To quote Jurrasic Park, “This park was not built to cater only for the super-rich. Everyone in the world has the right to enjoy these animals.”
Today, I bring you my take on Rampardos.
I was working on Rampardos long before I heard the name “Jurassic Park,” and although I never saw the list, I did get the idea of super boost energy from murmurings about the deck. I also thought to play Buzzwole before the deck was first revealed, but I have since replaced it.
Rampardos immediately caught my eye (although I had forgotten that Rampardos and Tyrantrum were different Pokemon at the time). One shotting Zoroark for a single attachment was the immediate draw to the card, but the second attack was just as intriguing. It was the first time I remember seeing an attack that straight-up knocks out a Pokemon (in this case, a basic Pokemon) that isn’t a gx attack or doesn’t have a ridiculous requirement like the defending Pokemon having to remain active for a turn.
Immediately I started thinking of a list. At first I was discouraged because I found out that this is a fossil Pokemon. Without access to Brigette, how could I get it set up? That is when I realized I could play Talonflame and start it 17 out of 20 games.
All fifteen of you who watch me stream had the pleasure of seeing me build and play my first list. This was at the same time that I built and played Zoroark Salazzle. After a few bad games with Rampardos, I switched over to Salazzle, which saw more success. After setting the deck aside for a few weeks, I was able to recognize some needed changes which have helped the deck substantially.
The most recent change I made was to drop Buzzwole GX. Buzzwole does two things for the deck. It creates a threat for my opponent to deal with, and it can take early Zorua knockouts. The truth is, the deck is going to beat Zoroark GX either way, and Buzzwole isn’t actually a threat outside of an early Absorption GX, which is very unlikely. I play neither Strong Energy nor Choice Band, so Knuckle Impact will not be taking an OHKO on anything. I decided to switch it to Tapu Lele GX (you have to play at least one Basic Pokemon). While Tapu Lele GX is an awful starter, I lose almost every game I don’t start Talonflame either way. The only other basic I would consider is Fletchling, but I am currently liking where I am at.
Another change I made was dropping Wishful Baton. I had played them in hopes of getting to repeat a Wild Crash with a second Rampardos. As it turns out, I never got to use the tool anyway. I always found it at the wrong time, or my opponent found Field Blower at the right time. Super Boost Energy also really helps with getting off a second Wild Crash. These drops allowed space for more consistency, including a third Order Pad.
Finally, here is my current list for Rampardos:
- 4 Talonflame
- 2 Cranidos
- 4 Rampardos
- 1 Tapu Lele GX
- 3 N
- 3 Professor Sycamore
- 3 Guzma
- 3 Cynthia
- 1 Skyla
- 4 Puzzle Of Time
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Max Elixir
- 4 Unidentified Fossil
- 4 Rare Candy
- 3 Order Pad
- 1 Super Rod
- 11 Fighting Energy
- 1 Super Boost Energy
I have already explained the Pokemon choices, so let’s get right to the trainers.
I started off playing a thicker line of a Skyla, but with Talonflame, one has been enough.
Draw supporters: Each of the draw supporters is good depending on the scenario. I would play a thinner line of N, but you typically get behind early, which is fine. You need time to set up.
Guzma is really strong since you can OHKO Zoroark GX, the draw engine for most decks, with a single energy. Because of the weakness, most Zoroark decks will be attacking with something else.
4 Max Elixir is how the deck keeps up against decks that attack with Basics. You have to set up at least one Rampardos with three energy. Elixir can only be used on basics. Since Unidentified Fossil is so fragile, I like to spread out my energy when I can.
Order Pad is really strong and I really want to make room for a fourth. This card helps you find your Unknown Fossil or Rare Candy. While generally, I stick by my mantra of “I don’t flip coins,” I am making an exception for this card, since it is 100% needed in this deck.
If Talonflame is alive turn 3, and I have a Puzzle in hand, I can grab a second Puzzle and another card I need. They are also great late game. Don’t forget about the ability to play a single Puzzle in a pinch!
This allows me to put energy and Rampardos pieces back into my deck without Puzzle. Super Rod basically guarantees late game Max Elixirs.
While I could see some players choosing to play fewer than four Rare Candy because of Puzzle of Time, I like for to increase my chances of being able to find other cards with Talonflame, namely Unidentified Fossil.
You need to attach every turn, especially turn 1, so that you can get the deck rolling. I also want to hit Elixirs every time. 11 Fighting Energy seems to be the right number.
This card is actually amazing in the deck. I didn’t consider it at first because I forgot Talonflame counts as a stage 2. If your Talonflame survives to turn 3, which it sometimes will depending on the deck you are playing, you can take a knockout on a big basic very quickly. A good player can play around it to some extent by taking out a different stage 2 or by continuously sniping Unidentified Fossil. Obviously, you need to be wary of Enhanced Hammer, so try to avoid playing Super Boost Energy until you are ready to use it.
This is a setup deck. Often, it is better to keep attacking with Talonflame than to switch into a Rampardos. There are obvious exceptions, but you have to think about how the whole game will play out, not just the next two turns. You have to balance setting up with keeping your Talonflame online for Super Boost Energy or later searches.
Now let’s check out a few matchups.
Zoroark GX: Whatever it is paired with, generally you can target down the Zoroarks because they are the draw engine, and they are easy two Prizes. Most of its partners won’t be able to OHKO Rampardos, so you will easily win with Guzma. Watch for the right time to take out the active threat, though.
Buzzwole GX: Although I have had a lot of success against this deck, it is probably your hardest matchup. If they can hit a couple of early Elixir, especially if they power up two Buzzwole, you will struggle to answer. Luckily, Talonflame doesn’t mind Jet Punch because of its resistance, so you can usually survive to attack at least once. If your opponent is able to N and knock out Talonflame on their second turn, you are in trouble.
Glaceon GX is not a bad matchup. You don’t need more than one energy on anything, outside of the two you will want on Lele. everything in your deck can two-shot, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Mill decks are also good for you. Neither Hoopa nor Sylveon can one-shot you. You can one-shot Hoopa with a single energy, and Talonflame should have plenty of time to help you get set up. Against Sylveon, you can two-shot with a single attachment, and they have to use Max Potion (preventing another attack) or they will be knocked out by your second attack.
The guys at Six Prizes, who put out great content, have an article on Rampardos as well. I assume there are significant differences, so if you need more dinosaurs in your life, I suggest checking out their article on Jurassic Park. I hope this article help you enter the land of the dinosaurs. Good luck!