team Flare Grunt, and Xerosic. The draw power from Slurpuff PHF replaces what you would normally get out of a Supporter card (even if just barely), allowing a player to focus on Supporters that disrupt.

Seismitoad-EX/Magnezone PLS 46. I haven’t seen this version much in tournament play, but it seems to function much like Slurpuff PHF by allowing a player to use both a draw Supporter and a disruptive Supporter in the same turn. Once again, the main goal here seems to be persistent Energy denial while maintaining that pesky Item lock.

Seismitoad-EX/Aromatisse XY. The latest Seismitoad-EX variant, this deck takes advantage of the Energy-swapping Ability that Aromatisse XY has. It’s almost as if someone accidentally shuffled an Aromatisse XY “toolbox” deck into a Seismitoad-EX list and liked the results. The healing power of Max Potion is here with other strong Abilities found on Malamar-EX and Darkrai-EX. This deck is a force to be reckoned with.

M Manectric-EX Variants

Good dog.

Much like Seismitoad-EX, M Manectric-EX is splashable in many decks. In my opinion, this is one of the best cards from the XY series so far. Manectric-EX has two great attacks while M Manectric-EX’s Turbo Bolt is one of the most powerful attacks ever printed. The Manectric Spirit Link also exists to pull everything together.

For even just a 1-1 line of this Pokémon you have the ability to change a game around completely. Not only does Turbo Bolt hit for a sturdy 110 damage, you get Energy acceleration onto a Benched Pokémon as well. If your opponent can’t get rid of M Manectric-EX in one hit, you can retreat to safety and enjoy another Turbo Bolt later on.

Here’s what M Manectric-EX has been paired throughout City Championships:

M Manectric-EX/Black Kyurem-EX PLS. This early working of M Manectric-EX seemed to do the trick, but it has since fallen out of favor. There are a few downsides to Black Kyurem-EX that don’t exist with other cards like Yveltal-EX or Landorus-EX, primarily being the heavy attack and Retreat Cost. While the 200 damage is nice, Black Kyurem-EX felt too clunky for my taste.

M Manectric-EX/Zapdos LTR/Jynx FFI. My friend Zach Bivens discussed this deck at length recently in an Underground article, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t. All told, this is an anti-Donphan PLS measure that worked wonderfully. It also introduces Jynx FFI to competitive play. I have a feeling this card will show up in more than one crazy deck in the future.

M Manectric-EX/Landorus-EX. I don’t have a lot of familiarity with this variant, but I suppose it’s self-explanatory: pile on damage fast with Landorus-EX (or Manectric-EX) while charging up Turbo Bolt. After landing a KO with Turbo Bolt, you should have enough Energy on Landorus-EX to get another KO. I see Energy Switch being important in this deck. The typing is good here too, as M Manectric-EX has be a nuisance to Yveltal-EX and other cards that resist Fighting.

M Manectric-EX/Aromatisse XY/”stuff.” As with most Aromatisse XY decks, there’s no telling what you might find in a deck like this. Turbo Bolt, however, is a welcome addition to a deck that wants to keep Fairy Energy on the field. Any time I’ve seen this deck run, the M Manectric-EX lines tend to be low, so it’s not so much a central part of the deck as it is a tech.

M Manectric-EX/Shiftry FLF/Dragonite-EX. Another one of my friends is using M Manectric-EX, though he uses it in a fairly unconventional way by pairing it with Shiftry FLF and Dragonite-EX. I know you would love to see this deck in action. Guess what? You can! Check out Guy Bennett playing with his deck in the top 8 at a recent City Championship here.

Machamp FFI/Terrakion LTR/Hawlucha FFI

With Terrakion LTR hitting at a maximum of 90 damage, it’s easy to see why Machamp FFI would be a good partner for it. With a Silver Bangle, a Strong Energy, and a Fighting Stadium in play, Terrakion can swing for 160 damage against Pokémon-EX, which is 20 damage — or one Machamp FFI — away from landing 1HKOs. Against most other Pokémon Terrakion LTR can still hit pretty hard.

This deck is actually pretty smart considering how much damage it can manage against Seismitoad-EX. Yes, you probably won’t be getting Machamp FFI out much, but with Hawlucha FFI and Terrakion LTR alone you should be able to pile on the damage. It’s a relatively low-cost way of making any Seismitoad-EX player sweat.

My guess as to why this deck isn’t more popular? With the early popularity of Donphan PLS players started throwing Hard Charm into their Yveltal-EX lists, which would prove difficult against any Fighting deck. Add to that the popularity of Enhanced Hammer and you’re fighting an uphill battle before you know it.

