Unexplored Territory: Musings on the New Format and a Review of a Future Rogue Deck

Hello everyone on PokeBeach! My name is Sidney Barber, and I am a Senior from the small insignificant island of the UK. I am extremely proud to be writing for one of the most well-known sites regarding the Pokemon TCG, and hope that this is the first of many articles to come.

Musings on the New Format

As you are all aware, the Primal Clash-on rotation was announced as the 2017 Standard Format. Arguably the biggest loss of all is Battle Compressor. Decks will now no longer be able to throw Supporters into the discard to immediately grab them with VS Seeker, instead having to draw into them. This makes Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick and Archie's Ace in the Hole a lot harder to pull off, as you can no longer Battle Compressor to throw Maxie/Archie and a Stage 2 (or 1 if you run Fossils) into your discard, VS Seeker for Maxie/Archie and get your Pokemon into play. In terms of how this affects the Standard format, Gallade will be taken out of YZG archetypes (however, seeing as M Manectric-EX is being rotated out of format, I see no reason to run Gallade when a card such as Regirock is a better counter to Darkrai-EX due to being an easy to grab Basic), and Tier Nowhere Fossil decks become even worse as Omastar would now require Helix Fossil Omanyte and Omanyte to run, which just makes the deck even more inconsistent.

Decks such as VespiPlume, which would survive the rotatation, are going to become a lot less popular due to not having a fast way to throw Pokemon into the discard. Now they have to rely on lucky Ultra Ball discards, having a way to get through all four Unown on the first couple of turns or filling their hands with Pokemon and discarding them with Professor Sycamore

None of these are anywhere near as good options as simply placing 4 Compressor into a list, and I firmly believe that decks such as VespiPlume will become a lot less prominent, which is good news for some, but for others, they will miss the speed and the options that this card provided.

With that said, let me talk about a couple of things regarding the new format.

1. Garbodor is not as broken as a lot of people have said. If I may, I am going to compare this situation to when the VGC ’16 format was first announced. Players were extremely vocal about the fact that Mega Rayquaza, seeing as it didn’t need an item to Mega Evolve so could run another damage boosting item to add to its sky high [no pun intended] attacking stats, needed to be banned. However, by analysing the metagame, the player base were able to see that this dragon of the skies was not as powerful as it seemed: first of all, Xerneas was one of the most popular ‘Ubers’ due to its Geomancy attack + Power Herb combo. Xerneas is Fairy type, Rayquaza is Dragon type, so Rayquaza lost to that pretty easily. On top of that, due to its 4x Weakness to Ice, if anyone teched Ice Beam onto one of their Pokemon, Rayquaza was again easily beaten.

But what does this have to do with Garbodor? Well, because Startling Megaphone and Xerosic are being rotated, there will be no ways to remove a Tool card without knocking out the Pokemon the Tool is attached to. In Garbodor’s case, this means that once you attach the Tool to activate Garbotoxin, Abilities are locked until your opponent gets a Lysandre or, if they run it, Pokemon Catcher

However, Garbodor is still a 100HP Stage 1, and a lot, if not all, decks in this format can hit for 100 damage, meaning that you lose the Ability lock you expended so many resources to set up. Poof.

2. The format is set to become a lot more EX-centred. I’m predicting that Darkrai variants, with and without Dragons/Garbodor, and M Rayquaza-EX variants, again with and without Garbodor, will be the two archetypes vying for the title of BDIF. This opens room for things such as Hippowdon and Regice to wreak havoc in the right environment, although whether they can keep pace with the decks they set out to beat remains a mystery.

Now I’ve addressed those things, let me show you my idea for a future rogue deck.

Review of a Rogue: Raichu / Garbodor / Zygarde

Pokemon (15)

1x Raichu BREAK (BKT #50)3x Raichu (RC2 #RC9)3x Pikachu (GEN #26)2x Garbodor (BKP #57)2x Trubbish (BKP #56)2x Zygarde-EX (FAC #54)1x Lugia-EX (AOR #68)1x Regirock (AOR #40)

Trainers (31)

3x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x N (FAC #105)1x Brigette (BKT #134)1x Wally (RC2 #RC27)1x Lysandre (AOR #78)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)3x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)2x Float Stone (PLF #99)2x Heavy Ball (BKT #140)2x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)3x Acro Bike (PRC #122)2x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (10)

