Hey PokeBeach readers! It’s only been a week since my last article, but I am very excited to be back writing again for you guys, this time on a rogue deck. I found out about this deck right after Fort Wayne Regionals, and I have been enamored with this deck ever since. Now, what deck am I talking about, you might ask? None other than Raticate Mill!
Before I get any farther, I want to state that this is not my original deck concept: I heard about some of the top players on the West Coast playing this at some local League Challenges, and I decided to give it a try for myself. The list I’ll be giving below however was made with the help of Travis Nunlist, so while the deck idea is not mine, I will be giving out my own personal list.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at what exactly Raticate Mill is.
Now, I know this deck looks really weird from first glance, so before I explain each card’s use, let me explain how the deck plays first. This is a mill deck, plain and simple. Your primary objective each game will be to strip your opponent of all their resources, preventing them from attacking and eventually decking out. Now, what makes this deck special and what really drew me to it (besides playing a 4-4 Raticate line, my favorite evolution line in Standard) is that this deck can pivot to winning on Prizes versus most of the format, and in some matchups that is the best way to go. When you choose to attack, do it only when you need to remove a threat or if you know you can’t be Knocked Out the following turn. With that brief introduction to the deck out of the way, let’s go over each card’s specific purpose and what it brings to the deck.
4-4-2 Raticate Line
This is the heart and soul of the deck. I’ve been saying for awhile that Raticate is best evolution line currently legal in Standard, and it absolutely shines in this deck. Basically, everything in this deck is designed to compliment all of Raticate (and its BREAK’s) attacks. If you’ve read my article on M Scizor-EX / Raticate (here), then you probably already know what Raticate does. But for those that didn’t (and if you haven’t read my article yet, why haven’t you?!), I’ll go over Raticate again here. For one Colorless energy, it can use one of two attacks: Crunch and Shadowy Bite. Unlike in Scizor, where you mainly used Shadowy Bite, Crunch is the go-to attack in this deck. By constantly discarding your opponent’s Energy with Crunch, Team Flare Grunt, and Crushing Hammer, your opponent should have a difficult time taking Prizes once you reach the mid to late game. While Shadowy Bite isn’t the go-to attack in this deck, it is still extremely useful once you’ve gotten enough Special Energy in your opponent’s discard. Shadowy Bite gives you an out to Knock Out your opponent’s threats, such as a big Yveltal-EX, Xerneas, and others.
Raticate alone is a fantastic card, but Raticate BREAK adds a whole new dimension to the deck. Super Fang allows to you neutralize any threat your opponent is able to mount. In some cases, this can lead to a Knock Out, such as when you combo it with a Faded Town against any Mega Pokemon decks. Another combination this allows for is when you Super Fang a Pokemon with a Fighting Fury Belt attached. You can then promote an Yveltal or bench a Rattata to take the Knock Out during your turn. 110 HP is another really nice bonus the BREAK brings, as Raticate’s 60 HP means it will be Knocked Out basically every time you use one. 110 HP may not seem like a lot, but it’s enough to potentially survive more than one attack, and if you can ever cripple two Pokemon with the same Raticate, you will have gotten fantastic use out of it.
Fright Night Yveltal is one of the best Pokemon in the format in its own right, and especially so in this deck as it synergizes so well with Rattata to give the deck some of the strongest Tool control in the format. Yveltal also synergizes well with Raticate BREAK as well as mentioned before by giving you Prizes mid turn. Fright Night Yveltal is also good for trapping Hoopa-EX, Giratina-EX, and other heavy retreaters in the Active and forcing a Switch or Olympia. Yveltal is usually your preferred starter, as it can trap your opponent’s poor starters Active as well as threaten a turn two Pitch-Black Spear.
As much as I wish this deck could live without playing Shaymin-EX, making every game a six Prize game for the opponent, the Standard format is way too inconsistent to justify not playing Shaymin. With this in mind, don’t play Shaymin-EX down unless you absolutely need to, as you want to force the six Prize game every time. Remember, this is a mill deck, so the longer you drag the game out, the better.
I didn’t know this card existed before Travis told me about it, and man is this card fun to play with. Having the option to play two Supporters mid to late game is amazing for a disruption deck. I’ve found myself using N and Lysandre the same turn to stick my opponent with a heavy Active Pokemon and a small hand, and from here I can usually switch into Bunnelby and start decking my opponent out (assuming I’ve discarded most of their resources). Sableye works really well in this deck to give it a consistency boost, as it allows you to play your own disruptive Supporters such as Delinquent, Hex Maniac, Team Flare Grunt, etc., and still rely on your opponent’s Supporters to set up. I’ve considered going up to two Sableye at times because I just love the options the card brings to the deck, but I never found myself using more than one per game so I couldn’t justify it over other cards.
Once you’ve stripped your opponent of all their resources, Bunnelby comes in to deck them out. Knowing when to start using Burrow in a game is something that you need to be really aware of, as if you start using it too early, you’re at risk of losing your deck out option. You really don’t want to have to use Brock's Grit to get this guy back, as then you might not be able to Burrow on consecutive turns. I’ve considered playing a second Bunnelby for this reason; to keep the Burrow going late game even if one gets Knocked Out.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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