“Quad” Hawlucha FFI

The “quad” part of this deck is a misnomer, as it actually runs more than just four Hawlucha FFI. Also, I’ll be honest in saying I don’t remember who piloted this deck to success — if someone can fill in the gap here that would be awesome; I want to give credit where it’s due. In any case, I have a decklist for you:

Pokémon – 10

4 Hawlucha FFI
2 Landorus-EX
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Lucario-EX
1 Mr. Mime PLF

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Sycamore
4 N

1 Colress
3 Korrina
2 Ghetsis
2 Lysandre


3 Focus Sash
3 Muscle Band
2 Max Potion
2 VS Seeker
2 Switch
2 Head Ringer
1 Ultra Ball
1 Professor’s Letter
1 Startling Megaphone
1 Super Rod
1 Scoop Up Cyclone


3 Fighting Stadium

Energy – 12

5 F

4 Strong
3 Double Colorless

As you can see, this deck takes an imaginative step in the direction of using Hawlucha FFI to put immense pressure on Pokémon-EX. Focus Sash finds its way in this deck, turning Hawlucha FFI into a 2HKO. On a Pokémon capable of hitting a Pokémon-EX for 100 with a single Energy (I’m not counting Muscle Band since Focus Sash will be attached), that’s pretty incredible. You can take 2 Prize cards for two attacks while the opponent only takes one.

The usual suspects show up to aid Hawlucha FFI, including Landorus-EX, Mewtwo-EX, and a single copy of Lucario-EX. They seem as big a part of the deck as Hawlucha FFI, but even with just a four-to five-card difference from a normal “Fighting” deck this build functions much differently.

Two things remain odd to me. First, the inclusion of Ghetsis here is weird, but that’s just because Ghetsis is a “bad” Supporter to begin with. The other thing that is problematic is the answer to Pokémon with the Safeguard Ability (or Scizor BCR) — that is to say, there is none. Hawlucha FFI can only attack Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-EX can’t do anything to Safeguard Pokémon. If the opponent could attack with any of those Pokémon, game over. Even more interesting is how this deck plays against Donphan PLS. In short, you might take out a couple of Donphan PLS with Lysandre, but you’d soon stall out.

If I were to make a change, I’d find a way to incorporate Landorus FFI into the deck to get around this discrepancy while powering stuff up on the Bench. Also, I should note that when I jotted the decklist down, the owner of it had Landorus, Mewtwo, and Lucario listed without the “EX” — I can only assume he or she meant the EX versions because the deck would be terrible otherwise. If he or she actually included a Landorus FFI, it would be nice to know.

Flareon PLF/Ditto BCR/Audino BCR

flareon plf art
Battle Compressor has reignited this deck.

I don’t know a lot about this deck at all, and I imagine there to be a few different versions of it based on player preference. This is one of those decks that is likely to get lost in the noise, as most players report their performance with it by saying they played “Flareon.” Still, I have an idea of how it works, and it primarily revolves around one card: Battle Compressor. Each Compressor acts as a triple PlusPower, boosting damage and thinning one’s deck. With cards like Roller Skates or Bicycle, you can speed through an adequately thinned deck until most of your deck becomes your discard pile (oh, if only Lysandre’s Trump Card worked in reverse).

There are a few more cards I suspect are here. Cofagrigus PLF 56 has been a mildly popular partner with Flareon PLF. Six Feet Under not only allows you to place three damage counters somewhere, it also gets two to three more Pokémon in the discard pile to boost Vengeance. You may also try running Slurpuff PHF in this deck for added draw power (just discard the Swirlix and Slurpuff you don’t need). And of course, the presence of Eevee FFI gives you the chance to beat down on Seismitoad-EX with Leafeon PLF.

You could also go an entirely different route and play Milotic FLF in your deck. It functions like Cofagrigus PLF 56 except that you get Energy acceleration in place of the three damage counters. This could open the deck up to a few more attackers and help you overcome things like Enhanced Hammer and Aegislash-EX.

“Quad” Reshiram LTR

Jon Bristow did a good write-up on this deck back in December, and since then it’s seen very little play due presumably to the proliferation of Seismitoad-EX decks. I will add, however, that adding just a 2-2 Pyroar FLF line may help tremendously against most Seismitoad-EX decks right now (since they aren’t playing Garbodor LTR). If you decide to go this route, I’d look into finding a way to get around Poison from Hypnotoxic Laser.