4x Double Colorless Energy (GEN #74)4x Strong Energy (FAC #115)2x Lightning Energy (GEN #78)
Note: Only a 56 card list due to me not being able to add 1 Ninja Boy, 2 Special Charge or 1 Pokemon Ranger to the list


1-3-3 Raichu BREAK

Raichu is a great Pokemon, and has been since its release. The attack Circle Circuit hard counters M Rayquaza-EX and Shaymin-EX because of Weakness. In fact, the Raichu player needs just 3 Benched Pokemon and it nets 2 Prizes from a Shaymin. Another bonus with this Pokemon is that it hits any Yveltal that a Darkrai player runs for Weakness, but you need 4 Benched Pokemon in play for a KO, so it is slightly harder to pull off.

I run a 1-of Raichu BREAK because it can function as a late game attacker to take the last few Prizes. Thanks to the Special Charge/Puzzle of Time engine, the deck can afford to be a bit more reckless with its Special Energies, so Raichu BREAK can also function as a good attacker throughout an extended period of the game.

2-2 Garbodor

Despite what I talked about before, Garbodor is still a very good card to run in your deck. The ability to lock Abilities is extremely valuable in denying your opponent access to things such as Set Up, Scoundrel Ring or Abyss Hand, whilst it doesn’t affect you? I’ll take that any day of the week. Garbodor also messes with your opponent’s Prize count. If they have already KO’d an EX Pokemon, and they Knock Out Garbodor, in return for getting their Abilities back, they have to KO another 2 Pokemon.

2 Zygarde-EX

Zygarde-EX is extremely good at a multitude of things. With a Fighting Fury Belt and 2 Strong Energy attached, Cell Storm OHKOs a Belted Darkrai-EX and heals 30 damage from a 230HP Pokemon, making sure your Zygarde stays around for awhile. Should you get a Sky Field into play on Turn 1, with a Zygarde-EX in the Active spot, you can apply early game pressure with a Land’s Pulse for 60, which donks any opposing Pikachu or Froakie you come across.

1 Lugia-EX

Lugia-EX is very useful against opposing Giratina-EX or Tyrantrum-EX in Darkrai/Dragons. Both of them require 2 Double Dragon Energy [the equivalent of 4 Energy], you can hit for 120 for just a DCE, which 2HKOs both of these Dragons.

1 Regirock AOR

Regirock is a brilliant counter to Darkrai-EX, OHKOing it for just a Strong and a DCE. This means you can plonk Regirock down on the bench, or Ninja Boy from a Zygarde-EX to a Regirock, attach DCE, retreat to Regirock, and grab a surprise KO on Darkrai. What makes Regirock so good is that it can take 2 Prizes from a Darkrai, or Jolteon-EX for that matter, and only gives up 1 Prize in return.

3 Professor Sycamore, 2 N, 1 Wally, 1 Brigette, 1 Lysandre, 1 Pokemon Ranger, 1 Ninja Boy

This somewhat strange Supporter lineup makes some sense. 3 Sycamore and 2 N are for simple draw, Wally and Brigette help me to set up, 1 Lysandre is for gusting Pokemon, and the Pokemon Ranger and Ninja Boy are useful for helping me gain an advantage over the opponent.

4 Puzzle of Time, 3 Acro Bike, 3 VS Seeker, 3 Trainers' Mail

These cards are my item based drawing/recovery cards. Acro Bike and Trainers’ Mail are useful to help me dig for Supporter cards in case I don’t have one, VS Seeker helps me to recover those Supporters and Puzzle of Time allows me to get things such as a 4th Sycamore, a 2nd Lysandre, or some more Special Charge etc.

2 Special Charge

This card is extremely useful, and a vital part of the deck. If you hadn’t noticed, 8 of the deck’s 10 Energy cards are Special Energy, meaning we can sometimes struggle against Enhanced Hammer. Special Charge helps remedy this somewhat, as well as allowing us to recycle the attack of Raichu BREAK a couple of times or so.

2 Ultra Ball, 2 Heavy Ball

I have Brigette and Wally as ways to get Basic Pokemon/Garbodor/Raichu into play, and Heavy Ball gets me Zygarde and Regirock, while Ultra Ball grabs any Pokemon I need at the time.

So, that was my article for you guys. I really hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll be back again!