Hello once again everyone! I am back again sooner than usual and am ecstatic to be bringing you one of the final pieces for our pre-NAIC marathon. So far we have covered a wide variety of decks and I think that essentially everything in the top two tiers have been discussed and it is my joy today to be bringing you a primer on some decks that may not be powerful but are arguably still viable. I will do my best to discuss what I perceive to be the best decks that have yet to be talked about, but as I said in my last article, if there are any decks you are curious about that everyone else (including myself) have failed to mention, I would be more than happy to do a brief rundown on Twitter or in the comment section should the opportunity present itself.
When it comes to running rogue decks, I think it is important to address the primary criteria for why one would chose to play rogue over something more conventional. Generally speaking, I think that rogue players do at least one of the following:
1. Rogue to take advantage of an overwhelming majority playing predictable decks and list.
For me, this is the most logical explanation to every diverge from the norm. With all the data available to us via various sources, it tends to be somewhat easy to predict what the top decks will be. If you are willing to gamble on these odds then it makes sense to play something specifically geared to take down Buzzwole, Zoroark-GX and Malamar. You may have to sacrifice other matchups but if you believe that you are favored against a majority of the top decks then “rogue” in this sense seems like a safe decision.
It is important to remember that the best deck for any given event is not necessarily the deck that wins that event. I can think of numerous occasions throughout my career where I had the “right” deck and faced a sea of absurd, unpopular decks that were conveniently favored against my own. With better luck, I could have won these events but of course we play a game of odds and the best deck will not always yield the best results.
2. Rogue for the sake of Rogue.
I would argue that this methodology is always incorrect. I can think of a handful of these players and well over 50% of the time they see little-to-no success at a sizable event and I think the reason for this is self-evident. When you are different for the sake of being different (really in every circumstance) you are willfully disengaged with the game as a whole. There is a time to play rogue and a time to mash Buzzwole hoping to pick up any semblance of points and while these two positions are at odds with each other. I think it is senseless to think in absolutes and see meta players as the enemy.
3. Rogue as a happy medium.
In this case, Rogue is captured more in a transitionary period. Your deck is rogue for perhaps the first event alone and will surely become meta after that point because you took advantage of a small gap in the player bases’ thinking and used almost exclusively popular cards to seize an opportunity. The best example of this I can think of recently would certainly be the emergence of the Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor/Order Pad list that came out of Madison. At this point, it is easily considered a tier one deck, but was a quiet play before Madison and only a select few players opted to play it initially.
I speak of it as a “medium” between the first two options because you are clearly choosing a different approach then simply playing a meta deck while still using mostly meta cards. I think most of the decks I will discuss today will certainly fall somewhere in #2 or #3 and I will do my very best to explain under what circumstances I would play one deck over another.
When preparing your own deck for the North American International Championship, a final introductory point that should be of note is that it is important not to worry about every single deck. Doing that will be an unnecessary amount of stress and lead to potential poor decision in your final few cards in a list. This is a problem that I know I have personally struggled with for most of my career and only recently do I think that I have finally addressed it within my own line of thinking. Simply put, you will never be able to beat every deck that every player will choose to play and if you go out of your way in an attempt to do so, your list and play will likely suffer.
It is very important to think of the fringe decks as a slight possibility and still work on gearing your decks toward the Big 3 (and perhaps a few others). You have nine rounds and need to win seven, and in theory, if your deck is good enough against the majority of the room, you can suffer those early losses and still make cut by beating everything else. The fringe, lower tier decks have the potential to beat any good players but there are just mountains and mountains of statistics that prove that these decks are seldom capable of making day 2 at a big event.
Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX/Garbodor may have the best matchup against you that you could possibly imagine, but knowing that almost no one will play this deck, you should not worry about playing or teching for it. Take the loss should you be unlucky enough to face it and move on. As mentioned previously, this is a game of luck and every top player who has won a massive event has always had to get lucky a couple of times to get where they are. Play to the higher percentages and hope that luck happens to be in your favor that day and beyond that, there is nothing you can do but play your best and hope for the best! With that in mind, I pray that everyone takes these decks seriously but certainly do not go out of your way to worry about them.
Being a constant worrier, I know how easy it is to let even seeing one person playing in the open play area playing your worst matchup get to you but I promise once you attempt to maintain some degree of “meta-game stoicism,” your life will become all the easier.
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