The combo here is pretty simple. The addition of both Battle Compressor and VS Seeker into the format means that players can quickly and reliably use Blacksmith to power up Reshiram LTR (or any Fire Pokémon for that matter). Building off of Bristow’s list and with the incorporation of Pyroar FLF, here’s the list I came up with:

Pokémon – 8

2 Litleo FLF 18

2 Pyroar FLF
3 Reshiram LTR
1 Charizard-EX FLF 12

Trainers – 40

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Blacksmith
2 Lysandre
1 Lysandre’s Trump Card


4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
3 Battle Compressor
2 Silver Bangle
1 Muscle Band
2 Bicycle
2 Switch
1 Computer Search


3 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 R
4 Double Colorless

I know this breaks the “quad” part of Reshiram LTR, but I’m okay with that; Charizard-EX is a better attacker anyway. Perhaps the one gripe I have with this list is the two Switch. If you’re facing a Seismitoad-EX deck, those cards won’t help in the slightest (assuming your Pyroar FLF gets Poisoned from Hypnotoxic Laser). As a result, I’m almost pressed to include something like Audino BCR or AZ. Maybe Pokémon Center Lady? Two Jynx?! These might help you weather the storm of Lasers that any Seismitoad-EX deck will try to throw your way.

Crobat PHF/Wobbuffet PHF

I’ve seen this deck run multiple ways, but the core strategy is still the same: get damage on the field with Crobat PHF and clean up while at the same time disrupting with Wobbuffet PHF. The most successful way to run this deck in my opinion is with a low Energy count and a high number of cards that can pick Crobat PHF back up (think Super Scoop Up or AZ). Here’s a list to get your started:

Pokémon – 20

4 Zubat PLS 53
4 Golbat PHF
4 Crobat PHF
3 Wobbuffet PHF
2 Sigilyph LTR
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Miltank FLF
1 Dedenne FFI

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Colress
2 Lysandre
1 Lysandre’s Trump Card
1 AZ


3 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Super Scoop Up
2 Muscle Band
1 Silver Bangle
1 Dowsing Machine


4 Dimension Valley

Energy – 7

7 P

Night March

Night March is my favorite deck in the format so far (at least until I start testing the Flareon PLF deck I mentioned before). In the three City Championships I’ve played in so far, Night March has given me both a top 4 and runner-up finish — pretty good for a deck that costs maybe $40 to put together! The deck reminds me a lot of Tool Drop, another favorite of mine.

Here’s the list I played for the Greensboro, NC City Championship where I placed in the top 4:

Pokémon – 20

4 Pumpkaboo PHF
4 Joltik PHF
4 Lampent PHF
3 Eevee FFI
2 Leafeon PLF
2 Flareon PLF
1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Colress
2 Lysandre


3 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Battle Compressor
3 Silver Bangle
3 Enhanced Hammer
1 Switch
1 Dowsing Machine


2 Dimension Valley

Energy – 7

4 Double Colorless
3 G

I took notes on the deck afterward and observed the following:

I would definitely put a Mew-EX, if not two, in this deck. Being able to do incredible amounts of damage for a single Energy would have leveled things out really well. Though I didn’t have an issue with attacking when I needed to, I still felt on the edge of being N’d into oblivion after the midway point of each of my games. Mew-EX could help with this by guaranteeing a powerful attack with just a Grass Energy. Also, its higher HP could mean subsequent KOs against decks that can’t reach that 120 damage level reliably.

Flareon PLF was actually my answer to Donphan PLS decks. This seems counterintuitive since I’m not hitting Weakness and I have no Resistance. Think about it though — with my heavy count of Enhanced Hammer I keep Donphan PLS from attacking with Wreck, meaning that Flareon PLF can survive a hit while nothing else in my deck can (well, Pumpkaboo PHF can at times). Even Mew-EX fails here since Hawlucha FFI + Silver Bangle/Muscle Band + Strong Energy + Fighting Stadium is a threat. Additionally, Leafeon PLF fits in nicely to balance out the Seismitoad-EX matchup.

In the end, I win the race to take 6 Prize cards by having heavy access to Lysandre and being able to keep a Flareon PLF going for a couple of turns. Generally, this is enough to help me squeak out a win against Donphan PLS decks.

Enhanced Hammers were extremely hit-or-miss in this tournament, yet still a necessity. Having three copies of a card in one’s deck normally denotes importance, but not absolute importance. With Enhanced Hammer, I want to see the card eventually rather than on the first two turns. For some reason, though, I found myself discarding Enhanced Hammer a lot before getting a chance to use it. Still, the card was essential in many of my matchups, and I find it to be one of the most powerful cards in the game right now.

As a result of my note-taking, I dropped one Enhanced Hammer and put a Mew-EX in place of it. The result? I cracked into the finals this past weekend at the Durham, NC City Championship. All the games I lost except one were incredibly close, such that I might have won had I played things a little differently. My two Enhanced Hammer were ineffective throughout the tournament except for in a game against Donphan PLS, so I’m glad I dropped at least one of them.

