Old Moon, New Moon — How Roaring Moon ex Fares Post-Rotation

Hello everyone! We’re on the verge of our newest format rotation — or just past it, if you play online — and as usual, there’s a fair amount of shakeup, especially with Temporal Forces coming out at the same time. As players prepare for the EUIC, figuring out the new format is of paramount importance, as success in London will necessitate having a solid grasp on what to expect and what is good. Thankfully, the Japanese format can give us some pointers, as there’s been a solid month of play there in this format following the Champions League Fukuoka tournament, and thus a lot of time for innovation and refinement of the new post-rotation decks. Thus far, Charizard ex appears to still be the most dominant deck by a decent margin, though there are also a solid number of second-tier decks, such as Lugia VSTAR / Cinccino, Lost Box, Chien-Pao ex, Arceus VSTAR, and Snorlax Stall. New decks have also joined the mix, including Great Tusk Mill, Future Box / Iron Hands ex, and Ancient Box decks.

In this article, though, I want to go over a deck that has flown a bit under the radar in the pre-EUIC discourse: Roaring Moon ex. Roaring Moon ex was actually the most popular deck of the final pre-rotation Regional Championships (in Vancouver), but despite that, it has been overshadowed by the new Ancient stuff from the new set. There are a few cool new Ancient Pokemon in Temporal Forces, including two new “Ancient Box” archetypes, one utilizing the new non-ex Roaring Moon and the other built around the explosive Raging Bolt ex. The Roaring Moon deck has gotten some hype thanks to its Top 16 placement at Champions League Fukuoka, but if you look at the Japanese results from City League events, the older Roaring Moon ex decks have actually seen more success than the new Ancient Box lists. So, in this article, I’m going to be going over how Roaring Moon ex decks have adapted from the rotation losses, and what new tricks the archetype has gained from Temporal Forces.

What Has Changed?

Both the format rotation and Temporal Forces have had an impact on how Roaring Moon ex decks are built. The deck saw two major losses from the rotation: Battle VIP Pass and Galarian Moltres V. Moltres is a particularly painful loss, since it takes away a key piece of the deck’s Energy acceleration, and also makes it more difficult to use Forest Seal Stone. The good news is that these are the only cards we lost. Since the deck doesn’t require a ton of setup, it can survive the loss of Battle VIP Pass without too big a consistency drop. And, with the additions from Temporal Forces, Roaring Moon ex seems to be in good shape — I wouldn’t be writing about it otherwise!

The major new addition to the deck is the new non-ex Roaring Moon. The addition of a legitimate single-Prize attacker has revolutionized how Roaring Moon ex can approach its matchups, and helps to shore up a number of the deck’s poorer ones. Roaring Moon fits perfectly into Roaring Moon ex’s existing strategy of aggressively burning through your deck and discarding a bunch of stuff, and it can be accelerated to with the exact same cards as Roaring Moon ex. Its two-Energy attack cost is a bit easier to achieve than Roaring Moon ex’s three-Energy cost, which helps alleviate some of the downside of losing the acceleration from Galarian Moltres V.

Roaring Moon is strong enough that you can build around it on its own, but by combining it with Roaring Moon ex, you get the best of both worlds. Roaring Moon ex can take down big Pokemon early while you build up your Vengeance Fletching damage, and it can take out those massive Stage 2 Pokemon ex that the non-ex Roaring Moon might struggle with. At the same time, you can use the baby Roaring Moon to take out the non-ex Pokemon that can give Roaring Moon ex trouble, and you can give your opponent fits in the late game by transitioning away from the ex to a non-ex attacking strategy. The two complement each other extremely well!

Other new cards that have seen use with Roaring Moon ex are the new Flutter Mane, Explorer's Guidance, and Prime Catcher. Flutter Mane is particularly useful in the Lost Box matchup, and can also be useful in a few other niche scenarios. Explorer’s Guidance is great in conjunction with the new Roaring Moon, as it helps you discard cards faster while also providing decent consistency. Most decks like Prime Catcher, but it’s especially strong in this one, since Roaring Moon ex decks can struggle to be able to use Boss's Orders with how reliant they are on Professor Sada's Vitality. Now, you don’t have to hope for a good Pokemon Catcher flip, since you have Prime Catcher to guarantee that gust effect.

New Roaring Moon Lists

So far, there are two main styles of Roaring Moon ex decks that have seen play in Japan. The first is more like the pre-rotation decks in that it uses multi-Prize Pokemon such as Squawkabilly ex, Mew ex, and Lumineon V to dig through the deck as aggressively as possible in order to get KOs as quickly as it can. The other style is closer to Ancient Box decks in that it plays as a single-Prize deck for most of the game, focusing mainly on the new Roaring Moon. In this deck, Roaring Moon ex is more of a secondary attacker, though it can still be extremely important depending on the matchup. Both of these decks are actually pretty similar in their lists. The main difference is that the latter deck plays no Pokemon ex or V aside from Roaring Moon ex, and thus has a slightly different Trainer lineup to make up for it. Of the two, I tend to prefer the non-ex-focused deck in the current format, but both are solid.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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