Time Zones — Forging a Metal Rogue

Hey guys, Rukan here with yet another Lost Thunder article. The set introduced many new archetypes or provided partners for old ones. But with a set this big, it seems some cards still get lost in the shuffle. Since I prefer to play decks that slip under the radar whenever possible, I commit quite a bit of time exploring underused cards from each set. This article discusses one of these discoveries: Baby Dialga. Unfortunately, I rarely find meta breaking Tier 1 archetypes. And while Dialga did perform better than the vast majority of cards I test, I don’t think it is better than a high rolling Tier 2 archetype. So, rather than save the final deck list behind the paywall, let’s Turn Back Time and introduce the list first. Instead, this article concludes with yet another meta snapshot for the LAIC and Roanoke formats for our more competitive readers, including my most up to date list Brokan Deck and my latest testing results for other archetypes.

The List

Pokemon (19)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)4x Zorua (SHL #52)2x Magnezone (ULP #83)3x Magnemite (ULP #81)2x Dialga (LOT #127)1x Dialga-GX (FOL #82)1x Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX (ULP #90)2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)

Trainers (30)

4x Lillie (ULP #151)3x Guzma (BUS #143)2x Professor Kukui (SM #148)1x Cynthia (ULP #148)4x Ultra Ball (SM #161)4x Rare Candy (GUR #165)3x Choice Band (BUS #162)2x Nest Ball (SM #158)2x Great Ball (SM #119)1x Rescue Stretcher (BUS #165)2x Devoured Field (CRI #93)2x Mt. Coronet (ULP #130)

Energy (11)

7x Metal Energy (SM #163)4x Double Colorless Energy (GUR #166)

The Time Traveler

So why Dialga? Simple really, it looks like a better version of Shining Lugia for Metal archetypes. Plus my recent testing with Brokan Deck encouraged me to find a viable Metal archetype.

  • Single Prize to help swing the Prize race.
  • Turn Back Time can eliminate enormous evolution Pokemon for only two manual attachments, such as Alolan Exeggutor, Granbull, and any GX Evolution Pokemon.
  • Power Blast eliminates bulky single Prize Basic Pokemon like Buzzwole, Giratina, and Naganadel.
  • Psychic Resistance helps trade up against Malamar, one of the hype decks of the archetype.
  • Metal Typing capitalizes on an Alolan Ninetales-GX.
  • Toolbox Potential. A deck with Dialga’s Energy distribution gains access to numerous other partners. Dialga-GX in particular can steal games.

Finding Partners

First Iteration

Without a reference point for an initial deck list, I ended up experimenting with a number of variations before I found the right partner. But where to begin? What kind of Energy acceleration would I use? What kind of draw support? Should I run it in a Shrine deck? To start, I wanted to see if Baby Dialga could win games on its own. After all, Baby Dialga can trade evenly or better against anything in Malamar, Zoroark, or Ninetales Variants.

Running Dialga by itself requires Energy acceleration, namely Magnezone. And hot off the press with Brokan Deck, I included Fairy Alolan Ninetales-GX to help set up.

This iteration of the list met with immediate failure. While Fairy Alolan Ninetales-GX helped me set up Magnezone consistently, it did not help me draw the Energy I needed. And while the first Dialga can attack for just two manual attachments, each replacement Dialga requires requires between three to five cards to replace it. The deck simply ran out of steam. And from these results, I answered my first question: Can I use Dialga as a Primary Attacker? No, I cannot, at least not without significantly more draw power.

Additionally, Baby Dialga could not win games on its own. It struggled to hit numbers like 170 against Tapu Lele-GX, or against Single Prize Stage 1 Pokemon with 70 HP Basics. I could and did run Dhelmise to hit these numbers, but this decreased consistency dramatically.

Second Iteration

Next up, I sought to answer a different question. Can I pair Dialga with Shrine of Punishment? I would not be able to run Fairy Alolan Ninetales-GX if I did this, so I ruled Magnezone out as a partner. Instead, I tried a list that focused on early aggression with Registeel to power up Dialga. Once again, this iteration met with failure. This deck simply could not keep up against other Shrine decks such as Buzzwole  Garbodor. Likewise, without Ability-based Energy acceleration, the deck falls too far behind each time a Dialga goes down.

Final Iteration

Using the information from the previous two iterations, I settled on Zoroark-GX. The first session revealed the card hungry nature of Baby Dialga. Zoroark pairs with this perfectly, setting up late game multi-card combos better than any other support Pokemon in the format, and capitalizing on Dialga’s use of both Double Colorless Energy and Mt. Coronet. But running Zoroark leaves a wide bench of two Prize Guzma targets. This means you need to close out games quicker than Baby Dialga can accomplish on its own. Thus, I included both Dialga-GX and Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX to speed up the Prize race and ultimately turn the deck into a bit of a Metal Toolbox, but still heavily featuring Baby Dialga as it tanks hits early game, trades well against Shrine decks, and simply solves many matchups on its own.

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