Tips for Playing Night March

Since this is the deck I have the most experience with at the moment, let me give you a few tips about running it; advice I think can really mean the difference between a win and a loss:

Count up your DCEs and play them carefully.

Count your cards as soon as you look through the deck. Being able to deduce what your Prize cards are is extremely important with this deck. I always look for four things primarily: Double Colorless Energy, Joltik, Pumpkaboo, and Lampent. I want to know exactly what I have to work with to prevent myself from seeking a Double Colorless Energy that isn’t there or sending cards to the discard pile that I need to attack with. If I’m facing a Seismitoad-EX deck I count up my Eeveelution line.

Don’t attach Double Colorless Energy unless you plan to attack with it. Unless I knew without a doubt that my opponent doesn’t play Enhanced Hammer (and that only really happened in the top cut), I wouldn’t play a Double Colorless Energy unless I needed it to attack. Even a single Enhanced Hammer can disrupt this deck’s purpose enough to lead to a game loss. If you lose your Energy you might miss out on a 1HKO that could net you 2 Prize cards, and that can be huge. Attaching Grass Energy is a bit different since those will usually stick, but even in those cases I practiced caution.

Thin your deck out for the late game. With Battle Compressor we now have the ultimate card for thinning decks, leading to greater transparency on a tactic every competitive player should be focusing on. If you’re not doing this by now, you really need to get with it. Battle Compressor is splendid at preserving effectiveness against an opponent’s late-game N. My opponents keep thinking that I run hot after they play an N late in the game, but it’s just not true. “Running hot” implies that I’m drawing into good cards when otherwise I shouldn’t be. If I’ve used Battle Compressor to leave my deck packed with the cards I need, that’s just good playing.

Addition. This deck is all about adding up lots of damage. I had to apologize to my opponents a couple of times because I kept having to add things up and make absolutely sure I was hitting for what I intended to. In those cases I felt bad because I was taking up more time than usual, but transparency is the key. Most opponents don’t mind, but you need to speak up and let them know what you’re doing before you look through your discard pile for the sixth or seventh time. Of course, you shouldn’t be surprised if an opponent says something if you do this a lot. Just try not to be offended and maintain a healthy pace of the game.

Don’t overlook the Battle Compressor/VS Seeker trick. If you have these two cards in hand but no Supporter card, you’re in luck! Simply use a Battle Compressor to send a good Supporter to the discard pile, then fish it out with VS Seeker. Just make sure you don’t forget this when it happens; otherwise, you’ll lose a lot of sleep.

The “Trump Shuffle.” So your opponent plays a Lysandre’s Trump Card against you. If you pick your discard pile up and immediately shuffle it into your deck like normal, you’re doing it wrong and it will probably cost you. If you’re anything like me, you separate your discard pile out so you can see exactly how many and which Pokémon are in there — this is normal for any Night March player. If you take this well-sorted stack and shuffle it into your (generally) thin deck, it’s almost like unintentionally stacking your deck poorly. Expect a string of Night March Pokémon somewhere in the middle of the deck.

The fix to this is to make sure you do a thorough shuffle. It will probably take longer than usual, so I advise you tell your opponent what you’re doing so they understand. This should not be the same type of shuffle you give your deck after playing an N — most players do a light shuffle in those cases. Instead, you may even want to do pile shuffle. Whatever it takes to get that deck randomized properly.

Of course, I can see players (and probably even some judges) having an issue with this, but I don’t know what else to say — I’m never going to take my neatly separated discard pile and shuffle it quickly into my deck. I did this early in a tournament after my opponent played a Lysandre’s Trump Card and immediately drew into five Night March Pokémon after playing a Professor Juniper.


I’ve played in three City Championships so far this year and have had an absolute blast. The game is the best it’s been in years, and I feel challenged with every single game I play. I don’t know if you’re feeling the same way, but it sounds like most players are.

Hopefully, this article gave you a glimpse into the rogue decks that are finding success throughout City Championships, as well as why they’re finding success. Perhaps you’ve been motivated to build something from this article, or even branch off into your own rogue deck. No matter the case, I’m looking forward to our next set and to Winter Regionals in just over a month. I have a feeling we will continue to see decks like these flourish. Compared to the “staleness” of our more recent formats, this one caters well to creativity and effective metagaming. I’m hoping this pattern continues.

As always, reach me on the SixPrizes BBS and let me know what rogue decks you’ve seen at City Championships. If I missed something you thought was ingenious, let me know! And of course, if you found this article at all helpful, be sure to give it a “like.” Thanks, and good luck this season!

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.

Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!

Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in. Legacy discussion: 3